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A BIT of Artificial Love

In his writing, the architect Paul Shepheard examines old assumptions about architecture and replaces the critical theory of the academic with the active theory of the architect-citizen enamored of the world around him. In this BIT, he takes Thanksgiving Day as an opportunity to reflect on the diaspora of his family and the evolution of human emotional bonds; and, conducting a seminar, he wonders how philosophy became part of architecture.

A BIT of Is Oedipus Online?

Can Freud be “updated” in the twenty-first century, or is he a venerated but outmoded genius? In this BIT, Jerry Aline Flieger stages an encounter between psychoanalysis and the new century, considering the psyche in cyberspace.

A BIT of The Memory Process

The humanities can add valuable insights to the study of memory. This BIT draws on recent neuroscientific research to explore one of the great masterpieces of fifteenth-century Flemish painting, Rogier van der Weyden’s Descent from the Cross. It connects memory to the direct and indirect bodily responses to a work of art.

A BIT of Raising the Stakes

Competitive video and computer game play is nothing new; what is new in the world of digital gaming is the emergence of professional computer game play. This BIT explores how a form of play becomes a sport, with professional players, agents, referees, leagues, tournaments, sponsorships, and spectators.

A BIT of Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem

Mark Balaguer argues that the question of libertarian free will reduces to a question about indeterminacy—in particular, to a straightforward empirical question about whether certain neural events in our heads are causally undetermined in a certain specific way. In this BIT, refuting arguments both for and against determinism, Balaguer shows that the question of whether human beings possess libertarian free will is a wide-open empirical question.

A BIT of Consciousness

What links conscious experience of pain, joy, color, and smell to bioelectrical activity in the brain? How can anything physical give rise to nonphysical, subjective, conscious states? Christof Koch has devoted much of his career to bridging the seemingly unbridgeable gap between the physics of the brain and phenomenal experience. In this BIT, Koch argues that consciousness is a fundamental property of networked entities, and rhapsodizes about integrated information theory—how it explains many puzzling facts about consciousness and provides a blueprint for building sentient machines.

A BIT of Advice for a Young Investigator

Santiago Ramón y Cajal is a towering figure in the history of science. Hailed today as the father of modern anatomy and neurobiology, he was largely responsible for the modern conception of the brain. Advice for a Young Investigator, first published in 1897, offers a witty and anecdotal guide for scientists that can be enjoyed by both novice and veteran researchers. In this BIT, Ramón y Cajal considers what it takes to be a successful scientific investigator.

A BIT of The Reputation Society
Edited by Hassan Masum and Mark Tovey

Online reputation systems—including Amazon recommendations, eBay vendors’ histories, and TripAdvisor ratings—serve as filters for information overload. In academia, reputation is the value that scholars have to offer, whether on the faculty job market or a journal’s editorial board, as an expert witness, or as a reference for a colleague. In this BIT, John Willinsky discusses the effect that open access is having on reputation in academia and research publishing.

A BIT of Architecture Depends

The architect and critic Jeremy Till offers a proposal for rescuing architects from themselves: a way to bridge the gap between what architecture actually is and what architects want it to be. In this BIT, Till discusses how to allow time into architecture, transcending false notions of eternity and the eternal now.

A BIT of Solar Revolution

Fund manager and former corporate buyout specialist Travis Bradford argues—on the basis of standard business and economic forecasting models—that over the next two decades solar energy will increasingly become the best and cheapest choice for most electricity and energy applications. In this BIT, Bradford provides the basic facts about solar energy and describes a variety of economic and political incentives that would encourage its use.

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