Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Theme: Parenthood

  • Now in thy dazzling half-oped eye, Thy curled nose and lip awry, Uphoisted arms and noddling head, And little chin with crystal spread, Poor helpless thing! what do I see, That I should sing of thee?Read more
  • Before I proceed to estrange my reproductively proficient allies, let me begin by saying that I love kids; those who know me know that when I am around them, they delight in my comical ways, and after I'm gone they beg their parents to invite me over again. I have godfatherly and quasi-avuncular relations with numerous little ones, and real avuncular relations with one who is no longer so little.Read more
  • Krys Lee reads a passage from her new novel, Drifting House, about a South Korean woman who travels to America to search for her daughter whom she believes has been kidnapped.Read more
  • Male infertility is one of the world’s best-kept secrets. Few people realize that male infertility contributes to more than half of all cases of childlessness worldwide. In the Middle Eastern region where I work, the rates of male infertility are even higher, 60-70% of all cases, with very severe forms that are probably genetic in origin and related to consanguineous, or cousin marriage.Read more
  • He looked up at the crescent faintly visible in the afternoon sky. He led his two recently adopted children, Susie, four, and Billy, three, over broken branches and through wind-torn leaves.Read more
  • He finds himself sitting in the neighborhood bar drinking a beer at about the same time that he began to think about going there for one. In fact, he has finished it. Perhaps he’ll have a second one, he thinks, as he downs it and asks for a third.Read more
  • Developmental issues in general have, for obvious reasons, been much on my mind lately. It strikes me, as it struck Alison Gopnik thus causing the book the philosophical baby to be written, as strange that the importance of the development of certain capabilities, such as morality, belief-acquisition, language, understanding of objects and other persons, has not been seriously attended to in the theories of those things. Surely, a proper understanding of any domain needs to involve an understanding of how we come to know about it. The cognitive operations that the adult mind is capable of didn’t start out that way, and part of solving the mysteries of cognition is to investigate how it got that way. As Gopnik pointed out in her earlier book the scientist in the crib, babies learn in the way science proceed: by testing hypotheses, revising previous concepts and explanations to fit with the facts, and by thinking up new experiments. We start out with very little, but not nothing, and then we build on that. People generally start out the same – babies everywhere can learn whatever language, but at some point, when we’ve found what sorts of sounds typically occur in communication, we start to interpret, and eventually to ignore small vocal nuances in favor of more effective and more charitable interpretation within the language we thus acquire. Read more
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