329 – The speed of cultural change

May 24, 2015
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“Irish voters have decisively voted in favor of marriage equality, making Ireland the first country to do so through the ballot box. Only one of the 43 constituencies voted against the proposal.”[1] In other words, both rural and urban voters chose to endorse the social innovation. What is interesting to me is not so much […]

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328 – Sunk costs have zero value

May 3, 2015
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(An elegy on the Greek “problem”) But when he came to himself he said, “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough to spare, and I’m dying with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I […]

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327 – Worlds that vanish – unnoticed

May 2, 2015
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Thanks to the internet, nothing is forgotten nowadays: or is it? As we returned at sunset to the port of Hydra, I took this photo: One notes the reflections in the hand-made window panes. As the glass sheet is pulled, rather than rolled, such minimal imperfections inevitably arise. They give “depth” to an otherwise dull […]

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326 – Do ideas have genealogies?

April 24, 2015
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In a recent essay,[1] the Italian philosopher Giorgio AGAMBEN outlines the “genealogy” of the concept called dispositif,[2] tracing it to Hegel and other precursors. I was perplexed. One of the origins of the term is in genetics. It describes the transmission of information – encoded in DNA – from one generation to the next. The […]

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325 – What can the Amazons teach us?

April 1, 2015
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It is a fact – even though it may have escaped the New York Times – the Amazons were real fighting and warring women of the Scythian steppes that extended from the Danube basin all the way to Mongolia. In the last ten years, advances in DNA techniques allowed archeologists to determine the sex of […]

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324 – “The rights of future generations” – the emptiness and the plenitude

March 30, 2015
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While there were certainly many precursors, the “rights of future generations” theme entered the international political mainstream with the Brundtland Commission Report.[1] The report spoke of “sustainable development”[2] a complex and ambitious if ambiguous concept. The discussion, however, soon “hardened:” “Most agree that the central idea of the Brundtland Commission’s definition of ‘sustainable development’ is […]

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323 – Sifting through the midden of IBRD yearly Reports

March 26, 2015
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By sifting through middens, archeologists find information about the daily life of long gone cultures. Linguists have applied the same principle to IBRD yearly reports, and they too have come up with interesting findings.[1] Discarded words reveal much about the person’s[2] or an institution’s mindset as it changes over time. Spurning content, the authors have […]

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