NPR: Why Chaucer Said ‘Ax’ Instead Of ‘Ask,’ And Why Some Still Do.
“Linguistic versatility is ideal, says Rickford, interchanging ‘ax’ and ‘ask’ depending on the setting: code switching. But, he adds, there’s nothing technically wrong with saying ‘ax’ — it’s just no longer considered mainstream English.” Some of us just done be axing for trouble.
Simons Foundation: Physicists Discover Geometry Underlying Particle Physics.
I found a source mentioning an “amplituhedron”, but a paywall stopped me short. Couldn’t let it rest, I had to dig further.
Guardian.UK: Black women should have the right to wear an afro.
Crazy people. Afros are great, perfectly acceptable anywhere.
OpenCulture: Alain de Botton Shows How 6 Philosophers Can Change Your Life.
Backdoor Broadcasting: Ben O’Loughlin - Has the Image Killed the Imagination?
Guardian.UK: How can we end the male domination of philosophy?
On board until that last paragraph.
NY Times: Looking Into the Black Box.
“Anecdotal evidence suggests that we do not naturally find statistics in the least pleasurable. It is explanation by way of causation, rather than correlation, that gives us a mental rush.” Good article.
New Republic: The Period, Our Simplest Punctuation Mark, Has Become a Sign of Anger.
The unpunctuated, un-ended sentence is incredibly addicting. I find it horrific; like those people wearing house-slippers and slept-in sweatpants in public. It betrays no philosophy other than the laconic. It explains a mystery, however - I try to use correct punctuation, even in IM’ing. Perhaps this article’s observation is why many conversations languish. I’ll have to start asking if people believe me to be angry.
Publishers Weekly: 5 Writing Tips - Paul Harding.
Wired: Sudden Progress on Prime Number Problem Has Mathematicians Buzzing.
“This simplification of the proof is, if anything, more exciting to mathematicians than the final number the project came up with, since mathematicians care not only about whether a proof is correct but also about how much new insight it gives them.”
Dissent: Privacy and the Public Interest.
“In the absence of a bright-line principle of demarcation between private and public, our only recourse is discussion that is ultimately political—aimed at deciding what kind of a world—in terms of who can know what about whom – we want to inhabit. For most of human history, such choices have been given by default, dictated by contingencies of population density, government powers, family custom and the like. Now things are much different. With the steady stream of innovation in social roles and uses of personal information, the need for searching public conversations on these matters grows ever more acute.” Review of two books.
Slate: Conspiracy theory psychology.
“The answer is that people who suspect conspiracies aren’t really skeptics. Like the rest of us, they’re selective doubters. They favor a worldview, which they uncritically defend. But their worldview isn’t about God, values, freedom, or equality. It’s about the omnipotence of elites.” That goes into the DM! lexicon for future use: “omnipotent elites”. On the lookout for the generic omnipotent “them” in articles.
Civil War Memory: President Obama Edits Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
“Of course, what these news outlets and bloggers missed entirely was that Ken Burns asked the president to read the first draft or “Nicolay version” of the speech, which does not include the phrase, ‘under God.’ In fact, it’s not even clear that Lincoln uttered those words at Gettysburg. Perhaps these people should be inquiring as to why Lincoln left the phrase out of his first draft.” Consider this inoculation against online harangues.
NY Times: Don’t Mess With My ‘Sacred Values’.
Pacific Standard: Who Wants a Christian America?
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” If I were a high school teacher today, I’d have kids reflect upon the life of Savonarola.
Discovery Magazine: Do We Live in the Matrix?
LRB: James C. Scott reviews ‘The World until Yesterday’.
“It’s a good bet a culture is in trouble when its best-known intellectuals start ransacking the cultural inventory of its ancestors and its contemporary inferiors for tips on how to live. The malaise is all the more remarkable when the culture in question is the modern American variant of Enlightenment rationalism and progress, a creed not known for self-doubt or failures of nerve.” I’m reminded of my own recent mistakes over GMO … and dinosaurs. Much of my education took place in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s; the world has come a very - very - long distance from there. As reader Jeremiah said to me, “There’s so much to be learned from picking up some used modern college textbooks.” The past is a tool for leveraging today, certainly. But grab an antiquated tool, and you may be doing yourself (and others) a disservice. [I’m working on becoming a less antiquated tool.]
New Statesman: Traditional skills are being lost by designers relying on computers.
‘Tis true, ‘tis true. This isn’t just retro-love; printers are having a terrible time with digital-only nobs who can’t wrap their heads around how to send files for proper reproduction. Printing houses need to give tours of their physical facilities, explain their challenges.
OpenCulture: Chomsky schools a “9/11 Truther,” explains how to make a credible claim.
“There happen to be a lot of people around who spend an hour on the internet and think they know a lot physics, but it doesn’t work like that. There’s a reason there are graduate schools in these departments.” Such an easy mistake to make these days, when there’s an epidemic of “we don’t know what we don’t know.”
New Republic: Divine Fury Book Excerpt—A History of Genius.
Hmmm … in another light, this perfectly primed Americans for the frontier “rugged individual” myth. Dovetails just perfectly.
The Atlantic: Why Are Hundreds of Harvard Students Studying Ancient Chinese Philosophy?
I was going to make a snark about this … but in thinking back to the 80’s, when Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” became de rigeur reading on Wall Street and sold bajillions of copies, I think this is healthier. And, he mentions Zhuangzi, one of my personal guiding lights.
SF New Mexican: American adults score poorly on global test.
“This test could suggest students leaving high school without certain basic skills aren’t obtaining them later on the job or in an education program.” Or on their own time. I mentioned Edward Gibbon just yesterday: “Every man who rises above the common level has received two educations: the first from his teachers; the second, more personal and important, from himself.”
HuffPo/Small Business: Why I Hire English Majors
I believe I’ve related my experiences working on Wall Street, and asking coworkers at the large financial firm I worked for what they majored in. Very few business majors; mostly English Majors and (believe it or not) Philosophy Majors.
Gizmag: Quantum black hole study opens bridge to another universe.
It takes 3/4 of this article just to arrive at a level of knowledge to where one can appreciate the ‘bridge’ theory. Another ‘black hole information paradox’, methinks. The black hole of our own educations.
Guardian.UK: Replica of Tutankhamun’s tomb to divert tourists from threatened site.
“It’s revolutionary. [snip] It’s not just a way of protecting the tomb of Tutankhamun, but it’s a test case, a model that could be used to protect other sites across the country.” No, it’s not. Ever been to the Luxor in Las Vegas? You’ve been beaten to the punch. Cuing Umberto Eco’s Travels in Hyperreality, once again. Do take the time to read it sometime.