Are We Merely Prisoners Of Our Biochemistry? (What About Reason?)


Because our thoughts and actions are the products of our brains, and because what our brains do is determined by the physical state of the world and the laws of physics—perhaps with a dash of quantum randomness in the mix—there seems to be no room for choice. As the author and neuroscientist Sam Harris has put it, we are “biochemical puppets.”

Cossacks Beat Pussy Riot With Horsewhips in Sochi

whipping Pussy Riot

The balaclava-clad Russian rockers were just starting a protest song in front of an administrative building in downtown Sochi when members of a Cossack militia (brought into town as extra security for the Winter Olympics) attacked them with whips and pepper spray. The song: “Putin Will Teach You How to Love the Motherland”. (includes photos and video)

Elaine Stritch on Humor


“Humor is a great boom-boom against tough stuff. Make ’em laugh, make ’em laugh, make ’em laugh. I’ve been dependent on it, maybe too much so, all through my life. And I think sadness can also help. Whatever helps, grab it and run.”

Kennicott: The End Of The Corcoran Gallery


“The National Gallery is hands down the most prestigious and respected steward of fine art in Washington, and its reputation is international. But this is not a swallowing of the Corcoran — this is the end of the Corcoran and its final dismemberment.”

Take Two: FCC Has A New Proposal On Net Neutrality (Yay)


“The proposal on so-called net neutrality, to be introduced by Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the commission, will prohibit broadband companies from blocking any sites or services from consumers. It will also aim to prevent Internet service providers from charging content companies for access to a faster, express lane on the web.”

Breaking: National Gallery To Take Over Corcoran Gallery?


“The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington’s oldest private art museum, and its venerable college of art and design would cease to exist as an independent institution, and its key components — artwork, historic building and school program — would be taken over by the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University, under a plan announced Wednesday afternoon.”

Dudamel Reacts To Criticism: Music Should Not Be In Politics

Gustavo Dudamel

Dudamel “rejects calls to make a political statement, saying it would not be in the spirit of El Sistema, a foundation of the government serving more than 500,000 school children and probably its most popular program. It is not a political institution, Dudamel said. It belongs to no one party or group but the entire citizenry, and he said he will do everything in his power to keep it out of politics.”