7 Quick Takes (11/1/13)

  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...]

Costumes, Constraint, and Chapel Veils

In my high school theatre productions, our director encouraged us to start working on assembling costumes early.  Especially shoes.  Once you had something of your character's, you could start using it to feel less like yourself, and stop doing things by rote.  If you had nothing else, he said, you could put a pebble in your shoe so you were a little less comfortable in your normal stance. I'm on a plane all day, so, since I ended up without the opportunity to dress up for Halloween, I thought I' … [Read more...]

The Ones Who Walk Away from Dresediel Lex

Max Gladstone's Two Serpents Rise, is his second book in the Craft sequence and falls chronologically before his first book, Three Parts Dead.  His first novel took place in Alt Coulomb, a city where at least one god is alive and when and living on the faith of his worshippers.  The new novel, set in Dresediel Lex, is in a city where the gods have been replaced by something a good deal more industrial.Before the Dresediel Lex's gods had their place usurped, they were of the feathered serp … [Read more...]

Q&A with Max Gladstone (Part 2)

This is the second part of my interview with Max Gladstone, the author of Three Parts Dead. You can read part one of the Q&A here, and stay tuned for the review of his newest novel Two Serpents Rise tomorrow.  In Three Parts Dead, you reframed parts of our complicated financial system through a theological lens.  Is there any theological practice that your think the financial world should steal?  Are there any places where the financial world has appropriated priestly qualities wit … [Read more...]

Q&A with Max Gladstone (Part 1)

On October 29th, Max Gladstone will release his second novel, Two Serpents Rise.  His first novel Three Parts Dead got him nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and also caused me to share a very enjoyable bookclub brunch with friends in DC.  Three Parts Dead, the first book in his Craft series, reframes some of the peculiarities of the modern, entangled economy in a fantastical and theologically rich world.    In his novels, the power of prayer is often regulated by cont … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (10/26/13)

--- 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...]

What is your opponent trying to protect?

Brendan Hodge of Darwin Catholic has shared his approach to judging and competing in this year’s Ideological Turing Test. He had planned to write a secularized version of himself in the atheist round, but revised his plans when he discovered that polyamory was a good deal more popular among libertarian atheists than he expected. So now I had a problem: It seemed like if I wanted to write a fairly mainstream atheist piece for the Turing Test, I needed to argue in favor of polyamory. However, I m … [Read more...]


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