Posted 16 hours ago

Charlie Stross discusses life lessons at 50

Charlie Stross discusses life lessons at 50

Charlie Stross just turned 50 and put up a post discussing his major life lessons, things he wished he could tell his 15 year old self, which briefly are:

  1. Don’t die.  (Try not to fail at this one as long as you can.)
  2. Idiots abound.  (And recognize that correcting them is usually not your problem.)
  3. Follow the Golden Rule.  (He prefers the negative Confucian version: “do not do unto others that…

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Posted 19 hours ago

A Layperson’s guide to basic brain structure!

A Layperson’s guide to basic brain structure!

Originally posted on gwizlearning:

Following on from last week I thought it would be useful to start with a basic look at the “geography” of the brain and what is currently thought of as an overview of function.

I include here an image I drew so must first apologise if it is not completely in proportion… Do check out other images!

Brain lobes with label

The view shown here shows the frontal, parietal, occipital…

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Posted 1 day ago
Multiverse theories: “meta-cosmology”? #multiverse #cosmology

Marianne Freiberger reports on a discussion she had with Bernard Carr on whether or not multiverse theories are science…

Multiverse theories: “meta-cosmology”? #multiverse #cosmology

Marianne Freiberger reports on a discussion she had with Bernard Carr on whether or not multiverse theories are science…

Posted 2 days ago

Video on what exactly a gene is

Video on what exactly a gene is #biology #genetics #DNA

There’s a video on the evidence for evolution going around, but turns out the artist that made that video has made a number of them, including this one on the scientific understanding of a gene.

via Videos / What Exactly is a Gene? – Stated Clearly.

What’s interesting about this, is that the definition of “gene” has changed over the…

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Posted 3 days ago

The attention schema theory of consciousness deserves your…attention

The attention schema theory of consciousness deserves your…attention #brain #mind #consciousness

English: Neural Correlates Of Consciousness

Neural Correlates Of Consciousness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michael Graziano published a brief articlein the New York Times on his attention schema theory of consciousness, which a number of my fellow bloggers have linked to and discussed.  I’m not sure this article was the clearest description of it that he’s given, and I suspect the title biased readers to think his theory is another…

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Posted 4 days ago

The conquest of the Americas

The conquest of the Americas #history #colonialism #columbus

"Landing of Columbus" - Christopher ...

“Landing of Columbus” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning, I came across an essay by Howard Zinn, the famous historian and activist (now deceased), on the real historical Christopher Columbus.  I suspect Zinn’s portrayal of events was a bit one sided (I doubt the Native Americans were quite the lambs that he portrayed), but he probably overcompensated to some extent for the version we learned…

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Posted 5 days ago

Mars One and done?

Mars One and done?

Mars One, a non-governmental plan to send colonists on way trips to Mars starting in 2025, has been in the news a lot over the last year.  While I’d love to see us establish a human presence on Mars, the Mars One project has always struck me as a flawed plan, with far too many optimistic assumptions.

It turns out that I’m not the only one with that concern: Mars One and done? | MIT News.

In…

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Posted 5 days ago

The myth of the eight-hour sleep

The myth of the eight-hour sleep

For much of my adult life, I’ve had trouble sleeping throughout the night, often waking up in the early morning hours, unable to go back to sleep.  On weekends or on vacation, I’ve simply gotten up, drank and/or ate something, maybe read a little bit, and then eventually gone back to sleep, knowing that I had the extra time to sleep in, but often wishing I was able to do it in my regular…

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Posted 6 days ago

Comet Siding Spring: A Close Encounter with Mars

In case you haven’t heard yet, there’s a comet headed for Mars.  It will pass pretty close, close enough for the various orbiters we have in there to get pictures, and for them to be in a little bit of peril.  

Posted 6 days ago

The evolution of the scientific method.

The evolution of the scientific method.

Raphael's "School of Athens"

Raphael’s “School of Athens” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Empiricism, the idea that sensory experience is a source of knowledge, is ancient.  People have obviously learned through sensory experience as long as there have been people.  Studying the night skies gave ancient humans insight into the flow of the seasons, crucial knowledge as the agricultural revolution kicked into gear.  And farming…

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