(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.”
One of the charming peculiarities of modern Western culture—and especially American culture, which I’ve lived in most of my life, and which has played a pivotal role in the development of humanity’s advanced technologies—is its emphasis on the individual rather than the social group.
Big Think's Top 10 Videos of the First 100 Days of 2010
Villanova University astronomer and astrophysicist Edward Sion says a nearby star system may “go supernova” in 10 million years—far sooner than scientists once predicted. The resulting explosion would “outshine the galaxy,” not to mention kill life on Earth.
Personhood is everywhere. Netflix recently added Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends to their “instant play” repertoire, which means I may or may not have spent several hours watching a cartoon from the early sixties as part of my Saturday routine. As usual, there was a little bit of transhumanist propaganda hidden within it.
Vaccine-autism claims, “Frankenfood” bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public’s growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress.
One of the major differences between irregular warfare (IW) simulation and conventional warfare simulation is the differing data requirements. The data required by conventional warfare simulation is very narrow and well defined compared to that required by IW simulation. In fact, almost any data that is remotely related to social conditions on the Internet and beyond may be used in IW simulation. There is no problem with the existence of data for simulations in this information age. The problem is that this data is not expressed in a way that can be used for simulations. This paper is about a natural language processing program, Indra, which works towards solving this problem by making data available for multiple purposes other than those for which it was first intended.
The genome has turned out to be a much more complicated place than many people expected. Nevertheless, we are living through an astonishing revolution in science, and young biologists should be grabbing the opportunity to make some amazing discoveries about the evolution of life.
According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) plans to form a new interagency group on emerging technologies, including nanotechnology and synthetic biology.