I’ll let you make your own mind up.
These are very, very strange times.
“We’ve never backed a presidential candidate in our 175-year history — until now”
This editorial from one of the world’s most respected journals is worth reading.
Regardless of other matters that may influence your vote, and whether you choose to vote at all, please listen to the voice of REASON.
[edit 10Sep2020 — following a comment by Russellings of the Spirit (below), I feel that I ought to point out that in order to make sense of my post here, you really do need to first watch this video clip. It is about a half hour in length, but it puts it all into context, and I promise you it’s worth it! ]
Extrapolating on ‘cogito, ergo sum’: I know I’m here, but I cannot prove that any of the rest of you exist. All that’s needed to simulate reality is to simulate a single consciousness, reducing the necessary computational power; so if simulated realities exist most of them will probably be of this type. And I could be in one, down in ‘the sewer’.
Now, I know I’m not smart enough to open door #3 myself. If one of you were to do this, this would make this reality ‘parous’, which (according to David Kipping) eliminates the null hypothesis, flipping the probabilities and making it almost certain that this reality is a simulation.
However, the fact that someone else had opened door #3 would prove that the reality I inhabit features at least one other consciousness (on the grounds that only a conscious entity could beget another one). And it would lend credence to the idea that the rest of you are actually conscious too. All nearly eight billion of you. And since a reality comprising so many conscious individuals would require so very much more computational power than a minimalist configuration comprising just a single consciousness, such a reality would be heavily weighted towards being the ‘base reality’.
So would someone please open door #3 for me and get me out of the sewer?
An excellent, timely poem!
His truths are vile graffiti scrawled in charcoal on a wall,
your belief in them, immobile—not budgeable at all.
You spout online rhetoric not based on any fact,
using a selfish tyrant to pattern how you act.
I simply cannot understand people of your kind.
Will any foul deed propagated pry open your mind?
Fire, tempest, pestilence—what further natural curse
will finally persuade you that it’s only getting worse?
Divide and conquer is his game, and he’ll use any means
for engineering chaos and creating scenes
matching brother against brother till our nation rips apart.
Destroying all it stood for. Ripping out its heart.
What quality does he display that moves you all to court him?
What single act for common men leads you to support him?
Children kenneled up like animals? Men shot because they’re black?
One-by-one his sane advisers all given the sack?
Our emperor has no clothes…
View original post 64 more words
Although I’m a citizen of the UK, not the USA, I am also a citizen of the planet, and feel that I have a stake in the forthcoming US election because the direction in which the most powerful democracy on Earth moves will affect everybody.
From where I sit, the the way the US has moved in the last four years under Donald Trump is completely wrong. The nation has become more insular at a time when, more than ever, it is necessary to work together. Withdrawing from the Paris Accords and the World Health Organization were clear signals that the US, like its leader, doesn’t give a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys for anyone else.
In his first 100 days all Donald Trump did, as Jill says, was ‘He Broke Stuff’. Now he appears to be spreading lies — as is his wont — about what his major opponent plans to do at the beginning of his incumbency.
Here’s hoping that the United States of America does the right thing.
If a president serves his entire four-year term, he will have been president for 1,459 days. The first 100 days are some sort of a marker, though they are less than 15% of his expected tenure, because there is always an analysis of what a president accomplished in his first 100 days. Additionally, a part of a candidate’s campaign platform also includes “What I plan to accomplish in my first 100 days”, which is later used as a benchmark for the aforementioned analysis.
I would like to clear some things up regarding Joe Biden’s “First 100 Days To Do List”. Donald Trump seems to think he has a copy of Joe’s list, but it’s obvious that he doesn’t. Donald Trump has falsely declared that in his first 100 days, Biden plans to …
View original post 819 more words
Dear Sir or Madam,
In August 2020, Jeff Bezos became the richest man on the planet. Not only that, but he became the first person ever to exceed a personal wealth of US$200 billion (and that during a pandemic, too, when almost everyone else is suffering). Neil deGrasse Tyson explains that just half of that wealth, if converted to dollar bills and placed end to end, would stretch around the Earth 200 times. There would be some left over: enough, in fact, to go to the Moon and back — ten times. Such numbers are almost inconceivable.
Now, I have no idea how your own riches were accumulated. Perhaps you inherited it: if so, I really think that you ought to consider the ultimate root of that. A great many injustices have been perpetrated throughout history; those who gained the spoils implemented social rules that allowed them to pass their winnings on to their progeny. Are you one of the beneficiaries of such? Or did you arise from humble beginnings, and become rich through ‘your own personal endeavours’? If that’s the case, I think that you should reflect upon the fact that you’ve benefited from input from society at large, in a great many ways.
Whichever of those routes to ‘greatness’ you’ve taken, you are, whether you believe it or not, suffering from egocentric bias (just like everyone else). Luck contributed to your success; you almost certainly don’t acknowledge that, and behave instead as though you are ‘clearly better’ than those less fortunate than yourself. This video elaborates on that:
Consider that there are now almost eight billion humans currently on Planet Earth. Just think how unlikely it is that you should be who you are, instead of someone else. “There, but for the Grace of God, go I”.
Some of you may be thinking that I am envious of your vast wealth. You’d be wrong: I do not aspire to accrue incredibly more money than I could possibly spend in even a thousand lifetimes. What I am, however, is sad. According to Professor Kevin Anderson, “Globally the wealthiest 10% are responsible for half of all emissions.” Were you aware of that?
We’re in a global climate emergency. We all bear responsibility for this situation; yet you are far better placed than anyone else to actually do something about it.
It’s time for you to step up.
Postscript: Please read How philanthropy benefits the super-rich.
First, watch this:
Having watched it, you may now have an idea what the ‘many worlds’ hypothesis is about.
Focusing on the Schrödinger’s Cat example: when the box is opened, the universe splits into two; one in which the cat is dead, and the other in which the cat is alive. Each person continues in their own copy of the universe, oblivious to the other.
Let’s take it one step further. As explained, the entire universe is entangled. When an ‘observer’ (you) measures (interacts with) any part of it, a new branching occurs. This must mean that every time your consciousness becomes aware of some aspect of your surroundings, a new universe branch appears; one that reflects the information you perceived.
A new universe is thus created every time you make a decision, no matter how trivial.
Now: choose an arm, left or right. Raise that arm above your head, then bring it back down again. You freely chose which arm to raise, yes? I didn’t influence you at all. But consider the possibility that you had chosen the other arm instead: there’s another you, in another universe, who raised that other arm… and that other you, like you, believes that they chose that arm of their own ‘free will’. (Or, perhaps you chose not to raise either arm!)
If ‘many worlds’ is true, this would completely reconcile the free will versus fate conundrum.
Perhaps those who say that we create our own reality are absolutely right….
It’s all about externalities. The price we pay for things rarely, if ever, reflects its true cost.
Forests are vital for our survival – but that’s not stopping greedy supermarkets and fast food companies burning them down for profit.
We only have 9 years left to halve global CO2 emissions, but deforestation is rising, temperatures are rising – and industrial meat sales are rising too. Forests are essential to soak up CO2 and provide life-saving oxygen. Every tree that’s cut down to feed industrially reared animals brings us closer to climate breakdown and the droughts, wildfires, flooding and starvation that will follow.
We can’t stand by while food giants like Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Burger King, McDonalds and KFC continue to sell industrial meat that is burning down our forests.
Industrial meat is as serious a threat to climate change as Big Oil. We must raise awareness of the climate-wrecking actions of supermarkets and fast food companies just like we have with BP and Shell.
One of the fastest and most efficient ways to stop the climate emergency is to protect and restore our forests. To do this, we must stop destroying forests to produce industrial meat and dairy – and FAST.
The chicken boom is a prime example. Every year, over one billion chickens are slaughtered in the UK, with 95% reared in factories. And every year we import over three million tonnes of soya from South America, with most of it fed to factory reared chickens.
Growing animal feed on this scale – as well as grazing millions of cattle on mega-ranches – is what’s driving the destruction of our forests. And it’s supermarkets like Tesco and fast food outlets like KFC that are marketing hard and price-cutting so people buy ever more industrial meat to bump up their profits. Meanwhile, it’s our forests, climate and our future that pay the price.
… so reads an email I was sent recently by Greenpeace UK.
Another email I got recently was from Amazon Watch:
The first two weeks of August saw more than 10,000 fires spotted across the Brazilian Amazon, a 17 percent increase from the same period in 2019. There was also a 77 percent increase in fires targeting Indigenous lands.
Next week from August 31st to September 4th is the Rainforest Fires Week of Action. We are joining forces with Rainforest Action Network, SumOfUs and Friends of the Earth for direct and online actions, rallies, and teach-ins to target financial actors and end rainforest fires.
Heading off now to sign the Amazon Watch petition. Though, in my heart of hearts, I don’t think it’ll do a lot of good.
Q1: What is the flag of Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment?
Q2: What is Leonard’s middle name?
Q3: Why is Sheldon Cooper like a black hole?
Q4: What is Penny’s star sign?
Q5: What is vexillology?
Q6: For what theory did Sheldon and Amy win the Nobel Prize?
Q7: What musical instrument did Leonard learn to play as a child?
Q8: Complete the sequence: Rock, paper, scissors…
Q9: Which night of the week is ‘Halo night’?
Q10: How does Sheldon describe ‘earthquake supplies’?
Q11: What frees Raj from his inability to talk to women?
Q12: What is the name of Sheldon’s imaginary drug-addicted cousin?
Q13: What is the name of the 83 year old man who carries potatoes in his suitcase?
Q14: Who has the original idea for the gyroscope guidance system?
Q15: What emergency code precipitates an outing to see ‘ten and a half hours of apey goodness’?
Q16: When Dennis Kim arrives and causes Sheldon to pursue other avenues, what two words are effective in persuading him to desist?
Q17: What comes after “Soft kitty, warm kitty”?
Q18: In the context of the Physics Bowl, where ‘AA’ stands for ‘Army Ants’, what does ‘PMS’ stand for?
Q19: When Penny asks “Tweety Bird thought he saw a… what?”, what answer do Leonard and Sheldon give?
Q20: What is the name of Raj’s dog?
Q21: What was the name of the person who spent nine months with her legs wrapped around Sheldon?
Q22: According to the manual that came with Sheldon, what, in the context of birthdays, is a ‘non-optional social convention’?
Q23: According to Penny, what 12 year old by wants a motorized dirt bike?
Q24: In what language did Sheldon called Leonard “a syphilitic donkey”?
Q25: When Penny and Leonard ask for advice about their impending date, what does he suggest they consider?
Q26: What is Leslie Winkle’s favourite epithet for Sheldon?
Q27: Which day of the week is Vintage Game Night?
Q28: When Penny gets, as Howard describes it, “the massively multiplayer online roleplaying game monkey on her back,” to what game is it that she becomes addicted?
Q29: Which superhero gives Sheldon his first energy drink?
Q30: What are the co-ordinates of ‘Sheldon’s spot’?
Q31: When Sheldon agrees to undertake the experiment to live with Amy in Penny’s apartment, how long is this for?
Q32: When Sheldon was a child, the family cat was run over and killed. Sheldon wanted to replace it with a griffin (but his parents wouldn’t let him get the eagle egg and lion semen he needed). What was the name of the cat?
Q33: What is the number of Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment?
Q34: One day, Leonard laments the fact that his name has ‘nerd’ in it. What name does he imagine being better?
Q35: What night, for Sheldon, is ‘laundry night’?
Q36: When Howard meets Dr Stephanie Burnett, with what vehicle does he entice her (hoping, naturally, for an amorous encounter)?
Q37: When Sheldon updates Leonard’s Facebook status, we learn that Leonard makes the rookie mistake of using the same password for everything. What is that password?
Q38: What is it that has been moved in Leonard’s room that makes him realize that he and Stephanie are living together?
Q39: When Penny gives Sheldon a napkin for ‘Saturnalia’, whose DNA is on it?
Q40: Howard Wolowitz has seen space probes that crashed into the desert that looked better than… what?
Q41: When Sheldon embarks upon a quest to make Kripke his friend, Kripke meets Penny for the first time but isn’t enamoured by her name. He proposes to call her by another name: what is it?
Q42: One day, Sheldon changes the apartment’s wi-fi password. To what does he change it?
Q43: When Raj has a dubious entanglement with his phone, what does he have Siri call him?
Q44: When Howard becomes an astronaut, what is the nickname he’s given?
Q45: In the ass of which superhero does Sheldon keep a couple of fifties?
Q46: Just before Leonard’s mother advises him to find out what cologne her father wore, what nickname does Penny reveal that her father used to call her until she started wearing her first training bra?
Q47: At what time does Leonard’s mother suggest that Howard and Raj have formed an ersatz homosexual relationship?
Q48: When Howard and Leslie have a close encounter, how does Leslie describe the experience?
Q49: By what name does Sheldon’s ‘memaw’ refer to him?
Q50: On the very first ‘Anything Can Happen Thursday’, at what venue do our heroes eventually end up?
Q51: When Penny asks Stuart for advice about what to give as a present to a 13-year old boy, what does he suggest?
Q52: What is Rajesh Koothrappali’s middle name?
Q53: If engaged in a game of ‘Twenty Questions’ and the respondee is Sheldon, what answer should you offer?
Q54: With what word does Sheldon invariably follow up his classic pranks?
Q55: At Howard’s batchelor party, who is it that claims to have the body of a 37-year-old man with the bone density of an 80-year-old?
Q56: At Raj’s Halloween Party, Sheldon and Amy arrive as a ‘matched couple’. Amy is dressed as ‘Raggedy-Ann’; Sheldon is dressed as ‘Raggedy-‘… what?
Q57: I’m not sure that I have the spelling right, but what is the meaning of the Klingon word ‘Kuvach’?
Q58: When Amy encounters Sheldon on the landing struggling with Buridan’s Donkey, what does she offer him?
Q59: Where did ‘The Night The Heat Went Out’ occur?
Q60: Howard proves Sheldon wrong, and wins a bet. Professor ‘Creepy’ Crawley is the arbiter. The question is: what kind of cricket is Toby?
Q61: Raj would rather swim buck-naked across the Ganges with a paper cut on his nipple and die a slow, agonizing death from a viral infection than work with… whom?
Q62: What day is Sheldon’s birthday?
Q63: When Leonard says that Sheldon has a ‘photographic’ memory, Sheldon corrects him. What word does he use to describe the type of memory he has?
Q64: Howard can speak five languages. Six if you include which language?
Q65: When Sheldon engages Wil Wheaton in a game of ‘The Mystic Warlords of Ka’a’ in the Comic Book Store, is Wil’s grandmother dead, or alive?
Q66: What is the name of the game that Sheldon invents that Leonard wins by default when Penny storms out of the room?
Q67: What is the name of Penny’s “definitely not gay” ex-boyfriend musician who moves from Oklahoma to LA in search of session work — and (according to Penny) would sleep in his own vomit if he had to?
Q68: When Leonard, Howard and Raj go camping to observe a meteor shower, which meteor shower is it that they go to, um, observe?
Q69: When Leonard, Howard and Raj go camping to observe a meteor shower, what type of foodstuff is it that distracts them from their objective?
Q70: Sheldon has some adhesive whimisical ducks in his bathtub that prevents him from slipping in the shower (unlike Penny). What is it that makes them whimsical?
Q71: Sheldon’s brother George has a special gift, relating to things that go round. What things?
Q72: According to Bernadette, three dates means something. What?
Q73: When Sheldon is interviewed on the radio about magnetic monopoles, what is it that Kripke injects into his office via a nozzle?
Q74: Howard has an imaginary encounter in his bathtub with someone who suggests that he ought to be pursuing Bernadette. Who is that?
Q75: ‘Project Gorilla’ involves trying to teach Penny enough physics to make sense of what Leonard does. Sheldon designs the project. How many years does it cover?
Q76: What are named after a town in Massachusetts, not the scientist?
Q77: When Penny phones her father a week after her wedding to give him the news, he admits that he backed over her pet pig with his tractor. What was the name of the pig?
Q78: Spurred on by Stuart, Howard and Raj form a band. What is it called?
Q79: After giving a rousing speech about ‘community’ at the Comic Book Store Valentine’s Day Party, what farewell does Raj give as he leaves with Lucy?
Q80: A geologist, surname ‘Kibbler’, is awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. What is his first name?
Q81: Sheldon rents out ‘his’ room to Theodore. What is Theodore’s blood type?
Q82: When Sheldon wins the ‘Chancellor’s Award’, he believes he may faint before the crowd of people. The gang persuades him that they can be like the X-Men for him: but he protests that they wouldn’t be ‘X-Men’, they would be… what?
Q83: When Sheldon meets Whil Wheaton at the bowling alley for the first time since the infamous card game, he reveals that he has registered three domain names: .com, .net and .org. What’s the name?
Q84: Leonard has an idea for a Star Wars themed coffee shop. What is his name for it?
Q85: To motivate Leonard on the treasure hunt, Bernadette claims that Penny has been known to call him by a word related to lady-parts, cats and willows. Sheldon believes that he knows this word to be… what?
Q86: When Raj and Stuart are working on their dating profiles, what one-word description does Stuart use for himself?
Q87: Penny’s recommended reading list for her psychology course contains a book by Beverly Hofstadter. What is its title?
Q88: What greeting does Leonard offer Dr Elizabeth Plimpton when she comes to visit?
Q89: During Sheldon’s first date with Amy, Sheldon calculates the number of sexual partners that Penny has had. What number does he arrive at?
Q90: What is it that Sheldon was planning to give to himself on his 300th birthday?
Q91: When Raj is working ‘with’ Sheldon, he gets him to agree that he can have his own desk. When it turns up, what word does Sheldon use to describe it?
Q92: What would you be if you were attached to another object by an inclined plane, wrapped helically around an axis?
Q93: When Leonard has a tryst with Raj’s sister Priya, Sheldon comes up with a plan. The evidence he has to offer includes a lock of the auburn hair of Maggie McGarry… which is, in reality, from what?
Q94: When Leonard, Sheldon and Raj are interviewed by FBI Special Agent Page in connection with Howard’s security clearance, who is it who lets slip about the Mars Rover incident?
Q95: When Arthur Jeffries asks Penny whether she has any single grandmothers, and her response is “they’re both married”, what is Arthur’s next question?
Q96: What is the name of Amy’s toothbrush?
Q97: Before Howard’s father left, he used to take Howard to the Comic Book Store. True or false?
Q98: What is the name of Sheldor’s battle ostrich?
Q99: When Pria effectively nullifies the room-mate agreement, Sheldon writes a new one. He blackmails Leonard into agreeing with it, using a Star Trek ‘self-destruct’ analogy. What is the code he uses to initiate the ‘self-destruct sequence’?
Q100: What colour is lonely?
P.S. I’m personally rather saddened by the scene cuts that have been made to the show over time. A lot of good jokes have been stripped out by… what? Political correctness?
The answers are white text: you may need to highlight them to reveal them.
A1: Gold lion, rampant, on a field of azure
A3: They both suck
A5: The study of flags
A8: … lizard, Spock
A10: ‘Two-man, Two day’
A13: Arthur Jeffries, AKA Professor Proton
A15: ‘Milky Green’
A16: Go away
A17: “Little ball of fur”
A18: Perpetual Motion Squad
A22: The giving of presents
A23: All of them
A25: Shrödinger’s cat
A28: Age of Conan
A29: The Flash
A31: Five weeks
A36: The Mars Rover
A38: His bat-signal
A39: Leonard Nimoy’s
A40 M.O.N.T.E. (after its encounter with the Kripke Krippler)
A44: Fruit Loops
A47: One o’clock
A50: The Comic Book Store
A51: A 13-year old girl
A58: An eggplant
A59: The North Pole
A62: 26 February
A66: Research Lab
A74: Katee Sackhoff
A76: Fig Newtons
A78: Footprints on the Moon
A79: “Later, losers!”
A81: O positive
A87: The Disappointing Child
A90: A dogopus
A93: An orangutan
A99: Code 1-1-A-2-B
Disclaimer: this lecture is actually entitled ‘The Age of Exploration’, but I think my title is more appropriate.
Let’s make a planet in which nobody is starving.
Let’s make a planet in which men and women have equal access to power.
Let’s make a planet in which no ethnic group has it over another ethnic group.
Let’s have a planet in which science and engineering is used for the benefit of everybody on the planet.
And my personal idiosyncrasy: let’s have a world in which we go to other worlds.
Thanks for this, Carl. Your wisdom and insight are sorely missed.