An Introduction to Information Philosophy

By Dr. Bob Doyle Associate, Astronomy Department Harvard University What is Information Philosophy? The Information Philosopher has established that quantum mechanics and thermodynamics play a central role in the creation of all things. This finding has enormous implications for philosophy and metaphysics. Instead of a closed universe that is winding down deterministically from an initial state[…]

The Long Legacy of World War I

Three soldiers at an observation station on the Western Front in 1918. / National Library of Scotland To mark the 100th anniversary of American military involvement in World War I, three distinguished historians address the question: What do you think is the most important legacy of the First World War? Bruno Cabanes describes how the sheer[…]

A Journey through Homer’s Odyssey

Nestor’s Sacrifice (1805). Engraving after John Flaxman (1755-1826). Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996. / Creative Commons By Louise Taylor / 05.06.2013 TEFL Educator Southwest France Books One through Eight Telemachus’ Troubles Books I through VIII of Homer’s Epic is where the story of[…]

Engineering of Rome’s Via Appia

Photo by Paul Hermans, Wikimedia Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (student paper) / 03.26.2014 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction The infrastructure of a city is the foundation on which civilization is built upon. ‍Formally defined here, infrastructure can be thought of as any underlying foundation used to provide goods and services for[…]

Engineering of Saint Peter’s Basilica

Figure 1. Location of St. Peter’s Basilica From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (student paper by B. Hess) / 09.06.2013 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Background Saint ‍Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City is the largest church in the world, as it can hold up to 60,000 people and it is 22,000 square meters.[…]

Greek and Roman Mythology – What is Myth?

The Dance of the Muses at Mount Helicon by Bertel Thorvaldsen (1807). Hesiod cites inspiration from the Muses while on Mount Helicon. / Alte Nationalgalerie By Louise Taylor / 06.21.2013 TEFL Educator Southwest France What is Myth? Mythologies come from many different cultures across the old world but we are going to concentrate on the Greeks and the Romans. “Myth” is one[…]

Most Distant and Youngest Supermassive Black Hole Discovered to Date

This artist’s concept shows the most distant supermassive black hole ever discovered. It is part of a quasar from just 690 million years after the Big Bang. / Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science 12.06.2017 Scientists have uncovered a rare relic from the early universe: the farthest known supermassive black hole. This matter-eating beast is 800 million[…]

Mind-Body Dualism: What is Consciousness?

Photo by Saad Faruque, Creative Commons By Dr. James Fieser / 05.01.2016 Professor of Philosophy University of Tennessee at Martin Introduction A 47 year old man named Carl Miller died of cancer, and at the moment he was pronounced dead, a series of carefully-orchestrated procedures was performed on his body. A team standing by began cardiopulmonary support to[…]

Will Artificial Intelligence Become Conscious? What is Consciousness?

What’s the link between technology and consciousness? AlexLMX/Shutterstock.com By Dr. Subhash Kak / 12.07.2017 Regents Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Oklahoma State University Forget about today’s modest incremental advances in artificial intelligence, such as the increasing abilities of cars to drive themselves. Waiting in the wings might be a groundbreaking development: a machine that is aware of itself and[…]

Post-Roman Italian Renaissance Gardens and the Villa d’Este

Parts of Fountain of Rome, includes: Statue of the wolf and Romulus and Remus, Minerva and another statue at Villa d’Este (Tivoli) / Photo by Yair Haklai, Wikimedia Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (student paper) / 12.14.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Renaissance Gardens History Gardens have been present in cities[…]

Deterioration and Decay of Ancient Roman Structures

Roman insulae in Ostia Antica / Photo by Charles Gardner, Wikimedia Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Claire Cyra) / 12.04.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Many ‍of the engineering techniques and materials that make up our cities today also formed the foundations and structure of Roman architecture over two[…]

The Olympic Games in Ancient Greece

By the British Museum (Greece and Rome) / 08.08.2015   Every fourth year between 776 B.C.E. and 395 C.E., the Olympic Games, held in honor of the god Zeus, the supreme god of Greek mythology, attracted people from across Greece. Crowds watched sports such as running, discus-throwing and the long-jump. Olympia The sporting events at Olympia[…]

Construction and Behavior of the Pantheon

The Pantheon Today (Photo by author) From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Alec Harrison) / 12.14.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction The Pantheon is one of Rome’s most iconic and best preserved ancient structures. With massive single stone columns holding up the portico at the entrance, the immense open interior[…]

Understanding Roman Concrete

A section of the Roman city-wall of Empuries, Spain. 1st century BCE. The base of the wall was made using calcareous rock while the upper portion is of Roman concrete (opus caementicium). / Photo by Mark Cartwright, Creative Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Nigel Lyons) / 09.16.2013 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction[…]

‘Let the Soul Dangle’: How Mind-Wandering Spurs Creativity

Detail from The Red Balloon Paul Klee, 1922. Courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Wikimedia      By (left-to-right) Dr. Julia Christensen, Dr. Guido Giglioni, and Dr. Manos Tsakiris / 12.05.2017 Christensen: Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Psychology, Newton International Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Cognitive Neuroscience, City University, London Giglioni: Cassamarca Lecturer in Neo-Latin Culture and Intellectual History (1400-1700),[…]

An Introduction to Basic Logic

Image by Thebiologyprimer, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. James Fieser / 04.01.2016 Professor of Philosophy University of Tennessee at Martin Introduction In ancient Greece, a group of traveling teachers called Sophists had the reputation of being able to argue for any point, no matter how absurd. One Sophist offered this argument: (1) Fido is Joe’s dog. (2) Fido[…]

Refugee Women Cope With Trauma and Stress Through Drum Circles

Women and children participate in a drum circle in El Cajon, California. Studies have shown that recreational music-making in general and group drumming in particular can decrease stress and change the genomic stress marker. / Photo by Ari Honarvar How music is helping women from war-torn countries express grief and loss. By Ari Honarvar / 12.05.2017 More than three[…]

Obelisks on the Move

Side view of the Vatican obelisk being lowered, 1590. Engraving in Della trasportatione dell’obelisco… (Rome: Appresso Domenico Basa). The Getty Research Institute, 87-B7401 A look at the manpower and engineering needed to move obelisks in ancient Egypt, Rome, and today. By Sara E. Cole / 12.06.2017 Curatorial Assistant, Antiquities Department J. Paul Getty Museum A few months[…]

An Introduction to Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome

Image by zerochan, deviantArt    By Dr. Amy Calvert (Egypt) and the British Museum (Greece and Rome) / 08.08.2015 Calvert: Egyptologist Founder, The Art of Counting Ancient Egypt Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara, Old Kingdom, c. 2675-2625 B.C.E. Photo: Dr. Amy Calvert Egypt’s impact on later cultures was immense. You could say that Egypt provided[…]

Ancient Roman Mining and Quarrying Techniques

From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Jacob Deb) / 11.28.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Indeed, Rome was not built in a day. Although its close proximity to debris from the volcanic eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius allowed it to be built quicker than most cities. This paper explores the history[…]

Modern Roman Construction and Ancient Roman Ruins

Ancient aqueduct construction illustration / Creative Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Mia Celizaga) / 12.04.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction C‍onstruction can be a lengthy process. First, someone is assigned to design and plan a structure and the finances are worked out and the proper materials and machines[…]

The Biology and Psychology of Good and Bad Behavior

Tipping the balance of behavior: Social neurons and asocial neurons / Image by ZEISS Microscopy (Creative Commons) In Behave, Robert Sapolsky offers an inspired synthesis of how biology shapes human behavior—both the good and the bad. By Dr. C. Brandon Ogbunu / 12.01.2017 Assistant Professor of Evolutionary Biology University of Vermont The re-emergence of Neo-Nazi ideology; crowd-funded[…]

Writing his Life through the Other: The Anthropology of Malinowski

Photograph of Bronislaw Malinowski, circa 1920, shortly after his return to England from his first major ethnographic stint in the Trobriand Islands / Public Domain Exploring the personal crisis plaguing the Polish-born anthropologist at the end of his first major stint of ethnographic immersion in the Trobriand Islands, a period of self-doubt glimpsed through entries in[…]

Relieving Arches of Roman Structures

The triumphal arch of Septimius Severus in Rome, erected in 203 CE to commemorate victory over the Parthians. / Photo by Mark Cartwright, Creative Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Sara Foxx) / 09.16.2013 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Ancient Rome was defined by its incredible buildings, reaching into the sky taller than ever[…]

Origin and Evolution of the Roman Dome

Interior of the Pantheon Dome (photo by author) From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student J.P. Lehmer) / 09.16.2013 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction This article highlights the evolution of the dome through engineering advancements by the ancient Roman civilization and summarizes their progress through several case studies. The influence the[…]