Every generation had legends of a coming downfall. Whether you call it The End Times, Armageddon, Apocalypse, Doomsday, Ragnorak, The Population Bomb or 2012....we've long been fascinated by prophecies of devastation and doom. What is fiction, and what is possible? And how can modern civilization can start limiting the risk? I give ten thoughtful mintues of summary.
Now, do you want a similar topic, presented at manic speed? Offering dozens of unusual perspectives and provocative ways of viewing the human predicament? And did I mention manic speed? Fasten your belt and tune in to my talk at TEDxDelMar: The Big Question of Existence: Can technology empower freedom and human survival? Compressing all of that into just seventeen minutes!
And while we’re on the subject... What bullets have humans dodged…and which could explain the Great Silence in the cosmos? Cosmic Accidents: ten lucky breaks that may have enabled humans to exist…
=== OOOH, THAT JON STEWART! ===
Oh now this burns! I was fully supporting Jon Stewart’s “Rally for Sanity” and urging people to go attend and have fun while standing up for reason, moderation, negotiation, and vertical foreheads, on October 30 on the National Mall in Washington DC.
...until I saw THIS BLATANT STEAL of the title - and presumably most of the contents -- of my award winning international best-seller EARTH. In fact, I am SO ANGRY that I am now urging people to attend instead Stephen Colbert’s Rally for Fear... on October 30 on the National Mall in Washington DC...
... Take THAT Stewart! (Heh, I can just picture how he’s fuming in humiliation, right now.)
=== WELL, IN COMPENSATION... ===
Ah, but some people are willing to grant this far-seeing visionary some cred! ”What do scientists think about seeing their fields of research pulverized by science fiction? We asked researchers from diverse fields to tell us whether any science fiction gets it right.” Lo and behold, a few high quality names get dropped.
Ah, but not everybody is so wise. Take the Backfire Effect. When some individuals are confronted with evidence that contradicts their beliefs, they begin to hold even more strongly on to these beliefs. Both sides of the political spectrum have been guilty of this puzzling effect. I suspect it has something to do with ‘circling the wagons’ – going into defensive mode when faced with an onslaught, and preparing for an offensive attack.
And on the Transparency Front: here’s a cool article about the current state of portable video cameras that can record - and re-transmit for safety - video on the spot... whether you are snapping a fast breaking event, or a questionable arrest, or that special moment...
Think you know where the future is going? Make a prediction and register it on this site -- which predicts progress over the next hundred years in science, technology, transportation, population. They predict a United States of Africa in 2026... and...
=== COOLSTUFF ===
Zoom from the edge of the universe to the quantum foam of spacetime and learn the scale of things along the way! (This one is way better than some of the other "powers of ten" presentations out there.)
Researchers at Sun Yat-Sen University in China have demonstrated a way to record on ferromagnetic films using laser-assisted ultrafast magnetization reversal dynamics. The development will allow for practical use of new technology for recording more than 6,000 terabits (6 petabits) of data on a single 5-inch disc.
U.K.-based Reaction Engines’ Skylon plane is designed to take a 12-ton payload of cargo and passengers into space from a conventional airport and return them back down to the same runway. The concept for the Skylon is based on a synergistic air-breathing rocket engine (SABRE) that uses jet propulsion to reach the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere.
See a study of more than 4000 British children to pinpoint the genes and genetic combinations that influence reasoning skills and general intelligence. The researchers believe their work could eventually lead to genetic tests to predict babies’ academic potential.
I just saw this weird film on TCM. Note the main actor... and the language spoken by all the actors!
Any Book of Revelations fans, out there? Have a look at this “beast.”
And now... while craziness is on my mind... let’s look at today's raving equivalent...
=== BRIEFLY RE-LIGHTING THE POLITICAL LAMP ===
Good lord, it is now totally explicit:
“The four corners of deceit: government, academia, science and media. Those institutions are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit. That's how they promulgate themselves; it is how they prosper.”---Rush Limbaugh
A must-read appraises the ever-spiraling, skyrocketing War on Science. Nature 467 , 133 (09 September 2010)
Anyone who thinks we are in anything less than phase three of the American Civil War is a complete ostrich.
I will never again let myself be lectured to, about patriotism, by men who fantasize about riding with Nathan Bedford Forest. When the McVeighs start rampaging, I hope we'll recognize Fort Sumter and remember Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. A noble man who served his country in all four corners of truth: government, academia, science and media, and who wore a color we are all going have to choose, if we want to save our country, again.