22 JUN 2016 by ideonexus

 Freeman Dyson's Optimism

Brand: I was looking at your 1988 book, Infinite in All Directions, and remembering what it was that excited me about it. Ten years ago, most people I knew were in the depths of a kind of bad mood, harboring a pessimistic feeling that things were going to keep getting worse for the rest of their lives. But your book had this pragmatic and also rather cosmic optimism about it; it came as a complete counter to the cultural flow at that point. Did you perceive that at the time? Dyson: Oh yes. I...
Folksonomies: futurism optimism
Folksonomies: futurism optimism
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30 MAY 2016 by ideonexus

 Rebuking the "Good Old Days"

When you hear someone longing for the "good old days," take it with a grain of salt. (Laughter and applause.) Take it with a grain of salt. We live in a great nation and we are rightly proud of our history. We are beneficiaries of the labor and the grit and the courage of generations who came before. But I guess it's part of human nature, especially in times of change and uncertainty, to want to look backwards and long for some imaginary past when everything worked, and the economy humme...
Folksonomies: politics progress
Folksonomies: politics progress
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31 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Automation and Early Computation, Social Inequaltiy

Haldane did not foresee the computer, the most potent agent of social change during the last fifty years. He expected his Daedalus, destroyer of gods and of men, to be a biologist. Instead, the Daedalus of this century turned out to be John von Neumann, the mathematician who consciously pushed mankind into the era of computers. Von Neumann knew well what he was doing. Soon after the end of the second world war, he started the Princeton computer project. Like Haldane's Daedalus, he had dreams ...
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31 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 The Evolving View of Science and Evil

Daedalus begins with an artillery bombardment on the Western Front, the shell bursts nonchalantly annihilating the human protagonists who are supposed to be in charge of the battle. This opening scene epitomizes Haldane's hard-headed view of war. And likewise at the end, when the biologist in his laboratory, "just a poor little scrubby underpaid man groping blindly amid the mazes of the ultramicroscopic," is transfigured into the mythical figure of Daedalus, "conscious of his ghastly mission ...
Folksonomies: evil inequality war science
Folksonomies: evil inequality war science
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30 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Sophistication of Political Discourse

Sophistication of Political Discourse. Finally, let’s have a look at political discourse, which most people believe has been getting dumb and dumber. There’s no such thing as the IQ of a speech, but Tetlock and other political psychologists have identified a variable called integrative complexity that captures a sense of intellectual balance, nuance, and sophistication.283 A passage that is low in integrative complexity stakes out an opinion and relentlessly hammers it home, without nuanc...
Folksonomies: rhetoric language
Folksonomies: rhetoric language
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30 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Pessimism in Predictions and the False Sense of Insecurity

You would think that the disappearance of the gravest threat in the history of humanity would bring a sigh of relief among commentators on world affairs. Contrary to expert predictions, there was no invasion of Western Europe by Soviet tanks, no escalation of a crisis in Cuba or Berlin or the Middle East to a nuclear holocaust.1 The cities of the world were not vaporized; the atmosphere was not poisoned by radioactive fallout or choked with debris that blacked out the sun and sent Homo sapien...
Folksonomies: perspective pessimism
Folksonomies: perspective pessimism
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25 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Enlightenment as the Birth of Progress

Only in the 18th century Enlightenment did the concept of progress become widespread. Earlier, most people thought of history in terms of a fall from a past Golden Age, or perhaps repeating cycles. (If they thought of such things at all. Mostly they just worried about their next meals.) With the Industrial Revolution, progress became almost synonymous with science and technology. By the late 19th and early 20th century, we see the beginnings of modern science fiction (Verne, Wells), and prot...
Folksonomies: enlightenment progress
Folksonomies: enlightenment progress
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27 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 Post WWI vs Post WWII Human Civilization

After the horrific agonies of World War One, the progressive worldview was rejected both in America and abroad, partly due to narrow minded self-interest, but also because humanity was otherwise preoccupied. Like careening drunks, we commenced a long and horrible infatuation with ideologies — from communism and fascism to nationalist jingoism and every other "ism" imaginable. Hitler and Stalin were no more than particularly gruesome manifestations of this fever — a passion for simplistic ...
Folksonomies: civilization history war peace
Folksonomies: civilization history war peace
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Dr. Brin describes one world-society obsessed with "isms" against one vowing to rebuild civilization, even those of our enemies.

14 OCT 2013 by ideonexus

 Rosa Parks the Quiet Hero

For years before the day in December 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus, she worked behind the scenes for the NAACP, even receiving training in nonviolent resistance. Many things had inspired her political commitment. The time the Ku Klux Klan marched in front of her childhood house. The time her brother, a private in the U.S. Army who’d saved the lives of white soldiers, came home from World War II only to be spat upon. The time a black eighteen-year-old d...
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She was an introvert, but also one highly-trained in the art of passive resistance.

16 MAR 2013 by ideonexus

 The Critical Path

H UMANITY IS MOVING EVER DEEPER into crisis—a crisis without prec¬ edent. av upon completely transforming omnidisintegrated humanity from a complex of around-the-world, remotely-deployed-from-one-another, differently col¬ ored, differently credoed, differently cultured, differently communicating, and differently competing entities into a completely integrated, comprehensively interconsiderate, harmonious whole. Second, we are in an unprecedented crisis because cosmic evolution is also...
Folksonomies: history energy
Folksonomies: history energy
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It's all about energy, power, and innovation. Buckminster's clever perspective on human history.