Metaphysics, Quincy Jones, Universities, Jesus

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An Interesting Scientific Question

George Ellis & Martin Rees | Inference | 8th February 2018

“Some regard other universes — domains of space and time that we cannot observe, perhaps even in principle — as being in the province of metaphysics rather than physics; it is claimed that we can neither confirm nor refute their existence. Does something that is part of science have to be observable? I think the answer is no, not least because there is actually a blurred transition between the readily observable and the absolutely unobservable, with a very broad grey area in between” (4,200 words)

How To Become A Centaur

Nicky Case | JoDS | 6th February 2018

Machines working with people will always be smarter than machines or people working alone. Machines bring logic to the table, humans bring intuition. “The human chooses the questions, in the form of setting goals and constraints, while the AI generates answers, usually showing multiple possibilities at once. The human can then respond to the AI’s answers, by asking deeper questions, picking and combining answers, and guiding the AI using human intuition” (3,650 words)

Quincy Jones In Conversation

David Marchese | Vulture | 7th February 2018

In which the great musician reveals who killed JFK, advises Oprah Winfrey not to run for president, and ranks Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen more highly than Jimi Hendrix as a guitar-player. No mincing of words, much shredding of reputations. On Michael Jackson: “I hate to get into this publicly, but Michael stole a lot of stuff. He stole a lot of songs”. On The Beatles: “They were the worst musicians in the world. Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo? Don’t even talk about it” (5,200 words)

Slavery And The American University

Alex Carp | New York Review Of Books | 8th February 2018

The first enslaved African in Massachusetts belonged to the schoolmaster of Harvard. Yale funded its first graduate courses and its first scholarship with the rents from a slave plantation in Rhode Island. Before she gained fame as a preacher and abolitionist, Sojourner Truth was owned by the family of Rutgers’s first president. “From their very beginnings, the American university and American slavery have been intertwined, but only recently are we beginning to understand how deeply” (3,200 words)

What Did Jesus Wear?

Joan Taylor | Conversation | 8th February 2018

“Jesus’s tunic was made of one piece of cloth only. That’s strange, because mostly tunics were made of two pieces sewn at the shoulders and sides. One-piece tunics in first-century Judaea were normally thin undergarments or children’s wear. We shouldn’t think of contemporary underwear, but wearing a one-piece on its own was probably not good form. It was extremely basic. From the perspective of respectable people, we can surmise that Jesus looked relatively rough” (1,000 words)

Video of the day Pictures In My Head

What to expect:

Directed by Nik Hill for M.J. Cole. Poppy surrealist fun with never a dull moment (3’24”)

Thought for the day

Politeness is the art of choosing among your thoughts
Germaine de Staël

Podcast of the day CSI Roman Empire | American Scholar

Historian Kyle Harper blames the decline and fall of the Roman Empire on climate change and disease

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