Tag Archives | Spirituality

Death Should be Optional

Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot in “The Seventh Seal”

Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot in “The Seventh Seal”

via H+ Magazine:

Now more than ever, the topic of death is marked by no shortage of diverging opinions.

On the one hand, there are serious thinkers — Ray Kurzweil, Hans Moravec, Michio Kaku, Marshall Brain, Aubrey de Grey and others — who foresee that technology may enable humans to defeat death. There are also dissenters who argue that this is exceedingly unlikely. And there are those like Bill Joy who think that such technologies are technologically feasible but morally reprehensible.

As a non-scientist I am not qualified to evaluate scientific claims about what science can and cannot do. What I can say is that plausible scenarios for overcoming death have now appeared. This leads to the following questions: If individuals could choose immortality, should they? Should societies fund and promote research to defeat death?

The question regarding individuals has a straightforward answer: We should respect the right of autonomous individuals to choose for themselves.

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The epigenetics of The X-Files

X chromosome inactivation can definitely be explained by epigenetics. X-Files? Less certain. Image from Reinius et al., BMC Genomics 2010, 11, 614.

X chromosome inactivation can definitely be explained by epigenetics. X-Files? Less certain. Image from Reinius et al., BMC Genomics 2010, 11, 614.

via The Guardian:

The X-Files was my absolute favourite television show in the 1990s. My flatmates and I would tune in every week to watch intrepid FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully track down assorted aliens, psychics, vampires, ghosts, and government conspiracies. We bought the soundtrack CD; we even had a poster on our living room wall. It was A Big Deal, for all seven seasons (some people think there were nine seasons, but I refuse to admit that seasons eight and nine – or the second movie – ever happened).

Dana Scully was a scientist, always looking for a perfectly rational explanation for the strange phenomena encountered each week. Many of these explanations were based on genetics, especially in the “monster-of-the-week” episodes featuring assorted freaks and other abominations not part of the main alien conspiracy storyline.

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Fifty More Ways to Leave Leviathan

Matthias Ripp (CC BY 2.0)

Matthias Ripp (CC BY 2.0)

via Fee:

It’s been over a year since we published “50 Ways to Leave Leviathan.” That successful piece showed how innovation and entrepreneurship are gradually undermining the top-down, command-and-control approach to governance.

It is happening quickly by any historical standard, but it is also happening incrementally in ways that cause us not to notice. The bigger the pattern, the more slowly we tend to recognize it. The bigger the implication, the more resistant we are to acknowledging it.

We even take it all for granted. In reality, the ground is shifting beneath our feet. Those in power feel it, and it scares them. The innovation can be slowed, but it can’t be stopped, much less reversed. This great transformation is already underway.

The theme, as always, is human freedom, which is the insuppressible urge within all of us to live full and ever more prosperous lives, regardless of the barriers put in the way.

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Tweets from the afterlife: social networking with the dead

The possibility of a posthumous digital social life seriously challenges our notions of death. Shimal Ahmed (Fulhi), CC BY-SA

The possibility of a posthumous digital social life seriously challenges our notions of death. Shimal Ahmed (Fulhi), CC BY-SA

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
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By Bjorn Nansen, University of Melbourne; James Meese, University of Melbourne; Martin Gibbs, University of Melbourne; Michael Arnold, University of Melbourne, and Tamara Kohn, University of Melbourne

Media technologies have operated as both a means of communicating news of a death and memorialising the deceased for a significant period of time, moving from traditional epitaphs, eulogies, wakes and inscription in stone to centuries-old obituaries printed and circulated in newspapers. So where are we now?

Digital commemoration emerged as the internet became readily accessible and an integral part of people’s communicative practices. Initially, during the 90s, it took the form of memorial websites hosted by the families and friends of the deceased.… Read the rest

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Who said it: Charlie Brown or Friedrich Nietzsche?

nietzsche charlie

via Mashable:

Good grief, Charlie Brown. You’ll never be able to kick that football because it is an illusion.

Everyone’s favorite bald-headed blockhead isn’t just the socially awkward loner the rest of the Peanuts gang make him out to be. His often nihilistic musings on life over the last 64 years make him a lot like 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

While Neitzsche may not have attempted to kick footballs in his lifetime, Charlie Brown certain has spent plenty of his life gazing long into the abyss. Not too shabby for an 8-year-old.

To play the game, go here: http://mashable.com/2014/12/08/charlie-brown-or-friedrich-nietzsche/

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The Secrets in Plain Sight All Around Us |Number Sage, Scott Onstott Joins Midwest Real!

Via Midwest Real

Number sage, Scott Onstott joins the podcast to blast light upon the secrets in plain sight that unite art, history, religion, conspiracy, geometry and number.  

ITUNES  STITCHER DOWNLOAD

IMG_6268We’ve all witnessed the odd similarities between manmade systems and natural ones. From a slight shift in perspective, white blood cells torpedoing through vessels look a whole lot like bumper-to-bumper traffic and the internet looks remarkably similar to the interconnected brain neurons beneath our skulls.

On one hand, it seems preposterous to compare us as human beings to all these disparate, albeit similar looking structures. After all, we’ve got freewill, complicated minds, feelings relationships and ever-evolving behavior patterns. But, could it be that beyond our individual autonomy there’s a greater, cosmic work at hand that we’re completely ignorant to flowing through us? If we could stand outside of time and watch an overview of human civilization throughout the ages, would we see some sort of 4th dimensional cosmic geometry connected to a purpose far beyond, yet totally interdependent upon our mundane monkey toil?… Read the rest

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Altamont at 45: The most dangerous rock concert

Screengrab from a video stream which shows a static photograph of Meredith Hunter shortly before being stabbed to death.

Screengrab from a video stream which shows a static photograph of Meredith Hunter shortly before being stabbed to death.

via BBC:

The Altamont concert, with its notorious murder caught on film, occurred 45 years ago. Many consider it to be the end of the ‘60s, Owen Gleiberman writes.

Forty-five years ago, on 6 December 1969, a free rock concert headlined by The Rolling Stones at the Altamont Speedway outside San Francisco devolved into a disaster of violence that instantly took on mythical status. Virtually overnight, Altamont became the anti-Woodstock, the rock dream turned nightmare, the official last nail in the coffin of the ’60s. It’s always easy, of course, to overload a single event with symbolism, but it’s hard to deny that Altamont truly was all of those things. Shortly after the Stones began their set, a member of the California Hells Angels – who were loosely hired to police the event – committed a gruesome murder right in front of the stage, stabbing a drugged-out youth named Meredith Hunter several times in the back.

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Shitty Jobs, Scarface, Dick Cheney, Fate and the Inconvenient Truth about Karma

vivek jena CC By 2.0)

vivek jena (CC By 2.0)

It’s late Sunday evening, now. The nights are long this time of year and it’s cold out. It’s the season of icy windows that crack when the heater kicks on at two in the morning. When you’re reminded of how nice it is to have another warm body next to you under the comforter, so that you can rub feet together and purr in frigid pleasure.

I should go to bed. Tomorrow is Monday, obviously, and I begin a new week of work. Mornings have an annoying tendency to come early, especially when you’re not particularly enchanted with your given line of work. But to go to bed would be an act of acquiescence—or, at least it feels like one. Even though I know it’s nonsense, it almost feels that the longer I stay awake, the longer I can put off the impending doom of another goddamned Monday morning.… Read the rest

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Ouija Boards Become A Christmas ‘Must Buy’: Church Warns ‘Don’t Let This Darkness Into Your Lives’

Dave Winer (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Dave Winer (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via The Inquistr:

It would appear that Ouija boards are fast becoming one of the “coolest” and “must-have” Christmas gifts of 2014, but the church has fiercely criticized the trend calling it “absolutely appalling,” and strongly warned people to “not let this darkness” into their lives.

Google reports that sales of Ouija boards are up to 300 percent, and are flying off the shelves quicker than you can say, “Oh no, it looks like poltergeist activity’.

The reason for the resurgence in sales is a new low-budget horror film called Ouija.

The film, which tells the time-honored story of kids meddling with powers they do not comprehend and then wondering why all of a sudden everything’s gone to hell, was slated by the critics, but cinema-going teens adored it.

Cue the current demand for Ouija boards. Interestingly, toy manufacturer Hasbro, who are one of the companies currently selling Ouija boards to ghost-seeking teens, helped finance the making of Ouija.

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Asteroid Day: A global day of awareness slated for June 30, 2015

AsteroidDay

via Astronomy.com:

Astrophysicist Brian May, founding member and lead guitarist of the rock band Queen, joined Lord Martin Rees, the UK Royal Astronomer, at the London Science Museum today to host a press conference to announce Asteroid Day, a global awareness campaign to educate the world about asteroids. The event was linked to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, where Ryan Wyatt, director of the Morrison Planetarium and Science Visualization, hosted astronauts Tom Jones, Ed Lu, and Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart. Bill Nye, the Science Guy and CEO of The Planetary Society, joined via video from New York.

A central focus of the event was the release of a 100x Declaration, calling for the hundredfold increase in the detection and monitoring of asteroids. Lord Rees read the declaration, which resolves to “solve humanity’s greatest challenges to safeguard our families and quality of life on Earth in the future.”

The declaration calls for three key actions:

  • Employ the available technology to detect and track near-Earth asteroids that threaten human populations
  • A rapid hundredfold (100x) acceleration of the discovery and tracking of near-Earth objects
  • Global adoption of Asteroid Day on June 30, 2015, to heighten awareness of the asteroid hazard and efforts to prevent future impacts.
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