The first time he fell in love, Fyodor Dostoevsky was in his mid-30s. He had written two famous novels, Poor Folk and The Double, been arrested for treason, suffered a mock-execution, and served four years of hard labour in Siberia. He was now, in 1854, serving as a private in the army and the object of his desire, Maria Isaeva, was the capricious and consumptive wife of a drunkard called Alexander.
When the Isaevas moved to the mining town of Kuznetsk, 700 versts away in southwestern Siberia (a verst is roughly equivalent to a kilometre), Dostoevsky’s love seemed doomed. But then Alexander died, leaving Maria alone and in poverty. Dostoevsky sent her his last roubles and a proposal of marriage, telling the coachman to wait for her answer before making the week-long journey back through the snow. Maria turned his offer down: she could never marry a penniless private. She then fell in love with a man who was just as poor as Dostoevsky, and also a simpleton: “I barely understand how I go on living,” Dostoevsky wrote, aware that this current melodrama was repeating the plot of Poor Folk.
He eventually married Maria, and had his first full epileptic fit on their wedding night. She never recovered from the sight of his writhing, crumpled body: “The black cat has run between us,” as he put it in The Insulted and the Injured. The couple shared not a single day of happiness, but then it is hard to find many days of happiness in his story at all.
The German parliament on Thursday approved a reform of national competition law that would make Germany the first country in the world with preventative rules tailored to counter the market power of large digital platforms.
In moving forward quickly with the new constraints on Big Tech, Germany is increasing its leverage in the EU’s development of a similar bloc-wide reforms that could end up replacing the German framework — but Berlin’s approach also opens the door to legal challenges by the internet platforms.
Apple reportedly dropped plans to fully secure users’ iPhone and iPad backups after the FBI complained about the initiative, reports Reuters.
Apple devices have a well-deserved reputation for protecting on-device data, but backups made using iCloud are a different matter. This information is encrypted to stop attackers, but Apple holds the keys to decrypt it and shares it with police and governments when legally required.
Typography accounts for 95% of web design. Your font choice can be critical for branding, readability, and performance.
Over time, recommendations for using web fonts have changed as browsers adopted new standards. Now in 2021, I wanted to learn the best practices for using web fonts on high-performance sites.
Identical twins are not as identical as previously assumed, according to a study published today (January 7) in Nature Genetics. Rather than having exactly the same DNA sequences, twins start accumulating genetic variation from the earliest stages of development, researchers at Iceland-based company deCODE genetics found, meaning that one twin harbors variants that aren’t present in the other.
Also known as monozygotic twins because they develop from a single fertilized egg, identical twins have long been central to research on the relative effects of genes and environment—aka “nature versus nurture.” Although everyone accumulates some genetic mutations during their lifetime, the differences in identical twins were assumed to be minimal, particularly when twins are young, allowing researchers to study how different environments influence the development of people with the same genotype.
The new study focuses specifically on mutations that occur as or before embryos form from the mass of cells inside the blastocyst, a structure that implants in the uterine wall. During this stage of development, this inner cell mass can split to form two separately developing embryos.
A logically-valid argument which takes the form of a modus ponens may be interpreted in several ways; a major one is to interpret it as a kind of reductio ad absurdum, where by ‘proving’ a conclusion believed to be false, one might instead take it as a modus tollens which proves that one of the premises is false. This “Moorean shift” is aphorized as the snowclone, “One man’s modus ponens is another man’s modus tollens”. The Moorean shift is a powerful counter-argument which has been deployed against many skeptical & metaphysical claims in philosophy, where often the conclusion is extremely unlikely and little evidence can be provided for the premises used in the proofs; and it is relevant to many other debates, particularly methodological ones.
In this article we advance a cutting-edge methodology for the study of the dynamics of plant movements of nutation. Our approach, unlike customary kinematic analyses of shape, period, or amplitude, is based on three typical signatures of adaptively controlled processes and motions, as reported in the biological and behavioral dynamics literature: harmonicity, predictability, and complexity. We illustrate the application of a dynamical methodology to the bending movements of shoots of common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in two conditions: with and without a support to climb onto. The results herewith reported support the hypothesis that patterns of nutation are influenced by the presence of a support to climb in their vicinity. The methodology is in principle applicable to a whole range of plant movements.
During the 1650s, the admired Dutch diplomat Constantijn Huygens often found himself with time on his hands. He was the loyal secretary to successive princes in the House of Orange, the ruling dynasty in the northern Netherlands during the Eighty Years’ War with Spain, and had been knighted by both James I of England and Louis XIII of France. Now that the Dutch were embarking upon an experimental period of republican government, his diplomatic services were no longer required. So he set down his untiring pen, and turned to books…
If you think about boredom at all, you might consider it trivial – a part of the furniture of life, mostly an affliction of youth, and characterised by the quintessential couch potato. Nothing could be further from the truth. For a start, the couch potato is a better description of apathy than boredom. Apathy is the absence of any desire. Boredom, by contrast, involves desperately wanting to do something, yet nothing seems to fit the bill.
It’s also incorrect to suggest that boredom is frustration in a different guise. Frustration arises when you are thwarted in the pursuit of your goals. Boredom is the yearning for a goal to pursue in the first place. When you’re bored, whatever you’re doing right now is unfulfilling in some important way; you really want to be engaged, and you’re urgently looking for an activity to satisfy your deep restlessness.
Maybe you’re unfulfilled by the daily drudgery of highly repetitive work that never changes. Maybe it’s the irksome task of having to do your taxes. Maybe it’s trying to read an instruction manual for your dishwasher. Whatever your current situation, boredom is urging you to explore better options for becoming engaged. It’s motivating you to make a change.
Mr. Matzneff’s story is one, many have said, that could happen “only in France.”
From Voltaire to Hugo to Zola to Sartre, the writer has been regarded as sacred in France. In Paris, countless streets named for writers serve as a physical reminder of their outsize influence. Every Wednesday, a major network devotes 90 live minutes of prime time to discussing books on “La Grande Librairie.”
Although not one of France’s greatest writers, Mr. Matzneff still benefited fully from this tradition. He wrote nearly 50 novels, essay collections and diaries that never would have made it to bookstores in an industry more concerned with the bottom line.
French publishers dutifully accepted even diaries that sometimes overlapped and amounted to little beyond bookkeeping. But those works also hold meticulous details about the individuals who helped him and the teenage girls he seduced, including Ms. Springora.