Mesocosm

"Segne den Becher, welcher überfließen will, daß das Wasser golden aus ihm fließe und überallhin den Abglanz deiner Wonne trage!" – Nietzsche

Archive for the ‘Links’ Category

This book changed my life …

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… and it can change yours, too, if you give it a chance.

Written by Mesocosm

January 3, 2012 at 10:24 am

Posted in Ephemera, Links

Is global violence steadily declining?

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Harvard professor Steven Pinker, perhaps best known for The Language Instinct, his popular account of cognitive linguistics, has written a new book with the provocative thesis that violence has been steadily declining over the last several thousand years. From genocide to war, from capital punishment to violent crime, the available data, such as it is, all shows a downward trend. Pinker gives a compelling overview of his argument in “A History of Violence” on Edge.org.

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined is scheduled for release this week.

(image: a Bronze Age Skull from Troy, Neues Museum, Berlin)

Written by Mesocosm

October 3, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Posted in Ephemera, Links

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Stewart Brand’s Optimism

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Stewart BrandStewart Brand, founder of the Long Now Foundation, looks to the future more than most. But unlike many futurists he sees better times ahead, based on the best available evidence. This interview from The European gives a good overview of his perspectives on topics ranging from nuclear power to population density.

On the topic of political violence in the modern world he observes:

“We like to think that we are living in a very violent time, that the future looks dark. But the data says that violence has declined every millennium, every century, every decade. The reduction in cruelty is just astounding. So we should not focus too much on the violence that has marked the twentieth century. The interesting question is how we can continue that trend of decreasing violence into the future. What options are open to us to make the world more peaceful? Those are data-based questions.”

(via Arts & Letters Daily)

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Update – Brand’s ideas about the history of violence are based in part on the research findings of psychologist Steven Pinker, whose A History of Violence appears on Edge.org.

Written by Mesocosm

June 7, 2011 at 6:17 pm

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Professional Necromancy

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May 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm

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Etre au lit au Moyen Age

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The weekend edition of Le Monde carries a beautiful slide show of paintings of people in bed in the Middle Ages. My favorite is the bed painted like the sky to warn off the dangerous rays of the moon (no. 3).

Written by Mesocosm

May 27, 2011 at 5:17 pm

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