When Conceptual Artists Become Aerobics Instructors

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“The class, ‘Sappho and Sweat,’ was the second offering from ‘Heavy Breathing,’ which its co-founders describe as ‘a summer series of free critical theory seminars in the form of absurd, artist-led conceptual fitness experiences.’ The idea came to Lisa Rybovich Crallé, a multimedia artist, last year. She and Sophia Wang, a dancer who recently completed her Ph.D. in literature, were collaborating on a sculptural installation when they took a long walk up a hill and discovered that discussing Aristotle’s conception of topos while huffing could be uniquely stimulating.”

What Even Is Los Angeles? (To Find Out, Ask The Writers)

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“‘Nature has done everything for it and man very little,’ wrote one correspondent of Los Angeles in 1867. ‘Beneath the wide verandas the people sit, and about two-thirds of the population seem to spend the day smoking in front of the hotel and going in for drinks.’ That same author then went on to catalog the region’s agricultural bounty in great detail: ‘the richest gardens, vineyards, orange groves, and lemon, fig and olive plantations which can be seen in America.'”

Amazon Makes Plans For Brick And Mortar Stores

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“After placing an order, you’d get to select a pickup time window. Then, all you’d have to do is stop by on the way home and pick up your items. It’s said that there will also be a small store location on site, perhaps allowing customers to walk in and buy without placing an order online first. The image above is a render pulled from the planning documents.”

The Nine Types Of People You’ll Date: Simone de Beauvoir Solves Your Tinder Problems

French existentialist writer and feminist Simone de Beauvoir.    (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“In part two of The Ethics of Ambiguity, Beauvoir details a series of common responses people have to the loss of childhood. … The truth is, most people you meet are struggling with that horrifying mix of freedom and lack of freedom that comes with adulthood. But they’re all grieving in different ways. Beauvoir is taking subtle shots at some of the greatest thinkers of the era – she’s no fan of Friedrich Nietzsche – and her categories are uncannily applicable to recent Tinder dates.”

Why We Really Need To Be Bored

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“The need for art, film, and literature to entertain becomes disturbingly pressing: that is its purpose. It’s the reason why we bother with it, and without a reason, who would bother? Art that entertains less readily, that might demand real effort and persistence and in so doing illuminate some aspect of how we live — such a prospect is too vague, the return on investment too unclear. I worry about the future of philosophy, art, literature, and strangeness.”

What It’s Like To Go Through A Psychotic Break: A First-Person Account

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“I am thinking fast; new fears flood in at the speed of perception. I’m noticing some things you – the interviewing doctors – do not. Yes hallucinations, some of them; fight or flight is also heightening my senses. Paranoid hypotheses are disproved and discarded, others take their place. Some will stay with me for months to come. But I don’t know that there is any future. … The thought, ‘I’m experiencing psychosis’ – terrifying when it comes – is unavailable; it’s all too new for that.”

Moore’s Law Has Predicted Tech Progress. But Now Moore’s Law Has Paused. So…

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“All the things that have been driving everything that I do, the kinds of technology that have emerged out of here that have changed the world, have ridden on the fact that the cost of computing doesn’t just fall, it falls at an accelerating rate. And guess what? In the last two years, the price of each transistor has stopped falling. That’s a profound moment.”

When Genius Becomes Banal – How We See Greatness

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“We have a problem of seeing, just as we often have a problem hearing (or hearing clearly), say, a Beethoven symphony. It’s hard to get back to our first enraptured seeings and hearings, when Van Gogh and Beethoven struck our eyes and ears as nothing had before; and yet equally hard to break through to new seeings, new hearings. So we tend, a little lazily, to acknowledge greatness by default, and move elsewhere, away from the crowds discovering him as we first discovered him.”

Information Overload (Quantified And Pondered)

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“More data has been created and stored since the turn of the millennium than in the entire history of humanity. Metaphors for information overload tend to fall into two categories: those that suggest addiction or lack of self-control, such as infomania, datamania, infobesity, databesity, dataholism, infostress, dataddiction, infovorism, datadithering, data dread; and those that suggest natural disaster, such as datanami, datageddon, dataclypse, data deluge, data smog, infoglut, information saturation, data swamp, drowning in data.”

University Philosophy Departments Are Overwhelmingly Male. Should We Care?

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“What is the explanation for this peculiarity, and should it be a matter of concern? These two questions are interlinked. How far philosophy’s gender imbalance is bad depends on its causes. If it were the result of simple discrimination against women, for instance, then it would not only be unjust, but it would also be preventing some of the best-suited people from working as philosophers. But it is not obvious that discrimination is the right explanation, and it should not be taken for granted that any other causes for the imbalance would be similarly unacceptable.”

The Revolt Against Tourism (And Tourists, Maybe, As Well)

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“Outraged by tourists’ boorish and disrespectful behavior, and responding to the complaints of their constituents, local officials around the world have begun to crack down on tourism, and the tourism industry, even in the face of opposition from their national governments, which want the tax revenue from tourists.”

When Certain Sounds Really Do Drive You Crazy

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“Named in the early 2000s by the neurologists Pawel and Margaret Jastreboff, misophonia – also called selective sound sensitivity syndrome – is one of many symptom clusters that don’t have a clear etiology. Those who suffer from misophonia recoil from human-made noises like chewing and whistling. The risks of being tormented by everyday experiences, like going to the movies only to find themselves sitting near a popcorn-cruncher, can make them too anxious to leave the house.”

Are Ethics Professors Particularly Good People? No More Than Most Of Us, And They Don’t Really Try Any Harder (That’s A Good Thing)

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In an essay titled “Cheeseburger ethics,” Eric Schwitzgebel argues, “We – most of us – actually aim at mediocrity. The cheeseburger ethicist is perhaps only unusually honest with herself about this. We aspire to be about as morally good as our peers … B+ on the great moral curve of white middle-class college-educated North Americans. Let others get the As.”

Are Human Beings The Only Political Animals? (Nope)

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“If all social life is political, won’t it be necessary to think of the designation ‘political animal’ as a genus name, including many species, rather than as something unique to human beings? After all, and as Aristotle knew well enough, there are many highly social species of animals.”

There’s No Such Thing As A Psychopath

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“Unlike discrete psychological disorders such as schizophrenia or depression, psychopathy is a disorder sustained by rhetoric rather than by science – ‘psychopath’ is just a strong word for a deviant, in the same way that ‘jerk’ describes someone you don’t like but reveals little about that person’s psychology.”

A Rant Against “Critical Thinking”

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It involves a chain of “and/or” activities that can happen in so many contexts (including the most ordinary “experience”) that one would be hard pressed to find a place where it isn’t happening, on some level. It is a sort of mental Swiss Army Knife, able to unfold a range of analytic tools depending on the circumstances.

When DIY Education Came From Someplace Other Than YouTube

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“Self-education went beyond solitary reading. For many, literary societies — called ‘the literary’ — marked the highlight of intellectual and social life, as young men and women gathered at night to debate, mingle and flirt. One young woman surveyed her entertainment options in rural Kansas and concluded: ‘We just have the jolliest, best times at the Literary.'”

When New York Vanished

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“Prior to the landmarks law there was no legal means for protecting historic sites like the Roxy. Many had fallen into disrepair. … It took the destruction of many beloved places before the law gained the political support it needed.

Noticed You’re Not Getting As Much Spam Lately? Google’s New Neural Networks “Teach” Themselves To Filter

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“Roughly speaking, these neural networks are vast collections of machines that mimic the networks of neurons in the brain. At Google, Jeff Dean and a core group of other AI engineers oversee these networks and provide software libraries that allow other Google teams, including the Gmail team, to use them.”