Tag Archives | MIT

Listen to Rare Recording of Aldous Huxley MIT Lecture on Visionary Experiences

huxley_visionaryThe fine folks at Open Culture have unearthed another treasure: A 1962 recording of Aldous Huxley lecturing on visionary experiences. I’m guessing albums like these were the TED talks of their day. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to embed it, but you can listen to it here

Via Open Culture:

Having transplanted himself from his native England to California in 1937, he eventually achieved great regard among the region’s self-styled intellectuals and spiritual seekers, giving talks at such mystically high-in-the-zeitgeist places as Hollywood and Santa Barbara’s Vedanta temples and even Big Sur’s famous Esalen Institute. But the prolific speech-giver also went farther afield, to far squarer venues such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, in 1962, he recorded the album Visionary Experience: A Series Of Talks On The Human Situation:

 

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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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Five Corporation-Crushing Disruptive Technologies That Will Empower the Masses

disruptive tech headerEveryone knows we are at the mercy of huge corporations in multitude of ways.  Just look at Big Oil.  We are wildly dependent on them as not only individuals, but as a nation and a world.  Though Exxon stands atop the global economic podium, the technology sector isn’t far behind.  Apple made nearly as much in profits in 2012’s fourth quarter as Exxon (a ridiculous $8.2 billion).  Let’s bring that number down to Earth a bit.  Americans are spending an average of $444 per household per year on Apple products alone.  For further evidence, just look around your living room, or better yet, consider the origin of the screen you’re currently staring at.  Chances are, one swollen oligopoly or another made all the pieces of technology you’ve surveyed in the last few seconds.

However, chinks in the armor of these untouchable behemoths are beginning to take shape, leading some, like MIT’s Neil Gershenfeld to question the sustainability of today’s techno giants.… Read the rest

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