• Bach’s Favorite Number

    Bach’s 14 canons contain too much mathematical coding to suppose their self-harmonization is a coincidence. If the musician understands how to fit all the pieces of the mathematical puzzle within the canon together, then they can unlock its beauty. 

  • On Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (Three Book Recommendations)

    You may have heard the recent news of a major advance in practical machine learning and artificial intelligence. Released on November 30th by the San Francisco artificial intelligence company OpenAI, ChatGPT is being hailed as "quite simply, the best artificial intelligence chatbot ever released to the general public." Here are some of our recommendations for reading up on the coming brave new world.

  • Zombies on Your Mind?

    Just what is consciousness and how does it work? What does it mean that I am aware? That I am aware of myself? Does it arise entirely from the brain? Is it a function of a soul? Are other animals conscious? How would we know? Does individual consciousness survive beyond death? And what about ... zombies?

  • The Infinite Coast

    According to the U.S. state department the coastlines of Washington, Oregon and California together measure 2,131 km. This would seem to settle things. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (N.O.A.A.) says that number should be 3,288 km. Has at least one of these agencies measured ... poorly?

  • QFT: The World is Stranger Than You Thought

    Beginning with studies of electromagnetism, scientists have come to understand reality in such a way that there really is no such thing as tiny bits of matter that exist independently and that cannot be divided. Atomism (in any traditional sense) is dead. Reality is not what we thought it was.

  • On the Importance of Forgetting

    Most attention in our culture is given to the importance of remembering. But it turns out that forgetting can be just as important. The inability to forget can be as destructive as the inability to remember.