Author Archives: SelfAwarePatterns

Manufacturing liquid fuel

One of the things that I think is often not appreciated about petroleum oil, is that it’s essentially stored solar energy.  Energy that was originally captured by life forms that died, sank to the bottom of oceans or lakes where … Continue reading

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Is it time to retire the term “artificial intelligence”?

Eric Siegel at Big Think, in a new “Dr. Data Show” on the site, explains Why A.I. is a big fat lie: 1) Unlike AI, machine learning’s totally legit. I gotta say, it wins the Awesomest Technology Ever award, forging advancements … Continue reading

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Blindsight explained and conscious perception

Warning: neuroscience weeds. Every so often we get into discussions about where in the brain consciousness lies.  Sometimes it’s asserted to be in the brainstem, other times in the thalamus, sometimes in the parietal lobe, and yet other times in … Continue reading

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Recommendation: The Soldier

I’ve recommended Neal Asher’s books before.  He writes epic space opera where the stories take place over a vast scale, most of the characters are superhuman or alien entities, and the forces involved are titanic.  That was the motif of … Continue reading

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The dangers of artificial companionship

Lux Alpstraum at Undark argues against “Our Irrational Fear of Sexbots”: When most people envision a world where human partners are abandoned in favor of robots, the robots they picture tend to be reasonably good approximations of flesh-and-blood humans. The … Continue reading

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What positions do you hold that are not popular?

Rebecca Brown has an article at Aeon on how philosophy can make the previously unthinkable thinkable.  She starts with a discussion of the Overton window: In the mid-1990s, Joseph Overton, a researcher at the US think tank the Mackinac Center … Continue reading

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The implications of embodied cognition

Sean Carroll on his podcast interviewed Lisa Aziz-Zadeh on embodied cognition: Brains are important things; they’re where thinking happens. Or are they? The theory of “embodied cognition” posits that it’s better to think of thinking as something that takes place … Continue reading

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Dark energy and repulsive gravity

Over the weekend, Sean Carroll put up a blog post to address common misconceptions about cosmology.  I understood most of his points, but was confused when I saw this one: Dark energy is not a new force; it’s a new substance. … Continue reading

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China will have the world’s largest economy in 2020

At least, according to a report by Standard Charter Bank as reported by Big Think: The Standard Chartered Bank, a British multinational banking and financial services company, recently issued a report to clients outlining projections about the world economy up … Continue reading

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A qualified recommendation: Consciousness Demystified

A couple of years ago I did a series of posts inspired by Todd Feinberg and Jon Mallatt’s excellent  The Ancient Origins of Consciousness, a book on the evolution of animal consciousness.  Somewhat building on what I had read in … Continue reading

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