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Monthly Archive: August 2013

Aug 31 2013

Isn’t that what acting is?

Paul Schrader spoke of the difficulties he had with directing Lindsay Lohan in a new film, saying that “One of her problems as an actor is she has a very hard time faking things.”

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Aug 31 2013

Update on Chaser, the world’s smartest dog

Over two years ago, I wrote about Chaser, a border collie that not only had a vocabulary of over a thousand words, she could also make logical inferences. I now learn via Machines Like Us that Chaser has got even smarter. Dan Nosowitz got a demonstration of what Chaser can do.

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Aug 31 2013

Obama’s other ongoing war

Apart from all the other wars that president Obama has inherited, started, and is planning to start, his biggest battle may be with the English language. All politicians twist words, as George Orwell pointed out in a much-quoted passage: “Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to …

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Aug 30 2013

Snowden the chess master

Much of the attention has been focused on the revelations contained in the documents released by Edward Snowden and rightly so. It is what has been revealed and what it says about the way the government works that is important, not the people involved. But at the same time, I want to step back a …

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Aug 30 2013

Seeing our own brains at work

flicker

It is a little frustrating that we cannot see the workings of our own brain without the aid of external devices. But optical illusions are a fun way of getting some insight into the interplay of vision and cognition. I have a fondness for optical illusions and have shown and written about some of them …

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Aug 30 2013

Snowden reveals the government’s ‘black budget’

The Washington Post has an article that outlines the massive secret budget that the government has allocated for intelligence gathering. This was also part of the Snowden documents.

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Aug 30 2013

The ‘End Game Memo’

Greg Palast is an investigative journalist. In an article in Vice, he says that a source has given him a secret memo whose “content was so explosive, so sick and plain evil, I just couldn’t believe it.” The document that he calls the ‘End Game Memo’ reveals how top US treasury officials secretly colluded with …

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Aug 29 2013

Ghost riders in the sky

The late great Johnny Cash takes his turn at interpreting a strange but fascinating song, arguably one of the best cowboy songs ever written. I remember loving it for its great rhythm whenever it came on the radio, but never listened carefully to the lyrics. I just did so and found them weird, but the …

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Aug 29 2013

Shocking defeat for British PM on Syria

David Cameron called parliament back from vacation thinking that they would quickly approve a resolution giving him effectively a blank check to attack Syria. He argued that it was clear to him that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons and that the UN investigation was unnecessary, which is also the Obama administration position. When …

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Aug 29 2013

Obama comes clean

Sometimes, we need a bit of dark humor to get through periods of political darkness. Humorist Andy Borowitz has the scoop on the reasons that Obama is considering bombing Syria. Attempting to quell criticism of his proposal for a limited military mission in Syria, President Obama floated a more modest strategy today, saying that any …

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