ability to do mischief

June 16, 2019

Why give a robot an order to obey orders — why aren’t the original orders enough? Why command a robot not to do harm — wouldn’t it be easier never to command it to do harm in the first place?  Does the universe contain a mysterious force pulling entities toward malevolence, so that a positronic brain must be programmed to withstand it? Do intelligent beings inevitably develop an attitude problem? (…) Now that computers really have become smarter and more powerful, the anxiety has waned. Today’s ubiquitous, networked computers have an unprecedented ability to do mischief should they ever go to the bad. But the only mayhem comes from unpredictable chaos or from human malice in the form of viruses. We no longer worry about electronic serial killers or subversive silicon cabals because we are beginning to appreciate that malevolence — like vision, motor coordination, and common sense — does not come free with computation but has to be programmed in. (…) Aggression, like every other part of human behaviour we take for granted, is a challenging engineering problem!”

Steven Pinker
How the Mind Works

Alien Abduction

June 13, 2019

I woke up in the middle of the night and everything looked odd, and strangely lit. At the end of my bed was a four-foot high grey alien. Its spindly, thin body supported a huge head with two enormous, slanted, liquid black eyes. It compelled me, telepathically, to follow and led me into a spaceship, along curved corridors to an examination room full of tables, on which other people lay. I was forced to lie down while they painfully examined me, extracted ova (or sperm) and implanted something in my nose. I could see jars containing half-human, half-alien foetuses and a nursery full of silent, sickly children. When I eventually found myself back in bed, several hours had gone by.

Susan Blackmore
Alien Abduction
New Scientist, 19 November 1994

without protoplasm

May 11, 2019

Surely the supreme problem for science to solve if she can, is whether life, as we know it, can exist without protoplasm, or whether we are but the creatures of an idle day; whether the present life is the entrance to an infinite and unseen world beyond, or “the Universe but a soulless interaction of atoms, and life a paltry misery closed in the grave.

William F. Barrett
On the Threshold of the Unseen

Can this be true? Or is it more of that ‘Fake News’ we keep hearing about? Why hasn’t The Donald mention this? Why hasn’t he told the world?

Come on, Gay Aliens found in the wreck of a UFO! This story is a biggy, people. Why hasn’t The Donald tweeted about it, his silence is baffling?

 

You may have encountered this quote before on the internet, boys & girls:

“The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kind.”

Credited to the Dalai Lama, no less – which is a load of old horse manure! He never said it; probably never would!

In fact the quote (a misquote to be accurate) is from David Orr’s book: ECOLOGICAL LITERACY: EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN FOR A SUSTAINABLE WORLD. Needless to say David Orr is an environmental scientist with an international reputation; he is NOT a Buddhist priest; nor is he Im Ho Tep. The actual quote from his book is:

“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.”

So now you know.

the most poetic thing

March 25, 2018

a supernova remnant

Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics.

You are all stardust.

You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded. Because the elements, the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars. And the only way they could get into your body is if the stars were kind enough to explode.
So forget Jesus. The stars died so you could be here today.

Lawrence M Krauss
A Universe from Nothing

ability to believe

March 1, 2018

Believing in magic should not negate your ability to believe in science, practice critical thinking, or reserve belief in a thing until presented with proof.

Bree NicGarran
Breeland Walker

understand the Universe…

February 15, 2018

We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.

Stephen Hawking
Questioning the Universe
(Steven Hawking’s TED talk)