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Tag Archives: civilization
Temperament. A pretty good reason to think that the world won’t collapse into dog-eat-dog nihilism should religion die has to do with the inheritable nature of temperament. Psychological studies suggest pretty consistently that temperament drives ideology (such as whether you’re … Continue reading
One of the great signs of the advance of human civilization in the world is vaccination. Another is that the state has a monopoly over the use of violence. By these two measures, however, it seems that the United States … Continue reading
This alarming little paragraph was recently posted at the New Yorker by Elizabeth Kolbert: We are now seeing changes occur in a matter of years that, in the normal geological scheme of things, should take thousands, even millions of times … Continue reading
More bad news on the H5N1 airborne experiment front (from the Los Angeles Times yesterday): [Dutch virologist Ron] Fouchier [whose lab created airborne H5N1] said he was cooperating [with the US government], but he thought the [experiment sharing] strategy was impractical. When he … Continue reading
Japan’s earthquake and tsunami: there was a terrible noise. There was a terrible silence. There was a terrible noise. There was a terrible silence. There was a terrible noise.
The most heart-breaking and arresting sentence (or, rather, portion of a larger sentence) I’ve encountered on the Japan earthquake and tsunami was penned at Salon this morning by Matt Zoller Seitz: [W]omen and children walking and in some cases swimming through … Continue reading
I like this definition of a book (which I found in a Times Literary Supplement essay): I. A. Richards called the book “a machine to think with” . . . Notice that the definition has the two elements that Aristotle … Continue reading
It’s a Twilight Zone episode that is philosophically interesting. I think of Rod Serling’s “The Shelter” as a profound meditation on Nietzschean v. Christian ethics, Darwinian survival of the fittest, zero-sum games, and living in a world where the civic culture … Continue reading
Stephen Hawking thinks that the universe made itself from nothing and that there are no intelligent civilizations within several hundred light years of our own. In short, Hawking basically shoots down, in ten minutes, two recent speculative obsessions of this … Continue reading
The Twitter Slayers?: Will E-Readers and Russell Wilcox’s “E Ink” Save Us From the Dumbing-Down of Civilization?
Electronic media seems to be killing the book business and long-form journalism. Enter Russell Wilcox, CEO of E Ink. He is, according to Fortune magazine, perhaps the savior of the world (Jesus, step aside please). Wilcox is on a mission to literally rescue … Continue reading
In Our Milky Way Galaxy Alone: 100 Billion Earth-Like Planets and Perhaps Thousands of Civilizations
So the BBC reports today. Puts life in perspective, doesn’t it? Money quote: Dr Boss has estimated that each Sun-like star has on average one “Earth-like” planet. This simple calculation means there would be huge numbers capable of supporting life. … Continue reading