Is our genome full of junk DNA? (Aeon Magazine)

At the most fundamental level […] our genome is not a blueprint for making humans at all. Instead, it is a set of genes that seek to replicate themselves, making and using humans as their agents. Our genome does of course contain a human blueprint – but building us is just one of the things our genome does, just one of the strategies used by the genes to stay alive. In their selfish desire to leave offspring, our genes have evolved to form a society where they work together efficiently, dividing the labour to ensure that each makes it into the next generation.

This article goes very well with this one: Die, selfish gene, die

This Is Your Brain on Silence (Nautilus)

Imke Kirste wasn’t trying to study silence at all. In 2013, she was examining the effects of sounds in the brains of adult mice. Her experiment exposed four groups of mice to various auditory stimuli: music, baby mouse calls, white noise, and silence. She expected that baby mouse calls, as a form of communication, might prompt the development of new brain cells. Like Bernardi, she thought of silence as a control that wouldn’t produce an effect.

As it turned out, even though all the sounds had short-term neurological effects, not one of them had a lasting impact. Yet to her great surprise, Kirste found that two hours of silence per day prompted cell development in the hippocampus, the brain region related to the formation of memory, involving the senses. This was deeply puzzling: The total absence of input was having a more pronounced effect than any sort of input tested.

To know what is Heaven’s doing and what is man’s is the utmost in knowledge. Whoever knows what Heaven does lives the life generated by Heaven. Whoever knows what man does uses what his wits know about to nurture what they do not know about. To last out the years assigned you by Heaven and not be cut off in mid-course, this is perfection of knowledge.

Zhuāngzǐ – The Inner Chapters (translated by A.C. Graham)

Graham’s note:

The Taoist does not take the heart, the organ of thought, as his teacher or authority; the only instructor he recognises is the ultimate Ancestor who generates all things, whose guidance is discovered in reverting to pure spontaneity. Its profoundest lesson is reconciliation with death, by a surrender without protest to process of living and dying as mere episodes in the endless transformations of heaven and earth.

Humans Need Not Apply (CGP Grey)

It’s easy to be cynical of the endless, and idiotic, predictions of futures that never are. So that’s why it’s important to emphasize again this stuff isn’t science fiction. The robots are here right now. There is a terrifying amount of working automation in labs and wear houses that is proof of concept.

We have been through economic revolutions before, but the robot revolution is different.

Horses aren’t unemployed now because they got lazy as a species, they’re unemployable. There’s little work a horse can do that do that pays for its housing and hay.

And many bright, perfectly capable humans will find themselves the new horse: unemployable through no fault of their own.

(Source: kottke.org)

[Do you have a motto or creed that as an artist you live by?]

Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will — through work — bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art idea.’ And the belief that process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. Today, you know what you’ll do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday, and tomorrow you are gonna do what you did today, and at least for a certain period of time you can just work. If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.

Chuck Close

(Source: brainpickings.org)

Tsü-ch’i of Nan-kuo reclined elbow on armrest, looked up at the sky and exhaled, in a trance as though he had lost the counterpart of himself. Yen-ch’eng Tsü-yu stood in waiting before him.
"What is this?" he said. "Can the frame really be made to be like withered wood, the heart like dead ashes? The reclining man here now is not the reclining man of yesterday".
"You do well to ask that, Tsü-yu! This time I had lost my own self, did you know it? You hear the pipes of men, don’t you, but not yet the pipes of earth, the pipes of earth but not yet the pipes of heaven?"
"I venture to ask the secret of it".
"That hugest of clumps of soil blows out breath, by name the "wind". Better if it were never to start up, for whenever it does ten thousand hollow places burst out howling, and don’t tell me you have never heard how the hubbub swells! The recesses in mountain forests, the hollows that pit great trees a hundred spans round, are like nostrils, like mouths, like ears, like sockets, like bowls, like mortars, like pools, like puddles. Hooting, hissing, sniffing, sucking, mumbling, moaning, whistling, wailing, the winds ahead sing out AAAh!, the winds behind answer EEEH!, breezes strike up a tiny chorus, the whirlwind a mighty chorus. When the gale has passed, all the hollows empty, and don’t tell me you have never seen how the quivering slows and settles!"
"The pipes of Earth, these are the various hollows; the pipes of men, these are rows of tubes. Let me ask about the pipes of Heaven".

"Who is it that puffs out the myriads which are never the same, who in their self-ending is sealing them up, in their self-choosing is impelling the force into them?" […]

The winds rise in the north,
Blow west, blow east,
And now again whirl high above.
Who breathes them out, who breathes them in?
Who is it sits with nothing to do and sweeps between and over them?

Zhuāngzǐ – The Inner Chapters (translated by A.C. Graham)

Graham’s note:

Zhuāngzǐs parable of the wind compares the conflicting utterances of philosophers to the different notes blown by the same breath in the long and short tubes of the pan-pipes, and the noises made by the wind in hollows of different shapes. It is natural for differently constituted persons to think differently; don’t try to decide between their opinions, listen to Heaven who breathes trought them.