Category: Great Questions

From The TLS: In Search of Excitement

A history of the novel, The Oxford History of the Novel in English, Volume 7, asks whether the novel is history. Another,The Value of the Novel, by Peter Boxall provides the theoretical foundation for the argument that the novel is not dead–it has only taken a novel form, one that will forecast cultural change as […]

From boingboing: “brain scans” of artificial intelligence processes

Graphcore is a start-up company that has recently secured $30m “to deliver massive acceleration for machine learning.” One of its latest findings has been posted by Mark Frauenfelder at boingboing: “brain scans” of Graphcore’s Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU), which is likea rudimentary brain that can performbasic processes related to learning and memory. Here’s an image […]

From The Times Literary Supplement: Steve Bannon, heir to Plato

Steve Bannon (good name) believes in a cyclical theory of history. We do not have the evidence for it, which is just the point, sincethe argument then becomes circular. The nice thing about cycles is that it suggests revolution, something we like here; the bad thingis thatBannon feels perhaps that he is the spearhead of […]

From The TLS: How Should the Humanities Make The News?

Rightly, Mary Beard in a recent article for the TLS takes for granted the question about whether the humanities should make it in the news at all. In a sense, it would be derogating from one of the signal purposes of the humanities if they were to be made the subject of more headlines. For […]

From The Chicago Maroon: Read it and Weep

(“Read it and Weep” might not have been the best entry into one’s column). As all of you probably know, our world has experienced a tragedy recently, and some of us are still finding it difficult to recover from the sounding of the death-knell: Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature: Literature? […]

From Quartz: Women are horribly under-represented in the world’s top literary prizes

Aamna Mohdin at The Quartz has alerted her readers that female writers are not being treated fairly by the judges of the world’s top literary prizes. The apparently trite cliche that one should never judge a book by its cover seems due for renewal or revision especially now. But this itself is hardly news to […]

From Education Week: Teaching Shakespeare with 21st Century Technology

As much as it helps to attend lectures, heed instruction, and explore themes we have not discovered ourselves but of whose salience we are assured nonetheless, the most enjoyment that Shakespeare has to offer can only be tapped through self-struggle. A kind in which the self not only struggles to develop with the help of […]

From the Times Literary Supplement: Dylan’s voice, music, and words

A visionary trinity. ProfesSir Christopher Ricks is one of the most energetic octogenarians we have on the literary scene. Age has clearly not impaired his hearing, which has been and remains so keenly attune to the sounds and subtleties of (among others) Milton and Tennyson, that it has served as an aid for our own. […]

Study philosophy for better welders?

When Marco Rubio declared “We need more welders and less philosophers,” he was greeted with quite the bit of applause. This push for vocational work (shall we call it a populist appeal?) has become a central thread in the public conversation of this election season; this is likely motivated by continuing concerns about economic recovery […]

To believe or not to believe

Whether you are coming to the course as alover of science or to learn more ABOUT science, CC 212 (course name: “Reality”!) is a place to explore the beauty of quantum physics among many other topics. Eager physicists and philosophers alike enter one of the most challenging fields hoping to make a discovery that could […]