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…]
Wed, Aug 8, 2007, 4:03am All of Us
Communication is a strange business. There is some vague sense of internal collection to the psychology of, in this case, reading and writing. It's something I'll refer to as "we." We are not quite a group of human beings in the biological sense. There is something about what we are up to which escapes being identified just with these creatures that we are closely associated with. Yet we are not something specific in any case. We take on little roles and ride the momentum of the many effects of perception and language. We all nudge the conversation this way and that, but no one's in charge, though there are instigators.

So what am I getting at, in productive terms? In discussing what should be done in the world, we can role-play in many different ways. What "we" are can shift around and can give us some freedom in our discussions if we let ourselves break up the narrative into many roles. We can try to speak more directly for homo sapiens, for instance, or even cells and genes. [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…]
(1 comment, in Nature » Environment)
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)
Older items:
2006, Aug 26
Beyond the Robosapiens
(in Nature » Biology)