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Gavagai
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To grasp a billion stars

To grasp a billion stars | Gavagai | Scoop.it

Using the VISTA telescope in Chile and the UKIRT telescope in Hawaii, astronomers have made an incredibly detailed map of the sky in infrared. This map will help understand our own galaxy, more distant galaxies, quasars, nebulae, and much more.

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The problem with Julian Baggini's secular state

The problem with Julian Baggini's secular state | Gavagai | Scoop.it

Jonathan Chaplin: Many religious citizens will be grateful to Baggini for marking out some promising shared ground, but the devil is in the detail.

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Why Do Atheists Gather?

Why Do Atheists Gather? | Gavagai | Scoop.it

Even for people who don't live in ultra-religious regions of the country, the Reason Rally was an opportunity to connect with our fellow nonbelievers, to bask in that human contact that no online communication can ever fully replace.

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Cybernetics: information theory at the dawn of the information age

Cybernetics: information theory at the dawn of the information age | Gavagai | Scoop.it

Cybernetics made sense of information transfer by simplifying down to a system that could transduce input to output. It had a lot in common with thermodynamics, the study of heat transfer, which had solidified over the previous century or so and which also takes an input/system/output view of the world.

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The Possibilian: David Eagleman and Mysteries of the Brain

The Possibilian: David Eagleman and Mysteries of the Brain | Gavagai | Scoop.it

Eagleman has collected hundreds of stories, and they almost all share the same quality: in life-threatening situations, time seems to slow down.

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Pulsar stars could be the perfect interstellar GPS system

Pulsar stars could be the perfect interstellar GPS system | Gavagai | Scoop.it

When humanity sends spacecraft beyond our solar system, those starships will have to know exactly where they are at all times. A newly proposed cosmic GPS system can track a spacecraft's location to within five kilometers anywhere in the galaxy.

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Parfit and Kant on Universal Law (II)

Parfit and Kant on Universal Law (II) | Gavagai | Scoop.it

In my last posting on Parfit I looked at the way in which Parfit addressed the topic of universal laws in the second of his 2002 Tanner Lectures. In this posting, by contrast, I'm going to look at the way in which Parfit addresses the topic in Climbing the Mountain, the first draft of Parfit's book, On What Matters.

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NASA’s Stunning Tour of the Moon

NASA’s Stunning Tour of the Moon | Gavagai | Scoop.it

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has collected scientific data about the moon’s topography and composition, resulting in some of the most spectacular images ever taken of the moon.

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Three ontological arguments

Three ontological arguments | Gavagai | Scoop.it

The first and third arguments use S5. I will leave filling in the steps in the arguments as an exercise (maybe not so easy in the case of A) for the reader, though I can help out as needed.

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Machiavelli's The Prince: humanism and the lessons of history

Machiavelli's The Prince: humanism and the lessons of history | Gavagai | Scoop.it

The Prince follows humanist convention in commending virtuous rulers such as Marcus Aurelius – but subverts it by praising tyrants for their cruelty.

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Evolution Quotes: Twain on inference about the past

Evolution Quotes: Twain on inference about the past | Gavagai | Scoop.it

'There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.'

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Science Journalism in an Evolving Media Ecosystem

Science Journalism in an Evolving Media Ecosystem | Gavagai | Scoop.it

No longer do people have to rely on traditional media to learn about a new issue, instead they can go online and visit a host of blogs to find the specific information that they want. This new media ecosystem has greatly diminished the power science journalists previously held as 'gate-keepers.'

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Learning New Tasks: Brain Cells Benefit From Having Neighbors

Learning New Tasks: Brain Cells Benefit From Having Neighbors | Gavagai | Scoop.it

New research adds to our understanding of the learning process by showing exactly what's going on in the brain while performing tasks.

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Do science fiction and fantasy cause recurring dreams?

Do science fiction and fantasy cause recurring dreams? | Gavagai | Scoop.it

When we dream, the body is out for the count, but the mind is still a stew of thoughts and interpretations. But in this seemingly random stew, some dreams bubble up to the top again and again. And science fiction and fantasy might be the reason why.

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Atheists, please read my heathen manifesto

Atheists, please read my heathen manifesto | Gavagai | Scoop.it

Atheists are too often portrayed as bishop-bashing extremists and any meaningful debate with the religious becomes impossible. How can this be remedied? At the Guardian Open Weekend, Julian Baggini presented his 12 rules for heathens.

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Free Will Does Not Exist. So What?

Free Will Does Not Exist. So What? | Gavagai | Scoop.it

Paul Bloom: Most scientists and philosophers agree that free will is an illusion. Our actions are in fact literally predestined, determined by the laws of physics, the state of the universe, long before we were born, and, perhaps, by random events at the quantum level. We chose none of this, and so free will does not exist. I agree with the consensus, but it's not the big news that many of my colleagues seem to think it is.

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In praise of … philosophy on the radio

In praise of … philosophy on the radio | Gavagai | Scoop.it

No smouldering TV dons, no heart-rending case studies in a new Radio 4 series – just an invigorating use of the Socratic method.

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Jonathan Haidt: Why Conservatives Get It and Liberals Don't

Jonathan Haidt: Why Conservatives Get It and Liberals Don't | Gavagai | Scoop.it

In his new book The Righteous Mind, psychologist Jonathan Haidt says our moral judgments are informed by six 'foundational' values, including justice, loyalty and authority. Haidt’s research shows that conservatives put about equal emphasis on the six values whereas liberals don’t. The result, he explains, is that liberals just don’t get conservatives—and, in a sense, don’t get life more generally.

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The DNA Double Helix was Discovered Just 59 Years Ago Today

The DNA Double Helix was Discovered Just 59 Years Ago Today | Gavagai | Scoop.it

The April 1953 issue of Nature (published April 2, despite being dated April 25) will forever be known for one paper, which, looking back on it, was titled almost hilariously simply considering the ramifications: ‘A structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid.’

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Parfit and Kant on Universal Law

Parfit and Kant on Universal Law | Gavagai | Scoop.it

When I last looked at Parfit's 2002 Tanner Lectures, the 'Ur-text' of On What Matters, it was to discuss the first of those lectures, and, not least, to examine how there Parfit interpreted Kant's Formula of Humanity. In this posting I'm going to look at Parfit's second 2002 lecture where he turns, by contrast, to the discussion of Kant's Formula(s) of Universal Law.

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What Debord can teach us about protest

What Debord can teach us about protest | Gavagai | Scoop.it

The Society of the Spectacle urges us to make a spectacle of dissent, or be reduced to extras in capitalist scenes.

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Podcast: Julian Savulescu on Designer Babies

Podcast: Julian Savulescu on Designer Babies | Gavagai | Scoop.it

Should we select advantageous genes and deselect disadvantageous ones when having children? Julian Savulescu believes that we should.

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On the challenges of studying suicide

On the challenges of studying suicide | Gavagai | Scoop.it

Nature has an important article on why virtually no-one is trying to develop treatments to prevent suicide because research with such high-risk patients is almost impossible to get approved.

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Ciimate scepticism is not just American

Ciimate scepticism is not just American | Gavagai | Scoop.it

There does seem to be some deep-seated affinity between the more reactionary varieties of conservatism and climate-change scepticism that crosses national boundaries. Similarly, I think there's an affinity between a certain kind of responsibility-averse pessimistic leftism and climate-change catastrophism.

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Machiavelli's The Prince: the challenge of power

Machiavelli's The Prince: the challenge of power | Gavagai | Scoop.it

The first of a series examining the great political tract of the Italian Renaissance asks: how do we utilise power to do good while utilising evil to keep power?

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