In response to a flurry of interest that’s been stirred by Stephen Hawking’s new Discovery Channel show—specifically, his lead-in episode about extraterrestrials, wherein he recommended against our calling attention to ourselves—I’ll offer a hurried little riff here, about Hawking and aliens, with added contributions by and about Paul Davies, Robin Hanson, and others.
“The Unbroken Thread” is the fourth video in the Symphony of Science series, and it features David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, and Carl Sagan. The clips used in this installment come from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, David Attenborough’s Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life, The Life of Mammals, The Living Planet, BBC Life, XVIVO Scientific Animations, IMAX Cosmic Voyage, Jane Goodall’s TED Talk, and a clever Guinness commercial. The themes present in “The Unbroken Thread” attempt to explore the wild diversity of life on our planet, the intricacy and origin of its mechanisms, and its close relation to all other life forms.
In some other places, the topic of legendary science fiction author Robert Anson Heinlein has repeatedly come up, along with shouting matches — “He was a libertarian!” “No, a socialist!” “No, a fascist!” — I’ve finally had enough and will weigh in.
Of the nearly 2,000 people who have signed up via Facebook to follow the activities of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, New York is the city most represented, followed by Seattle, Atlanta, London, and Los Angeles.
(Hattip to io9) Paul Zak has shown that oxytocin supplementation can enhance interpersonal trust and trust in institutions. Social stressors may suppress oxytocin and trust, and lead to bad social outcomes. Read Zak’s Moral Molecule blog at Psychology Today.
Climate change is being felt the world over, and if global warming continues to increase, the effects could be catastrophic. This 2007 BBC program reports on scientists and engineers who are proposing radical, large-scale ideas that could, theoretically at least, save us from disaster.
Democracy ... capitalism ... communism ... socialism ... anarchism ... the list goes on and on ... is there any really good way to structure a human society? If not, then what’s the best of the bad lot?
In this third installment of the 2020 Visionaries series [Part1] [Part2], we look at the future of the global environment and of democracy — two areas of concern that will increasingly intertwine in the next 10 years.
This is my first attempt at video. It depicts my control (or lack thereof) of a variety of things, including india ink, watercolor, fire and water, and solid objects. Using the manipulation of digital film I create the ultimate illusion: the ability to control time itself!
Last month at Reason.com, libertarian Ronald Bailey published a hypothetical opinion piece from the year 2020 criticizing the effects of 2010’s health care reform effort in the United States. Allow us to retort.
As sea temperatures have risen in recent decades, enormous sheets of a mucus-like material have begun forming more often, oozing into new regions, and lasting longer, a new Mediterranean Sea study says. And the blobs may be more than just unpleasant.
A U.S. Federal District Court on April 15th struck down a statute providing for a “national day of prayer.” This case should have been a no-brainer—if a statute of this kind is not an unlawful establishment of religion, then I’m going to be the next pope.
Mike Magee is author of eight books, including Health Politics: Power, Populism and Health. He directs healthcommentary.org, and serves as a member of the National Commission for Quality Long Term Care. We discuss his latest book, Home-Centered Health Care, which argues that the quality of health care can be dramatically improved, and costs contained, by re-building health management around electronic patient records and home-based electronic medical monitoring. (First broadcast Dec 16, 2007)
Generally, I write about enhancement and cosmetic surgeries done to the upper portion of the body. A suggestion came in to turn my attention to the work done below the belt. Apparently, I have been neglecting that region and there were interesting things going on.
What is the relation between technology and human biological evolution? Most people, in my experience, have a quick retort, which they take to be obvious: “Artifacts evolve just like organisms do,” or “Technology is an extended phenotype of humans.” But it’s not clear to me that the answer to this question is so obvious.
Big Think's Top 10 Videos of the First 100 Days of 2010
Like many physicists, Michio Kaku thinks our universe will end in a “big freeze.” Unlike many physicists, he thinks we might be able to avoid this fate by slipping into a parallel universe “in the same way that Alice entered the looking glass to enter Wonderland.”