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Lee Humphreys, "The urge to share news of our lives is neither new nor narcissistic," Aeon
"Diaries are not the only media that people have used to document lives and share them with others. Scrapbooks, photo albums, baby books and even slide shows are all ways in which we have done this in the past, to various audiences. Together, they suggest that we have long used media as a means of creating traces of our lives. We do this to understand ourselves, to see trends in our behaviour that we can’t in lived experiences. We create traces as part of our identity work and as part of our memory work. Sharing mundane and everyday life events can reinforce social connection and intimacy."
LeeHumphreys  Aeon  diaries  SocialMedia  identity 
7 days ago by briansholis
Ross Andersen, "The Vanishing Groves," Aeon
"The burning of books and libraries has perhaps fallen out of fashion, but if you look closely, you will find its spirit survives in another distinctly human activity, one as old as civilisation itself: the destruction of forests. Trees and forests are repositories of time; to destroy them is to destroy an irreplaceable record of the Earth’s past. Over this past century of unprecendented deforestation, a tiny cadre of scientists has roamed the world’s remaining woodlands, searching for trees with long memories, trees that promise science a new window into antiquity. To find a tree’s memories, you have to look past its leaves and even its bark; you have to go deep into its trunk, where the chronicles of its long life lie, secreted away like a library’s lost scrolls. This spring, I journeyed to the high, dry mountains of California to visit an ancient forest, a place as dense with history as Alexandria. A place where the heat of a dangerous fire is starting to rise."
Aeon  RossAndersen  DeepTime  trees  ClimateChange  dendrochronology 
8 days ago by briansholis
Why is English so weirdly different from other languages? | Aeon Essays
"English speakers know that their language is odd. So do people saddled with learning it non-natively. The oddity that we all perceive most readily is its spelling, which is indeed a nightmare. In countries where English isn’t spoken, there is no such thing as a ‘spelling bee’ competition. For a normal language, spelling at least pretends a basic correspondence to the way people pronounce the words. But English is not normal."
JohnMcWhorter  Aeon  language  English  spelling 
8 days ago by briansholis
Siobhan Phillips, "Should you feel sad about the demise of the handwritten letter?" Aeon
"Physicality feeds the letter’s distinct appeal. Words on paper bring something that one person has touched to the touch of another; they metonymically figure the human body by transporting its combination of persistence and perishability."
SiobhanPhillips  letters  handwriting  correspondence  Aeon  PublicSphere 
8 days ago by briansholis
Frankincense and myrrh were not only holy but heretical too | Aeon Essays
In the traditional Christmas narrative, wise men from the East brought gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold for the infant Christ. Many explanations exist for the choice of these three items. Most centre on the idea that frankincense was for the birth of a divinity, myrrh was for his embalmment after death, and gold was a recognition of his status as king.
aeon  theology  religion  culture-religion 
11 days ago by lorenzck
Orbit | Aeon Videos
A journey around earth in real time; video, 92:39 min:sec
video  NASA  space  earth  Aeon 
6 weeks ago by amoore
Inside the mind of a bee is a hive of sensory activity | Aeon Essays
Are insects ‘philosophical zombies’ with no inner life? Close attention to their behaviours and moods suggests otherwise
aeon  science 
6 weeks ago by robward
‘Let the soul dangle’: how mind-wandering spurs creativity | Aeon Ideas
Many of us are familiar with mind-wandering in a number of guises: procrastination, reflection, meditation, self-flagellation, daydreaming
aeon  creative  philopoli  productivity 
7 weeks ago by trianta
Why would Apollo make positive statements about Judaism? | Aeon Essays
Confused, inferior and philosophically unsound: the Greco-Roman critique of the Old Testament could have been written today
bible  christianity  judaism  aeon  history  religion  pagan  greek 
9 weeks ago by thejaymo
Believing without evidence is always morally wrong | Aeon Ideas
What we believe is then of tremendous practical importance. False beliefs about physical or social facts lead us into poor habits of action that in the most extreme cases could threaten our survival.
aeon  philopoli  biases 
9 weeks ago by trianta
The secret intellectual history of mathematics | Aeon Essays
Mostly agree, but it needs to be said that most of the great ideas maths has injected into history have come about as pure coincidence.
Take this, for example:
Rather, what attracts them, in the words of The Mathematics Lover’s Companion (2017) by the graph theorist Ed Scheinerman, are ‘joyful, beautiful’ theorems and proofs, which they arrive at through the sweat of intellectual play. Akin to the best poems, they contain truths about the world perfectly expressed.
The fist sentence is completely true, but the second sentence isn't. Theorems ARE akin to poems in certain ways (mainly aesthetic) but they don't "contain truths about the world, perfectly expressed": it's truths about the world of mathematics they capture. And despite its "unreasonable effectiveness", that world is not the real world. Pure mathematics is the only discipline whose map is exactly its territory.
maths  intellectual-history  aeon 
10 weeks ago by tkmharris
What duelling can teach us about taking offence | Aeon Essays
Such stories help to explain why Voltaire turns up so frequently in today’s debates over offensive speech

Pretty sure the reason Voltaire crops up so much is people using his quip about "I may not agree with what you say but I will defend &c." to defend shitty speech they agree with tbh
free-speech  history  aeon 
12 weeks ago by tkmharris

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