“Overall, as the amount of available information increases, the unifying context used to organize this information becomes simpler and often less rational. This insight represents perhaps our chief domestic tactical advantage, freeing up considerable resources that rival powers devote to the simple, top-level control of electronic communication.” (William Sims Bainbridge)
Alien breeding programmes and spacecraft that use magnetic forces have long been part and parcel of UFO folklore. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Higdon’s story is an apparently minor detail that is rarely included in summaries of the case. All the while he was with the aliens, Higdon recalled, he only ever saw them from the front. “I was looking straight into their faces… [I] never looked at the side or back. There was just a direct front view – that’s all I ever got”.
Paul Laffoley | Dimensionality: The Manifestation of Fate
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There has been much angst in the cybersphere recently about purported hijackings of solid, rational physical theory in service of ‘unprincipled New Age fantasies’ about ‘Consciousness’ being implied by quantum theory. The purpose of this post is to set the record straight about where these allegedly ‘Crazy’, ‘Wrong’ ideas came from: distinguished pioneering quantum physicists. In fact, this is all ancient history for students of foundations of physics. It can be found in the comprehensive historical record of the pioneering discussions of the implications of quantum theory, Quantum Theory and Measurement (a collection of essays edited by Wojciech Zurek and Nobel Laureate John A. Wheeler), which I’ll abbreviate here as QTM.
Before I get into that, however, a caveat: my proposed interpretation of quantum theory, the ‘Possibilist Transactional Interpretation’ (PTI), (account for the general reader here) provides an observer-independent account of quantum measurement. PTI accounts for the…
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It is worrisome to consider how repressive authorities could use nonviolent popular protest tactics. But even this is preferable to destructive conventional warfare that relies on brute force.
Fortunately, social movement warfare also offers reason for genuine optimism. Any government that tries to spark social movements abroad while suppressing protests at home is in for a nasty surprise. In our hyper-connected world, revolutionary events are akin to a tsunami that crashes against every shore. Movements have a tendency to spiral outside the control of their creators, spreading across all borders and swerving in democratic directions where participants dictate the outcome.
Surely every child on Earth should be loved. That seems obvious. But is that a human right? Many international declarations adopt this view. The 1989 Declaration on the Rights of the Child in Israel, for instance, states that every child has ‘the right to a family life – to nourishment, suitable housing, protection, love and understanding’; the 1979 Declaration of the Rights of Mozambican Children claims that they have ‘the right to grow up in a climate of peace and security, surrounded by love and understanding’; and the 1951 Children’s Charter of Japan asserts that they shall be ‘entitled to be brought up in their own homes with proper love’.
Human rights should protect our fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life. There is strong evidence that all children need to be loved in order to develop and flourish, which means that being loved is one of those fundamental conditions. This suggests that a right to be loved should be up there with rights to other pre-requisites of pursuing a good life such as the right to food, safe drinking water, shelter, health care, education, and the like.
“The human brain appears to be much more responsive to environmental influences,” said Dr. Gómez-Robles. “It’s something that facilitates the constant adaptation of the human brain and behavior to the changing environment, which includes our social and cultural context.”
Famed Evolutionary Biologist E.O. Wilson kicked off a long conversation among natural and social science circles with the announcement of a big idea. His anticipated book, Half Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, builds the case for an incredible preservationist strategy. Wilson argues it critical that human civilization set aside half of the Earth for the preservation of biodiversity. This method of preservation would be achieved by the establishment of biodiversity parks. These parks would serve as safe havens for species, places of restoration and a means of connection between wild lands. This vision transcends political boundaries and instead envisions natural systems — bio-regions would mark boundaries. The principle is continental in scale, as opposed to governmental.
This rewilding, no doubt, holds large implications for modern human civilization. The idea implicitly dissolves the idea of national borders and requires the rise of new environmental markets. Commons governance regimes would need to develop, argues Wilson, so local communities could labor in the sciences, environmental education, as natural resource managers or even park rangers. There is evidence that such a shift is possible, most notably perhaps is the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG) in the savannah and cloud forests of Costa Rica. This initiative successfully protects 147,000 hectares of terrestrial and aquatic habitats along with the flora and fauna that calls the region home.
Big ideas are important, especially with the rates of biodiversity loss experienced today. The Half Earth Solution is bold, but in radicalism we find our best way forward.
That is how formal dress codes work: they require the person who doesn’t have the right clothes either to turn up defiantly without them and stand out like a sore thumb, or to spend money buying or renting clothes in order to fit in, however awkwardly. Most would rather pay the financial rather than the social penalty.
Plenty of people who didn’t grow up in a world of balls and gowns gladly don evening dress when asked in order to integrate themselves into this elite world. Brown eventually put on the more formal white tie for a dinner with the Queen. In October, even Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK Labour Party, sacrificed some of his socialist firebrand credentials by turning up to a dinner at Buckingham Palace in white tie. I don’t blame either of them for conforming in unique circumstances. But to me, when others roll over and conform too easily, that means colluding with structures of exclusive privilege. The tie that binds is also a uniform that alienates many others.
Refusing to wear black tie isn’t simply a matter of asserting one’s own ‘authentic’ individuality against the pressure to subsume that identity within a group. It’s more complicated than that. Even in ordinary dress, people are judged because of their accents, their names or where they were educated. When we are made acutely aware of class and privilege, we are also made aware of how our own identities are not simply the product of our own free choices and will. We cannot escape our histories, especially in cultures where people are so finely attuned to the markers of class.