Aristotle & Biology, Tea & Philosophy, Fighting Russia, Mars Colonies

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How Aristotle Invented Science

Susan Gordon | Biographile | 25th September 2014

Aristotle towers over philosophy ancient and modern; but his work on animal anatomy — nine titles — has been "largely forgotten in modern times". He was the greatest biologist before Darwin. His Historia animalium, 350 BCE, a "biology compendium packed with fauna details", is arguably his masterpiece. With it, "not only did Aristotle invent biology, he invented the scientific method itself" (900 words)

Great Eastern Philosophers: Sen No Rikyu

Alain de Botton | School Of Life | 26th September 2014

Western philosophers write difficult books, use long words, and give lectures. Japanese philosophers write poems, rake gravel, and chant. Sen no Rikyū, "one of the very greatest Zen thinkers", acquired his greatness in the 16th century by "teaching people how to drink tea in consoling and therapeutic ways". He imbued the Japanese tea ceremony with "a solemnity and depth of meaning akin to a Catholic Mass" (940 words)

Bricklayer Bill’s Ultra-Marathon Of A Life

Patrick Kennedy | Narratively | 29th September 2014

A great American life. Bricklayer Bill Kennedy was "the gutsiest journeyman athlete of the early twentieth century". A prizefighter and a hobo in his teenage years, he settled on running after beating a horse in a ten-mile race in Arkansas in 1908. He survived typhoid, made his home in St Louis, built the Des Moines Coliseum, and won the 1917 Boston Marathon before joining the army and going to war (4,492 words)

What Nato Must Do To Counter Russia

Sydney Freedberg | Breaking Defense | 22nd September 2014

Three American generals — Breedlove, Gorenc, Odierno — think aloud about the practicalities of possible conflict. One unusual problem is that Russia's air defence systems, for shooting down planes and missiles, extend over Poland and the Baltic States. Nato would have to "earn air superiority” over its own territory. But that's OK. "The young people today are far more lethal and far more capable than we were” (1,320 words)

Exodus From Earth

Ross Andersen | Aeon | 30th September 2014

Elon Musk talks about SpaceX, space exploration, the future of humanity and the need to settle other planets. "If we can establish a Mars colony, we can almost certainly colonise the whole Solar System, because we’ll have created a strong economic forcing function for the improvement of space travel". But reaching the stars will be another order of difficulty: "You need generational ships. You need antimatter drives" (6,900 words)

Video of the day: Successful Guy Lighting

What to expect: GE lightbulb advertisement with (I think) Jeff Goldblum

Thought for the day

Modern man no longer works at what cannot be abbreviated
Paul Valéry (

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