The pursuit of science for art's sake

Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz rejected the notion of "art for art's sake." The leftist revolutionary used poetry for political influence toward Pakistani nationalism, humanism, and love poems.
What's the point of science? Aesthetic, utility, personal fulfillment plague our rhetoric as we search for knowledge. But a purpose is just a purpose till its probed further. Then it becomes something deeper. It becomes something meaningful for people to make sense of their lives. With existential fears of artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and climate change on the rise, science becomes more and more an idea to be scrutinized, rather than left to the whim of desire. What does it become? An art.

Analogies and word choice shape political discourse

What patterns do you see? From Douglas Hofstadter's "Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies"
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Journalists in a post-society and returning to untruth

Jonathan Jones asks if anyone cares about Van Gogh's drawings in a post-truth world.
Post-truth, post-9/11, postmodern, post-industrial, post-everything in our post-society.

Who do we trust anymore? In a whirlwind of upsets, unpredictability, and unsettlement, the world is at edge in post-truth. At least Oxford Dictionary's "post-truth" as the word of the year was no surprise. But the rise of populist rhetoric, distrust of anyone in power, and general heightened insecurity have drawn scrutiny from the philosophers for centuries. And the truth is nowhere to be found.

Liberal arts challenges career-driven education

Nature's patterns revealed by mathematics

The fractals of the Sierpinski triangle make a lovely pattern.
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Post-election U.S.-Russia relations could be chaotic, say professors

"At the Station" (1950) by Ilya Abelevich Lukomsky (1906-1954), The Wende Museum, Gift of Abby J. and Alan D. Levy Family
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Sociology professors seek to end mental health stigma

Scientists need to educate the public on GMOs, says chemistry professor

Grape growing and harvesting in Theban tomb
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IU physicist shares story behind Nobel Prize research

Women in philosophy speak out against sexism

Chemical supramolecule reshapes scientific theory, could fight nuclear waste

Water color painting of Ohio pollution. Artist unknown. 
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Informatics professor examines how computers think

From Zhao Yao: Painting of Thought
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Students begin science blog to educate the public

View Of The Roman Forum by Giovanni Paolo Panini
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Research culminates with why women orgasm

Władysław Podkowiński, "Szał uniesień"
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IU professor unifies science and philosophy to study disease

Rembrandt's painting of a woman with breast cancer
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IU professors begin bioengineering research

Undergraduate students performed summer research abroad

Aristotle's crafty advice on skills in the workplace - and everywhere else in life

“For it is owing to their wonder that men both now begin and at first began to philosophize.” - Aristotle (Metaphysics, Part II)
When someone needs to play the flute, it should be the best flute-player. Aristotle's craft analogy helps us understand our virtues much like how we achieve skills, be them for the workplace or for life. The Greek philosopher probably didn't know much about social media or TED Talks. But there's a thing or two he can teach about these skills.

Mental fatigue takes its toll on the soul

"As an ambitious executive, it’s important that you believe that you will deserve credit for everything you achieve. As a human being, it’s important for you to know that’s nonsense." - David Brooks
Burnout sucks. It's easy to tell yourself you just need to work fewer hours or take more days off, but sometimes there's a consistent loss of value in what you're doing when you feel exhausted. Letting go might shake your understanding of reality.

Alloy, L., & Abramson, L. (1979). Judgment of contingency in depressed and nondepressed students: Sadder but wiser? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 108 (4), 441-485 DOI: 10.1037/0096-3445.108.4.441

Nostalgia, networks, and nuance of Pokémon Go

Trying to stay awake
It feels like 1999 again. Aside from the email scandals against Hillary Clinton, the reboots of childhood franchises, and the bright colors of this website, the déjà vu makes everything feel all too familiar. And the wildly successful mobile app Pokémon Go rages on. Reminiscent of the days of trying to catch 'em all when we were younger, it's less about finding the elusive Mewtwo and more about finding ourselves.

A Guide to Undergraduate Research and Internships (REU’s)

“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” – Isaac Newton

This guide is intended for college students looking for research opportunities at their own university or elsewhere and for students looking for ways to succeed in their research work. 

Here's looking at UK, from scientists across the pond

When I heard the news, I couldn't believe it. It seemed like something out of a populist fantasy of protecting "the homeland" or an electorate overthrowing imperial control in an Ancient Athenian democracy. The UK voted to secede from the EU with the Brexit referendum. With that, my worldview was shaken again. Overcome with uncertainty and worries, different groups of people expressed their concerns about the UK leaving. Quite surreal, depressing, and anxious for everyone across the globe. Let's hope the science will stay ablaze.

Ethics in cruise control: self-driving dilemmas

"Nietzsche, take the wheel."
Self-driving cars may take us wherever we want to go, but they won't know where unless we tell them. And with the first death of a man riding autopilot in a self-driving car, we find ourselves with the same old questions we've always had. What should an autonomous car do when human life is at stake?

Physics-based biology and blindness to the abstract

Biologists can have an uneasy relationship with math and theory. The field prioritizes pushing forward the conventional status quo at the expense of abstract theorizing and risky experiments. Bill Bialek, theoretical physicist at Princeton University, said, "we cannot expect that the biology community itself will create a genuinely receptive audience for theory."

Who cares about the ill? The moral grounds of mental health

Philosophers like to argue about our values. We can't simply stop at empathizing with different belief and conditions of other people. We must know where those values come from in order to address the thorny ethical dilemmas that plague our lives. Dr. Agnieszka Jaworska at UC Riverside delineates various forms of moral standing in which humans help each other. And, when it comes to mental health, this sort of moral standing understanding might be just what we need.

A genetic moral code

We may be making progress in understanding the genetic code, but how much of our moral code is under the same scrutiny?

Mario Chase: a simple game of cat and mouse

My friend Andrew made a neat little simulator for playing a game of Tag, or, in this case, Mario Chase. Check it out here!

Mind-reading: understanding how the brain learns

A rendering from da Vinci's sketch.
We like to break down large problems into smaller ones and look at the whole picture as a sum of its parts. The pieces of a jigsaw puzzle form an image, or different letters come together to form words. There are times when a larger picture isn't just a zero-sum games, the whole is greater than the sum of its constituents, or even when a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. No matter how you look at the bigger picture, there are different ways we can find a bigger thing among smaller parts.

A Sisyphean nightmare

The following is an excerpt from a piece of writing I've been working on...

A story of serendipity

Google's stronghold on our health

Google's AI has fun with animal faces, but what about the company's access to our bodies themselves?
Just when you thought the tech giant couldn't get any more powerful, Google is taking greater steps into the game of healthcare information.

Chronic discrimination at the IU School of Medicine

"Clearly Rosy had to go or be put in her place. … The thought could not be avoided that the best home for a feminist was in another person’s lab." - James Watson, The Double Helix.
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Protect transparency in the data republic

Neuroscience and philosophy take the stand

Reflections on my career at the Indiana Daily Student

Appreciate the nuance of language. Source
It's easy to frown upon journalists and the media in general. They deliver reports that, on an intellectual level, pale in comparison to the insight of academic journals and book reviews. The mass flow of information, while speedy and responsive, can hardly give us any fine-point answers to the complex needs of our age.

Overhauling scientific research with teaching

“Eratosthenes Teaching in Alexandria” by Bernardo Strozzi 
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The limits of artificial intelligence

Replica of Wilhelm Schickard's calculating machine, what some might argue to be the first mechanical calculator.
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Scientists are people too

Fiske, S., & Dupree, C. (2014). Gaining trust as well as respect in communicating to motivated audiences about science topics Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111 (Supplement_4), 13593-13597 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1317505111

When you should trust a scientist

Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-Chief of Science, talks about her childhood at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Washington D.C. 
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