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?”

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Is the Keplar mission closing in on another Earth?

Is the Keplar mission closing in on another Earth?

HD 209458b From Nature: Until Kepler, the leading detection method used to discover exoplanets — planets outside the Solar System — was much more likely to find giant planets, resulting in a sampling bias. Known as radial velocity or Doppler spectroscopy, the method depends on identifying the shift in...

Read More

Changing Our Minds

Changing Our Minds

From Wired: Every so often Al Frances says something that seems to surprise even him. Just now, for instance, in the predawn darkness of his comfortable, rambling home in Carmel, California, he has broken off his exercise routine to declare that “there is no definition of a mental disorder....

Read More

Vectors, Viruses and Victims

Vectors, Viruses and Victims

From American Scientist: Mosquitoes live brief but busy lives feeding on nectar and plant sugars. The females must also find human or animal blood to feast on in order to produce eggs and continue the life cycle, so they live rather longer than the males—several weeks rather than several...

Read More

‘The worst case scenario is not that humans will become extinct…’

‘The worst case scenario is not that humans will become extinct…’

Life After People, History From 3 Quarks Daily: The year is 3010 and an interesting new species has evolved: a muscular, knuckle-walking primate with sparse body hair and a strikingly human face. It appears to be deformed, with extra non-functional limbs in various anatomical positions–like something out of a...

Read More

The Cosmos: Capitalism’s New “Outside”

The Cosmos: Capitalism’s New “Outside”

Total Recall, 1990 From Monthly Review: In the early twentieth century, Rosa Luxemburg argued that an “outside” to capitalism is important for two main reasons. First, it is needed as a means of creating massive numbers of new customers who would buy the goods made in the capitalist countries....

Read More

Nature’s Zombie-Masters

Nature’s Zombie-Masters

From The Smithsonian: Some of the most successful zombie-masters are fungi from the genus Ophiocordyceps. The parasites infest many kinds of arthropods—from butterflies to cockroaches—but it is among ants that the fungi’s ability to control other beings’ behavior is most apparent. One prototypical scenario is found in Costa Rica,...

Read More

We must learn to “fly” biology…

We must learn to “fly” biology…

Learning to “Fly” Biology | by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

American Scientist

Biological engineering is nothing new. “Biology is technology,” Carlson declares on the opening page; indeed, he says, “Biology is the oldest technology.”

Read More

An Empire Lacking Food

An Empire Lacking Food

  From American Scientist: Let me reintroduce you to planet Earth. Nearly 64 percent of its surface, close to 208,640,000 square kilometers, sits below 200 meters of water. The lack of light at those depths prohibits photosynthesis, the biological energy conversion system that is the foundation of most food...

Read More

‘The goal of igniting controlled fusion is simple in concept but fiendishly complicated in execution…’

‘The goal of igniting controlled fusion is simple in concept but fiendishly complicated in execution…’

The Promise of Fusion: Energy Miracle or Mirage? | by Alex Salkever

Environment 360

The U.S. has invested billions of dollars trying to create a controlled form of nuclear fusion that could be the energy source for an endless...

Read More

Cancering and Proteomics

Cancering and Proteomics

Listening In On The Body’s Proteomic Conversation | by W. Daniel Hillis

Edge

Instead of saying, "Somebody has cancer", we should say, "They're cancering".

Read More
Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

Read More
Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: LGBT Struggles in Albania

This morning I woke up to a rather surprising headline: "first gay marriage in Tirana." The article referred to the marriage ceremony recently held...

Read More
Feroz Rather in Srinagar

Though the war was still going on, it was not a terribly sad time in my life; at least, I had the consolation of...

Read More
Foucault’s Politics of Truth by Stuart Elden

The key figures are Cardinal Richelieu and Chancellor Séguier, and Foucault thinks it is important that he can discern the “first great deployment of...

Read More
Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

Read More
Mediamacro are very good at pretending…

A few weeks ago I was having dinner with David Cameron. Well, almost - we were at the same restaurant but on tables at...

Read More
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming: One Little Room

A room with graffitied walls. Inside this room the dogs bark. A room cluttered with porcelain figurines. A room decorated with binary numbers.

Read More
Jeremy Fernando
Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place —...

Read More
David Beer
David Beer: Make Happy, Happy, Happy

As I read through William Davies’ engaging new book, I can’t help but wonder what Mad Men’s Don Draper would have made of John...

Read More
Russell Bennetts: Coffee for 8 More

I might be the last person you should ask about St. Paul coffee in general. On an ordinary day I make do with drip...

Read More
Emeline Edgewood
In X the Promise

X seems to want to be both the equivalent of The Giant and of Laura Palmer’s mother in Twin Peaks.

Read More
Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Municipal

Although there are also some independent candidates who may take a few votes here and there, the general opinion of the Tirana public and...

Read More
En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While...

Read More
Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed...

Read More