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Sean Carroll: "What else is possible if space and time can change?"

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the publication of General Relativity by Albert Einstein, Sean Carroll asks, "Einstein's legacy: if spacetime is dynamical rather than absolute, what else about the universe might be flexible?

Buster Keaton - The Art of the Gag

Buster Keaton - The Art of the Gag from Tony Zhou on Vimeo.

Goya: The Portraits

T.J. Clark at the London Review of Books: The longer I looked at the painting the more I was drawn to the dialogue taking place, sotto voce, between the over-coloured count and his shadowy double hung high on the wall above him – a faintly preposterous rehash of the mirror in Las Meninas, where king and queen make their necessary appearance.

"Reality-concealing rhetoric" and our responses to terrorism

Pankaj Mishra at n+1: Fourteen years after September 11, the reality-concealing rhetoric of Westernism participates in a race to extremes with its ideological twin, in an escalated dialectic of bombing from the air and slaughter on the ground.

a forgotten designer

Martin Filler at the NYRB: Among the dozen useful masterpieces chosen by the US Postal Service for its 2011 series of stamps honoring American industrial design pioneers is the Normandie water pitcher (1935), a sleek chromium-plated vessel whose prow-like form echoes that of the then-new French ocean liner for which it was named.

This Artist Makes Traditional Carpets That Look Like They Were hit by a Software Bug

Danny Lewis in Smithsonian Magazine: At first glance, Faig Ahmed’s carpets look like digital photos that didn’t load right the first time you clicked on them.

The fear-mongers’ bad advice

Ken Roth in Politico: The horrendous Paris attacks have provided certain European and U.S. politicians with an irresistible opportunity to attempt to close the door on refugees while seeking to expand overbroad government surveillance. It is important, out of principle and for our collective safety, to reject these appeals to fear and prejudice, as some political leaders have done.

Tuesday Poem

The Grave, The Mine Taking off from the city at night, from the airplane, I look at streetlights below: hovering unfixed sockets of light.

Agriculture Linked to DNA Changes in Ancient Europe

Frank Sinatra – ‘the medieval monarch of showbiz’

Neil Spencer in The Guardian: Frank Sinatra’s favourite time of day was dawn, especially the ice-blue desert dawn of Las Vegas, the signal that he had slaked his gargantuan thirst for fine music, fast company, beautiful women and booze.

In Praise of Ardor

by Mara Naselli One evening in February 2012, I was in a Chicago noodle shop looking for a table for one.

It is the 100th anniversary of the publication of what many have called the most beautiful scientific theory of all time

by S. Abbas Raza In November of 1915, Albert Einstein published what would come to be known as his theory of general relativity.

War on a New Planet: Reimagining Conflict and Leadership in the Time of ISIS

by Ali Minai The terrible terrorist attacks by ISIS in Paris on November 13 have understandably generated a great surge of opinion and analysis – some of it insightful and some just opportunistic.

Thoughts On Proofs by Contradiction

by Carl Pierer Among the many tools available to mathematicians attempting to prove a statement is something called "proof by contradiction" or reduction ad absurdum.  The general method of the proof is a very smug one: Let the statement to be proved be Φ.

Hypatia of Alexandria: or, a primer on platonic love

by Charlie Huenemann Plato, as we know, told tales of an abstract realm beyond the senses, a realm beyond the dim and dark cave we call “the world.” It was a realm of forms, first glimpsed through the discipline of mathematics, and more thoroughly known through philosophical cross-examination, or dialectic.


by Brooks Riley

In Praise of Ardor

by Mara Naselli One evening in February 2012, I was in a Chicago noodle shop looking for a table for one.

Chantal Akerman: Now

 by Sue Hubbard Until 19th October 2015, Ambika P3 Gallery, University of Westminster, London  The Belgian filmmaker and artist Chantal Akerman died suddenly on October 5.

My Long Chat With Karl Ove Knausgaard

Christian Lorentzen in New York Magazine: Like most Norwegian schoolchildren of his generation, Karl Ove Knausgaard started learning English at the age of 10.

Claimed Breakthrough Slays Classic Computing Problem; Encryption Could Be Next

Tom Simonite in MIT Technology Review: A professor’s claim to have created an algorithm that dramatically simplifies one of theoretical computer science’s most notorious problems has experts preparing to reconsider a long-established truth of their field.