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Think for a moment about a termite colony or an ant colony—amazingly competent in many ways, we can do all sorts of things, treat the whole entity as a sort of cognitive agent and it accomplishes all sorts of quite impressive behavior. But if I ask you, "What is it like to be a termite colony?" most people would say, "It's not like anything." Well, now let's look at a brain, let's look at a human brain—100 billion neurons, roughly speaking, and each one of them is dumber than a termite and they're all sort of semi-independent. If you stop and think about it, they're all direct descendants of free-swimming unicellular organisms that fended for themselves for a billion years on their own. There's a lot of competence, a lot of can-do in their background, in their ancestry. Now they're trapped in the skull and they may well have agendas of their own; they have competences of their own, no two are alike. Now the question is, how is a brain inside a head any more integrated, any more capable of there being something that it's like to be that than a termite colony? What can we do with our brains that the termite colony couldn't do or maybe that many animals couldn't do?
It seems to me that we do actually know some of the answer, and it has to do with mainly what Fiery Cushman was talking about—it's the importance of the cultural niche and the cognitive niche, and in particular I would say you couldn't have the cognitive niche without the cultural niche because it depends on the cultural niche. [Continue to "THE DE-DARWINIZING OF CULTURAL CHANGE"] 
Daniel C. Dennett  is a Philosopher; Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Co-Director, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University; Author, Intuition Pumps.
Read the rest of the conversation from HeadCon '13: WHAT'S NEW IN SOCIAL SCIENCE? 
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One of the things that Julia Peyton-Jones and I try to do with the Serpentine Gallery Marathons, on which we've collaborated with Edge many times, is to provide a format that isn't like a normal conference: it takes place over 24 or 48 hours. And it happens in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, so this creates a connection between art and architecture. And then one connects to all the other disciplines through the invited speakers. It's a kind of knowledge festival. The marathon is a hybrid. It's a group show, because artists are doing performances, but they're given time and not space. But it's also a conference because there are lectures and presentations. This year's Marathon, which takes place at The Serpentine Gallery the weekend of October 18-20, will be about "Extinction".
by John Brockman 
Hans Ulrich Obrist is Co-director of the Serpentine Galleries, and the initiator of numerous international art projects and exhibitions. One example is the current Serpentine event (through August 14th), a new durational performance by Marina Abramović  entitled "Nothing" in which the artist is in residence for 512 hours.
It is for this kind of signature event that, in 2009, HUO was ranked #1 in Art Review's annual "Art Review Power 100"  list of the contemporary art world’s most powerful figures, and #2, #2, #5, in 3 out of the past 4 years. It is a measure of his unique stature, that in today's contemporary art world, one that often seems dominated by money, HUO, who, in the 25 years I've known him, has never mentioned money, prices, or the art market, is arguably the contemporary art world's most influential figure.
"I don't talk about the art market", he explains, "as I don't know much about it. It's not part of my work. I have always worked on public exhibitions towards the end of making the best work accessible for everyone. As Gilbert and George say, 'art for all'."
What interests him is the exhibition as ritual. "A crowd of people is not a crowd but rather a number of individuals gathered in a space who are, contra the experience of an opera or a theatrical performance, not subject to a collective control of attention....Attention is neither monopolized nor homogenized. The exhibition is a very democratic and liberal ritual where the viewer decides the duration of his or her stay. "
I recently visited HUO at his office at the Serpentine Gallery to talk about the forthcoming "Marathon" on "Extinctions," an event that bridges the humanities and the sciences alike. "The spectre of extinction looms over the ways in which we understand our being in the world today," he says. "In response, artists and writers embed these concerns into the products of their creative endeavours. Environmental degradation, genocide, atomic weapons, threats to small, isolated communities, threats to languages, global warming economics and extinction, catastrophes in nature, life wiped out by disease and hunger—the constellation of topics around extinction is ever-expansive and as urgent now as ever before".
Some of the questions on the agenda for the participants to explore include "What is extinction and what are we losing? How do we understand loss and endings? How can an individual understand themselves in relation to a collective responsibility? What is the artist’s role in responding to mass extinction? What happens after the end has come and gone? How can artists, scientists and thinkers imagine new visions of the future? How has the spectre of extinction come to inform artistic and literary practice?" Edge once again plans to be there, collaborating with HUO as in previous marathon events: Maps For The 20th Century , Information Gardens , Formulae For The 21st Century , Table-Top Experiments Marathon. 
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After years of fermentation, the third culture finally yielded superior results in the 1990s. In 1996, John Brockman, American author and founder of the famous knowledge platform Edge.org, published The Third Culture, a compilation of top scientists’ reflections on and explanations of the mysteries of life, formally declaring the arrival of the third culture...These emerging new scientists, combining scientific acuteness with literary sensitivity, intervene in those areas traditionally guarded by the humanities scholars. In the age of the third culture, scientists also want to explore the meaning of life and its ultimate secret. More and more scientists write for the general public. Their works embody literary science writing, distinctly exemplifying the spirits of the third-culture: the exploration of the eternal mysteries of life through scientific probing.
HONG-SHU TENG is Assistant Professor in the Department of English, National Taitung University, Taiwan.
Following the trend of literary science writing, more and more scientists in the frontline of new thinking write for the general public. Their works embody the spirits of the third culture: probing the eternal mysteries of life through science.
THE THIRD CULTURE: THE FRONTLINE OF GLOBAL THINKING
In his new book The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses published on June 12, Harvard history/literature scholar Kevin Birmingham points out that it was syphilis that caused the modernist maestro’s decaying eyesight and paralysis. When Joyce’s fans celebrate Bloomsday on June 16 in memory of Ulysses, Birmingham’s work offers them an uneasy glimpse into the novelist’s dark life.
That Joyce probably had syphilis was nothing new, because it had been rumoured since the writer’s lifetime. Mainstream critics and biographers largely ignore it perhaps because it suggests celebrity gossip.
Birmingham found from Joyce’s 1928 letters that the novelist received unusual injections made of arsenic and phosphorus compound. He further found that, at the time, there was only one little-known medication called Galyl that went with the description—a prescription specifically for syphilis patients.
Medical knowledge leads this history/literature scholar to present irrefutable proof to solve a mystery whose key lies beyond the reach of literature scholars. The case is arguably closed.
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"This is our birthright. It is profoundly our birthright in the same way that our sexuality is our birthright. The notion that a person would call themselves intelligent and aware and present in the world and that they would go from the cradle to the grave without ever having a psychedelic experience is nothing short of obscene; it's absurd. It makes my flesh crawl in the same way that celibacy and virginity make my flesh crawl. What a horrible, horrible waste of a human life."
TERENCE MCKENNA (1946—2000) was one of the leading authorities on the ontological foundations of shamanism and a fixture of popular counterculture. An innovative theoretician and spellbinding orator, he traveled extensively in Asia and the New World Tropics and specialized in shamanism and ethnomedicine in the Amazon Basin and emerged as a powerful voice for the psychedelic movement and the emergent societal tendency he called The Archaic Revival. He is the author of: Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide; The Archaic Revival; Food of the Gods; True Hallucinations; and coauthor, with his brother Dennis McKenna, of The Invisible Landscape.
TOUCHED BY THE TREMENDUM (March 27, 1990)
First of all, I am delighted to be here. The great thing about being here in New York is you don’t have to worry if you’re the smartest person in the room. What impels me to talk to groups like this is the conviction that a major aspect of what it means to be a human being has received short shrift in our civilization for at least a couple of millennia. And that, to some degree, the solution to the mega-crisis that is bearing down on Western institutions is to be found in a revivifying of the archaic. And this takes many different kinds of forms. It's nothing to do with what is popularly presented as the new age. It's, to my mind, a much larger and deeper and persistent phenomenon than that. In fact, the entire intellectual tone of the 20th century can be seen as a groping toward a recapturing of this archaic mentality.
This is what psychoanalysis was about. This is what cubism, surrealism, and—in the political zone—negative phenomena, such as national socialism. All of these various intellectual concerns, to my mind, can be traced back to a kind of unconscious nostalgia for the archaic.
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What are the arts but products of the human mind which resonate with our aesthetic and emotional faculties? What are social issues, but ways in which humans try to coordinate their behavior and come to working arrangements that benefit everyone? There's no aspect of life that cannot be illuminated by a better understanding of the mind from scientific psychology. And for me the most recent example is the process of writing itself.
Psychologist Steven Pinker's 1994 book The Language Instinct discussed all aspects of language in a unified, Darwinian framework, and in his next book, How The Mind Works he did the same for the rest of the mind, explaining "what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and ponder the mysteries of life".
He has written four more consequential books: Words and Rules (1999), The Blank Slate (2002), The Stuff of Thought (2007), and The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011). The evolution in his thinking, and the expansion of his range, the depth of his vision, are evident in his contributions on many important issues on these pages over the years: "A Biological Understanding of Human Nature" , "The Science of Gender and Science" , "A Preface to Dangerous Ideas" , "Language and Human Nature" , "A History of Violence" , "The False Allure of Group Selection" , "Napoleon Chagnon: Blood Is Their Argument",  and "Science Is Not Your Enemy" . In addition to his many honors, he is the Edge Question Laureate, having suggested three of Edge's Annual Questions: "What Is Your Dangerous Idea?"; What Is Your Favorite Deep, Elegant, Or Beautiful Explanation?"; and "What Scientific Concept Would Improve Everybody's Cognitive Toolkit?". He is a consummate third culture intellectual.
In the conversation below, Pinker begins by stating his belief that "science can inform all aspects of life, particularly psychology, my own favorite science. Psychology looks in one direction to biology, to neuroscience, to genetics, to evolution. And it looks in another direction to the rest of intellectual and cultural life—because what are the arts but products of the human mind which resonate with our aesthetic and emotional faculties? What are social issues but ways in which humans try to coordinate their behavior and come to working arrangements that benefit everyone? There's no aspect of life that cannot be illuminated by a better understanding of the mind from scientific psychology. And for me the most recent example is the process of writing itself."...
—John Brockman 
STEVEN PINKER is the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He is the author of ten books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and The Sense of Style (September). Steven Pinker's Edge Bio page 
WRITING IN THE 21ST CENTURY
I believe that science can inform all aspects of life, particularly psychology, my own favorite science. Psychology looks in one direction to biology, to neuroscience, to genetics, to evolution. And it looks in another direction to the rest of intellectual and cultural life—because what are the arts but products of the human mind which resonate with our aesthetic and emotional faculties? What are social issues but ways in which humans try to coordinate their behavior and come to working arrangements that benefit everyone? There's no aspect of life that cannot be illuminated by a better understanding of the mind from scientific psychology. And for me the most recent example is the process of writing itself.
I'm a psychologist who studies language—a psycholinguist—and I'm also someone who uses language in my books and articles to convey ideas about, among other things, the science of language itself. But also, ideas about war and peace and emotion and cognition and human nature. The question I'm currently asking myself is how our scientific understanding of language can be put into practice to improve the way that we communicate anything, including science?
In particular, can you use linguistics, cognitive science, and psycholinguistics to come up with a better style manual—a 21st century alternative to the classic guides like Strunk and White's The Elements of Style?
Writing is inherently a topic in psychology. It's a way that one mind can cause ideas to happen in another mind. The medium by which we share complex ideas, namely language, has been studied intensively for more than half a century. And so if all that work is of any use it ought to be of use in crafting more stylish and transparent prose.
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[Photo: Copyright © Julia Zimmerman]
We are apparently now in a situation where modern technology is changing the way people behave, people talk, people react, people think, and people remember. And you encounter this not only in a theoretical way, but when you meet people, when suddenly people start forgetting things, when suddenly people depend on their gadgets, and other stuff, to remember certain things. This is the beginning, its just an experience. But if you think about it and you think about your own behavior, you suddenly realize that something fundamental is going on. There is one comment on Edge which I love, which is in Daniel Dennett's response to the 2007 annual question, in which he said that we have a population explosion of ideas, but not enough brains to cover them.
—Frank Schirrmacher, 2009
Frank Schirrmacher  died on June 12th of a heart attack. He was the influential German journalist, essayist, best-selling author, and since 1994 co-publisher of one of the leading national German newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), where he was Editor of the Feuilleton, cultural and science pages of the paper. FAZ is a non-profit company based on a foundation mode. He was one of five "Herausgeber", literally translated "publisher," but in reality he was a mix of head of Feuilleton, co-editor in chief and CEO.
Schirrmacher's death is a loss that will be felt not just in Germany but throughout the world. He is irreplaceable. It's fair to say that he has no equivalent here in the United States. He was a beacon of light, a visionary thinker who initiated international conversations on the emerging questions that mattered, including the human genome, the third culture, the role of technology in a society. He will be greatly missed.
We were introduced in early 2000 by German media mogul and digital pioneer Hubert Burda , and began a conversation which lasted until the week of his death. In May of 2000, based on our several long telephone calls, Schirrmacher wrote a manifesto, a call-to arms, entitled "Wake-Up Call for Europe Tech" , published in FAZ, which called for Europe to adopt the ideas of the third culture. His agenda: to change the culture of the newspaper and to begin a process of change in Germany and Europe. In the final paragraph he wrote:
"Over the next few months, to ensure we are informed slightly in advance, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung will be running a series of articles by the theoreticians of what John Brockman has dubbed the 'third culture'. Europe should be more than just a source for the software of ego crisis, loss of identity, despair, and Western melancholy. We should be helping write the code for tomorrow."
The manifesto, and Schirrmacher's publishing program, was a departure for FAZ which at that time had a somewhat conservative profile. It was widely covered in the German press and made waves in intellectual circles.
Within weeks following publication of his manifesto, Schirrmacher began publishing articles by notable third culture thinkers, began to provide extensive FAZ coverage of Edge features and events, and became an Edge contributor himself. On many occasions we published pieces simultaneously on Edge and in FAZ. In 2009, I interviewed him in his Frankfurt office, the result being the publication of "The Age of the Informavore: A Talk with Frank Schirrmacher ". "The term informavore", Schirrmacher noted, "characterizes an organism that consumes information. It is meant to be a description of human behavior in modern information society, in comparison to omnivore, as a description of humans consuming food". Among the Edgies commenting on the piece in the ensuing Reality Club conversation were Daniel Kahneman, George Dyson, Jaron Lanier, Nick Bilton, Nicholas Carr, Douglas Rushkoff, Gerd Gigerenzer, John Perry Barlow, Steven Pinker, John Bargh, George Dyson, John Brockman, David Gelernter, and Evgeny Morozov.
Writing a few months later in Stuttgarter Zeitung , Gabor Paal took note of the effect of FAZ's sustained coverage of the third culture on German intellectual life. Researchers such as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, anthropologist Gregory Bateson, mathematician Roger Penrose, biologist Lynn Margulis, geographer Jared Diamond, psychologist Steven Pinker ..."come from the 'exact' sciences, take care of basic questions of human existence. And they write about their work in thick books in which they—like 'real' humanists—take hundreds of pages to present their own thesis. Inspired by Brockman's thesis beginning in the late 1990s, the FAZ Feuilleton began to deal with developments in the natural sciences. At about the same time, Der Spiegel regularly began publishing "third culture" topics on the front page, and entices its readers with article on the origin of language, the end of the universe, or about Neurotheology".
It's now been fourteen years since publication of his manifesto, and the national conversation he began in Germany continues in the pages of FAZ, and has also been joined in a robust way by the Feuilleton of Süddeutsche Zeitung, the other of the two national newspapers in Germany.
As a tribute, Edge turns over its front page to remember Schirrmacher by presenting "Maybe He Was The Only True Futurist-Humanist", a piece organized by Schirrmacher's long-time colleague Jordan Mejias , FAZ's U.S. Cultural editor; an excerpt from the Süddeutsche Zeitung obituary "Man of The Future", co-authored by Andrian Kreye , editor of the SZ Feuilleton and Edge contributor; impressions in the German press regarding his involvement with third culture ideas in "FAZ Co-Editor Is Dead: Frank Schirrmacher Set The Central Issues Of Our Time", a piece by Peter von Becker, in Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten; a re-publication of Schirrmacher's Edge feature "The Age of the Informavore"; Hubert Burda's  obituary in his Focus Magazine, "Farewell to my friend Frank Schirrmacher"; and finally, the 2010 EDGE @ DLD panel, "Informavore", featuring a video of Schirrmacher, Andrian Kreye, David Gelernter, and myself.
At some point I plan to write more about Schirrmacher, the man, his agenda, and the intellectual inspiration he provided in the quest for a second enlightenment, one which would be built on the ideas of the third culture. But now is not that time. Now is a time for remembering.
—John Brockman 
Literary agent John Brockman, Internet pioneer Jaron Lanier, science and technology historian George Dyson and computer scientist and artist David Gelernter remember Frank Schirrmacher. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (June 13, 2014) [MORE...] 
The editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Frank Schirrmacher, died at 54 years. Germany has lost a great thinker. Focus Magazine (June 17, 2014) [MORE...] 
... Not a traditional man of culture ... Schirrmacher had a large double talent: he could create new topics and get them out early. He knew—months before others knew it—what would be the language in the Federal Republic. And he was great in terms of the agreement with important people. He wrote his articles rather quickly. In addition, however, he wanted to get involved, to have his fingers everywhere. He succeeded in both. Süddeutsche Zeitung (June 12, 2014) [MORE...] 
What is happening today in the Internet or in the biotech laboratories, raises pressing legal and moral questions. Frank Schirrmacher had the intellectual antenna and the fire of passionate journalist. Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten (June 13, 2014) [MORE...] 
We are apparently now in a situation where modern technology is changing the way people behave, people talk, people react, people think, and people remember. And you encounter this not only in a theoretical way, but when you meet people, when suddenly people start forgetting things, when suddenly people depend on their gadgets, and other stuff, to remember certain things. This is the beginning, its just an experience. But if you think about it and you think about your own behavior, you suddenly realize that something fundamental is going on. Edge (October 25, 2009) [MORE...] 
In 2010, Edge was in Munich for DLD 2010 and an Edge & DLD event. The event, entitled "Informavore", is a discussion featuring Frank Schirrmacher, Editor of the Feuilleton and Co-Publisher of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Andrian Kreye, Feuilleton Editor of Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Munich; and Yale computer science visionary David Gelernter, who, in his 1991 book Mirror Worlds presented what's now called "cloud computing." [MORE...] 
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[ED. NOTE: The legendary curator Hans Ulrich Obrist (known a "HUO"), Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes at London's Serpentine Gallery. Since 2009, he has been ranked #1 , #2 , #2 , #10 , and #5 in Art Review's "Power 100", a ranked list of the contemporary artword's most powerful figures. A long-time Edge collaborator, we have been interviewing each other for fifteen years. Below, he talks to me in Munich. In the next Edge edition, I bring my camera to The Serpentine Gallery in London and return the favor. —JB]
The idea of the autonomy of art has led to the fact that even today it amounts to a breach of taboo if one wants to bring art and artists into dialogue with other disciplines such as technology, science or politics. One person who never had any time for such a separation is John Brockman. He is a writer, literary agent, curator, worked in business, and for the White House in Washington. He sees it as his main role to bring experts from the most different disciplines down from their ivory towers so that they can converse not only with their peers but also with the wider public and with the luminaries of other subjects.
Stewart Brand, author of the legendary Whole Earth Catalog and the forerunner of the ecological movement, has called Brockman “an intellectual enzyme”, bringing the thoughts, visions and knowledge of the most different people together and catalysing them. Prototypical of this idea are his Edge Foundation and its website, edge.org, a platform for the exchange of ideas among the intellectual elite. Prototypical of this, too, was the collaboration between artists such as Nam June Paik, Andy Warhol or Robert Rauschenberg in 1965 in New York that led to an invitation by MIT whereby biophysicists, cyberneticists, musicians, painters and theatre directors held an interdisciplinary symposium.
Finally Brockman has also proved his own talent for synthesis as a writer. In his first book By The Late John Brockman, he considers the world through the lens of information theory, in 37 through Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and in Afterwords as a verbal construct. Above all, his first work was a magnificent combination, not just in content but also in form, of philosophy and experimental literature, which he presented in 1968 in a six-part reading of the book in the New Yorker Poetry Center. Each page of the book contained only one paragraph, composed of citations from the likes of Ludwig Wittgenstein or Samuel Beckett. The very? process of reading is supposed to create a performance, freely after Marcel Duchamp’s dictum that an artist makes the material available but that it is up to the observer or reader to make an artwork out of it.
A new edition of By The Late John Brockman, 37 and Afterwords will be published this September byHarper Collins Publishers in the US and UK under the title By The Late John Brockman, and in Germany by S. Fischer under the title Nachworte: Gedanken des Wegbereiters der Dritten Kultur.
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A new generation of artists, writing genomes as fluently as Blake and Byron wrote verses, might create an abundance of new flowers and fruit and trees and birds to enrich the ecology of our planet. Most of these artists would be amateurs, but they would be in close touch with science, like the poets of the earlier Age of Wonder. The new Age of Wonder might bring together wealthy entrepreneurs ... and a worldwide community of gardeners and farmers and breeders, working together to make the planet beautiful as well as fertile, hospitable to hummingbirds as well as to humans. —Freeman Dyson 
In his 2009 talk at the Bristol Festival of Ideas, Freeman Dyson pointed out that we are entering a new Age of Wonder, which is dominated by computational biology. In articulating his vision for the future he noted that Edge  is the nexus of this intellectual activity.
This "worldwide community of gardeners and farmers and breeders" has been getting together for an annual dinner since 1998. The dinner has had many names: "The Millionaires Dinner", "The Digerati Dinner", "The Billionaires' Dinner", "The Edge Science Dinner", "The Age of Wonder Dinner".
The industrial age had the nineteenth century Lunar Society of Birmingham, an informal dinner club and learned society of leading cultural figures, natural philosophers, and industrialists, whose members included engineer James Watt, manufacturer, and his business partner Matthew Boulton (Boulton & Watt steam engines), physician and natural philosopher Erasmus Darwin, author and abolitionist Thomas Day, arms manufacturer Samuel Galton, Jr., chemist Joseph Priestly (discoverer of oxygen), potter Josiah Wedgewood, clergyman, natural philosopher, clock-maker John Whitehurst, botanist and geologist William Withering, and Benjamin Franklin. (Erasmus Darwin and Wedgewood were the grandfathers of Charles Darwin). The Society met each month near the full moon in each other's homes, and in venues such as Soho House, and Great Barr Hall. They referred to themselves as "lunarticks".
Edge, through its Master Classes, seminars, online activities, dinners, gathers together the third culture intellectuals and technology pioneers of the post-industrial, digital age. This year's dinner, held in Vancouver at the Blue Water Cafe, was no exception. The group, including founders of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, the father of the iPod, the inventor of the WYSIWYG word processor, people in art, photography, music, distinguished journalists and thinkers, was a remarkable gathering of outstanding minds. These are the people that are rewriting our global culture.
Some of the topics of conversation at the dinner included analog computation; neuromorphic computing; Nick Metropolis; when bad people are smart (speculating about Flight 370); the psychological pleasure of touching a historical artifact; gene expression patterns in the mouse brain; neuroscience-based understanding of human cognition; digitizing the human brain; space travel; Afonso Cuaron's movie Gravity; the outdated ISS space station; recovery of the Apollo 11 engines; the Superbowl; the Crimean crisis; brain waves and water; love in a warm place; art and danger; the nature of intuition; the inner workings of newspapers; animal interfaces for accessing internet; the role of luck in success; the design of interior configurations of private jets; the history and features of lighter-than-air ships; business models for broadcasting; love in a workplace; digital controls and state secrecy; research showing what produces happiness; how big a role luck plays in forming our destinies; the plasticity of the brain; how to develop your abs by surfing big waves; the marriage of youth and experience; and all generously lubricated by expensive wine and cheap gossip.
—John Brockman 
Vancouver, March 17, 2014
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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.
Stephen Kosslyn once put forward the intriguing notion that God exists but is not supernatural
I recently came across an interesting book called What Is Your Dangerous Idea? (2006), edited by John Brockman. The book is a collection of "dangerous" ideas proposed by 108 of today’s leading thinkers (including physicists Freeman Dyson, Lee Smolin, Paul Davies, Frank Tipler, philosopher Daniel Dennett and biochemist Craig Venter), with a preface by Steven Pinker and an afterword by Richard Dawkins. Today I present you with one fascinating idea from this book, proposed by Stephen M Kosslyn, a professor of psychology at Harvard University. I am neither advocating nor criticising Kosslyn’s proposal – I merely present it as an intriguing idea.
Kosslyn’s dangerous idea is: God exists but is not supernatural; God is part of the natural order. When looked at in this manner, the God concept can be approached scientifically. On the other hand, the orthodox approach, to which I generally subscribe, is to view science and religion as inhabiting two largely “non-overlapping magisteria” (in the words of Stephen Jay Gould). Kosslyn’s idea will please neither the atheist nor the religious.
Kosslyn’s concept of God is of a supreme being that transcends time and space, permeates our world but also stands outside of it, and can intervene in our daily lives, partly in response to prayer.
A scientific approach to this concept rests on three principles. Firstly, emergent properties: this is a well-known phenomenon whereby new properties emerge from aggregates, properties that cannot be fully predicted from the properties of individual aggregate elements. Thus, life emerges from aggregates of biochemicals of particular types in large numbers, mind emerges from neurons in large numbers, and economic and social systems emerge from minds in large numbers. Secondly, downward causality: events at higher levels (where emergent properties arise) can affect events at lower levels, for example an economic depression affects individuals living in society. Thirdly, the ultimate superset: the set of all living things. This superset has emergent properties that feed back to affect the living things that make up the superset.
The world is hitting its stride in technological advances and futurists have been making wild-sounding bets on what we'll accomplish in the not-so-distant future. Futurist Ray Kurzweil, for example, believes that by 2040 artificial intelligence will be so good, humans will be fully-immersed in virtual reality and that something called The Singularity, when technology becomes so advanced that it actually changes the human race irreversibly, will occur.
Kevin Kelly, who helped launched Wired in 1993, sat down for an hour-long videointerview with John Brockman at The Edge. Kelly believes that the next 20 years in technology will be radical. So much so, that he believes our technological advances will make the previous 20 years "pale" in comparison.
"If we were sent back with a time machine, even 20 years, and reported to people what we have right now and describe what we were going to get in this device in our pocket-we'd have this free encyclopedia, and we'd have street maps to most of the cities of the world, and we'd have box scores in real time and stock quotes and weather reports, PDFs for every manual in the world...You would simply be declared insane," Kelly said.
• Edge.org, TIFF Bucureşti, Istorie în culori
Site edge.org a place where the best minds of our times gather. Some conversations last uploaded on the website: psychologist Steven Pinker about "the act of writing in the 21st century", the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist about the "intellectual enzyme" physicists Alan Guth and Andrei Linde about "what's new in the universe."
For me, this book functions best as an eye-opener on subjects that we might not have previously thought about.
For example, British academic Dylan Evans worries that the spread and embrace of democracy, which has its own flaws, is preventing us from evolving a better political system.
And computer scientist and physicist W. Daniel Hillis is concerned about the assumptions behind the type of information Internet search engines provide us. With Google incorporating semantics alongside the traditional keyword search, this means that the search engine is now assigning meaning to the words we are searching for. And in a world where one person’s freedom fighter might be another’s terrorist, the worry is that computer programs may now be deciding what words mean for us and providing us information according to that judgement.
In fact, my personal favourite is a two-sentence gem from Monty Python troupe member and British director and screenwriter Terry Gilliam: “I’ve given up on worrying. I merely float on a tsunami of acceptance of anything life throws at me ... and marvel stupidly.”
Recommended for those who want an accessible, intellectual read on a wide range of science-related topics, both popular and more esoteric.
Also, good material for those who might want to impress others in social settings with their “smartness”.