The empathy of Sherlock Holmes?

This older article in Aeon looks at the science of empathy with Sherlock Holmes as a guide.

The ability to see the world from another set of eyes, to experience things vicariously, at multiple levels, is training ground for such feats of imagination and reason that allow a Holmes to solve almost any crime, an Einstein to imagine a reality unlike any that we’ve experienced before (in keeping with laws unlike any we’ve come up with before), and a Picasso to make art that differs from any prior conception of what art can be.

To empathize well can be powerful stuff.

Bob Dylan’s 2016 Nobel Prize Lecture

This lecture starts out a little stiff but it takes off when Dylan begins to share his understanding of three “grammar school” texts — Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and The Odyssey — that have influenced his work. His voice becomes almost sing song at times. A few phrases and words from his own work pop up. His rambling scattershot intertwining of his personality with this great tradition becomes like its own example of how he might see himself as an artist. Like I said, it starts out stiff but really takes off — if you’re a Dylan fan. Worth a listen.

Marcella Hazan’s The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

I’ve made three recipes from here so far and they’ve all been amazing. I wish I’d bought my copy new instead of used — this copy is kind of dingy — but at the same time I like that I have a battle tested edition. Looking forward to putting it to further tests.

The science of compassion

Here’s an article from 2012 in the New York Times on how compassion affects our behavior and what behaviors might make us more compassionate: Compassion Made Easy. It’s a quick read with a small trick at the end that could make you more compassionate.

Chicken with two lemons

I made Marcella Hazan’s chicken with two lemons for dinner this evening. It was ridiculously moist. I’ll definitely make it again though next time I think I’ll be a little more careful about getting it completely dry before roasting. Perhaps even throwing the chicken in the freezer for five or ten minutes beforehand to wick away the last of the moisture on the skin. Her description suggests that it will “puff up” in a remarkable fashion. Mine didn’t and I suspect the dryness of the skin plays a part. Either way it’s a great recipe. Recommended.

Reading the news in 2017

Is advertising getting more pervasive on the web? It’s hard to tell without data at hand but I’ve been seeing more and more things like the following screenshot.


Three ads for one paragraph of content on my screen. Never mind the two persistent banners I don’t want to interact with. As a bonus, when I dismiss the pop up ad I get …


… a sponsored link. The Independent might be a bad example — maybe it’s always been like this? I don’t read it regularly. Regardless, it’s not really a fun or endearing experience as a reader.