Some links from the past week.
Great stuff from Sarah Perry again. Tendrils of Mess in Our Brains:
So here is a mystery: why are tableaux that are apparently more orderly (in the sense of compressibility in the data required to specify them) also more messy? Let me offer a few more hints, in the form of definitions supplied by my friends, before I reveal the answer. Sam Burnstein notes a connection to intentionality: “Messes are low-intentionality as a whole but high-intentionality in their component pieces.” “A mess is a decaying purpose,” says @allgebrah. Chris Beiser deconstructs the experience of mess: “Mess is an incomplete aesthetic experience composed of a surplus of objects that produce aesthetic experiences (often themselves incomplete) of vastly different types and durations, without a canonical ordering.” And Daniel Klein hints at the implied user interface of mess in conceiving of “mess as matter deficient in side-effect-free interfaces.”
And here is the answer: in order for mess to appear, there must be in the component parts of the mess an implication of extreme order, the kind of highly regular order generally associated with human intention. Flat uniform surfaces and printed text imply, promise, or encode a particular kind of order. In mess, this promise is not kept. The implied order is subverted. Often, as in my mess of text and logos above, the implied order is subverted by other, competing orders.
Fascinating article on CRISPR, likely one of the most significant scientific developments in our lifetimes:
He went on to say that humans no longer need to be governed by nature, or rely on brutal and ruinous methods to control it. “When nature does something that hurts us, we respond with chemistry and physics,” he said. “We spread toxic pesticides that kill problematic pests, and often kill most of the other insects in the area as well. To get rid of mosquitoes, we use bulldozers to drain swamps. It works. But it also destroys wetlands and many other species. Imagine that an insect is eating your crops. If you have a gene drive and you understand how olfaction works in that pest, you could just reprogram it to go on its merry way. The pest would still be in the ecosystem, but it would just dislike the taste of your crop. That is a much more elegant way of interacting with nature than anything we do now.”
Some great stuff in this Edge list: What Scientific Term or Concept Ought to Be More Widely Known? For instance, Helena Cronin on sex.
See also this on Bayes’ Theorem, which is why stereotypes are relevant for judgments about individuals, even when one has individualized information.
GQ on the rise of nootropic drugs
danah boyd asks: Did Media Literacy Backfire?
My Ad Fontes article on Pentecost as Ecclesiology is available to read here.
I wrote a piece on women in UFC a week ago (check out my contributions in the comments), which caused rather a lot of controversy. Rachael Starke posted on the subject here and here (I address some of the issues raised in both of her posts in the comments of the first) and Wendy Alsup here (again, I left a few remarks in the comments). The Christianity Today podcast Quick to Listen invited me on to discuss the subject a couple of days ago. You can listen to the discussion here.
Rick Hogaboam posts on a related issue, discussing women, weapons, and warfare in C.S. Lewis’s Narnia
Andrew Wilson asks whether there is a connection between changing notions of pastoral ministry and the increased presence of women in pastoral office
Nathanael Smith reviews Silence, which I watched on Monday and am still thinking a lot about.
Matt Colvin posts a passage about the thief on the cross
Peter Leithart on Britain’s accidental empire
William Lindesay has produced drone footage of the Great Wall of China. He talks a little about his work here:
Do you have any thoughts on any of the issues raised above?
The comments of this thread are also free for you to:
- Discuss things that you have been reading/listening to/watching recently
- Share interesting links
- Share stimulating discussions in comment threads
- Ask questions
- Put forward a position for more general discussion
- Tell us about yourself and your interests
- Publicize your blog, book, conference, etc.
- Draw our intention to worthy thinkers, charities, ministries, books, and events
- Post reviews
- Suggest topics for future posts
- Use as a bulletin board
Over to you!