187 Big Thinkers Answer the Question: What Do You Think About Machines That Think?

≡ Category: Science, Technology |2 Comments

It’s time, again, for Edge.org’s annual question. The 2015 edition asks 187 accomplished (and in some cases celebrated) thinkers to answer the question: What Do You Think About Machines That Think?
John Brockman, the literary über agent and founder of Edge.

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19th Century Maps Visualize Measles in America Before the Miracle of Vaccines

≡ Category: History, Science |Leave a Comment

This week, Rebecca Onion’s always interesting blog on Slate features historical maps that illustrate the toll measles took on America before the advent of vaccines. The map above brings you back to 1890, when measles-related deaths were concentrated in the South and the Midwest. That year, according to the U.S.

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Romantic Poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge & Robert Southey Write About Their Experiments with Laughing Gas (1799)

≡ Category: History, Literature, Science |1 Comment

A hundred years before Sigmund Freud used himself as a test subject for his experiments with cocaine, another scientist, Humphry Davy, English chemist and future president of the Royal Society, began “a very radical bout of self experimentation to determine the effects of” another drug—nitrous oxide, better known as “laughing gas.

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The Origins of Pleasure: Paul Bloom Explains Why We Like Expensive Wines & Original Paintings

≡ Category: Art, Food & Drink, Psychology, Science, TED Talks |Leave a Comment

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Let’s say you spend a considerable amount of money for a painting by a noted artist. Or maybe you get it for a steal. Either way, the painting hangs prominently in your home, where it is admired by guests and brings you pleasure every time you look at it, which is often.

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Arthur C. Clarke Predicts in 2001 What the World Will Look By December 31, 2100

≡ Category: Sci Fi, Science, Technology |Leave a Comment

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“Clarke sm” by Amy Marash. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
When you want a vision of the future, I very much doubt you turn to Reader’s Digest for it. But Arthur C. Clarke did once appear in its small-format pages to provide just that, and when Arthur C. Clarke talks about the future, you’d do well to listen.

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The Little Albert Experiment: The Perverse 1920 Study That Made a Baby Afraid of Santa Claus & Bunnies

≡ Category: History, Psychology, Science |2 Comments

The field of psychology is very different than it used to be. Nowadays, the American Psychological Association has a code of conduct for experiments that ensures a subject’s confidentiality, consent and general mental well being. In the old days, it wasn’t the case.

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NASA Puts Online a Big Collection of Space Sounds, and They’re Free to Download and Use

≡ Category: Archives, Science |Leave a Comment

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When we envision the fruits of the research of the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (aka NASA), we tend to think of images. I think I exaggerate not at all when I say that the never-before-seen view of the Earth from space gave humanity a whole new perspective, no pun intended, on our very existence.

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How Did Everything Begin?: Animations on the Origins of the Universe Narrated by X-Files Star Gillian Anderson

≡ Category: Philosophy, Religion, Science |Leave a Comment

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Back in November, we brought you the BBC series of short animated videos, A History of Ideas.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson Ponders the Big Question “Does the Universe Have a Purpose” in a Simple Animation

≡ Category: Life, Physics, Science |8 Comments

The Templeton Foundation asked some heavy-hitter thinkers to answer the question, “Does the Universe Have a Purpose”. Some said “Yes” and “Certainly.” Others concluded “Unlikely” and “No.

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Wonderfully Kitschy Propaganda Posters Champion the Chinese Space Program (1962-2003)

≡ Category: Art, History, Science |Leave a Comment

A joint operation of five participating countries and the European Space Agency, the International Space Station is an enormous achievement of human cooperation across ideological and national boundaries.

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