Western Digs | Science news in the American West.
OpenCulture: Learn Latin, Old English, Sanskrit, Classical Greek & Other Ancient Languages.
Brush up your Tocharian in ten lessons.
The Cambridge Works of Ben Jonson.
OpenCulture: Harold Bloom Creates a Massive List of Works in The “Western Canon”.
As good a Great Books list as you’ll find. I’ve been working through it for years, m’self.
Youtube: How fast are you moving right now?
How snails can move at 19 miles per second.
Nature: Stephen Hawking - ‘There are no black holes’
I wonder what this means for ‘wormholes’ …
Bloomberg: Harvard, MIT Online Courses Dropped by 95% of Registrants.
About the same success rate as direct-mail marketing, no?
Scotsman.UK: Art is more than brain deep.
“Research findings could well suggest that there is something biological in our need for art – an art instinct. After all, all societies seem to have produced art across human history. We have to account for that, why it is so.” I continue to argue that daily creative expression is as necessary for some as breathing is to others. Certainly that expression is shaped by the culture that surrounds it, but the reflex is uniquely biological. IMHO.
LiveScience: Dyson Spheres - How Advanced Alien Civilizations Would Conquer the Galaxy.
Fun little excerpt. Don’t waste time trying to read in the infographic type on a portable device (like I stupidly did). The entire text is echoed as regular HTML text underneath (go ahead, laugh).
OpenCulture: “The Tolkien Professor” Presents Three Free Courses on The Lord of the Ring
Suggested for downtime tune-in.
Philosophy Now: Does God Exist?
The Conversation: Know this - the ‘sixth sense’ is all in your head.
Public Books: For World Literature.
“Considering that none of our objects—not cultures, not readers, not writers—fit within a national frame, why did we ever imagine that nations were the best organizing principles for the study of literature?” Long.
NY Times: Saving Relics, Afghans Defy the Taliban.
“But as the war against the Taliban has stretched on, some here see another good reason to keep them on tour. ‘I personally hope they never return,’ Mr. Hakimzada said. ‘At least where they are now, we know they are safe.’” At one time, I thought objects should reside in their home countries, with occasional ‘art tours’ being arranged. After experiencing our century’s giddy delight for war, I can only prefer disseminating works as widely as possible, to preserve our common history.
Gothamist: Old Cooper Union Dead - Trustees Approve $20K Tuition.
U. of Utah: American West Center at Fifty.
“We seek submissions from college and university based scholars, community based organizations and institutions, state and local historical and cultural entities, and indigenous Nations. The symposium will engage diverse fields including history, anthropology, political science, ethnic studies, literature, cultural studies, and the arts. We strongly encourage participants and projects that span disciplinary divides.”
ArtDaily: The International Center of Photography to expand online course offerings.
Youtube: The Moral Limits of Markets.
In a collegiate sphere, one can discuss morals and morality without the presupposition of religious requirement. Among average people in America, sadly no. Stay for the ‘love and economics’ discussion near the end. Background on the speaker.
Atlantic: How Much the Government Would Have to Spend to Make College Tuition-Free.
If only conditions were perfect. But alas, they never are.
CNet: Tweeting time travelers? Researchers look for signs.
“Here’s the disappointing part: They found no prescient tweets on either Comet ISON or Pope Francis. Absolutely zip. Which really just means that time travelers probably don’t like to use Twitter.” Or, use of period electronics is forbidden by the Temporal Accords. Now, let’s talk about researching new antibiotics …
The Art Newspaper: Research uncovers lost African school of painting.
“Theoretically, the images could have been painted by a Middle Eastern artist who had travelled 3,000km south, but Mercier argues that it is much more likely that they are the work of an Aksumite artist, copying earlier (lost) images made in the Middle East or Aksum.” One gets the idea that history still has a hard time realizing intellectual/artistic activities occured south of Alexandria.
OpenCulture: Download 100 Free Philosophy Courses and Start Living the Examined Life.
Metafilter: Naturalis Historia.
A classical link for our Monday morning.
Slate: College papers - Students hate writing them. Professors hate grading them.
“Students hate writing them so much that they buy, borrow, or steal them instead. Plagiarism is now so commonplace that if we flunked every kid who did it, we’d have a worse attrition rate than a MOOC. And on those rare occasions undergrads do deign to compose their own essays, said exegetic masterpieces usually take them all of half an hour at 4 a.m. to write, and consist accordingly of ‘arguments’ that are at best tangentially related to the coursework, font-manipulated to meet the minimum required page-count.” For subjects I hated, the essays were a chore. For subjects I adored, it was a joy to be able to stretch my textual wings a bit. I’d hate to lose them all.
FT: Artist-run art schools.
[Applause.] But. This makes it sound like existing art institutions don’t hire artists to teach. They do. But art schools are more and more overlooking the important things for mere profit. For instance, kids are graduating art school without ever being exposed to one-, two-, three- or four-point perspective. One must verify a grounding in the basics, before advanced techniques are introduced. Some schools say the old techniques are ‘limiting’ … did they limit the greats of the past? No. This idea that modern art doesn’t stand on the shoulders of the past is part of the reason we’re ‘enjoying’ more and more artistic dreck. Picasso started as a very conventional artist before beginning his experimentation. You have to understand the rule, before you can break it. Perhaps smaller class sizes, more ‘mentorship’, will cure today’s art education.