Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mevia Hakol - Shalom Chanoch מביאה הכל - שלום חנוך



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Viktor Frankl on Those Who Survived The Holocaust and Those Who Did Not

I just finished reading Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. I'm not sure anyone can read that book without getting knots in one's throat and/or getting teary-eyed...

The book isn't so much an account of events that took place during the Holocaust, but of the individual, subjective experiences of those who were sent to concentration camps, what they had to endure, what happened to their minds and bodies, and the life-or-death dilemmas they had to confront on a daily basis. This is an account written by a particularly thoughtful, honest and courageous psychologist who was able to interpret such experiences in light of larger issues about humanity in general.

The following is just one chilling example of the kind of insight and epiphany that makes this book one everyone ought to read:

On the average, only those prisoners could keep alive who, after years of trekking from camp to camp, had lost all scruples in their fight for existence; they were prepared to use every means, honest and otherwise, even brutal force, theft, and betrayal of their friends, in order to save themselves. We who have come back, by the aid of many lucky chances or miracles—whatever one may choose to call them—we know: the best of us did not return.

That quote just sends cold chills down my spine...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Maravilla Martínez Vs. Martín Murray - Así lo contó Radio Del Plata AM 1030


Hasta último momento la lluvia fue la protagonista de la gran velada entre Sergio "Maravilla" Martínez y Martín Murray, finalmente la pelea se adelantó para las 21:30; la fiesta estaba asegurada.



Radio Del Plata transmitió, desde las 20:15, la pelea en la que Sergio "Maravilla" Martínez retuvo el título mundial mediano de la CMB.

Pablo Ladaga (Relatos), Aldo Proietto, Marcelo Domínguez (Comentarios), Diego Arvilly y el "Profe" Juan Carlos Pellegrini (Ringside) acompañados, desde estudios, por Silvio Maverino fueron quienes se encargaron de llevar, a través de la radio, cada momento de una pelea que quedará guardada en la memoria. 


Relato del Round 12 - Pablo Ladaga (Radio Del Plata AM 1030)

Final de la transmisión de Radio Del Plata AM 1030

Friday, April 26, 2013

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What Is Zeno's Dichotomy Paradox?

When I first introduce my students to the weirdness of philosophy and how even our most deeply-entrenched beliefs might be subject to serious questioning, I usually like to begin by posing to them Zeno's attempt to refute the idea that motion is possible (here's a fun little animation to get you started), and then continue to defend him against the objections raised by the students.

This has the dual benefit of being both a nice introduction to questioning dogmas and a nice exercise in critical thinking: since the students are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Zeno is wrong, they concoct all kinds of arguments to refute him. The problem, of course, is that it's notoriously difficult to explain why exactly he's wrong, where he's made some kind of mistake.

Now, I get the idea of a limit in calculus, and I get the idea of the sum of a series as opposed to the sum of the individual members of a series, but I have noticed that we seem to have such an aversion to Zeno's conclusions that even professional philosophers and mathematicians tend to engage in a kind of prestidigitation in which they explain a mathematical method for solving the paradox that ends up being more smoke and mirrors than a genuine solution. The problem, and the following animation is an example of this, is that they tend to frame the paradox in a way that's question-begging, one in which they assume motion in order to prove motion.

In the following animation, it seems clear how you can refute Zeno once you grant him motion to the first halfway point, but for Zeno, he wasn't willing to concede actually having crossed that halfway point. For him, the challenge is that BEFORE you reach that halfway point, you must reach the halfway point of that halfway point, and before you can do that, you must reach that other halfway point, lather, rinse, repeat ad infinitum, and Zeno's conclusion is that you NEVER actually get to leave the starting point: you haven't gone anywhere.




As you can see, if you don't grant any motion at all to begin with, the above explanation, nice as it is, doesn't quite do the trick, does it?

When trying to refute someone, you should always ask how that person might respond to your objections, and if you're charitable, right or wrong, that will give you a better sense of the real strength of your own arguments. When it comes to Zeno, I tend to think that if you were to explain to him the asymptotic concept of a limit in calculus, he could just apply his paradox to that and be right back in business with his own paradox, now fortified with steroids...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cambio de rumbo

Luego de unos 3 años de mucho crecimiento, la vida me pone por delante un nuevo desafío profesional. Sumé una experiencia hermosa del día a día en Radio Cooperativa, lugar que guardo en un lugar importante de mi corazón y que siempre estará presente en mi carrera profesional. Hoy empiezo a circular otro camino, pero sigo en lo que amo, la radio.

Esta nueva etapa estará en Radio Del Plata con un equipo hermoso y en la producción de "Detrás de lo que Vemos", programa que arrancó el 15 de abril y va de lunes a viernes de 12 a 14 Hs. Allí el desafío es producir a dos enormes productores y programadores: Bernarda Llorente y Claudio Villarruel. No tengo dudas que saldrán lindas cosas.

Gracias eternas y totales a todos los que compartieron esta hermosa etapa laboral. Termina un ciclo, pero quedan amigos: "Poder decir adiós, es crecer"




    

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Lagur Ito - Riki Gal לגור איתו - ריקי גל

Letra de Mirit Shem Or, e melodia de Tzvika Pik. A versão mais conhecida é a de Riki Gal, e abaixo oferecemos também uma versão 'mais pesada' de Tzvika Pik.


Versão tradicional com Riki Gal





Versão do autor da canção, Tzvika Pik



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Ahava Besof Hakaitz - Tzvika Pik אהבה בסוף הקיץ - צביקה פיק



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Mala Mala - Tzvika Pik מעלה מעלה - צביקה פיק



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Harakdan Haotomati - Tzvika Pik הרקדן האוטומטי - צביקה פיק



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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Kol Shaa - Chava Alberstein כל שעה - חוה אלברשטיין



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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Laura Snyder - The Philosophical Breakfast Club

When we think about scientists, and especially the birth of science, our minds usually go straight to Galileo, Descartes, Kepler and Newton, and then to folks like Michael Faraday, Joseph Priestly, Antoine Lavoisier, Lord Kelvin, Darwin, etc. Or maybe for some of you it goes all the way back to Thales, Democritus, Empedocles and Aristotle...

What most people don't know, however, is that none of these people called themselves 'scientists.' The term was only invented by the philosopher/scientist William Whewell during Darwin's lifetime to demarcate the work of experimental 'natural philosophers' and naturalists from that of 'philosophers' more broadly construed. Whewell came up with the word 'scientits' as the equivalent of 'artists' to separate those philosophers who worked according to inductive reasoning based on observation and experimentation from those that engaged in reasoning from first principles.

But Whewell wasn't content with simply assigning a different name to these experimental philosophers. Along with his friends Charles Babbage (inventor of the difference and analytic engines, and mentor to Ada Lovelace, the enchantress of numbers), John Herschel and Richard Jones, Whewell wanted to change the very nature of what science is, how it works and what purposes it strives to achieve. In the following TEDTalk, historian Laura Snyder (and I'm guessing by her tone, former museum tour-guide) tells the story of this fascinating scientific revolution, about which you can also read in her book The Philosophical Breakfast Club.



If you ever get a chance, you ought to read up on John Stuart Mill and William Whewell's battle to determine the precise nature of inductive reasoning, and how Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by natural selection got caught up right in the middle of it...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Monty Python - The Argument Clinic

If you've ever met or seen philosophers in action, you've probably noticed a couple of things: they're wicked smart, they're incredibly nit-picky about defining their terms (and getting others to do the same), and they love to argue.

I can see why many people would find these traits off-putting—in fact, that's kind of why the Athenians sentenced Socrates to death!— but I also hope you can see why they're important, so I thought I'd share a couple of examples.

In the first clip, we have the famous Argument Clinic skit from Monty Python, in which a fundamental disagreement about just what exactly an argument is (in the technical sense: a collection of statements connected to establish a definite proposition) leads to another sense of an argument (the one understood more colloquially: a quarrel, or mere contradiction between disagreeing parties).



And, thanks to former President George W. Bush, here is a great and hilarious example of what can happen when you don't define your terms clearly:



Looks like the choice is yours: would you rather be thought nit-picky or an absolute idiot? ;)

Ima, Aba, Vechol Hashaar - Idan Raichel אמא, אבא וכל השאר - הפרויקט של עידן רייכל

A letra é uma poesia de Reuven Politi, que foi morto na guerra de Yom Kipur em 1973, nas colinas do Golan. Esta canção faz parte do projeto "Od meat nahafoch leshir" (daqui a pouco viraremos canções) da rádio militar Galei Tzahal. A melodia é de Idan Raichel, e aparece em seu quarto álbum "Habaita, Haloch Chazor" de 2011.


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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hamichtav Haacharon - Idan Amedi המכתב האחרון - עידן עמדי

A letra da canção é baseada em trechos de cartas que o soldado Moshe Ochayon mandou para sua namorada enquanto servia no exército de Israel. Moshe morreu em 1995 no Sul do Líbano. A canção faz parte do projeto "Od meat nahafoch leshir" (daqui a pouco viraremos canções) da rádio militar Galei Tzahal.


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Ken Jennings - Watson, Jeopardy and Me

During the industrial revolution, much of the manual labor that had hitherto been done by people was suddenly taken over by machines, who were faster, more accurate, cheaper, and didn't complain about safe working conditions, fair wages, paid sick days, maternity leave, holiday pay and so on, so they replaced people, who ended up losing their jobs.

Well, that's physical labor, we laughed, and thought that machines could never replace our raw brain power: we know how to think, how to reason, how to solve problems, how to calculate and compute, etc. Well, guess what? As Watson, the powerful IBM supercomputer proved a couple of years ago, you might not want to feel so confident that you have job security just because your job requires mental power... the machines are coming, and unlike the terminator who was shooting for John and Sarah Connor, these machines are shooting for your job!

In the following TEDTalks presentation, Ken Jennings, all-star Jeopardy champion, tells the story of his experience of being the best Jeopardy player of all time and getting beaten by a computer, and reflects on what this might mean for the future of humanity.



How long until your job is taken over by a computer?

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Pat Robertson - Want Miracles? Be Simple-Minded, Credulous and Uneducated

In a strange case similar to that of Benjamin Button, it seems as though Pat Robertson's senility is firmly advancing in the direction of reason, to the point that I've been wondering lately whether he's becoming one of the most interesting exponents of religious nonsense and an unexpected advocate for secularism. Well, either that or he's so far gone the deep end that he's not even trying to be ironic... Here's a case in point:



Ah, those simple, primitive people... they'll believe any nonsense you tell them :)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lechol Ish Yesh Shem - Chava Alberstein לכל איש יש שם - חוה אלברשטיין

A letra da canção é uma das mais conhecidas poesias da poetisa Zelda. Foi publicada em 1974 em uma coletânea de poesias chamada "Al Tirchak", todas de autoria de Zelda. A canção é tocada em Israel em dias nacionais de memória, como Yom Hazikaron e Yom HaShoa. A melodia é de Chanan Yovel e a canção foi lançada no álbum "Kmo Tzemach Bar" de Chava Alberstein.


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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Kurt Vonnegut - Breakfast of Champions

If you believe in reincarnation, you could reasonably believe that Kurt Vonnegut was the reincarnated soul of Mark Twain. With their brief and minimalist styles, as well as their no-holes-barred aphorisms, these two authors managed to drive American literature to a place where substance could take a front seat in our collective consciousness in a way that's rarely accessible through other authors. In the process, they got us to question many of the sacred cows we usually take for granted. In the following reading of an excerpt from Breakfast of Champions, we get to see Vonnegut touch, in his uniquely hilarious way, on the American experience of racism, capitalism, free will, family values, patriotism, religion, parenthood and personhood. Best of all, we get to see that he was so funny he could make himself crack up :)



How awesome was that? :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Real Victims of Gun Control?

The number of gun-related deaths in America, at least compared to civilized countries, is out of control (as you can tell from the poster to the right), but when it comes to reasonable debate, somehow we just lose it.

We are a freedom-loving people, or so we tell ourselves, and we get paranoid about losing the liberties that we care about, but we are also perfectly comfortable imposing our values and intruding in other people's lives when it comes to other things we care about. In this respect, only libertarians tend to be consistent in asking for almost complete government non-intervention in the choices that adults get to make. Conservatives and liberals, though, affirm one sort of freedom, but are happy to take away another. Just look at how they treat the first and second Amendments to the Bill of Rights to get an idea of what I'm talking about.

But the main problem, especially on the right of the political spectrum, has to do with the absolutely insane extremism associated with the fear of and opposition to gun control, to the point that, as the following clips from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart indicate, they are completely oblivious to the real victims of guns.



But let's not protect people from guns... let's protect guns from people:



And of course, while people are getting killed all over the place, this is the kind of thing that Fox News is upset, actually outraged, about:



If we're not afraid of fully automated machine guns, why are we so afraid of a discussion?