Sunday, September 18, 2016

US playwright Edward Albee dies aged 88

"To all of you who have made my being alive so wonderful, so exciting and so full, my thanks and all my love ..." Unafraid Edward Albee's Last Sentence

America’s leading playwright Edward Albee, the author of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – the bleakest of black domestic comedies – has died aged 88 at his home in Montauk, East Hampton.

A three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, he was arguably America's greatest living playwright after the deaths of Arthur Miller and August Wilson in 2005, Albee was awarded Pulitzers for A Delicate Balance, Seascape and Three Tall Women. Often bleakly humorous, his plays explored the darker sides of marriage, religion, raising children, and American life.

His best-known work, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a portrait of a decaying marriage set over one evening, was denied the 1963 Pulitzer Prize after debuting on Broadway the previous year. The work did win a Tony Award for best play, and was later adapted for a film starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. The prize's advisory board ruled that the work was not sufficiently "uplifting" because of its profanity and sexual themes.

In 1996 he described the effect of the play's success: "I find Virginia Woolf hung about my neck like a shining medal of some sort - really nice but a trifle onerous." The same year he was awarded a National Medal of the Arts by then-president Bill Clinton. Albee continued to write into his 70s, and 2008 saw the premiere of a new play, Me, Myself and I, about identical twins.

A few years ago, before undergoing major surgery, Albee penned a short statement to be published at the time of his death: "To all of you who have made my being alive so wonderful, so exciting and so full, my thanks and all my love," he wrote.

Albee's longtime partner, sculptor Jonathan Thomas, died in 2005. US playwright Edward Albee dies aged 88 BBC

The Intellectual Yet Idiot Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Peruvians were creating distinctive indigo-blue cotton fabrics long before the pyramids were built. The Super-Ancient Origins of Your Blue Jeans National Geographic 

Timeline: Earth’s average temperature Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 
Here’s the clever chemistry that can stop your food rotting The Conversation  Hate to tell you, the reason the McDonalds food does not rot is probably that it is not food. For instance, I took a workshop targeting people coaching athletes (as in featuring cutting edge but still pretty well vetted theories, since sports teams don’t mess around) and they had a professor who was also a practicing MD teach the section on nutrition. He called out, “Does anyone here have some cookies?” A woman sheepishly put up her hand. He told her to bring them up. He said, “I guarantee the number 2 or 3 ingredient is hydrogenated fat. That stuff is so far removed from food you can leave it on your counter for a year and nothing will happen to it. And the cockroaches won’t touch it either.”
Cynthia: Flesh-Eating Synthetic Bacteria that has Gone Wild New Eastern Outlook. Sounds like the plot of a horror movie.
Scientists Find Second Tool-Using Genius Crow Wall Street Journal

 Michael Connell, is an Australian comedian who has a thing for philosophy, especially Stoicism, which he incorporates into his act (e.g., “How you think shapes how you feel. What I’m saying is that if you don’t enjoy this show, it’s your fault.”). I asked him to talk about his work and conveying philosophical ideas to non-philosophers (which includes most of the public and, of course, most of our students) in an enjoyable yet effective way—getting the right mix of humor and philosophy. At the end of his post is a video of one of his shows.
How To Teach Philosophy In Comedy Clubs