If it’s harder, it’s probably better for you

One hopes that is not generally true, and it is hardly reason to celebrate when some example proves true.  But for mice, and quite possibly for biologically similar enough human beings, pushing yourself on aerobic exercise make may you a better philosopher.

Or so one could read the results reported in today’s NY Times:

Allow a laboratory mouse to run as much as it likes, and its brainpower improves. Force it to run harder than it otherwise might, and its thinking improves even more. This is the finding of an experiment led by researchers at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan and placed online in May.


The Met: Celebrating Woman as Sexual Prey?

Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid” is on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.




According to the New Yorker, the  Met curator of European art , Walter Liedtke focuses on the painting’s supposed erotic content.  Apparently milkmaids were  widely believed to be sexually available.  In fact, this theme is highlighted by Liedtke’s picking a more explicitly erotic accompanying picture.

So let’s think:  On looking at this picture, is your first thought of grabbing her and getting  your hand up her skirt?  Just as starters, of course.  And if so, given the precariousness of her ability to dissent, isn’t that sort of, well, bad?  Maybe seeing her as a sexual object, preserved through the centuries, kind of dispicable problematic?

Is this just feminist prudery?  Perhaps, but it seems reasonable to ask that when we are dealing  with supposed erotic art, and considering the social facts about how people were portrayed, that we have some awareness of how partial those perspectives were. 

The New Yorker art critic, Peter Schjeldahl, appears aware of the questionable perspective involved in seeing the  picture as erotic.

The Sunday Cat goes overboard

An extreme – though still enchanting – feline:



Of  course, this blog worries when we portray behavior that is unsafe or even, when acted out, distressing.  So we asked  Tarragon to illustrate the orthodox and overall  safer approach to a running facet.  We didn’t have a video camera, but we hope this pic suffices:


A “paws first” approach has much to recommend it.


Many thanks, once again, to Calypso.