- A profile of Tan Dun, the composer who gave us (among other things) the soundtrack to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but isn't simply being pigeonholed as a film-music creator.
- Japan's crow problem demands creative solutions, especially in a country that tries to cultivate a sensibility of coexistence with nature rather than supremacy over it.
- The Film Society of Lincoln Center is showing Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind on the big screen on Saturday, May 17 (that's this weekend) at 11 AM. Bring the kids!
- David Brooks comments, in a fairly sensible manner, on how modern neurology is approaching a concept of the self that is more akin to the Buddhist notion of the skandha, or "aggregate": we are not a single immutable self, but a whole galaxy of interrelated processes that change over time, and are given a collective label by dint of being in this one body.
This last item revolves around a concept I've warmed up to over time myself, although I think it can be heavily misinterpreted: for instance, if the idea of the self is essentially a delusion, why do anything directed towards preserving that self, or any other selves? The answer is that just because any one of us individually might realize this, other people need to discover that realization in their own way — so in the interim, we need to act as if the "delusion" has weight, because it does. (An extreme parallel: Yes, we're all going to die, but that doesn't imply that our lives are worthless as a result of that.)