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In the News 14.01.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets


In the News 14.01.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

1. Back to the Future, Time Travel, and the Secret History of the 1980s

“Now that it’s 2015, we have (plus or minus a few months) caught up with the farthest future shown in the Back to the Future trilogy. You almost certainly know this already, because there have been dozens of stories about it. For the past few years, there have been hoaxes proclaiming that this day is the day seen in Back to the Future II, complete with photoshopped chronometers. (Now, there’s actually an online Back to the Future hoax generator for one-stop hoaxing.) The first stories comparing our present to the movie’s imagined future hit the web before 2014 was even finished. And this is after years of revisiting and anticipating what was to come.”

Read the rest of this article at The Message



2. We Know How You Feel

“Our faces are organs of emotional communication; by some estimates, we transmit more data with our expressions than with what we say, and a few pioneers dedicated to decoding this information have made tremendous progress. Perhaps the most successful is an Egyptian scientist living near Boston, Rana el Kaliouby. Her company, Affectiva, formed in 2009, has been ranked by the business press as one of the country’s fastest-growing startups, and Kaliouby, thirty-six, has been called a “rock star.” There is good money in emotionally responsive machines, it turns out. For Kaliouby, this is no surprise: soon, she is certain, they will be ubiquitous.”

Read the rest of this article at The New Yorker



3. The Power of Story

“Back in the fall of 1999, Norman Conard, a history teacher at the Uniontown High School in Kansas, asked his students to come up with a project for National History Day. While brainstorming ideas, ninth-grader Elizabeth Cambers stumbled on an old clipping from US News and World Report. The story included the line, ‘Irena Sendler saved 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942-43.”

Read the rest of this article at aeon



4. Stephen Hawking on Black Holes and Why He’d Be a Good Bond Villain

Hawking’s public persona manages to combine Carl Sagan’s popular appeal with Richard Feynman’s maverick brilliance for theoretical insight. He has deftly packaged his theories and thoughts (he is known to be able to reflect deeply about physics even when engaged in social events) in popular books, from A Brief History of Time — a bestseller which almost single-handedly launched the popular-science publishing industry — to The Grand Design, co-written with physicist Leonard Mlodinow in 2010. These books more than anything demonstrate Hawking’s propensity for concise and bold statements laced with an unconventional humour. Here, for example, is Hawking deliberating on the idea of the multiverse, the notion that the Universe doesn’t have a unique history, but rather that there exists a collection of all possible histories of the Universe, all equally real and with their own set of physical laws: “There might be one history in which the Moon is made of Roquefort cheese,” he writes. “But we have observed that the Moon is not made of cheese, which is bad news for mice.

Read the rest of this article at Wired



5. 53 Historians Weigh In on Barack Obama’s Legacy

“It’s a fool’s errand you’re involved in,” warned Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon Wood when approached recently by this magazine to predict Barack Obama’s historical legacy. “We live in a fog, and historians decades from now will tell their society what was happening in 2014. But we don’t know the future. No one in 1952, for example, could have predicted the reputation of Truman a half-century or so later.

Read the rest of this article at New York Magazine



P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.



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