Capitalism goes on the offence (About time)

Here’s a nice site, a landing page for an ad that’s making the rounds online. Be sure to watch the video at the end. A rather telling and graphically attractive way to make the case that capitalism = health + wealth + freedom + peace = happiness.

Extreme Longevity May Be More Genes Than Lifestyle

Interesting study shows that those who live past 100 years still have the genetic disposition for common afflictions but their genetic disposition for living trumps them. Also interesting that now we hear about how we are living to age 80-85. What happened to all the malarkey about life expectancy being 72-75? The latter figure does not take account of the rapid pace of technological advances. Neither does the former, fully, for that matter. I maintain that those middle aged and younger are now effectively immortal as the pace of technology will keep them alive, through crude replace and repair, until about 2040-2050 when mind uploading, the digitization of all mental processes, will be achieved. Study: Extreme Longevity May Be More Genes Than Lifestyle – Yahoo! News.

Hawking shows that even geniuses can say stupid things.

In this report, Hawking says contact with aliens could be risky – CTV News Stephen Hawking is quoted as saying that there are “almost certainly” intelligent alien life forms and that they may be “nomads looking to conquer and colonize”. First, there are several compelling reasons to believe that either we are alone, or nearly alone in the universe (see the rare earth hypothesis); or, if not alone, we are one of the most advanced civilizations as physicist John Barrow argues compellingly. Then there is the matter of the incongruity between a civilization having the powerful advanced technology such an endeavour would require and yet not having advanced in ethics beyond such violent tendencies. Such a powerful yet violent species would surely have either blown itself up or be preoccupied with killing themselves to engage in the immense cooperative enterprise required to engage in conquest across the galaxy. Then there […]

The simulationist argument

In response to a scientific article two people wrote very dissonant comments. One, Rebekkah, condemned science and recited a very narrow fundamentalist view of the world. The other, Joshua declared emphatically that religion was entirely bogus and that all he could see was all that there is. My comment: Science vs religion again eh? Rebekkah”s diatribe is no sillier than Joshua”s categorical absolutism. Our universe appears to have been fine tuned for intelligent life. Better explanations than chance are: (a) God, (b) a multiverse (a virtually infinite number of universes), or (c) both. (See John Leslie) Option (b) makes the best logical starting point but I can”t imagine (b) without there being many technologically (and ethically) sophisticated civilizations which can, and do, populate countless numbers of what we can think of as full immersion virtual reality simulations with beings like us. The more sophisticated, the more the distinction between the […]

Sentient World: a simulation of civilization

We are on the verge of being able to simulate every person, thing and activity on the planet, play it, replay it, run it at ultra high speed so that years speed by in seconds, and intervene, God-like, to see how the simulation is effected. A small step from that will be to endow these simulated beings, individually with sentience. We will then run hundreds, no, millions of these simulations for every imaginable reason from war games to marketing research to sheer entertainment. One might wonder how we could think of running experiments or games with beings, albeit virtual beings, who were experiencing their reality just as we experience ours. As interesting as that question is there”s another, even more interesting one. How do we know we ourselves are not sentient virtual beings in someone else”s simulation? If considered with dispassionate objectivity I believe the answer to that question is […]

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