Often, when I write about moral instincts, people respond with assertions that we're essentially selfish creatures and that nothing about morality is natural. There's a name for this concept of the solely self serving human being, "Homo economicus." The Neuroskeptic discusses a study that looked for them: Spotted at last: "Homo economicus"? - Neuroskeptic | DiscoverMagazine.com. … Continue reading The vast majority of us are not “Homo economicus”.
Quentin Cooper, looking over a top 100 sci-fi movie list which has many questionable entries, ponders this question: BBC - Future - Why is science fiction so hard to define?. Time Out, the weekly listings magazine, recently ranked the 100 best sci-fi movies of all time. They did it by polling 150 “leading sci-fi experts, filmmakers, … Continue reading Most science fiction is actually a blend of scientific fiction and fantasy.
Some of the ways that mothers can teach offspring is pretty primal: Learning the smell of fear: Mothers teach babies their own fears via odor, animal study shows -- ScienceDaily. Babies can learn what to fear in the first days of life just by smelling the odor of their distressed mothers, new research suggests. And not … Continue reading Learning the smell of fear: Mothers teach babies their own fears via odor, animal study shows.
Steve Conner looks at a new book by Peter Witzel that argues that the world's myths have common origins: How did our legends really begin? - Features - Books - The Independent. The similarity of the narratives could be just coincidence. Each culture might just have devised its own folklore independently of the other, coming to surprisingly … Continue reading How did our legends really begin?
This week, I saw the movie 12 Years a Slave. Most of the reviewers have stated that the move is a hard one to watch, but that they were glad they did. That pretty much sums up my reaction to it. The violence in the movie is limited, but what is shown is brutal and … Continue reading 12 Years a Slave
I suspect many, if not most, of my readers are already familiar with the techniques listed in this video. But if you're not, and wondering how astronomers find planets orbiting other stars, you might find this interesting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnX7ExBjrHw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azTMPl0Qb6o I have to admit to wondering the same thing Nick talks about here. Do any of these subatomic particles actually exist? At least in the way we conventionally define "exist"? We're talking about entities that are sometimes a wave, sometimes a point particle and, as far as we can observe, behave randomly within certain … Continue reading Does the Higgs boson actually exist?
I have to say that I had no idea this was still being debated: Voyager spacecraft might not have reached interstellar space. In 2012, the Voyager mission team announced that the Voyager 1 spacecraft had passed into interstellar space, traveling further from Earth than any other manmade object. But, in the nearly two years since that … Continue reading Voyager spacecraft might not have reached interstellar space
I finally watched the movie, Transcendence. I had commented a while back, when the trailer came out, the problems I had with what appeared to be the central premise of the film. Since then, there's been a lot of harsh reviews of the film. I did find a lot of silliness in it, but overall … Continue reading Transcendence
Hi fellow patterns. I'm going to be traveling for the next week or so, with unpredictable access to wifi, so blogging may be limited or nonexistent. I do expect to be able to at least periodically check the comment threads from my phone, so feel free to comment on any of the recent posts. In the meantime, also … Continue reading Traveling