Archive for July, 2007

Undercover Economist: Abroad Consensus

Friday, July 27th, 2007
GDP might suffer if everyone takes more holidays, but the result would not necessarily be all bad

Would You Give Up Your Immortality to Ensure the Success of a Posthuman World?

Friday, July 27th, 2007
July 25-26, Chicago—On Wednesday at Transvision 2007, Marvin Minsky, the artificial intelligence guru who heads up MIT's Media Lab, puckishly suggested we could solve any population problem by uploading the minds of 10 billion people and running them on a computer that occupies a few cubic meters and costs only a few hundred dollars to run. Minsky was one of the scientific stars speaking at the World Transhumanist Association's annual meeting. Other celebrities included Star Trek's Captain Kirk (perhaps now better known as Denny Crane on ABC TV's bizarre Boston Legal), William Shatner. I am never starstruck by Hollywood personalities, but I have to admit that Shatner gave a hell of talk at...

Peter Singer: Virtual Vices

Thursday, July 26th, 2007
Manufacturers of violent video games assert that there is no scientific proof that their products lead to violent acts. But, while the evidence may not be conclusive, it is too strong to be ignored any longer.

X-Phi Meets a-Phi

Thursday, July 26th, 2007
The Experimental Philosophy Meets Conceptual Analysis last week was a lot of fun -- one of the most stimulating conferences I've been to for some time. I've posted photos, and the Powerpoint for my wrap-up talk X-Phi Meets A-Phi (some of which is summarized below). Here the A stands for armchair or a priori, as you please. See the experimental philosophy page and the experimental philosophy blog for some background on the issues, and see also Alex Plakias's conference recap on the Go Grue blog. The conference had something of a tag-team wrestling format, alternating X-Phi speakers (in the 'red corner) with A-Phi speakers (in the blue corner). The X-Phi speakers were Steve...

The Era of Darwinian Evolution Is Over

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007
The epoch of species competition came to an end about 10,000 years ago when a single species, Homo sapiens, began to dominate and reorganize the biosphere.

Bringing Moos and Oinks into the Food Debate – New York Times

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007
THE first farm animal Gene Baur ever snatched from a stockyard was a lamb he named Hilda.

Resisting Peer Pressure: New Findings Shed Light on Adolescent Decision-making

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007
The capacity to resist peer pressure in early adolescence may depend on the strength of connections between certain areas of the brain, according to a new study. Findings indicate that brain regions which regulate different aspects of behaviour are more interconnected in children with high resistance to peer influence.

Incommensurable Values

Monday, July 23rd, 2007
New Entry by Nien-hê Hsieh on July 23, 2007.

Chimps Get Angry but Not Spiteful, Study Finds

Monday, July 23rd, 2007
An angry chimpanzee will take revenge but -- unlike a human -- it will not do so out of spite, according to a study published on Monday that offers insights into how people perceive what is fair.

Hormone Spray Could Banish Shyness

Monday, July 23rd, 2007
It was hailed as the "trust" hormone, then the "mind-reading" hormone. Now it seems oxytocin may also help people with social phobia to interact.

Bad Balance Bias

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007
Balance in life is good. You need to work, relax, have fun, try new things, continue old things, have sex, do sport, play games, sleep. The balanced lifestyle is the ideal, and we all know this. Problems start when we...

Announcing the Open Library

Monday, July 16th, 2007
Early this year, when I left my job at Wired Digital, I thought I could look forward to months of lounging around San Francisco, reading books on the beach and drinking fine champagne and eating foie gras. Then I got a phone call. Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive was thinking of pursuing a project that I'd been trying to do literally for years. I thought long and hard about it and realized I couldn't pass this opportunity up. So I put aside my dreams of lavish living and once again threw myself into my work. Just as well, I suppose, since San Francisco's beaches are freezing cold, champagne has a disgusting taste, and foie gras is even worse. I thought of the smartest programmers...

Poll Says Muslims, Evangelicals Closer Than Many Might Think

Friday, July 13th, 2007
Muslim-Americans and white evangelicals find themselves on opposite sides of many issues but have more in common than other religious groups when it comes to religious fervor, scriptural literalism and social morality, according to a new report by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

First Major Snow in Buenos Aires Since 1918

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007
Thousands of Argentines cheered in the streets of Buenos Aires on Monday as the capital saw a rare snowfall, the first of its kind since 1918.

Tinkering with Humans

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007
A philosopher makes a case for setting limits on self-improvement, genetic and otherwise.

Men’s Voices As Dominance Signals: Vocal Fundamental and Formant Frequencies Influence Dominance Attributions Among Men

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007
Puts, David Andrew , Hodges, Carolyn R. , Cárdenas, Rodrigo A. , Gaulin, Steven J.C.

Commentary Online Article – Science, Scientism & Religion?an Exchange

Monday, July 2nd, 2007
Leon R. Kass?s talent for moralistic invective is apparently not matched by a commitment to scholarly due diligence.

New Study Shows How Often Juries Get It Wrong

Monday, July 2nd, 2007
In a set of 271 cases from four areas, juries gave wrong verdicts in at least one out of eight cases, according to ?Estimating the Accuracy of Jury Verdicts,? a paper by a Northwestern University statistician that is being published in the July issue Diet and Lifestyle Choices Interview

Monday, July 2nd, 2007
The Diet and Lifestyle Choices Interview is a uniquely interactive interview that goes well beyond standard web surveys.

Death Rates Will Rise Because of Global Warming, Researchers Warn

Monday, July 2nd, 2007
Global warming will cause more deaths in summer because of higher temperatures but these will not be offset by fewer deaths in milder winters finds an analysis published online ahead of print in Occupational and Environment Medicine. The Harvard researchers analysed city-specific weather data related to the deaths of more than 6.5 million people in 50 US cities between 1989 and 2000.