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Besides overusing a certain vowel, there is something in common between the Wii and the iPad which one seldomly sees mentioned: They are both all about an input device. Of course something like that should not be without consequence…—

A friend asked me that, ¿What is the meaning of life? It would be relapse of me not to quote the wisest of men:

to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all they possess, to see those they love in tears, to ride their horses, and to hold their wives and daughters in his arms – Genghis Khan

That was a joke. This sad tyranny of political correctness we live in forces me to preemptive disclaimers.

There are a thousand clever things to say when asked the meaning of life, but those answers are more replies than explanations. In cases like that, i tend to assume the question is defective, that it does not in fact dig into what it means to dig. Read More »

Um amigo me perguntou isso aí em cima. Eu seria relapso se não apresentasse a resposta do mais sábio dos sábios:

Dizimar seus inimigos e estuprar suas esposas. — Genghis Khan

Isso é uma piada. Vivemos num mundo tão tosco que eu sou obrigado a colocar uma retratação depois.

O lance é que há um milhão de coisas “espertas” pra se dizer depois dessa pergunta, mas, no fundo, nenhuma dessas coisas responde. Nesses casos, eu tendo a pressupor que a pergunta está mal formulada — ou, inversamente negando, que a pergunta tem baixo poder de penetração.

Isso também foi uma piada. Read More »

A primate brain, say a chimp’s or a bonobo’s grey matter, sees the world in monkey terms. That is to say, it first and foremost is part of a band of other monkeys, it tries to figure out who’s boss and who’s to be exploited, who is enemy, who controls the food, etc. Mostly it is all about «who»s. Inside the head, it is a lot of monkeys. Primates are social animals and the pecking order is way more important than anything else. The same brain also helps with spacial navigation, cause-and-effect modelling, literature criticism and so on, but those are side-effects.

But the thing is: Those side effects turn out quite impressive. So: How, exactly?

Science, Art, Pornography, Philosophy, J-Pop, Mathematics, Culinary, Religions, Traffic Jam, Po-Mo, Bureaucracy, 4chan — all of those (and many others) are one way or another a product of human brain activity. Now if all brain activity is monkey business, if all the brain does is deal with the politics of ape packs, then how exactly do we understand all of those things? Read More »

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