(Note: For several years on Evangelical Outpost, I compiled a weekly roundup of thirty-three links, quotes, and other intriguing tidbits I found around the web. When I turned that site over to the folks at Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute, they kept the tradition going. I’ve decided to steal the idea back for a recurring weekend feature (though to compensate, I’ll include a link to EO’s roundup in every week’s post). In the future these post will run on Saturday, but I thought I’d launch this new series with a Friday afternoon preview. Let me know what you think.)
1. Architectural criticism of couch-cushion forts – A group of architects provide a “critical analysis of the architecture, methods and design philosophies of living room furniture re-appropriation.”
Before we were influenced by Mies van der Rohe or Frank Lloyd Wright, before we had seen the visual delights of Ronchamp, Pompidou Center and the Bauhaus school in Weimar, we were driven by a greater force of design inspiration. More primal and immediate than any of the previously mentioned examples, it was couch cushion architecture that established the basic building blocks of our design logic.
We greatly admire the use of coffee table as lateral moment-frame in this application. The solution is both formal and fun, offering the users a sequence of experiences beginning with the entry to vaulted ceiling to raised deck. Grade A-
2. How architecture helped music evolve
As his career grew, David Byrne went from playing CBGB to Carnegie Hall — a serious (and tricky) change in venue. He explores how context has pushed musical innovation, from bird calls across savannahs to urban car stereos.
3. Quote of the Week: “Confronted with the real world, the reflex reaction of philosophers is to ask about possible worlds.” – Robert Paul Wolff
Two weeks ago, I was watching my neighbor meticulously patch his lawn after spending a half hour edging the sidewalk.
I thought, “If he spent that much time and care on a vegetable garden, he could feed his family all summer long.”
Then last week on my son’s preschool field trip, the instructor showed the kids a photo of a lawnmower and asked what tool did that job 100 years ago on the farm. The scythe was the answer, and I thought, “That wasn’t for cutting grass, it was for field work.” I was struck by the fact that farmers 100 years ago didn’t have lawns. They didn’t have time for them, nor did they probably see the point.
[Philosopher A.J. Ayer] taught or lectured several times in the United States, including serving as a visiting professor at Bard College in the fall of 1987. At a party that same year held by fashion designer Fernando Sanchez, Ayer, then 77, confronted Mike Tyson harassing the (then little-known) model Naomi Campbell. When Ayer demanded that Tyson stop, the boxer said: “Do you know who the [expletive] I am? I’m the heavyweight champion of the world,” to which Ayer replied: “And I am the former Wykeham Professor of Logic. We are both pre-eminent in our field. I suggest that we talk about this like rational men.” Ayer and Tyson then began to talk, while Naomi Campbell slipped out.
6. Alan Jacobs on the future of literature as an academic subject:
I do not think that the study of literature will long survive as an independent concern within universities. I think by the time I retire literature will be studied only as part of two other disciplines: rhetoric and cultural history. And while that will be unfortunate in some ways, it won’t be the worst thing that ever happened to literature.
Poetry and applied mathematics both mix apples and oranges by aspiring to combine multiple meanings and beauty using symbols. These symbols point to things outside themselves, and create internal structures that aim for beauty. In addition to meanings conveyed by patterned symbols, poetry and applied mathematics have in common both economy and mystery. A few symbols convey a great deal. The symbols’ full meanings and their effectiveness in creating meanings and beauty remain inexhaustible.
8. Joe Escalante on restoring the “spooky” parts of faith:
Let’s take the solemn dress code away from the Goths, the Rosaries away from the gangs, the blood & death fixation away from the scene-kids, the art away from the academics, the Latin away from the Harry Potter geeks, the bi-location away from Siegfried & Roy, the exorcisms away from Art Bell, the Angels away from Hollywood, the bling away from the players, the stigmatas away from the Arquettes, and the ghosts away from the new agers. In Denver there’s a beautiful downtown cathedral called the Church of the Holy Ghost. Who’s not curious about what goes on in there?
(Via: Postmodern Conservative)
10. Evolutionary psychology—the phrenology of modern times—explains “dad dancing“:
The cringeworthy “dad dancing” witnessed at wedding receptions every weekend may be an unconscious way in which ageing males repel the attention of young women, leaving the field clear for men at their sexual peak.
“The message their dancing sends out is ‘stay away, I’m not fertile’,” said Dr Peter Lovatt, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire who has compared the dancing styles and confidence levels of nearly 14,000 people.
11. An analysis of supermarket checkout times has shown that express lanes (for people with fewer than 5 items, say) are not always the most efficient checkout route for time-sensitive shoppers. (Via: Lone Gunman)
Thousands of galaxies crowd into this Herschel image of the distant Universe. Each dot is an entire galaxy containing billions of stars. . . .
The galaxies seen in this image are all in the distant Universe and appear as they did 10–12 billion years ago. They are colour coded in blue, green, and red to represent the three wavebands used for Herschel’s observation. Those appearing in white have equal intensity in all three bands and are the ones forming the most stars. The galaxies shown in red are likely to be the most distant, appearing as they did around 12 billion years ago.
Calling multi-faith expansion the next step, the school will offer training for Muslims and Jews in a program that strains its historic ties to the Methodist Church. . . .
[David] Roozen, at the Hartford Seminary — which has begun its own program to provide continuing education to Muslim imams — said liberal Protestants in particular have been growing more interested in multi-faith dialogue, which he sees as part of a continuum that includes race, gender and sexual orientation. “Multi-faith is the new ‘other,’ ” he said. “It’s kind of the next step.”
14. Video clip of blind opera singer Andrea Bocelli telling the story of his mother’s decision not to abort him
15. Global warming sciences fails cross-examination:
A cross examination of global warming science conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Law and Economics has concluded that virtually every claim advanced by global warming proponents fail to stand up to scrutiny.
He found that the climate establishment does not follow the scientific method. Instead, it “seems overall to comprise an effort to marshal evidence in favor of a predetermined policy preference.”
The cross-examination, carried out by Jason Scott Johnston, Professor and Director of the Program on Law, Environment and Economy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, found that “on virtually every major issue in climate change science, the [reports of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] and other summarizing work by leading climate establishment scientists have adopted various rhetorical strategies that seem to systematically conceal or minimize what appear to be fundamental scientific uncertainties or even disagreements.”
(Via: Uncommon Descent)
17. A new Pew report may help explain the context for Pope Benedict XVI’s public apology on Friday, June 11 to clergy sex abuse victims at a Mass concelebrated by 15,000 priests in St. Peter’s Square. The study shows that newspaper coverage of the scandal has been more intense this year than at any time since 2002.
Among the findings:
· From mid-March through late April, clergy sexual abuse was the eighth biggest story in the mainstream media
· Pope Benedict XVI was by far the biggest newsmaker, featured in 51.6% of the stories about the scandal
· An examination of three Catholic news outlets reveals wide differences in their coverage
· The scandal found little traction in new media.
18. Kidnap Radio
My father’s kidnapping began on November 22, 1999 and ended August 13, 2000. He was kidnapped by the FARC and kept in 38 different places, spending the first months of his kidnapping alone, with only his guards and a radio, for company.
After talking to my dad, I went on my own to the radio station in Bogota, Caracol Radio, that had sent out messages from my family to my father, and continues to send messages to hostages from their families every Saturday night from midnight to 6 a.m. The show is called Voces del Secuestro, or Voices of Kidnapping. (There are several other stations in Colombia that send messages out on other days of the week). The host, Herbin Hoyos, is a journalist who started this program in 1994, after he was briefly kidnapped and scolded by another hostage for not using the radio to reach out to hostages.
(Via: Marginal Revolution)
20. Want to change your gender on your passport? Just get a note from your doctor saying that you’re a man/woman trapped in a man’s/woman’s body:
Beginning Thursday, a transgender person applying for a U.S. passport will just need to show a physician’s certification that the applicant has “undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition” to declare a new gender on a passport, the department said.
21. Bald people are shady characters: A city in China banned the admission of bald visitors, citing that it’s easier for bald people to disguise themselves. (After the story broke, the city rescinded the ban.)
22. Missed Opportunity: Apple’s third founding shareholder, Ron Wayne, sold back his 10% for $800, because he feared the company might go bust. And thereby lost $22bn.
24. HistoricLOL of the Week
25. Ugly Americans aren’t quite so ugly:
The first thing I ever heard about Americans was that they all carried guns. Then, when I came across people who’d had direct contact with this ferocious-sounding tribe, I learned that they were actually rather friendly. At university, friends who had traveled in the United States came back with more detailed stories, not just of the friendliness of Americans but also of their hospitality (which, in our quaint English way, was translated into something close to gullibility). When I finally got to America myself, I found that not only were the natives friendly and hospitable, they were also incredibly polite. No one tells you this about Americans, but once you notice it, it becomes one of their defining characteristics, especially when they’re abroad.
This is very strange, or at least it says something strange about the way that perception routinely conforms to the preconceptions it would appear to contradict. The archetypal American abroad is perceived as loud and crass even though actually existing American tourists are distinguished by the way they address bus drivers and bartenders as “sir” and are effusive in their thanks when any small service is rendered. We look on with some confusion at these encounters because, on the one hand, the Americans seem a bit country-bumpkinish, and, on the other, good manners are a form of sophistication.
27. David Brooks on deficit spending and consumer confidence:
In times like these, deficit spending to pump up the economy doesn’t make consumers feel more confident; it makes them feel more insecure because they see a political system out of control. Deficit spending doesn’t induce small businesspeople to hire and expand. It scares them because they conclude the growth isn’t real and they know big tax increases are on the horizon. It doesn’t make political leaders feel better either. Lacking faith that they can wisely cut the debt in some magically virtuous future, they see their nations careening to fiscal ruin.
29. Provocation of the Week: Women Should Rebel Against Diamonds
They’re sparkly, sure, but so is cubic zirconium at a fraction of the price. Tradition? Don’t kid yourself: that’s just a myth propagated by De Beers. And besides, no one is asking you to give up engagement or wedding rings, just a stone that is too often mined by impoverished Africans under armed guard or worse.
31. Economist Robin Hanson says that “ Self-Control Is Slavery“:
The introduction of farming was associated with important new elements, like religion, that encouraged more “self-control,” i.e. sensitivity to social norms. However, those additions were not sufficient to achieve factory-like farming — most humans had too little self-control to make themselves behave that way, and too strong an anti-dominance norm to let rulers enforce such behavior.
This dramatically illustrates the huge self-control innovations that came with industry. School, propaganda, mass media, and who knows what else have greatly changed human nature, enabling a system of industrial submission and control that proud farmers and foragers simply would not tolerate – they would (and did) starve first. In contrast, industry workers had enough self/culture-control to act as only slaves would before – working long hours in harsh alien environments, and showing up on time and doing what they were told.
32. Another 33 Things
33.Write the Future