Video: Artists don't describe the truth, they "surround it"

One key difference between the approach to knowing by art and science is that the kinds of truths are different. Far from struggling with it, the artist "inherits paradoxical truth automatically.... [it] can only be surrounded, not simply described," according to the writer Jonathan Lethem. Artists believe that they will "never get to the truth by compiling other truths."

Watch this SEED Salon video for more on different approaches between art and science to truth and beauty.

The thought strongly reminds me of a rhetorical question asked the physicist Murray Gell-Mann during his 2007 TED presentation: "Do we need something more to explain something more?"

Other ideas on this Monday that might make you go hmmm:

The attention span myth:

So how did we find ourselves with this unhappy attention-span conceit, and with the companion idea that a big attention span is humankind’s best moral and aesthetic asset? In other eras, distractibility wasn’t considered shameful. It was regularly praised, in fact — as autonomy, exuberance and versatility. To be brooding, morbid, obsessive or easily mesmerized was thought much worse than being distractible. In “Moby-Dick,” Starbuck tries to distract Ahab from his monomania with evocations of family life in Nantucket. Under the spell of “a cruel, remorseless emperor” — his own single-mindedness — Ahab stays his fatal course. Ahab’s doom comes from his undistractibility.

Could video games help journalists improve their story narratives by focusing on the how instead of the who?

By looking at the issue from another angle, Technology Reviews arXiv Physcis blog decribes how some are arguing that life might originate in physcis, not biology.

Together they suggest that biologists need to think about their field in a radical new way: as a branch of condensed matter physics. Their basic conjecture is that life is an emergent phenomena that occurs in systems that are far out of equilibrium. If you accept this premise, then two questions immediately arise: what laws describe such systems and how are we to get at them.

Earth bacteria that feed on hydrocarbons like methane and benzene? Don't bet against life.