Guru Gautam Rao

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Is the Brain No Different From a Light Switch? The Uncomfortable Ideas of the Philosopher Daniel Dennett

Is the brain no different from a light switch? Jonathan Weiner on the uncomfortable ideas of the philosopher Daniel Dennett.<p>For Daniel Dennett, …

Ray Bradbury on How List-Making Can Boost Your Creativity

Susan Sontag argued that lists confer value and guarantee our existence. Umberto Eco saw in them “the origin of culture.” But lists, it turns out, might be a remarkably potent tool for jostling the muse into manifesting — a powerful trigger for that stage of unconscious processing so central to the …

How Richard Dawkins Coined the Word Meme: The Legendary Atheist’s Surprising Religious Inspiration

Most people know that the word “meme” was coined by legendary evolutionary biologist <b>Richard Dawkins</b> in his seminal 1976 book <i>The Selfish Gene</i>. What few realize, however, is that the vocal atheist and champion of evidence as the holy grail of life, who even penned a children’s book rebutting …

The Greatest Books of All Time, As Voted by 125 Famous Authors

“Reading is the nourishment that lets you do interesting work,” Jennifer Egan once said. This intersection of reading and writing is both a necessary bi-directional life skill for us mere mortals and a secret of iconic writers’ success, as bespoken by their personal libraries. <b>The Top Ten: Writers</b> …

How To Stay Sane: The Art of Revising Your Inner Storytelling

<i>“I pray to Jesus to preserve my sanity,”</i> Jack Kerouac professed in discussing his writing routine. But those of us who fall on the more secular end of the spectrum might need a slightly more potent sanity-preservation tool than prayer. That’s precisely what writer and psychotherapist <b>Philippa Perry</b> …

A Calendar of Wisdom: Tolstoy on Knowledge and the Meaning of Life

On March 15, 1884, <b>Leo Tolstoy</b> (September 9, 1828–November 20, 1910) wrote in his diary:<p>I have to create a circle of reading for myself: Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Lao-Tzu, Buddha, Pascal, The New Testament. This is also necessary for all people.<p>So he set out to compile “a wise thought for every …

Good Writing vs. Talented Writing

The secrets of good writing have been debated again and again and again. But “good writing” might, after all, be the wrong ideal to aim for. In <b>About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, and Five Interviews</b> (<i>public library</i>), celebrated author and literary critic <b>Samuel Delany</b> — who, for a fascinating …

10 Tips on Writing from Joyce Carol Oates

In a recent tweeting spree, the inimitable <b>Joyce Carol Oates</b> offered ten tips on writing — a fine addition to this master-list of famous authors’ wisdom on the craft.<p>Write your heart out.The first sentence can be written only after the last sentence has been written. FIRST DRAFTS ARE HELL. FINAL …

Work Alone: Ernest Hemingway’s 1954 Nobel Acceptance Speech

<i>“One can never be alone enough to write,”</i> Susan Sontag observed. Solitude, in fact, seems central to many great writers’ daily routines — so much so, it appears, that part of the writer’s curse might be the ineffable struggle to submit to the spell of solitude and escape the grip of loneliness at …

Looking Askance At Cognitive Neuroscience - Neuroskeptic

By Neuroskeptic | May 30, 2013 5:04 am<p>Yesterday, I read a paper that, to my mind, embodies what’s wrong with cognitive neuroscience: <b>Changes in the</b> …

Future soldier: Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku on building a Death Star and Silicon Valley brain drain

Morning light shines softly through a large glass window as a travel-weary Michio Kaku gamely musters a smile. Just a few hours removed from a cross-country flight from the East Coast, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this physicist is plain tired. Then the camera starts rolling. In …

Watch Richard Dawkins’ mutation in the mind

You may know Richard Dawkins as a renowned evolutionary biologist, well-known atheist or even as the inventor of the word ‘meme’, but you’ve never …