March 1, 2005

The Third Culture

third_culture.jpgThe Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution by John Brockman
"The third culture consists of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are."

Posted by bcross at 2:28 PM

The Book of Sand

The Book of Sand: A Hypertext/Puzzle by Jorge Luis Borges
"This web site contains, in eight randomly numbered pages, the text of Jorge Luis Borges' story The Book of Sand (as translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni), with pictures and animations based on old engravings and photographs. It is, I hope, an intriguing presentation of one of Borges' lesser-known works. But it also offers a unique opportunity for readers to interact with the story. The Book of Sand site is a hypertext, with a nonlinear structure and dynamic images....not one of his most famous fictions, but its central enigma may be Borges' most directly prescient metaphor for the Web: its pages are uncountable, ever-changing, without beginning or end."

Posted by bcross at 2:09 PM

February 22, 2005

Cliff Pickover's Reality Carnival

Cliff Pickover's Reality Carnival "News that shatters the ice of our unconscious!"

"The nature of reality is this:
It is hidden, and it is hidden, and it is hidden."
--Rumi, 13th-century Sufi mystic

Mind-stretching connections and many spurious misdirections, but always something worth considering. Recommended by my friend Chris Odegaard of the Piltdown Gentleman's Club.

Posted by bcross at 9:07 PM

February 18, 2005

Just How Nigh is the End?

end_is_nigh.gifJust How Nigh is the End? by John Leslie
"Last year, my book The End of the World: The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction appeared in paperback. Humans, it argued, could quite easily disappear during the next few centuries. This suggests itself when we consider the various dangers facing us, then look at the doomsday argument.
The doomsday argument, discovered by the Cambridge cosmologist Brandon Carter, uses the "anthropic principle" that Carter formulated in the 1970s. The anthropic principle reminds us that we may well live in a highly unusual place, time or universe. Even if almost all places, times or universes were hostile to life, we intelligent living beings would necessarily find that our place, time and universe were life-permitting. But while it can in this way encourage us to think our location exceptional, "anthropic" reasoning can also warn us against thinking it more exceptional than is necessary for us to find ourselves there."

Posted by bcross at 3:03 PM