‘The Soundof Sleat,’ On Abstract Expressionist Jon Schueler

by David Galenson Added 20.07.2017
The Sound of Sleat is a body of water in western Scotland, between the mainland and the Isle of Skye. The Sound of Sleat is the best book I have ever read about an American painter. Jon Schueler, 1981, photograph by Archie McLellan, © Jon Schueler Estate When Jon Schueler first went to Mallaig and saw the Sound of Sleat in 1957, he wrote to his wife that “this part of Scotland is exactly what I wanted — visually. I have everything I could...

Sensing the dead is perfectly normal – and often helpful

by Simon McCarthy-Jones Added 20.07.2017
Céline Dion recently revealed that she still senses the presence of her husband, even though he died from cancer in January 2016. What’s more, the Canadian singer said she still talks to René Angélil, who she was married to for 22 years, and can still hear him at times. While her remarks prompted ridicule in some quarters, seeing, hearing or sensing the presence of a deceased loved one is nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, it is a...

25% of Australian Homes have gone Solar and other Green Triumphs this Week

by Juan Cole Added 16.07.2017
Renewables continue to take the world by storm, which is good news for the climate. Because of less expensive and more efficient technology, about one quarter of all Australian households now have solar panels. This process is uneven, with a rush to put them up recently because of a fall in the price of the panels. The adoption of solar may slow next year. But the technology is such that there will certainly be more periods of rapid...

Liu Xiaobo: a voice of conscience who fought oppression for decades

by Hermann Aubié Added 15.07.2017
Only a few weeks after being diagnosed with a late-stage liver cancer in late May 2017, the world learned that China’s most prominent dissident, Liu Xiaobo, died at 61 in a hospital in the north-east region of China, where he was born. As the poetess Tang Danhong wrote, he departed as “an innocent prisoner into the eternal light” (无罪的囚徒,融入永恒的光芒). What a tragedy for a man who fought most of his life for freedom to live out his last days in a...

The 'French paradox' turned out to be an illusion, but it led to some interesting research

by Emma Wightman Added 15.07.2017
Everybody loved the French paradox. It was a term coined in 1980 by French scientists in their paper on heart disease and fat intake. It refers to the fact that, despite consuming a diet high in saturated fat, French people have relatively low levels of coronary heart disease, especially when compared with people in Britain. A slew of studies followed, all seeming to support this idea. In looking to explain the paradox, some scientists...

How We Triumph In the Age of Ignorance

by Jeff Schweitzer Added 14.07.2017
We face a crisis of ignorance in this country, with potentially tragic consequences both at home and abroad. But not all is lost. We can avoid disaster by using this crisis to understand where we went wrong, and from that insight identify opportunities to correct our course. The fundamental problem we face, the essence of what ails us, is a growing disdain for fact over fiction. Rational thought, critical thinking, objective truth, evidence...

Faith, Fox and the Failure of Politics

by Jeff Schweitzer Added 11.07.2017
·           As the Keanu Reeves title character John Wick said, “Well, yeah, I’m thinking I’m back.” While I do not have Wick’s martial arts skill, good looks or quiet charm (or any of his redeeming qualities, or hair, for that matter), I share with him a deep frustration with the need to confront unpleasant realities after an extended effort to ignore them. One could argue that blogging in the age of Trump is an act of self-flagellation, a...

Taking Comfort from the Success of Others

by David Coates Added 11.07.2017
  With the wisdom of hindsight, it is now clear that the sheer quality of the Obama intellect, and the solid integrity of his character, lulled many of those who twice voted for him into a false sense of security. It was as though we forgot, with too great an ease and for too long a time, just how difficult and disappointing life becomes for progressive people in this country when both the White House and the Congress are in less...

How your pile of laundry fills the sea with plastic pollution

by Natalie Welden Added 06.07.2017
After decades of intense observation and campaigning by conservation groups, awareness of microplastic pollution has fortunately grown. There is now worldwide concern about tiny pieces of plastic litter that are having a harmful impact on marine species and habitats. Large plastic litter has already been identified as both an eyesore and a danger to turtles, seabirds and marine mammals. So the scene was already set for mass action against...

I spent three days as a hunter-gatherer to see if it would improve my gut health

by Tim Spector and Jeff Leach Added 05.07.2017
Jeff Leach, Author provided Mounting evidence suggests that the richer and more diverse the community of microbes in your gut the lower your risk of disease. Diet is key to maintaining diversity and was strikingly demonstrated when an undergrad student went on a McDonald’s diet for ten days and after just four days experienced a significant drop in the number of beneficial microbes. Similar results have been demonstrated in a number of...

Ageism in the New Yorker

by David Galenson Added 04.07.2017
In The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik confidently asserts that “lyric poetry is for the young.” This is incorrect, and it is ageist. Perhaps it is sufficient here to quote from a New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell, “Late Bloomers,” October 20, 2008: Some poets do their best work at the beginning of their careers. Others do their best work decades later. Does Adam Gopnik bother to read his own magazine? Does his editor?

The big lesson from Amazon and Whole Foods: Disruptive competition comes out of nowhere

by Vivek Wadhwa Added 27.06.2017
I doubt that Google and Microsoft ever worried about the prospect that a book retailer, Amazon, would come to lead one of their highest-growth markets: cloud services. And I doubt that Apple ever feared that Amazon’s Alexa would eat Apple’s Siri for lunch. For that matter, the taxi industry couldn’t have imagined that a Silicon Valley startup would be its greatest threat, and AT&T and Verizon surely didn’t imagine that a social media...

What Sharia law means: Five questions answered

by Asma Afsaruddin Added 20.06.2017
A note by the Editor of The Convesration: A conservative grassroots organization, ACT for America, organized a “March against Sharia” in at least 20 cities across the United States on Saturday, June 10. Professor of Islamic Studies at Indiana University Asma Afsaruddin explains Sharia and dispels a number of myths about it. What is Sharia law? Sharia in Arabic means “the way,” and does not refer to a body of law. Sharia is more accurately...

Why Saudi Extremism, Instability is an Argument for EVs, Wind and Solar Energy

by Juan Cole Added 16.06.2017
Saudi Arabia has gotten too big for its britches, and the oil-producing Middle East is turning even more unstable. Not to mention that global warming is getting worse and worse because of burning fossil fuels like petroleum. And it is your fault. If you are an American, your country imports 1.1 million barrels of petroleum every day from Saudi Arabia. Every time you fill up at the pump, you are enriching the Saudi elite and making the world...

Cities can jump-start climate progress by plugging in their vehicles

by Daniel Cohan Added 16.06.2017
  President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate agreement reaffirmed what was already clear: The federal government is no longer leading American efforts to shrink our carbon footprint. But many state and local governments – along with businesses and consumers – aim to help fill this policy void. At least a dozen governors have joined the United States Climate Alliance, committing their states to achieve emissions reductions...

Why leadership looks weak and wobbly at Uber, Snap and Twitter

by John Colley Added 14.06.2017
Silicon Valley has not had a great year for governance, and ride-sharing business Uber has been struggling more than most. The company’s culture has come under sustained attack for macho and sexist elements leading CEO Travis Kalanick to fire staff and hire brand image specialists in a bid to convince the world the company is cleaning up its act. Now, the Uber board has adopted a series of recommendations designed to address the firm’s...

Why Universal Basic Income and tax breaks won’t save us from the jobless future

by Vivek Wadhwa Added 11.06.2017
In Amazon’s warehouses, there is a beehive of activity, and robots are increasingly doing more of the work. In less than five years, they will load self-driving trucks that transport goods to local distribution centers where drones will make last-mile deliveries. Soon afterward, autonomous cars will begin to take the wheel from taxi drivers; artificial intelligence will exceed the ability of human doctors to understand complex medical data;...

What will the world actually look like at 1.5°C of warming?

by Richard Betts Added 02.06.2017
The high ambition of the Paris Agreement, to limit global warming to “well below 2°C”, was driven by concern over long-term sea level rise. A warmer climate inevitably means melting ice – you don’t need a computer model to predict this, it is simple common sense. As temperatures rise, sooner or later much of the world’s glaciers will become water, which will end up in the ocean. With enough warming, ice sheets could also begin to melt...

Is AI the end of jobs or a new beginning?

by Vivek Wadhwa Added 01.06.2017
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is advancing so rapidly that even its developers are being caught off guard. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in Davos, Switzerland, in January that it “touches every single one of our main projects, ranging from search to photos to ads … everything we do … it definitely surprised me, even though I was sitting right there.” The long-promised AI, the stuff we’ve seen in science fiction, is coming and we need to...

Donald Trump Will Not Go Gently

by Charles J. Reid, Jr. Added 21.05.2017
  As Donald Trump traverses the Middle East and Europe on his first international trip, there is considerable discussion domestically concerning the possibility that he might be removed from office, either involuntarily through impeachment, or through voluntary resignation.  I am not, however, convinced that he will soon depart office.  I hold to the view, rather, that when he returns from his overseas travels he will embark on a vigorous...
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