The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution
- "[Charles Percy Snow
] was pleading for a more adequately educated ruling class so that the suffering of the poor might be ameliorated... Snow wanted to believe something like this: political decisions in the modern world often concern how to deploy science and technology, so people well-trained in science and technology will be better prepared to make those decisions. But that's a syllogism without a minor premise." (previously
) [more inside]
Warning! The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased, entry for the United States of America
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio
 actually makes a case against austerity
 and for redistribution, but also for money printing
(and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public
investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore
, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)
... [more inside]
Is Psychometric g a Myth?
- "As an online discussion about IQ or general intelligence grows longer, the probability of someone linking to statistician Cosma Shalizi's essay g, a Statistical Myth
approaches 1. Usually the link is accompanied by an assertion to the effect that Shalizi offers a definitive refutation of the concept of general mental ability, or psychometric g
." [more inside]
"Most American high schools are almost sadistically unhealthy places to send adolescents."
Does the "worst of adult America looks like high school because it’s populated by people who went to high school in America?" [more inside]
is a Professor of Mathematics, and of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. For the last nine years, he's been taking the mathematical techniques that once allowed him to track predator–prey cycles in forest ecosystems, and using them to model human history -- a pattern identification process he calls Cliodynamics
. The goal of cliodynamics (or cliometrics) is to turn history into a predictive, analytic science.
By analysing some of the broad social forces that shape transformative events in US society: historical records on economic activity, demographic trends and outbursts of violence, he has come to the conclusion that a new wave of internal strife is already on its way, and should peak around 2020
. [more inside]
In 2002, Doug Monroe placed his parents in assisted living
. A decade later, he's looking back at "the weighty financial and emotional costs that come with a parent's immortality": The Long Goodbye
The Beer Archaeologist.
"Biomolecular archaeologist" Dr. Patrick McGovern
has unearthed millennia-old
alcohol recipes and ancient medicinals
, "by analyzing residues in ancient pottery. Now he's working with brewer Sam Calagione, (of Discovery Channel's Brew Masters, (autoplaying video)
) whose pub Dogfish Head
serves up beers
based on recipes that are thousands of years old." (Via) [more inside]
is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe
(later The Cartoon History of the Modern World
), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies
) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit
. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn
chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States
, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides
to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment
, and (yes!) Sex
. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention
, assorted math comics
), the Muse magazine
mainstay Kokopelli & Co.
(featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"
), and more
. See also these lengthy interview snippets
, linked previously
. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
40 Things You Need to Know About the Next 40 Years
For it's 40th anniversary issue, Smithsonian magazine asks experts in various fields for insights into our future and compiles a list of 40 predictions about the future of science, nature, the arts and technology. The feature essay is by President Obama, in which he explains why he's optimistic
about America's future. (VIA) [more inside]
A nearly 25-year study
has concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted
and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers
. Results were published this month in Pediatrics
: the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Abstract
. Free PDF
). [more inside]
Science vs. Religion:
a new book, Science and Religion: What Scientists Really Think
by Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund, discusses the results of her detailed study
of 1,646 scientists at top American research universities. Among her findings: ~36% of those surveyed not only believe in God but also practice a form of closeted, often non-traditional faith. They worry about how their peers would react to learning about their religious views.
Interview with the author from the Center for Inquiry
's Point of Inquiry podcast
. Also, here's a webcast
from an author discussion forum held at Rice University on April 7th. [more inside]
A new study
suggests that humanity's sense of fair play and kindness towards strangers is determined by culture, not genetics
. Speculation: the finding may be directly related to the rise of religion
in human history, as well as more complex economies
). [more inside]
on the uniqueness of humans
in relation to the rest of the animal world (via
Charles Pierce, author of the 2005 essay "Greetings from Idiot America"
decrying the rise of faith-based anti-intellectualism, has expanded his rant into a full length book: Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free
. (via) [more inside]
is the nature caused by human culture. The technological world has become so intricate and uncontrollable that it has become a nature of its own. Scientific research into nanotechnology, genetic manipulation, ambient intelligence, tissue engineering... all of these young research fields radically interfere with our sense of what is ‘natural’. Here's a visual introduction
into next nature. [more inside]
How We Evolve:
"A growing number of scientists argue that human culture itself has become the foremost agent of biological change, making us — for the past 10,000 years or so — the inadvertent architects of our own future selves." [more inside]
Sushi Science and Hamburger Science: I had always regarded science as universal and believed there are no differences in science at all between countries. But I was wrong. People with different cultures think in different ways, and therefore their science also may well be different. In this essay, I will describe differences I have observed between Western science and Eastern science. Let me start with a parable......
Affairs of the Lips
. "We kiss furtively, lasciviously, gently, shyly, hungrily and exuberantly. We kiss in broad daylight and in the dead of night. We give ceremonial kisses, affectionate kisses, Hollywood air kisses, kisses of death and, at least in fairytales, pecks that revive princesses." But, why
do we kiss?
The Anonymity Experiment
. Is it possible to hide in plain sight? Privacy-minded people have long warned of a world in which an individual’s every action leaves a trace, in which corporations and governments can peer at will into your life with a few keystrokes on a computer. Now one of the people in charge of information-gathering for the U.S. government says, essentially, that such a world has arrived.
- science, design, art, culture, travel - you name it, they can relate it back to color. [more inside]
Everything I Know-Buckminster Fuller
During the last two weeks of January 1975 Buckminster Fuller gave an extraordinary series of lectures concerning his entire life’s work. These thinking out loud lectures span 42 hours (audio and text available) and examine in depth all of Fuller's major inventions and discoveries from the 1927 Dymaxion house, car
, through the Wichita House
, geodesic domes
, and tensegrity structures
, as well as the contents of Synergetics
Welcome to Idiot America:
"The America of Franklin and Edison, of Fulton and Ford, of the Manhattan project and the Apollo program, the America of which Einstein wanted to be a part, seems to be enveloping itself in a curious fog behind which it's tying itself in knots over evolution, for pity's sake, and over the relative humanity of blastocysts versus the victims of Parkinson's disease."
Einstein Speaks from Beyond the Grave...
To issue a vigorous challenge to the muddled claims coming from all sides about the inherent incompatibility of science and religion. (No secondary links to go with this, but in my opinion, this link is interesting enough to stand on its own.)
by dumb, ignorant Yankees on national stereotypes
According to the developmental spiral
we are heading towards an unfathomable point in time known as singularity
. Could the futurists
and science fiction writers such as Vernon Vinge
Seed Magazine. Seed is a popular science magazine for our times aimed at smart, young, and curious men and women who are passionate about science and its fast-changing place in our culture.
: bridging science & culture through contemporary art.
According to a study published in today's issue of the journal Science
, orangutans have been passing on a shared culture for generations (free registration required to view entire study). To what degree are animals intelligent
? Are primates more intelligent
than other animals? What about crows
and ravens? (My favorite subject of animal intelligence studies is still Koko the gorilla