EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE – Science & Technology

The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells

It’s been hot in Scotland over these past days in July of 2019. ( https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/24/uk-records-hottest-day-of-year-and-could-hit-new-high-of-39c ) High temperatures of this sort in The Upper Ward induce a febrile and mordacious mood. So we can say our weather’s been nothing to do with with climate change or global warming. Nothing to do with human activity. Nothing

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New Dark Age

The breakneck rush into digital technologies has delivered much that is useful, impressive and dazzling. But what have we lost, and what are the dangers? James Bridle (http://jamesbridle.com/) takes on these concerns here. We live in times of increasing bafflement. Our news feeds are filled with unverified, unverifiable speculation, much of it automatically generated by

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Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Psychological research has been digging about in that highly subjective matter – personal happiness. It’s against a background of consumer culture which offers ‘solutions’ about how we can be ‘made’ to be happy.  These offers come in various forms of chemical compound, guru generated bullshit and lifestyle choices which (not co-incidentally) cost a lot of

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The Scientific Revolution

The ‘Scientific Revolution’ (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-revolutions/) cannot be thought of as occurring neatly in a certain time period. Steven Shapin (https://scholar.harvard.edu/shapin/home, and  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Shapin) states: ‘There was no such thing as the Scientific Revolution, and this is a book about it!’. He continues ‘There was, rather, a diverse array of cultural practices aimed at understanding explaining, and controlling the natural

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The Gene

Ideas about the gene, genetics and genetic engineering get splashed around in the media routinely now. Often the gene is cast up as a simple determinant of behaviour, such as a ‘criminal gene’, or a ‘homosexual gene’. Not many subjects have occasioned as much confusion and misunderstanding.   A clear, accurate, and up-to-date popular science

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Phantoms in the Brain

Here is something to unsettle your conviction that there is any real ‘self’ reading these words. V.S. Ramachandran (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilayanur_S._Ramachandran) shows how strikingly simple experiments can illuminate the ways the brain establishes the illusion of a self.   In avuncular style, he snatches territory from philosophers on the certainty of knowledge. In one experiment, stroking an amputee’s cheek produces sensations

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In Darwin’s Shadow by Michael Shermer

The similarities between between Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace are not hard to point out. Both men had been ardent beetle-hunters in their youth; both subsequently had become travellers, collectors, and observers in some of the most remote parts of the world; both were drawn to asking the big questions (such as why there

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