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Archive for December, 2005

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

Paying through the Nose

On an episode of Whad’ya Know taped in Wyoming I just heard about a man who can place a penny on his tongue, move it up his nose in the back of his throat and retrieve it through the nostrils. Amazing, isn’t it? He visited Letterman’s show to demonstrate the penny come out of his […]

Friday, December 30th, 2005

Seeing Red

The second of the arguments against a materialistic theory of mind that I’m going to debunk is based on an article by Frank Jackson, “What Mary didn’t know”. In it, there is a colour scientist, Mary, who has a full materialistic account of colour processing available, she knows everything there is to know about that. […]

Friday, December 30th, 2005

Jeffrey Eugenides – Middlesex (2)

A fiction so convincing that I needed to remind myself several times that I was not reading an autobiographical account. The story of a hermaphrodite growing up in Detroit, and his/her family’s history stretching back into Turkey are told in epic breadth, and with a lot of fascinating historic detail. The narrative holding it all […]

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005

Frederik Pohl – Gateway (2)

I’ve been busy checking out the Hugo and Nebula award winners, and this one was a particular delight. An unknown alien species, the Heechee, disappeared a long time ago, but left some artifacts, most notable a space station equipped with hundreds of interstellar ships attached. The ships are mostly operational, but nobody knows how the […]

Monday, December 26th, 2005

Sun Tzu – The Art of War (3)

When a dog pees on a mountain, does the mountain care? Depends on the size of the dog, you might answer, but in general it won’t. General – what better segway than that to lead into my two cents on Sun Tzu’s Art of War, commonly hailed as the essential read for business strategists, soldiers, […]

Saturday, December 24th, 2005

What is it like to be a squirrel?

There seems to be a rather curious disconnect between the people doing basic neuroscience research and philosophers of mind. While the former operate on the implicit assumption that mental phenomena are reducible to physical phenomena, and that fully understanding the latter will imply understanding the former, philosophers are struggling with principled objections against this form […]

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

Johhny Cash (with Patrick Carr) – Cash (3)

Johnny Cash was an amazing artist, and his recent death has been a great loss. I love the recent American Recordings series of records as well as his older stuff. Sadly, he is not quite as amazing an author, and Carr’s co-authoring didn’t fix the shortcomings. There are cool stories in this book, but they […]

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

For All Mankind (1)

The story of lunar exploration, from Apollo 11 in July 1969 to Apollo 17 in Dezember 1972, in a beautiful collage, narrated from the original recordings and additional comments from the people who have been up there. Amazing footage gives you a glimpse of what it might be like to go where now man has […]

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

Robots (5)

If there’s anything meaningful that’s not sickeningly cute and mindlessly inspirational in this movie after the first fifteen minutes, feel free to knock up the rating to a solid “4/avoid”. We switched off when pabot told sonbot to follow his life’s dream, cause pabot never did and now sorely regrets it. Sniff. To think of […]

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

Gichin Funakoshi – Karate-do Kyohan (1)

This is a wonderful and concise introduction to all mayor aspects of karate, from the basics and kata to free sparring. What I found most fascinating – besides the insightfully detailed kata descriptions – was how meaningful those detailed notes become when you don’t read them as descriptions or recipes, but as commentaries on something […]