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Leon Wieseltier writes a wonderfully provocative lead essay in today’s New York Times Book Review: “The discussion of culture is being steadily absorbed into the discussion of business,” Wieseltier writes.” There are “metrics” for phenomena that cannot be metrically measured. Numerical values are assigned to things that cannot be captured by numbers. Economic concepts go…

The Bacchanal of Disruption

Leon Wieseltier writes a wonderfully provocative lead essay in today’s New York Times Book Review:

“The discussion of culture is being steadily absorbed into the discussion of business,” Wieseltier writes.” There are “metrics” for phenomena that cannot be metrically measured. Numerical values are assigned to things that cannot be captured by numbers. Economic concepts go rampaging through noneconomic realms: Economists are our experts on happiness! Where wisdom once was, quantification will now be.”

On “scientism, which is not the same as science:”

“The notion that the nonmaterial dimensions of life must be explained in terms of the material dimensions, and that nonscientific understandings must be translated into scientific understandings if they are to qualify as knowledge, is increasingly popular inside and outside the university, where the humanities are disparaged as soft and impractical and insufficiently new.”

On American intellectuals:

“Aside from issues of life and death, there is no more urgent task for American intellectuals and writers than to think critically about the salience, even the tyranny, of technology in individual and collective life. All revolutions exaggerate, and the digital revolution is no different. We are still in the middle of the great transformation, but it is not too early to begin to expose the exaggerations, and to sort out the continuities from the discontinuities. The burden of proof falls on the revolutionaries, and their success in the marketplace is not sufficient proof. Presumptions of obsolescence, which are often nothing more than the marketing techniques of corporate behemoths, need to be scrupulously examined.”

Posted by Joel on January 18 2015 • Current Affairs

Discover the Cosmos

I love this photo from the Peak Terskol Observatory located in the northern Caucasus Mountains of Russia.

image

Photo Caption: Observatory, Mountains, Universe
Image Credit & Copyright: Boris Dmitriev (Night Scape)
Explanation: “The awesomeness in this image comes in layers. The closest layer, in the foreground, contains the Peak Terskol Observatory located in the northern Caucasus Mountains of Russia. The white dome over the 2-meter telescope is clearly visible. The observatory is located on a shoulder of Mt. Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, with other peaks visible in a nearby background layer. Clouds are visible both in front of and behind the mountain peaks. The featured three-image composite panorama was taken in 2014 August. Far in the distance is the most distant layer: the stars and nebulas of the night sky, with the central band of the Milky Way rising on the image right.”

Posted by Joel on January 02 2015 • News