Tag Archives | Life

Hunter S. Thompson’s Superb Advice on How to Find Your Purpose and Live a Meaningful Life

Hunter S. Thompson graffiti 2Maria Popova takes a look at the advice of Hunter S. Thompson given in a letter to a friend when he was 20-years-old. From Brain Pickings:

As a hopeless lover of both letters and famous advice, I was delighted to discover a letter 20-year-old Hunter S. Thompson — gonzo journalism godfather, pundit of media politics, dark philosopher — penned to his friend Hume Logan in 1958. Found in Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience (public library) — the aptly titled, superb collection based on Shaun Usher’s indispensable website of the same name — the letter is an exquisite addition to luminaries’ reflections on the meaning of life, speaking to what it really means to find your purpose.

Cautious that “all advice can only be a product of the man who gives it” — a caveat other literary legends have stressed with varying degrees of irreverence — Thompson begins with a necessary disclaimer about the very notion of advice-giving:

To give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania.

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A New Physics Theory of Life

Pic: B. Lachner (CC)

Pic: B. Lachner (CC)

Natalie Wolchover writes at Quanta:

Why does life exist?

Popular hypotheses credit a primordial soup, a bolt of lightning and a colossal stroke of luck. But if a provocative new theory is correct, luck may have little to do with it. Instead, according to the physicist proposing the idea, the origin and subsequent evolution of life follow from the fundamental laws of nature and “should be as unsurprising as rocks rolling downhill.”

From the standpoint of physics, there is one essential difference between living things and inanimate clumps of carbon atoms: The former tend to be much better at capturing energy from their environment and dissipating that energy as heat. Jeremy England, a 31-year-old assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has derived a mathematical formula that he believes explains this capacity. The formula, based on established physics, indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy.

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Bill Nye, Brian Greene, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Lawrence Krauss on the Limitations of Mathematics

MATHEMATICS-INVENTED-OR-DISCOVERED-facebookvia chycho
Math lovers and aficionados will find the following discourse both entertaining and informative.

Below you will find the video and partial transcript of Arizona State University’s Origins Project’s Q&A segment from their ‘The Storytelling of Science’ panel discussion, featuring “well-known science educator Bill Nye, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, theoretical physicist Brian Greene, Science Friday’s Ira Flatow, popular science fiction writer Neal Stephenson, executive director of the World Science Festival Tracy Day, and Origins Project director Lawrence Krauss.”

The first question asked of the panel was:

Q: “If you could give us all a one word piece of advice for our own science storytelling, what would it be?”

Bill Nye was the first to reply with, “Algebra, learn algebra.” Neil deGrasse Tyson follows with, ‘Ambition’. Lawrence Krauss with, ‘Passion’. Neal Stephenson with, ‘Empathize’. Richard Dawkins states that since empathize has already been taken, he will choose ‘Poetry’.

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Slime Mold Expresses Its Emotions Through Robotic Face

Android technology may reveal the inner lives of simple and mysterious creatures, in disturbing fashion. Via New Scientist:
Slime mold finds the quickest path between food and has even shown signs of having memory – despite not having a brain. A human-like robot face has been hooked up so that its expressions are controlled by the electrical signals produced when yellow slime mold shies away from light, or moves eagerly towards food. Physarum polycephalum is a common yellow slime mold which ranges in size from several hundred micrometres to more than one metre. It is an aggregation of hundreds or thousands of identical unicellular organisms that merge together into one huge "cell" containing all their nuclei.
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Study Reveals That Death Occurs More Slowly Than Believed

death

Being alive or dead may not be such a black and white matter. Via Discovery:

A new study reveals how death in organisms, including humans, spreads like a wave from cell to cell until the whole individual is dead. In certain cases, scientists may be able to stop the biochemical process that leads to this death wave, reviving the individual.

Researchers focused their analysis on worms, which surprisingly possess mechanisms that are similar to those that are active in mammals. A remarkable feature of worms is that, as they die, the spread of death through their bodies can easily be seen under magnification. It’s a fluorescent blue light caused by necrosis, or the cell death pathway. This, in turn, is dependent upon calcium signaling.

The individual cell deaths trigger a chemical reaction that leads to the breakdown of cell components and a build-up of molecular debris. If this goes on unchecked, the individual is toast.

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Some Primary Lessons from Some Amazing Teachers

via chycho

Our personal perspective is a reflection of our influences, i.e., in large part we are a byproduct of our environment and lessons learned from influential teachers, which is why my About Page contains a list of some of the prominent teachers that I have had the good fortune to stumble upon.

Considering the vast body of work that is represented in this list, I thought it would be a good exercise to try and share at least one primary lesson from each teacher. Below you will find teachings shared by fifteen of those on the list. More will follow, but for now, here is what I have learned from:

1. Terence McKenna: The word “mine” has been the primary destructive force in society as it relates to raising children and building communities.… Read the rest

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Life Is a Video Game

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There are many metaphors for what life really is, but foremost in the big smarty pants community is the idea that life is a computer simulation.  There happens to be a good amount of information that leads us to believe this is possible and the Edge Bros. are making a film about it to make the idea easier for the Average Joe to swallow.  I found their indiegogo presentation to be amusing and informative.  Check it out for yourself and consider throwing a couple ‘coins’ their way.  Check out their crowd funding page here.

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The Preformationist Explanation Of Reproduction And The Creation Of Life

Preformationism—one of the dominant scientific theories of the 18th century—is the belief that a tiny tree is hidden inside every seed, and a tiny person curled up inside every sperm. Via Wikipedia:

In the history of biology, preformationism (or preformism) is the idea that organisms develop from miniature versions of themselves. Instead of assembly from parts, preformationists believe that the form of living things exist, in real terms, prior to their development. It suggests that all organisms were created at the same time, and that succeeding generations grow from homunculi that have existed since the beginning of creation.

Pythagoras is one of the earliest thinkers credited with ideas about the origin of form in the biological production of offspring. It is said that he originated “spermism”, the doctrine that fathers contribute the essential characteristics of their offspring while mothers contribute only a material substrate.

The groundbreaking scientific insights provided by Galileo and Descartes seemed to support preformationism.

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On The Price Of Increasing Your Capital

Consider getting drunk and going to the movies this weekend. From 1844’s Human Requirements and Division of Labour Under the Rule of Private Property, Karl Marx says:

The less you eat, drink and read books; the less you go to the theatre, the dance hall, the public house; the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save – the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor dust will devour – your capital. The less you are, the more you have; the less you express your own life, the greater is your alienated life – the greater is the store of your estranged being.

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NASA Planning Mission To Search For Life On Jupiter’s Moon Europa

Mars gets the attention, but apparently a moon in the far reaches of our solar system is the spot with the greatest chance of harboring extraterrestrial beings. Via the Sydney Morning Herald:

US astronomers looking for life in the solar system believe that Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, which has an ocean, is much more promising than desert-covered Mars, which is currently the focus of the US government’s attention.

“Europa is the most likely place in our solar system beyond Earth to possess …. life,” said Robert Pappalardo, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). “Europa is the most promising in terms of habitability because of its relatively thin ice shelf and an ocean … And we know there are oxidants on the surface of Europa.”

The JPL and the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland developed a new exploration project named Clipper with a total coast of two billion US dollars minus the launch.

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