Tue, Feb 24, 2009, 11:42pm What and How
There's a book, the History of 20th Century Philosophy of Science, that starts immediately with the following sentence [Read more…]
(2 comments, in Nature » Philosophy)
I've got a never-ending stack of books that I work my way through, and every so often I try to see if I should not bother with some. I had picked up a book by Schlegel for a song that looked interesting a while back and I was just recently thinking of reading. Having just read a book that I was hoping to be more impressed with [1], I glanced over this fairly short work to try to estimate what the payoff might be. I wasn't convinced it was going to be worth my time, and found that I already had a review of it handy.

A negative review, by Mario Bunge [2], seemed to be on-target, based on my skimming, so into the sell-pile it went. But I have another book by Schlegel, written some 19 years later, that does look to be much better. Is it? I have no idea. I haven't been able to find any reviews of it. Perhaps someone out there can help me out. And, as long as I'm asking, I have a few more books I'd be interested in hearing from others about.

So, here are some works that I'm considering reading. Please chime in with your thoughts [Read more…]
(in Nature » Philosophy)
Tue, Oct 23, 2007, 1:50am On Bailing out Airlines
The airline industry generally has a hard time getting by, both the businesses as a whole and the people who work for them. They "have to" be periodically bailed out by the government, so technically many have already failed, but they are being supported by tax subsidies. This has been true for a while. The fear is that if several airlines collapse completely, there will be a severe impact on businesses that rely on them and leisure travel will become severely curtailed.

Next time it comes up, no bail-out. Let whatever happens happen. My hope, today an environmental one, would be that when the dust settles, there will be a great deal lower overall number of flights and ticket prices will be much higher. [Read more…]
Tue, Dec 19, 2006, 12:06am Enviro-pop
The most important problems of our time are environmental. The issues going on with terrorism (our Orwellian war) are nothing in comparison. The "war on terror" is a complete and utter mistake of resources and funds, and has sadly taken everyone's eyes off the real problems of our time. We walk headlong into a class of disasters, the likes of which may be entirely out of our hands. No mobilization or rescue efforts will be enough. If people understood what is happening, if they really got it, they'd also realize that ignoring it shouldn't just be criminal, but a capital offense. [Read more…]
Sat, Oct 21, 2006, 7:08pm More reasons not to live in the Antarctic
Just when you thought this year was going to be a mild one for environmental problems, the ozone hole is torn to record new levels over the Antarctic. 10.6 million square miles. That's about 3 times the area of the US, if you imagine the US being hoisted up into the atmosphere for comparison. [Read more…]
(1 comment, in Nature » Environment)
Wed, Sep 20, 2006, 11:09pm The View from Afar
Look, it's us! The dot in the rings. From about 1.5 billion kilometers*, Cassini spots our bad selves between some rings around Saturn. As big as it seems sometimes, it can't be over-stressed what a tiny speck we are in the greater insanity that is the universe. Meditating on this a few times a week can really put things into perspective. It can also drive you to extremes of anxiety. Either way, time well spent. [Read more…]
(2 comments, in Nature » Astronomy)
Sat, Aug 26, 2006, 12:27am Beyond the Robosapiens
I was just watching the Robosapien program on the Science Channel, where they show videos of the experiments that have circulated on the web for several years of monkeys and people controlling devices through electrodes planted in their brains. They point out, correctly, that the potential for these kinds of things to help the disabled could open up a whole new world. But I'm also thinking, after watching the monkey control the arm to eat fruit, that it would be cool to give that monkey access to speech synthesis and open up a gigantic new book on inter-species communication. Down the line the monkeys could sue the pants off us in court for hooking up the electrodes in the first place, which would bring dramatic court TV up to new standards. [Read more…]
(in Nature » Biology)