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Posts tagged "test"

The Woman Who "Felt No Fear"

From the March edition of Harper’s, an interesting bit about a woman who, like all of us, feels a morbidly interesting compulsion towards those things which most terrify her. A telling chunk: “For many years, SM has repeatedly told us that she ‘hates’ snakes and spiders and ‘tries to avoid them.’ To test her real-life […]

The Science of Atonement

A revealing and undoubtedly controversial report in this week’s Economist, “Purification By Pain: The Mascochism Tango,” looking at the relationship between guilt and pain. Turns out there is one! Go figure: The idea that experiencing pain reduces feelings of guilt has never been put to a proper scientific test. To try to correct that, Brock […]

Nietzsche, Socrates, Seneca and The Philosopher’s Stone

A fascinating if somewhat downbeat review of James Miller’s new Examined Lives: From Socrates to Nietzsche appeared in this past weekend’s NY Times Book Review, containing more than a few gems about human nature and the search for meaning. In particular, the book details how various philosophers have negotiated, or failed to negotiate, the impossible […]

Irreplicability, Publication Bias, The Decline Effect and The Scientific Method

Another worthy addition to our coverage of all things human fallibility-related from Jonah Lehrer, published a few weeks ago in The New Yorker. Specifically, on the increasingly complicated nature of epistemology in the modern scientific community. It would appear that “hard” scientists run into more problems replicating significant results than they would care to admit. […]

The Race to Nowhere, Nowhen and Nothing

Following up on yesterday’s documentary list, a relevant article in the NY Times about the encouraging response to the new film Race To Nowhere: The Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture. Lots of great stuff about performance, pressure, and the increasingly cracked-out meritocracy of America’s prep-schools. I’m personally not sure how much of an effect […]

The Pain, The Pleasure and The Pepper

An amusing addition to the annals of human foibles, with a slight tree-of-good-and-evil aspect, from this morning’s NY Times: Others, notably Dr. Paul Rozin at the University of Pennsylvania, argue that the beneficial effects [of eating spicy chilis] are too small to explain the great human love of chili-spiced food. “I don’t think they have […]

General Confession – Brad Davis

Test me, O Lord, and try me.
Psalm 26:2

In each promise of faithfulness, traces
of countless betrayals: averted eyes,

a voice’s tremor. Like the air we breathe
or the glances we exchange with strangers

on strobe-lit dance floors, we test positive
for impurity. But do not expect

a list of lurid details in these lines;
I am neither Catholic nor Lowell nor Plath.

I am merely – how does the song go? – “prone
to wander.” So have we any chance,

this side of heaven, at a constant heart?
Or even modest progress toward that end?

The word’s out: love covers a multitude
of sins
. Is this the best we can hope for?

The Cincinnati Bengals: Grace in Football

The Bengals recently signed Terrell Owens (T.O.) and as a Steelers fan, I first laughed at the upcoming media circus. But as I thought about it more, it seemed odd that they would sign a player with such baggage. T.O. has a history of having a diva-like “me first,” destructive attitude (one commentator has deemed […]

How Will You Keep Christmas This Year? (Part 4)

Having considered in previous installments of this series why Christ came into the world, we turn our attention now to how he came. Jesus came in the manner of God’s king, the Messiah, and he came in such a way that his birth, life, death and resurrection fulfilled all that had been foretold of him […]

Wine Tasting, Vodka and Reason

Seeing the above bumper sticker in Washington DC this weekend, I was faced once again with the false dichotomy between religion and critical thought. Atheists, ‘positive thinkers’, and other ideologists like to believe that unlike religious people, they actually employ their immutable power of reason or thinking. But how effective are our powers of reason? […]

Grace for Mark McGwire?

As the World Series is set to begin, the biggest story in baseball isn’t the Phillies quest for a repeat title or the resurgence of A-Rod and the Yankees, but it’s the return of Mark McGwire to baseball as a hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. As expected, many fans are crying foul. Next […]