Penn State Brandywine has chosen “What Should We Be Worried About?” as its campus Common Read for the 2014-15 academic year. During the upcoming fall and spring semesters, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to read the book and come together for several events based on the book’s philosophies and themes. Several professors from various academic disciplines will also assign the book in their classes, using it as part of their course curriculum.
Edited by John Brockman, “What Should We Be Worried About?” is a collection of short essays about the planet’s most hidden threats, written by some of the world’s most influential scientists and thinkers, who were asked to disclose unknown situations that worry them. The result was a book that challenges the way people view biology, economics, neuroscience, philosophy, physics, psychology, war, technology and much more. ...
What Should We Be Worried About?
Edited by John Brockman
Drawing from the horizons of science, today's leading thinkers reveal the hidden threats nobody is talking about—and expose the false fears everyone else is distracted by.
What should we be worried about? That is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org ("The world's smartest website"—The Guardian), posed to the planet's most influential minds. He asked them to disclose something that, for scientific reasons, worries them—particularly scenarios that aren't on the popular radar yet. Encompassing neuroscience, economics, philosophy, physics, psychology, biology, and more—here are 150 ideas that will revolutionize your understanding of the world. ...
How a needle, a shower curtain, and a New England clam explain the possibility of parallel universes.
"The mystery of being is a permanent mystery," John Updike once observed in pondering why the universe exists, and yet of equal permanence is the allure this mystery exerts upon the scientists, philosophers, and artists of any given era. "The Universe: Leading Scientists Explore the Origin, Mysteries, and Future of the Cosmos" collects twenty-one illuminating, mind-expanding meditations on various aspects of that mystery, from multiple dimensions to quantum monkeys to why the universe looks the way it does, by some of the greatest scientific thinkers of our time. It is the fourth installment in an ongoing series by Edge editor John Brockman, following Thinking (2013), Culture (2011), and The Mind (2011). ...
. . .the sole female contributor is none other than Harvard’s Lisa Randall, one of the most influential theoretical physicists of our time, and her essay is the most intensely interesting in the entire collection. . .[Her] essay is a spectacular, mind-bending read in its entirety, as are the rest of the contributions in The Universe (http://edge.org/conversation/the-universe-on-sale-now). Complement it with Brockman’s compendium of leading scientists’ selections of the most elegant theory of how the world works (http://bit.ly/1anPcUX) and the single most important concept to make you smarter (http://bit.ly/1kr7dF1).
Many of the biggest ideas in science today were dreamed up in the studios of NY's avant garde artists. So says John Brockman. He was there. Today, he brings the same wide-ranging intellectual spirit to his online science salon, Edge.org. | Related Book: The Universe: Leading Scientists Explore the Origin, Mysteries and Future of the Cosmos.(John Brockman, editor)
Technological developments, then, is not linear, and you can not wait for the next 20 years we proceed much as in the 20 years that have passed Indeed, the world will be completely different:. Taking into account the projection of Moore and analyzes Kurzweil, who is one of the most respected futurists in the world, in 18 or 20 years the technology will be hundreds of thousands of times more advanced than it is today ( take a look at this chart to understand the size of the thing ). So it is very difficult to predict the paradigms that are broken in this period.
But there are those who are trying - people who even had success in the past in beating about where we technologically today. The PEW , research institute on the internet, talked to experts about the possibilities for the internet in the coming years. The site Edge.org interviewed Kevin Kelly, editor of Wired magazine and one of the most respected analysts on the future of technology. And we searched the vast material collected in these interviews in search of the answer: how different our lives will be in 20 years because of technological change?
The Universe, by John Brockman
Now that Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson is on break, I'm turning to John Brockman to get my fix of easy-to-understand-but-totally-mindblowing science facts. In his latest book, The Universe, Brockman brings together the world's top physicists and science writers to explain the universe in all its wondrous splendor, providing insights on gravity, dark matter, the energy of empty space, and the possibility of a unified theory.
"The idea is to help readers discern something you know they'd be able to see, if only they were looking in the right place."
What's the secret to writing well? As I've said previously here, an awful lot of people seem to think they know, yet their "rules for writers" are almost always (pardon the technical linguistics jargon) bullshit. For example, "Show, don't tell" is frequently bad advice. In the right context, the passive voice is fine. Elmore Leonard's most famous rule, "Never use a verb other than 'said' to carry dialogue", is sheer silliness. Even the sainted Orwell's rules are a bit rubbish: the final one is, "Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous", which means his advice is really just "Don't write barbarically". So it doesn't bode well that the psychologist Steven Pinker is to publish his own advice book, The Sense Of Style, later this year. Judging by a recent interview at edge.org, however, this one might be different. Writing, Pinker points out, is inherently a psychological phenomenon, "a way that one mind can cause ideas to happen in another mind". So one place to begin is with actual psychology.
The key thing to realise, Pinker argues, is that writing is "cognitively unnatural". For almost all human existence, nobody wrote anything; even after that, for millennia, only a tiny elite did so. And it remains an odd way to communicate. You can't see your readers' facial expressions. They can't ask for clarification. Often, you don't know who they are, or how much they know. How to make up for all this? ... (@oliverburkeman)
Recently, the much-debated concept of the global level "third culture" (third culture).
In Germany and America many articles written on this subject in the university environment have been seriously debated. With complete peace of mind I can recommend a site —"www.edge.org" where I also read an extremely interesting article I read about it on Tuesday.
"Third culture", in fact, is an answer to the question: "Globalism, how can be truly global in this century?"
Subject to the risk of simplification, I will try to describe the third culture. ....
As adults we don't have the advantage of benevolent, parental overlords engineering our environments, but we still have some options. For example, psychologist Laurie Santos and philosopher Tamar Gendler, in a short essay at Edge.org rejecting the idea that "knowing is half the battle," write:
"The lesson of much contemporary research in judgment and decision-making is that knowledge — at least in the form of our consciously accessible representation of a situation — is rarely the central factor controlling our behavior. The real power of online behavioral control comes not from knowledge, but from things like situation selection, habit formation, and emotion regulation. This is a lesson that therapy has taken to heart, but one that 'pure science' continues to neglect."
In other words, we can try to change our own environments to trigger and reinforce the right behaviors, work on making those behaviors routine, and change the way we construe situations — if not the situations themselves — to change the way we feel and the way we act. For instance, construing a toddler's misbehavior as deliberate provocation will likely elicit a different emotional response (and different parental behavior) from construing the same misdeed as the little tyke's exploration of her social world — an experiment in figuring out how you work.
How pocket supercomputers warp our perception of time.
I'm kind of a worrier, so naturally I picked up this book called What Should We Be Worried About? Editor John Brockman, the curator of Edge.org, asked a bunch of really smart people—scientists, writers, journalists, tech gurus, folks like that—to write essays about what keeps them up at night. It's that simple.
My wife commented that perhaps this wasn't the sort of book I should be reading, but as a curmudgeon, I had to disagree. It's actually sort of validating to read about all these other people's worries. Plus, the writers keep 'em short—too short, in the case of Terry Gilliam—and the breadth of the worriers clues you in to a wide range of worries you never even knew you needed to worry about. How awesome is that?
THE PATIENCE DEFICIT
By Nicholas G. Carr
I'm concerned about time—the way we're warping it and it's warping us. Human beings, like other animals, seem to have remarkably accurate internal clocks. Take away our wristwatches and our cell phones and we can still make pretty good estimates about time intervals. But that faculty can also be easily distorted. Our perception of time is subjective; it changes with our circumstances and our experiences. When things are happening quickly all around us, delays that would otherwise seem brief begin to seem interminable. Seconds stretch out. Minutes go on forever. "Our sense of time," observed William James in his 1890 masterworkThe Principles of Psychology, "seems subject to the law of contrast." ...
... It's not clear whether a technology-induced loss of patience persists even when we're not using the technology. But I would hypothesize (based on what I see in myself and others) that our sense of time is indeed changing in a lasting way. Digital technologies are training us to be more conscious of and more antagonistic toward delays of all sorts—and perhaps more intolerant of moments of time that pass without the arrival of new stimuli. Because our experience of time is so important to our experience of life, it strikes me that these kinds of technology-induced changes in our perceptions can have broad consequences.
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