Author: kirby

Top Books of 2019

The best books I read this year, in no particular order: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon This novel tells the story of two Jewish cousins who become successful comic book authors in the 1940’s and ’50’s.  It explores the antifascist origins of the superhero genre, as well as questions surrounding the role

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Marketing Shapes How We Interact With Our Bodies

Health is one of those nebulous concepts that seems straightforward and obvious, but then on closer investigation is very difficult to pin down.  Of course, some health judgements are easy, but many aren’t possible to make without aesthetic judgements that are person- or culture-specific.  How important is physical capability?  How important is longevity?  Are athletes

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The Ironic Cultural Misrecollection of Sherlock Holmes

A couple years ago, sick of all the heavy literature I had been reading, I picked up the complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, expecting, in essence, a fun romp.  Sherlock Holmes was, I thought, the original puzzle-fiction: solvable who-dunnit (or how-dunnit) mysteries that encourage the reader to exercise their reasoning skills and that maybe teach something about

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Spiritual Connection to Nature is Punk AF

In her biography of Alexander Von Humboldt (influential 18th/19th century scientist who has been largely neglected by history), Andrea Wulf convincingly argues that Humboldt’s study of American biology was an important factor in the formation of a pan-American identity that led to Latin American independence from Spain.  Up until Humboldt’s observations indicated otherwise, Europeans generally

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Creation Story

The table with the big computer at the elementary school’s science expo is relatively empty. The grad students running it are sitting there feeling slightly awkward. They thought this was going to be for high schoolers. They’ve created a computer simulation of the universe. Not the real universe of course, but a 3+1 dimensional universe

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