The Hijacking of Philosophy

By dakine kane via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

By dakine kane via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

via Things That Shouldn’t Still Exist:

By my estimate, the majority of people who begin reading this are already of the opinion that philosophy is little more than a tedious form of mental masturbation, and worse, almost entirely useless.  My response:  I must sadly agree.  On the other hand, I only concede under the assumption we are speaking about 98% of the philosophy you learn in school and that most supposed “philosophers” choose to focus on.  Therefore, if you think philosophy sucks and has little bearing on anything real, I don’t blame you.  However, do read on as I would like to explain how it has been hijacked over the last 50 years.  In particular, the modern connotation of the word “philosophy” seems to largely exclude it’s most useful facet:  ethical philosophy, or as I refer to it, personal philosophy.

Below is a brief history on the progression of my thought processes and how I came to give a shit about any of this:

I can remember back to when I first began to have thoughts of depth.  My parents moved us out of state between fourth and fifth grade, so not only was I friendless, but also suddenly in the lowest grade at a brand new school.  Before that, I had lots of friends and mindless social interactions, but unlike the elementary grades, middle school was full of cliques.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Islamic State wants Australians to attack Muslims: terror expert

 

Police outside one of the Sydney homes raided earlier today, which has prompted warnings against an anti-Muslim backlash. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Police outside one of the Sydney homes raided earlier today, which has prompted warnings against an anti-Muslim backlash. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Nick O’Brien
Former head of International Counter Terrorism in Special Branch at New Scotland Yard; Associate Professor Counter Terrorism at Charles Sturt University

It’s in the interests of Islamic State for Muslims in Australia to be attacked or for their mosques to be attacked, because doing so would help divide the Australian community. But we should be very clear: the only people who win if Australia is divided are the extremists.

The new allegations of a plot to kidnap and behead Australians as a way of supporting the Islamic State didn’t surprise me, because there was a similar plot in the UK about seven years ago. In that UK case, it was a plot to kidnap, torture and behead a British Muslim soldier, film it, and put it on the internet.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Defensive Pessimism: How Planning for the Worst can be Beneficial

"Optimism Wisdom Pessimism Future Presence Past" by HKD via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

“Optimism Wisdom Pessimism Future Presence Past” by HKD via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Julie Norem, a psychology professor at Wellesley College, explores Defensive Pessimism in her 2002 book, The Positive Power Of Negative Thinking. In short, Defensive Pessimists expect the worst, but are proactive in planning against it. Thus they are more prepared, while reducing anxiety levels.

Olga Khazan interviews Norem at The Atlantic (Follow the link to read the entire interview):

Olga Khazan: What is defensive pessimism?

Julie Norem: It’s a strategy for dealing with anxiety and helping to manage anxiety so that it doesn’t negatively influence performance. If you feel anxious in a situation, it doesn’t really matter if it’s realistic or not, you feel how you feel. It’s hard not to feel that particular way. If you feel anxious, you need to do something about it. Usually people try to run away from whatever situation makes you anxious. But there are other ways of dealing with it.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Hubble Helps Find Smallest Known Galaxy Containing a Supermassive Black Hole

 

Artist's View of M60-UCD1 Black Hole Image Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI-PRC14-41a

Artist’s View of M60-UCD1 Black Hole
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI-PRC14-41a

How awesome is this?!

via Nasa.gov:

Astronomers using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and ground observation have found an unlikely object in an improbable place — a monster black hole lurking inside one of the tiniest galaxies ever known.

The black hole is five times the mass of the one at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. It is inside one of the densest galaxies known to date — the M60-UCD1 dwarf galaxy that crams 140 million stars within a diameter of about 300 light-years, which is only 1/500th of our galaxy’s diameter.

If you lived inside this dwarf galaxy, the night sky would dazzle with at least 1 million stars visible to the naked eye. Our nighttime sky as seen from Earth’s surface shows 4,000 stars.

The finding implies there are many other compact galaxies in the universe that contain supermassive black holes.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Sack the Economists

SackMock-Up4

By Geoff Davies via Real-World Economics Review Blog:

Non-mainstream economists are all-too aware of the failure of mainstream economists to anticipate, let alone avoid, the Global Financial Crisis and the ensuing Great Recession.  The mainstream profession is also failing to fix the problem, and is actually making it worse.

It is hard to get alternative views heard, and the mainstream carries on almost totally unperturbed, despite being centrally responsible for a global disaster.  This is of course extremely frustrating.

After reading yet another cri de coeur from yet another frustrated economist, I thought perhaps we need to spell out the message in all bluntness: we need to sack the economists (the mainstreamers).  We also need to derail their baleful ideology.  That means we need to disband the departments of neoclassical economics, so the poison is not passed on to any more hapless generations.

When I say “we”, I really mean “we, the people”.  The job can’t be done by a small band of isolated reformers.  That means people need to be informed and persuaded.  They need to be spoken to in terms they understand;  not everyone, but opinion leaders and interested laypeople, of whom there are many.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

IKEA’s Time Travel Experiment Continues

IKEA_Jeff_Beth_Poster_Frame_01A new installment in the unconventional promotional experiment, where world-renowned hypnotist Justin Trance hypnotizes a young couple into believing they’re in their future, shows the hypnotized couple, Jeff and Beth, reacting to predicted future life scenarios presented to them, in IKEA bedrooms and bathrooms…

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Arming Syrian Rebels – How Does This End?

In the 80′s we armed the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. It led to al Qaeda & the Taliban.

In the 2000′s, we armed Iraqis and now ISIS is using that very gear against us.

As we consider arming Syrian rebels and a rush back to war, we need you to help this country stop and think: How does this end?

Watch and share this video. And then call your U.S. Senators today to tell them to vote against arming more rebels and starting new wars.

Help others seriously question doing the same, wrong thing all over again.

Thank you for your action.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Heaven’s Gate: The Online Legacy of a Suicide Cult and the Webmasters Who Stayed Behind

Heaven's GateLong-time disinfonauts know all about Heaven’s Gate, but did you know that the suicide cult’s website is still live and “they” answer email? Gizmodo investigates who’s keeping it going:

Every month, the bills get paid on time. The emails get answered, and any orders filled. Which, for HeavensGate.com, is positively extraordinary. Because as far as the public is aware, every last member of the suicide cult died 17 years ago from a cocktail of arsenic and apple sauce. A few stayed behind, though. Someone had to keep the homepage going.

Today, at first glance, the fully functional, 17-year-old website seems like just one more of the many GeoCities-era relics that litter the internet. Visitor counts, flashing text, Word Art gradients; the whole gang’s here and then some. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll find that almost every link adds yet another layer to a wildly extensive dogma, totally earnest in its interweaving of disembodied space aliens, Jesus, secret UFOs, prophets to whom aliens speak, comets coming to save us, and the suicide it takes to get there.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Rise of the Barbarians and Why the United States Has Lost All Credibility

The Pale Blue Dot, the Earth suspended in a sunbeam like a mote of dust.  Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_Dot

The Pale Blue Dot, the Earth suspended in a sunbeam like a mote of dust.

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core.

Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

– Hermann Goering

The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities.Read the rest

Continue Reading