Yay! Science programing worth a good goddamn!


Tina’s going to be excited about the above.

Drawing from never-before-seen footage that has been tucked away in the National Geographic archives, director Brett Morgen tells the story of JANE, a woman whose chimpanzee research revolutionized our understanding of the natural world.

Then there’s this Blue Planet II delightfully created, produced and delivered beast of a show with an amazing sound track from Radiohead and Hans Zimmer. Dip below the fold for a behind the scenes look at the way the sound track was approached (amazing).

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Is reality real? The Simulation Argument


One simulation argument proposes that:

at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.

Hit the link to read more.

I really don’t know how I feel about all of this. I haven’t explored it enough.

I don’t have a degree in math. I accomplished a few viewings of sci-fi movies and took different philosophy classes in college that explore Cogito Ergo Sum. How do we know we exist exactly and what surrounds us is anymore than a computer construct.

I attended a Christian college in North Carolina called Montreat College. It’s a little school in the mountains with a Christian slant, but I feel that I got a pretty good liberal arts education. Our bible classes were pretty in depth and showed us scripture from a more rounded perspective. My freshman year challenged my level of evangelical faith more than any other time in my life.

In high school, we were brainwashed taught that a liberal arts education at a secular college would basically be — to put it in realistic terms —  the equivalent of being Satan’s bitch.

I chose Montreat because it promised a liberal arts education with a Presbyterian influence. The staff were all Christians, after all. Safe!

At the time, I felt like that was safer for my mortality. I kind of regret that choice now. I wish I had a more prestigious educational diploma to point at when people ask me what college I went to.

Since I spent a semester overseas and I wanted to graduate on time, I had to make up some classes the summer of my junior year. I took two or three literature classes and a Philosophy class at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Going to a state school placed me close to whoring myself to Satan’s grasp. I assure you I thought I was going to hell just walking through their doors.

I remember being blown away by my Philosophy 100 or 200 class. It was as secular as nothing I had ever experienced. Extremely “Liberal” by my waining extremely conservative standards. There was not a hint of any familiarity with the “Christian” worldview that I came from.

I remember the classes discussing how philosophical thought brought us through some ideas of wondering about our existence and whether we know for sure whether its true or not.

When Matrix came out, all I could think of was that it was Philosophy 101. I thought it was beneath me, if you will. And I yawned the entire movie.

This is all to say that I’m somewhat turned on by the subject, but I feel like my level of education suffers too much to really make a statement of any substance.

Something that has been rattling around in my head again lately thanks to a few different current events in my world, though, has been the idea of the paranormal and the afterlife.

Think about it this way:

Many people think souls or life essence exists at the point of birth (yes, some at conception). Whether or not you’re a Christian or whatever, most people I know think that the body dies and a spirit lives on. Some think that the spirit then goes on to live in heaven (or hell). Some think that the spirit might dwell in an invisible realm at earth level with a kind of connection to the so-called tangible world we live in.

My problem with the whole idea that humans are born and then live their life and then die and then live in another dimension is that what in the world was going on before they were born. What were they before that point?

Say you think the world is 10,000 years old and you were born in 1975 and died in 2000.

The “they” is telling me that your spirit was not existent for 9,975 years. It floated around without a voice. Without a language. And it wasn’t until they passed through the vaginal wormhole that they were given the ability to possibly communicate with others in the “afterlife”. What about the goddamn prelife?

There are people out there waving their hands over crystal balls, turning over tarot cards or wiggling divining rods only access spirits of those who were born and died. The mediums only have access to those who were named, lived a life of some kind, and now speak through mediums who are sooo blessed with psychic gifts, they can talk to only the ones who passed through the vaginal wormhole into the world.

The spirits/souls all speak the language of the medium as well. Kudos to them.

It’s this idea that for all time, before you were born, you were ABSOLUTELY nothing. Somehow a zillion other people became brains of thought millions of years ago. They, and only THEY are either in heaven, hell or wandering the earth communicating through psychics.

Given passage through a vagina, these people, and these people only, landed the opportunity to pass into heaven, hell or whatever the fuck you believe in.

I happen to accept that the universe is billions of years old. And the idea that all these “souls” waited eons before mental birth some millions of years ago … and that that birth, life and finally death passage through the wormhole into the next life or eternal life … and that that ONLY pertains to human spirits … that shit needs to be revisited when looking at the Bible, the Koran, the Matrix, et al … except the Simulation Argument.

That one is safe from this kind of head scratching.

 

Magic! A mega grumpy old man turns into a giddy sweetheart right before your eyes


The payoff of watching this 66-year-old color blind man see color for the first time is worth it. Mind you, there could be some skipping forward in your future. But give it a whirl. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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Is the atmosphere changing the quality of our food?


Will you have to start eating two servings of vegetables to get the same nutrients as you did when you were five? Or six McDonald’s hamburgers to get the same nutrients as you did 20 years ago?

Wait. Are there nutrients in McDonald’s Hamburgers?

That’s for another story.

Scientists are starting to study the effects of rising CO2 in the air and how its affecting food.

From an article in Politico called, “The Great Nutrient Collapse“:

Loladze and a handful of other scientists have come to suspect that’s not the whole story and that the atmosphere itself may be changing the food we eat. Plants need carbon dioxide to live like humans need oxygen. And in the increasingly polarized debate about climate science, one thing that isn’t up for debate is that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is rising. Before the industrial revolution, the earth’s atmosphere had about 280 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Last year, the planet crossed over the 400 parts per million threshold; scientists predict we will likely reach 550 parts per million within the next half-century—essentially twice the amount that was in the air when Americans started farming with tractors.

Snip

In 2014, Myers and a team of other scientists published a large, data-rich study in the journal Nature that looked at key crops grown at several sites in Japan, Australia and the United States that also found rising CO2 led to a drop in protein, iron and zinc. It was the first time the issue had attracted any real media attention.

“The public health implications of global climate change are difficult to predict, and we expect many surprises,” the researchers wrote. “The finding that raising atmospheric CO2 lowers the nutritional value of C3 crops is one such surprise that we can now better predict and prepare for.”

Hit the link for much more.

Via Kottke. 

Hurricane Irma tracking without all the scare tactics


From this video’s youtube:

Website: http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/ Please note that these posts do NOT reflect the official forecasts of the National Hurricane Center, and should not be interpreted as such. While tropical storms exist in the Atlantic, official NHC information is available at http://www.hurricanes.gov. Please refer to the NHC when making decisions, and heed the advisories and evacuation statements of your local National Weather Service Office and emergency management officials. Levi Cowan creates videos and blogs pertaining to tropical cyclones, primarily hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. Posts occasionally concern other, non-tropical weather events around the world. Levi is currently working on his PhD in tropical meteorology at Florida State University, and completed his bachelors degree in applied physics with a concentration in atmospheric physics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

I found this video at TYWKIWDBI. I liked his breakdown:

I don’t know who this guy is, but he’s good.  This is not an official NWS presentation; he appears to be a well-informed enthusiast on tropical weather.  His presentation is fast and concise.

That’s in contrast to the national news media reporters who have to stand out in the wind and “fill airtime” with repetitive and worthless drivel.  I was pleased to see a Hurricane Harvey victim talk back to a CNN reporter.

Hit the link for TYWKIWDBI for more.