Edge in the News



[Google Translation:] During the last decades we have witnessed the emergence of a scientific art, known as the Third Culture, Media and marked nature aroused the interest of intellectuals of various kinds but all of them for science to be judge and jury in decisions of profound social and political depth. A tentatively argue that some of the collaborations and statements sympathetic to the Third Culture in the Spanish context help visualize a complex web of socio-political affinities and Evolutive thinking expansion.

The first manifestations of the Third Culture dating from the late fifties when CP Snow notices the gap between science and literature and the possibility of bridging. To see how this approach would make it was not until the nineties when a group of scientists from such diverse areas as biology, mathematics, physics, paleontology, cognitive science, computer science and psychology, decided to take by assault the land occupied by the letters considered. These initiatives included the editorial work of John Brockman , an artist interested in scientific progress who informative interviews with scientists together leading representatives of these disciplines in the book The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution .

One of the background closer to the Third Culture in his attempt to pooling of different branches of knowledge we find in the cyber revolution. The ultimate ambition of cybernetics was to describe and predict the behavior of any system or anything, human or nonhuman. Despite his grandstanding behavior was interested primarily in "things" instead of his deepest nature.

The Third Culture goes beyond when it proposes to unravel the great enigmas of humanity, from the origin of life and the creation of the universe to an accurate and objective understanding of the mind or even the deepest meaning of our life. This self-proclaimed new natural philosophyraises the need to realize the complexity of the evolution of systems, whether organisms, brains, the biosphere or the universe itself. To achieve such an objective seeks to avoid middlemen and ally with the means to express their findings in a direct and accessible to the public.

Such is the importance of the Third Culture means that some science communicators as Javier Sampedro, in an interview granted to the journal Mètode in 2004, reported the error that is left in the hands of science other than science communicators themselves as -according to this regular contributor to the El Pais — hot topics such as human cloning, embryo research or genetically modified organisms "can not be left to scientists, politicians or scientists. Are matters on which society should act, and that needs to be properly informed. Science can not be understood if it is disclosed ".

In addition to the new power they claim for themselves the scientific writer, scientific advances from the Third Culture appear engaged in high dose of sensationalism. Their findings, to specialized and opaque they are, always have something to say about the way we live and behave. In fact the interest of the third culture issues in the general public would be unthinkable outside the growing desire to know who and how we are, why we do this or that, and equally inconceivable apart from the high importance afforded to the world of and how to regulate emotions. ...

Focus [2.16.11]


John Brockman, a pioneer and tireless curator of the Third Culture, which links the digital world with natural science and social networks, is now 70

John Brockman DLD[Google Translation:] Brockman celebrates with his celebrity guests and friends in the New York restaurant Le Cirque, including Nobel laureates, Internet millionaires, best-selling authors and thinkers of our time threshold. ...

... As a globally successful book agent got Brockman for his mission, which many science writers such as the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, the neuroscience researcher Steven Pinker, or Internet sociologists Clay Shirky bestsellers and thus made to agenda setters. The critical thinkers organized intellectual salons, where he brings together about the Google and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, CEO of its authors, publishes books and operates edge.org the dominant medium of the digital elite, and the New Enlightenment. ...

...The Third Culture has announced the sovereignty debate, as Brockman wanted taken, but much more. It shapes and renews our reality in politics, economy, and for each individual — Wikileaks and the Twitter revolution in Tunisia and Egypt, the billions of reviews of Google and Facebook and the related debate about transparency and privacy rights, the opportunities for bio-research for cancer therapies or energy supply. Thus it has become the culture of our time and those who create it.John Brockman is its most important agent.

Jonathan Haidt, The New York Times [2.7.11]



SAN ANTONIO — Some of the world’s pre-eminent experts on bias discovered an unexpected form of it at their annual meeting.
Discrimination is always high on the agenda at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s conference, where psychologists discuss their research on racial prejudice, homophobia, sexism, stereotype threat and unconscious bias against minorities. But the most talked-about speech at this year’s meeting, which ended Jan. 30, involved a new “outgroup.”
It was identified by Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia who studies the intuitive foundations of morality and ideology. He polled his audience at the San Antonio Convention Center, starting by asking how many considered themselves politically liberal. A sea of hands appeared, and Dr. Haidt estimated that liberals made up 80 percent of the 1,000 psychologists in the ballroom. When he asked for centrists and libertarians, he spotted fewer than three dozen hands. And then, when he asked for conservatives, he counted a grand total of three.

Alan Alda, Testing [2.1.11]








Deutschlandradio Kaltur [1.30.11]

Nobel Prize Medal: Awarded for research, which has brought humanity the greatest benefit. 

Max Brockman (ed.) The Future Makers - The Nobel Prize winners of tomorrow and what they are researching, "S. Fischer

By Ulrich Woelk

The science in the 20th Century revolutionary progress. What awaits us in the 21st Century? In outlining the collection "The Future Makers" young researcher award-winning their respective scientific ambitions, projects and expectations.

Politically, the reputation of the 20th Ruined century: two world wars, totalitarian ideologies numerous, cruel dictatorships, genocide — the list of bloody disaster and wrong this time is long. More surprising that there is a parallel to other equally long list of successes and victories.

Never before namely that science has been so great and revolutionary progress in the past century: relativity and quantum mechanics, the deciphering of the genome, the discovery of the subconscious, the Big Bang theory and incompleteness, penicillin, microelectronics, moon landing. The 20th Century has brought the fulfillment of the Faustian desire for complete knowledge within reach — so, so close that we can ask ourselves: What now? What comes after the century of scientific revolutions and breakthroughs?

In outlining the collection "The Future Makers" young researcher award-winning their respective scientific ambitions, projects and expectations. The publisher of this highly informative research anthology is the New York literary agent Max Brockman. He writes of its authors:

"Your employment with bold new ideas and their efforts to the frontiers of knowledge further and further delay, are an inspiration."

And that's true. Even the titles of the essays reveal that the young researchers from the scientific thinking of their fathers and grandfathers have a long way. "Are we inherently moral?" Consider, examine and "The development of the social brain in adolescence" or the "indispensability of the imagination," or ask, "How are people descended from the trees and why they is no one followed ?

EL MUNDO [1.23.11]

[Google translation:] As every year since 1998, the online magazine Edge (www.edge.org) has once again raised a great question to the best minds on the planet. And once again, this virtual forum of debate offers us all a wonderful opportunity to savor the thoughts of many top scientists and thinkers of the world.

This year, the question posed by Edge was: "What scientific concept improve our cognitive tools?". I ask readers of Eureka to take away everything they can from the 164 replies received. They will find many pearls of wisdom in this ocean of knowledge.

Among the illustrious figures who have participated in this high caliber survey, which has increased in prestige every year, the highlight is the biggest superstar of modern science, Craig Venter. ...

... Your response, like almost everything the father of the human genome and artificial life, says and does, not leave anyone indifferent: "We are not alone in the Universe." Venter believes that any discovery would have greater impact on mankind than the discovery of life outside our Solar System: "If we find that there are many, perhaps millions of origins of life, and therefore that life is present throughout the universe This will profoundly affect all humans." ...

...Edge has again shown that there is nothing like a asking a good question to the best brains.

BARRON'S [1.21.11]

Human psychology can work against investors trying to make the best financial decisions, notes Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx.

In a commentary this morning, he suggests that clients consider ways to "sharpen the rational part" of their investment psychology. Colas writes:

"Human nature, as it turns out, is a veritable minefield of biases and distortions that push rational thought through emotional screens to the point where clearheaded thinking can mutate into irrational outcomes."

One of the most cited mantras of investing is to "think and think differently," the piece adds. Along those lines, Colas points to early investors who were insightful enough to put money into such companies as IBM (IBM) and Apple (AAPL) before they became giants of technology.

He believes investors should ask themselves: What scientific concept would improve everyone's cognitive toolkit?

Colas notes that's a question which has also been raised by the Edge Foundation, a think-tank run by John Brockman. Members of the foundation range from music producer Brian Eno to Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman and Nicholas Taleb, author of the "The Black Swan."

http://www.cagesideseats.com/2011/1/21/1948687/pro-wrestling-gets-brainy-kayfabe... [1.21.11]

We all know the world of Professional Wrestling is low brow and can appeal to the lowest common denominator. Each time Wrasslin' gets brought up in discussing MMA I can almost hear Luke Thomas doing his best mocking yokel impression while chastising people for making continual connections between the two before feeling the need to inform us of his penchant for The Classics as his preferred means of recreational entertainment. Something like that.

So it may come as some surprise that a clear cut example of Pro Wrestling terminology finds itself the centre of a recently published scientific essay. In this instance I'm referring to the term 'Kayfabe' which coincidentally enough I used in the headline of a recent article. ....

...With that out of the way, here's the Science part. Edge Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit virtual think tank and claims its informal membership to include "some of the most interesting minds of the world" and has been featured and referenced by the likes of American Scientist, New Scientist, The BBC, The Times, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and Wired. Each year Edge poses a question in an attempt to get various thinkers from various backgrounds around the world to chime in with their own answers and interpretations. Questions have varied from philosophical ("What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?" 2005), technological ("What is the most important invention in the last two thousand years ... and why?" - 1999) and cultural ("How is the Internet changing the way you think?" - 2010).

This year's question is psychological with "What Scientific Concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?"....

...And as I alluded to, 'Kayfabe' formed the basis of one of the responses.

Eric Weinstein - Mathematician and Economist (PhD Mathematics at Harvard) and Principal of the Natron Group in Manhattan - writes:

The sophisticated "scientific concept" with the greatest potential to enhance human understanding may be argued to come not from the halls of academe, but rather from the unlikely research environment of professional wrestling. ...



Each year, the Edge Foundation asks dozens of big-picture thinkers to answer a single question, in a short essay. This year’s question, proposed by the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, is: “What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?” Or, to paraphrase, how might people alter the way they interpret the information they take in about the world, to better comprehend it?

A great question, as usual. But interestingly ambiguous: Who, exactly, is is the “everybody” in the phrase “everybody’s toolkit”?



Every January the cognoscenti know to look out for the annual question posed by literary agent and self-styled intellectual impresario John Brockman on his Edge "salon" website. The trick, of course, is to get the question just right so that the great and good - and the wannabes - feel compelled to play what is often the smartest game in town.

One of my favourites was the deceptively simple tease: "What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?" (2005), which provided diverse snapshots of individual intellectuals at work and of emerging trends.

With this year's question, though, Brockman gets really tricksy: "What scientific concept would improve everyone's cognitive toolkit?"


DIE ZEIT [1.20.11]

[Google translation]..."Truth is only a model", writes Neil Gershenfeld, an MIT physicist. He finds that you should write down all the behind the ears, and lay people. In everyday life are shaped too much controversy about politics or lifestyle of the conviction to be right. Since one wishes for the humility of the researcher who knows he does not produce truth, but only models of reality that can quickly be back passé. "What scientific concept is in everyone's mental tool box?", had asked the thinker Club Edge.org. As suggested before Gershenfeld skepticism about truth.