Feist’s singing is best summed up as a whisper put to music.  When we whisper, every word that we get out is infused with an effort that can be heard in its breathy character.  A whisper’s strain and incomplete vocalization tantalize us, as we feel for the whisperer’s struggle to get the words out loud enough to be heard. Most singing is about consummation, perfectly vocalizing tones, pitches, and notes in melodies, harmonies, and rhythms which are sublimely (and subliminally… Read more

The Economist has a chart on views on torture which reports a disquietingly high amount of tolerance among Americans for the practice: OPINIONS on whether the use of torture should be prohibited appear to vary widely around the world. According to opinion polls conducted early in 2008 respondents in western European democracies such as Britain and Spain were most hostile to the idea of even some degree of use of torture, whereas residents in big but poorer countries such as… Read more

Be celibate and/or invisible seem to be the only options conservatives have on the table for millions of people.  Andrew Sullivan takes Robert P. George to task on this point : There is also, moreover, no positive social policy actually crafted for gay people in George’s view. What does he believe we should do with our lives? Should we try to construct stable relationships – or not? In an era in which an entire generation was decimated by HIV, is… Read more

Mojoey, the founder and curator of the Atheist Blogroll to which we owe great gratitude, points us to a great series running in The Detroit Free Press in which atheists give their testimonials. Here’s the one Mojoey highlighted yesterday: I was at work when someone brought up that I am an atheist.A nearby coworker nearly had a heart-attack. “You are?” she asked. “But … you’re such a … good person!” // <![CDATA[ document.write(“”);document.getElementById(“img1″).src=”http://beacon.scorecardresearch.com/scripts/beacon.dll?C1=8&C2=2102&C3=280&C4=513006&C5=3652&C6=&C7=” + escape(window.location.href) + “&C8=” + escape(document.title) +… Read more

Analyzing the despicable e-mail from Boston police officer Justin Barrett that contained these true colors: Your defense of Gates while he is on the phone while being confronted [INDEED] with a police officer is assuming he has rights when considered a suspect. He is a suspect and always will be a suspect. His first priority of concern should be to get off the phone and comply with police, for if I was the officer he verbally assaulted like a banana-eating… Read more

This is a neat video about new approaches to PE classes, including ones that incorporate ropes course games, climbing towers, and teamwork challenges.  Having facilitated kids in these sorts of adventure learning exercises numerous times back in my camp counselor days, I am a huge believer in their educational value. Some other really interesting ideas in here too.  Really worth watching for anyone interested in pedagogy. Your Thoughts? Read more

Interesting study: Those who were pre-programmed to think in terms of having power “had a stronger preference for the rule-based more considerations, compared to participants in the low-power condition, who had a stronger preference for the outcome-based moral considerations.” The researchers did find one exception to this pattern. In a final test, which was constructed so that rule-based thinking would not work to the advantage of the powerful, participants in the high-power category were less inclined than their low-power counterparts… Read more

Fitting for punditry itself, this video is both awful and hypnotic at the same time.  The one fascinating artistic “merit” here is the way they highlight the musicality of human speech to its musicality (even though they do it in an ear-splitting way): Some day, I want to give a proper review to Charles Spearin’s amazing Happiness Project which takes instances of everyday people’s natural musicality of speech and builds songs out of them.  A short version of the coming… Read more

publius gives the reasons I am personally in favor of hate crimes as a category of crime and see them as consistent with my rabbid commitment to free speech: Cohen says that hate crimes aren’t really different from any other crime — so there’s no need for extra penalties.  That’s not true.  Hate crimes are specifically intended not merely to injure the individual, but to politically threaten the larger group and to deny them their civil rights. Hate crimes, in… Read more

Michael Dickens connects two quotes which belong together.  First there’s Occam’s Razor: Never increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything And then Einstein’s superbly adds the missing qualification: Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler. In both of these statements of the importance of parsimony are the reasons why Intelligent Design does not qualify as a good example of a the sort of “simple” explanation philosophy and science look for. Read more

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