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May 29 2014

The Test Book
by Mikael Krogerus & Roman Tschäppeler

This pocket-sized compendium of the world's fifty most useful tests is a vital tool for anyone looking to gauge their abilities and improve their performance. From intelligence to personality type via creativity and leadership skills, Krogerus and Tschappeler will help you see how you fare on every essential trait you need to succeed. Beyond your own abilities, The Test Book also provides sample diagnostic tests for your career, relationship and business, sketching out not just what your skills are but how well you're utilising them too. Some are old favourites - GMAT, MBTI, IQ, EQ - and many more are little-known tests with genuinely new insights. Every single one has been condensed to just a few pages, leading you to the quickest route to self-knowledge. With in-depth analysis of the history, strengths and weaknesses of each test and what your answers mean for you, The Test Book is the fastest and most entertaining way to equip yourself for happiness and success.

Profile Books (2. Oktober 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1781253205
176 pages, 11.40 Euro

Tags: readingtip

Inaugural Conference of ELINAS:
Erlangen Center for Literature and Natural Sciences

Physics and Literature:
Theory – Popularization – Aestheticization

at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen, Germany
29. May - 1. June 2014

Physics, literature, and literary criticism are discourses of knowledge production which have drifted apart considerably in the course of the modern functional differentiation of social systems. At the same time, both discourses contribute to the comprehension and mastery of present and future problems, which invariably have both technological and cultural implications. Technologies and worldviews, shaped by physical knowledge, often acquire the status of central myths and determine human life worlds. Thus, they are of tremendous cultural relevance. The evaluation and assessment of their goals, limitations, and effects as well as of their inherent chances and risks is an ongoing process and cannot be negotiated within the necessarily narrow limits of physical discourse alone. At present more well- informed and highly reflective literary texts dealing with physical issues are being published than ever before. Employing dialogue and narration, they translate physical knowledge from mathematical-symbolic into verbal-polyvalent forms of representation and re-embed it in specific cultural contexts. This is why recent literary criticism and linguistic studies have therefore begun to investigate discursive and narrative modulations of physical theories both in literary texts and in scientific literature. Physics is itself becoming increasingly aware, both of the linguistic dimension of scientific communication and research and of the general cultural dimension of physical knowledge. The field has begun to reflect on both: on the epistemological importance of metaphor and on the communicative and cultural conditions determining the goals, priorities, and ethical limits of scientific research.
pp. &c.
Tags: science arts
Reposted byscienceankinmynniarandomuserp125groeschtl

May 27 2014

Privacy under attack: the NSA files revealed new threats to democracy
Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know the apparatus of repression has been covertly attached to the democratic state. However, our struggle to retain privacy is far from hopeless

by Eben Moglen, the guardian, Tuesday 27 May 2014

Tags: politics
Tags: untagged
Reposted bylost-in-spaceFuchsvonfrueherdesiratmanitomexwhovilleadremdicoTandergruetzescience8agiennynodoprawdyAsteria

May 26 2014

Linda Spjut: Castles (2011)
Tags: arts

May 23 2014

Unknown to most historians of philosophy the two ancient Greek philosophers Democritus (l.) and Diogenes (r.) are in fact one and the same person!
(cf. - Th. Rütten (1992), based on pictorial evidence by Hendrick Terbrugghen (1628))
Reposted byatrantamonkeyvaultmalborghettoPhilosophynoisetalesKurkaWyluzujvogelvertheer
"Looks to me like two elephants making love to a men’s glee club."
(Woody Allen)
Reposted byblackandwhitebynlm blackandwhitebynlm
"Reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, my dear."
(Alan Watts)
Tags: philosophy
Reposted byemciuHalobeatzbesenjosephineyaelie

May 22 2014

Wheel running in the wild
by Johanna H. Meijer and Yuri Robbers

Proc. R. Soc. B. 2014 281 20140210; doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.0210
(published 21 May 2014)

The importance of exercise for health and neurogenesis is becoming increasingly clear. Wheel running is often used in the laboratory for triggering enhanced activity levels, despite the common objection that this behaviour is an artefact of captivity and merely signifies neurosis or stereotypy. If wheel running is indeed caused by captive housing, wild mice are not expected to use a running wheel in nature. This however, to our knowledge, has never been tested. Here, we show that when running wheels are placed in nature, they are frequently used by wild mice, also when no extrinsic reward is provided. Bout lengths of running wheel behaviour in the wild match those for captive mice. This finding falsifies one criterion for stereotypic behaviour, and suggests that running wheel activity is an elective behaviour. In a time when lifestyle in general and lack of exercise in particular are a major cause of disease in the modern world, research into physical activity is of utmost importance. Our findings may help alleviate the main concern regarding the use of running wheels in research on exercise.

Tags: science
Reposted bysciencenevilxblubbernodoprawdymakroskhabarakh02mydafsoup-01

May 21 2014


FBI chief says anti-marijuana policy hinders the hiring of cyber experts

James Comey, the FBI director, says the bureau's no-tolerance marijuana policy is hindering the hiring of cyber-security experts. Coney added that he is "grappling" with possibly changing the practice.

The director's comments come one day after five members of the Chinese military were indicted in the US on allegations of hacking into major US corporations and stealing trade secrets

"I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview," Comey told a New York City Bar Association meeting Tuesday.

The bureau, which is seeking to employ as many as 2,000 new recruits this year, is prohibited from hiring those who have used marijuana the previous years.

Tags: politics
Reposted byscienceLogHiMa

May 20 2014

Der Mensch hat sie alle ausgerottet.
Kaum tauchte der moderne Mensch auf, verschwanden in vielen Regionen der Welt die großen Tierarten. Da seither sehr viel Zeit vergangen ist, konnten Forscher den Jägern der Altsteinzeit die Schuld an diesem Artensterben der Megafauna nicht nachweisen. In Neuseeland dagegen geschah das große Artensterben erst in den letzten 800 Jahren - und ermöglicht so einen detaillierten Indizienbeweis.

Tags: science
Reposted by02mydafsoup-01besen
Review of Hartmann Schedel: "Weltchronik 1493" , Taschen Verlag 2002. (by "ukü", Süddeutsche Zeitung, Wochenendbeilage, 5 December 2001, p. V2/17)
Review of Hartmann Schedel: "Weltchronik 1493" , Taschen Verlag 2002. (by "ukü", Süddeutsche Zeitung, Wochenendbeilage, 12 January 2002, p. V)
Review of Gerhard Henschel: "Die wirrsten Grafiken der Welt" , Hoffmann und Campe Verlag 2003. (by Ulrich Kühne, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 29 March 2003, p. 16.)

May 19 2014

Review of Emmet Gowin: "Changing the Earth. Aerial Photographs" , Yale University Press 2002. (by Ulrich Kühne, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 10 October 2002, p. 16)
Reposted byblackandwhitebynlmbesen

May 17 2014

Procrastinators of the world, unite!
Tags: untagged
Reposted byniemals niemals
NB: Sorry, I didn't have time to hand in a paper. -Archimedes
Tags: arts untagged
Reposted byhdi hdi

May 16 2014


Servant of the arts, or slave to the sciences?

by Roger Scruton

University and the people who teach in them are increasingly assessed on their output of ‘research’. Pressed to justify their existence, therefore, the humanities begin to look to the sciences to provide them with ‘research methods’, and the promise of ‘results’. To suggest that their principal concern is the transmission of ‘culture’ is to condemn the humanities to second-class status. Culture has no method, while research proceeds by conjecture and evidence. Moreover, while culture means the past; research means the future. 

History of art offers an interesting illustration. Generations of students have been drawn to this subject, in the hope of acquiring knowledge of the masterpieces of the past. The field of study emerged during the 19th-century in German universities, under the influence of Burkhardt, Wölfflin and others, to become a paradigm of objective study in the humanities. The Hegelian theory of the Zeitgeist, put to astute use by Wölfflin, divided everything into neatly circumscribed periods – Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, neo-classical and so on – and the ‘comparative’ method, in which images were shown side by side and their differences assigned to the distinguishing mental frameworks of their creators, proved endlessly fertile in critical judgments. Look at the works of Wittkower, Panofsky, Gombrich and the other products of this school of thought, and you will surely conclude that there has seldom been a more creative and worthwhile addition to the curriculum. 

But the very success of art history as a form of learning casts doubt on its future. Is there any more ‘research’ to be done on the art of Michelangelo, or the architecture of Palladio? Is there anything to be added to the study of the Gothic cathedral after Ruskin, von Simson, Pevsner and Sedlmayer? And how do we confront the complaint that this whole subject seems to be focused on a narrow range of dead white European males, who spoke clearly for their times, but who have no great relevance to ours? All in all the subject of Art History has been condemned by its own success to a corner of the academy, there to be starved of funds and graduate students – unless, that is, it can be re-branded as ‘research’. 

In 1986 Patricia Churchland published Neurophilosophy, arguing that the questions that had been discussed to no effect by philosophers over many centuries would be solved, once they were rephrased as questions of neuroscience. This was the first major outbreak of an academic disease which one might call ‘neuro-envy’. If philosophy could be replaced by neuroscience, why not the rest of the humanities, which had been wallowing in a methodless swamp for far too long? Old disciplines that relied on critical judgement and cultural immersion could be given a scientific gloss when rebranded as ‘neuroethics’, ‘neuroaesthetics’, ‘neuro-musicology’, ‘neuro-theology’. hence art history has sought to rescue itself as ‘neuroarthistory’ (the subject of a book by John Onians: “Neuroarthistory: From Aristotle and Pliny to Baxandall and Zeki”). 

In opposition I would maintain that the humanities are real disciplines, but not sciences. Rebrand them as branches of neuroscience and you don’t necessarily increase knowledge: in fact you might lose it. Brain imaging won’t help you to analyse Bach’s Art of Fugue or to interpret King Lear any more than it will unravel the concept of legal responsibility or deliver a proof of Goldbach’s conjecture; it won’t help you to understand the concept of God or to evaluate the proofs for His existence, nor will it show you why justice is a virtue and cowardice a vice. And it cannot fail to encourage the superstition that I am not a whole human being with mental and physical powers, but merely a brain in a box. 

Locke saw philosophy as ‘handmaiden to the sciences’. At the time there was much to be said for that idea: the scientific revolution was in its infancy and the fields of scientific enquiry were uncertainly defined. The task identified by Locke endures today. In areas like the philosophy of mathematics and the philosophy of language our discipline continues to contribute to scientific advance, and absorbs from the associated sciences a distinct intellectual polish. However, there is another and more important task for the philosopher, which is to distinguish genuine science from mere scientism. Philosophy is, and ought especially to be, a handmaiden to the humanities. It should be active in resisting neurononsense of the kind put about by Samir Zeki and John Onians. It should use its best endeavours to show why the attempts to rewrite musicology, architectural theory, literary criticism and the rest as branches of evolutionary psychology are destined to fail. It should be intent on distinguishing the human world from the order of nature, and the concepts through which we understand appearances from those used in explaining them. It is for this reason that I believe aesthetics to be the core of philosophy, far more important today than any other branch of the subject, even if dependent on those other branches for its central discipline. 

How do we combat scientism? A start is made if we give up the fantasy that the humanities are really fields of ‘research’. As I see it, the task of philosophy is to show the place of humane education in the wider self-consciousness of human kind. When I give a scientific account of the world I am describing objects and the causal laws that explain them. This description is given from no particular perspective. It does not contain words like ‘here’, ‘now’ and ‘I’; and while it is meant to explain the way things seem, it does so by giving a theory of how they are. I, however, am not an object only; I am also a subject, one with a distinctive point of view. The subject is in principle unobservable to science, not because it exists in another realm but because it is not part of the empirical world. It lies on the edge of things, like a horizon, and could never be grasped ‘from the other side’, the side of subjectivity itself. If I look for it in the world of objects I shall never find it. But without my nature as a subject nothing for me is real. 

If I am to care for my world, then I must first care for this thing, without which I have no world — the perspective from which my world is seen. That is the message of art, or at least of the art that matters. And that is why philosophy is fundamental to humane education. Philosophy shows what self-consciousness is, and explores the many ways in which the point of view of the subject shapes and is shaped by the human world. The Germans are right to refer to the humanities as Geisteswissenschaften: for Geist, self-consciousness, is what they are all about. 

Roger Scruton is a Senior Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall and Visiting Professor at Oxford. He is the author of many books, including “The Aesthetics of Music” and “Beauty: A Very Short Introduction”, both published by Oxford University Press. His Stanton Lectures at the University of Cambridge will be published next year as “The Soul of the World”, by Princeton University Press, and his novel “Underground Notes” is shortly to appear from Beaufort Books, New York. 

Oxford Philosophy 2013, p.28-31
Tags: arts science
Reposted byPhilosophy02mydafsoup-01randomuserscience

May 15 2014

"Doomsday: Friday, 13 November, A.D. 2026
At this date human population will approach infinity
if it grows as it has grown in the last two millenia."

by Heinz von Foerster, Patricia M. Mora, Lawrence W. Amiot

Science, 4 November 1960: Vol. 132, no. 3436, pp.1291-1295.

Tags: science
Reposted byludeksciencebesendonaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaft
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