“That we humans do much of what we do without following explicit rules is no more mysterious than my cat hunting without knowing rules about hunting or a tree growing without knowing rules about forming leaves. We only think it’s mysterious if we think explicitness is the norm, but explicitness is a rare thing, restricted to humans, and used only now and again because it is often more efficient to allow causal, neural connections in the brain and body to execute an action with little (or, indeed, no) conscious calculation - after all, cats do pretty well this way. And if you think too hard about how you walk, you may well fall over!”—Tacit knowledge: you don’t know how much you know - opinion - 31 May 2010 - New Scientist
Humanity stands at a crossroads - a fork in our moral code and a test of our ability to adapt and grow. Will we evaluate, learn and profit from the best of these new ideas and opportunities, or will we respond to the most unimaginative pleas to suppress all of this in favor of intellectually weak, ideologically rigid, and sometimes brutally unfair and inefficient policies? Much will depend upon the future direction of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a global body setting standards that regulate the production, distribution and use of knowledge.
esterday, word was spreading around the nets about a man who infected himself with a computer virus. That man was Dr. Mark Gasson from the University of Reading (UK), who had an RFID chip in his hand. What he did with that RFID chip and virus should be cause for alarm…
I like smoking. I currently smoke a lot when out on the town and then not at all at home or work. So I am biased.
But what I don’t understand is the negativity with which anti-smoking people attack the issues. Sure smoking is dodgy for your health, but why ban and tax it? Why not fund R&D into safer cigarettes? And what happens to all their efforts when in 20 years there is a significant probability we can grow a new set of replacement lungs in a vat and in 30 years regenerative drugs that mop up any smoking damage caused at all? What happens then? Their campaign collapses and, much like in the mess of battlestar galactica and most decent realistic speculative fiction that realizes this, everybody smokes again and no one gives a shit. It’d be hard to keep up a ban or tax on something just cause it is stinky! And perhaps the future holds stink-free cigarettes!
But yeah … The real point would be that if someone was truly worried about the ‘evils’ of smoking, I’d be placing my efforts into medical research and product design. The current banning and high taxing of tobacco is effectively a selective tax on the poor and those, like Stephen Fry, who self-medicate with nicotine to offset the symptoms of serious mental disease.
No collective human activities or actions, such as globalisation or, for that matter, trends in popular culture such as fashions in films, books or haute couture, can be understood without recognising that it is how a group or population sees the future that shapes events. Feelings, not rational calculations, are what matter. To see what our world might be like tomorrow, next year or next decade, we need to spend time and money investigating “social mood”.
“Modern science has imposed upon humanity the necessity for wandering. Its progressive thought and its progressive technology make the transition through time, from generation to generation, a true migration into uncharted seas of adventure. The very benefit of wandering is that it is dangerous and needs skill to avert evils. We must expect, therefore, that the future will disclose dangers. It is the business of the future to be dangerous; and it is among the merits of science that it equips the future for its duties. The prosperous middle classes, who ruled the nineteenth century, placed an excessive value upon the placidity of existence. They refused to face the necessities for social reform imposed by the new industrial system, and they are now refusing to face the necessities for intellectual reform imposed by the new knowledge. The middle class pessimism over the future of the world comes from a confusion between civilization and security. In the immediate future there will be less security than in the immediate past, less stability. It must be admitted that there is a degree of instability which is inconsistent with civilization. But, on the whole, the great ages have been unstable ages.”— “Science and the Modern World” by Alfred North Whitehead, 1925.
On May 20th, J. Craig Venter and his team at J.C Venter Institute announced the creation of a cell controlled by a synthetic genome in a paper published in SCIENCE. As science historian George Dyson points out, “from the point of view of technology, a code generated within a digital computer is now self-replicating as the genome of a line of living cells. From the point of view of biology, a code generated by a living organism has been translated into a digital representation for replication, editing, and transmission to other cells.”
Seriously. Where does the money come from? Where do people who are so obese that they can’t leave the house, let alone go to work or the shops….. GET THEIR MONEY FROM??? I don’t get it!!! Same with hoarders… how can an unemployed person spend $200 a week on junk???
Theres something going on here and I’m just not clued onto it.
“In the sphere of thought, sober civilization is roughly synonymous with science. But science, unadulterated, is not satisfying; men need also passion and art and religion. Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.”— - History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell, 1945.
"The dumb get confident, while the intelligent get doubtful. That’s the conclusion that David Dunning and Justin Kruger came to when studying people’s perceptions of their own talents. What has now become known as the Dunning-Kruger effect helps describe why lay people often act as experts and inept pollies get our votes."
Incompetent people never realise their incompetence until they are trained to become more competent.
ARRGGGGH, Mick you bastard! You said exactly what I’ve been saying and was going to write about! BASTARD! hehe tis’ in the video after he has a yack about Exile on Main Street.
"I am quite relaxed about it. But, you know, it is a massive change and it does alter the fact that people don’t make as much money out of records. But I have a take on that - people only made money out of records for a very, very small time. When The Rolling Stones started out, we didn’t make any money out of records because record companies wouldn’t pay you! They didn’t pay anyone!
Then, there was a small period from 1970 to 1997, where people did get paid, and they got paid very handsomely and everyone made money. But now that period has gone. So if you look at the history of recorded music from 1900 to now, there was a 25 year period where artists did very well, but the rest of the time they didn’t.”
Diaspora - the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network
We are four talented young programmers from NYU’s Courant Institute trying to raise money so we can spend the summer building Diaspora; an open source personal web server that will put individuals in control of their data.