Berfrois

The Posthuman: Judgement Day

The Posthuman: Judgement Day

If posthumanism signals the end of a certain way of describing—or, more precisely, orienting—selfhood, then we might ask, as Ralph Waldo Emerson did at the start of his famous essay, “Experience”, “Where do we find ourselves?”

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Mighty Morphing Cephalopods

Mighty Morphing Cephalopods

by Justin E. H. Smith Jaron Lanier, of virtual-reality fame, was permitted to hold forth a few years ago in a Discover blog space on the topic of ‘morphing’ in molluscs. The result is messy: Lanier introduces the analogy between cephalopod intelligence and extraterrestrial intelligence three times, each time...

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Big Pharma started modestly, before brazenly finding ways to pervert editorial content…

Big Pharma started modestly, before brazenly finding ways to pervert editorial content…

From Life and Health, illustration by Phil Kirkland,  1972 From The American Scholar: “Drug Makers Cut Out Goodies for Doctors” and “Drugmakers Pulling Plug on Free Pens, Mugs & Pads” read headlines in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal Health Blog at the end of 2008 after, in...

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The fallacy of difference is a fallacy of science but how is it also a fallacy of art?

The fallacy of difference is a fallacy of science but how is it also a fallacy of art?

by Julia Galef It’s not often that you find something that’s a fallacy both logically and creatively — that is, a fallacy to which both researchers and artists are susceptible. Perhaps you’re tempted to tell me I’m committing a category mistake, that artistic fields like fiction and architecture aren’t...

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Nicholas Coghlan sails with Darwin’s ghost

Nicholas Coghlan sails with Darwin’s ghost

Bosun Bird at anchor at the foot of Monte Darwin, in the Northwest Arm of the Beagle Channel by Nicholas Coghlan It was the late seventies and I had just graduated from University in Britain. The economy was depressed, the country was strike-bound and rainy. On the spur of the moment...

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Gerardo Aldana: Behind Astronomical Patterns

Gerardo Aldana: Behind Astronomical Patterns

Kan B’ahlam as warrior, depicted on the Palenque Temple XVII Tablet by Gerardo Aldana One of the real challenges facing the interpretation of ancient astronomies—from non-academic ‘2012’ prophecies to the most traditional scholarship on the Dresden Codex Venus Table—is that presented by ‘patterns in randomness.’ In my opinion, the...

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Interest in Psychedelics ‘Schrooms

Interest in Psychedelics ‘Schrooms

Researchers Re-Open Their Minds to Psychedelic Drugs | by Sam Kornell

Miller McCune

Mike told me doesn’t do mushrooms very often-maybe once or twice a year-but when he does, it’s because he wants to explore a problem in his life that...

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With the claims of stem cell proponents hovering just on the edge of believability, sifting fact from fiction can be rather difficult…

With the claims of stem cell proponents hovering just on the edge of believability, sifting fact from fiction can be rather difficult…

Su Chun Zhang From Stanford Medicine: On the surface it seems easy. Overseas stem cell “clinics” peddling unproven treatments to desperate and dying patients, charging tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of being injected with mysterious concoctions of cells meant to cure almost every ailment: What’s not...

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Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and now Fukushima. Each unique, and each was supposed to be impossible…

Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and now Fukushima. Each unique, and each was supposed to be impossible…

Clockwise from top left: Nuclear power plants at Windscale, Three Mile Island, Fukushima and Chernobyl From Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: As an anthropologist, I am always interested in what humans learn from their mistakes. Can humans change their behavior, thereby improving their chances of survival, not just through...

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Tuning in to Cricket Radio

Tuning in to Cricket Radio

Corps of Discovery member Andy Brand pushing for crickets by John Himmelman A few years ago I gathered some friends to hunt for the smallest cricket in North America, the Sphagnum Ground Cricket (Allonemobius palustris).   The friends are part of a group we call “Corps of Discovery”, after the...

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No Archaic/Modern Divide; or, Behavioural Variability in Premodern Humans

No Archaic/Modern Divide; or, Behavioural Variability in Premodern Humans

Refuting a Myth About Human Origins | by John J. Shea

American Scientist

For decades, archeologists have believed that modern behaviors emerged among Homo sapiens tens of thousands of years after our species first evolved. Archaeologists disagreed over whether this process was...

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Good-bye to the straw feminist

Good-bye to the straw feminist

Eflon  by Cordelia Fine “This was not a permissible hypothesis”. That was social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s recent explanation of the outrage that followed Lawrence Summers’ speech at a conference on the under-representation of women in science and engineering, in which he suggested that women are on average intrinsically less...

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Jerry Moore: Feverish Rivers

I learned that Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff had been a Nazi when I was in a Santa Marta supermarket. I had just stepped into the Exito...

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Lauren Berlant
Lauren Berlant flies

Most of the writing we do is actually a performance of stuckness. It is a record of where we got stuck on a question...

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Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to...

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Michael Munro on Spinoza

Immanence is not philosophy, nor philosophy immanence. But there is in the passage from one to the other a modification of sense that is...

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David Beer
David Beer: Broadcastwerk

Writing at sometime around 1930 or 1931, Walter Benjamin suggested that the voice on the radio is a like a visitor in the home,...

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Rose Barnsley: Young, Gifted and Žižekian

At nineteen, it is easy to think that all you're missing is the right movement. But there is something about the young left wing...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Rama’s And

While local journalists were once again busy regurgitating worn-down, coma inducing positions about yet another spectral appearance of Enver Hoxha at the celebration of...

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Playing the Percentages: Berfrois Interviews Danny Dorling

The portrait of the 1% in your book is one of sociopathic, power-hungry narcissists with a striking lack of empathy. This may seem antagonistic,...

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

Today I introduced Facebook to someone older than me and had a long conversation about what the point of networking amongst “friends” is. The...

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Tinder Times by Bibi Deitz

I am in bed with a man. He has to go home. He is not staying the night. So he pulls out his iPhone...

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Jenny Diski keeps up

Some things are best met with silence. If I were to proceed with this month’s column in an honest way, it would be a...

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From Fashion by Tracy O’Neill

The man who brought us a disembodied protagonist alluringly voiced by Scarlett Johansson has now issued a drama — starring apparel. Recently, Opening Ceremony...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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