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Perspectives on Cultural Evolution

Last May at the Sante Fe Institute, Daniel Dennett gathered Susan Blackmore, Robert Boyd, Nicolas Claidière, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Joseph Henrich, Olivier Morin, Peter Richerson, Dan Sperber, and Kim Sterelny to discuss cultural evolution (via Dan Sperber).

Can News Literacy Grow Up?

Lindsay Beyerstein in The Columbia Journalism Review: In 2005, as Howard Schneider was developing a plan for Stony Brook University’s new journalism school, he taught a course called Ethics & Values of the American Press as a way to get to know the students.

Time Travel Simulation Resolves “Grandfather Paradox”

Lee Billings in Scientific American (via Jennifer Ouellette): Recently [Tim] Ralph and his PhD student Martin Ringbauer led a team that experimentally simulated Deutsch's model of CTCs for the very first time, testing and confirming many aspects of the two-decades-old theory.

Earthly Happenings

James Ley in The Sydney Review of Books: ‘Odysseus’ Scar’, the opening chapter of Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature (1946), is a classic of twentieth century literary criticism — a brilliant comparative reading of sections of theOdyssey and the Book of Genesis as foundational texts of Western literature’s two great informing traditions: the Hellenic and the Judaeo-Christian.

reckoning with edmund burke

Ferdinand Mount at The London Review of Books: ‘You could not stand five minutes with that man beneath a shed while it rained, but you must be convinced you had been standing with the greatest man you had ever yet seen.’ Dr Johnson’s remark on Edmund Burke, related in one of Hester Thrale’s anecdotes, is unforgettable.

Norman Mailer's "A Fire on the Moon"

Geoff Dyer at Threepenny Review: Mailer starts with the news of Hemingway’s death; we’ll start with Ezra Pound’s claim, in ABC of Reading, that literature “is news that STAYS news.” The appeal of having one of America’s best-known writers cover the biggest news story of the decade—probably of the century, conceivably of all time—was obvious, and Mailer was a natural fit.

A sweeping account of how the Reagan years began as the Nixon era

Christopher Caldwell at Bookforum: “HE WORE A PURPLE PLAID SUIT his staff abhorred and a pinstripe shirt and polka-dot tie and a folded white silk puffing up extravagantly out of his pocket.” This was not some tea-sipping Edwardian dandy.

The Unbearable Emptiness of a New York Times Op-Ed

Peter Beinart in The Atlantic: I have my concerns about President Obama’s foreign policy. But nothing eases them like listening to his Republican critics.

A Call for a Low-Carb Diet

Anahad O'Connor in The New York Times: People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study shows.

Tuesday Poem

As I Grew Older It was a long time ago. I have almost forgotten my dream. But it was there then, In front of me, Bright like a sun— My dream.

Inconsistent Mathematics, Reutersvärd, and Buddhism: An Interview with Chris Mortensen

by Michael Lopresto Chris Mortensen is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Adelaide.

Deep Surface

by Brooks Riley Jean-Luc Godard once inscribed a picture to me with these words: "This is the surface, Brooks, and that's why it's deep." At the time, I was skimming the surface, darting from one life experience to another without stopping to sink down or dive deeper—or give his jeu de mots much thought.

A personal ethics of clicking

by Charlie Huenemann Now that every click we make is watched, archived, and meta-data-fied, it is time to start thinking seriously about a personal ethics of internet consumption.

Why I don't like tipping

by Emrys Westacott I dislike tipping. That is, I dislike the whole tipping system. As a card-carrying tightwad I can't honestly say I enjoy leaving tips, but that's not my point.

Inconsistent Mathematics, Reutersvärd, and Buddhism: An Interview with Chris Mortensen

by Michael Lopresto Chris Mortensen is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Adelaide.

The Value of Dutiful Actions

by Carl Pierer In his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals Kant states that an action has moral worth if and only if it is done from duty.Kant argues for his position by showing that morally right actions done from motives other than duty lack moral worth.


by Brooks Riley

Ai Weiwei and the fine art of the art installation

by Mathangi Krishnamurthy As a rule, I am wary of art installations. I am never sure if the form they take bear any relation to the political content they claim to espouse.

A sin tax on junk entertainment

by Thomas Rodham Wells Governments should tax the production and consumption of junk entertainment like Angry Birds and The Bachelor to correct the market failures that encourage their overconsumption.

Cambridge Study Reveals How Life Could Have Started From Nothing

Linda Geddes in New Scientist: Metabolic processes that underpin life on Earth have arisen spontaneously outside of cells.