Thursday, January 05, 2017

Completely Futile

I am but one among millions, my words are scarcely heard, they count for nothing, but I cannot avoid expressing them: “We do not set the agenda for the country or the world on this little blog ...”
If you would be a real seeker after truth, you must at least once in your life doubt, as far as possible, all things
~ Renee Descartes

The moving sofa problem Dan Romik. Fun!

Bibi Netanyahu Makes Trump His Chump New York Times. UserFriendly: “​Friedman has a fit of clarity on Israel; than mixes metaphors like no other.” 
Moral Grandstanding, Justin Tosi, University of Michigan; and Brandon Warmke. 2016. Philosophy & Public Affairs. 44: 3, pp. 197-217. Final publisher’s version:

“Kurt Baier wrote that “moral talk is often rather repugnant. Leveling moral accusations, expressing moral indignation, passing moral judgment, allotting the blame, administering
 moral reproof, justifying oneself, and, above all, moralizing—who can enjoy such talk?” (1965: 3). When public moral discourse is at its best, we think that these features (if they are present at all) are unobjectionable. But we also think that, to some degree, Baier is right: public moral discourse—that is, talk intended to bring some matter of moral significance to the public consciousness—sometimes fails to live up to its ideal. Public moral discourse can go wrong in many ways. One such way is a phenomenon we believe to be pervasive: moral grandstanding...

Fritz Haber: 7 Nitrogen via Smith Journal December 2016 by Roman MacEwan

(See hard cover

His previous novel said too much. "The true work of art is the one that says the least," he now believed; silence invites readers to imagine depth. How Camus wrote The Stranger

This fleeting world …

… First Known When Lost: Seasons

I am an extremely slow learner. Thus, as I begin my daily afternoon walk, I often caution myself: "Look, but don't look for anything." This is a corollary to another important principle: "Don't think." (As I have stated here on more than one occasion: thinking is highly overrated.) Of course, I invariably fail to heed both of these internal admonitions.
Me, too.

“One of the most disconcerting, unpleasant, and sordid aspects of life is the awareness that nearly all of us find an evil deed more exciting than a good one.” Josep Pla, The Gray Notebook (trans. ... read more

“. . . Loneliness clarifies. Here silence stands

Like heat. Here leaves unnoticed thicken,

Hidden weeds flower, neglected waters quicken,

Luminously-peopled air ascends;

And past the poppies bluish neutral distance

Ends the land suddenly beyond a beach

Of shapes and shingle. Here is unfenced existence:

Facing the sun, untalkative, out of reach.”
~ Philip Larkin’s “Here” (The Whitsun Weddings, 1964) recounts a railway journey from London north to Hull, “swerving through fields / Too thin and thistled to be called meadows

Alexandrov Ensemble – Last Live Concert in Bolshoi 2016 YouTube : “This is the last concert performed by the Alexandrov Ensemble, many of whose members were killed just before Christmas when their plane crashed shortly after take-off on a planned trip to Syria. 

Democracy Is Dying as Technocrats Watch Foreign Policy

World War Three, by Mistake The New Yorker. “Windows for Submarines” is a thing. Who knew?

Private Profits From Public Works NYT

What to do when the ‘truth’ is found to be lies FT. “The algorithm of Facebook’s news feed determines the selection of news viewed by hundreds of millions of people every day.” So, the problem isn’t “fake news” at all. It’s Facebook’s algorithm. Why not, as Atrios suggests, get rid of it?

JOHN BRENNAN, DOING THE HOLIDAY FRIDAY NEWS DUMP WRONG Emptywheel. Read all the way to the end!

Milo enrolled in the mathematics department at Berkeley where he began work on the fictional Malosz conjecture. His advisor, Hans Borland, told him, Topology is God’s rules, Andret. That’s what I’m telling you. And you’ve been called upon to translate them.

He began by assuming the result and working backward. If this was true, then so must this be true and so on. In this fashion and after many hours of difficult, exhausting analysis he was able to prove it.

… within hours of showing the proof to Borland, rumors of the achievement had begun to spread. Soon after, the paper had been accepted by the Annals….At thirty-two years old, he’d found a solution to one of the great problems in the history of mathematics. The article would arrive next month in libraries around the world: the Malosz conjecture, thanks to Milo Andret, had become the Malosz theorem. 
A Doubter's Almanac