The benefits of functionalism for animal welfare

Last week, Science News had an article about the difficulty of studying animal emotions, on understanding what an animal in a particular situation is really feeling. It's an interesting article, although not one with much new information for many of you. However, I want to focus on one point raised by one of the researchers … Continue reading The benefits of functionalism for animal welfare

Decoded: How does a quantum computer work?

This Scientific American video, shared by Aeon, is pretty good if you're looking for a quick basic primer on quantum computing. It's short, less than nine minutes. Although I do have a beef which I'll discuss below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLnGp1WTNFQ Decoded: How Does a Quantum Computer Work? The beef, which is pretty common with popular explanations of … Continue reading Decoded: How does a quantum computer work?

Complex life may be more rare in the universe than we thought

Image of the sun

Quanta has a pretty interesting article up today: A Solution to the Faint-Sun Paradox Reveals a Narrow Window for Life. Our understanding of the physics of the sun indicate that it should have been only 70% as bright as it is today. But if so, early Earth should have been a snowball not really capable … Continue reading Complex life may be more rare in the universe than we thought

Some words might simply no longer be productive for precise conversations

Moses holding the Ten Commandments

Ronnie de Souza has an interesting article at Aeon on why he thinks the concept of morality isn't helpful. His overall thesis is that the idea that there are things that are right or wrong without qualification, in and of itself, adds nothing useful to the conversation. We can find reasons why or why not … Continue reading Some words might simply no longer be productive for precise conversations