I'm still working on a long essay about the probable non-existence of technologically advanced aliens. (I'm not working hard lately
) So you'll have to make do with this short post for the time being — Dave
A few years ago I told you that "politics makes you stupid," an observation which is readily available every day in every way if you're paying attention. (Most Americans now tune it all out.)
I am always delighted when research in "cognitive science" delivers a luke-warm version (the Flatland version) of what I've already told you, so let's take a look at that. Thanks to reader Brian for the heads up.
Everybody knows that our political views can sometimes get in the way of
But perhaps we don’t realize how bad the problem
There will be nothing this week as I work on a follow-up to my first "where are the aliens?" article. Here's an astonishing story about the oceans for you to consider instead. On a related note, if we're talking about how humans work—and of course we are — the Magic Kingdom is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month — Dave
On March 21, 2013 I wrote a post called How About Just Leaving The Moose Alone? Among the many things I've written these past four years, that was a personal favorite of mine. When I wrote that post, it was obvious to me that these North American moose were in Big Trouble, especially here in the lower-48. Hence it was only a matter of time until we heard about the moose again.
I have wanted to write this essay for a very long time now, and, finally, relieved of the pressure of daily publishing, the time has come. Even if you don't care about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, I still think you'll enjoy this essay — Dave
Despite many years of observation with ever-more sophisticated instruments, humans have failed to find any signs of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI). Physicist and cosmologist Paul Davies calls this The Eerie Silence.
If there are extraterrestrial civilizations out there, they don't seem very interested in us. They don't visit, they don't phone, they don't even send radio signals. Not a peep. It is easy to feel start feeling neglected once you become aware of this cosmic cold shoulder. As the eminent physicist Enrico Fermi once put it, "Where is everybody?"
It is not as if we haven't been looking out for them. This year marks 50 years since the founding of SETI — the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. In his new book celebrating this anniversary, Paul Davies explains that SETI isn't some confederation of UFO-spotters, but a group of serious scientists who scour the skies for any sign that somebody is trying to get in touch. They have deployed every modern technology in search of unusual radio signals, laser pulses or electronic beacons. But so far they have come up empty-handed. There is nothing to hear but an eerie silence.
The "eerie silence" is more generally known as Fermi's Paradox. I wrote a brief introduction to the subject in Are We Alone In The Milky Way? This essay is the first of two on the ETI existence question, and how humans approach that question.
Some knowledgeable people don't think ETIs exist, or occur very rarely (are thinly scattered) in time & space. I will describe the views of these "pessimists" in Part II. This essay is about the optimists.
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) — In
an escalation of the stalemate gripping Washington, House Republicans
voted today to shut down the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain
that controls reasoning and impulses.
The resolution, which passed
with heavy Tea Party support, calls for a partial shutdown of the
brain, leaving the medulla and cerebellum, sometimes referred to as the
“reptilian brain,” up and running.
The Tea Party caucus cheered the passage of the
bill, which was sponsored by Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann,
who called the measure “long overdue.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) offered no timetable for
restarting the prefrontal cortex, telling reporters, “It will most
certainly remain shut down during any negotiations with the President.
That’s the only leverage we have.”
Representative Bachmann agreed: “The President can go ahead and put a gun to our heads. There’s nothing there.”
While the G.O.P.’s decision to shut down the prefrontal cortex
rattled Wall Street, the neuroscientist Davis Logsdon said it should be
seen as little more than a symbolic vote, noting, “It’s actually been
shut down since the 2008 election.”