Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Times

Transparent Island by Markus Rummens
Via Mark G, a provocative piece here on the future of newspapers.

Via Chris Blattman, the French physicist Bernard d'Espagnat's conception of "hypercosmic God... a holistic, non-material realm that lies outside of space and time, but upon which we impose the categories of space and time and localisation via the mysterious Kantian categories of our minds."

Benjamin Franklin in Paris from The American Scholar.

In the Sunday Times, "The Art of Political Distraction." Basically, the political red herring - politicized, sure, but we also do it to ourselves. For a more extreme case, see also this older article on the Chinese "Human Flesh Search Engine."

Dahlia Lithwick on Republican hypocrisy. It has seemed particularly shameless recently.

Hugo Chavez begins the inevitable - cutting the budget as oil revenues drop. Although this claim got me in trouble with the opposition in Venezuela, Chavez has done some good things; namely, helping to give dignity to and politically enfranchise the poor (and VZA was at a 50% poverty rate when Chavez came into power). The previous governments had barely worked on that. But the most reasonable claim from the opposition has been that Chavez, by nationalizing the oil industry and other chunks of the economy, has been creating a high-risk climate for dearly-needed investment in the country. That cash has dried up and some major Venezuelan businesses have left the country leaving the economy entirely based on oil. Price fluctuations have major, near-immediate effects on the economy as a whole.

Under Discussion, 2005, by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla
A series by Kevin Dempsey on international trade rules and climatechange.

Comments on the series finale of Battlestar Gallactica. I agree. Angels? Yes, the writers had to say something about the metaphysics of the BG universe, but this version is too conventional and saccharine with a silly Luddite twist. They should have hired a couple of philosophers to flesh out that sense of a universe of meaninglessness that the show had so creatively developed.

Photographs of "Academic Landscapes" by Vaughn Wascovich at Polar Inertia.

Vaughn Wascovich, 2008

3 comments:

electric said...

About this "hypercosmic God... a holistic, non-material realm that lies outside of space and time, but upon which we impose the categories of space and time and localisation via the mysterious Kantian categories of our minds." The concept reminds me of an old Lem sf novel where astronauts stumble upon a mysterious planet. The planet is able to materially manifest the unverbalized desires of the id and "impose" them on the now captive and horrified travelers.

d'Espagnat's idea's are interesting, but, i'd bet that the truth is stranger.

helmut said...

The Lem novel is Solaris. A great book. Recent movie with George Clooney. But the first film version was by Andrei Tarkovsky. It's one of those films that isn't exactly like the book, but really good on its own. Still, the book rules.

MT said...

I liked the Clooney movie too.