Link Roundup 2K6 1.0

What’s your dangerous idea? Lots of top thinkers and scientist give shout outs to their fears and premonitions. There are far too many to go into detail about them all, but lots of the highlights involve the failings of science, of human understanding and ability. Of course, there are valid views on both ends of the controversies:

With the abundance of class action lawsuits for every vice under the sun, CLAY SHIRKY proposes that Free will is going away. Time to redesign society to take that into account.

Similarly disheartening, HAIM HARARI says that Democracy may be on its way out.

RUDY RUCKER, a “cyberpunk visionary” puts forth the concept of panpsychism. If the brain is a machine for computation, aren’t cells, molecules, atoms as well? He states that Mind is a universally distributed quality.

More cynically, ARNOLD TREHUB says that Modern science is a product of biology, KARL SABBAGH further stomps on empirical principles by proposing The human brain and its products are incapable of understanding the truths about the universe, and ALUN ANDERSON shuts down any “brain-in-a-bottle” fetishists with his remarks that Brains cannot become minds without bodies.

SCOTT ATRAN envisions singing Kum-by-yah in lab coats when he writes, Science encourages religion in the long run (and vice versa), whereas SAM HARRIS says Science Must Destroy Religion.

Speaking of Sam Harris, I saw him give a talk about his new book on C-Span (Book TV). It was very interesting – he’s a an educated and concise speaker, which is key to even hearing out his supremely radical ideals. Personally I believe the human need and capacity for “religion / spirituality” is ingrained, and cannot be culturally erased. He did give props to meditation though, with which I concur. Buddhist meditation is one of the few spiritual practices that has been honed to a “science” – a far cry from the zealous over-emotion of any monotheistic belief system.

Predictions for 2006. History will continue to evolve, same as usual. I could care less about political games and economics. As far as media is concerned, the big consoles will underperform, ipods will plateau, movie theaters will continue to tank. Hopefully DIY Society will continue to emerge, off the interweb and into RL. Millions will be spent building/hyping/distributing marginally progressive consumer goods.

Falling Sand Game. Comparable to the game of life, but lots more fun. The sand works like rock/paper/scissors – water/sprout grows plant, fire burns oil/plant/cerra (wax), salt and sand are somewhat useless. You can make a perpetuating “garden” with sprout/plant/fire – I left it on overnight and in the morning it was still going.

The Ultimate Showdown. Probably old, but awesome.

Chapter Ten is done, I’ll probably do a few more in this book then give it a rest for a while.

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