"The possibilities are endless, but the probabilities aren’t."

God. 2014.

(Via David Javerbaum)

"In two totally different senses, gay men, and the people who persecute them, are fucking assholes."

God. 2014

(Via David Javerbaum)

"Capital in the 21st Century essentially takes the existing debate on income inequality and supercharges it. It does so by asserting that in the long run the economic inequality that matters won’t be the gap between people who earn high salaries and those who earn low ones, it will be the gap between people who inherit large sums of money and those who don’t.
Piketty’s vision of a class-ridden, neo-Victorian society dominated by the unearned wealth of a hereditary elite cuts sharply against both liberal notions of a just society andconservative ideas about what a dynamic market economy is supposed to look like. Market-oriented thinkers valorize the idea of entrepreneurial capitalism, but Piketty says we are headed for a world of patrimonial capitalism where the Forbes 400 list will be dominated not by the founders of new companies but by the grandchildren of today’s super-elite.
Piketty wants the major world economies to band together to assess a modest global wealth tax. Global cooperation is desirable to prevent the wealthy from simply shifting assets into other jurisdictions. But short of intense global cooperation, he thinks larger economic units-the United States, say, or the European Union-should move ahead with wealth taxes, estate taxes, and other efforts to curb the power of wealth."

Matthew Yglesias. 2014

(TitleThe short guide to Capital in the 21st Century)

"Only two decades ago, when I was starting my PhD studies at the University of California in Berkeley, there was talk about the death of anatomy as a research subject. That hasn’t happened. Instead the science of anatomy has undergone a renaissance lately, sparking renewed interest not just among researchers but also the public."

John R. Hutchinson. 2014

(TitleThe science of anatomy is undergoing a revival

"Using a laser to place individual rubidium atoms near the surface of a lattice of light, scientists at MIT and Harvard University have developed a new method for connecting particles — one that could help in the development of powerful quantum computing systems.
The new technique, described in a paper published today in the journal Nature, allows researchers to couple a lone atom of rubidium, a metal, with a single photon, or light particle. This allows both the atom and photon to switch the quantum state of the other particle, providing a mechanism through which quantum-level computing operations could take place."

Peter Dizikes. 2014

(TitleNew ‘switch’ could power quantum computing)

"What Mr Piketty conveys most powerfully, in my opinion, is the fact that economics was once centrally concerned with the question of distribution. It was impossible to ignore in the 19th century! Not least because economists of a market-oriented disposition and those more sympathetic to Marx both wondered whether capitalism was capable of generating a sustainable distribution of the gains from growth. We are all used to sneering at communism because of its manifest failure to deliver the sustained rates of growth managed by market economies. But Marx’s original critique of capitalism was not that it made for lousy growth rates. It was that a rising concentration of wealth couldn’t be sustained politically. Ultimately, those of us who would like to preserve the market system need to grapple with that sort of dynamic, in the context of the worrying numbers on inequality that Mr Piketty presents."

The Economist. 2014

(TitleCapital in the long run)

"This [Make an Informed Vaccine Decision for the Health of Your Child by Mayer Eisenstein with Neil Z. Miller] is a terrible book. It is dishonest, misrepresents the facts, and is likely to persuade the average reader not to vaccinate, thereby putting the rest of us at risk from decreased herd immunity. The average reader has no way of knowing what is wrong with its claims or what has been omitted. Unfortunately, its flaws will only be apparent to those of us who are able to recognize the book as merely another polemical restatement of discredited anti-vaccine propaganda."

— Harriet Hall. 2011.

(TitleAnother Anti-Vaccine Book)

"I just did a tweet to convince everyone about the merits of homeopathy but then I deleted it. It should still work though."

Ricky Gervais. 2014.

(From Twitter)

"Conventional wisdom (and existing research) suggests that the more people smile, the happier they will be, and happiness is known to enhance wellbeing. Across three studies, instead, we show more frequent smiling does not always increase happiness, and as a consequence, wellbeing. Frequent smiling results in more wellbeing than infrequent smiling only among people who interpret smiling as reactive or reflecting happiness. Among people who interpret smiling as proactive and causing happiness, frequent smiling results in less wellbeing than infrequent smiling. Here, frequent smiling backfires, evoking less happiness than infrequent smiling, which in turn reduces wellbeing. Thus, smiling by itself does not increase happiness, or wellbeing. Instead, the belief that one must already be happy when one smiles is what increases happiness, and as a result, wellbeing."

Labroo AA, Mukhopadhyay A, Dong P. 2014.

(TitleNot always the best medicine: Why frequent smiling can reduce wellbeing)

"If the character of Sen. Dreyfus stands for skepticism about the limits of AI, Dennett Norton, the film’s brilliant engineer, represents both the hypothesis that human beings are just information-processing vessels and an optimistic commitment to the power of technology to make the world a better place. Like his namesake, Daniel Dennett, who has elaborated on and defended the prospects of artificial intelligence more profoundly than anyone else, Dennett Norton is a progressive, one of the good guys; he’d rather be enabling amputee guitarists to play again than designing weaponized drones."

Alva Noë. 2014.

(TitleDeconstructing The Philosophies Of ‘RoboCop’)