Archive for April 22nd, 2012

Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss discuss Something from Nothing

| April 22, 2012 | Reply
Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss discuss Something from Nothing

Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss recently sat on the stage at the Australian National University to discuss “something from nothing.” What follows are my notes from that conversation.

(9) Dawkins offers two methods for illustrating the long periods of time that are critical to understanding natural selection.

(13:30) The key idea is that we might be getting something from nothing. Life comes from non-life. Matter appears to come from the lack of matter.

(14:47) We are dealing with the new version of “nothing.”

(16:00) It is plausible that everything started with no matter,and maybe no loss. It might not violate any laws for matter to come from the lack of matter. Especially in physics, scientists have learned to ignore the common sense. The total energy of the universe might be “zero.” It might nonetheless be a bubbling brew of virtual particles, and this offends some people.

(20) Krauss: The universe doesn’t care what we like or what we understand. We need to deal with this.

(21) Dawkins: Natural selection has equipped us to be bad physicists and we have to work to overcome this.

(22) Space is curved, but we cannot visualize this. Our picture of natural/normal reality is myopic.

[More . . . ]

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Illegal downloading: more like trespass than stealing

| April 22, 2012 | 2 Replies
Illegal downloading: more like trespass than stealing

This ABC news report reframes what it means to illegally download intellectual property.

[Professor Stuart Green from Rutgers University Law School] says illegal downloading is more similar to the crime of trespass than it is to theft.

“To say that there was a trespass is traditionally understood to mean that there was a temporary use of someone’s property without permission,” he said.

“If someone trespasses on your property it means that they’ve come uninvited but they haven’t deprived you of use. They haven’t deprived you of the basic possession of the property.

“But to say that someone’s stolen something is to say something much more serious. It’s probably the single most substantial form of property crime that we have.

“And that’s exactly what the music and movie industries in the United States would like to happen. They want people to think that illegal downloading is just as bad and should be punished just as severely.”

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Test for Moral DNA

| April 22, 2012 | Reply
Test for Moral DNA

At Daylight Atheism, Adam Lee invites you to test your own “Moral DNA.”

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The danger of sitting too much

| April 22, 2012 | 1 Reply

How dangerous is it to sit too much?

[P]eople who sat more than 11 hours a day had a 40% higher risk of dying in the next three years than people who sat less than four hours a day. This was

after adjusting for factors such as age, weight, physical activity and general health status, all of which affect the death risk. It also found a clear dose-response effect: the more people sat, the higher their risk of death. The results are part of the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study, the largest ongoing study of healthy aging in the Southern Hemisphere. It compared the self-reported daily sitting time of 222,497 Australian adults 45 years or older with their likelihood of death in the next three years.

And there’s also an American study:

[M]en who sat more than six hours a day during the years of the study (1993 to 2006) were 18 percent more likely to die than those who sat for three hours or less. The death rate for women who sat more than six hours day was 37 percent over those who were seated three hours or less.

Check out this short video urging people to avoid prolonged sitting.

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