29 DEC 2016 by ideonexus

 How Science Fiction Got Its Start with Frakenstein

It’s not completely fanciful to say that science fiction began with three things: a dead frog, a volcano, and a teenage bride. The dead frog was one that an Italian physician named Luigi Galvani was experimenting with in the 1780s, when he found that a mild electric shock could cause the frog’s leg to twitch. It was just an induced muscle reflex, but it suggested that there might be a connection between electricity and life. The volcano was Mount Tambora in Indonesia, which exploded in ...
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27 DEC 2016 by ideonexus

 History of the Concept of Art

Nowadays when someone speaks of "art" you probably think first of "fine arts" such as painting and sculpture, but before the twentieth century the word was generally used in quite a different sense. Since this older meaning of "art" still survives in many idioms, especially when we are contrasting art with science, I would like to spend the next few minutes talking about art in its classical sense. In medieval times, the first universities were established to teach the seven so-called "liber...
Folksonomies: science art humanities
Folksonomies: science art humanities
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02 SEP 2016 by ideonexus

 Abuse of Science in Politics

North Carolina provides a recent example of science-based policy. The science itself was a study of voting habits among the population of the state. In 2013, North Carolina passed new voting restrictions. To inform those restrictions, the legislature commissioned a study on voting habits by race, and then wrote into law a series of restrictions that specifically targeted African Americans. (Last month, a Federal Court struck down these restrictions, claiming that “the new provisions target ...
Folksonomies: politics science
Folksonomies: politics science
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02 SEP 2016 by ideonexus

 Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Rationalia

In Rationalia, the Constitution stipulates that a body of convincing evidence needs to exist in support of an idea before any Policy can established based on it. In such a country, data gathering, careful observations, and experimentation would be happening all the time, influencing practically every aspect of our modern lives. As a result, Rationalia would lead the world in discovery, because discovery would be built into the DNA of how the government operates, and how its citizens think....
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02 SEP 2016 by ideonexus

 Effects of Good Teachers on Student Outcomes

These findings would suggest that the difference in achievement gains between having a 25th percentile teacher (a not so effective teacher) and a 75th percentile teacher (an effective teacher) is over one-third of a standard deviation (0.35) in reading and almost half a standard deviation (0.48) in mathematics. Similarly, the difference in achievement gains between having a 50th percentile teacher (an average teacher) and a 90th percentile teacher (a very effective teacher) is about one-third...
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15 JUN 2016 by ideonexus

 How Scientific Thought Differs from Ancient Thought

If we consent for the time being to denude the mind of philosophical and metaphysical presuppositions, and take the matter in the most simple and naive way possible, I think our answer, stated in technical terms, will be that [science] substitutes data for objects. (It is not meant that this outcome is the whole effect of the experimental method; that as we saw at the outset is complex; but that the first effect as far as stripping away qualities is concerned is of this nature.) That Greek sc...
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Ancient thought saw things as immutable, to be appreciated aesthetically. Science sees the world as an endless series of mysteries to be solved.

15 JUN 2016 by ideonexus

 The Singularity of the Human Species

The singularity of the human species, 1 the study and defence of which form the plan of this work, stands out principally in the actual characteristics of what we shall call in these pages the Noosphere (or thinking envelope) of the earth. But just because, forming a true singularity (and not a simple irregularity) in evolutionary matter, humanity is born not by an accident but from the prolonged play of the forces of cosmogenesis, its roots must theoretically be recognisable (as in fact they...
Folksonomies: evolution science culture
Folksonomies: evolution science culture
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14 MAR 2016 by ideonexus

 "Dark Matter" and "Dark Energy" are Terms That Hide Ignor...

We can measure the influence of this thing we call dark energy, which is forcing an acceleration of the expanding universe. We don't know what that is, we don't know anything about it, other than what it's doing to the universe. Then 85 percent of the gravity of the universe has a point of origin about which we know nothing. We account for all the matter and energy that we're familiar with, measure up how much gravity it should have — it's about one-sixth of the gravity that's actually ope...
Folksonomies: science ignorance unknowing
Folksonomies: science ignorance unknowing
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14 MAR 2016 by ideonexus

 Believing in the Afterlife Belittles the Importance of a ...

When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me-it still sometimes happens-and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don't ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thi...
Folksonomies: science spirituality
Folksonomies: science spirituality
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14 MAR 2016 by ideonexus

 Science Lacks a Sense of Belonging

It seems to me that the biggest challenge we face is to evolve a language that couples the cold-eyed skepticism and rigor of science with a sense of community, a sense of belonging that religion provides. We have to make it matter what is true. If instead we say that what really matters is to have faith, what really matters is to believe, we'll never get there. It’s not enough to have forty minutes of science in the daily school program, because science shouldn't be compartmentalized that w...
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