News Bits

by Luke Muehlhauser on November 6, 2010 in News

An excellent essay by Tom Clark on death.

Where are all the atheist women? (big list of them here)

Silver Bullet has generously donated for transcripts to be prepared my interviews with Michael Bishop, Tyler Wunder, Lydia McGrew, Ron Mallon, Nathan Nobis. If you’d like to get transcripts prepared for any past or future episodes, please contact me.

Jon Stewart’s short speech at the Rally to Restore Sanity.

Dawkins and Tyson on the poetry of science, an hour+ discussion with Q&A.

Timelapse montage with killer music. Put on HD, then fullscreen. Also see Timescapes.

Sam Harris gives the Witchcraft Argument.

I play about one videogame per year. Maybe next year I will play From Dust.

Earlier I linked to this science journalism spoof. Next, the author looks for solutions. Lots of great points.

Podcasts and lectures from pre-eminent naturalist philosopher David Papineau.

Yes, our beliefs can easily be inconsistent: 53% of Americans think the Constitution establishes the USA as a Christian nation, and 66% say it requires a separation of church and state.

As you know, I hate the entire U.S. political system, but I must say Barack Obama represented himself very well when facing Jon Stewart.

The Math Tutor DVD on Probability and Statistics (including Bayes’ Theorem) is quite helpful, and cheap. The instructor is very clear and repeats himself a lot, just like he should. There are several other series, including 3 on physics.

I must say, this graphics tablet looks tempting.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorkas November 6, 2010 at 8:09 am

I don’t see what’s so great about the Clark essay on death. It sounds to me like “I’m not saying that we live forever. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying our consciousness never really ends.”

Semantic games FTL.


Reginald Selkirk November 6, 2010 at 8:21 am

A piece of their mind

Twins with joined minds


Reginald Selkirk November 6, 2010 at 8:33 am

I don’t see what’s so great about the Clark essay on death…

The first segment was OK, in which he points out the distinction between experiencing nothing and ceasing to experience (although I suspect it is a bit of a strawman understanding of what other people have said). After that it gets rather strained.


other eric November 6, 2010 at 8:36 am

what’s this year’s videogame?
if you’re still looking, i can’t give enough praise to NIDHOGG, the latest game by indie game artist Messhof. currently the only way to play it is to go to one of the galleries, theatres or bars hosting it on its world tour, and it is so worth it, but soon enough it will be free to download.


Luke Muehlhauser November 6, 2010 at 9:44 am

other eric,

Lol, I played ‘Randy Balma: Muncipal Abortionist’ a couple years ago.


Patrick November 6, 2010 at 10:45 am

I’d recommend Minecraft as a game that’s functionally a cultural event on the internet, but if you only play one game a year I suspect that’s because you don’t want to spend a lot of time on them, and Minecraft is an open ended sandbox with a cooperative play element. So… it never ends.


Keith J. November 6, 2010 at 11:16 am

I agree that it seems Clark’s essay seems like semantics. However, I do agree with Reginald that he makes a great point when discussing the distinction between subjective consciousness and going into “nothingness”.


other eric November 6, 2010 at 12:41 pm

@ Luke
RBMA is a funny game, but with NIDHOGG he’s gone in a very different direction, and given the world the essence of gaming in its purest and most elegant form.


Hermes November 6, 2010 at 1:59 pm

One gadget that seems to be ideal for research when it takes you off the Intratubes;

VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand Portable Scanner

No computer required. Portable. 8.25 inch/21 CM wide scans. Color or mono. About $100. Takes a couple AA batteries and has good battery life. Writes JPEGs to a micro SD card (required; up to 32GB).

While it includes OCR software for Windows, you can use your own OCR software — and any OS — because the images are just JPEGs. To read the scans, just plug it in to your computer and Windows, Linux, OSX, … BSD will see it as a flash drive.

Uncommonly good reviews with the negatives being both understandable and fairly minor. Oddly enough, available at Bed Bath & Beyond (brick and mortar?) and it doesn’t seem that the 20% off coupons are disallowed on it (don’t hold me to that!).

No matter how slick this is, it gives me hope that in 2 years this will all be integrated into a cell phone app. with OCR and scanning will be a no brainer. Maybe as an option in the Kindle v.6?


Alex November 6, 2010 at 2:48 pm

I know it sounds mad, but when I was was watching that montage, my first thought was ”holy fuck, the entire earth SPINS”. Watching the sky moving sped up like that is just epic.


Scott November 6, 2010 at 2:57 pm

If you like those sort of time-lapse films, watch Baraka or Koyaanisqatsi.


Hermes November 6, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Something to consider from the Dawkins and deGrasse Tyson discussion on The Poetry of Science;

The question is asked by a member of the crowd: Is philosophy dead?

Both deGrasse Tyson and Dawkins aren’t too impressed with armchair deductions about the physical sciences, and have seen few contributions from philosophers on that subject. While philosophy used to be partnered with the physical sciences, it no longer is.


Martin November 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Where are all the atheist women?

Careful, Luke! Careful!


Silver Bullet November 6, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Dr. Harris is he master of the argument by analogy.


Luke Muehlhauser November 6, 2010 at 6:19 pm


Yup, those are great!


stamati November 7, 2010 at 9:15 am

Clark’s final points were solid from my perspective. If you feel as though it is a semantics game, I would say that that is not really a criticism. How we perceive the world is always a matter of semantics and definition. And to clarify, Clark is not saying that “our” consciousness persists, but that consciousness persists in subjective continuity in different subjectivities or persons.

I don’t find this particularly difficult to accept, since the concept of “I” seems pretty vague and phantasmal to me. If we are the product of our constituents, then what we are is in flux at every moment of our lives, and we may very well encounter the “TC/rad” situation in this very body through any number of traumatic circumstances.


Hendy November 7, 2010 at 10:05 am

The two science spoof links point to the same page — the update “Why I spoofed…” article vs. the first referring to the original . (LINK).


Luke Muehlhauser November 7, 2010 at 11:15 am


Thanks! It is astonishing how often copy and paste does not work…


mojo.rhythm November 7, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Dawkins: “There was a misprint in the first draft my most recent book The Greatest Show on Earth. The Large Hadron Collider got rendered as the Large Hardon Collider.”



stamati November 8, 2010 at 3:28 am

I’m sure for some people it is.


Leomar November 8, 2010 at 5:02 am

Shelly Kagan as a complete course on Death here:


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