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Tagged with “science” (637)

  1. Here’s What Sci-Fi Can Teach Us About Fascism | WIRED

    Want to understand the appeal of fascist regimes? Watch/read science fiction.

    AUTHOR BRUCE STERLING is best known for his futuristic science fiction, but he’s equally comfortable writing about the past. His new novella Pirate Utopia is an alternate history set just after World War I, and takes place in the real-life city of Fiume (now Rijeka), which experienced a brief period as an independent state run by artists and revolutionaries.

    https://www.wired.com/2017/01/geeks-guide-bruce-sterling/

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  2. We review Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    The prequel to the original and sequel to the prequels is here! ROGUE ONE made mad bank in theaters this weekend. But does it live up to the Star Wars seal of quality? We discuss the pros and cons of the first one-off in the franchise.

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    Original video: https://soundcloud.com/atw9k/we-review-rogue-one-a-star-wars-story
    Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/ on Fri, 13 Jan 2017 20:27:09 GMT Available for 30 days after download

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  3. Cross Section: Neil deGrasse Tyson – Science Weekly podcast | Science | The Guardian

    What first attracted one of the world’s foremost astrophysicists to the night sky? Are we alone in the universe? And how can scientific thinking benefit us all?

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/audio/2016/dec/07/cross-section-neil-degrasse-tyson-science-weekly-podcast

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  4. Episode 1: Imagining The Impossible

    How do we imagine the impossible? On today’s episode, we talk to physicists and writers (and writer-physicists) about this question. Along the way, we’ll touch on a range of topics, from how to detect gravitational waves to how the hippies saved physics, from the history of science to the metaphors of science, from the birth of the universe to the creation of poetry about the birth of the universe.

    Featuring David Kaiser (physicist, MIT), Rae Armantrout (Pulitzer Prize-winning poet), Freeman Dyson (physicist and writer), and Brian Keating (astrophysicist, UC San Diego).

    Links:

    David Kaiser’s How the Hippies Saved Physics

    Rae Armantrout’s Partly: New and Selected Poems, 2001-2015

    Freeman Dyson’s Birds and Frogs: Selected Papers, 1990-2014

    Summary and visualizations of the LIGO detection of gravitational waves

    The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination on Facebook and Twitter

    Music:

    “Silmarillion,” “Lunar,” “Interludes,” and “Clockticks,” by Tapeworm Collective

    “Hallon,” by Christian Bjoerklund

    “A Strange Adventure,” by The Tleilaxu Music Machine

    “nostalgia of an ex-gangsta-rapper,” by deef

    “Industrial Swamp Singularity,” by Zreen Toys

    “Serpico Goes to Shanghai (1970s version tension),” by Keshco

    “Slow Lights,” by Lee Rosevere

    “Night Lights,” by Ketsa

    Email us at info@imagination.ucsd.edu

    http://imagination.ucsd.edu/_wp/podcast/episode-1-imagining-the-impossible/

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  5. Immersion by Aliette de Bodard (audio)

    Our first piece of audio fiction for June is "Immersion" written by Aliette de Bodard and read by Kate Baker.

    http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/audio_06_12/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  6. Sci-fi writer Ted Chiang on his story’s ‘unconventional’ adaptation into the film Arrival - Home | q | CBC Radio

    The hit sci-fi film Arrival is based on Ted Chiang’s short story, Story of Your Life.

    http://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/schedule-for-tuesday-december-20-2016-1.3902909/sci-fi-writer-ted-chiang-on-his-story-s-unconventional-adaptation-into-the-film-arrival-1.3902939

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  7. Why sci-fi and fantasy matter | Minnesota Public Radio News

    Sci-fi and fantasy stories "can short-circuit our assumptions about the world around us," says author Ann Leckie.

    http://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/12/12/truths-revealed-in-sci-fi-and-fantasy

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  8. The Incomparable | I Refuse To Call It a Prequel (Episode 331)

    Put on your Kyber crystal necklace, don a stylish white cape, and keep the Force with you! It’s time to break down “Rogue One,” the first big-budget live-action non-saga “Star Wars” film. We discuss how the film juggles its many characters and settings, the issues with reviving past film elements through CGI, the splendor of Darth Vader’s bachelor pad (and the weirdness of his bathroom), the unexpectedly spectacular space battle, the vacation plans of the Empire’s records division, the film’s strange disconnection with its teaser trailer, and a whole lot more.

    https://www.theincomparable.com/theincomparable/331/

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  9. YANSS 090 – Questioning the nature of reality with cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman – You Are Not So Smart

    Back in the early 1900s, the German biologist Jakob Johann Baron von Uexküll couldn’t shake the implication that the inner lives of animals like jellyfish and sea urchins must be radically different from those of humans.

    Uexküll was fascinated by how meaty, squishy nervous systems gave rise to perception. Noting that the sense organs of sea creatures and arachnids could perceive things that ours could not, he realized that giant portions of reality must therefore be missing from their subjective experiences, which suggested that the same was true of us. In other words, most ticks can’t enjoy an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical because, among other reasons, they don’t have eyes. On the other hand, unlike ticks, most humans can’t smell butyric acid wafting on the breeze, and so no matter where you sit in the audience, smell isn’t an essential (or intended) element of a Broadway performance of Cats.

    Uexküll imagined that each animal’s subjective experience was confined to a private sensory world he called an umwelt. Each animal’s umwelt was different, he said, distinctive from that of another animal in the same environment, and each therefore was tuned to take in only a small portion of the total picture. Not that any animal would likely know that, which was Uexküll’s other big idea. Because no organism can perceive the totality of objective reality, each animal likely assumes that what it can perceive is all that can be perceived. Each umwelt is a private universe, fitted to its niche, and the subjective experiences of all of Earth’s creatures are like a sea filled with a panoply of bounded virtual realities floating past one another, each unaware that it is unaware.

    Like all ideas, Uexküll’s weren’t completely new. Philosophers had wondered about the differences in subjective and objective reality going back to Plato’s cave (and are still wondering). But even though Uexküll’s ideas weren’t strictly original, he brought them into a new academic silo – biology. In doing so, he generated lines of academic research into neuroscience and the nature of consciousness that are still going today.

    For instance, when the philosopher Thomas Nagel famously asked, “What is it like to be a bat?” he thought there was no answer to his question because it would be impossible to think in that way. Bat sonar, he said, is nothing like anything we possess, “and there is no reason to suppose that it is subjectively like anything we can experience or imagine.” All one can do, said Nagel, is imagine what it would be like for a person, like yourself, to be a bat. Imagining what it would be like for a bat to be a bat is impossible. This was part of an overall criticism on the limits of reductionist thinking, and is, of course, still the subject of much debate.

    The siblings of these notions appear in the writings of everyone from Timothy Leary with his “reality tunnels” to J.J. Gibson’s “ecological optics” to psychologist Charles Tart and his “consensus trances.” From the Wachowski’s Matrix to Kant’s “noumenon” to Daniel Dennett’s “conscious robots,” we’ve been wondering about these questions for a very long time. You too, I suspect, have stumbled on these problems, asking something along the lines of “do we all see the same colors?” at some point. The answer, by the way, is no.

    The assumption in most of these musings is that we humans are unique because we can escape our umwelten. We have reason, philosophy, science, and physics which free us from the prison of our limited human perceptions. We can use tools to extend our senses, to see the background radiation left behind by the big bang or hear the ultrasonic laughter of ticklish mice. Sure, the table seems solid enough when we knock on it, and if you were still trapped in your umwelt, you wouldn’t think otherwise, but now you know it is actually mostly empty space thanks to your understanding of protons and electrons. We assume that more layers of truth reveal themselves to us with each successive paradigm shift.

    In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart podcast, we sit down with a scientist who is challenging these assumptions.

    Donald Hoffman, a cognitive psychologist at the University of California with a background in artificial intelligence, game theory, and evolutionary biology has developed a new theory of consciousness that, should it prove true, would rearrange our understanding of not only the mind and the brain, but physics itself.

    “I agree up to a point,” said Hoffman, “that different organisms are in effectively different perceptual worlds, but where I disagree is that these worlds are seeing different parts of the truth. I don’t think they are seeing the truth at all.”

    Hoffman wondered if evolution truly favored veridical minds, so he and his graduate students created computer models of natural selection that included accurate perceptions of reality as a variable.

    “We simulated hundreds of thousands of random worlds and put organisms in those worlds that could see all of the truth, part of the truth, or none of the truth,” explained Hoffman. “What we found in our simulations was that organisms that saw reality as-it-is could never outcompete organisms that saw none of reality and were just tuned to fitness, as long as they were of equal complexity.”

    The implication, Hoffman said, is that an organism that can see the truth will never be favored by natural selection. This suggests that literally nothing we can conceive of can be said to represent objective reality, not even atoms, molecules, or physical laws. Physics and chemistry are still inside the umwelt. There’s no escape.

    “If our perceptual systems evolved by natural selection, then the probability that we see reality as it actually is, in any way, is zero. Precisely zero,” said Hoffman.

    Well aware that these ideas come across as woo, Hoffman welcomes challenges from his peers and other interested parties, and in the interview you’ll hear what they’ve said so far and how you can investigate these concepts for yourself.

    Also in the show, Hoffman explains his ideas in detail in addition to discussing the bicameral mind, artificial intelligence, and the hard problem of consciousness in this mindbending episode about how we make sense of our world, our existence, and ourselves.

    https://youarenotsosmart.com/2016/12/02/yanss-090-questioning-the-nature-of-reality-with-cognitive-scientist-donald-hoffman/

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  10. Donald Hoffman: Do we see reality as it is? | TED Talk | TED.com

    Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is … or as we need it to be? In this ever so slightly mind-blowing talk, he ponders how our minds construct reality for us.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/donald_hoffman_do_we_see_reality_as_it_is

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