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If it’s not too late to pick my favorite reads from 2012, I offer Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story. It’s a wonderful look at some of the big questions about how we came to be, who we are, and what it all means. The book offers a mix of…

Favorite from 2012: Why Does The World Exist?

If it’s not too late to pick my favorite reads from 2012, I offer Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story. It’s a wonderful look at some of the big questions about how we came to be, who we are, and what it all means. The book offers a mix of science and philosophy that sets your mind on a quest to answer some of life’s questions and read even more from the many authors whom he interviews and whose work he summarizes. Here’s a description from Barnes and Noble:

“While most of us have been doing our laundry or answering our mail, essayist Jim Holt has been pondering the Ultimate Big Question: Why does the world exist? To track down the most plausible answers, this apparently tireless investigator sought out maverick scientists, eccentric philosophers, Eastern religious sages, and even the venerable John Updike. The possibilities that he discovered are, depending on your temperament, either awe-inspiring or downright frightening: One of his interviewees suggests that God might be a renegade physicist hacker. A cerebrum-stimulating read.”

From Book Beast:

Posted by Joel on January 19 2013 • Books

Ode to a Flower

Courtesy of Brain Pickings, Richard Feynman’s famous ode to a flower and knowledge, animated.

Posted by Joel on January 06 2013 • Multimedia

Lincoln: the movie and the president

So how close is Lincoln depicted by Daniel Day-Lewis in the current film to what historians believe was the historical personality? Pretty close, actually. The New York Review of Books has published an interesting story about the film. Here is writer David Bromwich on Lincoln’s voice:

“It is a commanding performance and a credible one. Day-Lewis has squeezed his usual voice into a thinner, higher, reedy instrument, with a gravelly roughness under it. The voice curls into a growl: there is hardly a day in January when Lincoln is not taxed almost beyond endurance. We can be sure somebody working on the picture read an account of Lincoln’s speaking voice, for it had some of these properties, yet it showed a strange power: not booming and baritone, indeed not resonant in any obvious way, but by all accounts close to a high alto; it could irritate at first but after a few paragraphs his listeners would stand enthralled.”

Posted by Joel on January 05 2013 • Books