Prominent Platonic Pairings

sir ian

After writing about the dearth of celebrated platonic friendships, I realized I could think of at least one counterexample without too much trouble. Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Patrick Stewart are public friends, and their friendship is a big part of what their fans publicly celebrate them for.What other (non-fictional) living prominent figures fall into this category?  How is their friendship celebrated similarly/differently than romantic ones.  (I notice McKellan/Stewart photos are fairly … [Read more...]

Empathy, Vitalism, Alzheimer’s, Physical Paradoxes and other things found in dictionaries


--- 1 --- When I was little, one of my favorite things to read was the science magazine Muse, but I've finally found a suitable substitute for adults.  After poking around on the Nautilus website, I finally became a subscriber, and had a wonderful time reading my first print magazine.  A number of their articles and blog posts have turned up in my Quick Takes over the last few months, and I strongly suspect a bunch of my readers (and your children, if applicable) would really enjoy this science … [Read more...]

An Exhaustion with Epics


I finished Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments hexalogy this week when I reached the end of City of Heavenly Fire, and I'm awfully frustrated.  This series hit the same problem a number of epic books and movies have been causing for me:I'm tired of reading another story where possible outcomes are either the death of everyone on earth (and possibly associated worlds/dimensions) or the happily ever after.  It makes it pretty darn easy to guess what the answer is going to be.Plus, as t … [Read more...]

In the Moral Landscape, There Still Be Dragons

Transcranial magnetic stimulation isn't a hypothetical

Sam Harris has announced the winning entry in his contest for critiques of The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values.  The winner (from a philosophy M.A. and blogger at Point of Controversy) is the obvious complaint, which seems just.  Here's an excerpt: First, your analogy between epistemic axioms and moral axioms fails. The former merely motivate scientific inquiry and frame its development, whereas the latter predetermine your science of morality’s most basic findings. Epis … [Read more...]

Christ’s Loyal Widows [Pope Francis Bookclub]

handfasting 1

In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.In this week's chapter of Open Mind, Faithful Heart, Pope Francis braids together three moments in Christ's ministry: his discoverty by the Magi, his baptism, and the wedding at Cana.  As Francis tells it, these stories are all about Chr … [Read more...]

“Love Unconcerned with Being Returned”


So far, when I've used Jen Fulwiler's Saint Generator to pick a saint to learn about and from for the month, I've mostly pulled saints I hadn't heard of before, from times and places that are very far from me.  Today, when I visited her randomizer, it spun up a saint I already love very much: Saint Maximilian Kolbe.I think the first time I heard of him was in RCIA (people in the class were supposed to pick out and present lives of various saints at each class), and I had the same kind of … [Read more...]

7QT: Cats that are not on fire, and more spiders than you’d expect

spiders georg

--- 1 --- My facebook friends are the kind of people who are patient with me when I post things like, "Oy, where is that quote about the problem with cat burning not being that it's bad for the cat but bad for the spectators?"But even their patience has a limit.  One friend supplied the quote I was looking for ("Macaulay said that the Puritans hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators." - G.K. Chesterton, All Things Considered.) … [Read more...]