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Cuckoo

A new book explains how "social jet lag" is interfering with our internal clocks:

"Modern human beings are not much like mimosas. It’s true that both have biological clocks, but only one of us has culture. And culture, delightful as it is, turns out to radically complicate—“fuck up” would not be an overstatement—our relationship to time.

"Among species, we humans are to time what Polish villagers have long been to place: unhappy subjects of multiple competing regimes. The first regime is internal time: the schedule established by our bodies. The second is sun time: the schedule established by light and darkness. These two we share with houseplants and virtually every other living being. But we are also governed by a third regime: social time. That sounds benign enough, like afternoon tea with a friend. But don’t be fooled. Social time is the villain in this drama, out to turn you against health, happiness, nature, sanity, even your own inner self."
PUBLISHED: April 29, 2012
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2562 words)

Troy Davis and Being Wrong

Peter Neufeld is the co-director and one of the two founders of the Innocence Project – the organization I mentioned earlier that uses DNA evidence to overturn wrongful convictions. In addition to trying to free innocent people from prison, he and his colleagues work to improve criminal justice procedures so that fewer mistaken incarcerations occur in the first place. This means Neufeld spends a lot of time telling people that they’re wrong, or that the way they do their work is unjust and dangerously error-prone. As you might imagine, dealing with denial is a de facto part of his job description. When I met Neufeld in his offices in lower Manhattan, one of the first things he did was walk me through the many different stages of denial he routinely encounters. He was quick to point out that not everyone goes through all these stages, or even through any of them: many people working in law enforcement support the work of the Innocence Project and cooperate fully in its efforts to free the wrongfully convicted.
PUBLISHED: Sept. 22, 2011
LENGTH: 43 minutes (10777 words)

Ode to a Four-Letter Word

When it comes to profanity, I hail from what you might call a mixed background. My father swears freely and ­exuberantly—although, when I was a child, he did so exclusively in Polish. In moments of paternal irritation, an entire shtetl sprang to life in our suburban home. Psia krew, cholera, curwa, szmata: excrement, cholera, whores, rags. (Predictably, that gritty archipelago of my father’s native tongue is all the Polish I ever learned.) My mother, by contrast, swears approximately never. Moreover, some years ago, she confessed that she hates it when I do so.
PUBLISHED: June 5, 2011
LENGTH: 7 minutes (1982 words)

Here We (Don't) Go Again: Revisting the Millerites' 1844 Rapture Prediction

Sociologists often argue that apocalyptic creeds appeal primarily to the poor and the disenfranchised – those for whom the afterlife promises more than life itself has ever offered. But on that day in 1844, judges, lawyers and doctors, farmers and factory workers and freed slaves, the educated and the ignorant, the wealthy and the impoverished: all of them gathered as one to await the Rapture
PUBLISHED: May 20, 2011
LENGTH: 23 minutes (5939 words)

Google Research Dir. Peter Norvig on Being Wrong

Google's search engine has changed how we conduct research, plan vacations, resolve arguments, find old acquaintances, and check out potential mates. It's also radically reshaping the way we think about almost every imaginable medium.
SOURCE:Slate
PUBLISHED: Aug. 3, 2010
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4050 words)