Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Human Lowdown

Here’s our basic human story based on genetics. 60,000 years ago there was drought in Africa brought on by an ice age to its north. The human species lived only in Africa and had dwindled to perhaps 2,000 individuals. They looked like … Continue reading

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Apostrophe History Lesson That Won’t Put You to Sleep

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Same-Sex Bi-National Couples and Immigration Reform

A same-sex bi-national couple is a homosexual American married to a homosexual foreigner, and President Obama means for such a couple to be included in immigration reform. In the below clip, John McCain is clearly broadsided by a question about … Continue reading

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Bonobo Liberals? Chimp Conservatives?

Concerning a study of bonobo altruism, this was in The New York Times recently: The subjects were all orphaned bonobos at the Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In one phase of the study, bonobos were given a pile … Continue reading

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Can Your Evolved Brain Be Trusted to Bring You to the Actual Truth of Matters?

The philosopher Thomas Nagel, in his most recent book, writes the following: Mechanisms of belief formation that have selective advantage in the everyday struggle for existence do not warrant our confidence in the construction of theoretical accounts of the world … Continue reading

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You’re a Weirdo

__________ Jim Morrison was born in 1943. That means that, had he lived to 2013, he would be turning 70 this year. That’s a weird thought.

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George Church’s Brave New World (and Ours)

Harvard molecular geneticist George Church’s interview with Der Spiegel is a must-read. Highlights: ON NEANDERTHAL CLONING SPIEGEL: Will you witness the birth of a Neanderthal baby in your lifetime? Church: That depends on a hell of a lot of things, but … Continue reading

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My Vote for the Best Sentences in Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address

There were a number of soaring passages in President Obama’s second innaugural address. Highlights: For history tells us that while these truths [“… that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, … Continue reading

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Clearing the Fox News Smoke on Recent Global Warming

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President Obama’s Legacy: America at One Gigabit Per Second?

In The New York Times this week, Thomas Friedman shared his take on the world we live in: It’s a world in which the increasing velocity of globalization and the Information Technology revolution are reshaping every job, workplace and industry. … Continue reading

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Mint the Trillion Dollar Platinum Coin?

Ezra Klein at The Washington Post is against it: There are already cracks in the GOP’s coalition over whether holding the debt ceiling hostage is such a good idea, with Newt Gingrich, the Wall Street Journal and assorted columnists beginning to head to the exits. … Continue reading

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Sunita Williams’s Guided Tour of the International Space Station

This is life in space with departing International Space Station Commander, Sunita Williams. A few hours after making this video, she returned to Earth, landing in Kazakhstan with two of her colleagues, one from Russia and one from Japan. __________ If … Continue reading

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Flu, Guns, and Civilization

One of the great signs of the advance of human civilization in the world is vaccination. Another is that the state has a monopoly over the use of violence. By these two measures, however, it seems that the United States … Continue reading

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Robots are Coming to Get You

If you missed the 60 Minutes segment on robots Sunday night, you really missed something. Here’s a taste.

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A Documentary on the Life of Artist Damien Hirst Worth Seeing

__________ This web page at the Tate on Hirst is also good.

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A New Olympic Sport is Born?

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What Is This Life?

According to a recent science article at the Huffington Post, Sara Walker, an astrobiologist at Arizona State University, along with some of her colleagues, has arrived at a fresh definition of life as seen through the prism of information processing: Walker’s team … Continue reading

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Huell Howser Impersonator

Comedian James Adomian parodies Huell Howser perfectly here (but you’ll have to click over to YouTube to watch it): __________ Howser was an institution on public television in California, going around the state interviewing people. Homosexual and originally from Tennessee, … Continue reading

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From Lemons to Lemonade: Two Cool Examples of Contingency Turned to Art (One a Painting, One a Poem)

In a collection of art essays by Roger Kimball titled Art’s Prospect (Ivan R. Dee 2003) is an essay on a Matisse exhibit in which Kimball writes the following (151): [Matisse] arrived [in Morocco in 1912] in the rainy season, and his … Continue reading

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Global Warming Continues Apace

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