27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 Human Progress Confounds -isms

It should not be surprising that the facts of human progress confound the major -isms. The ideologies are more than two centuries old and are based on mile-high visions such as whether humans are tragically flawed or infinitely malleable, and whether society is an organic whole or a collection of individuals.43 A real society comprises hundreds of millions of social beings, each with a trillion-synapse brain, who pursue their well-being while affecting the well-being of others in complex netw...
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 The Great Lifespan Escape

At the time when the lines begin, in the mid-18th century, life expectancy in Europe and the Americas was around 35, where it had been parked for the 225 previous years for which we have data.3 Life expectancy for the world as a whole was 29. These numbers are in the range of expected life spans for most of human history. The life expectancy of hunter-gatherers is around 32.5, and it probably decreased among the peoples who first took up farming because of their starchy diet and the diseases ...
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10 FEB 2018 by ideonexus

 The Volumetric Approach to History

You will be thinking that we are coming to the end of this book: we’ve dealt with eight centuries, so there are only two to go. You may be surprised to learn, therefore, that in historical terms we are not even halfway. The reason for this discrepancy is that history is not time, and time is not history. History is not the study of the past per se; it is about people in the past. Time, separated from humanity, is purely a matter for scientists and star-gazers. If a previously unknown uninha...
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17 MAY 2017 by ideonexus

 Diderot on Information Overload

As long as the centuries continue to unfold, the number of books will grow continually, and one can predict that a time will come when it will be almost as difficult to learn anything from books as from the direct study of the whole universe. It will be almost as convenient to search for some bit of truth concealed in nature as it will be to find it hidden away in an immense multitude of bound volumes. When that time comes, a project, until then neglected because the need for it was not felt,...
Folksonomies: information overload
Folksonomies: information overload
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31 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 The Future of "Brave New World" is "The Time Machine"

Brave New World gives us a dramatic view of a future in which the technology made possible by science brings science to a halt. This future is consistent with the more remote future seen by the Time Traveler in Wells's Time Machine. After the disruptive influence of science has been permanently tamed by the triumph of bureaucracy and eugenics, it is easy to imagine human society remaining stuck in the rigidly conservative caste system of Brave New World for thousands of centuries, until the s...
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23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Invoking God to Explain Ignorance is Unproductive

Writing in centuries past, many scientists felt compelled to wax poetic about cosmic mysteries and God's handiwork. Perhaps one should not be surprised at this: most scientists back then, as well as many scientists today, identify themselves as spiritually devout. ut a careful reading of older texts, particularly those concerned with the universe itself, shows that the authors invoke divinity only when they reach the boundaries of their understanding. They appeal to a higher power only when ...
Folksonomies: science religion
Folksonomies: science religion
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18 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 Altruism is a Basic Human Instinct

The cost for my survival must have been hundreds of millions of dollars. All to save one dorky botanist. Why bother? Well, okay. I know the answer to that. Part of it might be what I represent: progress, science, and the interplanetary future we’ve dreamed of for centuries. But really, they did it because every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it’s true. If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a sear...
Folksonomies: altruism
Folksonomies: altruism
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13 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 Changing Spelling has Happened in the Past

Objection to simplified spelling has been made on the supposition that it "wil cut us off from the literature of the past," meaning that those taught in the new way wil be unable to read the books red today. This can not be so, because the present spelling wil be no more difficult to read by one who has learnd to spel the new way, than is the new spelling by one who has learnd the old way. Children who hav learnd to spel in the simplified way wil, in fact, read the books printed toda...
Folksonomies: spelling standards
Folksonomies: spelling standards
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Technology, translation services, will make migration even easier.

04 FEB 2015 by ideonexus

 Foundation and Empire

"Well," Bayta's eyes misted with thought as she curled her bare toes into the white softness of the rug and nestled her little chin in one plump hand, "it seems to me that the whole essence of Seldon's plan was to create a world better than the ancient one of the Galactic Empire. It was failing apart, that world, three centuries ago, when Seldon first established the Foundation – and if history speaks truly, it was falling apart of the triple disease of inertia, despotism, and maldistributi...
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29 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Loss of Hope Accelerates the Death of Trantor

"The fall of Trantor," said Seldon, "cannot be stopped by any conceivable effort. It can be hastened easily, however. The tale of my interrupted trial will spread through the Galaxy. Frustration of my plans to lighten the disaster will convince people that the future holds no promise to them. Already they recall the lives of their grandfathers with envy. They will see that political revolutions and trade stagnations will increase. The feeling will pervade the Galaxy that onl...
Folksonomies: society hope justice
Folksonomies: society hope justice
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