Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

Henry Marsh: “Ukraine is like a Trabant that wants to be a Ferrari”


(Guardian Science) – Robert McCrum:

Henry Marsh is a celebrated neurosurgeon who travels the world teaching his exacting craft. Robert McCrum joins him in Ukraine as he tries to save the life of 11-year-old Viktoria. …

theguardian 2017/nov/26 henry-marsh

Henry Marsh: Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon


An Easily Distracted Genius


(Guardian Books) – Robin McKie:

Walter Isaacson’s illuminating study explains why the original Renaissance man left so many paintings unfinished. …

theguardian 2017/oct/23 leonardo

Leonardo da Vinci: The Last Supper

Fictional Characters in Historical Literature


(Κέλσος) – Matthew W. Ferguson:

One thing that may surprise modern readers is the creative license with which ancient authors would blend history and fiction. Take, for example, the characters depicted in Plato’s dialogues. Socrates, who was a historical person, features as the main subject of these texts, but he is often depicted engaging with named characters who are quite possibly Plato’s invention.

Since we have good evidence that ancient authors would invent fictional characters across a number literary genres, including historical literature, this raises the question as to whether there could be such fictional characters in the Gospels and Acts. …

celsus 2017/10/15 fictional-characters

John H. Fritz: Plato and the Elements of Dialogue

The Secret Lives of Leonardo da Vinci


(New Yorker::Books) – Claudia Roth Pierpont:

Walter Isaacson’s biography portrays a man obsessed with knowledge and almost impossible to know. …

newyorker 2017/10/16 leonardo

Walter Isaacson: Leonardo da Vinci

Marie Curie: War Hero


(Discover Blogs::The Crux) – Timothy J. Jorgensen:

At the start of World War One, X-ray machines were still found only in city hospitals, far from the battlefields where wounded troops were being treated. Marie Curie’s solution was to invent the first “radiological car” – a vehicle containing an X-ray machine and photographic darkroom equipment – which could be driven right up to the battlefield where army surgeons could use X-rays to guide their surgeries. …

crux marie-curie-war-hero

Marie Curie in mobile X-ray unit

How I Became an Agnostic


(FTB Geeky Humanist) – Dr Sarah:

This is the fifth in a short series of posts I’m writing about the subject of why, after investigating reasons for theism, I ultimately became a non-believer (first an agnostic, ultimately an atheist). …

Was there a god or wasn’t there? I thought over all the reading I’d been doing. All the inconclusive arguments, each one of which seemed to have its possible counter-argument.

If there was such a thing as conclusive proof that God did or didn’t exist, by this time I would have found it. We didn’t have such proof. I certainly didn’t rule out the possibility of it showing up at some unspecified time in the future, but what we had right then was what we had right then. Right then, we simply couldn’t prove the matter either way. There was, in short, only one sensible recourse; to become an agnostic. …

geekyhumanist how-i-became-an-agnostic

Hi Ho The Glamorous Life


(Good Tickle Brain) – Mya Gosling:

Being a full-time Shakespearean comic artist and author is pretty much the best thing in the world, but the creative process is not always straightforward. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the ups and downs of my chosen career. …

goodticklebrain 2017/9/28 life

Mya Gosling: Waiting For A Funny

What Happened


(Atlantic Politics) – James Fallows:

Hillary Clinton‘s What Happened is the rare interesting work by a politician – and it offers an important critique of the press. …

theatlantic 2017/09 539973

Hillary Rodham Clinton: What Happened

The Hardcore of Yore: Mary Sherman Morgan


(FTB stderr) – Marcus Ranum:

Mary Morgan wanted to learn stuff and was smart and curious – which was not exactly an advantage for someone growing up in rural America in the 1930s. Rural electrification was just happening, and schools were a hit-or-miss affair. In the case of young Mary Morgan, aged 12, that equated to the sheriff having to go out and tell her drunkard father that he had to let her go to school, and couldn’t just keep her as free farm-labor. Then Betty Manning, from the school board, solves Mary’s school busing problem. …

stderr 2017/09/01 mary-morgan

Mary Sherman Morgan

The Ungrateful Refugee


(Guardian::long read) – Dina Nayeri:

Dina Nayeri was just a child when she fled Iran as an asylum seeker. But as she settled into life in the US and then Europe, she became suspicious of the idea that refugees should shed their old identities and be eternally thankful. …

theguardian 2017/apr/04 refugee

Dina Nayeri: Refuge