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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Following Time’s Arrow To The Universe’s Biggest Mystery, by Frank Wilczek, Wired

One might expect that a fact as basic as the existence of time’s arrow would be embedded in the fundamental laws of physics. But the opposite is true. If you could take a movie of subatomic events, you’d find that the backward-in-time version looks perfectly reasonable. Or, put more precisely: The fundamental laws of physics—up to some tiny, esoteric exceptions, as we’ll soon discuss—will look to be obeyed, whether we follow the flow of time forward or backward. In the fundamental laws, time’s arrow is reversible.

Does Anybody Still Loathe Phil Collins? (Even ‘In The Air Tonight’?), by Charles aaron, New York Times

For many, many years, Collins was pegged as the embodiment of bloated, Boomer dad-rock, with waning album sales, a jazz big band and weak covers of Cyndi Lauper and Leo Sayer songs. Lately, though, he’s been the subject of countless revisionist think pieces in which writers valorize his technical gifts as a drummer for the prog-rock pilgrims Genesis, emphasize his collaborations with Brian Eno, identify him as the secret patriarch of hip modern trends or express their incredulity that older generations ever denigrated the man’s output in the first place. How did this successful, gifted musician ever become such a whipping boy? Why were his treacly ballads and mild toe-tappers picked out as the ultimate symbols of consumerist vapidity? Was it just the cheap envy of older critics — so unlike today’s enlightened listeners, with our democratic embrace of pop that surgically strikes the pleasure centers of the masses? These windmill-tilting arguments have been trickling out steadily in recent years, following the lead of hip-hop tastemakers and Collins fanboys like Questlove and Kanye West. These days, you speak ill of Phil at your own risk.

Of Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Martin Luther King, And Steven Levy… Steven Levy?, by Bruce Buschel, The Cauldron

In 1983, two baseball gods very nearly saw their legacies derailed. For one young reporter, though, they were still the legends of his youth.

In 'City Of Blades,' The Gods Are Dead. So What Happens Next?, by Jason Sheehan, NPR

Imagine if you could kill God. Literally just roll right up on him and shoot him in the face.

Now imagine that it's gods, plural. And while putting them down isn't by any means easy, it is possible. You can kill them. All of them. And free the world from their dominion, their miracles, their slavery and oppression. Kill the gods and the world is re-set, sans divinity, sans magic. The playing field, once mountainous with privilege and lack, is now level. Just so long as those gods stay dead.

In Other Words By Jhumpa Lahiri Review – A Pulitzer Prize Winner Gives Up Writing And Speaking In English, by Tessa Hadley, The Guardian

The author of Interpreter of Maladies and The Lowland has written a book about learning Italian – in Italian. She wanted to start over again with language.

What An Elephant’s Tooth Teaches Us About Evolution, by Alice Roberts, The Guardian

The most striking characteristics of living elephants – trunks and tusks – had appeared in their gomphothere ancestors by 20 million years ago. For a large animal with a short neck, the trunk was an extremely useful development, allowing these proboscideans to grasp leaves and bring them to the mouth, thus providing an evolutionary advantage.

Wild Swimming, by Elodie Harper