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Miscellany

Does an orchestra conductor matter? Consider the New York Philharmonic. After Bernstein left in 1973, writes Norman Lebrecht, “Pierre Boulez brought six years of modernist chic, followed by decades of torpor with Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, Lorin Maazel, Alan Gilbert and the incumbent Dutchman Jaap van Zweden (yes, who?). None of these baton wagglers grabbed the city by the love-handles the way Bernstein did, or tuned into its rhythms. Yet the Philharmonic plays on. It sounds more or less the same….”

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So this is a cool story. I’ve been in and around that area countless times—hiking, fishing, swimming—and had no idea. While we’re at it, National Geographic on our very own Channeled Scablands and the high school teacher who “dared to question the scientific dogma of his day.”

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Thomas Nagel on moral epistomology: “not the kind of epistemological question posed when we consider how to respond to a general scepticism about morality, or about value, but an epistemological question internal to moral thought.”

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Speaking of epistemic frameworks, here’s Tim Hsiao to remind you that your lived experiences aren’t special: “One cannot prove or disprove generalizations simply based on personal experiences. This is a pretty basic rule of statistical reasoning that seems to have been lost on many people who should know better.”

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Writing advice from the great Raymond Carver.

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Good to know: “The ‘humane’ way to kill cicadas is to place them in the freezer for a few hours. You then want to blanch them in boiling water for 5 minutes, cooking their insides solid and making sure any nasty bacteria they may be carrying are killed off.” But first, of course, “you want to make sure you get a cicada when it’s good and ripe.”



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