12 DEC 2017 by ideonexus

 Summary of Human Evolution

ABOUT 13.5 BILLION YEARS AGO, MATTER, energy, time and space came into being in what is known as the Big Bang. The story of these fundamental features of our universe is called physics. About 300,000 years after their appearance, matter and energy started to coalesce into complex structures, called atoms, which then combined into molecules. The story of atoms, molecules and their interactions is called chemistry. About 3.8 billion years ago, on a planet called Earth, certain molecules combi...
Folksonomies: epic history
Folksonomies: epic history
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16 MAR 2014 by ideonexus

 Seeing Dyson Civilizations

In summary, the circumstellar shells of Dyson civilizations-at temperatures ~300 degrees K and radii ~1 a.u.--can be detected with existing telescopes and state-of-the-art infrared detectors in the 8-13-u window out to distances of several hundred parsecs. But discrimination of Dyson civilizations from naturally occurring low-temperature objects is very difficult, unless Dyson civilizations have some further distinguishing feature, such as monochromatic radio-frequency emission.
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How difficult would it be to detect their heat signature?

19 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 Summary of Postmodernism

The teaching that there is no objective reality, but rather many subjec¬ tive realities, or in this case, that the subjective realities are on an equal par with the objective reality (you're dead!) in turn influences students' views of the primacy of knowledge. To critics, history is no longer the search for what really happened, but rather the victor's interpretation as seen through the lens of power and oppression, and it bears a cultural and political focus. Literature is no longer a stud...
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The relativity of knowledge.

26 APR 2012 by ideonexus

 Sir Eddington Doesn't Believe in Neutrinos

Just now nuclear physicists are writing a great deal about hypothetical particles called neutrinos supposed to account for certain peculiar facts observed in ß-ray disintegration. We can perhaps best describe the neutrinos as little bits of spin-energy that have got detached. I am not much impressed by the neutrino theory. In an ordinary way I might say that I do not believe in neutrinos... But I have to reflect that a physicist may be an artist, and you never know where you are with artists...
Folksonomies: science art creativity
Folksonomies: science art creativity
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But he's not willing to bet against their existence, because a physicist might invent them through reason and experimentation. A fascinating thought that this summary cannot do justice.

01 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Carl Sagan's Summary of the Selfish Gene

In a very real sense human beings are machines constructed by the nucleic acids to arrange for the efficient replication of more nucleic acids. In a sense our strongest urges, noblest enterprises, most compelling necessities, and apparent free wills are all an expression of the information coded in the genetic material: We are, in a way, temporary ambulatory repositories for our nucleic acids. This does not deny our humanity; it does not prevent us from pursuing the good, the true, and the be...
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We are machines constructed by nucleic acids to construct more nucleic acids... sounds a lot like Dawkins.

08 JUN 2011 by ideonexus

 The Science on the Path

A weed plucked at the side of the path might have found its way to the New World in a seventeenth century sailing ship. Scratches on a rocky ledge evoke colossal mountain-building events on the other side of the world millions of years ago that modified the planet's climate and caused glaciers to creep across New England. The oxygen atoms I suck into my lungs were forged in stars that lived and died long before the Earth was born. It is something of a cliche to say that everything is connecte...
Folksonomies: nature education naturalism
Folksonomies: nature education naturalism
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A brief summary of the scientific concepts to be considered on a nature walk.

18 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 Silencing Opinion is a 'peculiar evil'

In his celebrated little book, On Liberty, the English philosopher John Stuart Mill argued that silencing an opinion is 'a peculiar evil'. If the opinion is right, we are robbed of the 'opportunity of exchanging error for truth'; and if it's wrong, we are deprived of a deeper understanding of the truth in 'its collision with error'. If we know only our own side of the argument, we hardly know even that; it becomes stale, soon learned only by rote, untested, a pallid and lifeless truth. Mill ...
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A summary by Carl Sagan, not a direct quote.

23 MAR 2011 by ideonexus

 Summary of Schopenhauer's Philosophy

[Schopenhauer] was also an atheist. He did not believe in a personal, omnipotent God. Instead, Schopenhauer believed that the essence of the universe is Being: a blind, irrational, unquenchable thirst to exist he called Wille zum Leben, and that everything we perceive is a representation of this Will to Live. Because we ourselves are products of Will, we spend most of our lives trapped in a cycle of striving and boredom. We're constantly willing ourselves to attain our goals, and when we d...
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A brief explanation that sounds familiar to atheism/secularism.

09 JAN 2011 by ideonexus

 The History of Analogies Between Biological Evolution and...

From the early days of Darwinism analogies have been drawn between biological evolution and the evolution of culture. Darwin's contemporary Herbert Spencer studied the evolution of civilizations, which he viewed as progressing towards an ideal something like that of Victorian English society. Lewis Morgan's evolutionary theory of society included the three stages of savagery, barbarism, and civilization. The historian Arnold Toynbee used evolutionary ideas in identifying over thirty distinct ...
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A brief summary of the history of various intellectuals investigating and hypothesizing on the evolution of societies.