Huffington Post UK has published the results of a survey showing that half of Britain thinks religion does more harm than good, and that you don't need it to be a good person. This seems to be a trend in Europe that was started in the Scandinavian countries. It's in contrast to the United States, … Continue reading The decline of religion in western societies
Here in the United States, daylight savings time ended today. We got an extra hour of sleep (yay!). But this is only a temporary reprieve. It'll be back in the spring, when we'll have to "spring forward" and start waking up an hour earlier again. Multiple people put up articles this weekend pointing out that … Continue reading Why are we still doing daylight savings time?
An interesting TED talk by Atul Gawande discussing some of the problems with the modern medical profession. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3QkaS249Bc I came across this video when reading a recent piece by Dr. Gawande on the medical field's struggles to clearly explain a terminal patient's real situation to them, often relying on a blizzard of facts instead of … Continue reading Atul Gawande: How do we heal medicine?
Earlier today, John Zande clued me into an awesome science fiction novella by David Brin called 'Stones of Significance', which I highly recommend to anyone interested in AI, post-singularity fiction, and the nature of reality. By coincidence, the author, David Brin, tweeted this video earlier which, given the epic online fights that have happened recently, … Continue reading The Paraphrase Challenge: How to understand what your opponent is saying
Worried the world is going to hell in a handbasket? You'll feel better after watching this video, and also get some insight into why you might have thought it was. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm5xF-UYgdg Watching this video also reminded me of something I learned years ago, not to trust numbers given in isolation. Whenever I hear about the … Continue reading Hans Rosling and Ola Rosling: How not to be ignorant about the world
Ezekiel Emanuel has an interesting article at The Atlantic: Why I Hope to Die at 75 - The Atlantic. Seventy-five. That’s how long I want to live: 75 years. ... I am sure of my position. Doubtless, death is a loss. It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and … Continue reading The effort at healthy living should be balanced against the fact that we are all mortal.
Click through for full sized version. via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. This strip reminds me of something I heard someone say in a presentation on communication strategies several years ago. It was a concept the speaker referred to as "the curse of knowledge". The curse of knowledge is the idea that when you know something, it is … Continue reading SMBC: The curse of knowledge
The other day, I did a post asking what religion is. This TED talk by Kwame Anthony Appiah seems to be in much the same theme, pointing out that making accurate generalizations about religion is difficult since there is no one definition of it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2et2KO8gcY I do think that perhaps Appiah may be hiding behind exceptions … Continue reading Kwame Anthony Appiah: Is religion good or bad? (This is a trick question)
I think I've mentioned before that I only recently came the realization that the scientific revolution was more a matter of increased communication than necessarily a breakthrough in method. Along the lines of this realization, I have a few thoughts about communication and its effects on human history. Humans are social animals. Communication between and among … Continue reading The ages of communication