I Hung Out with Theoretical Physicist Michio Kaku

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Well, not actually hung out with him in as much as participated in a Google Hangout to talk about his new book The Future of the Mind, but with just me and two other participants it was a fairly intimate affair. My time was limited, and in addition to my own questions I was responsible for fielding questions from audience members, so I didn’t get to everything I wanted to ask. However, I tried to do Disinfo proud: I asked about psychedelic research, Nikola Tesla (Thanks, audience member who gave me the excuse to do so!), mind uploads and some other stuff. I’m also happy to say that my fellow interviewers got to a lot of questions I wanted to ask, too.

Anyway, I thought I’d share it here. Hope you like it – or at least it gives you something to discuss or think about.

(By the way, watching this, I noticed that I was subconsciously shifting my lower jaw around a lot. Terrible TMJ today. That and probably a good dose of nerves. Suffice it to say that I’m mortified: It’s not that often that you get to look like a spastic circus freak in front of one of the entire internet and one of great minds of the 21st century at the same time. Very embarrassing, but I hope it won’t prove too distracting to you. I understand that showing vulnerability online – acknowledging faults, mistakes, or shortcomings – brings trouble, but I try to be as honest as I can here, and if I don’t point it out then someone else will. Oh, and that is indeed my four-month old puppy that starts whining toward the end. Thankfully, I was able to mute my microphone within minutes. Gah. These are the days…)

 

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  • Yūgen

    Matt…is that a sword behind you?

    I knew you were badass, but damn! **bows**

    • Matt Staggs

      Um, actually. Uh, yeah. *blush*

    • Matt Staggs

      Um. Yeah. *blush*

  • echar

    What, Matt is human and has vulnerabilities? :P

    • Matt Staggs

      Thanks, Echar. I have a habit of getting up inside my own head.

      • Virtually Yours

        “It’s not that often that you get to look like a spastic circus freak” Whoa…not so harsh, Sir Staggs! Echar is right: how dare you be human before a live and (presumably) mostly human audience? If anything, it just makes you that much cuter :-)

      • echar

        No worries Matt. I can relate. An overactive and analytical mind can be a blessing and a curse.

        I am an highly sensitive person (HSP). Sometimes going to a store can be an overwhelming experience. I just grin and bear it. One of the techniques for overcoming these experiences is to openly acknowledge. Which is what you did.

        The Highly Sensitive Person
        http://www.hsperson.com/

  • echar

    Memory watermarks and memory pirates of the future.

  • Virtually Yours

    Great interview, Matt! It seems like there were a few times when he didn’t quite grasp the nature of the question which you or one of the others asked (e.g. your question about psychedelics: he kept referring to getting high and addiction, but I don’t associate either of those two things with ethneogens…) but, overall, it was a fun and thought-provoking discussion :-)

    And I absolutely love his definition of String Theory: “All of the subatomic particles we see in nature are nothig but musical notes on a tiny vibrating string. So physics is the laws of harmony of these vibrating strings; chemistry is the meoldies we can play on interacting strings; the universe is a symphony of strings; and the ‘mind of god’ that Einstein wrote about for 30 years of his life is cosmic music, resonating through 11-dimensional hyperspace.” Such a gorgeous description…will be sharing with all of my nerdy and musically-minded friends!

  • jasonpaulhayes

    Everyone else had a bookshelf behind them but Matt keeps a Sword beside him… wise decision.

  • Yūgen

    It’s remarkable that someone so intelligent could be so mind blowingly ignorant of psychedelics. How can he call them highly addictive when it’s well known that they have potential in fighting addiction to other drugs?

  • Matt Staggs

    These are all very valid criticisms, and I appreciate you sharing them here so eloquently. Thanks!

  • Yūgen

    Here here!

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