Friday, June 18, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Tea Party anger is, at bottom, metaphysical, not political: what has been undone by the economic crisis is the belief that each individual is metaphysically self-sufficient, that one’s very standing and being as a rational agent owes nothing to other individuals or institutions.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
"We're running out of space, we're running out of time, we're running out of air and food.""Nonsense! Look! We have nearly all the tube left. There's plenty for all of us!"
"Time and again, the path forward has been blocked -- not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor," Obama said. "The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight."
"We cannot consign our children to this future," he added. "The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America's innovation and seize control of our own destiny."
Indeed, the time may be past to salvage any chance of a future as we've imagined it. When just one oil company spends more on drilling in the US-- one of the less promising resources for oil-- than the nation spends on energy research, we've got a major problem.
In the past, I've pointed out an optimal solution to train the guns of America and the world on renewable energy, and it's one I still haven't seen a serious "player" suggest, so I'm throwing it out there again: offer a government stipend, a grant of one billion dollars with no strings attached beyond the competition. If you can develop a truly renewable energy resource, one that doesn't pollute and can be harnessed with minimal environmental footprint, and have it produce BTUs at the rate of fossil fuels, you win the prize.
Monday, June 14, 2010
What happens when we die? Do we rot into the ground, or do we go to heaven (or hell, if we've been bad)? Experiments suggest the answer is simpler than anyone thought. Without the glue of consciousness, time essentially reboots.
Let me try to suss out what the good Dr Lanza is saying: if you saw the movie "Star Trek:Generations", you've been made aware of a plot device called the Nexus, which you reach by slipping through a tear in space-time and where a part of your consciousness remains, even if you manage to escape.
Now, in this Nexus, your consciousness can visit anyplace, at any time. Not in our reality, of course, but in a parallel universe that can be created and destroyed in an instant by your consciousness. Want to be married to that girl you knew in high school? Think it and you get to live it.
So here's the question Lanza is posing and fumblingto answer: at death, what happens to your consciousness?
In life, consciousness seems to be stored in the brain, presumably holographically, since it's not just your memories, but also consists of your dreams, ideas, fantasies, and beliefs.
I'm careful here to divorce the actual way information is stored in our brains and used by our minds with the New Age concept of the holographic universe. There's pretty good evidence for a sub-quantum effect that allows for the immediate transfer of information between widely spaced quantum particles, but there is zero factual evidence for this operating on a human scale, or that human's can consciously alter the universe.
What Lanza proposes is that your consciousness enters or even creates a "blank slate," a brand new universe that allows you to be in control of its initial state and all outcomes, based strictly on your mind. Time goes back to zero, and you get a brand new clock.
It's not impossible. Indeed, chaos theory demands a probability be assigned to it, however low, since by the simple act of imagining it you presume the possibility of its reality. And now we have the paradox: if consciousness cannot create a universe at death, then how can this be a possible outcome, but it must be a possible outcome since our consciousness can create the idea.
Like I said, go have a cup of coffee. Ponder that for a while.
Apparently, you have an eternity.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
To echo what you said, I also think that countries should have boycotted trade with the US the second time we elected Bush. Maybe China should have called in their debts. Hey, maybe Saudi Arabia and other middle eastern states should have stopped selling us oil. Wait, what? Only we're allowed to elect violent, incompetent assholes and sociopaths without retaliation from other states? Democracy (tm) is fucking great!
PS: I'm aware that the majority of Israelis support a two-state solution, as well, but just as in the case of Islamic extremism, those voices aren't always loudest in the room. Hell, you don't sound like you're a fan of the two-state solution, yourself.