. . . Of the Week (5-17-14)

Articles of the Week

You’re getting two for the price of one this week.  The first article comes from one of my favorite websites, io9.  As you know if you follow my blog regularly, a pet topic of mine is cognitive biases.  Well, as it so happens, io9 published a great article on cognitive biases a few days ago, and I think it is quite worth sharing.  The article references one of my favorite nonfiction writers, Steven Pinker.  Please note that the title is a bit misleading.  There are actually hundreds–perhaps thousands–of identified cognitive biases, and they all prevent us from being rational in their own way.  Rather, these are twelve of the most common ones we all deal with.

The 12 cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational

Our second article comes from a homegrown libertarian who explains why he has abandoned libertarian values in favor of liberal ones.  I once favored a more libertarian system as well, having read and admired Henry David Thoreau in high school, although in my case I abandoned libertarianism pretty shortly thereafter, as I had met some other libertarians and found them to be . . . well, less than reasonable, let’s say.  I then gave it a lot more thought and realized that the principle flaw in libertarianism is that it consciously ignores the fact that we don’t all live in our own self-contained little bubbles nor have zero impact on the environment and other people, which they deny whilst touting the concept of “rational self-interest,” really just a positive semantic spin on their supreme value: pure selfishness.

They argue that it isn’t really selfish because they want the same thing for everyone.  That’s like me arguing that my smoking in public isn’t bad for the people around me as long as they “get” to smoke too.  Have you noticed that extremist political philosophies are always based on simplistic, one-size-fits-all moral philosophies?  Anyway, without further ado . . .

Why I fled libertarianism — and became a liberal

Art of the Week

Modern surrealist artist and graphic designer H. R. Giger passed away last Monday.  Giger’s imprint has been left on so many things: album covers, furniture designs, interior designs, film sets, and so on, but his most famous contribution to pop culture was his xenomorph design used in the film Alien and its sequels.  Perhaps Meister Giger has moved on to some biomechanical paradise, something like the spooky place seen in this piece (a nod to Symbolist painter Arnold Böcklin’s Isle of the Dead paintings) . . .

H. R. Giger - Hommage à Boecklin
H. R. Giger – Hommage à Boecklin

Video Clip of the Week

Jack White tells an amusing story about how he came up with this song.  It came about from a conversation with his young daughter, who had asked him for a snack.  When he inquired what she’d like to eat, she replied that she’d like sixteen saltine crackers.  Yep, that definitely sounds like something Jack White’s kid might say.  🙂  Anyway, the music video for this song is bizarre, which means it’s right up my alley.

Jack White – Sixteen Saltines

Website of the Week

If you’d like to learn about the history of art but are put off by all the pretentiousness that tends to come along for the ride in any critical discussions of art, then this is the site for you!  This one will be going in the blogroll as well, so you can find it there in the future without having to search this blog.

Art History Unstuffed 

Meme of the Week/Quote of the Week

That will do it for this week.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


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