• Nicholas McCay

Eclectic Spacewalk - March 2019

Here is a sampling of the best content I consumed this past month. Your guide to thinking about the future with wisdom from the past, so you can navigate the present. We live in the greatest time Humanity has ever experienced. Let’s start acting like it & enjoy scratching your brain’s curiosity itch!

Also published on:

Medium: https://medium.com/eclectic-spacewalk/eclectic-spacewalk-march-2019-23ee856d7b36

Minds.com: https://www.minds.com/eclecticspacewalk/blog/eclectic-spacewalk-march-2019-961030062467452928

  • Books

  • Audio books

  • Top 15 Articles/Essays

  • Podcasts

  • TED Talks

  • Videos

  • Lectures/Debates

  • Documentaries

  • “Best of the Rest” Articles/Essays

Book(s) -


What Should We Do with Our Brain? (Que faire de notre cerveau?) - by Catherine Malabou, Marc Jeannerod (Introduction), Sebastian Rand (Translator)


- https://publicityreform.github.io/findbyimage/readings/malabou.pdf

“Recent neuroscience, in replacing the old model of the brain as a single centralized source of control, has emphasized 'plasticity,' the quality by which our brains develop and change throughout the course of our lives. Our brains exist as historical products, developing in interaction with themselves and with their surroundings. Hence there is a thin line between the organization of the nervous system and the political and social organization that both conditions and is conditioned by human experience. Looking carefully at contemporary neuroscience, it is hard not to notice that the new way of talking about the brain mirrors the management discourse of the neo-liberal capitalist world in which we now live, with its talk of decentralization, networks, and flexibility. Consciously or unconsciously, science cannot but echo the world in which it takes place. In the neo-liberal world, 'plasticity' can be equated with 'flexibility'—a term that has become a buzzword in economics and management theory. The plastic brain would thus represent just another style of power, which, although less centralized, is still a means of control. In this book, Catherine Malabou develops a second, more radical meaning for plasticity. Not only does plasticity allow our brains to adapt to existing circumstances, it opens a margin of freedom to intervene, to change those very circumstances. Such an understanding opens up a newly transformative aspect of the neurosciences. In insisting on this proximity between the neurosciences and the social sciences, Malabou applies to the brain Marx's well-known phrase about history: people make their own brains, but they do not know it. This book is a summons to such knowledge.”

The Mathematics of the Breath and the Way On Writers and Writing - Charles Bukowski


“In The Mathematics of the Breath and the Way, Charles Bukowski considers the art of writing, and the art of living as a writer. Bringing together a variety of previously uncollected stories, columns, reviews, introductions, and interviews, Mathematics finds him approaching the dynamics of his chosen profession with cynical aplomb, deflating pretensions and tearing down idols armed with only a typewriter and a bottle of beer. Beginning with the title piece—a serious manifesto disguised as off-handed remarks en route to the racetrack—Mathematics runs through numerous tales following the author's adventures at poetry readings, parties, film sets, and bars, and also features an unprecedented gathering of Bukowski's singular literary criticism. From classic authors like Hemingway to underground legends like d.a. levy to his own stable of obscure favorites, Bukowski uses each occasion to expound on the larger issues around literary production. The book closes with a handful of interviews in which he discusses his writing practices and his influences, making Mathematics a perfect guide to the man behind the myth and the disciplined artist behind the boozing brawler.”


The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle #2) by Ursula K. Le Guin


“When young Tenar is chosen as high priestess to the ancient and nameless Powers of the Earth, everything is taken away - home, family, possessions, even her name. For she is now Arha, the Eaten One, guardian of the ominous Tombs of Atuan.

While she is learning her way through the dark labyrinth, a young wizard, Ged, comes to steal the Tombs' greatest hidden treasure, the Ring of Erreth-Akbe. But Ged also brings with him the light of magic, and together, he and Tenar escape from the darkness that has become her domain.”

The Farthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle #3) by Ursula K. Le Guin


“Book Three of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea CycleDarkness threatens to overtake Earthsea: the world and its wizards are losing their magic. Despite being wearied with age, Ged Sparrowhawk -- Archmage, wizard, and dragonlord -- embarks on a daring, treacherous journey, accompanied by Enlad's young Prince Arren, to discover the reasons behind this devastating pattern of loss. Together they will sail to the farthest reaches of their world -- even beyond the realm of death -- as they seek to restore magic to a land desperately thirsty for it.With millions of copies sold worldwide, Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle has earned a treasured place on the shelves of fantasy lovers everywhere, alongside the works of such beloved authors as J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. “

Audio book(s) -

Minds Make Societies: How Cognition Explains the World Humans Create by Pascal Boyer


“A watershed book that masterfully integrates insights from evolutionary biology, genetics, psychology, economics, and more to explore the development and workings of human societies. There is no good reason why human societies should not be described and explained with the same precision and success as the rest of nature." Thus argues evolutionary psychologist Pascal Boyer in this uniquely innovative book. Integrating recent insights from evolutionary biology, genetics, psychology, economics, and other fields, Boyer offers precise models of why humans engage in social behaviors such as forming families, tribes, and nations, or creating gender roles. In fascinating, thought-provoking passages, he explores questions such as: Why is there conflict between groups? Why do people believe low-value information such as rumors? Why are there religions? What is social justice? What explains morality? Boyer provides a new picture of cultural transmission that draws on the pragmatics of human communication, the constructive nature of memory in human brains, and human motivation for group formation and cooperation.

Top 15 Articles/Essays -

For a thought of Objects - Graham Harman


Considering the “living” in the twenty-first century demands that we reconsider the relationship between subject/object and culture/nature, and ask ourselves new questions: will humanity follow the geo-engineering route? Will we find some intermediary relationship with the environment? What political engagement should we have as architects? What are the philosophical and technological tools that can make this engagement effective? My first question to you would then be, can Object-Oriented Ontology provide a framework to address these different issues? Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO) takes objects to mean the fundamental unit of reality. But we mean “object” in a much broader sense than solid physical things. An object for OOO is simply anything that cannot be exhaustively reduced either downward or upward, to its parts or to its effects. Any sort of knowledge does one of those two things. Notice that there are really only two kinds of knowledge that we can have about anything: we can say what something is made of or we can say what it does, with all the subvariations of these two types. These are what I call undermining and overmining. Undermining is an attempt to say that a thing can be paraphrased in terms of the smaller pieces of which it is made. Overmining is the attempt to paraphrase an object in terms of what it does, what it shows us directly, what are the “events” in which it participates, what are the relational effects it has. And so, when people wave the Deleuzian flag and say they are more interested in what a thing can do than in what it is, this is just the opposite form of reductionism from the usual kind. They are merely going upward instead of downward. What we really need to get at is the object that exists in between its component and its effects: what I call “the third table.” This is neither the table’s pieces nor its effects in the practical world, but the table itself.

I think the arts deal with this better than philosophy, because the arts are fully aware that they are not primarily a form of knowledge. Neither is philosophy, yet many philosophers have convinced themselves otherwise. Art and philosophy are cognitive disciplines, but knowledge is not the only form of cognition. Knowledge is obviously important—our entire modern civilization is based on knowledge. We have so much knowledge that we don’t even know what to do with it anymore. And yet, knowledge is not the only form of cognition worth pursuing. We know from Socrates that philosophy is not a kind of knowledge. One of the lessons taught by the Platonic dialogues is that we never really obtain a definition of anything. Socrates always asks what is virtue, love, friendship, justice, but he never gives an answer. He demolishes the answers of others, but never gets to one himself. He tells us that only a god can have this knowledge. The word philosophy itself—philosophia—means love of wisdom. It is not a wisdom in and of itself, but something you can never reach.

Critics of this model often say: “Oh, then you’re left with nothing but negative theology; you’re just saying what objects are not rather than what they are.” But this assumes an all or nothing result—that if you do not give us discursive knowledge stated in prose propositions, then you must be giving us nothing but vague mystical gesticulations. That’s not the case. Humans have a lot of knowledge that is metaphorical: that alludes to things rather than presenting them directly. We have hints, innuendos, threats. All of these acts of speech are not literal paraphrases of what the thing is, but somehow hint at what the things are. In the arts as well, if you’re able to reduce a particular artwork to a prose summary, then most likely it’s either not a very good artwork or not a very good summary. One of the two.

We know that there’s never going to be a final analysis of Hamlet or of the poetry of Baudelaire because these objects cannot be paraphrased. By contrast, the natural sciences are all about paraphrase, except perhaps in moments of scientific crisis. So, if you start with a concept like an electron, your job as a scientist is to discover new true attributes that belong to electrons. You’re doing the opposite of the arts and philosophy.

OOO is a way to deal with this in philosophical terms. Often people will say that this focus on what escapes discursive language isn’t new, because of Kant’s thing-in-itself or some other precursor. The problem is that even in Kant, the thing in itself is there and it’s something we can never know. We can think it but never know it: a tragic human burden. But OOO makes a more radical claim, which is that in every causal interaction there’s an unexpressed residue or surplus. OOO is really about looking at how this works on all levels, including the inanimate one.”

A quantum experiment suggests there’s no such thing as objective reality - MIT Technology Review


“Back in 1961, the Nobel Prize–winning physicist Eugene Wigner outlined a thought experiment that demonstrated one of the lesser-known paradoxes of quantum mechanics. The experiment shows how the strange nature of the universe allows two observers—say, Wigner and Wigner’s friend—to experience different realities.

Since then, physicists have used the “Wigner’s Friend” thought experiment to explore the nature of measurement and to argue over whether objective facts can exist. That’s important because scientists carry out experiments to establish objective facts. But if they experience different realities, the argument goes, how can they agree on what these facts might be?

That’s provided some entertaining fodder for after-dinner conversation, but Wigner’s thought experiment has never been more than that—just a thought experiment

Last year, however, physicists noticed that recent advances in quantum technologies have made it possible to reproduce the Wigner’s Friend test in a real experiment. In other words, it ought to be possible to create different realities and compare them in the lab to find out whether they can be reconciled…

The idea that observers can ultimately reconcile their measurements of some kind of fundamental reality is based on several assumptions. The first is that universal facts actually exist and that observers can agree on them. But there are other assumptions too. One is that observers have the freedom to make whatever observations they want. And another is that the choices one observer makes do not influence the choices other observers make—an assumption that physicists call locality.

If there is an objective reality that everyone can agree on, then these assumptions all hold.

But Proietti and co’s result suggests that objective reality does not exist. In other words, the experiment suggests that one or more of the assumptions—the idea that there is a reality we can agree on, the idea that we have freedom of choice, or the idea of locality—must be wrong.

Of course, there is another way out for those hanging on to the conventional view of reality. This is that there is some other loophole that the experimenters have overlooked. Indeed, physicists have tried to close loopholes in similar experiments for years, although they concede that it may never be possible to close them all.

Nevertheless, the work has important implications for the work of scientists.

“The scientific method relies on facts, established through repeated measurements and agreed upon universally, independently of who observed them,” say Proietti and co. And yet in the same paper, they undermine this idea, perhaps fatally.
The next step is to go further: to construct experiments creating increasingly bizarre alternate realities that cannot be reconciled. Where this will take us is anybody’s guess. But Wigner, and his friend, would surely not be surprised.”

“The scientific method relies on facts, established through repeated measurements and agreed upon universally, independently of who observed them. In quantum mechanics, the objectivity of observa- tions is not so clear, most dramatically exposed in Eugene Wigner’s eponymous thought experiment where two observers can experience fundamentally different realities. While observer-independence has long remained inaccessible to empirical investigation, recent no-go-theorems construct an ex- tended Wigner’s friend scenario with four entangled observers that allows us to put it to the test. In a state-of-the-art 6-photon experiment, we here realise this extended Wigner’s friend scenario, exper- imentally violating the associated Bell-type inequality by 5 standard deviations. This result lends considerable strength to interpretations of quantum theory already set in an observer-dependent framework and demands for revision of those which are not.”

Physics Is Pointing Inexorably to Mind — Scientific American


The untenability of information realism, however, does not erase the problem that motivated it to begin with: the realization that, at bottom, what we call “matter” becomes pure abstraction, a phantasm. How can the felt concreteness and solidity of the perceived world evaporate out of existence when we look closely at matter?

To make sense of this conundrum, we don’t need the word games of information realism. Instead, we must stick to what is most immediately present to us: solidity and concreteness are qualities of our experience. The world measured, modeled and ultimately predicted by physics is the world of perceptions, a category of mentation. The phantasms and abstractions reside merely in our descriptions of the behavior of that world, not in the world itself.

Where we get lost and confused is in imagining that what we are describing is a non-mental reality underlying our perceptions, as opposed to the perceptions themselves. We then try to find the solidity and concreteness of the perceived world in that postulated underlying reality. However, a non-mental world is inevitably abstract. And since solidity and concreteness are felt qualities of experience — what else? — we cannot find them there. The problem we face is thus merely an artifact of thought, something we conjure up out of thin air because of our theoretical habits and prejudices. Tegmark is correct in considering matter — defined as something outside and independent of mind — to be unnecessary baggage. But the implication of this fine and indeed brave conclusion is that the universe is a mental construct displayed on the screen of perception. Tegmark’s “mathematical universe” is inherently a mental one, for where does mathematics — numbers, sets, equations — exist if not in mentation?

As I elaborate extensively in my new book, The Idea of the World, none of this implies solipsism. The mental universe exists in mind but not in your personal mind alone. Instead, it is a transpersonal field of mentation that presents itself to us as physicality — with its concreteness, solidity and definiteness — once our personal mental processes interact with it through observation. This mental universe is what physics is leading us to, not the hand-waving word games of information realism.”

Galaxy Simulations Offer a New Solution to the Fermi Paradox - Quanta Magazine


“Now comes a paper that rebuts Sagan and Newman, as well as Hart, and offers a new solution to the Fermi paradox that avoids speculation about alien psychology or anthropology.

The research, which is under review by The Astrophysical Journal, suggests it wouldn’t take as long as Sagan and Newman thought for a space-faring civilization to planet-hop across the galaxy, because the movements of stars can help distribute life. “The sun has been around the center of the Milky Way 50 times,” said Jonathan Carroll-Nellenback, an astronomer at the University of Rochester, who led the study. “Stellar motions alone would get you the spread of life on time scales much shorter than the age of the galaxy.” Still, although galaxies can become fully settled fairly quickly, the fact of our loneliness is not necessarily paradoxical: According to simulations by Carroll-Nellenback and his colleagues, natural variability will mean that sometimes galaxies will be settled, but often not — solving Fermi’s quandary…

“We are entering an era when we are going to have actual data relevant to life on other planets,” Frank said. “This couldn’t be more relevant than in the moment we live.”
Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute who has studied the Fermi paradox for decades, thinks it is likely to be explained by something more complex than distance and time — like perception.

Maybe we are not alone and have not been. “The click beetles in my backyard don’t notice that they’re surrounded by intelligent beings — namely my neighbors and me,” Shostak said, “but we’re here, nonetheless.”

What Do the Make-Believe Bureaucracies of Sci-Fi Novels Say About Us? - NY Times


“Fforde’s speculative universe is playful; Orwell’s is cautionary and high-dystopian. The tonal range of the genre extends yet further, into worlds that feel not only intricate, but grounded — imaginary universes that are every bit as fanciful, but feel less so. For Everfair, the titular African nation of Nisi Shawl’s magisterial 2017 novel rewriting the history of the Belgian Congo, the author created an entire country and its institutions from scratch. Kingsley Amis likewise builds a complete legal language suited to the alternate England of “The Alteration” (1976), in which the Reformation never occurred — Martin Luther having reconciled himself to Catholicism and become Pope Germanian I — and laws are not laws at all, but “Acts of Convocation.”

Of course, suspension of disbelief is involved: These laws and statutes and cabinet departments never sound quite real. On the other hand, consider that the language of public life, of real life, often has a certain invented ring to it. Think of all the scraps of language that float into everyday consciousness from the public sphere: Sarbanes-Oxley. The Department of Homeland Security. How about the long-awaited Mueller report? Say it a few times and it starts to sound like make-believe. Little wonder that authors seize on the same sorts of phrasing so their make-believe worlds might feel less so…

With “The Plot Against America,” Roth is playing the speculator’s game at its most sophisticated level, pulling us deep into a reality that is at once impossible and plausible. At least as impressive as Roth on this score is Leni Zumas, whose novel “Red Clocks,” envisioning a near-future fetal-rights dystopia, was published last year. The hero, a single schoolteacher longing for a child, is constrained by the “Personhood Amendment,” and “one of the ripples in its wake: Public Law 116-72 … also known as Every Child Needs Two.”

Zumas’s inventions have the same effect Roth’s do — what all author-speculators aspire to do in some way or other: braid together the language of the real world with the language of the invented, in order to give us a vision not just of what might be, but of what is.

The growth mindset problem: A generation of schoolchildren is being exhorted to believe in their brain’s elasticity. Does it really help them learn? - Aeon


"In a very real sense, teachers have been given answers to questions they didn’t ask, and solutions to problems that never existed. It is not surprising that they feel subject to fads and theories about students that do not hold up to scrutiny. For example, the problem of how to plan lesson content to match the individual ‘learning style’ of students has now been proven to have been a waste of time, and a sad indictment of how much time and energy has been expended on theoretical interventions with little to no evidence to support them.

Recent evidence would suggest that growth mindset interventions are not the elixir of student learning that many of its proponents claim it to be. The growth mindset appears to be a viable construct in the lab, which, when administered in the classroom via targeted interventions, doesn’t seem to work at scale. It is hard to dispute that having a self-belief in their own capacity for change is a positive attribute for students. Paradoxically, however, that aspiration is not well served by direct interventions that try to instil it. Yet creating a culture in which students can believe in the possibility of improving their intelligence through their own purposeful effort is something few would disagree with. Perhaps growth mindset works best as a philosophy and not an intervention.

All of this indicates that using time and resources to improve students’ academic achievement directly might well be a better agent of psychological change than psychological interventions themselves. In their book Effective Teaching (2011), the UK education scholars Daniel Muijs and David Reynolds note: ‘At the end of the day, the research reviewed has shown that the effect of achievement on self-concept is stronger that the effect of self-concept on achievement.’

Many interventions in education have the causal arrow pointed the wrong way round. Motivational posters and talks are often a waste of time, and might well give students a deluded notion of what success actually means. Teaching students concrete skills such as how to write an effective introduction to an essay through close instruction, specific feedback, worked examples and careful scaffolding, and then praising their effort in getting there, is probably a far more effective way of improving confidence than giving an assembly about how unique they are, or indeed how capable they are of changing their own brains. The best way to achieve a growth mindset might just be not to mention the growth mindset at all.

How America’s food giants swallowed the family farms - The Guardian


““In the past 20 years, where I am, independent hog farming just silently disappeared as the corporates came in,” says Partridge. “I live on a hilltop. I can see seven farm families, people my kids went to school with. They’re all gone now. My county has 11 small towns, and it’s almost like I could look back in slow motion and just see the businesses change and disappear. We’ve become poorer. Our communities are basically shattered and in more than just an economic way – in a social way too...

This collapse has in good part been driven by the rise of concentrated animal feeding operations, or Cafos. In these industrial farming units, pigs, cows and chickens are crammed by the thousand into rows of barns. Many units are semi-automated, with feeding run by computer and the animals watched by video, with periodic visits by workers who drive between several operations. “That’s how I end up with 40,000 hogs around me,” says Partridge. Cafos account for only a small proportion of America’s 2 million farms, but they dominate animal production and have an outsize influence on crop growing, particularly in the midwest.

By one calculation, the US has around 250,000 factory farms of one kind or another. They have their roots in the 1930s, with the mechanisation of pig slaughterhouses. By the 1950s, chickens were routinely packed into huge sheds, in appalling conditions…

Corporate agriculture evolved to take control of the entire production line from “farm to fork”, from the genetics of breeding to wholesalers in the US or far east. As factory farms spread, their demands dictated the workings of slaughterhouses. Smaller abattoirs, which offered choice and competitive prices to family farmers, disappeared, to be replaced by huge operations that were further away and imposed lower prices on small-scale breeders such as the Kalbachs.

“By the time you paid to transport them the extra distance, and they were paying you less than they paid the corporations because you weren’t bringing the big numbers, there was really no money in it,” says Kalbach.

The buying power of the Cafos also helps drive farmers’ decisions on which crops to grow. With no livestock, the Kalbachs were forced into gowing corn and soya beans to sell to factory farms as animal feed or to corporations for ethanol.

Iowa is not alone. Missouri, to the south, had 23,000 independent pig farmers in 1985. Today it has just over 2,000. The number of independent cattle farms has fallen by 40% over the same period…

Gibbons explains: “They are vertically integrated, from animal genetics to grocery store. What they charge isn’t based upon what it costs to produce, and it’s not based on supply and demand, because they know what they need to make a profit. What they have done, through government support and taxpayer support, is to intentionally overproduce so that the price stays low, sometimes below the cost of production. That kicks their competition out of the market. Then they become the only player in town.

“Over time, it has extracted wealth and power from communities. We can see how that has impacted rural main streets. You can see the boarded-up storefronts. You can see the lack of economic opportunity.” Gibbons says that corporations game the system by obtaining low-interest, federally guaranteed loans to build Cafos that then overproduce. But they know the government will buy up the surplus to stabilise prices.

Barb Kalbach is not optimistic about the future. Her son will not be taking over the farm. She hopes the land will stay in the family for at least another generation, but expects it to be rented out and subsumed into some larger operation.But Kalbach fears something bigger than the loss of her own farm. Farmers are ageing and their children either have little interest in working the land or cannot afford the sophisticated equipment needed to compete with corporations.

“Investors buy the land, and they have tractors and combines that you can run by computer,” she said. “They’ll hire somebody to sit in a little office somewhere and run that stuff off the computer and farm the land that way. Now what you’ve done is you have lost the innate knowledge of how to grow food and raise animals. You’ve lost a whole generation of it, probably two. Now we are going to rely on a few corporations to decide who is going to eat and who isn’t. We’re one generation away from that picture right now.”

In Williams, Schutt says he’s seeing a community of owners becoming workers: “It’s going to be like Russia with serfs. If you want to work on a farm, you’ll have to work for them. We’ll give you a job, but you’re going to be working on our terms. We control everything. Small farms can’t survive.”

Kalbach agrees. “I think they’re done,” she said.”

How ‘Creativity’ Became a Capitalist Buzzword - LitHub


“Creativity was a work of imagination, rather than production, of artistry rather than labor. One of the consequences of this split between art and work has been to valorize creativity as the domain of an intuitive, singular, historically male genius. Productive creativity, meanwhile, is not art but labor, and thus rarely earns the title of creativity at all; this is the supposedly unimaginative labor of the manual worker or the farmer and the often feminized work of social reproduction. There are obvious class and gender prejudices at work here; coaxing a crop out of stubborn soil or preparing a family meal with limited ingredients are not typically seen as creative acts, whereas cooking a restaurant meal with the harvested crops often is. Other differences are rather arbitrary. Children’s play is not thought to be brilliant in the way Shakespeare is; it may, however, qualify as creative because it is appears (to adults, anyway) to be intuitive…

Florida believes strongly in the naturalness and timelessness of this relatively new idea, creativity; he describes it as “what sets us apart from all other species.” Florida elevates creative capitalists from a social type, which they remain in Schumpeter’s theory of the entrepreneur, to a social class, one that Florida estimates as constituting a third of the American working population. Its members include scientists and engineers, architects and artists, musicians and teachers—anyone, in short, “whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology, and new creative content.” The creative class shares certain tastes and preferences, like nonconformity, an appreciation for merit, a desire for social diversity, and an appetite for “serendipity,” the chance encounter facilitated by urban life...

Whereas classical liberal doxa assumes that what we are and what we own must not be confused,” writes Brouillette, neoliberals favor a “union of economic rationality and authenticity, this perfect marriage between the bohemian and what had been her bourgeois other.” The extra-economic values of the artist and the priorities of the market are no longer treated as autonomous, much less antagonistic, but harmonious. As Brouillette emphasizes, however, it would be a mistake to read the rise of the creative class as a colonization of the once-pure realms of the artistic imagination by the market. The rise of the so-called creative class is not a heroes-and-villains plot of businessmen corrupting creativity. This would be far too flattering to artists and writers, who are hardly innocent bystanders. Rather, the business world has valorized unexamined ideas of what “artistry” means and turned an individualistic, class-bound idea of “the artist” towards market goals. These meanings of artistry have evolved over the years in complex ways, but the one that circulates in the economic use of creativity dates to the origins of the word “creativity” in the late 19th century. Then, as Gustavus Stadler has shown, creativity was closely aligned with 19th-century ideas of “genius” and “inspiration,” which were seen as the fruit of an “irreducible originality,” rather than a social process. As the cult of the entrepreneur shows, this fantasy of irreducible originality is still with us. Sometimes, there really is nothing new under the sun.”

How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Science - Quanta Magazine


“The best-known generative modeling systems are “generative adversarial networks” (GANs). After adequate exposure to training data, a GAN can repair images that have damaged or missing pixels, or they can make blurry photographs sharp. They learn to infer the missing information by means of a competition (hence the term “adversarial”): One part of the network, known as the generator, generates fake data, while a second part, the discriminator, tries to distinguish fake data from real data. As the program runs, both halves get progressively better. You may have seen some of the hyper-realistic, GAN-produced “faces” that have circulated recently — images of “freakishly realistic people who don’t actually exist,” as one headline put it.

More broadly, generative modeling takes sets of data (typically images, but not always) and breaks each of them down into a set of basic, abstract building blocks — scientists refer to this as the data’s “latent space.” The algorithm manipulates elements of the latent space to see how this affects the original data, and this helps uncover physical processes that are at work in the system…

The approach is related to traditional simulation, but with critical differences. A simulation is “essentially assumption-driven,” Schawinski said. “The approach is to say, ‘I think I know what the underlying physical laws are that give rise to everything that I see in the system.’ So I have a recipe for star formation, I have a recipe for how dark matter behaves, and so on. I put all of my hypotheses in there, and I let the simulation run. And then I ask: Does that look like reality?” What he’s done with generative modeling, he said, is “in some sense, exactly the opposite of a simulation. We don’t know anything; we don’t want to assume anything. We want the data itself to tell us what might be going on.”

The apparent success of generative modeling in a study like this obviously doesn’t mean that astronomers and graduate students have been made redundant — but it appears to represent a shift in the degree to which learning about astrophysical objects and processes can be achieved by an artificial system that has little more at its electronic fingertips than a vast pool of data. “It’s not fully automated science — but it demonstrates that we’re capable of at least in part building the tools that make the process of science automatic,” Schawinski said…

Will it be possible, in the foreseeable future, to build a machine that can discover physics or mathematics that the brightest humans alive are not able to do on their own, using biological hardware?” Schawinski wonders. “Will the future of science eventually necessarily be driven by machines that operate on a level that we can never reach? I don’t know. It’s a good question.

How do you feel about insurers tracking and analyzing your emotions? - Ethics and Insurance


“This will come as no surprise to some insurance people. After all, voice analytics has been in use to detect claims fraud for several years now. When we’re asked over the phone to explain the circumstances of the loss in our own words, we are in effect being subjected to a remote polygraph test.

There is something almost old fashioned about that now though. The new focus is less on such person to person activity and more towards passive data collection. This shift has occurred because of the need for the artificial intelligence around which voice and image analytics has been built to be trained as comprehensively as possible. The more data it can feed on, the more it can learn about us. And the better it is then able to move from understanding how we are now, to perceiving how we might be in the future…

What binds all this data together, and which gives it value, is the artificial intelligence (AI) used to find all those insightful patterns and trends. And the value it brings to an insurance firm could be enormous. I say ‘could’ though, because like many decisions in life and in work, there are choices. And how we respond to those choices marks us, and our firm, in the eyes of the insurance buying public. There’s lots we could do, but that’s not the same as what we should do. Therein lies the ethical challenge that lies at the intersection of data about our emotions, the analytics in artificial intelligence and the interests of insurance strategists…

These examples are all using the data being collected about our emotions. And it tells us that our emotional lives are being assigned an economic value. Quite a big one in fact, given how expensive data collection and AI is nowadays. And the return insurers will expect to earn from it will be twofold: market share and portfolio profitability. In other words they will want more business, and better business.
And what’s wrong with that, you might ask. It’s a question worth asking, but remember, it’s a question that needs to be asked not just within the framework of short term returns, but within that of long term returns too (more on that here). After all, insurers will be paying for those data lakes and AI over the long term too.

There’s something else that is important over the long term: trust, and the reputation of the market. Emotional AI raises some hugely significant ethical issues, and how the sector responds to them will have an impact on the sustainability of those long term returns. As I’ve said before, tools like AI may lead insurers to think that they’re getting closer to their customer. Yet that is confusing proximity with intimacy. The latter is all about whether the customer wants to get closer to you. And insurers earn that by their trustworthiness…

Now insurers might say that they have little choice. If there’s a risk of someone else using emotional tracking techniques to learn more about policyholders’ future moods, then market competition says that they must do likewise. Yet remember: that well known investor and insurance CEO, Warren Buffett, has described that phrase ‘everyone else is doing it’ as the five most dangerous words in business.

In deciding to introduce technological capabilities like emotional AI, it’s important that insurers do not forget that the public, and their representatives in government, will view such developments through the lens of social and ethical values, not business values. Market pressures will count for little if insurers start deploying emotional AI to predict our mental health and adjusting their products and prices accordingly. As I said at the start, there are two questions here, not one: ‘can we’ and ‘should we’. Never ask the former without the latter.

Why Living in a Poor Neighborhood Can Change Your Biology - Nautilus


“To understand how stress affects health, it’s important to know that one hormone, cortisol, plays an outsize role. In an emergency, cortisol provides a jolt to the body’s systems that floods it with energy. “That generalized response releases energy substrates to the muscles, so you can fight or run away,” says Hasson. “Usually that’s in response to a physical stressor, like a bear chasing you.” In the effort to escape the bear, the body burns off the blood sugar that cortisol helped release, coming down tired and shaky but safe. (If you manage to escape, of course.)

If cortisol was reserved for bear attacks, we’d have no problems. But you don’t need a bear to unleash cortisol. The perception of stress alone is enough to trigger a flood of the hormone.

Researchers’ favorite technique for raising cortisol levels in a lab, for example, is something called the Trier Social Stress Test, a 10-minute exercise that combines public speaking and mental arithmetic performed in front of a panel of stone-faced judges. The test has proven capable of yielding bear attack-level cortisol responses in thousands of test subjects since German researchers introduced it in 1993.

In much the same way, being late for school, unable to make your car payment, worried about where your next meal will come from, or feeling unjustly scrutinized because of your skin color aren’t immediate physical threats. But the brain still responds by signaling the adrenal glands to release cortisol. “Those energy substrates are still in high circulation so you can run away,” Hasson says. “But if you don’t, or can’t, run away, you’re always in this high-alert situation, whether or not you’re conscious of it.”

It’s a phenomenon that neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky took on in his 1994 book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. The short answer? Zebras don’t worry about being chased by lions until they’re actively being chased by a lion. As far as we know, only humans worry the rest of the time, keeping their stress levels high and increasing inflammation and illness.

Over time, the damage can be profound. “The same systems that help us adapt and deal in situations of danger can cause us problems when they’re abused or dysregulated,” says Rockefeller University neuroscientist Bruce McEwen, who coined the term “allostatic load” to describe the toll chronic stress takes on our bodies and our brains…But with research showing that poor neighborhoods, poverty, and discrimination have a physical impact, the Let’s Move message comes up short. It remains at odds with the idea that some factors are outside our control—or at least much harder to change.

“People are told that if they just exercise more, eat better, if they’d just pull themselves up by their bootstraps, they’d feel better,” says Elizabeth Goodman, a professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, who leads a research program that studies the effects of social status on children’s health. “But it’s about the context, not just about the person.”

Eliminating discrimination and alleviating inequality are far more daunting challenges than society has had to face. But improving human health may depend on it. “I don’t know if it’s possible for our bodies to undo the damage that will have been done by living in a disadvantaged environment,” Goodman says.”

Elizabeth Anscombe’s Philosophy of the Human Person - Public Discourse


“Another practical implication of our body-soul union for Anscombe’s philosophy is found in her analysis of “intention.” All too often, this concept is regarded as being primarily about inner mental states. But since bodily actions can be expressive of thought, for Anscombe, intention is more paradigmatically about action—actions to which a certain sense of the question “Why?” applies.

To understand this “certain sense,” we might return to Anscombe’s discussion of pointing to shape rather than color. Following Wittgenstein, Anscombe explains that one way of understanding such an action is to look at its context. Does the person pointing possess the concepts of shape and color? Is there something being accomplished in this context by pointing to shape, such as the teaching of a word? So the spiritual act of pointing to an object’s shape is not constituted by a single event, but rather by a series of events.

This idea that we can understand an action by attending to the narrative elements surrounding it is foundational to Anscombe’s work on intention. An intention is not necessarily an interior thought about what I hope to achieve through a particular action. An action is also intentional when it can be explained or interpreted by past history—for example, by the motive of revenge—or by context. These are all possible applications of that “certain sense” Anscombe speaks of. An intention is therefore more like the underlying meaning of an action in the context of human institutions and history.

This is why “intention” is best understood in light of our body-soul union. One must attend to both material and immaterial aspects of activities—what it means to supply someone goods, for instance, cannot be understood simply by observing physical facts, or by asking what interior thought accompanied the action. It is our participation in established human institutions, such as our systems of finance and commerce, that makes an action like delivering potatoes to someone’s house, in the appropriate context, intelligible as an act of supplying.

Tying intention too exclusively to interior thought would have grave consequences for ethics. If intention could be a matter of a “private ceremony,” then a president signing an order for a nuclear attack, for example, could absolve himself of guilt by simply saying in his mind, “I am only intending to sign the paper.” Such an approach would be a corruption of the principle of double effect. The institutional context, constituted by both material (e.g. pen and paper) and immaterial (e.g. legal authority) elements, surrounding the act of signing means it is inescapably an intentional act aimed at killing.

Man is spirit, but he is also body, and this truth has important implications for our lives. Because it reminds us that the spiritual is not something completely alien to the physical, Anscombe’s philosophy offers us a much-needed antidote to the materialism of our times. To search for the spiritual is not to look somewhere obscure, but to look at the everyday facts of human life, institutions, and history. Man and his actions cannot be understood as purely material—nor does he truly understand himself that way. For he has an instinctual grasp of the mystical, which, as Anscombe says, is “as common as humanity.””

Nihilist in Chief - The New Republic


“Congress attracts quite a few people whose primary ambition is having things named after them, and Mitch McConnell has always seemed clearly cut from that mold. It is only because of an unfortunate historical confluence that his career advancement coincided with the success, maturation, and eventual psychotic breakdown of the modern conservative movement. This has meant that his ultimate goal—his name on an ugly marble Senate office building or something—has required that he, at every step on his ascent to power, enable the worst excesses of an increasingly deranged movement of cranks, bigots, grifters, and plutocrats.

When Homans asked McConnell if he ever worries that he’s “strengthening the hand of a president who does seem, in some ways, very much inclined to do damage to institutions of American governance,” McConnell ducked responsibility for oversight by turning it over to the American people:
“Well, I mean, the ultimate check against any of this is the ballot box,” McConnell replied. “And one could argue, at least with regard to the House of Representatives last year, that there were plenty of people who wanted a midcourse correction.”

McConnell said those words as the majority leader of a deeply and intentionally undemocratic institution that exists to dilute the political power of citizens in larger and more diverse states. He said them about a president who was elected despite receiving fewer votes than his opponent, thanks to the counter-majoritarian workings of another antiquated and intentionally undemocratic institution that he, obviously, would fight any effort to reform. And, of course, he says this as a man whose political project is increasingly about reducing the power of the ballot box as much as possible—a man who breaks any and all decorous governing traditions in his path in order to confirm judges who strike down voting rights laws, and who, during government shutdowns that he has the power to end, sits down to write op-eds bemoaning attempts to make Election Day a holiday.

McConnell has built a GOP machine that is as immune as it can be to the ballot box, because he is smart enough to know that Republicans cannot, as currently constituted, win fair elections often enough to retain power.

But by choosing incredibly canny battles—his relentless attempts to first upend even the possibility of campaign finance regulation and enforcement, and then to pack the judiciary with right-wing ideologues—McConnell has enabled the conservative movement to dominate American politics long after its tenets are fully rejected by the majority of the electorate.

All that time with McConnell did give Homans one special insight: McConnell hasn’t just “broken” the Senate by smashing its norms, or by making it dysfunctional. He’s essentially worked to make it irrelevant. For the foreseeable future, America’s regulatory policy will be written by the judiciary. Its ability to prosecute white-collar crime and bribery, to levy taxes, and create social welfare programs—all of these powers will be stripped from the Senate and put in the hands of the men (it’s almost all men) McConnell has placed on the courts. But he’ll probably go to his grave chuckling that Harry Reid started it, and get his name on that damn building too. America doesn’t really remember why it hated its political villains for very long, especially when they win.

And the beautiful thing here is that Mitch McConnell already won. Even with Republicans losing the House, McConnell has another two years to complete his life’s work: a pipeline, sucking donor money out of the plutocracy and refining it into a judiciary that will someday declare it unconstitutional to levy property taxes on a billionaire’s climate change-adaptation bunker.

The distribution of wealth in the United States and implications for a net worth tax - Washington Center for Equitable Growth


“Wealth inequality in the United States is high and has increased sharply in recent decades. This increase—alongside a parallel increase in income inequality—has spurred increased attention to the implications of inequality for living standards and increased interest in policy instruments that can combat inequality. Taxes on wealth are a natural policy instrument to address wealth inequality and could raise substantial revenue while shoring up structural weaknesses in the current income tax system.

This issue brief provides an overview of the distribution of wealth in the United States to inform discussion of a potential net worth tax—or other reforms to the taxation of wealth—in the United States. This brief draws from “Net worth taxes: What they are and how they work,” by Greg Leiserson, Will McGrew, and Raksha Kopparam.1

A net worth tax is an annual tax imposed on an individual or family’s wealth, or net worth. Wealth is the difference between the value of a family’s assets and liabilities. Assets are things a family owns, including both financial assets such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and ownership stakes in closely held businesses, and nonfinancial assets such as a car, house, or real estate. Liabilities are a family’s debts such as mortgages, credit card balances, and car loans.

Wealth is distributed in a highly unequal fashion, with the wealthiest 1 percent of families in the United States holding about 40 percent of all wealth and the bottom 90 percent of families holding less than one-quarter of all wealth.2 (See Figure 1.) Notably, 25 percent of families have less than $10,000 in wealth. The share of wealth held by the wealthiest families substantially exceeds the share of income received by the highest-income families.

Risk Assessment: Explained - The Appeal


“Over the past decade, a growing number of cities, counties and states have recognized the profound injustice of a cash bail system, in which people who can afford bail walk free while those who can’t are detained. But that awareness gives rise to a thorny question: What should replace it? How should judges decide whom to detain pretrial? In many cases, the answer has been to rely more heavily on risk assessments, algorithmic tools based on predictive analytics.

Not only are risk assessments used by judges in pretrial decisions, but they’re also being used or considered for use in sentencing and parole decisions. Nearly every U.S. state and the federal system have implemented risk assessment in some form. Several states are at various stages of rolling out new tools and the recently enacted First Step Act mandates the development of a new federal risk assessment meant to reduce recidivism and connect incarcerated people with services. Any corner of criminal law yet unchanged by predictive models will most likely not remain so for much longer.

It is easy to see the appeal of risk assessments. The decisions that judges and other justice system actors make daily can be hugely consequential, not just for public safety, but for the lives of the accused and crime victims, as well as their families and communities. And yet unconstrained judicial discretion can be dangerous, if judges are biased against a defendant or type of defendant, for example.

If risk assessments can make those decisions even somewhat easier, and do so in a rigorous, evidence-based manner, leading to fairer and more just outcomes, then they would be an unalloyed good. Proponents of the algorithms say that imposing some mathematical regularity will lead to greater transparency and accountability, and ultimately to an improvement on the current system.
But the reality of risk assessment algorithms is more complicated. Critics say bias can creep in at every stage, from development to implementation to application. Often that’s racial bias, but other characteristics such as age and ethnicity may also drive inequities.

These purportedly objective algorithms are developed by humans using imperfect data and are enmeshed in fraught political questions. They are also often used in situations beyond their stated intents. Risk assessments developed to measure whether someone will return to court are sometimes erroneously used to measure that person’s risk of reoffense, for example.  

Despite the talismanic manner in which people deploy the word “algorithm,” nearly every aspect of such decision-making is ultimately dependent on human ingenuity (or lack thereof).

Since the age of the algorithmic risk assessment is underway, the question is not whether to use these tools, but how to do so in a way that maximizes fairness and minimizes harm. Even some observers who are wary of bias see promise in the use of risk assessments to inform treatment decisions and provide access to resources besides incarceration…

The use of algorithmic risk assessments has exploded in recent years, and despite the efforts of organizers who are opposed to the tools, this trend seems unlikely to abate any time soon. The technology is sure to become more sophisticated as well, which would lead to even less transparency as today’s relatively simple, interpretable models are supplanted by powerful but opaque deep learning methods.

While better technology has the potential to make risk assessments fairer, that result is far from guaranteed, and it is up to the people who design, implement, and employ these tools to ensure they do so in ways that reflect the values of their communities and safeguard the rights of those at society’s margins.”


Best of the Rest Articles/Essays - Bottom of Medium post


A.I., America, Anti-Trust, Art, Blockchain, Books, Cannabis, Climate Change, Corporations, Courts, Data, Ecology/Environment, Economics, Education. Energy, Elections, Facebook, Food, Google, Government, Health, Healthcare, History, Housing, Human beings are incredible, Human beings are incredibly shitty, Immigration, the Internetz, Journalism, Law Enforcement, Lobbying is just legalized bribery, Media, Military Industrial Complex, Music, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Racism, Sociology, Space, Sports, Surveillance State, Tech Dystopia, Tech Utopia, Transportation, Work, Writing

Podcasts & Shows -

Michael Pollan — Exploring the Frontiers of Psychedelics (#365) - The Tim Ferris Show


““An overactive ego is a tyrant.” – Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan (@michaelpollan) is the author of seven previous books, including Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire, all of which were New York Times bestsellers. A longtime contributor to The New York Times Magazine, he also teaches writing at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley where he is the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Science Journalism. In 2010, TIME magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

His newest book is How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, which will be available as a paperback in May.

And if you haven’t yet, check out “Trip of Compassion”, which is the most compelling movie I’ve seen in the last year. It documents one unusual approach to healing trauma that might astonish you, an innovative treatment involving the psychoactive drug MDMA (commonly known as “ecstasy”). As you will see firsthand, if the therapy is well designed, true rebirth and transformation can happen in a matter of weeks and not years. Find out more by clicking here.”

92: Rupert Sheldrake - Paradigm Shifts in Science and Experiments in Consciousness - Future Thinkers


“We're excited to host Rupert Sheldrake in this episode, a biologist and author best known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance. Besides getting into the details of this hypothesis, we also talk about paradigm shifts in science, psy phenomena, experiments in consciousness, and about his new book called "Ways to Go Beyond And Why They Work," where he describes some of the most well known spiritual practices for altering consciousness. In This Episode Of Future Thinkers: - The concept of morphic resonance and how biological patterns may transfer across space and time - Examples of morphic resonance in humans and the emergence of Flynn Effect - How one can extend their mind through morphic fields and morphic resonance - The importance of distinguishing a natural phenomenon and the theory explaining it - Why uncertainty is inherent to science and how the scientific process actually works - The problems with the dominant scientific model and why consciousness remains the "hard problem" - The problem with hard atheism and the materialistic worldview in educational system - Is it possible to create a paradigm shift in science to incorporate psy phenomena? - The telephone telepathy experiment - The secular growth of spiritual practices like yoga, meditation and psychedelics - Seven transformative spiritual practices that have scientifically measurable effects "In the future we might see 12-step recovery groups from materialistic education on every university campus, because it takes a long time to free yourself from this indoctrination." - Rupert Sheldrake”

Cosmic Queries: Neuroscience - Star Talk Radio


“Psychedelic drugs, dreams, mental health awareness, understanding our reality, and more – Neil deGrasse Tyson, neuroscientist Heather Berlin, PhD, and first-time comic co-host Jackie Hoffman answer fan-submitted questions about neuroscience.”

The Opioid Narratives - On The Media


“Purdue Pharma has settled a lawsuit with the state of Oklahoma for $270 million, a larger figure than two other cases the company has settled with other states. In doing so, the company also avoided a televised trial in May at a time when there's been growing public pressure on Purdue and its owners, the Sackler family, amid allegations that they misled the public about the dangers of OxyContin.

Back in 2017, Bob spoke with Barry Meier about how public discourse about chronic pain and treatment have been shaped by companies like Purdue with help from physicians, consultants, and the media. Meier is a former reporter for The New York Times and author of Pain Killer: A "Wonder" Drug's Trail of Addiction and Death.

Bob also interviewed journalist Anna Clark about her reporting for the Columbia Journalism Review on opioid-related death notices. Sites like Legacy.com, she explained, have often chronicled the crisis' individual human toll.”

The American Machine: Police Torture to Drone Assassinations - Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill


“Famed civil rights lawyer Flint Taylor discusses his 13 year struggle for justice for Fred Hampton, his work in exposing the torture program in Chicago that was unleashed on black men, and his career fighting against violent corrupt cops, the city of Chicago, and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. Taylor’s new memoir is called "The Torture Machine: Racism and Police Violence in Chicago." Hina Shamsi of the American Civil Liberties Union talks about the expansion of drone strikes under Trump, how Obama paved the way for his successor, and what we might expect from Attorney General William Barr. Meghan McCain is not Jewish, but she is accusing a Jewish comic artist of creating “one of the most anti-semitic things” she has ever seen: a cartoon about her hypocrisy in attacking Ilhan Omar and appropriating Jewish suffering. Artist Eli Valley talks about why he drew it and why he believes McCain’s attacks on his cartoon proves the very point he was making.”

#151 - Will We Destroy the Future? (with Nick Bostrom) - Making Sense with Sam Harris


“In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Nick Bostrom about the problem of existential risk. They discuss public goods, moral illusions, the asymmetry between happiness and suffering, utilitarianism, “the vulnerable world hypothesis,” the history of nuclear deterrence, the possible need for “turnkey totalitarianism,” whether we’re living in a computer simulation, the Doomsday Argument, the implications of extraterrestrial life, and other topics.”

The Myth of Meritocracy - On the Media


“A college admissions scandal has highlighted what people refer to as "the myth of meritocracy." But actually, meritocracy itself is a myth. This week, On the Media looks at the satirical origins of the word and what they tell us about why the US embraces it. Plus, the messaging for and against Medicare for All, as well as a historical look at why we don't have universal healthcare. And economic historian and Tucker Carlson antagonist Rutger Bregman. 1. John Patrick Leary [@JohnPatLeary], professor at Wayne State University, on the history of the satirical origins of the word "meritocracy". Listen. 2.  Paul Waldman [@paulwaldman1] of The Washington Post on the messaging war over Medicare for All and what the media is getting wrong about the proposal. Listen. 3. Jill Quadagno of [@floridastate] on the history of why the U.S. has shunned universal healthcare. Listen. 4. Rutger Bregman [@rcbregman] on the myths about wealth and who creates it.”

Authenticity - In Our Time (BBC)


“Melvyn Bragg and guests dicuss what it means to be oneself, a question explored by philosophers from Aristotle to the present day, including St Augustine, Kierkegaard, Heidegger and Sartre. In Hamlet, Polonius said 'To thine own self be true', but what is the self, and what does it mean to be true to it, and why should you be true? To Polonius, if you are true to yourself, ‘thou canst not be false to any man’ - but with the rise of the individual, authenticity became a goal in itself, regardless of how that affected others. Is authenticity about creating yourself throughout your life, or fulfilling the potential with which you were born, connecting with your inner child, or something else entirely? What are the risks to society if people value authenticity more than morality - that is, if the two are incompatible? “

Episode 211: Sartre on Racism & Authenticity (Part One) - The Partially Examined Life


“On Jean-Paul Sartre's Anti-Semite and Jew: An Exploration of the Etiology of Hate (1946) and "Black Orpheus" (1948). How can we best understand the psychology of racism? Sartre condemns anti-Semitism as denying the facts of the human condition: the responsibility for fixing problems and not blaming them on a demonized other. But he also criticizes "the democrat" for a humanism that pretends we're in a post-racial world, calling instead for "concrete liberalism" that treats Jews not as abstract individuals but as real people in an an oppressed situation.”

Episode 212: Sartre on Racism & Authenticity (Part Two) - The Partially Examined Life


“Continuing on Jean-Paul Sartre's Anti-Semite and Jew: An Exploration of the Etiology of Hate (1946). Is there an "authentic" way to respond to persecution? As part of his critique of anti-semitism, Sartre criticized the responses of some Jews to this situation, e.g. denying that the persecution exists, pretending to not be Jewish, or in any way accepting the terms of anti-semitism and setting up one's life in reaction to it. Sartre instead recommends solidarity and "concrete liberalism," which we try to figure out.”

Episode 212: Sartre on Racism & Authenticity (Part Three) - The Partially Examined Life


“Moving finally on to Jean-Paul Sartre's "Black Orpheus" (1948), where he introduces a book of black poetry by praising its revolutionary spirit as embodied in "negritude." Is this a legitimate consciousness-raising exercise or a weird fetishization of blackness?”

FTP084, 085: Kevin Kelly – What Technology Wants and Why We Need Humans in The Future - The Future Thinkers Podcast


“Today our guest is Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of Wired magazine, former publisher of the Whole Earth Review, and author of many books, including his latest one called “The Inevitable“, which forecasts the twelve technological forces that will shape the next thirty years.

This episode airs in two parts. In the first, we talk about what technology wants, the new sharing economy, and creating a smart environment.

In the second, we look at how artificial intelligence and artificial consciousness will shape the future of work and life, what will make humans uniquely useful in this scenario, and reasons to be optimistic for the future.”

More or Less Human - Radiolab


“Seven years ago chatbots - those robotic texting machines - were a mere curiosity. They were noticeably robotic and at their most malicious seemed only capable of scamming men looking for love online. Today, the chatbot landscape is wildly different. From election interference to spreading hate, chatbots have become online weapons. And so, we decided to reinvestigate the role these robotic bits of code play in our lives and the effects they’re having on us. We begin with a little theater. In our live show “Robert or Robot?” Jad and Robert test 100 people to see if they can spot a bot. We then take a brief detour to revisit the humanity of the Furby, and finish in a virtual house where the line between technology and humanity becomes blurrier than ever before. This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler. Our live event was produced by Simon Adler and Suzie Lechtenberg. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. Note from the Managing Editor: In the original version of our “More or Less Human” podcast, our introduction of neuroscientist Mavi Sanchez-Vives began with mention of her husband, Mel Slater. We’ve edited that introduction because it was a mistake to introduce her first as someone’s wife. Dr. Sanchez-Vives is an exceptional scientist and we’re sorry that the original introduction distracted from or diminished her work.   On a personal note, I failed to take due note of this while editing the piece, and in doing so, I flubbed what’s known as the Finkbeiner Test (all the more embarrassing given that Ann Finkebeiner is a mentor and one of my favorite science journalists). In addition to being a mistake, this is also a reminder to all of us at Radiolab that we need to be more aware of our blind spots. We should’ve done better, and we will do better.  - Soren Wheeler “

Human Lab Rats: Science’s Rotten Underbelly - Science Vs.


“During a golden age for scientific progress, a group of scientists were given free rein to do whatever they wanted to their human lab rats. We got new drugs, and learnt exciting new things. But some researchers took it too far... And what seemed like a scientific fantasy turned into one of the largest American science scandals.“

The Weatherman - Invisibilia


“Who gets to be wrong half the time and keep their job? Meteorologists! James Spann, chief meteorologist at ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, Alabama, has heard the joke a thousand times. And in some ways it's true. There's a lot meteorologists understand about weather forecasting, but there's even more they don't. They face uncertainty every single day and, when it comes to severe weather, how they navigate that uncertainty matters - it can get people killed, it can save lives. In this episode of Invisibilia, we explore our relationship with uncertainty through the eyes of a chief meteorologist. We wonder: what do you do when you don't know what to do? And how do we handle it when that question has no answer?”

Crossing the Line - On The Media


“Mexican officials and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are using a secret database to target journalists and advocates at the southern border. This week, On the Media speaks with a reporter on the list who was detained for questioning by Mexican authorities. Plus, what the Obama Library’s unique arrangement with the National Archives means for the future of presidential history. And, the grotesque origins of segregation.  1. Mari Payton [@MariNBCSD], reporter at NBC 7 in San Diego, and Kitra Cahana, freelance photojournalist, on the secret government database of immigration reporters and advocates. Listen. 2. Tim Naftali [@TimNaftali], historian at New York University and former director of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, and Louise Bernard, director of the museum at the Obama Presidential Center, on the Obama Foundation's decision to curate its own presidential museum. Listen. 3. Steve Luxenberg [@SLuxenberg], author of Separate, on the history of Plessy v. Ferguson.”

Rupert Sheldrake - Cycles of Civilization (Video Lecture) - Fractal Youniverse


“This is another fascinating discussion between Rupert and Mark Vernon regarding the cyclical rise and fall of civilizations.”

Alcohol: A Pour Decision? - Science Vs.


“For decades we’ve been told that having a glass or two of wine is good for you. But recently there’ve been reports that even a little bit of booze is bad for you. So what is going on? Is just a bit of alcohol dangerous? To find out we talk to epidemiologist and nutritionist Prof. Eric Rimm, psychologist Prof. Tim Stockwell, and cancer researcher Dr. Susan Gapstur.Check out the full transcript here. Selected references: Eric’s study of drinking and heart attacks in over 40,000 men Tim and Kaye’s meta-analysis critiquing the heart benefit hypothesisMeta-analysis showing the increased risk of cancer and other diseases from drinking different amounts”

#130 - Universal Basic Income (with Andrew Yang) - Making Sense with Sam Harris


“In this episode Sam Harris speaks with presidential candidate Andrew Yang about “universal basic income” (UBI). They discuss the state of the economy, the rise of automation and AI, the arguments for and against UBI, and other topics.”

Heal Yourself with The Ice Shaman | Wim Hof & Russell Brand - Russell Brand


“Ep #70 Under The Skin with Wim Hof.”

Asking for Another Friend - Radiolab


“Part 2: Last year, we ran a pair of episodes that explored the greatest mysteries in our listeners’ lives - the big ones, little ones, and the ones in between. This year, we’re back on the hunt, tracking down answers to the big little questions swirling around our own heads. Today, we take a look at a strange human emotion, and investigate the mysteries lurking behind the trees, sounds, and furry friends in our lives.”

Ep 343 - How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie - Overdue


“You want to be popular? You want your ideas to be heard? You want to get a great job? Then Dale Carnegie has the tips for you! His best-selling self-help volume How to Win Friends and Influence People has been helping business men for decades, so we decided to sit down and go over a few of the particulars.”

Cosmic Queries – The New Space Race - StarTalk Radio


“Why haven’t we gone back to the Moon? What are the responsibilities of the Space Force? Is Mars the new end goal for exploration? Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Ray Ellin answer fan-submitted questions on the “new” Space Race.NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.Photo Credit: SpaceX”

FTP086 – Alex Gladstein: Anti-Authoritarian Technologies and The Future of Governance - Future Thinkers


“Our guest in this episode is Alex Gladstein, the Chief Strategy Officer at Human Rights Foundation and VP of Strategy for Oslo Freedom Forum. We attended and spoke at Oslo Freedom Forum last year, and it was one of the best conferences we have ever been to – it was really well produced, with amazing participants who talked about important topics and ideas.

In this interview we discuss why civil liberties make a country better for its people, what the future of governance, internet and money looks like, and why anti-authoritarian technologies like Bitcoin are important for that future.”

Neil Gaiman — The Interview I’ve Waited 20 Years To Do (#366) - The Time Ferris Show


““The biggest problem we run into is going, ‘This is who I am, this is what I’m like, this is how I function’ while failing to notice that you don’t do that anymore.”
— Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) is the bestselling author and creator of books, graphic novels, short stories, film and television for all ages, including Neverwhere, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The View from the Cheap Seats and the Sandman series of graphic novels. His fiction has received Newbery and Carnegie Medals, and Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Bram Stoker, and Will Eisner Awards, among many other awards and honors.

His novelistic retelling of Norse myths, Norse Mythology, has been a phenomenon, and an international bestseller, and won Gaiman his ninth Audie Award (for Best Narration by the Author).

Recently Gaiman wrote all six episodes of, and has been the full-time showrunner, for the forthcoming BBC/Amazon Prime mini-series adaptation of Good Omens, based on the beloved 1990 book he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett.”

Joe Rogan Experience

#1258 - Jack Dorsey, Vijaya Gadde & Tim Pool


“Jack Dorsey is a computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur who is co-founder and CEO of Twitter, and founder and CEO of Square, a mobile payments company. Vijaya Gadde serves as the global lead for legal, policy, and trust and safety at Twitter. Tim Pool is an independent journalist. His work can currently be found at http://timcast.com

#1259 - David Wallace-Wells


“David Wallace-Wells is Deputy editor and climate columnist for New York magazine. His book "The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming" is available now.”

#1263 - Renée DiResta


“Renée DiResta is the Director of Research at New Knowledge and a Mozilla Fellow in Media, Misinformation, and Trust.”

#1264 - Timothy Denevi


“Timothy Denevi is a professor in the MFA program at George Mason University and he is the author of "Freak Kingdom: Hunter S. Thompson's Manic Ten-Year Crusade Against American Fascism.””

#1266 - Ben Anderson


“Ben Anderson is a journalist, television reporter, writer and recipient of the Foreign Press Award.”

#1272 - Lindsey Fitzharris


“Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris is an author and medical historian. She is the creator of the popular blog, The Chirurgeon's Apprentice and the host of the YouTube video series Under the Knife. Her book "The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine" is available now via Amazon. https://www.youtube.com/user/UnderThe…”

#1274 - Nicholas Christakis


“Nicholas Christakis is a sociologist and physician known for his research on social networks and on the socioeconomic, biosocial, and evolutionary determinants of behavior, health, and longevity. He is the Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University, where he directs the Human Nature Lab. He is also the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science.”

TED Talks -

Our dangerous obsession with perfectionism is getting worse | Thomas Curran | TEDMED


“Social psychologist Thomas Curran explores how the pressure to be perfect -- in our social media feeds, in school, at work -- is driving a rise in mental illness, especially among young people. Learn more about the causes of this phenomenon and how we can create a culture that celebrates the joys of imperfection.”

The Secret to Scientific Discoveries? Making Mistakes | Phil Plait | TEDxBoulder


“Phil Plait was on a Hubble Space Telescope team of astronomers who thought they may have captured the first direct photo of an exoplanet ever taken. But did the evidence actually support that? Follow along as Plait shows how science progresses -- through a robust amount of making and correcting errors. "The price of doing science is admitting when you're wrong, but the payoff is the best there is: knowledge and understanding," he says.”

Fermi's Paradox and the Psychology of Galactic Empires | Matthew O´Dowd | TEDxTUWien


“We now know that the Galaxy is full of potentially habitable planets. So why do we see no signs that any civilizations have come before us? Matt O'Dowd, astrophysicist and host of PBS Space Time, explains why Fermi's paradox really is so surprising, and he offers a new piece of evidence that may point towards the solution.

Astrophysicist Matthew O’Dowd spends his time studying the universe, especially really far-away things like Quasars, super-massive black holes and evolving galaxies. He completed his Ph.D. at NASA´s Space Telescope Science Institute, followed by work at the University of Melbourne and Columbia University. Currently he is a professor at the City University of New York´s Lehman College and an Associate at the American Museum of Natural Historys Hayden Planetarium.“

The Power of Civil Momentum | Annamalai Kuppusamy | TEDxDSCE


“Brave, fierce, bold, & determined are only a few of his dominant qualities. Annamalai Kuppusamy is an IPS Officer widely known as "The Singham Of Karnataka". His acts of pure professionalism, corruption-free daredevil attitude, earned him the name 'Singham'. He is currently the Deputy Commissioner of Police, South Division, Bengaluru City. Be it humanity, or a resolute mien, he possesses a gentlemanly roaring nature. 'The People's Superintendent', his name brings smiles of admiration on the faces of the young and old alike. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru South”

How to keep Human Biases out of AI | Kriti Sharma | TEDxWarwick


“AI algorithms make important decisions about you all the time -- like how much you should pay for car insurance or whether or not you get that job interview. But what happens when these machines are built with human bias coded into their systems? Technologist Kriti Sharma explores how the lack of diversity in tech is creeping into our AI, offering three ways we can start making more ethical algorithms.”

Why renewables can’t save the planet | Michael Shellenberger | TEDxDanubia


“Environmentalists have long promoted renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind farms to save the climate. But what about when those technologies destroy the environment? In this provocative talk, Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment” and energy expert, Michael Shellenberger explains why solar and wind farms require so much land for mining and energy production, and an alternative path to saving both the climate and the natural environment. Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine Hero of the Environment and President of Environmental Progress, a research and policy organization. A lifelong environmentalist, Michael changed his mind about nuclear energy and has helped save enough nuclear reactors to prevent an increase in carbon emissions equivalent to adding more than 10 million cars to the road. He lives in Berkeley, California.”

Videos -

To get angry at:

Earth at 2° hotter will be horrific. Now here’s what 4° will look like. | David Wallace-Wells - Big Think


“This is what the world will be like if we do not act on climate change.

- The best-case scenario of climate change is that world gets just 2°C hotter, which scientists call the "threshold of catastrophe".

- Why is that the good news? Because if humans don't change course now, the planet is on a trajectory to reach 4°C at the end of this century, which would bring $600 trillion in global climate damages, double the warfare, and a refugee crisis 100x worse than the Syrian exodus.

- David Wallace-Wells explains what would happen at an 8°C and even 13°C increase. These predictions are horrifying, but should not scare us into complacency. "It should make us focus on them more intently," he says.

David Wallace-Wells is a national fellow at the New America foundation and a columnist and deputy editor at New York magazine. He was previously the deputy editor of The Paris Review. He lives in New York City. His latest book is The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming (https://goo.gl/ih35YX)”

Watch the US stall on climate change for 12 years - Vox


“It was once a bipartisan issue, but now one of America's major parties acts like climate science doesn't exist. This is an updated version of a video we published in 2016.

Check out Climate Lab, our video series on climate change produced with the University of California, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkZ7B... And read our story on why we only have 12 years to stop catastrophic climate change on Vox.com: https://www.vox.com/2018/10/8/1794883…”

Noam Chomsky on Trump-Russia Collusion — Primo Nutmeg


“In March 2019, weeks before the Mueller Report was finalized, acclaimed scholar and “Manufacturing Consent” author Noam Chomsky explained in an interview why accusations of Russian meddling and Trump-Russia collusion were “a joke.””

Robocalls: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)


“Robocalls are a growing problem. If only we could make the FCC care a little bit more about fixing it.”

Why Public Schools and the Mainstream Media Dumb Us Down - Academy of Ideas


“In this video we examine how public schools and the mainstream media have contributed to the growth of a passive citizenry, thus paving the way for the rise of tyranny. We then look at the role anti-authoritarians play in a free and flourishing society.”

“Winners Take All”: Anand Giridharadas on the Elite Charade of Changing the World - Democracy Now


“”the elite charade of changing the world,” which is, both of the actresses, whom I checked out online, do a bunch of philanthropy. Right? This Bill McGlashan guy from TPG literally ran the biggest impact investing fund in the world, to help people through the power of investing. And so, in many ways, those—while they were rigging the system. Right?..

And what I found through my reporting was that when these elites get involved in social change, what they do is they change change. They take leadership of change. They Columbus social change. They declare themselves now the people, the CEO of Change Inc. And they edit out, in their capacity as board members, trustees, leaders of organizations, donors to causes—they edit out forms of change they don’t want to—they don’t really like. And they encourage forms of change they believe in. So, on any issue—you take the empowerment of women. You know what they don’t like? Maternity leave. You know why? Because it’s expensive. Costs money—right?—for companies, for the taxpayer, particularly wealthy taxpayers. So what do they like? Lean in. You know why? Because lean in is free. All you got to do is tell women that patriarchy is actually a posture problem: If you just lean at a slightly different angle of recline, patriarchy gone. Well, that’s very cheap. Rich people love lean in.”

Nuclear blasts, preserved on film - CBS Sunday Morning


“Beginning in 1945, and until atmospheric nuclear testing was banned, the United States conducted 210 above-ground nuclear tests, documented on film. Now, footage that has survived, now being preserved by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is being analyzed for their scientific data, changing what we previously knew about the destructive power of our nuclear arsenal. David Martin reports.”

Former CIA Agent Says MLK Assasination Conspiracy is Most Disturbing - JRE Clips


“Taken from Joe Rogan Experience #1226 w/Mike Baker:


How ISPs Violate the Laws of Mathematics - Minute Physics


“This joke video is about how Internet Service Providers (aka ISPs, internet companies, telecommunications companies, etc) violate the basic axioms of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory. Like the axiom of choice (sometimes Well-ordering theorem), the Axiom of extensionality, Axiom of regularity (also called the Axiom of foundation), Axiom schema of specification, Axiom of pairing, Axiom of union, Axiom schema of replacement, Axiom of infinity, Axiom of power set.”

How the alleged college admission scheme worked - CNN


“Dozens of people, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, face racketeering charges over allegedly facilitating cheating on tests and bribing college coaches, according to a federal indictment”

To learn:

The Benefits of Reading Great Books - Academy of Ideas


“Get the transcript (and a gallery of the art work) https://academyofideas.com/2019/03/be... In this video we look at the benefits of great books on our growth and development, and examine how the modern university humanities are corrupting students.

Recommended Readings: Why Read? - Mark Edmundson - https://amzn.to/2HMjLJH”

Exploring the Dark Web - Cold Fusion


The Impossible Hugeness of Deep Time - It’s ok to be smart


“History of the Earth took a lot longer than you think, trust me. But I’m here to help you put it in perspective. With some string.”

What they don't want you to know - The Spirit Molecule | Graham Hancock - Word Porn


“:Transcript: Our society is absolutely designed to shut down 90% of the potential of the human creature. Why should it be the case that society is afraid of realising human potential and what it comes down to is special interests, that there are those who run things in society and that there are those who are there to kind of serve them and serve their ends and serve their needs. And so, what our society has created is a realm of unquestioning meat robots who will perform their daily tasks without complaining and without causing any trouble, and that may be very useful to certain small interest groups but it's extremely damaging to the rest of humanity, Once we realise our potential we don't need elites anymore, who needs elites - who needs to be led. This is another revelation that comes from working with psychedelics is that we do not need leaders, they are not over us telling us what to do, they may imagine that that's what their doing but they have no right to do that…”

What is quantitative easing? - The Economist


“Following the Federal Reserve's latest round of quantitative easing (2012), The Economist's Buttonwood columnist Philip Coggan explains how easing monetary policy works”

Financial Regulation Shouldn’t Be Hard—Here’s What We Need to Make It Work - New Economic Thinking


“We can land planes safely at crowded airports, yet we can’t manage to make our financial system safe. Why?

Stanford University economist Anat Admati talks about what’s needed to get financial regulation that works.”

Behavioral Economics: The Next Generation - New Economic Thinking


“To understand behavior and choice, we need to borrow from not just cognitive science but also sociology.

University of Warwick economist Robert Akerlof explains how social interactions, identity, culture, and values underpin a new type of behavioral economics.”

The Future of Work Is Going to Be More Human - New Economic Thinking


“As automation takes on more routine tasks, work will become more about creativity, ethics, and empathy.

Robots can already build cars and defuse bombs, but they can’t love. As work becomes more automated, economist Richard Baldwin looks at the different, unique form human labor will take.”

Universal basic income: The plan to give $12,000 to every American adult | Andrew Yang - Big Think


“Tax megacorps like Amazon to fund universal basic income, says 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang. - Andrew Yang is running for president in 2020 as a Democrat (https://www.yang2020.com). - The Freedom Dividend is a universal basic income proposal initiated by 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang. - Yang's plan would give $1,000 a month, or $12,000 per year, to every American over the age of 18, every year. This would get every U.S. adult just below the poverty line which is currently $12,770 a year. - How would it be funded? Yang suggests a value added tax on megacorps like Amazon (which paid zero tax last year). Funnel that money back into the American's people's hands to boost the economy, improve mental health, increase education and lower violence. Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur and author who is running for President as a Democrat in 2020. In his book The War on Normal People (https://goo.gl/rgv3bz), he explains the mounting crisis of the automation of labor and makes the case for the Freedom Dividend, a Universal Basic Income of $1,000 a month for every American as well as other policies to progress to the next stage of capitalism.”

Real Mysteries That Were Solved With Mathematics - Major Prep


Roger Scruton: Why Intellectuals are Mostly Left - PhilosophyInsights


“Sir Roger Vernon Scruton is an English philosopher and writer who specialises in aesthetics and political philosophy, particularly in the furtherance of traditionalist conservative views. In recent years he taught courses in Buckingham University, Oxford University and University of St. Andrews. “

The unexpected cost of living for a very long time | Michael Dowling - Big Think


“- Medical advances have increased our longevity by decades, says Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health. That benefit comes with an unintended disadvantage – high costs.

- Bringing the overall cost of health care down is near impossible, as an increased life expectancy brings new diseases and procedures with it.

- Reducing the out-of-pocket cost is a separate issue, however. It is possible and necessary to lower costs so they don't become a barrier to people seeking care.

Michael J. Dowling is President and Chief Executive Officer of Northwell Health, New York’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, more than 700 outpatient locations, $12 billion in annual revenue and 68,000+ employees. One of health care’s most-influential executives, Mr. Dowling has received numerous awards, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, an honorary degree from the prestigious Queen’s University Belfast and his selection as the Grand Marshal of the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in NYC. He also serves as chair of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Dowling is the co-author of Health Care Reboot: Megatrends Energizing American Medicine (https://goo.gl/V2SyPe)”

Galileo Galilei: Father of Modern Science - BioGraphics


“Source/Further reading:

Galileo by Mitch Stokes

Galileo and the Scientific Revolution by Laura Fermi


100 Greatest Generals in History - Cottereau


“This video shows the 100 generals that have won the most battles in history (according to Wikipedia). To make that video, I created a query that searches every battle article in Wikipedia and identifies the general that won the battle. List of battles won by general: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1X... Methodology: 1. I created a query with Wikidata Query to get the list of all articles tagged as "battle" by Wikipedia. This gives me about 12,000 battles 2. I downloaded the data that is included in the top right hand table of every of those Wikipedia article. I did it for the following versions of Wikipedia: English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Greek, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian, Japanese, Danish, Norwegian, Slovakian, Dutch, Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Hindi, Hebrew, Basque, Bulgarian, Romanian, Catalan, Finnish, Swedish, Vietnamese, Persian, Indonesian, Korean 3. I cleaned up the data on Excel to remove double entries Limitations : - Missing data. You probably noticed that Europe concentrates the majority of battles. Possible explanations include the fact that Wikipedia is used more in Europe, the ban of Wikipedia in China or Turkey, or the lack of documentation of military records in some countries. But still, Wikipedia remains one of the most comprehensive sources available.”

Fantastic Features We Don't Have In The English Language - Tom Scott




“It is time to go on another flight with me. I will take you on a scenic flight from Casablanca to Dakar in West Africa. I will not only show you the take off and landing from my point of view, but I will also explain what pilots do during cruise flight. After a certain altitude it is a requirement that the autopilot flies the aircraft so which tasks are left?”

To Ponder:

What If You Fell Into Jupiter? - What If


“Humans have explored the Moon, Mars, and of course, Earth. But what do we know about Jupiter?

For the most part, this gas giant is a mystery. So what would happen if you wanted to discover it for yourself and jumped right onto the planet? Or should we say into? Because Jupiter doesn't have a surface, just a seemingly endless stretch of atmosphere.

Would you fall straight through? What would you see on your way? And how would it make you feel?”

A Universe Not Made For Us (Carl Sagan on religion)


“Carl Sagan reading from his book "The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark"

For more great videos, be sure to check out The Sagan Series on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…”

10 Disconcerting Fermi Paradox Scenarios - John Michael Godier


“An exploration of 10 disconcerting Fermi Paradox Scenarios reflecting some recent papers that have changed the landscape of the question of "are we alone”.”

Marlon Brando on Rejecting His Oscar for 'The Godfather' - The Dick Cavett Show


“Marlon talks more about his decision to reject the Oscar for his performance in The Godfather. Date aired - 12th June 1973.”

Edward Snowden: Hero or Traitor? - Biographics


Van Gogh's Ugliest Masterpiece - NerdWriter1


“How can an "ugly" painting be a masterpiece?”

To wonder at:



TIMELAPSE OF THE FUTURE: A Journey to the End of Time (4K) - Melody Sheep


“Get the soundtrack: https://bit.ly/2HKl9fi | How's it all gonna end? This experience takes us on a journey to the end of time, trillions of years into the future, to discover what the fate of our planet and our universe may ultimately be.

We start in 2019 and travel exponentially through time, witnessing the future of Earth, the death of the sun, the end of all stars, proton decay, zombie galaxies, possible future civilizations, exploding black holes, the effects of dark energy, alternate universes, the final fate of the cosmos - to name a few.

This is a picture of the future as painted by modern science - a picture that will surely evolve over time as we dig for more clues to how our story will unfold. Much of the science is very recent - and new puzzle pieces are still waiting to be found.

To me, this overhead view of time gives a profound perspective - that we are living inside the hot flash of the Big Bang, the perfect moment to soak in the sights and sounds of a universe in its glory days, before it all fades away. Although the end will eventually come, we have a practical infinity of time to play with if we play our cards right. The future may look bleak, but we have enormous potential as a species.

Featuring the voices of David Attenborough, Craig Childs, Brian Cox, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michelle Thaller, Lawrence Krauss, Michio Kaku, Mike Rowe, Phil Plait, Janna Levin, Stephen Hawking, Sean Carroll, Alex Filippenko, and Martin Rees”

The Origin of Consciousness – How Unaware Things Became Aware - Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell


“Sources and link to book by Rupert Glasgow:


Consciousness is perhaps the biggest riddle in nature. In the first part of this three part video series, we explore the origins of consciousness and take a closer look on how unaware things became aware.

This video was made possible by a grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation.

Consciousness Poster here:  https://bit.ly/2HrsDV5”

Handle Robot Reimagined for Logistics - Boston Dynamics


“Handle is a mobile manipulation robot designed for logistics. Handle autonomously performs mixed SKU pallet building and depalletizing after initialization and localizing against the pallets. The on-board vision system on Handle tracks the marked pallets for navigation and finds individual boxes for grasping and placing.”

System 001 - First Mission - The Ocean Cleanup


“System 001 is our first system and we planned to learn a lot from this new technology. During the four months of deployment, the challenges we faced have brought us a greater understanding of the environment of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and how our system behaves in it. All three shifts collected incredible amounts of data which we are now using to enhance the design of our technology. System 001 has been brought back to port, but we will return to the patch with an improved design in the coming months.”

Why Machines That Bend Are Better - Veritasium


“Compliant mechanisms have lots of advantages over traditional devices. SimpliSafe is awesome security. It's really effective, easy to use, and the price is great. Check out SimpliSafe here: https://simplisafe.com/veritasium

I visited the Compliant Mechanisms Research group at Brigham Young University and spoke to Professor Larry Howell:


At the above link, you can download 3D-print files to make some of the objects in the video, plus learn more about compliant mechanisms.

What I learned about compliant mechanisms I summarize in the 8 P's of compliant mechanisms:

1. Part count (reduced by having flexible parts instead of springs, hinges)

2. Productions processes (many, new, different enabled by compliant designs)

3. Price (reduced by fewer parts and different production processes)

4. Precise Motion (no backlash, less wear, friction)

5. Performance (no outgassing, doesn't require lubricant)

6. Proportions (reduced through different production processes)

7. Portability (lightweight due to simpler, reduced part count designs)

8. Predictability (devices are reliable over a long period of time)”

Scientists Trapped Electrons In a Quantum Fractal (And It's Wild!) - Seeker


“Fractals aren’t just crazy cool mathematically infinite shapes. They might just have the capacity to revolutionize modern electronics as we know it.

There’s a Subterranean Biosphere Hiding in the Earth’s Crust and It’s MASSIVE - https://youtu.be/9h7DSJVeSG8

Life emerges, evolves and fights for supremacy in this 1929 avant-garde classic - Aeon Video


“The New Zealand-born artist Leonard Charles Huia Lye (1901-80), better known as Len Lye, is renowned for his work in kinetic sculpture and experimental film, and is widely considered one of the most innovative modernists of the 20th century. Lye’s first film, Tusalava (1929), produced over two years following a move to London, was born of the city’s emerging experimental film scene and Lye’s abiding interest in Maori, Aboriginal and Samoan art. Composed of some 7,000 hand-drawn images, the abstract animation synthesises modern and ancient art as it depicts simple life forms emerging, evolving and coming into conflict. As with the influence of African art on Pablo Picasso, Lye’s use of so-called ‘primitivism’ has been both praised for introducing non-Western perspectives to Western art, and criticised for cultural appropriation. The film was originally paired with a now-lost piano score from the UK-born composer Jack Ellitt. This version features the UK composer Eugene Goossens’s composition Rhythmic Dance (1928), which Lye later suggested as an alternative accompaniment.”

Mind control and zombification do exist. Just look at these crickets - Aeon


“Mayflies make a quick and nutritious snack for crickets. But, rather unfortunately for the cricket population of California, some mayflies are home to hairworms (nematomorphs) – parasitic creatures that will stop at nothing to make their way back to water. Once consumed, hairworms feed off crickets from the inside, absorbing all of their lipids, and eventually putting the cricket in a state of developmental and reproductive limbo. Worse still, once these fast-growing parasites reach their adult length of one to two feet, they zombify their hosts, unleashing brain chemicals that make the infected crickets wander aimlessly until they hit water, where the worms make their final escape and start the whole cycle anew. By studying this process, scientists hope to learn more about how brain parasites might affect human behaviour. The ordeal is captured in microscopic detail in this episode of the often creepy, always fascinating science documentary series Deep Look. Read more about the video at KQED Science.”

Living Off the Land in Hawaii | Explorer - National Geographic


“Correspondent J.J. Kelley travels to Hawaii to meet with a group of people who are living off the land like their ancestors.”

For your self:

This One Habit Will TRULY Change Your Life (Animated Story) - Mitch Manly


“Today, I talk about the habit (Commitment), that will truly change your life. There are so many videos on YouTube that talk about habits, and what the habits of successful people are, or the 12 habits you need for life. I think all these videos are great, but everyone seems to forget about the most important habit, that allows you to even pursue these other habits. If you cannot master the habit that I am talking about in this video, then there is no point of even attempting any other one (I really do believe this)”

7 Stoic Exercises For Inner Peace - Einzelgänger


“1. Negative Visualization

2. Self Control Practice

3. Don’t Give a Fuck Practice

4. Journaling

5. Memento Mori - We are going to Die

6. View from Above

7. Amor Fati - Love the outcome”

Face To Face | Carl Gustav Jung (1959) HQ - KidMillions


“John Freeman interviews Professor Jung at his home in Switzerland.

(Theme music: excerpt from Les Francs-Juges by Berlioz)

An earlier interview from 1957 (full 3 hours) is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSegY…”

Live LSD Simulation: “An Interactive Trip” (EDUCATIONAL CONTENT) - PsychedSubstance


“Take a visual journey through the potential stages of an Acid Trip’s “Come Up” - all in the name of Education and Harm Reduction. Those curious NO longer need to risk dangerous N-bomb’s or a mentally devastating existential life crisis just to get some eye candy! Of course, the visual experience is a far cry from encapsulating Lucy’s true potential for both good and harm. However, it is one of the primary reasons (mistakes) that can draw the uneducated into a potentially dangerous encounter.

And that is precisely why I have created this Simulated Experience. I’m hoping after people can get an idea as to what it’s really like, then those looking to trip for the wrong reasons can spare them selves the danger. I’ve even taken things one step further than creating just a simple simulation - this video is also a documentary showcasing a real experience on a LEGAL substitute which is believed to convert into the real thing when taken.

Please keep in mind that even though I believe most of these replications are SOMEWHAT accurate it is still not a realistic substitution for what one might actually see/experience. It is the best I can do at the moment though, and not to toot my own horn, but some of these effects come pretty close! Others on the other hand are admittedly a little exaggerated (wood doesn’t flow that fast) but that would depend on who you ask. We each have unique brain chemistry, and these compounds affect each of us in a slightly unique way. Meaning it’s impossible to tell someone EXACTLY what they will see. Not to mention no two trips are ever exactly the same.”

Freeing the ghost within: Cartesian mind-body dualism in art powered by disability - Aeon


“‘I fear being trapped in the statue of my own body, whilst my mind gazes out.’

The 20th-century British philosopher Gilbert Ryle was a critic of ‘mind-body dualism’ – the idea first formulated by the 17th-century French philosopher René Descartes that there exists a clear distinction between physical and mental phenomena. Ryle argued against this idea in his book The Concept of Mind (1949), using the phrase ‘the ghost in the machine’ to describe Descartes’s theory. The Australian filmmakers Sophie Hexter and Poppy Walker borrow Ryle’s phrase for the title of this short documentary, which explores a powerful performance-art piece by the Papua New Guinea-born, Australia-based artist Jeremy Hawkes. Affected by a degenerative condition known as spondylosis, which has given him the symptoms of early onset Parkinson’s disease, he ceases the treatments that subdue the chronic pain, shaking and tremors for each iteration of his performance. Surrendering to his condition, he guides his left hand while his right seemingly ‘moves of its own volition’, engendering a provocative meditation on mind, body and the still-uncertain boundaries between them.”


How Trainspotting Became The Voice of a Generation - Truthtellers


“What is the power that made this film a voice of a generation and

its legendary monologue a counter-culture manifesto?”

1980s Movies That Shaped Our Humanity - Pop Culture Detective


“The 80s movies that left the biggest impression on me as a kid weren’t necessarily from the most popular or iconic films. And they aren't referenced in Ready Player One. The cinematic moments that had the most profound impact on my childhood were unapologetically sappy and sentimental. In this video, I discuss 5 of my favorite lesser known movies from the 1980s that foster empathy and solidarity. “

The Philosophy of Mr. Nobody: How To Make Meaningful Choices - Like Stories of Old


“This was a really interesting, yet challenging film to tackle, and I realize the concept of making meaningful choices might still seem a bit abstract even after watching this. I was therefore hoping to gather more practical examples of making meaningful choices right here by asking all of you; what was a meaningful choice that you have made? So, if you're willing to share, I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!”

How They Created the Naturalistic Look of 'There Will Be Blood’: Cinematography - CinemaTyler


“Aside from the brilliant performance of Daniel Day-Lewis as oilman Daniel Plainview, Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2007 film There Will Be Blood is perhaps best known for its beautifully naturalistic cinematography, which was nominated for over 20 different awards including a win for Best Achievement in Cinematography at the Academy Awards. So, how did they do it? Today we will take a look at what cameras, lenses, and film stock they used, as well as the real locations, naturalistic lighting, and how they got some of the tricky shots. This is Making Film.”

The Day South Park Died - Entertain The Elk


“An exploration into the history of South Park, its unique writing style, and the episode that sparked its downfall to mediocrity.”

Bohemian Rhapsody's Terrible Editing: A Breakdown - Thomas Flight


“Bohemian Rhapsody won the Oscar for Best Editing... but it has terrible editing.”

Tech Quick Hits:

Can You Recover Sound From Images? - Veritasium


22 Inventions That Are Saving The Earth - Tech Insider


Wireless Electricity Is Coming, Here’s Where We’re At - Seeker


Five Myths About 5G, Debunked - Wall Street Journal


Wait, Maybe Foldable Tech isn't Just a Gimmick - Cold Fusion


20 Construction Machines Getting The Job Done - Tech Insider


The design tricks that keep skyscrapers from swaying - Vox


Lecture/Debate -

Christmas Lectures 2018: What Makes Me Human? - Alice Roberts and Aoife McLysaght - The Royal Institution


“In the second lecture of the 2018 Christmas Lectures Alice Roberts and Aoife McLysaght explore human evolution.”

Zizek: "The Parallax of Ontology. Reality and Its Transcendental Supplement" - Dominik Finkelde - Hochschule f. Philosophie


“Talk given at the conference "Parallax. The Dependence of Reality on Its Subjective Constitution" on Dec. 1, 2018 at the Munich School of Philosophy, Germany.

See also:


Constitutional Free Speech Principles Can Save Social Media Companies From Themselves - Intelligence Squared Debates


“How should the world’s largest social media companies respond to a pernicious online climate, including hate speech and false content posted by users? For some, the answer is clear: take the fake and offensive content down. But for others, censorship – even by a private company – is dangerous in a time when digital platforms have become the new public square and many Americans cite Facebook and Twitter as their primary news sources. Rather than embracing European hate speech laws or developing platform-specific community standards that are sometimes seen as partisan, they argue, social media companies should voluntarily adopt the First Amendment and block content only if it violates American law. Should First Amendment doctrine govern free speech online? Or are new, more internationally focused speech policies better equipped to handle the modern challenges of regulating content and speech in the digital era?”

What Role Does our Microbiome Play in a Healthy Diet? - with Tim Spector - The Royal Institution


“There's a lot of conflicting info out there about how to eat healthily. Tim Spector studies the microbiome to gain insight into how its diversity can impact health outcomes.

The microbiome is the community of 100 trillion microbes that live in our colon that are like a virtual organ. This organ is key to our digestion, appetite, mood, metabolism, and control of our immune system. It is also key to how we respond to immunotherapy and chemotherapy. The TwinsUK cohort of 12,000+ twins has been running for nearly 25 years and is now the most intensively studied group of humans on the planet (www.twinsuk.ac.uk). Having deep sequence, metabolites, epigenetics, immune traits and dietary and health data, in 2012 a stool collection for 16S microbiome, metagenomes and metabolomics was added. They are currently using the microbiome data and cohort to provide novel measures of health, such as the level of microbial diversity and a new measure – the microbial health index and how this impacts overall health outcomes. Tim Spector's team's twin work has also enabled them to gain insights into the microbiome and immune interactions of the upper colon and small intestine via colonoscopy and interventions. Every medical professional needs to know about maintaining a healthy microbiome from birth to death.”

Possible Minds - Live at the Brattle Theater in Boston [2.21.2019] - Edge


“Lightning talks (1 hour, 28 minutes) from thirteen experts: Mary Catherine Bateson, Kate Darling, Peter Galison, Neil Gershenfeld, Alison Gopnik, Caroline Jones, David Kaiser, Seth Lloyd, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Alex Pentland, Steven Pinker, Max Tegmark, Stephen Wolfram "

Will Self-Taught, A.I. Powered Robots Be the End of Us? - World Science Festival


“Success in creating effective A.I.,” said the late Stephen Hawking, “could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization. Or the worst. We just don’t know.” Are we creating the instruments of our own destruction or exciting tools for our future survival? Once we teach a machine to learn on its own—as the programmers behind AlphaGo have done, to wondrous results—where do we draw moral and computational lines? In this program, leading specialists in A.I., neuroscience, and philosophy tackle the very questions that may define the future of humanity.

PARTICIPANTS: Yann LeCun, Susan Schneider, Max Tegmark, Peter Ulric Tse



- Opening film on the history and future of artificial intelligence. 00:06

- Participant intros. 06:05

- What is machine learning? 07:34

- What are neural networks and how do they learn? 09:30

- Teaching computers to create internal models of the world? 12:00

- What do the next 10 years in AI look like? 13:50

- Artificial narrow intelligence and mental models. 14:35

- How is AI changing the world of art and creativity? 16:01

- Can computers be creative? 19:35

- AI writes a screenplay for a movie, how did it turn out? 23:20

- What is artificial general intelligence? 25:30

- How far away are we from developing artificial general intelligence equivalent to human intelligence? 27:00

- Will advanced AI turn into Terminators and take over the world? 28:30

- What's so special about human intelligence? 31:10

- What is human consciousness and will machines ever experience consciousness? 31:11

- Separating intelligence from consciousness. 41:34

- Defining morality in AI agents. 44:34

- Will machines ever have emotions? 46:45

- Should we be looking at other forms of non-human intelligence to model in our machines? 50:05

- How do you align the drives of AI with human values? 52:25

- Will artificial general superintelligence be good or bad for humankind? 53:10

- Creating a new ethics of AI. 56:15

- When will we ever have super-AGI? 58:40”

Andrew Yang Discusses the Automation of Labor & Universal Basic Income at SXSW 2019 - Andrew Yang For President 2020


“Andrew Yang isn’t a politician. He’s an entrepreneur who knows how the economy works—and he’s terrified about the growing automation of American jobs. That’s why he’s running for President as a Democrat in 2020. America has lost its direction, and it’s time we put humanity first. Andrew wants to get America back on track—to be a nation of opportunity, freedom, equality, and abundance. It all starts with Universal Basic Income for every American adult between the ages of 18 and 64: $1,000 a month, no strings attached.

We're on a mission to end poverty, bring healthcare to all, and remake the economy to put people first. Help us reach our goal of 100,000 donors by giving One for Humanity. Join us. We can beat the establishment but only if we are together.

The #OneForHumanity community is a group of 100,000 Americans pledging to contribute $1 to Andrew's Presidential campaign in an effort to show the political elite the people want them to solve real problems, to care for the people and to keep America moving forward.”

How the Wiring of Our Brains Shapes Who We Are - with Kevin Mitchell - The Royal Institution


“What makes you the way you are, and what makes each of us different from everyone else?

Neuroscientist Kevin Mitchell is interested in how human diversity and individual differences stem from how out brains are wired. In this talk, he explores the groundbreaking science behind this subject and uses examples of his own work to answer questions like- how are variations in our brain development linked to adult psychology and behaviour? And can brain development really have an impact on our personality, intelligence or sexuality?”

Graham Harman on Metaphysics, Art, & Speculative Realism - Philosophy Overdose


“In this talk, Graham Harman discusses two types of philosophical paradox pertaining to human knowledge, and the relation that art has to both. The first is one discussed by Meno and Socrates, resulting in the Socratic claim that we both have and do not have the truth. Our inability to gain direct access to reality is what justifies philosophy as philosophia (the love of wisdom rather than wisdom itself) and rules out both mathematism and scientism as defensible models of philosophy. The second paradox is the familiar dispute over whether truth is discovered or constructed. Given that no direct access to reality is possible, the observation of truth itself seems to be part of the truth, yet the observer also cannot create truth ex nihilo. These two paradoxes are not new, but if we look at them carefully, we can draw new conclusions from them. In this way, a different light is shed on the relation between philosophy and art.

How to Think Like a Mathematician - with Eugenia Cheng - The Royal Institution


“How does pure mathematics apply to our daily lives?

For thousands of years, mathematicians have used the timeless art of logic to see the world more clearly. Today, truth is buried under soundbites and spin, and seeing clearly is more important than ever. In this talk, Eugenia Cheng will show how anyone can think like a mathematician to understand what people are really telling us – and how we can argue back. Taking a careful scalpel to fake news, politics, privilege, sexism and dozens of other real-world situations, she will teach us how to find clarity without losing nuance.”

What Happens When Maths Goes Wrong? - with Matt Parker - The Royal Institution


"Most of the time, the maths in our everyday lives works quietly behind the scenes, until someone forgets to carry a '1' and a bridge collapses or a plane drops out of the sky.

Matt Parker is a stand-up comedian and mathematician. He appears regularly on TV and online: as well as being a presenter on the Discovery Channel. His YouTube videos have been viewed over 37 million times. Previously a high-school mathematics teacher, Matt visits schools to talk to students about maths as part of Think Maths and he is involved in the Maths Inspiration shows. In his remaining free time, Matt wrote the books Things To Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension and Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors. He is also the Public Engagement in Mathematics Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.”

Documentaries -


Their finest art (The Genius Of The Crowd) - Charles Bukowski Poem - Lazar Marković


“Man inspired by the unspeakable beauty of nature will sail biggest storms for the beloved object of nature.

Poem: The Genius Of The Crowd by Charles Bukowski

Voice: Tom O'Bedlam

Music: Spirit by Tony Anderson

Video: Evosia Studios

Inspiration: All The Way (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6_QU…)”

"Bluebird" - short film inspired by Charles Bukowski's poem - Michał Stenzel


Made in 48 hours during Hamburgerkino 2017

Directed by: Michał Stenzel

D.O.P.: Raphael Federer

cast: Fabiana Bruno, Jonattan Perrut

voice: Marcel Romeijn

music: "What have they done" by Max Richter”

Sci-Fi Short Film "R'ha" | Presented by DUST


“R’Ha, directed by Kaleb Lechowski, is a fight for survival in a solar system where no one can be trusted. A civil war started by subversives they could have never seen coming. A group of fighters, relentless in their quest to protect their planets will do everything in their power to emerge the victorious underdog against an enemy that appears to always be two steps ahead.

This short leaves you on edge as the future of the guardians of space grows dim in the afterburner of the spacecraft that may lead their enemy right to them. The subtle ending shows a scene so seemingly benign it’ll hit you even harder when you realize the implications of it.”

Alternative Math | Short Film - IdeaMan


“A well meaning math teacher finds herself trumped by a post-fact America.”

Burning Man 2018 Film: "Ignite" 4K


“Burning Man is more than a party. See why people call it home. Dive into a rabbit hole of fire and dust with one of the most captivating events in the world: #burningman. Ignite is a documentary short film captured at the annual social experiment in Black Rock City, Nevada. Filmed during the 2017 event Radical Ritual, Ignite is directed and produced by filmmaker Ryan Moore featuring original score produced by the Grammy Award winning team behind "Mission Impossible: Fallout", "The Dark Knight" and "Inception". A cinematic experience into Burning Man, #ignite pays tribute to the community that builds this temporary desert world once each year. Short film 4K video.

Director/Producer: Ryan Moore ("Manny narrated by Liam Neeson")

Score Producer: Lorne Balfe (Mission Impossible: Fallout, The Dark Knight, The Crown, Genius)

Composers: Max Aruj and Steffen Thum (Mission Impossible: Fallout)

Directors of Photography: Jez Thierry and Neil Fernandez

Editors: Christian May, Gretchen Schroeder, Ryan Moore

Sound Design Mixer: Emmy Award winner Eddie Kim (Sonic Highways)

Opening Sequence Illustrator: Anthony Francisco (Marvel Studios)”


Unbreaking America: A NEW Short Film about Solving the Corruption Crisis - RepresentUs


“Our government is broken, and we have to fix it. RepresentUs board member Jennifer Lawrence and Director of RepresentUs Josh Silver, walks through three lines that show what's wrong with legal corruption in our government, how we fix it and what you can do about it.”

Being offline is the new luxury - VPRO documentary


“When have you been offline for the last time? Did you choose yourself to be offline or was internet not working? To be offline seems more and more to become a choice that we see as a luxury. Is being offline the new luxury or is it still a luxury to be online for some people?

Digital networks are becoming denser and denser. We are online all the time everywhere and they are fewer places where we really can be alone. Where and when can we still disconnect? To be offline has become a luxury. Will we permanently use data or do we take back control over our connectivity? In this documentary we go on a journey to the edge of internet.

To be online all the time and everywhere. It sounds great, but it has its drawbacks. As digital networks are closing in, there are fewer places to be really on your own. Being offline is becoming a luxury. Where can you be offline?

We are connected to the internet even in our bedrooms. It’s the ambition of companies like Google and Facebook to connect the entire world, so that we can be online all the time and everywhere. Google has sent balloons up into the skies over Sri Lanka to provide the island state with free Wi-Fi for a month. On the ground, more and more devices communicate through the so-called Internet-of-Things. We are going to be ‘glass citizens’ in a transparent house, connected for life to a wireless intravenous drip and traced anywhere via our smartphones. What does it mean?

A small but growing group of people is saying goodbye to lifetime connectability. They are researching ways to keep control. What can we learn from them about life in the digital era? With: Paul Frissen (political scientist), Sherry Turkle (psychologist MIT), Evgeny Morozov (internet critic) and Birgitta Jonsdottir (hacker & founder Pirate Party)”

97% Owned - Economic Truth documentary - How is Money Created - Independent POV


“97% owned present serious research and verifiable evidence on our economic and financial system. This is the first documentary to tackle this issue from a UK-perspective and explains the inner workings of Central Banks and the Money creation process.

When money drives almost all activity on the planet, it's essential that we understand it. Yet simple questions often get overlooked, questions like; where does money come from? Who creates it? Who decides how it gets used? And what does this mean for the millions of ordinary people who suffer when the monetary, and financial system, breaks down?

A film by Michael Oswald, Produced by Mike Horwath, featuring Ben Dyson of Positive Money, Josh Ryan-Collins of The New Economics Foundation, Ann Pettifor, the "HBOS Whistleblower" Paul Moore, Simon Dixon of Bank to the Future and Nick Dearden from the Jubliee Debt Campaign.”

Petroleum and crude oil - the future of oil production | DW Documentary


“When the price of crude oil tumbled dramatically between 2014 and 2016, it heralded the demise of an economic and geopolitical world order in place since the end of World War II. In the last few decades, fracking technology has turned the US into the world's largest oil producer.

Against that backdrop, the move towards renewable energies and away from fossil resources is making dramatic steps forward. A study published back in September 2012 made headlines by predicting an imminent drop in oil prices. The analysis bucked traditional mainstream scientific opinion, which forecast that the market would continue to climb until hitting ‘peak oil’ - the moment when global oil production peaked. After that, most experts believed, the price for crude would skyrocket. But by the end of 2013, market supply began to far outstrip demand, and prices collapsed. Within two years, they fell by 70%. Was it just another anomaly in the history of the industry? Not quite. Many factors contributed to the fall.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the US was shocked by reports that Saudi Arabia might have been involved. North America relied on vast imports of oil from the Middle East, so to lower US dependence on the Gulf States, policymakers overhauled and realigned the country’s oil strategy. When oil prices rose dramatically in the first decade of the new millennium, companies in the US were able to begin implementing a technology that had previously been viewed as economically unviable - extracting oil and shale gas through fracking. By exploiting its significant shale oil deposits, the US was able to slash imports, which in turn led to an oversupply on world markets and crashing prices. The world’s biggest oil-producing nations began fighting fiercely for their slice of the pie. In a move to break the American producers, Saudi Arabia moved into high-stakes poker mode, flooding the market in an intentional attempt to lower prices even further and force the North American fracking industry to its knees. But the move didn’t pay off, and the order that had prevailed on the international oil market since the end of the Second World War was stood on its head. To turn prices back around, Saudi Arabia and the other members of OPEC were forced to curb production and join forces with Russia. It’s a game with high geopolitical stakes, and the market for oil remains volatile. Meanwhile, the transition to renewables is in full swing, and global demand for oil could fall even faster than predicted. Is it the beginning of the end of the Oil Age?”

How green energy will change our future - VPRO Documentary


“How will green energy change our future? What will our future look like with green energy? The growth of green energy goes together with change. Our future will not only include green energy, but our future will also be shaped by it.

What will the future sustainable world look like? That is the big question, now that the global transition towards sustainable energy is gaining momentum. For the growth of sustainable energy involves a lot more changes than just the color of the power supplied to our homes. How will we build, how will our mobility be impacted, and will energy, one day, be free? Just like the Internet turned out to have an unforeseen influence on all kinds of industries, from music to taxi businesses, the transition towards sustainable energy will also rise beyond the energy sector. And with a much wider impact than is now assumed. But we know surprisingly little about what that world will look like, and how the people in it will live, work and move around. Expectations are that, by the 2050s, two-thirds of the electricity generated globally will be sustainable.

The Netherlands is ambitious too. But what kind of world are we heading for, really, with all these sustainable measures? In partial areas, the future is clear: a massive stop to the use of gas, lots of windmills and solar panels, and perhaps a self-driving car outside. But, for now, there is no wider vision of what the sustainable new world will look like. What will the world be like once energy has become practically free? What will the impact of the transition towards sustainable energy be on the balance of power in the world?

A journey along places where the sustainable future is already (nearly) visible. In China, for example, old collapsed coal mines are given a new destination as solar parks. In Denmark, the power plants of the future also serve as skiing slopes. And in Malmö, Sweden, new leases are signed with green fingers.”

The Choice is Ours (2016) Official Full Version - The Venus Project


“Produced/Directed by Roxanne Meadows and Joel Holt

Script by Roxanne Meadows

Editor Joel Holt, assisted by Roxanne Meadows & Nathanael Dinwiddie

Original Score by Kat Epple

This film series explores many aspects of our society. To rethink what is possible in our world, we need to consider what kind of world we want to live in. Although we refer to it as a civilization, it is anything but civilized. Visions of global unity & fellowship have long inspired humanity, yet the social arrangements up to the present have largely failed to produce a peaceful and productive world. While we appear to be technically advanced, our values and behaviors are not. The possibility of an optimistic future is in stark contrast to our current social, economic, and environmental dilemmas. The Choice Is Ours includes interviews with notable scientists, media professionals, authors, and other thinkers exploring the difficulties we face.

Part I provides an introduction and overview of cultural & environmental conditions that are untenable for a sustainable world civilization. It explores the determinants of behavior to dispel the myth of “human nature” while demonstrating how environment shapes behavior. The science of behavior is an important - yet largely missing - ingredient in our culture.

Part II questions the values, behaviors, and consequences of our social structures, and illustrates how our global monetary system is obsolete and increasingly insufficient to meet the needs of most people. Critical consideration of the banking, media, and criminal justice systems reveals these institutions for what they really are: tools of social control managed by the established political and economic elite. If we stay the present course, the familiar cycles of crime, economic booms & busts, war, and further environmental destruction are inevitable.

Part III explains the methods and potential of science. It proposes solutions that we can apply at present to eliminate the use of non-renewable sources of energy. It depicts the vision of The Venus Project to build an entirely new world from the ground up, a “redesign of the culture”, where all enjoy a high standard of living, free of servitude and debt, while also protecting the environment.

Part IV explains how it is not just architecture and a social structure that is in desperate need of change, but our values which have been handed down from centuries ago. They too need to be updated to our technological age, which has the potential to eliminate our scarcity-driven societies of today. Our problems are mostly of our own making, but we can still turn things around before the point of no return. It’s not too late for an optimistic outlook on the fantastic possibilities that lie before us.”

Trip of Compassion


Tens of millions of people worldwide suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Millions more have suffered from emotional and physical abuse but never get diagnosed. I would put myself in the latter category for reasons I’ll explain another time.

“Trip of Compassion” documents one unusual approach to healing trauma that might astonish you, an innovative treatment involving the psychoactive drug MDMA (commonly known as “ecstasy”). As you will see firsthand, if the therapy is well designed, true rebirth and transformation can happen in a matter of weeks and not years.

If you’ve ever felt held back, felt defective in some way, or felt that you’re not living up to your full potential, this film will give you hope.

This is also the first feature documentary to show actual therapy session footage (to our knowledge), to which the patients consented because of the incredible results they experienced.

For the Road:

Mike Tyson’s Tiger Moment — JRE Toons


“Another hilarious moment animated by PaulyToon from the Joe Rogan Experience #1227 — Mike Tyson (https://youtu.be/7MNv4_rTkfU).”

Seeking the Productive Life: Some Details of My Personal Infrastructure — Stephen Wolfram

Seeking the Productive Life: Some Details of My Personal Infrastructure-Stephen Wolfram Blog

“I could talk about how I lead my life, and how I like to balance doing leadership, doing creative work, interacting with people, and doing things that let me learn. I could talk about how I try to set things up so that what I’ve already built doesn’t keep me so busy I can’t start anything new. But instead what I’m going to focus on here is my more practical personal infrastructure: the technology and other things that help me live and work better, feel less busy, and be more productive every day. At an intellectual level, the key to building this infrastructure is to structure, streamline and automate everything as much as possible — while recognizing both what’s realistic with current technology, and what fits with me personally. In many ways, it’s a good, practical exercise in computational thinking, and, yes, it’s a good application of some of the tools and ideas that I’ve spent so long building. Much of it can probably be helpful to lots of other people too; some of it is pretty specific to my personality, my situation and my patterns of activity.”

Gapminder “Misconception Study” Test 2018


*listens to one joe rogan podcast*



“New project:

A “Bar Chart Race” animation showing the changing ranks of the 10 biggest cities in the world since 1500.

Fascinating to watch giant cities vanish after falling in conquests, and amazing that three UK cities were in the top 8 in the late 1800s."

Workers dying while building international sporting events


Goal Comparison at the same age


Imagine this terror monster flying around you back in the day.


“Quetzalcoatlus is one of the largest flying animals that’s ever existed - as far as we know. It’s not a dinosaur! Birds are dinosaurs; Quetzalcoatlus was a pterosaur. It was about as tall as a giraffe... so if you imagine a giraffe flying around, that’ll give you some idea.”


Special moments when walk-ons get surprise scholarships - ESPN


“College football teams share a special bond when their teammates are awarded a full scholarship.”

A Huge Collection of Apollo 11 Press Kits


“When Apollo 11 landed two men on the Moon and returned them safely to Earth, thousands of people at NASA were joined in the effort by dozens of companies that did everything from building the spacecraft to providing the cameras for the mission. Each of those companies was understandably proud of their involvement and wanted to use the mission to drum up interest in their products and services. Marketing strategist David Meerman Scott has been collecting the press kits produced by the Apollo contractors and has made them available online for free download in PDF format.”

GOT is back in APRIL!

Game of Thrones' actors whose accents are nothing like their character.


'Game of Thrones' actors whose accents are nothing like their character. [Part 2]


Quotes worth pondering:

via Tim Ferris 5 Bullet Friday
“Old George Orwell got it backward. Big Brother isn't watching. He's singing and dancing. He's pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s busy holding your attention every moment you're awake. He's making sure you're always distracted. He's making sure you're fully absorbed. He's making sure your imagination withers. Until it's as useful as your appendix. He's making sure your attention is always filled. And this being fed, it's worse than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about what's in your mind. With everyone's imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world.” 
— Chuck Palahniuk

Ten simple truths Thread by Naval


"Sometimes it seems as though each new step towards AI, rather than producing something which everyone agrees is real intelligence, merely reveals what real intelligence is not." - Douglas Hofstadter

“"Genius could be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way, or even to say a simple thing in a simpler way."—Charles Bukowski

More info on me:






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