01 SEP 2014 by ideonexus

 The Problem of Too Much Information in Literature

When I am reading Hamlet I often develop an urge to tell people about it, as if the Melancholy Dane's history had heretofore been classified as a top secret. I am bursting with information about Hamlet, so filled am I by the massive "evidence" presented by Shakespeare. So I sit down at my writing table and begin to put together an essay or a lecture in which I seem to extract a thesis out of the evidence in the play. I say "seem" because I think I actually begin with some kind of preconceived...
Folksonomies: literature humanities
Folksonomies: literature humanities
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01 SEP 2014 by ideonexus

 Opinion is Not Necessarily a Good Thing

We live in a civilization that believes that opinion per se is good. This can be seen in the very derivation of the word, which comes from the Latin opinari, meaning to think. It is a fundamental tenet of our civilization that thinking is good, a noble process which is one of the few things separating us from the base animal world. I too believe that thinking is a noble calling and that it is necessary to have opinions for the sake of the kind of thinking that can lead us to a better world. ...
Folksonomies: opinion stance position
Folksonomies: opinion stance position
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01 SEP 2014 by ideonexus

 Literature Asks Questions without Offering Answers

Even when writers profess to know nothing about the inner man, they often make the profession in a way which suggests that they really know plenty When D. H. Lawrence says (in his essay on Benjamin Franklin) "The soul of man is a dark forest," he says it with a kind of knowing Satanic smirk, so that the profession of ignorance actually becomes a species of knowledge. When I first read that ominous Lawrence sentence I was young and it was news to me that my soul was a dark forest. For several ...
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01 SEP 2014 by ideonexus

 Consider Eliminating the Humanities

To stop teaching literature and the other arts on the grounds that they're bad for us would be like refusing to study diseases because they're bad for us. However, maybe there should be a moratorium on requiring those who don't really want to, to take courses in the "humanities." We first have to figure out where we are. Then if we decide that every college student should be exposed to the "humanities," let us also insist that every one of them be exposed to the sciences, social sciences, and...
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Why must all college students study the humanities, but are given a free pass for the sciences?

27 AUG 2014 by ideonexus

 Brain Growth Suppresses Body Growth in Children

The metabolic costs of brain development are thought to explain the evolution of humans’ exceptionally slow and protracted childhood growth; however, the costs of the human brain during development are unknown. We used existing PET and MRI data to calculate brain glucose use from birth to adulthood. We find that the brain’s metabolic requirements peak in childhood, when it uses glucose at a rate equivalent to 66% of the body’s resting metabolism and 43% of the body’s daily energy requ...
Folksonomies: evolution brain development
Folksonomies: evolution brain development
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24 AUG 2014 by ideonexus

 The Not-Believing-In-God-Glasses

But then I thought, "But I don't know how to not believe in God. I don't know how you do it. How do you get up, how do you get through the day?" I thought, "Okay, calm down. Let's just try on the not-believing-in-God glasses for a moment, just for a second. Just put on the no-God glasses and take a quick look around and then immediately throw them off. So I put them on and I looked around. I'm embarrassed to report that I initially felt dizzy. I actually had the thought, "Well, how does the...
Folksonomies: atheism god
Folksonomies: atheism god
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24 AUG 2014 by ideonexus

 How Metric Measurements Relate

In metric, one millilier of water occupies one cubic centimeter, weighs one gram, and requires one calorie of energy to ehat up by one degree centigrade--which is 1 percent of the difference between its freezing point and its boiling point. An amount of hydrogen weighing the same amount has exactly one mole of atoms in it. Whereas in the American system, the answer to "How much energy does it take to boil a room-temperature gallon of water?" is "Go fuck yourself," because you can't directly ...
Folksonomies: measurement metric standard
Folksonomies: measurement metric standard
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16 AUG 2014 by ideonexus

 Orwell Notes Hitler's Rigidity of Mind

It is a sign of the speed at which events are moving that Hurst and Blackett’s unexpurgated edition of Mein Kampf, published only a year ago, is edited from a pro-Hitler angle. The obvious intention of the translator’s preface and notes is to tone down the book’s ferocity and present Hitler in as kindly a light as possible. For at that date Hitler was still respectable. He had crushed the German labour movement, and for that the property-owning classes were willing to forgive him almost...
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He notes that Hitler's ideas did not change at all over 15 years and that is a mark of madness.

16 AUG 2014 by ideonexus

 Hitler's Appeal was His Promise of Strife and Warfare

Also he has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. The Socialist who finds his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for the tin soldiers; ti...
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16 AUG 2014 by ideonexus

 Being Happy is Punk Rock

Certainly dystopia has appeared in science fiction from the genre’s inception, but the past decade has observed an unprecedented rise in its authorship. Once a literary niche within a niche, mankind is now destroyed with clockwork regularity by nuclear weapons, computers gone rogue, nanotechnology, and man-made viruses in the pages of what was once our true north; we have plague and we have zombies and we have zombie plague. Ever more disturbing than the critique of technology in these sto...
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