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Current Topic: Science

Scientists Say Everyone Can Read Minds
Topic: Science 11:47 pm EDT, May  4, 2005

] Some scientists now believe they may have finally
] discovered its root. We're all essentially mind readers,
] they say.

I hate it when scientists use termonology like "mind reader" which is very misleading, but sounds sexier then a more accurate description of what is happening. However, this article is still interesting...

Scientists Say Everyone Can Read Minds

Topic: Science 12:52 pm EST, Mar 14, 2005

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County presents Collapse?, a thought-provoking exhibition that draws on ideas from UCLA professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jared Diamond's book "Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed". This journey through time and place uses the Museum's diverse collections in an original, multimedia-rich installation that explores the links between societies and their environments, asking why some civilizations decline while others flourish. Throughout the exhibit's seven-month run, live evening programs will offer Museum audiences an opportunity to further engage in these ideas.

Visitors will travel through present-day Montana (not as pristine as it may seem); investigate the fate of ancient Maya civilization; look to the radical, and successful, solutions of 17th and 18th Century Japan; and examine contemporary Australia's ongoing search for a balanced approach to its environment. In the final section a virtual newsroom will showcase modern environmental and geopolitical issues as visitors are invited to consider how their decisions can have far-reaching impacts.

The exhibit opens May 1.


Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, And The Meaning Of Life
Topic: Science 12:51 pm EST, Mar 14, 2005

This is the first book-length response to Richard Dawkins, author of some of the most popular scientific works, such as The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker. Dawkins has become perhaps the world’s best-known atheist, noted for his hostile and controversial views on religion.

This wonderfully argued book explains and examines Dawkins’ scientific ideas and their religious implications. Head-to-head, it takes on some of Dawkins’ central assumptions, like the conflict between science and religion, the "selfish gene" theory of evolution, the role of science in explaining the world, and brilliantly exposes their unsustainability. Moreover, this controversial debate is carried on in a style which can be enjoyed by anyone without a scientific or religious background.

Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, And The Meaning Of Life

'Brain' In A Dish Acts As Autopilot, Living Computer
Topic: Science 2:07 pm EST, Nov 12, 2004

] DeMarse experimental "brain" interacts with an F-22
] fighter jet flight simulator through a specially designed
] plate called a multi-electrode array and a common desktop
] computer.
] "It's essentially a dish with 60 electrodes arranged in a
] grid at the bottom," DeMarse said. "Over that we put the
] living cortical neurons from rats, which rapidly begin to
] reconnect themselves, forming a living neural network
] - a brain."
] The brain and the simulator establish a two-way
] connection, similar to how neurons receive and interpret
] signals from each other to control our bodies.

Rat Brain cells in a silicon matrix can fly an airplane simulator. Seriously. What is the line between man and machine. What is the difference between a robot, a work animal, and a slave. These questions may eventually move out of the realm of science fiction.

'Brain' In A Dish Acts As Autopilot, Living Computer

The Ancestor's Tale
Topic: Science 6:28 am EDT, Oct 19, 2004

Renowned biologist and thinker Richard Dawkins presents his most expansive work yet: a comprehensive look at evolution, ranging from the latest developments in the field to his own provocative views.

Loosely based on the form of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Dawkins's Tale takes us modern humans back through four billion years of life on earth. As our pilgrimage progresses, we join with other organisms at the 'rendezvous points' where we find a common ancestor. The band of pilgrims swells into a vast crowd as we join first with other primates, then with other mammals, and so on back to the very first primordial organism.

Dawkins's brilliant, inventive approach allows us to view the connections between ourselves and all other life in a bracingly novel way. It also lets him shed bright new light on the most compelling aspects of evolutionary history and theory: sexual selection, speciation, convergent evolution, extinction, genetics, plate tectonics, geographical dispersal, and more.

The Ancestor's Tale is at once a far-reaching survey of the latest, best thinking on biology and a fascinating history of all living things.

Must read.

The Ancestor's Tale

Consciousness, by Susan Blackmore
Topic: Science 8:22 am EST, Dec 24, 2003

Is there a theory that explains the essence of consciousness? Or is consciousness itself just an illusion?

This groundbreaking book is the first volume to bring together all the major theories of consciousness studies--from those rooted in traditional Western philosophy to those coming out of neuroscience, quantum theory, and Eastern philosophy.

Susan Blackmore, the author of The Meme Machine, was written a book about a wide variety of issues, including lucid dreaming, philosophy of mind, and cognitive neuroscience.

Consciousness, by Susan Blackmore

Journal of Memetics- Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
Topic: Science 8:20 am EST, Dec  4, 2003

A goldmine of memetic discussion I recently found published on the internet with no subscription fee. Just click on "index of all issues". The advisory board contains the memetic heavyweights Susan Blackmore,Gary Cziko, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett,Liane Gabora, and David Hull.

Journal of Memetics- Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission

Keeping Watch for Interstellar Computer Viruses
Topic: Science 2:50 pm EST, Nov 12, 2003

Microsoft may have to fork up big bounty bucks trying to unearth future hackers, particularly when they are light years away on distant worlds.

Add one more worry to the computerized world of the 21st century. Could a signal from the stars broadcast by an alien intelligence also carry harmful information, in the spirit of a computer virus? Could star folk launch a "disinformation" campaign -- one that covers up aspects of their culture? Perhaps they might even mask the "real" intent of dispatching a message to other civilizations scattered throughout the Cosmos.

These are concerns that deserve attention explains Richard Carrigan, Jr., a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. Those engaged in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), he contends, should think about decontaminating potential SETI signals.

Keeping Watch for Interstellar Computer Viruses

RE: Venus possibly habitable for billions of years - New Scientist
Topic: Science 6:36 am EDT, Sep 12, 2003

inignoct wrote:
] ] The hellish climate of Venus may have arisen far more
] ] recently than previously supposed, suggests new research.
] ] If so, pleasant Earth-like conditions probably persisted
] ] for two billion years after the planet's birth - plenty
] ] of time for life to have developed.

Another point mentioned in the article: If this theory is correct, the habitable zone around stars is larger than previously estimated.

RE: Venus possibly habitable for billions of years - New Scientist

Freedom to Tinker: Why Aren't Virus Attacks Worse?
Topic: Science 6:50 am EDT, Jul 28, 2003

] This reminds me of a series of conversations I had a few
] years ago with a hotshot mo-bio professor, about the
] national-security implications of bio-attacks versus
] cyber-attacks. I started out convinced that the
] cyber-attack threat, while real, was overstated; but
] bio-attacks terrified me. He had the converse view, that
] bio-attacks were possible but overhyped, while
] cyber-attacks were the real nightmare scenario. Each of
] us tried to reassure the other that really large-scale
] malicious attacks of the type we knew best (cyber- for
] me, bio- for him) were harder to carry out, and less
] likely, than commonly believed.

Freedom to Tinker: Why Aren't Virus Attacks Worse?

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