Thursday, February 10, 2005

Miscellaneous

"All your life you live so close to truth, it becomes a permanent blur in the corner of your eye, and when something nudges it into outline it is like being ambushed by a grotesque."
— Tom Stoppard

When the revolution comes
Scientists speculate on the nature of the next revolution.
"The big question is why these revolutions don't make us profoundly sad. We're reduced to bags of chemicals with no free will, living on a normal planet, but people still find that exciting," says Ramachandran. "I think it's because with greater understanding, we see ourselves as part of some grander scheme. We're part of something larger than ourselves and once we identify with that, it is not degrading, it's ennobling."


Perhaps proof of parallel universes, the existence of extraterrestrial life, the possibility of artificial intelligence.

Complete knowledge of our biological selves.

Steven Pinker:
Thinking is neural computation; wanting and trying are neural cybernetics (feedback systems, like your thermostat). All this means that humans are not special in having an essence that is separate from the material universe. It means no life after death. That, in turn, means no divine rewards or punishments in a world to come. It means that our minds, not just our bodies, were descended from those of apes and shaped by the morally indifferent forces of natural selection. It means that responsibility can't be equated with the notion of free will, if free will is conceived as autonomous choice utterly disconnected from any chain of cause and effect.


Nancy Rothwell:
We might even find that there is a biological basis for religion. Suppose we discovered that God "lived" in a particular part of the brain, and that religion was a biological function which had evolved to help us through difficult times.


(Is that part of my brain defective? Is there a cure?)

From the dictionary
Main Entry: quod·li·bet
Pronunciation: 'kw├Ąd-l&-"bet
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin quodlibetum, from Latin quodlibet, neuter of quilibet any whatever, from qui who, what + libet it pleases, from libEre to please — more at WHO, LOVE
1 : a philosophical or theological point proposed for disputation; also : a disputation on such a point
2 : a whimsical combination of familiar melodies or texts

Eat your words
A Chicago chef is using edible papers and inks to print menus.
He plans to take the idea further. "Just imagine going through a magazine and looking at an ad for pizza. You wonder what it tastes like, so you rip a page out and eat it," he told New Scientist magazine.

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