Saturday, May 07, 2022

Solving Puzzles

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.
— Novalis, born in 1772

There is a gently comic moment in John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in From the Cold in which the novel’s jaded, cynical protagonist, a British intelligence agent named Alec Leamas, quizzes Liz Gold, the young librarian who is about to become his lover, about her beliefs. He asks her if she is religious, and Gold replies that she doesn’t believe in God. “Then what do you believe in?” Leamas presses. “History,” she answers. “Oh, Liz…oh no,” Leamas exclaims. “You’re not a bloody Communist?” She nods, blushing.

Judge history harshly but fairly. Progress is not inevitable, but neither is it impossible Parliamentary Librarian  

 I prize civilization, being bred in towns and liking to hear and to see what new things people are up to 

Decolonizing Flamenco”: Black Artists Illuminate The African Roots Of The Quintessentially Spanish Dance Form

"All have trained in Spain with esteemed maestras. Launching their unique international careers, they utilize flamenco as the basis for traditional and experimental work. Like the impasse facing Black ballerinas, they are on a path posted with 'no trespassing' signs. Yet, they persist." - Dance Magazine

Massive Study Finds We Need Better Therapies Than Antidepressants. Here’s Why

How five Cambridge University scholars triggered a revolution in the way we think and talk about books... think and talk 

Does solving puzzles — Rubik’s Cube, Wordle, crosswords — make us better people? The pastime is about satisfaction, not self-improvement   Solving puzzles 

Kenji López-Alt answers cooking questions from Twitter on topics like woks, bad burgers, knife sharpening, and making perfect rice.

Richard Feynman on how play can provide the antidote for burnout. "The diagrams and the whole business that I got the Nobel Prize for came from that piddling around with the wobbling plate."

Why Kids Are Great At Philosophy

Children are sophisticated thinkers, more than capable of abstract thought. They’re creative too. Indeed, in some ways, kids make better philosophers than adults. They question things grown-ups take for granted. And they’re open to new ideas. We can learn a lot from listening to kids—and from thinking with them...

Quartz - What we know about why some people never get covid: “Americans who haven’t had covid-19 are now officially in the minority. A study published this week from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 58% of randomly selected blood samples from adults contained antibodies indicating that they had previously been infected with the virus; among children, that rate was 75%. What is different about that minority of people that hasn’t yet gotten infected? Stories abound of close calls, of situations where people are sure they could have (or should have) gotten sick, but somehow dodged infection. Not all the questions are answered yet, but the question of what distinguishes the never-covid cohort is a growing area of research even as the US moves “out of the full-blown” pandemic. Here are the possibilities that scientists are considering to explain why some people haven’t contracted the virus…”

See also CNN – Most Americans have now had Covid-19 — but experts are predicting the next surge and also via CNN – Their virus symptoms were minor. Then they had long Covid.

Perspectives on two of life’s most important topics

FECAL TRANSPLANT UPDATE: Effects of Aging Have Been Reversed by Putting Young Mouse Poop in Old Mice. “It sounds like something that might have come out of a sci-fi novel, but it’s based on cold, hard, printed research: transplanting fecal microbes from young mice into old mice seems to reverse key signs of aging in the guts, eyes, and brains of the older animals. Further experiments showed that it works the other way too – moving microbes from the poop of aged mice into younger mice caused the younger animals to then show signs of aging, including increased inflammation in the brain and a reduction in a key protein needed for normal vision.”