08 JAN 2018 by ideonexus

 Our Life is What We Pay Attention To

When our attention is lured, herded, and commandeered in such a way, our full human potential is profoundly subverted. “Our life experience,” William James once said, “will equal what we have paid attention to, whether by choice or default.” We become what we attend to — nothing more, nothing less. A steady and exclusive stream of reality TV, entertainment gossip, social media chatter, and “breaking news” about the latest celebrity scandal or Trump’s most recent tweets — all...
  1  notes
21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Cosplay as Empowerment

"Cosplay is a form of empowerment for all children and adults," says Stanford Carpenter, president and cofounder of the Institute for Comics Studies, who says that he used to be dismissive of cosplay. But after attending dozens of ComicCons, he witnessed the dress-up affair changing masked heroes indefinitely. "It's about empowerment. It's about the possibility of what you can be or what you can do. And when you see people in underrepresented groups, it takes on the empowerment fantasy of not...
  1  notes
13 MAY 2013 by ideonexus

 Public Policy Shouldn't Bet on Science

You ask whether, given a choice, I would put more resources into space or AI. My answer is that either choice would be stupid. Politicians always want to make such choices too soon, because they imagine they can pick winners. Usually they pick losers. The only way to improve the chances for finding winners is to keep all the choices open and try them all. That is particularly true for space and AI, which are not really competing with each other. They are done by different kinds of people in d...
  1  notes

It will always bet wrong. All science should be open, free, and supported.

19 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 Vaccines as a Positive Externality

A science-based example of a positive externality is vaccinations. Vaccinations work based on the number of people in the population who are vaccinated. Once a certain threshold is reached, the disease can't spread effectively and is essentially eliminated. As long as enough people are vaccinated, others who choose not to be still get to enjoy that positive externality at no cost. These are what economists call freeloaders. Economists like the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have the...
  1  notes

People who don't get vaccines benefit from those who do because of the lower rates of disease.

25 APR 2012 by ideonexus

 Mankind Overspecialized for Living in "Gadget-Ridden Envi...

The outlook seems grim. Natural selection under civilized conditions may lead mankind to evolve towards a state of genetic overspecialization for living in gadget-ridden environments. It is certainly up to man to decide whether this direction of his evolution is or is not desirable. If it is not, man has, or soon will have, the knowledge requisite to redirect the evolution of his species pretty much as he sees fit. Perhaps we should not be too dogmatic about this choice of direction. We may b...
  1  notes

Would it be a bad thing for humans to adapt to such a state of things?

05 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Gregory (Albert) Benford on Laws of the Universe

Why do the laws that govern [the universe] seem constant in time? One can imagine a Universe in which laws are not truly law-full. Talk of miracle does just this, invoking God to make things work. Physics aims to find the laws instead, and hopes that they will be uniquely constrained, as when Einstein wondered whether God had any choice when He made the Universe.
Folksonomies: religion physics miracles
Folksonomies: religion physics miracles
  1  notes

Physics seeks immutable laws, while religion sees a Universe where the laws bend to fit whatever god's will happens to be at the moment.

18 SEP 2011 by TGAW

 Vonnegut on the Purpose of Fiction Writers

Our purpose is to make mankind aware of itself, in all its complexity, and to dream its dreams. We have no choice in the matter.
Folksonomies: vonnegut fiction
Folksonomies: vonnegut fiction
  2  notes
10 AUG 2011 by ideonexus

 Witches Own Nothing

“Well, that seems kinda precipitate. Seems to me a man should have a choice whether to take up arms or not.” “We have no more choice in that than in whether or not to be born.” “Oh, I like choice, though,” he said. “I like choosing the jobs I take and the places I go and the food I eat and the companions I sit and yarn with. Don’t you wish for a choice once in a while ?” Serafina Pekkala considered, and then said, “Perhaps we don’t mean the same thing by choice, Mr. S...
Folksonomies: immortality materialism
Folksonomies: immortality materialism
  1  notes

Therefore cost does not factor into their reasoning, because they live long enough to know that every opportunity comes around again.

30 MAR 2011 by ideonexus

 Museums for Rebooting Civilization

"You don't see the point of a museum, Horst. It's for the next rise in the Cycles. Savages come to put together another civilization. The faster they can do it, the longer it'll be before another collapse because they'll be expanding their capabilities faster than the population. See? So the savages get their choice of a number of previous civilizations, and -the weapons to put a new one into action. You noticed the lock?" "I did," said Potter. "You need some astronomy to solve it. I presume...
 1  1  notes

An alien species that suffers regular collapses of civilization due to overpopulation keeps their museums out in the middle of nowhere and under bomb-proof domes to protect their contents so future savages may rediscover them and rebuild from their predecessors.

23 JAN 2011 by ideonexus

 A Reason Not to Use Bookmarks

The plural of anecdotes is not data — but anecdotes are all I have. We don’t yet understand how we think or what it means to change the way we think. Scientists are making inroads and ultimately hope to understand much more. But right now all I and my fellow contributors can do are make observations and generalize. ... Someone pointed out to me once that he, like me, never uses a bookmark in a book. I always attributed my negligence to disorganization and laziness — the few times I atte...
Folksonomies: internet technology
Folksonomies: internet technology
  1  notes

A bookmark is an artificial place in a book, without which we return to the last point in a book that made an impact on your brain.