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The Dog-Eared Page

The Enchanted Loom

The brain’s genius is its gift for reflection. . . . It takes many forms: our finding similarities among seemingly unrelated things, wadding up worries into tangled balls of obsession difficult to pierce even with the spike of logic, painting elaborate status or romance fantasies in which we star, picturing ourselves elsewhere and elsewhen.

By Diane Ackerman November 2022
The Sun Interview

Under The Surface

Güven Güzeldere On The Mysteries Of Consciousness And Artificial Intelligence

Cohen: This summer, a Google engineer named Blake Lemoine caused controversy by disclosing a conversation with an AI called LaMDA, or “Language Model for Dialog Applications.” The conversation seemed to suggest this AI system had some awareness of itself, but the idea was dismissed by a number of people who work with such systems.

Güzeldere: It’s interesting that Google fired the guy who published that conversation. . . . People are saying, “Oh, it’s just a hack,” but it’s a very impressive hack. I think it will become a product that will be accepted by consumers.

By Finn Cohen November 2022
Photography

I Hope You Find What You’re Looking For

Often, when I’m out wandering with my camera, some kind person will help me with directions, then call out as I’m heading down the road, “I hope you find what you’re looking for!” It’s a wish that floats around in my mind, challenging me.

Text And Photographs By Gloria Baker Feinstein November 2022
Poetry

He Arrived In A Hollowed-Out Studebaker Lark

We also had eyes for his car. You had to give up / all possessions to live here, George fine with that — / he’d just spent two cross-country months in the thing, / its front bucket seat removed for sleeping purposes — / and now an actual Lark was our newest town-runner.

By Rupert Fike October 2022
Poetry

Farmhouse By The Highway

The hardest thing about death, my mother said, is when you stop remembering what drove you mad. Like the way my father typed one key at a time, or how he spit in his hands to smooth cowlicks in his hair.

By Matt Barrett October 2022
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Perfectly Built Spaces

To help me fall asleep at night, I try to think about soothing subjects. This is why, since I turned fifty several years ago, I have found myself renovating houses in my head. . . . I am particularly interested in renovating the houses of my childhood.

By Kelly DeLong October 2022
The Dog-Eared Page

from Nickel And Dimed

What surprised and offended me most about the low-wage workplace (and yes, here all my middle-class privilege is on full display) was the extent to which one is required to surrender one’s basic civil rights and — what boils down to the same thing — self-respect.

By Barbara Ehrenreich October 2022
Quotations

Sunbeams

Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. . . . Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times.

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

October 2022
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Ohashi Bridge In The Rain

When we met for lunch, she wore a dark silk dress and red lipstick. At the school where we both taught, she always dressed practically: plastic boots, a raincoat over a faded blue sweatshirt, a white sailor’s cap.

By Marilyn Abildskov October 2022