Category Archives: Uncategorized

If time flies, did you have more fun?

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.” –attributed to Albert Einstein Our subjective experience of … Continue reading

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What Pretension, Everlasting Peace

My grandfather lived a long life, well into his eighties. In his later years, he was caught in the grip of full-blown Parkinson’s dementia, and doctors suspected Alzheimer’s disease. He didn’t recognize people he had known all his life. He … Continue reading

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Parasitic Personality Disorder

You have ten times as many bacterial cells as human ones in your body, and that leaves out viruses and fungi. Are those non-human creatures in your body part of you? It’s easy to think of them as ‘not you’, … Continue reading

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There Is But One Truly Serious Philosophical Problem

As a species with the apparently rare gift of being able to contemplate life and death, being able to choose our own end should we desire it, we are endowed, unavoidably, with the problem of suicide. ”There is but one … Continue reading

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An Occasional Will to Stupidity

“Once the decision has been made, close your ear even to the best counter argument: sign of a strong character. Thus an occasional will to stupidity.” –Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil We live in a world of many choices: … Continue reading

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Consciousness and Branes

Since Einstein’s work on relativity, we have come to think of our universe not simply as involving three spatial dimensions and one time dimension, but rather as a four-dimensional entirety, labeled space-time. Roughly speaking, instead of thinking there are different … Continue reading

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Personal Genomics

Stephen Pinker has a pretty decent article up in the New York Times called My Genome, My Self about the topic of personal genomics, i.e. getting your DNA analyzed to discover your own ‘genetic code’. For example, having a certain … Continue reading

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The Life of Abbie Hoffman

I just finished reading The Autobiography of Abbie Hoffman (published 1980). This activist, revolutionary, brilliant guy embodied the heart of the 60s, and indeed embodies the heart of all activists fighting against a corrupt, messed-up system. Abbie Hoffman was a … Continue reading

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Economic Dictatorship

“The inability of the Colonists to get power to issue their own money permanently out of the hands of George III and the international bankers was the prime reason for the revolutionary war.” –Benjamin Franklin The video below, by Paul … Continue reading

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Intelligence in the Neglected Branches of the Tree of Life

When you think of intelligent non-human animals, you probably think of apes: they use tools, appear to have culture, can be taught language-like communication systems, and the list of uniquely human traits seems to be ever-shrinking thanks to them. Maybe … Continue reading

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Experimental Philosophy

Science and philosophy are traditionally considered very distinct disciplines. Certainly many scientists are philosophical, and there are many philosophers of science. But we think of the two domains as following very different methodologies. Scientists perform experiments: they manipulate variables and … Continue reading

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Feeling Out of Control

When your life feels out of control, are you more likely to believe in a deity and its grand plan than when you feel in control of your life? A study by Aaron Kay and colleagues (2008) showed just that … Continue reading

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Blowjobs and Authority

The Victims of Blowjobs In 2007, the Georgia State Supreme Court released Genarlow Wilson from prison, after he had served 2 years of his 10 year sentence. The court concluded that his sentence was cruel and unusual punishment. His crime? … Continue reading

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Word of the Day: Eudaimonia

Eudaimonia, n. 1. The good life. 2. Happiness, not as a state of mind like joy, but in the sense of human flourishing. 3. The process of living well, as an end in and of itself. Eudaimonia is a classical … Continue reading

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Do Primates Have Self-Control?

Despite our many lapses, humans still manage to show remarkable self-control. We pass up a tempting slice of cake in order to eat a healthier alternative. We avoid buying a shiny new car today so that in a year we … Continue reading

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