April 21, 2019

Science

"Multiverse proponents advocate the idea that there may exist innumerable other universes, some of them with totally different physics and numbers of spatial dimensions; and that you, I and everything else may exist in countless copies."

"AI could affect how we humans interact with one another... Radical innovations have previously transformed the way humans live together, of course."

"A new study suggests that sleeping late on Saturday and Sunday may disrupt metabolic and circadian functions for the chronically sleep deprived."

"Even where there is no gravity, there is still gravity; a residue always remains. Distant planets and stars are not independent of one another after all."

"How can we possibly know so much about the world around us? We learn an enormous amount even when we are small children; four-year-olds already know about plants and animals and machines..."

"The gambler, the quantum physicist and the juror all reason about probabilities: the probability of winning, of a radioactive atom decaying, of a defendant’s guilt. But despite their ubiquity, experts dispute just what probabilities are."

"It is unclear if AI has accomplished anywhere near as much as many have claimed. Indeed, current technology exhibits no convincing demonstration of anything remotely approaching “intelligence.”"

"Building solar, wind, natural gas and water infrastructure all along the U.S.–Mexico border would create economic opportunity rather than antagonism."

"New research suggests both liberals and conservatives are motivated to believe fake news, and dismiss real news that contradicts their ideologies..."

"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "

"The US Food and Drug Administration is officially warning consumers that buying young blood infusions to improve their health is not a good idea. It is, in fact, a very bad idea because there is no clinical evidence that the infusions do anything.."

"The whale’s towering rib cage had become a cathedral for worms, snails, and crabs, which grazed beneath its buttresses. A few hungry hagfish slithered through the skull’s eye sockets."

"Psychedelics have frequently been maligned in both the scientific community and mainstream culture. But new medical research and a more capacious understanding of the drugs have started to shift opinions."

"Opportunity casts a long shadow over all subsequent Mars rovers, setting a gold standard of JPL engineering. Customized versions of its mobility software are used on the rovers Curiosity and upcoming Mars 2020."

"The secret life of the world's most trafficked mammal, the pangolin, has been caught on camera in Africa. Footage gives a rare insight into the behaviour of the giant pangolin, the largest of all the scaly animals."

"There is no “direct experience” prior to judgment, i.e., what I (re)construct (write down) as my experience is already supported by judgmental decisions."

"In his talk, “The Geometry of Thinking,” he suggested that humans are able to do things that today’s powerful computers can’t do, because we, unlike our computers, represent information in geometrical space."

"People with high intelligence tend to adopt a critical attitude towards the world, and avoid relying on positive illusions. While these skills gain you accolades in school, are they really valued in today's world?"

"A merlin falcon hunting its prey, a hummingbird suspended in the air beside a flower, the self-reproduction of a bacterial cell: all are instances of stunning control and precision. How could anything so complex have originated from inert matter?"

"Scientists in Australia have shown that honeybees can add and subtract if trained to do so. It shows animals don’t need a huge brain — or anything even resembling human language — to think in terms of numbers. "

"I am still stunned that there are seemingly average people walking around today with the firm belief that the world is actually flat. The numbers, while still small, are also surprisingly high."

"...the pair arrived at a drastically different prediction for the future of the human species. “In roughly three decades, the global population will begin to decline,” they write. “Once that decline begins, it will never end.”"

"...after decades of trying to understand how our minds work, I’ve begun to worry that the divide between religious & scientific communities might not only be stoking needless hostility; it might also be slowing the process of scientific discovery.."

"CRISPR, or CRISPR scientists may be impossible to stop; [but] good argumentation about the nebulous benefits of GMO kids, and common sense on the folly of these hubristic endeavors, is as important an arbitrator as the regulation of laws. "

"A government striving for regional peace, like the one Gantz has pledged to lead, would have to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians based on the 1967 borders, on annexation of the West Bank settlement blocs and on land swaps."

"Meeting a piece of advanced technological equipment developed by an extraterrestrial intelligence might resemble an imaginary encounter of ancient cave people with a modern cell phone."

"Let us start with some genuine philosophical questions about truth in science. Here are three: 1) Does science aim at truth? 2) Does science tell us the truth? 3) Should we expect science to tell us the truth?"

"Twins don’t often get the same results from a single company. And across the industry, estimates of where an individual’s ancestors lived can differ significantly from company to company."

"The father of modern goldfish swallowing, the lore goes, was—perhaps unsurprisingly—an 18-year-old college student. In 1939, Lothrop Withington Jr., a freshman at Harvard, reportedly prompted a friend to issue him the challenge alongside $10..."

"It is part of the human experience to slowly realize we are each an isolated mind in a sea of other isolated minds, and then to spend our lives trying to cross the mighty gulfs between ourselves and others, striving to make a connection."

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JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"After five years of war with the Islamic State, the biggest problem for the winners is coping with the losers. The aftermath has produced one of the world’s most perplexing postwar challenges..."

"What do we mean when we say that the “soul of the city” is under threat? Often, it’s really about politics, nostalgia, and the fear of community change."

"...the pendulum of history never stops moving. Indeed, one of the few constants of history is unceasing change. While we seem to be heading in one direction, we must remember that there will surely be pauses, turns, and reversals."

""Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé," premiered early Wednesday and it was the fulfillment of all the ancestors' hopes and dreams. Beyoncé also dropped "Homecoming: The Live Album.""

"Seven in 10 adults ages 18 to 34 received financial support from their parents in the last year, including more than half of those in their early 30s. Almost three in five millennials said they couldn’t afford their lifestyles without the support."

"Social media influencers have helped turn public lands into tourist-infested swamps. And one cantankerous man is fighting back."

"One particular myth that attached itself to Ledger was that his death was somehow a result of immersing himself in the character of the Joker."

"In 2018, for the second year in a row, American publishers released fewer translated titles: 609 books were published, down from 650 in 2017 and the industry high in 2016 of 666."

"Egg freezing had become so routine among my single peers that when I hit 35, I never thought twice. Here’s what I wish I had known."

"When it comes to Passover cuisine, most home cooks know to avoid wheat, oats, rye, and other forbidden ingredients. But what consumers might not realize is just how much cotton they eat during the holiday."

"A masked figure looms over your recumbent body, wielding power tools and sharp metal instruments, doing things to your mouth you cannot see."

"Passover is a holiday that commemorates the Jewish people escaping slavery in Egypt. It is often referred to as the “festival of freedom.” My Passover in prison was at a place called the Wallkill Correctional Facility..."