From Crackle: Penn Says – I Agree With the PopeRead More Penn on the Pope
From the review in American Scientist Online of Margaret A. Boden’s Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science: It is fortunate that Mind as Machine is highly readable, particularly because it contains 1,452 pages of text, divided into two very large volumes. Because the references and indices (which fill an additional 179 pages) are…Read More If ever a book needed a Kindle edition, this is it
It seems that the TSA has been lowering the bar for hiring new staff; it looks like a single-digit IQ is sufficient to get hired here in Seattle. From Consumerist: A 5-year-old boy was detained as “security risk” because he had the same name of someone on the TSA “No-Fly” list. The TSA had to…Read More 5-year-old as a "National Security Risk"
Interesting talk by Wilfred DeClay of the University of Tennessee from the Pew Center’s colloquium on Religion and Secularism. Here’s the thesis: Alexis de Tocqueville was very impressed by the degree to which religion persisted in the American democracy and that religious institutions seemed to support American democratic institutions. What Tocqueville was describing, in fact,…Read More Varieties of secularism
Channel-surfing this evening ((After watching a recording of Aston Villa losing to Manchester United in the F.A.Cup – got to keep my priorities straight! Lovely goal by Wayne Rooney, back from his sick-bed.)) I came across Dan Rather and three middle-aged white journalists discussing the women’s vote in the New Hampshire primary, as well as…Read More Cognitive dissonance, middle-aged white male subdivision
Last night my PowerBook suffered the same Power Management Unit-related failure that I’ve described before, and so today I booked a session at the “Genius Bar” in the Bellevue Apple store. Inevitably, the “Genius” was unable to reproduce the problem: we restarted and power-cycled the machine several times, but it always restarted successfully. We agreed…Read More Frustrating
Following up on my thoughts yesterday about the wasteful character of the U.S. political system, here’s a nice observation from a BBC piece on the subject: In the middle of the 19th Century, Walter Bagehot [noted] the distinction between what he described as the “dignified” and the “efficient” elements of the British constitution. The “dignified”…Read More "Dignified" v. "efficient"
I’ve just finished reading “Who Knows?: A Study of Religious Consciousness” by the philosopher and inveterate riddler Raymond Smullyan. It’s less of a “study” than a collection of thoughts on three topics, loosely inspired by his reading of Martin Gardner’s “The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener”. The first part is about the relationship between belief…Read More Is (dis)belief in damnation more important than (dis)belief in God?
Over at Orcinus, Sara has some interesting thoughts on the strange state of the Republicans in this election: ((UPDATE: Josh’s comment at TPM: “At this point it seems clear that the big take away from the Republican debate is that these are six pretty tired old guys who can barely get enthusiastic enough to answer…Read More The strange state of the GOP, and other thoughts
I received 56 credits on The Sci Fi Sounds QuizHow much of a Sci-Fi geek are you? Take the Sci-Fi Movie Quiz Canon S5 [Hat tip to Josh, who did a bit better than I did.] UPDATE: Josh suggested that I try this one, too. I’m rather glad that I didn’t score higher than this….…Read More Bleep… bleep… bleep