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Idealism and Emergent Spacetime

Scientific American recently published a very interesting essay by philosopher Susan Schneider. It offers an argument against panpsychism—the notion …

Consciousness

Scientists say your “mind” isn’t confined to your brain, or even your body

You might wonder, at some point today, what’s going on in another person’s mind. You may compliment someone’s great mind, or say they are out of their mind. You may even try to expand or free your own mind.<p>But what <i>is</i> a mind? Defining the concept is a surprisingly slippery task. The mind is the seat …

The Brain

A biologist believes that trees speak a language we can learn

I’m in a redwood forest in Santa Cruz, California, taking dictation for the trees outside my cabin. They speak constantly, even if quietly, communicating above- and underground using sound, scents, signals, and vibes. They’re naturally networking, connected with everything that exists, including …

Ecology

How We Got to Be So Self-Absorbed: The Long Story

<b>SELFIE</b> <b><br>How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It’s Doing to Us</b><br>By Will Storr<br>403 pp. The Overlook Press. $29.95.<p>Worrying about one’s own narcissism has a whiff of paradox. If we are suffering from self-obsession, should we really feed the disease by poring over another book about ourselves? Well, …

China Just Handed the World a 111-Million-Ton Trash Problem

Few people consider used plastic to be a valuable global commodity. Yet China has imported 106 million tons of old bags, bottles, wrappers and …

Could Multiple Personality Disorder Explain Life, the Universe and Everything?

In 2015, doctors in Germany reported the extraordinary case of a woman who suffered from what has traditionally been called “multiple personality …

Consciousness

Do Our Questions Create the World?

<i>Is quantum mechanics weird if no one is paying attention to it? Lots of people are paying attention to it now, and they seem to agree it’s weird.</i> …

Quantum Physics

A debate over plant consciousness is forcing us to confront the limitations of the human mind – Quartz

The inner life of plants arouses the passions of even the mildest-mannered naturalists. A debate over plant consciousness and intelligence has raged in scientific circles for well over a century—at least since Charles Darwin observed in 1880 that stressed-out flora can’t rest.<p>There’s no doubt that …

Consciousness

Coming to Grips with the Implications of Quantum Mechanics

For almost a century, physicists have wondered whether the most counterintuitive predictions of quantum mechanics (QM) could actually be true. Only …

The Silence of the Bugs

Fifty-six years after Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” warned of bird die-offs from pesticides, a new biocrisis may be emerging. A study published last fall documented a 76 percent decline in the total seasonal biomass of flying insects netted at 63 locations in Germany over the last three decades. …

Ecology

This physicist’s ideas of time will blow your mind

Time feels real to people. But it doesn’t even exist, according to quantum physics. “There is no time variable in the fundamental equations that describe the world,” theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli tells Quartz.<p>If you met him socially, Rovelli wouldn’t assault you with abstractions and math to …

Equations

New Microscope Captures Detailed 3-D Movies of Cells Deep Within Living Systems

An immune cell migrates through a zebrafish's inner ear while scooping up particles of sugar (blue) along the way. Credit: T. Liu et al./<i>Science</i> …

Microscopy

Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry

Electric buses were seen as a joke at an industry conference in Belgium seven years ago when the Chinese manufacturer BYD Co. showed an early …

Should Quantum Anomalies Make Us Rethink Reality?

Every generation tends to believe that its views on the nature of reality are either true or quite close to the truth. We are no exception to this: …

Quantum Physics

The illusion of time

Andrew Jaffe probes Carlo Rovelli’s study arguing that physics deconstructs our sense of time.<p><b>The Order of Time</b> <i>Carlo Rovelli</i> Allen Lane …

News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier

In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media …

Are We Already Living in Virtual Reality?

A new technology—virtual embodiment—challenges our understanding of who and what we are.<p>Thomas Metzinger had his first out-of-body experience when he was nineteen. He was on a ten-week meditation retreat in the Westerwald, a mountainous area near his home, in Frankfurt. After a long day of yoga and …

Virtual Reality

Andrei Linde - Why Explore Cosmos and Consciousness?

Sentient Robots, Conscious Spoons and Other Cheerful Follies

Contemporary science fiction seems obsessed with ideas such as downloading consciousness into silicon chips, sentient robots, conscious software and …

Most images of black holes are illustrations. Here’s what our telescopes actually capture. - Vox

Soon, we may get to see one up close for the first time.<p>Impossibly dense, deep, and powerful, black holes reveal the limits of physics. Nothing can escape one, not even light.<p>Even though black holes excite the imagination like few other concepts in science, the truth is that no astronomer has …

After rising for 100 years, electricity demand is flat. Utilities are freaking out.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is the latest to be caught short.<p>The US electricity sector is in a period of unprecedented change and turmoil. Renewable energy prices are falling like crazy. Natural gas production continues its extraordinary surge. Coal, the golden child of the current …

Natural Gas

Thinking Outside the Quantum Box

The counterintuitive predictions of quantum theory have now been experimentally confirmed with unprecedented rigor. Yet, the question of how to</i> …

Quantum Mechanics

Greedy, Brittle, Opaque, and Shallow: The Downsides to Deep Learning

Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google, has said that AI “is more profound than … electricity or fire.” Andrew Ng, who founded Google Brain and …

Machine Learning

What William James Got Right About Consciousness - Facts So Romantic

Is consciousness an instinct?When feeling at sea about definitions and meanings in the mind/brain business, it is always rewarding to dial up William …

Consciousness

If we gave everyone a decent standard of living, could we sustain it?

First-world quality of life for all is out of reach without an efficiency shake-up.<p>Could we meet the needs of everyone on the planet without …

Water

Sedate a Plant, and It Seems to Lose Consciousness. Is It Conscious?

Plants don’t get enough credit.<p>They move. You know this. Your houseplant salutes the sun each morning. At night, it returns to center.<p>You probably don’t think much of it. This is simply what plants do: Get light. Photosynthesize. Make food. Live.<p>But what about all the signs of plant intelligence …

Consciousness

The idea that everything from spoons to stones is conscious is gaining academic credibility

Consciousness permeates reality. Rather than being just a unique feature of human subjective experience, it’s the foundation of the universe, present in every particle and all physical matter.<p>This sounds like easily-dismissible bunkum, but as traditional attempts to explain consciousness continue …

A $1,000 per month cash handout would grow the economy by $2.5 trillion, new study says

Giving every adult in the United States a $1,000 cash handout per month would grow the economy by $2.5 trillion by 2025, according to a new study on …

13 years of YouTube and we still don't know what it means

Unless you’re a part of the ASMR community, the lift riding community, or the mukbang overeating community, the likelihood is that there are vast …

Internet

Douglas Coupland: 'I no longer remember my pre-internet brain'

<b>(CNN) —</b> Six years ago, I hosted an evening YouTube event at a Vancouver nightclub. My idea was for the audience and I to view a huge screen linked to my laptop and, collectively, plummet into the internet rabbit hole, with participants calling out unexpected links and destinations along the way, …