[AUDIO] “The real value of education is being well adjusted and that understanding that Freedom is ‘that you get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t.’” David Foster Wallace’s 2005 Commencement Speech: “This is Water.”
“In 2005, author David Foster Wallace was asked to give the commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. However, the resulting speech didn’t become widely known until 3 years later, after his tragic death. It is, without a doubt, some of the best life advice we’ve ever come across, and perhaps the most simple and elegant explanation of the real value of education.
We made this video, built around an abridged version of the original audio recording, with the hopes that the core message of the speech could reach a wider audience who might not have otherwise been interested. However, we encourage everyone to seek out the full speech (because, in this case, the book is definitely better than the movie).”
May 15, 2013 | Categories: AUDIO, Knowledge Creation, Lectures, People of Thought, Philosophy, Quotes, Society | Tags: Anthropology, Authors, Books, Education, Human Nature, Relationships, Social Conventions, socialization | Leave A Comment »
[VIDEO] Ze Frank’s ‘Invocation for Beginnings’ – FUCK IT, LET’S DO IT – “Life isn’t just a sequence of waiting for things to be done.”
“Don’t call it a comb-back; I’ll have hair for years.
I’m scared. I’m scared that my abilities are gone.
I’m scared that I’m going to fuck this up.
And I’m scared of you.
I don’t want to start, but I will.
This is an invocation for anyone who hasn’t begun, who’s stuck in a terrible place between zero and one.
Let me realize that my past failures at follow-through are no indication of my future performance.
They’re just healthy little fires that are going to warm up my ass.
If my FILDI (fuck it let’s do it) is strong, let me keep him in a velvet box until I really, really need him.
If my FILDI is weak let me feed him oranges and not let him gorge himself on ego and arrogance.
Let me not hit up my Facebook like it’s a crack pipe Keep the browser closed.
If I catch myself wearing a too-too (too fat, too late, too old) let me shake it off like a donkey would shake off something it doesn’t like.
And when I get that feeling in my stomach — you know the feeling when all of a sudden you get a ball of energy and it shoots down into your legs and up into your arms and tells you to get up and stand up and go to the refrigerator and get a cheese sandwich — that’s my cheese monster talking.
And my cheese monster will never be satisfied by cheddar, only the cheese of accomplishment.
Let me think about the people who I care about the most, and how when they fail or disappoint me… I still love them, I still give them chances, and I still see the best in them.
Let me extend that generosity to myself.
Let me find and use metaphors to help me understand the world around me and give me the strength to get rid of them when it’s apparent they no longer work.
Let me thank the parts of me that I don’t understand or are outside of my rational control like my creativity and my courage.
And let me remember that my courage is a wild dog. It won’t just come when I call it, I have to chase it down and hold on as tight as I can.
Let me not be so vain to think that I’m the sole author of my victories and a victim of my defeats.
Let me remember that the unintended meaning that people project onto what I do is neither my fault or something I can take credit for.
Perfectionism may look good in his shiny shoes but he’s a little bit of an asshole and no one invites him to their pool parties.
Let me remember that the impact of criticism is often not the intent of the critic, but when the intent is evil, that’s what the block button’s for.
And when I eat my critique, let me be able to separate out the good advice from the bitter herbs.
(There are few people who won’t be disarmed by a genuine smile A big impact on a few can be worth more than a small impact)
Let me not think of my work only as a stepping stone to something else, and if it is, let me become fascinated with the shape of the stone.
Let me take the idea that has gotten me this far and put it to bed.
What I am about to do will not be that, but it will be something.
There is no need to sharpen my pencils anymore. My pencils are sharp enough.
Even the dull ones will make a mark. Warts and all.
Let’s start this shit up. And god let me enjoy this.
Life isn’t just a sequence of waiting for things to be done.”
-Ze Frank is an American online performance artist, composer, humorist and public speaker based inLos Angeles, California. He is currently the EVP of Video at BuzzFeed.
May 3, 2013 | Categories: Humour, Knowledge Creation, Lectures, People of Thought, Philosophy, Quotes, Society, VIDEO | Tags: Anthropology, Art, Education, Human Nature, Memetics, mythology, Parenting, Relationships, Satire, Social Conventions, socialization | Leave A Comment »
Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898 – 1972), known as M. C. Escher, was a Dutch graphic artist. He is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. These feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations.
The Stairwell Project: Building a Modern Myth
What’s the project?
The most powerful aspects of myths are their ability to incite wonder and excitement. We’re creating a myth that does these things while also challenging audiences to think.
[BOOK] Michael Specter’s ‘Denialism’: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives
First Broadcast: November 07, 2009
Refusing Flu Shots? Maybe You’re A ‘Denialist’
Nearly 20 percent of the families in Vashon Island, Wash., aren’t getting their children vaccinated against childhood diseases. At the Ocean Charter School near Marina del Rey, Calif., 40 percent of the 2008 kindergarten class received vaccination exemptions. Author Michael Specter says the parents in these upscale enclaves are prime examples of what he calls “denialism.”
That’s also the title of his new book, . “We can all believe irrational things,” the author of Denialism tells NPR’s Scott Simon. “The problem is that I think an increasing number of Americans are acting on those beliefs instead of acting on facts that are readily present.”
The Motives And Consequences of ‘Denialism’
But the Vashon Island and Marina del Rey communities aren’t places where religious or cultural traditions argue against vaccinations —- like the Amish or Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Instead, they believe vaccinations are harmful to their children, citing stories they’ve heard about mistakes by doctors or pharmaceutical fraud.
But, Specter says, when parents make that decision, they focus on the one-in-10-million chance that a vaccine could kill a child and ignore the one-in-1,000 chance that a disease will do so. “These people retreat into denialism,” he says. “It’s like denial, but writ large, [because] this has consequences.”
Those consequences don’t just affect the children who go unvaccinated, but everyone they interact with as well, Specter adds. He points out that diseases like measles, which had almost been eradicated in North America, are now coming back.
The Fetish Of Organic Food
“Denialism,” the author says, is evident in far more than vaccination rates. Take organic food. Specter considers himself a fan, but he draws the line at demonizing genetically engineered food.
“In other parts of the world,” he says, “a billion people go to bed hungry every night. Those people need science to help them. It isn’t about whether people want to go to Whole Foods or not … The thing that killed the most people in the history of the world — except maybe for insects —- was pure water and natural, untreated food.”
He argues that some people look at “natural” products, such as vitamins, and think that they’re automatically good. But, he argues, “it’s no different than anything else you swallow.”
“Someone told me they didn’t want to take a flu shot because they didn’t want to put a foreign substance into their body,” says Specter. “What do they think they do at dinner every night?”
by MICHAEL SPECTER
The most blatant forms of denialism are rarely malevolent; they combine decency, a fear of change, and the misguided desire to do good — for our health, our families, and the world. That is why so many physicians dismiss the idea that a patient’s race can, and often should, be used as a tool for better diagnoses and treatment. Similar motivations — in other words, wishful thinking — have helped drive the growing national obsession with organic food. We want our food to taste good, but also to be safe and healthy. That’s natural. Food is more than a meal, it’s about history, culture, and a common set of rituals. We put food in the mouths of our children; it is the glue that unites families and communities. And because we don’t see our food until we eat it, any fear attached to it takes on greater resonance.
The corrosive implications of this obsession barely register in America or Europe, where calories are cheap and food is plentiful. But in Africa, where arable land is scarce, science offers the only hope of providing a solution to the growing problem of hunger. To suggest that organic vegetables, which cost far more than conventional produce, can feed billions of people in parts of the world without roads or proper irrigation may be a fantasy based on the finest intentions. But it is a cruel fantasy nonetheless.
Denialist arguments are often bolstered by accurate information taken wildly out of context, wielded selectively, and supported by fake experts who often don’t seem fake at all. If vast factory farms inject hormones and antibiotics into animals, which is often true and always deplorable, then all industrial farming destroys the earth and all organic food helps sustain it. If a pricey drug like Nexium, the blockbuster “purple pill” sold so successfully to treat acid reflux disease, offers few additional benefits to justify its staggering cost, then all pharmaceutical companies always gouge their customers and “natural” alternatives — largely unregulated and rarely tested with rigor — offer the only acceptable solution.
We no longer trust authorities, in part because we used to trust them too much. Fortunately, they are easily replaced with experts of our own. All it takes is an Internet connection. Anyone can seem impressive with a good Web site and some decent graphics. Type the word “vaccination” into Google and one of the first of the fifteen million or so listings that pops up, after the Centers for Disease Control, is the National Vaccine Information Center, an organization that, based on its name, certainly sounds like a federal agency. Actually, it’s just the opposite: the NVIC is the most powerful anti-vaccine organization in America, and its relationship with the U.S. government consists almost entirely of opposing federal efforts aimed at vaccinating children.
Fifty years ago, we venerated technology. At least until we placed our feet on lunar soil, our culture was largely one of uncritical reverence for the glories that science would soon deliver. The dominant image of popular American culture was progress. TV shows like Star Trek andThe Jetsons were based on a kind of utopian view of the scientific future. Even the Flintstones were described as a “modern” Stone Age family. We were entering an era without disease or hunger. If we ran out of water we would siphon salt from the seas and make more; if nature was broken we could fix it. If not, we could always move to another planet.
That vision no longer seems quite so enchanting. No doubt our expectations were unreasonable — for science and for ourselves. We also began to recognize the unintended consequences of our undeniable success. About a month before Neil Armstrong made his large step on the moon, the heavily polluted Cuyahoga River erupted in flames near Cleveland, creating an indelible image of industry at war with nature. A few years later, in 1976, Karen Ann Quinlan was removed from life support, igniting the first horrific battle of the modern era over how we live and die. The end of the decade was marked by the ghastly accident at Three Mile Island, which showed more clearly than ever that the effects of the Industrial Revolution were not all benign. The thalidomide disaster, mad cow disease, even the dramatic and sustained lies of Big Tobacco have all contributed to the sense that if the promise of science wasn’t a lie, it wasn’t exactly the truth either.
Today the image of a madman whipping up a batch of smallpox, or manufacturing an effective version of bird flu in his kitchen, while not exactly as easy as baking a cake, is no longer so far-fetched. Indeed, if there is anything more frightening than the threat of global nuclear war, it is the certainty that humans not only stand on the verge of producing new life forms but may soon be able to tinker with them as if they were vintage convertibles or bonsai trees.
Our technical and scientific capabilities have brought the world to a turning point, one in which accomplishments clash with expectations. The result often manifests itself as a kind of cultural schizophrenia. We expect miracles, but have little faith in those capable of producing them. Famine remains a serious blight on humanity, yet the leaders of more than one African nation, urged on by rich Europeans who have never missed a meal, have decided it would be better to let their citizens starve than to import genetically modified grains that could feed them.
Food is a compelling example of how fear has trumped science, but it is not the only evidence that we are waging a war against progress, rather than, as Peter Melchett would have it, against nature. The issues may be complex but the choices are not: we are either going to embrace new technologies, along with their limitations and threats, or slink into an era of magical thinking. Humanity has nearly suffocated the globe with carbon dioxide, yet nuclear power plants that produce no such emissions are so mired in objections and obstruction that, despite renewed interest on every continent, it is unlikely another will be built in the United States. Such is the opposition to any research involving experiments with animals that in scores of the best universities in the world, laboratories are anonymous, unmarked, and surrounded by platoons of security guards.
Excerpted from Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives, by Michael Specter.
Firing Bullets of Data at Cozy Anti-Science
“I always say that electricity is a fantastic invention,” the British economist Michael Lipton once told Michael Specter, whose bristling new book, “Denialism,” explores the dangerous ways in which scientific progress can be misunderstood. “But if the first two products had been the electric chair and the cattle prod,” Mr. Lipton continued, “I doubt that most consumers would have seen the point.”
Here is what they would have done instead, if Mr. Specter, a staff writer for The New Yorker and former foreign correspondent for The New York Times, correctly captures the motifs that shape the stubbornly anti-scientific thinking for which his book is named: they would have denounced electricity as a force for evil, blamed its prevalence on venal utility companies, universalized the relatively rare horrific experiences of people who have been injured by electrical currents and called for a ban on electricity use.
The term “denialism,” used by Mr. Specter as an all-purpose, pop-sci buzzword, is defined by him as what happens “when an entire segment of society, often struggling with the trauma of change, turns away from reality in favor of a more comfortable lie.”
In this hotly argued yet data-filled diatribe, Mr. Specter skips past some of the easiest realms of science baiting (i.e., evolution) to address more current issues, from the ethical questions raised by genome research to the furiously fought debate over the safety of childhood vaccinations. (more…)
April 29, 2013 | Categories: Economics, History, Knowledge Creation, People of Thought, Philosophy, Politics, Science, Society, VIDEO | Tags: Authors, Books, Current Affairs, Death, Design, Education, Environment, Environmentalism, Health, Human Nature, Leftism, Memetics, mythology, natural selection, Nature, Parenting, Social Conventions, Social Justice, socialization | 2 Comments »
[AUDIO/VIDEO] Former Anti-GMO Activist Says Science Changed His Mind – NPR. Why Vilifying MONSANTO without perusing all the facts may not make much sense.
This post is not to claim that Monsanto is a force of good. I understand the worry, the fear, the consternation of the many who profess antipathy for the actions of this corporation. I am not a supporter of Monsanto’s business practices nor am I on one side or the other on GMO. I remain agnostic. It does concern me however that so many are online today willing to help perpetuate ignorance and irrationality. A healthy debate and discussion in my opinion takes into account multiple perspectives and is not merely an opportunity to spread dogma. Monsanto, as with most human endeavour, possesses both positive as well as negative attributes. In the paranoid hysteria of the Internet today, it is portrayed as though Monsanto and GMO food technology is merely in existence to inflict pain and wreak havoc. For these reasons, I sought to extract some unbiased, neutral, perhaps surprising facts about this emotional issue.
All Things Considered
First Broadcast: January 20, 2013
“For years, British environmental activist Mark Lynas destroyed genetically modified food (GMO) crops in what he calls a successful campaign to force the business of agriculture to be more holistic and ecological in its practices.
His targets were companies like Monsanto and Syngenta — leaders in developing genetically modified crops.
Earlier this month he went in front of the world to reverse his position on GMOs.
At the Oxford Farming Conference in Britain, Lynas apologized for helping “to start the anti-GMO movement” and told his former allies to “get out of the way, and let the rest of us get on with feeding the world sustainably.”
He spoke to Jacki Lyden, host of weekends on All Things Considered, about his change of heart.”
Written By HUDSON LOFCHIE
Published On January 16, 2013
I want to talk about something today, and I hope that it does not result in my office getting burned down. But I work in a basement, so I guess its not that much of an issue. Genetically modified crops — devil incarnate or world savior? Solution to the hunger problem, or a capitalist venture? Each of these holds a little bit of truth, and I want to explore a side of the debate that isn’t normally discussed in the press — GM crops as the good guys.
When talking about genetically modified crops, Monsanto is, for the most part, the centerpiece of conversation. Debates, if they can even be called that, are riddled with hearsay, rumors, myths, “I read this” or “I heard that.” It seems to me that most people simply have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. And those who do have some knowledge on the subject are focusing on all the wrong things.
As bad press and political heat goes, Monsanto is on the sharp end of it more often than not. The “liberal” media paints Monsanto as a mean, heartless company, set on destroying any and all competition.
So Monsanto has some rather shrewd business practices … all successful companies do. They have some of the most consistently stable stock prices on Wall Street, and have earned massive investments from both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. So what is it about Monsanto that the public finds so appalling? Most of the arguments I have heard against this company are that Monsanto destroys the small farmer. While many small farmers are bankrupt by lawsuits with Monsanto, it is merely the result of Monsanto defending its intellectual property … to the death.
Monsanto makes a large percentage of its money from licensing patented genes to other companies. They have contracts with Dow Chemical, Syngenta, Novartis and many others. Monsanto is truly ruthless in its negotiations when licensing out its patents, and it should be. (more…)
April 28, 2013 | Categories: AUDIO, Economics, History, Interview, Knowledge Creation, Lectures, People of Thought, Politics, Science, Society, VIDEO, virginal commentary | Tags: Current Affairs, Education, Environment, Environmentalism, Food, Health, Human Nature, Leftism, Memetics, mythology, Nature, Social Conventions, Social Justice, socialization | 2 Comments »
On Death – Khalil Gibran
Then Almitra spoke, saying, “We would ask now of Death.”
And he said:
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
April 28, 2013 | Categories: AUDIO, Knowledge Creation, People of Thought, Philosophy, Quotes | Tags: Art, Authors, Death, Human Nature, Literature, Old Time Radio, OTR, Radio, Radio Drama | Leave A Comment »
[AUDIO] “Anxiety is an essential human emotion but it’s important to distinguish between normal day to day worry and an actual anxiety disorder. It can manifest in a range of forms including obsessive compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety and panic attacks. New Yorker Daniel Smith has lived with chronic anxiety, or his ‘Monkey Mind’, for most of his life and says it’s the only mental disorder which can be both excruciatingly painful and funny at the same time. Hear about what eventually helped him manage his intense worrying.”
First Broadcast: Sunday 21 April 2013
“Monkey Mind is a tragicomic memoir about anxiety — both the emotion, which is universal, and the clinical condition, which is rampant. Mostly it’s about the clinical condition. It’s about anxiety so acute and chronic that it permeates every waking moment, affecting your body and mind, your friendships and relationships, your work and your will.
Write what you know, they say.
I’ve known anxiety for most, maybe all, of my life. The condition is genetic. My father was anxious. My mother was anxious. My grandparents were anxious. Probably my ancestors were all anxious. My last name is Smith, but this is what’s known as an “Ellis Island name” — something the authorities gave my great-grandfather when he arrived in the early twentieth century. The original family name is Gomolski.
In other words, we’re Jewish. There is no race or ethnic group on Earth that does not suffer from anxiety. But Jews are particularly good at that kind of suffering.
I didn’t know I was anxious until I was a teenager. Before that, I was “sensitive” and “nervous.” I had phobias and tics and sudden fears. Then, when I was sixteen, I lost my virginity under odd, unfortunate circumstances (see the book; it’s a cool story), and my anxiety began to take over my life. Monkey Mind tells how that happened; the troubles and difficulties that followed over the coming years; and the many attempts, wise and unwise, I have made to alleviate my anxiety.
Notice: alleviate, not cure. Anxiety isn’t a condition like pneumonia or chicken pox. It isn’t something you can eradicate. It’s a state of being, a coloration in the way a person thinks, feels, and acts. It isn’t a disorder, necessarily, though it can be exquisitely painful and it does sometimes stem from trauma. What it is, is a state of mind. It can be reduced, in some cases radically, but it never totally goes away.
What I set out to do in Monkey Mind was to describe and explain the experience of anxiety. Anxiety is often spoken of in cultural and collective terms: we are living, it is said, in an “age of anxiety.” But what does anxiety feel like? How does it affect everyday life? Kierkegaard, who was maybe the most anxious person ever to live, described anxiety in this way:
And no Grand Inquisitor has in readiness such terrible tortures as has anxiety, and no spy knows how to attack more artfully the man he suspects, choosing the instant when he is weakest, nor knows how to lay traps where he will be caught and ensnared, as anxiety knows how, and no sharpwitted judge knows how to interrogate, to examine the accused, as anxiety does, which never lets him escape, neither by diversion nor by noise, neither at work nor at play, neither by day nor by night.
What does it mean for a person to have to deal — day after day, night after night — with that Grand Inquisitor in her head?
The short answer is: It isn’t fun. The long answer is this book.
So then why tragicomic? Because for all the pain, anxiety is an inherently comical disorder. It destroys lives, but it destroys them with absurdity. To witness a person in the throes of true anxiety is to witness a person actively tripping himself, a person whose sane faculties — the ability to reason and recognize threat, the capacity to apply logic — have grown to monstrous, B-movie proportions. Anxiety is the intellect gone feral. Also, to treat anxiety as an absurd state of mind is to declaw the experience and reveal its pettiness. Anxiety can indeed destroy relationships. It has destroyed some of mine. But it can do so only when the sufferer treats it with blind seriousness, when he treats it as applicable to meaningful bonds and meaningful decisions. Yet anxiety doesn’t care what its object is: it’s ecumenically corrosive. In the grip of anxiety, a sufferer is capable of reasoning himself not just out of marriage but out of lunch. On more than one occasion anxiety has paralyzed me over a salad, convincing me that a choice between blue cheese and vinaigrette is as dire a choice as that between life and death. Once this is recognized, anxiety loses some of its power.
This is what Monkey Mind is designed to accomplish. I have written with sheer honesty about the self-destructive absurdities, both major and minor, into which anxiety has led me. The goal is to expose anxiety as the pudgy, weak-willed wizard behind the curtain of dread. The goal is to tame what has always seemed to me, and to the tens of millions of others who suffer from anxiety, as a horrible, sharp-fanged beast.”
April 28, 2013 | Categories: AUDIO, Knowledge Creation, People of Thought, Science | Tags: Authors, Books, darwinism, Death, Education, Environment, Evolution, Health, Human Nature, natural selection, Parenting, socialization | Leave A Comment »
[AUDIO] Awesome panel discussion on Social Impact Bonds, Social Entrepreneurship and how more traditional Governmental roles are being assumed by civil society…made me uncomfy. I’m with the host, Peter Day…found the panelists to be generally Business School bullshitters…
“Peter Day visits the annual Skoll Forum for Social Entrepreneurship for a debate about disrupting big finance. The institutions that the world’s financial system relies on went horribly off track, causing the global financial crisis. How do social entrepreneurs and philanthropists plan to fix the damage? Peter is joined by Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, Álvaro Rodríguez of the Mexican venture capital firm IGNIA and Peter Tufano, dean of the Said Business School at the University of Oxford.”
April 28, 2013 | Categories: AUDIO, Economics, Knowledge Creation, People of Thought, Philosophy, Politics, Society | Tags: Current Affairs, Memetics, Relationships, Social Conventions, Social Justice | Leave A Comment »
[AUDIO] CBC RADIO’S QUIRKS AND QUARKS DISCUSSES THE CONCEPT OF TIME AND WHY IT ACTUALLY MAY NOT BE AN ILLUSION, AFTER ALL – WITH LEE SMOLIN OF THE PERIMETER INSTITUTE
“Dr. Lee Smolin thinks the trouble with physics is that we need more time. Dr. Smolin has been contemplating a fundamental question: “Is Time Real?” This is an important question because much of the physics we’ve generated for the last 400 years or so seems to suggest that time isn’t real, and that it’s a kind of illusion that disguises the real way the laws of physics work. But in his new book, Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe, Dr. Smolin makes the case that time is real. And he thinks that working out what time is will help us solve some of the deep problems of the universe, including the question of where it all really came from. Dr. Smolin is a founding and senior faculty member at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo.
Time Reborn - lecture by Dr. Smolin at the Perimeter Institute
“What is time? Is our perception of time passing an illusion which hides a deeper, timeless reality? Or is it real, indeed, the most real aspect of our experience of the world? Einstein said that “the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion,” and many contemporary theorists agree that time emerges from a more fundamental timeless quantum universe. But, in recent cosmological speculation, this timeless picture of nature seems to have reached a dead end, populated by infinite numbers of imagined unobservable universes.
In his talk, Lee Smolin explains why he changed his mind about the nature of time. Like many fellow theorists, he used to believe time is an illusion, but he now embraces the view that time is real and everything else, including the laws of nature, evolves. Drawing from his new book, Time Reborn, Smolin explains how the great unsolved problems in physics and cosmology may be solved by adopting the view of a real time. then he will go beyond physics to explain how our view of time affects how we think of everything from our personal and family lives to how we face major problems such as climate change and economic crisis. In a world in which time is real, the future is open and there is an essential role for human agency and imagination in envisioning and shaping a good future.”
[AUDIO] A much better question than “Why are we here?” is “What is time?”
[AUDIO] Ever wonder why TIME can not be conceived of as the concept of ‘God’? Did the dinosaurs perceive the passage of time the same way we do today? And how about our contemporary neighbours, like Whales, Squids, Dolphins, Elephants etc etc etc–do they perceive time as we do? What really is a billions years to …a human who lives only perhaps 75? Could it be that the lack of the ability to actually perceive or understand TIME itself, is a cause of great misapprehension of reality–both past and future, for humanoids?
[VIDEO] RSA ANIMATE: Professor Philip Zimbardo lectures on how perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships and how we act in the world. Present oriented, past oriented, future oriented perspectives.
Prince Crowns Donna Grantis as His New Guitarist
Music legend Prince is back with a vengeance and has a new rock ‘n’ roll trio comprised of 3 beautiful ladies, including one who is very near and dear to our hearts. A long time PRS endorser and extremely talented guitarist, Donna Grantis, has joined forces with drummer Hannah Ford, and bassist Ida Nielsen and are creating quite a buzz.
Known for her extraordinary technique and soulful playing, Donna Grantis has a style all of her own. Seemlessly blending Jazz, Rock n’ Roll, and Electric Blues, we are not surprised that this Canadian guitarist captured Prince’s attention. “We were very excited to hear the news from Donna and can’t wait for her to electrify the stage with her PRS guitars”, stated Bev Fowler, Director of Artist Relations.
In November, Prince released a music video for “Rock and Roll Love Affair.” That song—and, presumably the most recent single, “Screwdriver” -will be included on his new album, which has neither a name nor a release date. There are, however, some sneak peak videos on the newly established website that gives us a little taste of “ScrewDriver” which will be released online February 10th
It’s easy to bash on Monsanto and other corporations. I’m not saying there isn’t some truth to the criticism, there is always grains of truth to most arguments, but nothing is black and white. Norman Borlaug’s research led to many of Monsanto’s products. Without his activity, India and China would not have been able to add their respective 1 billion people, since 1950…
“Normal Borlaug is an agricultural scientist and the father of the Green Revolution, directly responsible for saving over a billion lives from starvation in the third world through the spread and advance of genetically modified crops and technology. He’s spent his life saving people and improving the world. This clip is from the Penn and Teller: Bullshit! episode Eat This! from Season 1, on diets and world hunger. He’s truly a great, great person, and I wanted to share the word, as far too few people know about Borlaug and his work.”
As I’ve often said, with Global Warming….most injustice, and war….and with this gaining momentum via the internet of attacks on Monsanto and GMO technology….the problem must be acknowledged as actually being human overpopulation. A metaphorical mango tree which provides for, say, 3 people sufficiently…would be fought over were 50 people to find themselves surrounding it, depending upon its fruit. Politics and power advantage/disadvantage arise from scarcity…observing injustice alone rarely solves the ultimate sources of problems. Should we not ask why and from where those extra 47 people came from? Rather than fear, malign, attack and protest attempts at trying to feed them? In my opinion, reducing future populations would resolve, or make obsolete, many of these concerns.
“many (consumer) products thrive because they are associated with agreeable personalities and activities. Since the 1930s diamond engagement rings have been the premier symbol of romantically honorable intentions and likely spousal agreeableness. Early twentieth-century women faced a problem: prosecution of men for financial damages following breach of promise was declining. It was becoming all too common to be seduced by a psychopath promising marriage and then abandoned after he availed himself of one’s virginity during the engagement. Into this reliable-signaling gap jumped De Beers with the diamond ring, heavily promoted with the slogan “A diamond is forever.” Diamond marketers recommended that women ask men to spend two months’ salary (or about a year’s disposable income) on a ring, as a sign of the seriousness of their committment. Ever since, engagement rings have dominated the demand for diamonds larger than one carat.”
-Spent: Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behavior; by Geoffrey Miller
March 30, 2013 | Categories: Economics, History, Knowledge Creation, People of Thought, Philosophy, Quotes, Religion, Science, Society | Tags: Anthropology, Authors, Books, darwinism, Education, Evolution, Feminism, Gender, Human Nature, Marriage, Memetics, misogyny, mythology, Patriarchy, Relationships, Social Conventions, socialization, The Female | Leave A Comment »
from the best photoblog in Toronto:
March 30, 2013 | Categories: History, Knowledge Creation, Society, Toronto, Urbanism | Tags: Anthropology, Art, Canadian History, Design, Environment, Human Nature, Photoblog, Photography, Urban Planning | Leave A Comment »
I was having some difficulties explaining poetic metre to a few people the other day–i was calling it the drumbeat, but I guess I was inarticulately right…it is the melody, the rhythym–the points in a phrase stressed and unstressed.
I know back in highschool/university when I was first taught this, I thought the prof was on crack. Now, I find myself pointing it out to people…and they in turn looking at ME, in the same way.
[AUDIO] ‘A Dream At Noon Day’ – by Gardner Dozois: English composition so elegantly beautiful, it is both prose as well as poetry
This incredible reading of this short story simply must be heard to be truly enjoyed and appreciated. Allow your right-brain to tingle and the lyricism to transport you.
Millions of tiny robots dismantle Atlantic City. A Luddite encounters time travelers near the moment of Singularity. A young boy may have just destroyed the entire Eastern Seaboard. By turns haunting and humorous, Gardner Dozois’s acclaimed short fiction is finally collected in a definitive edition of his work. Including Nebula Award winners such as “Morning Child” and nominees “Disciples” and “A Dream at Noonday,” When the Great Days Come is a must for any science fiction reader. When the Great Days Come proves that Dozois is not just one of science fiction’s best editors of short fiction, but one of its best writers as well.
March 28, 2013 | Categories: AUDIO, History, Knowledge Creation, People of Thought, Philosophy, Quotes, Society | Tags: Art, Authors, Books, Human Nature, Literature, Relationships, War | Leave A Comment »
“Sometimes in April is a 2005 historical drama television film about the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, written and directed by the Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck. The ensemble cast includes Idris Elba, Oris Erhuero, Carole Karemera, and Debra Winger.
The story centers on two brothers: Honoré Butera, working for the tribalist Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines, and Augustin Muganza, a captain in the Rwandan army (who was married to a Tutsi woman, Jeanne, and had three children with her: Anne-Marie, Yves-André, and Marcus), who bear witness to the killing of close to 800,000 people in 100 days while becoming divided by politics and losing some of their own family. The film depicts the attitudes and circumstances leading up to the outbreak of brutal violence, the intertwining stories of people struggling to survive the genocide, and the aftermath as the people try to find justice and reconciliation.”
March 27, 2013 | Categories: History, Knowledge Creation, Politics, Society, VIDEO | Tags: Anthropology, Crime, Death, Human Nature, Justice, mythology, Social Justice, Torture, Tribalism, War | Leave A Comment »
March 22, 2013 | Categories: Humour, Knowledge Creation, People of Thought, Society, VIDEO | Tags: Crime, Feminism, Gender, misogyny, Patriarchy, Satire, Social Justice, socialization, Stand Up Comedy, The Female, Torture | Leave A Comment »
The iconic New York City writer Fran Lebowitz is opinionated. And her incredible insight and hilarious matter-of-fact observations have challenged and entertained since she burst onto the literary scene in the mid-70s after Andy Warhol hired her as a columnist for Interview magazine. Author of twoNew York Times Best-Selling books (Metropolitan Life and Social Studies), Lebowitz is the subject of a 2010 documentary directed by Martin Scorsese, titled Public Speaking. The cultural satirist tackles wide-ranging subjects and is as entertaining as she is thought-provoking.
Notwithstanding my anti-theism, I respect a culture which allows the leeway for challenging and debating the big-invisible-master-dude-in-the-sky.
It allows for a more distinctive life philosophy than many other more submissive forms of cultural control.
The God of Independent Minds
Is religion the enemy of reason? A look at the questioning, disobedient heroes of the Old Testament
By YORAM HAZONY
Today’s debates over the place of religion in modern life often showcase the claim that belief in God stifles reason and science. As Richard Dawkins writes in his best-seller “The God Delusion,” religious belief “discourages questioning by its very nature.” In “The End of Faith,” his own New Atheist manifesto, Sam Harris writes that religion represents “a vanishing point beyond which rational discourse proves impossible.”
The argument that religion suppresses rational inquiry is often based on the idea that “reason” and “revelation” are opposites. On this view, shared by atheist crusaders and some believers as well, the whole point of the Bible is to provide divine knowledge for guiding our lives, so we don’t need questioning and independence of mind.
This dichotomy between reason and revelation has a great deal of history behind it, but I have never accepted it. In fact, as an Orthodox Jew, I often find the whole discussion quite frustrating. I will let Christians speak for their own sacred texts, but in the Hebrew Bible (or “Old Testament”) and the classical rabbinical sources that are the basis for my religion, one of the abiding themes is precisely the ever-urgent need for human beings, if they are to find what is true and just, to maintain their capacity for independent thought and action.
Almost every major hero and heroine of the Hebrew Bible is depicted as independent-minded, disobedient, even contentious. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Joseph’s brothers, Moses and Aaron, Gideon and Samuel, prophets such as Elijah and Elisha, and exilic biblical figures such as Daniel, Mordechai and Esther—all are portrayed as confronting authority and breaking the laws and commands of kings. And for this they are praised. (more…)
What Canadian cities can learn from the German federal ministry of transport, building and urban development
written by Rudra Sarkar
April 17, 2012
This paper evaluates the German National Public Transit Policy from a Canadian perspective. While Germany possesses a decades-long record of federal regulatory and fiscal support for public transit, Canada remains lacking in any such federal policy, and for this reason there may be much to learn from the German experience. Today, Canadian urban areas continue to suffer from vehicular congestion, high levels of GHG emissions, inadequate public transit options, dislocated urban life and woefully underfunded public transit agencies. Congestion in the Toronto area alone has been calculated to be costing the Canadian economy over $6 billion dollars every year (Toronto Board of Trade, 2010). Canada is overdue in finally developing a strong, long-term, well-funded national pubic transit strategy in order to reconstruct its urban areas as well as the way in which residents travel within them.
Canada and Germany are both democracies with federal systems of government, in which the interaction of national, state/provincial and local levels shapes transportation policy (Buehler, 2011a). Germany is comprised of 16 states and has a population of 82.1 million people. Canada is comprised of 10 provinces and 3 territories, with a population of 34.6 million people. Both nations are highly urbanized, with 80% of Canadians and 74% of Germans living in cities (Statscan, Worldbank).
The subject of public transit necessarily focuses on urban populations. Germany’s urban centres are more densely populated than Canada’s, as would be expected from most Western European municipalities. Nevertheless, it must be noted that in World War II many urban centres in Germany suffered enough damage to require the construction of vast areas anew. Such developments however, although not as dense as preserved historic centres, are still not as sparsely populated as post-war Canadian suburbs. Figure 1 displays the population densities of the top five most populous urban centres in both countries. (more…)
March 21, 2013 | Categories: Economics, Knowledge Creation, Politics, Society, The Law, Toronto, Urbanism, virginal commentary | Tags: Canadian History, Canadian Politics, Current Affairs, Environment, Urban Planning | Leave A Comment »
RAISING INSECTS IS 20 TIMES MORE EFFICIENT THAN BEEF
March 21, 2013 | Categories: Economics, Knowledge Creation, Society, VIDEO | Tags: Anthropology, Education, Environmentalism, Health, Memetics, Nature, Parenting, Social Conventions, socialization | Leave A Comment »
[VIDEO] [BOOK] [AUDIO] MATING MIND – GEOFFREY MILLER: The book that made more sense of the world around me than any other I had ever read
A MIND MADE FOR MATING! by @JasonSilva
Edited by CITIZEN
Music by SECESSION
Footage by Shutterstock, Imaginaty Foundation, and..
Inspired by Geoffrey Miller and his book “THE MATING MIND”
The Human Brain is essentially a sexual Ornament, a “courtship device”, so that it’s extraordinary capacities for art, language, poetry, are but human versions of the peacock feather, used to capture and manage the attention of potential mates. And with the advent of culture, we still employ these extraordinary capacities, these “technologies of rhetoric” to ‘capture the attention’ of others, except no longer to spread our genes but to spread our MEMES, a new replicator, born from the primordial soup human culture.. one that leaps and spreads… All of this is still perfectly natural, we’ve just swapped sperm for the currency of digital information– but as Dawkins said, biological life has been an information technology all along: “If you want to understand life, do not think of throbbing gels or oozing liquids, think about information technology”
“What lies at the heart of every living thing is not a fire, not warm breath, not a ‘spark of life.’ It is information, words, instructions,” – Richard Dawkins
“The human mind’s most impressive abilities are like the peacock’s tail: they are courtship tools, evolved to attract and entertain sexual partners.”
What Makes Ideas Travel: (Is there a signature for virality written into certain MEMES?)
“Men write more books. Men give more lectures. Men ask more questions after lectures. Men post more e-mail to Internet discussion groups. To say this is due to patriarchy is to beg the question of the behavior’s origin. If men control society, why don’t they just shut up and enjoy their supposed prerogatives? The answer is obvious when you consider sexual competition: men can’t be quiet because that would give other men a chance to show off verbally. Men often bully women into silence, but this is usually to make room for their own verbal display. If men were dominating public language just to maintain patriarchy, that would qualify as a puzzling example of evolutionary altruism–a costly, risky individual act that helps all of one’s sexual competitors (other males) as much as oneself. The ocean of male language that confronts modern women in bookstores, television, newspapers, classrooms, parliaments, and businesses does not necessarily come from a male conspiracy to deny women their voice. It may come from an evolutionary history of sexual selection in which the male motivation to talk was vital to their reproduction.”
― Geoffrey Miller, The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature
ABC’S ‘ALL IN THE MIND’ AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S ZONE RADIO SHOWS’ SPECIAL: HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLES DARWIN
- First broadcast: Saturday 14 February 2009 1:00PM
The human animal is a complex beast—we mate, fight, emote, and socialise in curious ways. Charles Darwin’s theories continue to provoke controversy over how and why we behave the way we do. Join leading evolutionary scientists and philosophers in this one-hour special, as presenters Alan Saunders and Natasha Mitchell consider how Darwin radically influenced the life of the mind.
Martin DalyProfessor of Psychology
Department of Philosophy
University of Sydneyhttp://www.arts.usyd.edu.au/departs/philos/staff/profiles/sgaukroger.shtml
Colin GrovesProfessor of Biological Anthropology
Australian National University
Delton HedgesPhd candidate
School of Philosophy
University of Tasmaniahttp://fcms.its.utas.edu.au/arts/philosophy/index.asp
Michael RuseLucyle T. Werkmeister Professor
Director of History & Philisophy of Science Program
Florida State Universityhttp://www.fsu.edu/~philo/new%20site/staff/ruse.htm
Jonathan MarksProfessor of Anthropology
Uuniversity of North Carolina
Geoffrey MillerAssociate Professor
University of New Mexicohttp://www.unm.edu/~psych/faculty/lg_gmiller.html
March 19, 2013 | Categories: Economics, History, Knowledge Creation, People of Thought, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Society, VIDEO | Tags: Anthropology, Art, Atheism, Authors, Books, darwinism, Death, Design, Evolution, Feminism, Gender, Human Nature, Memetics, natural selection, Nature, The Female | Leave A Comment »
Created by Jason Silva in collaboration with CITIZEN. Follow Jason on twitter @JASONSILVA
This video is a non-commercial work created to inspire, made for educational purposes, inspired by the ideas of Douglas Hofstadter explored in the magnificent book GODEL, ESCHER, BACH: An Eternal Golden Braid. Learn more:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gödel,_Escher,_Bach
It offers my interpretation of Strange Loops of Self Reference, recursion, and the emergence of consciousness and self-awareness:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_loops
“To Hofstadter, the human mind is a bright, shimmering, self-sustaining miracle of philosophical bootstrappery” – Lev Grossman, Read more: time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1599720,00.html#ixzz2MyMGywag
March 19, 2013 | Categories: Knowledge Creation, People of Thought, Philosophy, Quotes, Religion, VIDEO | Tags: Anthropology, Atheism, Authors, Books, Evolution, Human Nature, mythology, Nature | Leave A Comment »
January 24, 2013 | Categories: AUDIO, Economics, History, Knowledge Creation, Lectures, People of Thought, Politics, Quotes, Society, VIDEO | Tags: Current Affairs, Death, Justice, Music, Patriarchy, Social Justice, War | Leave A Comment »