Improv Your Life

by Christina Pyrgaki

Did you know that there is a Tri-Institutional improv group? Well, there is. A bunch of witty, quirky, and overall lovable improvers gather every Tuesday in the Caspary music room and, for an hour and a half, improvise their way out of their everyday life and into an imaginary, irrational world of endless possibilities. But what is improv anyway? Continue reading

For Your Consideration – And They’re Off! Edition

by Jim Keller

The Oscar race can be best thought of as a horserace in which each studio bets on their thoroughbreds and hopes that they can at least place in the end. In this analogy, the studio is the owner, the public relations department is the jockey, and the horse is the actor or film. Here, we examine the roles I’ve discussed in the three-part “Ones to Watch” edition Continue reading

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Political Polemics

by Daniel Briskin

With the ultimate mandate of giving a select few the power of making decisions for the masses, politics carry an inherent nature of polarity, as differing viewpoints compete for legislative, executive, and judicial power. However, in the current era of hyper-partisan American politics, elected officials can appear more interested in denigration of their opponent than in the advancement of domestic and foreign affairs. Continue reading

CULTURE CORNER Book Review: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

by Bernie Langs

The three current kingpins of British literature are, in my opinion, Martin Amis, Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes. In the past I have enjoyed novels by all three, reveling in their tragedies and comedies filled with satire, sarcasm, wit, fine prose, elegance, and decadence, all in the continued tradition of masters such as Saul Bellows and, dare I say, the mighty Vladimir Nabokov. Then I threw all three under the bus and turned away from fiction completely, with the exception of the writings of the Austrian Thomas Bernhard.

I find myself wondering if my complete turn to non-fiction is related to my having worked a decade at The Rockefeller University. Non-fiction is a compilation and compounding of Continue reading

Marx Was a Neuroscientist, Part 4: Dance Dance (Cognitive) Revolution

by Benjamin Campbell

These petrified relations must be forced to dance by singing their own tune to them! Karl Marx

In November, The Atlantic published an interview with Noam Chomsky on the state of contemporary cognitive science and “Where Artificial Intelligence Went Wrong.” Chomsky, a central figure in the “cognitive revolution”, lamented what appeared to be today’s reversion to the behaviorism that he so strongly critiqued over half a century ago. Continue reading

PDA Corner—2012 Postdoc Retreat

by Asma Hatoum

At a quarter to six on a crisp September morning, eighty-five of us eager Rockefeller postdocs lined up at the main gate to board the buses that would whisk us out for the retreat. Along the way, the rising sun revealed clear blue skies—the forecast held to its promise. By eight-thirty, we had arrived at the Interlaken Inn in the beautiful Litchfield Hills of Connecticut. Scenic landscapes and lush gardens welcomed us and provided the perfect backdrop for the intense scientific and social exchange that would follow over the next two days (September 12-13). Continue reading

Natural Confections

by Carly Gelfond

For a food writer, fall can be a time of complicated emotions. Among the general population, fall is full of seasonal whimsy, all crunchy and leafy underfoot, smoke-scented, vested, and mittened. And to be sure, it is those things for food writers, too. Like normal people, we are susceptible to the irrepressible giddiness that comes with a season of apple-picking, pumpkin-carving, and nut-cracking. And of course it goes without saying that we are all over those apple pies and roasted pumpkin seeds and nuts that are the happy corollary to these activities. Continue reading

CULTURE DESK Reviews: Various Art Exhibitions and an Evening at Carnegie Hall

by Bernie Langs

On a much too hot and humid Thursday in early October, I was determined to see as many top notch art shows in Manhattan as I could and succeeded beyond my expectations. I began the day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the exhibition, “Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years” (through December 31, 2012—suggested donation $25), which is billed as a forum to explore the wide-ranging influence of the pop artist Andy Warhol. I’ve always enjoyed Warhol’s art and am taken by the unexpected seriousness and depth to his work, despite his own life-long presentation of himself as almost lacking in substance and, let us say, having a banal philosophy of “show for the sake of show.” At the Met, one is treated to Warhol’s use of color in his Marilyn Monroe series, his introspection, as in his 1967 Self Portrait, and social commentary in his works on civil rights and his silk screens of the electric chair. Continue reading

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For Your Consideration—Ones to Watch Vol. 3 Edition

by Jim Keller

In this final installment of the series, we take a look at the leading men. Not surprisingly, it’s a bit easier to gauge those that might fall within the Oscar wheelhouse—given that it’s later in the year and approaching crunch time. But who of these will have the gusto and the endurance to make it in a top five slot? After all, I need not remind you, it’s a long road to the Academy Awards. Continue reading

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Sounds of Science: Can Music Help Bring Science into Pop Culture? An Experiment in Public Communication

by John LaCava

With this short article, I’d like to re-introduce the campus community to a project I started a few years ago: The Sounds Of Science. In February 2010, I penned an article for Natural Selections introducing the project and participants at the time. We made our music, launched the website www.soundsofscience.net—and the project was born. The group Continue reading

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