Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Around the Web - (TED, tea, the flowing hair of Steven Pinker and other odds and ends)

Since I spent the whole day data crunching and the rest of it studying, there isn't going to be much in the way of literary rhapsodizing here today, but here are some tidbits from the rest of the blogosphere.

Nell Freudenberger reviewed David Leavitt's new book The Indian Clerk for The New York Times. It is an historical novel about the friendship between Cambridge mathematician, G. H. Hardy, and Indian mathematical genius S. Ramanujan. Freudenberger gives much useful context about Cambridge, Leavitt's writing, World War I, and the themes, both mathematical and sexual, dealt with in the book. This book is at the top of my TBR pile when my brain has the space.

The New York Sun reviews The Stuff of Thought, Steven Pinker's new book:
Do words really represent things in the world or are they markers of ideas inside our brains? Is there a language of thought itself, or do different languages embrace and shape the world in different ways? Such questions have been asked afresh in recent years, not only by philosophers and linguists, but also by cognitive scientists and evolutionary biologists seeking the origins of human sensibility. Among the most prolific and most public of the current generation of inquirers into human understanding is the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker.

An active member of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists, Pinker is a deft writer, so this is destined to make it to my TBR pile somtime before 2010.

Hat tip for above: 3 quarks daily.

New York Daily Photo has a magnificent shot of Mr. Moon and a multilegged creature who showed up at the Kitchen Highline Block Party. Do you know the origins of this character, he asks?

Some wonderfully mysterious images and snatches of text here, as always.

TED, no not me but Technology, Entertainment, Design, is a conference of the world's leading thinkers according to, well... TED, I guess. It has included speakers like physicist Barry Greene, naturalist Jane Goodall, all fields are represented -the arts, sciences, international relations. They assemble once a year and give 18 minute talks in order to spread their ideas. They now offer many high quality videos of those talks that you can view here. Steven Pinker has two and I found one by psychologist Barry Schwartz on the relationship between freedom and choice which is rather hyperbolic. They are even rated by categories such as: most discussed, funniest, and most beautiful - seems they feel we need a lot of help around choosing ideas.

Hat tip: PsyBlog

Finally, today's Dining In section in the Times has a graduate level course in tea - including brewing timings, pots to use, etc... If you are a tea freak like me, check it out. I love tea - learning about it, making it, drinking it. My old favorite is Sencha Premier - a deep green tea that is a cross between a sweet, vegetal flavor mixed with a taste I can only describe as sucking on stainless steel - you just have to try it. I've heard that the Japanese consider green tea a vegetable but that may just be one of those cultural myths like the fact that Eskimo's have 40 words for snow (they don't). My current tea obsession is Snow Dragon - twisted silver leaves that look like little unicorn horns, it's a white tea that brews up sweet and not too wimpy.

1 comment:

Inter Glossa said...

Thanks very much for the link to the tea story and video.