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Behind the Mask: The Life of Vita Sackville-West


Rachel Trethewey in The Independent: In the famous image of Vita Sackville-West, Lady with a Red Hat, the writer is the embodiment of the confident young aristocrat.

Are we free? Neuroscience gives the wrong answer


Daniel C. Dennett in Prospect: For several millennia, people have worried about whether or not they have free will.

This Gorgeous Sculpture Creates Instant Architecture in an Empty Room


Kristin Hohenadel in Slate: Held annually since 2009 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ArtPrize is a democratic art competition open to anyone in the world over age 18, with generous cash prizes awarded by both a jury of experts and popular vote.

The White Racial Slur We’ve All Been Waiting For


Michael Mark Cohen in Medium: I am a white, middle class male professor at a big, public university, and every year I get up in front of a hundred and fifty to two hundred undergraduates in a class on the history of race in America and I ask them to shout white racial slurs at me.

What is the Evidence for Evolution?

Wednesday Poem


Bridge Builder Bridge-builder I am between the holy and the damned between the bitter and the sweet between chaff and the wheat Bridge-builder I am between the goat and the lamb between the sermon and the sin between the princess and Rumpelstiltskin Bridge-builder I am between the yoni and the lingam between the darkness and the light between the left hand and the right Bridge-builder I am between the storm and the calm between the nightmare and the sleeper between the cradle and the reaper Bridge-builder I am between the hex and the hexagram between the chalice and the cauldron between the gospel and the Gorgon Bridge-builder I am between the serpent and the wand between the hunter and the hare between the curse and the prayer Bridge-builder I am between the hanger and the hanged between the water and the wine between the pearls and the swine Bridge-builder I am between the beast and the human for who can stop the dance of eternal balance?

‘Hidden brain signatures’ of consciousness in vegetative state patients discovered


From KurzweilAI: Scientists in Cambridge, England have found hidden signatures in the brains of people in a vegetative state that point to networks that could support consciousness — even when a patient appears to be unconscious and unresponsive.

Wednesday Poem

Bridge Builder Bridge-builder I am between the holy and the damned between the bitter and the sweet between chaff and the wheat Bridge-builder I am between the goat and the lamb between the sermon and the sin between the princess and Rumpelstiltskin Bridge-builder I am between the yoni and the lingam between the darkness and the light between the left hand and the right Bridge-builder I am between the storm and the calm between the nightmare and the sleeper between the cradle and the reaper Bridge-builder I am between the hex and the hexagram between the chalice and the cauldron between the gospel and the Gorgon Bridge-builder I am between the serpent and the wand between the hunter and the hare between the curse and the prayer Bridge-builder I am between the hanger and the hanged between the water and the wine between the pearls and the swine Bridge-builder I am between the beast and the human for who can stop the dance of eternal balance?

Super-Intelligent Humans Are Coming


Stephen Hsu in Nautilus Magazine (Photo by Cinerama/Courtesy of Getty Images): The possibility of super-intelligence follows directly from the genetic basis of intelligence.

Fame and Literature, Irreconcilable Enemies


John Yargo in the LA Review of Books: Bolaño’s biographers face a unique problem. The seductive popular image of him — something like a better-read Burroughs — is at odds with the voice of his fiction and his essays, which tends to be more generous, expansive, and penetrating than his image suggests.

Category Mistakes


Richard Marshall interviews Ofra Magidor in 3:AM Magazine: 3:AM: You say it’s important for linguistics, computer science – how so?

Torah on a Möbius Strip


by Josh Yarden Here We Go A-Gain I just finished reading the end of the Five Books of Moses, again, and even though I did not read the entire five books this year, or any other year for that matter, I have already started over from the beginning.

Monday Poem

Hedge we unload the freight of day as night wraps up what day has told there’s not much more to say— myself in shade, eagle in her hold both are restless in day’s throes.

Diary: ebola


Paul Farmer at The London Review of Books: The worst is yet to come, especially when we take into account the social and economic impact of the epidemic, which has so far hit only a small number of patients (by contrast, the combined death toll of Aids, tuberculosis and malaria, the ‘big three’ infectious pathogens, was six million a year as recently as 2000).

when H. G. Wells interviewed stalin


A 1935 piece by Malcolm Cowley at The New Republic: I doubt that any other interview of the last ten years was more dramatic, more interesting as a clear statement of two positions or, in a sense, more absurdly grotesque than H.G.

Cubism at the Metropolitan Museum


Peter Schjeldahl at The New Yorker: The show eases, somewhat, the famous difficulty of telling a Picasso from a Braque in the woodshedding period of 1909-12, which is termed Analytic Cubism.

a lucid, thrilling and amusing history of the digital age


Peter Conrad in The Guardian: Revolutions usually leave ancient institutions tottering, societies shaken, the streets awash with blood.

Genetic Variant May Shield Latinas From Breast Cancer


Anahad O'Connor in The New York Times: A genetic variant that is particularly common in some Hispanic women with indigenous American ancestry appears to drastically lower the risk of breast cancer, a new study found.

The astounding athletic power of quadcopters

Keith Frankish on the Hard Problem and the Illusion of Qualia

Over at Philosophy Bites: Subjective experience leads to the so-called 'hard problem' of consciousness: the difficulty of explaining qualia in terms of the brain. Keith Frankish discusses both the problem and a possible solution in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.


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