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December 28, 1989 | MICHAEL SCHRAGE
You can generally divide New Year's revelers into three groups: Those who look forward, those who look back and those who are sick of seeing "It's a Wonderful Life." But new years always prompt George Bailey-esque introspections. Knowing what you know now, if you could go back and restart your career, what would you do? What field would you explore? I asked this question of several distinguished scientists and engineers--people who are absolutely tops in their fields.
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ENTERTAINMENT
November 9, 2012 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
NEW YORK - Oliver Sacks never meant to be part of the story. Indeed, much of his new book, "Hallucinations," (Alfred A. Knopf: 326 pp., $26.95), which mixes case studies, analysis and personal observation, had already been written when, in March 2011, the 79-year-old author and neurologist tripped over a box of books in his lower Manhattan apartment and broke his hip. While in the hospital, he was visited by a friend who got him talking about the...
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NEWS
August 11, 1997 | K.C. COLE, TIMES SCIENCE WRITER
It's a long way from Lancaster, England, to this tiny Northern California town--a spot so remote that no one bothers to lock their doors because "burglars don't know it's here," says mathematician Keith Devlin, dean of sciences at St. Mary's College of California. Five years ago, Devlin was an esteemed professor of mathematics at the University of Lancaster, a well-respected logician firmly ensconced in the mainstream of his field.
WORLD
October 6, 2011 | By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
With the prize announcement moments away and the phone resolutely silent, Tomas Transtromer figured that his chance for Nobel glory had slipped by once again. As Sweden's most lauded poet and a perennial favorite for the literature prize, Transtromer was used to the feeling. But just a few minutes before the rest of the world heard it, the Stockholm native received the unexpected news Thursday that he had won after all. Word came in a slightly tardy (local) call from the Swedish Academy, which bestows the coveted award.
OPINION
April 14, 2003 | Bill McKibben, Bill McKibben is a visiting scholar in environmental studies at Middlebury College in Vermont and the author of "Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age," just published by Times Books.
The 50th anniversary of the double helix has been greeted with worldwide hoopla. It began in February, the month that James Watson and Francis Crick actually made their discovery, and will culminate this month with the golden anniversary of the paper they published announcing the news to the world. The celebration is appropriate; understanding of the gene is rivaled only by understanding of the atom as the great scientific achievement of the last century.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 17, 2009
"Avatar" A human mind in an alien body finds himself torn between two worlds. "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" A Manhattan couple whose marriage is on the rocks are forced into witness protection together. "Home" A boisterous middle-class family's simple house in a field is threatened by highway construction. "My Son, My Son, What Have You Done?" Inspired by true events, a man begins to experience mystifying events that lead him to slay his mother with a sword.
NEWS
December 23, 1990
The National Organization for Women's boycott of Random House for publishing "American Psycho" proves that the left can be just as self-righteous and intolerant as the right ("An 'American Psycho' Drama," Dec. 11). Writers must be free to explore the darknesses of the human mind. Nabokov entered the mind of a pedophile in "Lolita" and made great art. Violence against blacks, Jews and other groups has provided the subject for powerful works by Toni Morrison, William Styron and others.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 30, 1998
Re "Seeking the Biology of Spirituality," April 26: The assumptions of materialist philosophy penetrate our thinking so thoroughly that most people accept without question the idea that depression, addiction and other behaviors and conditions are rooted in our biology. Your article asks "what are the physical foundations of metaphysical enlightenment?" The brain and body chemistry register the effects of our being and doing; they are not causes. The reductionism that turns things upside down and attempts to explain the "higher" in terms of the "lower" never gets to the root of the matter, nor to what is most valuable in us. SHARON R. SMITH Carlsbad Science writer Robert Lee Hotz's report on scientific investigation of spirituality demonstrates one great barrier to a rational effort in this regard: a lack of a consensus among the investigators as to what "spirituality" is. Current research in mental function and abnormal behavior seems to be coalescing in agreement that there are important feelings within the normal human mind known generally as a sense of purpose and a sense of moral propriety.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 23, 1990
Editor's Note: Dr. Karl A. Menninger, recognized by many as the father of American psychiatry, died last week at the age of 96. The co-founder of the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kan., a mecca for psychiatric training, Menninger was a pioneer in analyzing and treating the human condition. Among other things, he espoused the view that criminals should be treated rather than punished.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 4, 1989
In last Sunday's (May 28) Times, the prescient Commentary ("Why Hate Crimes Against Gays Should Be Everybody's Nightmare") provides a gratifying juxtaposition to a letter (on the opposite page) wherein one reads such--among other--inanities as "the opposite sex is terrifying as it is" and "only by keeping sexual perversities in the closet," etc. George Kennan, in his recent literary masterpiece, gives us an observation so pertinent as a perspective on such as the subject quotes--"For one of the keys to the understanding of the human predicament is the recognition that there is, for the human individual, no reality--no comprehensible and useful reality, at any rate--other than that of an object as perceived by the human eye and the human mind.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 14, 2010 | By Meehan Crist, Special to the Los Angeles Times
The Mind's Eye Oliver Sacks Alfred A. Knopf: 270 pp., $26.95 Oliver Sacks has built a reputation on exploring the medical mysteries of individual patients to illuminate the larger mysteries of human experience. "The Mind's Eye," a collection of essays on the ways in which we perceive the world (many of which have already appeared in some form, most notably in the New Yorker) is no different, introducing readers to a predictably unpredictable cast of characters: Lilian Kallir, a talented musician whose "musical alexia" (inability to read music)
ENTERTAINMENT
June 13, 2010 | By Susan Salter Reynolds, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Absence of Mind The Dispelling of Inwardness From the Modern Myth of the Self Marilynne Robinson Yale: 144 pp., $24 A few years ago, I noticed that an alarming number of acquaintances were reading the work of spiritual speaker and author Eckhart Tolle. The conclusion they seemed to be drawing was that an individual had a right to his or her experience. That individual also had a right not to be interrupted or derailed into someone else's experience, a conclusion that seemed far too convenient, too self-serving to be worthy of a thinker of Tolle's stature.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 17, 2009
"Avatar" A human mind in an alien body finds himself torn between two worlds. "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" A Manhattan couple whose marriage is on the rocks are forced into witness protection together. "Home" A boisterous middle-class family's simple house in a field is threatened by highway construction. "My Son, My Son, What Have You Done?" Inspired by true events, a man begins to experience mystifying events that lead him to slay his mother with a sword.
NEWS
July 15, 2007 | Jim Shea, Hartford Courant
It has long been accepted that as we age, we are going to have a certain amount of trouble remembering where we left the car keys -- and, on some days, where we left the car. This assumption is based on the belief that all of the brain's development -- its major wiring -- occurs in infancy, and that the mature brain is incapable of change. Now scientists believe the human brain is constantly changing, revising and rewiring itself in response to everything we see, feel, learn, do and experience.
OPINION
January 5, 2007 | David Eggenschwiler, DAVID EGGENSCHWILER is an English professor emeritus at USC.
EVERY YEAR, as many California high school seniors struggle with basic algebra, which is required for graduation, Times readers complain, "Who needs it? How many students will ever use it?" Well, I use it every day; I'm using it now, even though I haven't worked an algebraic equation since my son was in the seventh grade several years ago. Mathematics and science are unnatural practices.
OPINION
April 14, 2003 | Bill McKibben, Bill McKibben is a visiting scholar in environmental studies at Middlebury College in Vermont and the author of "Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age," just published by Times Books.
The 50th anniversary of the double helix has been greeted with worldwide hoopla. It began in February, the month that James Watson and Francis Crick actually made their discovery, and will culminate this month with the golden anniversary of the paper they published announcing the news to the world. The celebration is appropriate; understanding of the gene is rivaled only by understanding of the atom as the great scientific achievement of the last century.
NEWS
October 1, 1989
If Fukuyama's bleak vision of life in the post-historical era had any significant probability of actually being realized, I agree that the end of history would be "a very sad time" indeed. It would certainly be very boring to live in a society geared solely to "the satisfaction of sophisticated consumer demands," in which all the noble aspirations and sentiments that make life worthwhile are sacrificed on the twin altars of economics and technology. But such need not be the case.
OPINION
April 29, 1990
Your editorial opposition to Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion "sounds" solid, but it once again suffers from your typical liberal-conservative tendencies to stress form over substance. Yes, Scalia's opinion threatens constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom. But in all sincerity, is religion really such a good thing? Religion is both an infectious mental disorder (schizophrenia) and an institutionalized attempt to control that disorder. Religion is compelled upon us from birth.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 11, 1999 | RICHARD CROMELIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Death in Vegas' new album, "The Contino Sessions," opens with "Dirge," a haunting instrumental with wordless vocals that builds intensely and inexorably, layering sound upon sound until it becomes a sonic funeral pyre. The video for the song is a relentless succession of photographs of gunshot victims, accompanied by brief, written accounts of their deaths. On another track, "Aisha," guest singer and lyricist Iggy Pop intones the confession of a serial killer.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 30, 1998
Re "Seeking the Biology of Spirituality," April 26: The assumptions of materialist philosophy penetrate our thinking so thoroughly that most people accept without question the idea that depression, addiction and other behaviors and conditions are rooted in our biology. Your article asks "what are the physical foundations of metaphysical enlightenment?" The brain and body chemistry register the effects of our being and doing; they are not causes. The reductionism that turns things upside down and attempts to explain the "higher" in terms of the "lower" never gets to the root of the matter, nor to what is most valuable in us. SHARON R. SMITH Carlsbad Science writer Robert Lee Hotz's report on scientific investigation of spirituality demonstrates one great barrier to a rational effort in this regard: a lack of a consensus among the investigators as to what "spirituality" is. Current research in mental function and abnormal behavior seems to be coalescing in agreement that there are important feelings within the normal human mind known generally as a sense of purpose and a sense of moral propriety.
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