Critical Pages

Arts, Society, Mathematics, Politics, Religion, Economics, Science, Anthropology...Absolutely Anything
Critical Pages

Critical Pages is…

Critical Pages is a collection of essays, observations, opinions, notes, prose pieces and maybe a few poems on a variety of subjects. The website has been around for a number of years and had changed, vanished, reappeared, had bursts of growth, gone dormant, and at times has apparently joined the Choir Invisible. So, here it is, back again, more or less. One last note, the photographic image at the top of this page shows forsythia in blossom, a sure sign of spring.

Just run your cursor over the images below and you'll get a chance to read more...
Easter Resurrects Drama in Year 1000
Scripture tells of the resurrection of Jesus on the third day after his crucifixion, the day we call Easter. The image above portrays a Medieval Feast, such as might happen...
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Valentine’s Day
Valentine's Day comes in the middle of February but a few snowflakes, or even a blizzard, never stopped lovers from finding a way to get to where they wanted to...
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Why Eggs On Easter?
It's Easter again. And somebody asks again, "What have eggs to do with Jesus?" Society finds it easier to give up religious belief, than to abandon the traditions and symbols...
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3 . 1 4 1 5 9 2 6 5 3 5 8 9 Day
The 14th of March is Pi Day. It's the day in March when a math lover might eat a slice of pie to celebrate the division of a pie's circumference...
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Tuneless on New Year’s Eve
"Auld Lang Syne" is a sad song made even sadder because it sounds out of tune, no matter who sings it. And when most people sing it, they do sing...
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Nos-tal-gia [fr. Gk nostos +algia]
It turns out that the word nostalgia means homesickness. Some of us weren’t in class the day the teacher talked about nostalgia. Some of us thought the word referred to...
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Our hard-working scribes…

 

 

Most of our posts are short, but a handful are considerably longer. Among the longer pieces is Beebe Bahrami’s Cafe Neandertal, about a dig in France uncovering Neandertal (or Neanderthal) bones. Neanderthals were our ancestors who came before homo sapiens and populated the globe for far longer than we late comers. Cafe Neandertal is unlike any other book you’ll read on paleoanthropology. Superintelligence, by Nick Bostrom, is about artificial intelligence and machine learning, a rather dire book when it talks about our future, but fascinating. Ada’s Algorithm is about Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, the young woman who wrote the world’s first computer program. The author, James Essinger, gives us a deft portrait of this remarkable woman. Click on the book titles to see the reviews.

By the way, you’ll notice that our scribes are working on pages, not on long scrolls. Writing on pages and then gathering those pages into books was the new technology of the Middle Ages. The newly invented book gave readers the amazing opportunity of going from the beginning of a text to the middle or the end or to anyplace in between just by turning a few pages! No more having to unwind a long scroll and then rewind it back. (Just how tedious this could be was rediscovered in the early years of the computer when magnetized tapes were used to store data; to find things on the tape, you had to wind or rewind back and forth, much as you would on a scroll.)  Furthermore, the pages were flat, not rolled up, so you could paint gorgeously colored illustrations on the pages. Indeed, the paintings, often done with gold leaf, were so brilliant and glowing they were called, as they still are today, illuminations. A book with pictures —  just like the illustration up there right now. It was wonderful! What would they think of next?