August 23, 2010 § Leave a comment
Almost every social networking site on the internet requires your to fill out a personal bio section. That “Tell us a little about yourself” box always makes me cringe. It took me weeks to put an “About me” page on this blog. Part of the reason is I find it hard to talk about myself. (I am getting over that.) The main reason though is people are judgmental bastards.
In my real life I don’t socialize with people anymore. It takes way too much energy that I simply do not have. However, in the real world you get to know a person with small talk over time. You don’t walk up to a stranger and ask are you married? how many kids do you have? What religion are you? What political party do you belong to? What medical conditions you have? Oh, well we don’t agree, I guess I won’t talk to you. That would just be …OK that would be funnier than hell, but it would not work.
The labels I use on these sites usually end up not telling the whole story. How could they, they are only a label you have to open the folder to read whats inside. Unfortunately most people are too lazy to look beyond the surface. Why not judge a book by its cover when there are so many books to choose from?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care if people think I am wrong or that my Ideas are nuts. Most of the time I admit that I have no idea what the right answer is and I am pretty sure I am nuts. I just don’t want to be misjudged by the label is choose to associate myself with.
For example, I am an atheist. To me that simply means I do not believe in a creator or higher power. Since I have been hanging around the twitterverse and blogospher I have learned that to many people atheists are angry, hedonistic, unethical, Satan worshipers. I am not even sure how that last one would work. But, I can assure you I am none of those things. Well, maybe a little hedonistic. ;-}
I am also a Non-Dualist. Now this one is a little tougher because people don’t always understand what that means so they dismiss it as woo or new age bullshit. It is not. Nondualism simply means that the mind and the body are not two separate entities. In other words, there is no “soul” to live on after the body dies.
Through much reading it seems that I am also something called a Pantheist. Pantheism is the belief that our entire universe and everything and every one in it are one and are connected. However most of the definitions and blogs on the internet do not represent my beliefs at all. So I am reluctant to label my self as such.
One of my favorite misjudged and misused labels is skeptic. My definition of a skeptic is a person who uses critical thinking and a reason based on scientific evidence. I have seen the world skeptic used in place of cynic. I have seen it used by people who have no idea what the word means at all. The so-called “Skeptic Movement”, while a great idea, really needs a PR campaign educating the public on what skepticism means.
My point is this, I don’t care if you think I am a nut job because I probably am. I just don’t want to be lumped in with the other nut jobs that I have nothing in common with just because of a label I chose. Oh well, I am sure most people stopped reading this post when I wrote the word atheist…Judgmental bastards. If you are still reading this what is wrong with you? See, I do it too. Thank you for taking the time to read beyond the labels.
September 17, 2010 § 1 Comment
As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I don’t generally post about politics. When I really think about it this post isn’t about politics either. It is about “The Big Picture” and all of us being connected.
Carne Ross is the founder of Independent Diplomat, a nonprofit that offers freelance diplomatic representation to small, developing and yet-unrecognized nations in the complex world of international negotiations. His TED Talk from October 2009 reminds all of us not only how interconnected we are, but falling off a cliff can be a good thing.
We are living in a more complicated and fragmented world. If governments are less able to affect the problems that affect us in the world, then that means, who is left to deal with them, who has to take greater responsibility to deal with them? Us. If they can’t do it, who’s left to deal with it? We have no choice but to embrace that reality. What this means is it’s no longer good enough to say that international relations, or global affairs, or chaos in Somalia, or what’s going on in Burma is none of your business, and that you can leave it to governments to get on with. I can connect any one of you by six degrees of separation to the Al-Shabaab militia in Somalia. Ask me how later, but if you eat fish, interestingly enough, but that connection is there. We are all intimately connected.
Check these out also:
September 16, 2010 § 1 Comment
What is the most dangerous idea in the world? Kyle Munkittrick has one. How dangerous do you think it is?
To think scientifically is to think dangerously. Scientists, from Copernicus to Galileo to Darwin, are among the many “Great spirits [who] have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds,” as Einstein so eloquently put it. Daniel Dennett, a prominent New Atheist and philosopher of science, aptly named one of his tomes on evolution Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. Constantly challenging the status quo, science is the engine of the future. Science generates the ideas and science fiction gives us whole universes in which to explore them. Science fiction classics like Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-four, Slaughterhouse-Five, and A Wrinkle in Time are oft challenged on the premise that they are dangerous or harmful to the impressionable minds reading them. So science and sci-fi push the envelope, but among all of the guesses, theories, and what-ifs, is there an idea most dangerous? Please read the full story…
- Let’s Play Predict the Future: Where Is Science Going Over the Next 30 Years? | Science Not Fiction (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
September 3, 2010 § Leave a comment
“In our picture, quarks and gluons can’t flutter in and out of existence unless they are inside hadrons,” says team member Craig Roberts of the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. As a result, the vacuum is much calmer and, crucially, the problem it poses for the cosmological constant is reduced. Read the full story at NewScientist
More brain food. Yummy.
- Reexamining nothing: is the vacuum of space really empty? (arstechnica.com)
- Gravitational lens makes dark energy less mysterious (arstechnica.com)
- Expanding Universe and the Mysterious Force of Dark Energy (brighthub.com)
September 3, 2010 § 2 Comments
Communicating science can be difficult, and for neuroscientists, it is particularly challenging because the subject matter—how our brains work—is highly complex. Research is often reported inaccurately because many journalists who cover neuroscience have little understanding of the field. Instead of enhancing the public understanding of neuroscience, media coverage of brain research often propagates misinformation. Read the full story…
September 3, 2010 § 1 Comment
I have no witty remarks or valuable insights to add.
“Consciousness” Is How We Know We Exist Antonio Damasio Behavioral Neurobiologist The mind allows us to understand what the world is like, but it is consciousness that gives us the subjective vantage to say “I am here, I exist, I have a life and there are things around me that refer to me.” Read Comments and discussion at BIG Think
Vodpod videos no longer available.
- Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness (psypress.com)
- Reason and emotion: A note on Plato, Darwin, and Damasio (psychologytoday.com)
- Body Games (scienceblogs.com)
September 2, 2010 § 2 Comments
September 1, 2010 § Leave a comment
Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know. According to a recent poll by the Yale Project on Climate Change, less than one percent of Americans know what geoengineering is. So, lets ask an expert. Chris Mooney has written a Syndicated Column on Geoengineering .
Geoengineering our Climate Future – at the Philadelphia Tribune
More links about geoengineering:
- Geoengineering Unable to Fully Stop 21st Century Sea Level Rise: Report (treehugger.com)
- Geoengineering smackdown: how 5 methods might impact rising sea levels (arstechnica.com)
Now that you know what Geoengineering is, spread the word.
August 26, 2010 § Leave a comment
Erik Verlinde The theoretical physicist believes that gravity is an emergent phenomenon, not the elemental “force” that Newton and Einstein theorized it to be. He thinks it is the result of patterns of complex, microscopic phenomena.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
- Gravity is a consequence of the laws of thermodynamics (3quarksdaily.com)
- “What if our dreams are right and gravity is just an illusion?” and related posts (letterfromhere.blogspot.com)
- What is Heat [The Scientific Indian] (scienceblogs.com)
August 21, 2010 § Leave a comment
August 20, 2010 § Leave a comment
Mo Costandi posted a fun article one could use to trick friends but, the science behind it is what is intriguing to me.
“DO you think that you perceive your body and the world around you as they really are? If your answer to that question is “yes”, then think again. Our perceptions are little more than the brain’s best guess of the nature of reality, constructed from fragments of information it receives through the senses. “Read the full post (it has video)
You Fall in Love Because Your Brain is a Jellyfish, Lizard, and Mouse Ice Cream Cone | Science Not Fiction | Discover Magazine
August 19, 2010 § Leave a comment
Check out this wonderfully creative article on human evolution by Kyle Munkittrick. I love the picture.
“Human beings are the peak of evolution, right? Our advanced brains allow us to poke one another on Facebook, send rockets to the moon, and order complex drinks at Starbucks. We can even fall in love. How are we able to do all of that? NPR’s Science Podcast has been doing a running series “The Human Edge” in which they discuss various things about humans that make us, well, human. NPR’s John Hamilton tackled brain evolution and how we humans still carry parts of other animal brains within us. Feel that pebble in your shoe? Thank a jellyfish. Ever duck before a rogue Frisbee collides with your noggin? Thank a lizard. Remember where you left your keys? Thank a mouse.”… Read the full story
August 19, 2010 § Leave a comment
While drinking my morning coffee, I watched a documentary I had waiting on TiVo for a few days called Finding My Mind. In it, Oxford University professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Marcus du Sautoy, takes a journey deep into his own brain; a willing guinea pig for some of the most extraordinary experiments known to neuroscience.
Koch states that individual nerve cells and single neurons can process information. He has written a text-book on the subject. These cells networking together produce the Neuronal correlates of consciousness (NCC).
Haynes work on Unconscious decisions in the brain is very exciting. In the documentary, Haynes showed Sautory that his subconscious brain was making decisions up to six seconds before his conscience brain. Haynes seemed quite disturbed by this fact. As if this somehow nullified the idea of free will. I think once he realized that his unconscious was simply him, he was OK.
Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.
August 18, 2010 § Leave a comment
Yes, I just quoted Jackie Chan from Rush Hour 2. Hey, that is the thought that popped into my brain while I was reading this article. What can I say?
I just can’t get over how cool the brain is. It seems like every day science learns a dozen marvelous new things about how our brains work.
“We know that real verbal communications requires both a speaker and a listener (often they go back and forth, but not always). This involves both the production of speech, AND the perception and comprehension of what someone else is saying to you. The question is, HOW does that happen?” Read Full Story…