Mind, Dumas, Refugees, Longevity, Ecomodernism


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Philosophy Of Mind

Nigel Warburton | Five Books | 9th March 2018

Interview with philosopher Keith Frankish, who discusses books by Daniel Dennett and others. “Descartes thought that signals from the sense organs were channelled to the pineal gland in the centre of the brain, from where they were somehow transmitted to the soul. Nowadays few philosophers believe in the soul, but Dennett thinks they still hang on to the idea that there’s a sort of arena in the brain where sensory information is assembled and presented for consciousness” (8,500 words)

Cooking With Alexandre Dumas

Valerie Stivers | Paris Review | 16th March 2018

Recreating the dishes enjoyed by Alexandre Dumas’s Three Musketeers, Athos, Porthos and Aramis, who, with their friend d’Artagnan, are “frat boys of a different era”. An evening at home calls for “a spit loaded with partridges before the fire”, turned by a servant, while pans of rabbit and fish stew at each side. The house rule is immoderation in all things. “The musketeers order multiple bottles of wine for a quick drink, and at one point, one of them consumes an entire wine cellar” (2,270 words)

Refugee Detectives

Graeme Wood | Atlantic | 16th March 2018

Interesting throughout. How German government investigators separate opportunists from bona fide asylum-seekers among the country’s million recent immigrants from the Middle East and Africa. Face recognition is the first filter: If you have ever been caught on camera by a government anywhere, the Germans probably have you in their database. Then it’s down to clues and tells. “Having a fake Eritrean passport is a sign that you might really be from that country” (6,250 words)

Longevity FAQ

Laura Deming | Longevity Fund | 15th March 2018

Overview of longevity research, including a table of 95 things that seem to make mice live longer, and 70 drugs that might be useful in helping humans live longer. But for humans pharmacology comes a poor second to strict dieting, and to castration and other hormonal disruptions. “If you take little worms and get rid of their gonads they live 60% longer than normal. From court records of Korean eunuchs, the eunuchs tend to live longer than their contemporaries by 14-19 years” (4,730 words)

The Conquest Of Climate

Will Boisvert | Progress And Peril | 23rd February 2018

We should not despair of climate change, but make the best of it. “How bad will climate change be? Not very. This isn’t a denialist screed. Greenhouse emissions will warm the planet, raise the seas, derange the weather, and the results will be cataclysmic — but not apocalyptic. The consequences for human well-being will be small. In the broader context of economic development, climate change will barely slow our progress in the effort to raise living standards” (4,600 words)

Video of the day Making Magic Machines

What to expect:

Swiss craftsman François Junod revives the ancient art of making automata (2’49”)

Thought for the day

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change
Max Planck

Podcast of the day Cinema Of The Pitch | Game Of Our Lives

Werner Herzog talks to David Goldblatt about how to film a football match
(27m 46s)

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