7 Quick Takes (11/15/13)


--- 1 --- I can't decide if I want to roll my eyes at the sheer number of [X] Hall of Fames that exist or to feign approval until the eventual creation of a Hall of Fame Hall of Fame, in which you can see scaled down miniatures and blown up photos of the best niche museums.  I discovered the existence of the Toy Hall of Fame this week, when they inducted two new toys: chess and the rubber duckie.    The news story says that honorees are chosen "on the basis of several factors including ico … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (11/8/13)


--- 1 --- This week, I got to make a donation to Against Malaria in honor of the Unequally Yoked readership.  Back when I got my flu shot, I asked any of you who were contributing to herd immunity to sign the flu shot honor roll, and I'd donate $5 per immunized reader, up to $100.    You guys made quota, and I'm delighted to have made the donation today.  And, if you didn't sign up in round one, but have since gotten your flu shot, I'll donate up to an additional $50 if you brag about your vir … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (11/1/13)

face all red

  Happy Feast of All Saints!   --- 1 --- This week's quick takes theme is transposition, and there are few people as in love with stories and patterns as Douglas Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid and his recent work on analogy: Surfaces and Essences.  In a recent interview with The Atlantic, he talked about what he sees as the heart of human intelligence: Cognition is recognition,” he likes to say. He describes “seeing as” as the essential cognitiv … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (10/26/13)

joos crucifixion

--- 1 --- Sorry for the one-day delay in Quick Takes.  Let me make it up to you with something very special: A layperson-ish primer on Elliptic Curves Cryptography!  I really enjoyed this guide by Ars Technica, but I'm a bit suspicious of its accessibility for a crypto novice.  So, let me temper my recommendation thus: give it a try if you think you may be interested, and if you feel baffled, be not ashamed and check Simon Singh's The Code Book out of your local library. --- 2 ---  And now … [Read more...]

6 Quick Takes (10/11/13)

books, many

--- 1 --- I'm in a storytelling mood, after yesterday's post on a three book introduction to Christianity.  And I'm eagerly waiting to read Francis Spufford's Unapologetic, when it turns up on my kindle this Tuesday.  In the meantime, I've been checking out one of his other works: The Child That Books Built: A Life in Reading, and I've been having some of those moments described in The History Boys as: The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (10/4/13)

rand story

--- 1 --- This week's link theme is art, so I'd like to start by highlighting a fundraising drive being run by the branch of the Dominicans I knew in DC.  They're publishing a hymnal of the Gregorian chant they use when they pray the Liturgy of the Hours.  You can order one yourself or sponsor one (or more) for a friar.I've ordered one for myself, so now I'll need to bother the brothers next time I visit to explain to me how to read Gregorian chant notation.  Below, you can hear one of the p … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (9/28/13)

russian matrushka

--- 1 --- Sometimes it's really hard to remember quite how far in the future we live.  Or how much fun it is to take advantage of our ability to ethically take advantage of our hardwired capacity to recognize patterns and intuit things about our surroundings.  Nothing in the video is CGI, it's just your brain applying the rules it knows to art designed to exploit it.  Wheee!--- 2 --- And for a much older kind of art, that's still fun to pick apart to see how it's done, comes this The Way … [Read more...]