18 February 2007
Flinch not from the unknown. Welcome change. Embrace the unexpected.
Remind yourself as often as necessary that the mystery we encounter is largely benign.
Plan for all that we can, and seek logical explanations with industry but with honesty. Stand ready still in each moment for logic to be exhausted, for reality to defy understanding. Receive thus the gifts of grace in the guise of tragedy.
– Josh Mitteldorf
17 February 2007
In the last days of the fourth world I wished to make a map
16 February 2007
“By using subdimensional shortcuts akin to what is now called quantum entanglement, we'll become able to send information over great distances with no energy cost. In effect the whole world can become linked like a wireless network, simply by tapping into the subdimensional channel.
“This universal telepathy will not be limited to humans; it will extend to animals, plants, and even ordinary objects. Via the subdimensions you'll be able to see every object in the world. Conversely, every object in the world will be in some limited sense conscious, in that it will be aware of all the other objects in the world.”
Rucker works at the nexus of philosophy and computer science, where many scholars take for granted that the human brain is a deterministic machine, a computer like the one on which I’m writing, though with vast memory and a rich architecture. Does consciousness then emerge when humans inevitably construct a machine of sufficient proportions? Rucker says ‘maybe not’ – that perhaps consciousness is not an epiphenomenon of complexity, but depends on a realm of its own, perhaps connected to the aspects of quantum mechanics that physicists still find puzzling.
15 February 2007
It’s less than a decade since two lines of astronomical observations led cosmologists to accept the unnerving idea that most of the matter in the universe takes a form that is thus far unknown to science. I’ll say that again: more than 90% of all the substance of the universe is not atoms or molecules or electrons, protons, and neutrons, or any of the exotic particles that physicists have discovered in accelerators. More than 90% of the matter in the universe is something else, and we don't know what it is.
How will we ever know? Here’s an observation that might offer a handle on this question. In today's Nature is a paper by Stanford astrophysicist Stelios Kazantzidis describing observations of galaxies that have lost almost all their ‘normal’ matter. He shows with a computer simulation how this might have come about, by collision with another galaxy. Perhaps we can learn something about ‘dark matter’ by observing dark galaxies that are made (mostly) of the stuff.
story on Science
14 February 2007
13 February 2007
“The Old Testament God rules with a heavy hand over a static moral world, but I believe that our world is instead presided over by an alternative entity, the Native American deity, Coyote. Coyote is indestructible, lecherous, hilarious, and improvisational, frequently straying toward catastrophe, and surviving...Many native creation myths do not feature a world that was perfect in the beginning, but one that was made by flawed, humorous creators who never finished the job. In that world, there was never a state of grace, never a fall, and creation continues...In Yahweh’s world, only the good do good, and only virtue is rewarded. Coyote’s world is more complicated.”
12 February 2007
Happy 198th birthday to Charles Darwin and Abe Lincoln, born the same day in 1809.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” ~ CD
Many brilliant and dedicated
people have been forgotten by history, but Darwin is among those who has
been widely lionized, while his legacy has been deeply distorted.
Darwin the naturalist, Darwin the patient observer described the complex
interplay between cooperation and competition in nature. But his
legacy has been hijacked by biological ‘neo-Darwinists’
who insist that cooperation in nature is an illusion, and economic ‘social
Darwinists’ who elevate ruthless, inhuman behavior to a social
“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax.” ~ AL
Lincoln was another complex
man who cast a two-dimensional historic shadow. Early in his career,
American imperialism that led to the Mexican American War. He did not
easily go to war over slavery, but attempted to steer the country away
from slavery with rhetoric and political maneuvers. He provoked
the attack on Fort Sumter that justified his war to the public; or
perhaps he was dragged
reluctantly into war. He decried
slavery in deeply moral language, but lacked
the vision to imagine a full multicultural, multiracial social fabric