23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Invasive Species Increase Biodiversity

Life becomes different, and it carries on. Since the majority of invasive species are relatively benign, they add to an island’s overall biodiversity. The ecologist Dov Sax at Brown University in Rhode Island points out that non-native plants have doubled the botanical biodiversity of New Zealand – there are 2,104 native plants in the wild, and 2,065 non-native plants. Ascension Island in the south Atlantic, once a barren rock deplored by Charles Darwin for its ‘naked hideousness’, no...
Folksonomies: environmentalism ecology
Folksonomies: environmentalism ecology
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19 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 Can Identity Survive a 200-Year Lifespan?

Walter Glannon has argued that a lifespan of 200 years or more would be undesirable because personal identity could not be persevered over such a long life (Glannon 2002). Glannon’s argument presupposes that personal identity (understood here as a determinant of our prudential concerns) depends on psychological connectedness. On this view, we now have prudential interests in a future time segment of our organism only if that future time segment is psychologically connected to the organism...
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From Nick Bostrom's "Why I Want to be a Posthuman When I Grow Up"

19 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 Accelerating Knowledge

The rate at which man has been storing up useful knowledge about himself and the universe has been spiraling upward for 10,000 years. The rate took a sharp upward leap with the invention of writing, but even so it remained painfully slow over centuries of time. The next great leap forward in knowledge—acquisition did not occur until the invention of movable type in the fifteenth century by Gutenberg and others. Prior to 1500, by the most optimistic estimates, Europe was producing books at a...
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Toffler describes and quantifies the increasing production of information in human civilization and its implications.

01 JAN 2010 by ideonexus

 Symbols: Shorthand For Ideas

Your 3-year-old has declared that he and the closet are going to Asia. Asia, like America, is a concept that depends on our ability to think symbolically. America exists only because a group of people got together more than 200 years ago and decided that this great mass of land directly to the south of Canada should bear that name. California wasn't America, and then it was. It became America because a group of people decided
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This is something important to consider in developing artificial intelligence, how symbolic thought works. When we consider "China", the word evokes an understanding of an abstract concept: a geographic location, an ethnicity of people, language, fashion, culture, population, etc. All the details of what "China" is are really abstracted away, we accept an immense amount of ambiguity in our understanding of the concept.