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Weekly Web Harvest (weekly)

The Morbid Fascination With the Death of the Humanities – Benjamin Winterhalter – The Atlantic “He claims, in essence, that literary modernism’s insights about the relationship between abstract thoughts and tangible objects are now being understood by neurological research. “This thesis of Ezra Pound’s that poetry should yoke ideas to particular objects—so that the thing and the thought are brought together in a single manifold,” he said, “actually anticipates a very recent neuroscientific insight, which is that, in certain aesthetic states, processing and perception happen in the same cortical centers of the brain.” Matt’s big idea, in other words, is that literature sometimes comes to important conclusions about the nature of consciousness and reality before science can catch up. “The point is—and this is a major claim of literary theorists—that literature allows us to feel our way around insights that we don’t yet have a clean, conceptual articulation of.” By his logic, then, the way to drive science forward might be to fund the study of literature. “ tags: english science weekly humanities How the “Hype Cycle” explains MOOCs, big data, VR, and Google Glass. “Virtual reality, Novak suggests, has undergone a similar metamorphosis. Look around a crowded room, and you won’t see a bunch of people wearing VR headsets. Instead, you’ll see them peering into tiny screens, through which […]

Catching Baby Turtles

When I was in 4th or 5th grade we lived in Columbia, South Carolina not too far from one of those man-made subdivision lakes.1 Despite that, it had enough fish and reptiles to keep me very entertained. One of the memories that stuck in my mind from the couple of years we lived there was seeing, and eventually catching, baby turtles. I spent several hours lying on my stomach watching the turtles, inching forward, scaring them away, and then waiting again hoping they’d bob up somewhere within arms reach. If you’ve ever tried to spot a tiny turtle’s head in the midst of duckweed, green algae, and assorted pond flotsam (no jetsam)2 I felt pretty proud when I finally caught a few. I let them go and I washed my hands thoroughly when I got home. This was the second year (non-consecutive) I remembered to do this with my kids. It’s one of those things that’s easy to forget but I love seeing my kids enjoying what I once did. Plus, it’s still fun for me as well. We end up looking a bit odd I’m sure as, once again, we’re using a subdivision pond not far from our house and we tend to go barefoot. This year we caught two older and larger turtles. Both seemed to have heavy […]