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Birds Lost Their Sweet Tooth, Hummingbirds Got Theirs Back

Ed Yong in Not Exactly Rocket Science: In 2004, the chicken became the first bird to have its genome fully sequenced.

Can the Crowd Solve Medical Mysteries?

Carrie Arnold at PBS: The Loops found themselves in purgatory. They had a diagnosis they didn’t believe, treatments that weren’t working, and a son that had been completely subsumed by his illness.

Hashim Khan, Patriarch of a Squash Dynasty, Is Dead

William Yardley in the New York Times: Hashim Khan, who learned to play squash when he was a boy, retrieving stray balls for British military officers in Pakistan, and went on to become a champion and the patriarch of a family dynasty in the sport, died on Monday in Denver.

Mapping the Mind: An Interview with Eric Kandel

Mapping the Mind: An Interview with Eric Kandel from Imaginal Disc on Vimeo.

Was the Human Brain Unleashed?

Courtney Humphries in Harvard Magazine: Compare humans to other mammals and a distinguishing feature stands out: our large, cavernous craniums, and the densely folded brains stuffed into them.

Do gut bacteria control your mind?

From KurzweilAI: Bacteria within you — which outnumber your own cells about 100 times — may be affecting both your cravings and moods to get you to eat what they want, and may be driving you toward obesity.

Friday Poem

Begane Grond   Our lift talks to me, as I go up or down, in a gentle, protective tone. “We are here,” she says “you may go”.

Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault

John J. Mearsheimer in Foreign Affairs: According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression.

The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit

For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal.

Where academic philosophy went wrong

Charlie Huenemann in his blog Huenemanniac: I believe Peter Sloterdijk is right that the Enlightenment has been followed by philosophical cynicism, or an impressive array of natural knowledge unaccompanied by any faith in providence.

Syria in Revolt: Understanding the Unthinkable War

Sadik J. Al-Azm in the Boston Review: The people’s intifada in Syria, against the military regime and police state of the Assad family, took me by surprise.

A brash tech entrepreneur thinks he can reinvent higher education by stripping it down to its essence, eliminating lectures and tenure along with football games, ivy-covered buildings, and research libraries. What if he's right?

Graeme Wood in The Atlantic: Minerva, which operates for profit, started teaching its inaugural class of 33 students this month.

Pasolini's seductive utopian vision

Adam Thirlwell at Bookforum: Everything Pasolini did, he did as a poet. But what was it, precisely, that Pasolini did?

is it good to commemorate?

Timothy Snyder at Eurozine: Perhaps above all, Auschwitz is resonant because it has come to stand for the depths of a fallen civilization.

in the DFW archives

Mike Miley at The Smart Set: To give you an idea of how concerned Wallace was about being unable to live up to the image of “DFW,” one of his books in the HRC library is On Writer’s Block.

Robert Hughes: The Mona Lisa Curse

The Theft That Made The 'Mona Lisa' A Masterpiece

From the archives of NPR: If you were standing outside the Louvre in Paris on the morning of Aug. 21, 1911, you might have noticed three men hurrying out of the museum.

Salman Rushdie on Kazuo Ishiguro

Salman Rushdie in The Globe and Mail: ‘I was very consciously trying to write for an international audience,” Kazuo Ishiguro says of The Remains of the Day in his Paris Review interview.

the genius of the local historical society museum

Stefany Anne Golberg at The Smart Set: In Richfield Springs, New York, in the summer of 2013, I stopped into the local historical society just around closing time.

Just what is it that makes today’s eco-terrorists so appealing?

Bill Morris at The Millions: Night Moves, the latest movie from Kelly Reichardt, joins a chorus of films and books that have spent the past several decades posing an intriguing question.