- Ooh, shiny, shiny.
- Hilary Howard visits the Jewel Streets neighborhood of Brooklyn/Queens, at 4 feet above MSE. It’s not often that you see Phragmites australis growing on a street corner.
- Yes, outdoor cats are a problem. Probably worse than you think.
Just the amount of different insects and invertebrates that they are eating in their diet. We know that they eat insects. That wasn’t necessarily new, but we didn’t really have an idea that they were eating so many things. And I think our concern there is that most scientists that have done these studies in the past were not really looking for insects and they’re not taxonomists trained to understand insects.
- Mary Pipher makes brightness in the dark. “We cannot stop all the destruction, but we can light candles for one another.”
- New York begins to roll out new trash receptacles. A heavy base and a light basket that lifts out—what a concept.
- ChatGPT bails out on providing a precise quotation from Proust to Elif Batuman. Surprise, surprise.
2. Did ChatGPT seriously just recommend I “delve into Proust’s monumental work in its entirety”?
3. Am I being trolled?
4. Is it possible that the passage I’m thinking of wasn’t published until after September 2021?
- T. Rex explains why I like the original Rollerball (1975). (Well, Norman Jewison, James Caan, and John Houseman might have something to do with it.)
- It’s about damn time: Fairfax “County will officially rename L** and L**-J*cks*n Memorial highways next month.”
- Jacob Fenston on the current moderate drought condition in the DMV.
- Team develops autonomous robot to stave off spotted lanternflies. I wish that phys.org didn’t have to finance itself with skeevy ads.
- Benj Edwards bought an encyclopedia that doesn’t require Wi-Fi or USB.
- Adverse effects on South American farmers of pesticides used on coffee grown in the sun: “skin disorders, respiratory problems, to high blood pressure, organ damage, cancer and cardiovascular disease.” Elsewhere, In Hawaiʻi, trials are underway to control Coffee Berry Borer with a parasitic wasp, Phymastichus coffea.
- Tasty. Might tempt me back to eating beef: Rachel Leah Blumenthal discloses “The Mysterious Origins of Steak Tips, a Uniquely New England Dish.”
- Missy Dunaway paints the birds of Shakespeare, including the unloved Eurasian Starling (Sturnus vulgaris). She explains Hotspur’s joke, and pulls in Fugate and Miller’s debunking of the Central Park urban legend.
- Grace Abels asks, “Can ChatGPT fact-check?” “While sometimes reaching accurate conclusions, ChatGPT struggled to give consistent answers, and sometimes was just plain wrong.”
- Beautiful small pleasures, One: Tap dancing in the New York subway. “The notes that you’re not playing also have just as much importance as the notes you do play.”
- Beautiful, small pleasures, Two: David Greer tastes a wild strawberry. Epicureans vs. Stoics. 3QD has a problem with crapola ads, too.
In the beginning there was the film…—Stav Poleg, “Two Pictures of a Rose in the Dark”
How else can we explain the fact that there is no physical unity to the work of art? What does a urinal have in common with a work on canvas, or a song, or a building, or an altarpiece? Artworks are dead in themselves, like mere noise or useless stuff. We bring them to life by putting them to work in thought, conversation, and appreciation. They have power in the way that jokes have power, as moves in a game of communication and reflection. Maker and public jointly undertake the work that makes art possible.—Alva Noë, Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature, p. 137
To merely report, or to become personally involved, perhaps putting oneself at deathly risk: a classic conundrum of journalism. Jeffrey Gettleman unpacks his own hard choice.
In so many stories I’ve covered about people in need, I struggle with when to step back, when to help out, how to be a so-called impartial observer, as I’m paid to be, but at the same time remain a decent human being. Here I failed.
Two notes from Rabbit Is Rich:
I’d never run across the expression “to pass papers” (chapter IV, p. 975 in the Everyman omnibus volume) to describe closing on a real estate transaction. Maybe it’s a Pennsylvania thing. It’s certainly descriptive.
And look who shows up in the closing pages of chapter V, p. 1040:
… the way his brain is going on reminds him of some article he read last year in the paper of Time about some professor at Princeton’s theory that in ancient times the gods spoke to people directly through the left or was it the right half of their brains, they were like robots with radios in their heads telling them everything to do, and then somehow around the time of the ancient Greeks or Assyrians the system broke up, the batteries too weak to hear the orders, though there are glimmers of still and that is why we go to church…
And then Harry uses a couple of epithets to remind us of when and where he grew up. But there, in mangled form, is a précis of the work of Julian Jaynes and his opus, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.
Something that you don’t hear top-drawer religious leaders say:
Given that many of you do not belong to the [faith], and others are not believers, I give this blessing from my heart, in silence, to each one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you, but knowing that each one of you is a child of God…. May God bless you.
And also with you, Holy Father.
As a sort of chaser to Thursday’s post, I want to applaud the ecumenical convocation of world-wide religious leaders at the foot of a melting glacier in Greenland, as reported by ABC News and Reuters. Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Christians of several stripes, and indigenous people united in a silent “prayer for the planet” as part of an effort to withstand global climate change. The event was part of a weeklong symposium sponsored by Religion, Science, and the Environment, an NGO based in Greece.
If you take the writings of Nietzsche and remove everything insightful, interesting, and funny, what’s left are the writings of Ayn Rand. These works are a narcotic to the upper-middle class white male of above average means and intelligence because it simultaneously meets two needs…