Peace in the Middle East: Could Alternative Energy Be the Solution?

I have been thinking about the situation in the Middle East and also the rise of oil prices, peak oil, and the problem of a world economy based on energy scarcity rather than abundance. There is, I believe, a way to solve the problems in the Middle East, and the energy problems facing the world, at the same time.… Read More

Virtual Out of Body Experiences

A very cool experiment in virtual reality has shown it is possible to trick the mind into identifying with a virtual body:

Through these goggles, the volunteers could see a camera
view of their own back – a three-dimensional "virtual own body" that
appeared to be standing in front of them.

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Scientist Says "Never in Our Imagination Could This Happen." Famous Last Words?

Whenever a scientist says something like, don’t worry our new experiment could never get out of the lab, or don’t worry the miniature black hole we are going to generate couldn’t possibly swallow up the entire planet, I tend to get a little worried.… Read More

Steorn Set to Demo "Free Energy" Device Tomorrow

Steorn, the Irish company that claims to have invented a mechanical device that generates unlimited free energy with no fuel, is scheduled to demonstrate their device publicly for the first time in London tomorrow. A panel of 22 independent world experts has been recruited to study the device.… Read More

Must-Know Terms for the 21st Century Intellectual

Read this fun article that lists and defines some of the key concepts that every post-singularity transhumanist meta-intellectual should know! (via Kurzweil)

British Ministry of Defense Chief Resigns; Cites Concerns About UFO's

Ok, here’s a very unusual news item:

During his time as head of the Ministry of Defence UFO project, Nick
Pope was persuaded into believing that other lifeforms may visit Earth
and, more specifically, Britain.

His concern is that "highly credible" sightings are simply dismissed.

Read More

Why Machines Will Never be Conscious

Below is the text of my bet on Long Bets. Go there to vote.

“By 2050 no synthetic computer nor machine intelligence will have become truly self-aware (ie. will become conscious).”

Spivack’s Argument:

(This summary includes my argument, a method for judging the outcomeof this bet and some other thoughts on how to measure awareness…)

A.… Read More

The Hidden Structure of Quantum Mechanics and The Prime Numbers Turns Out to Be 42 After All

This is a wonderful article about how a chance encounter led to the discovery of a connection between physics and number theory that may help explain everything from quantum mechanics to the prime numbers….and the most incredible thing is that the answer may actually really be "42" after all.… Read More

Scientist Raises Possibility of Silicon-Based Life

Just read an interesting article on the possibility of "intraterrestrial" silicon-based life on Earth:

SETI spends enormous amounts of money
and resources looking for life outside of Earth’s realm, but life forms
so alien that scientists may simply not have recognized evidence of
their existence could inhabit the Earth, according to a leading
scientist.

Read More

A Problem with Space Travel

As the distance a spaceship travels through space increases, so do the odds that it will collide with debris in its path – such as interstellar dust, micrometeorites, asteroids, dark matter, dark stars, etc.

If you are traveling at super high-speed, through uncharted territory, there is no way to know what is out there.Read More

Electric Currents Heal Wounds

150 years ago, German physiologist Emil Du Bois-Reymond discovered that electric currents could speed up the healing of flesh wounds. But his research has been ignored ever since. Until now…

Now Josef Penninger of the Austrian Institute of Molecular
Biotechnology in Vienna and Min Zhao of the University of Aberdeen, UK,
have demonstrated that natural electric fields and currents in tissue
play a vital role in orchestrating the wound-healing process by
attracting repair cells to damaged areas
.

Read More

Water Powered Car — Too Good to Be True? Video.

OK this is a clip from Fox News, which is not normally a source that I consider to be factual or trustworthy — but it cerrtainly is an interesting story. The video clip profiles an inventor who has developed a novel method of converting water to useful fuel.Read More

All Cell Phone Calls Easily Eavesdropped … With Common Household Appliance

A major, virtually unfixable, security flaw in the design of nearly all cell phones and other mobile devices will be announced this week by researchers at the Foundation for Microwave Safety (FMS). According to sources, it turns out that due to a coincidence in engineering, ordinary household microwave ovens can actually be used to receive and eavesdrop on all cell phone calls made or received within a 1 mile radius.… Read More

Quantum Evolution — A Radical Theory

The theory of quantum evolution is a radical new take on how mutations
in DNA occur. Basically the theory postulates that DNA molecules are in
fact macroscopic quantum objects that undergo quantum interference. It
is spearheaded by Johnjoe McFadden, a professor in the UK and makes for an interesting
read.… Read More

Collective Intelligence 2.0

Introduction:

This article proposes the creation of a new open, nonprofit service on the Web that will provide something akin to “collective self-awareness” back to the Web. This service is like a “Google Zeitgeist” on steroids, but with a lot more real-time, interactive, participatory data, technology and features init.… Read More

Big Thinkers' Most Dangerous Ideas

The Edge has published mini-essays by 119 "big thinkers" on their "most dangerous ideas" — fun reading.

The history of science is replete with discoveries
that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally
dangerous in their time; the Copernican and
Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious.

Read More

Does the Cosmic Background Radiation Contain Hidden Message?

This is a cool idea — some researchers are considering whether the cosmic background radiation may contain an encoded "message from God." OK I doubt it. I think it is more likely to be somewhere in our DNA, or in the digits of Pi, or perhaps in the distribution of the prime numbers.… Read More