Edge 245June 5, 2008
[8,000 words]

THE THIRD CULTURE

EXPERIMENT MARATHON REYKJAVÍK

Reykjavík Art Museum
Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist
In Collaboration With Artist Ólafur Elíasson


BRIAN ENO
Leads Impromptu A Capella Group
___

WALL STREET JOURNAL
In Iceland, Building Bridges for Art
By Cathryn Drake

THE BOSTON GLOBE
Creators of Cool

By Tom Haines

ART FORUM
Amazing Race — Reykjavik
Cathryn Drake

ARTNET
Fire And Ice
By Ben Davis

ART REVIEW
Reykjavik Arts Festival Diary, Days 1–4
By James Westcot

ART FACT.NET
Art Facts.Net Interviews Hans Ulrich Obrist
Marek Claassen

IN THE NEWS

FRANKFURTER RUNDSCHAU
Die Mondflüge der Philosophie
Von Christian Schluter

NEW YORK TIMES
The Future Is Now? Pretty Soon, at Least
By John Tierney

NEW YORK TIMES
Dark, Perhaps Forever
By Dennis Overbye

NEW YORK TIMES
An Overflowing Five-Day Banquet of Science and Its Meanings
By Dennis Overbye

THE NEW YORK TIMES
Put a Little Science in Your Life
By Brian Greene

THE SUNDAY TIMES
Nassim Nicholas Taleb: the prophet of boom and doom
By Brian Appleyard

NATURE
Why we should love logarithms
By Philip Ball

NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
The Question of Global Warming
By Freeman Dyson

THE NEW REPUBLIC
The Stupidity of Dignity
By Steven Pinker

THE NEW YORK TIMES
The Alpha Geeks
By David Brooks

THE NEW YORK TIMES
Study Finds Big Social Factor in Quitting Smoking
By Gina Kolata

THE BOSTON GLOBE
The secret to happiness? Who knows?
By Alex Beam

WIRED
15th Anniversary: The Brian Eno Evolution
By Steven Leckart

THE INDEPENDENT
Brian Eno: As he turns 60, the professor of rock is as creative as ever
By Nick Hasted

NATURE
Written in the skies
Zeeya Merali

THE NEW YORK TIMES
The Neural Buddhists
By David Brooks

SEED MAGAZINE
The Seed Salon
Marc Hauser + Errol Morris

THE NEW YORKER
Birdbrain: The woman behind the world's chattiest parrots
By Margaret Talbot

SUEDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG
Talent and Patents: The sciences fight for intellectual jurisdiction
By Andrian Kreye

SCIENCE
Neurobiology: The Roots of Morality
By Greg Miller

LOS ANGELES TIMES
Does your brain have a mind of its own?
By Gary Marcus

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
Does Time Run Backward in Other Universes?
By Sean Carroll

THE SUN
Reconsiderations: Richard Dawkins and His Selfish Meme
By Pat Shipman

BLOOMBERG MARKETS
Flight of the Black Swan
By Stephanie Baker-Said

NEW YORK MAGAZINE
If God Is Dead, Who Gets His House?
By Sean McManus




15 May – 17 August 2008

Experiment Marathon Reykjavík


Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist
In collaboration with artist Ólafur Elíasson

Click on images to enlarge
Performance artist Marina Abramovic, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson,
Artist & Edge cofounder Katinka Matson

Experiment Marathon Reykjavik, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programs and Director of International Projects, Serpentine Gallery, and artist Ólafur Elíasson, was a two-fold project that expands the idea of experimentation and display. It comprised an exhibition and a public event, which brought together leading international artists, writers and scientists to form a ‘laboratory of experiences’.

For this event, Obrist reprised the Edge World Question Center – Formulae for the 21st Century — which he first presented at the Serpentine Gallery in London last October.

Electronic musician, music theorist and record producer Brian Eno Eno photo of Katinka Matson experiencing Eno sound installation

As was the case in London, the event featured live presentations of "table-top" experiments from numerous artists and scientists. One of the presenters was Avant-garde film-maker, writer, visionary Jonas Mekas who was, and is, the organizing force behind Film-Makers Cinematheque. I hadn't seen or talked to him in 43 years.

In 1965, Mekas hired me to manage the Cinematheque. I was 24-years old at the time. One day he handed me a piece of paper with a list of about 50 artists, poets, dancers, film-makers, laid out hia vision for a "new cinema" festival, wished me luck, and left the country, leaving me to produce "The Expanded Cinema Festival" which took place in Novermber, 1965. The Festival included events/performances by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Nam June Paik, La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela, USCO, Carolee Schneemann (also at Reykjavik), Kenneth Dewey & Terry Riley, and Jack Smith. (See The Nation, 12.27,1967, second page.)

Iceland's President
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson

Avant-garde film-maker Jonas Mekas, Performance artist Carolee Shneemann

Hans Ulrich Obrist and I have been interviewing each other for years. As recently as last month I presented an Edge feature on his ideas about running an exhibition. (See "A Rule of the Game".) One event at the Reykjavik Festival was a conversation between us on my experiences in the art world and the intersections with science. I received a transcription of the 20-minute event which I was prepared to publish on Edge when until I realized that ten years ago, we sat together for the better art of a day covered much of the same ground much more extensively. The Q&A was published in Art Orbit and is available online. Click on the image.

JB


BRIAN ENO
Leads Impromptu A Cappella Group




THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
MAY 30, 2008


Backstage With Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Olafur Eliasson
In Iceland, Building Bridges for Art
By Cathryn Drake

Curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and artist Olafur Eliasson have been discussing the nature of collaboration and art for more than a decade. They met in the early 1990s and soon began visiting Iceland each summer with a contingent of other artists and thinkers to explore the landscape and share ideas, in the hope of spurring creativity.

Their latest project, part of the Reykjavik Arts Festival, is a more formal version of the gatherings. Called the Experiment Marathon Reykjavik, it brought together more than 50 artists, architects, filmmakers and academics to demonstrate the intersection between art and science.

...



THE BOSTON GLOBE
MAY 24, 2008


Creators of Cool

By Tom Haines

At a solitary edge of the world, artists reach, project, search, question, in forms old and new and newer still

At the center of the room, a long table was laden with stacks of crackers and swirls of licorice. Hans Ulrich Obrist and Olafur Eliasson, curators of an "experiment marathon" that the next day would unite dozens of artists and scientists discussing topics as diverse as sleep patterns, wind currents, and how we laugh, stepped to a small stage.

...



ART FORUM
MAY 25, 2008


Amazing Race — Reykjavik

Cathryn Drake

As people arrived from all over the world to attend the opening weekend of the Reykjavik Arts Festival and participate in Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Olafur Eliasson’s "Experiment Marathon Reykjavik," the mood resembled a summer camp—albeit one attended by Björk, who was on my flight from London, and the country’s president, Olafur Ragnar Grímsson. Festivities kicked off with receptions at both the president’s residence and at Reykjavik city hall, home of mayor Ólafur F. Magnússon. Iceland’s intimate social landscape, along with its intimidating physical landscape, brought the eclectic crowd together, and it seemed that whenever someone was mentioned in conversation they appeared just around the corner. ...

...Bringing together art and science, the experiment marathon seemed like an inspirational DIY manual for life itself. Describing reality as a nonlinear process of input and output in which we ourselves are the instruments, Brockman noted, "You are not creating the world, you are inventing it." In "Laughing at Leonardo," filmmaker-composer Tony Conrad made a sort of Vitruvian Man joke using his own body as a stringed musical instrument. Brian Eno led the audience in a sing-along of "Can’t Help Falling in Love," and proposed choral singing as the key to civilization: "In a group you stop being me and start being us. I encourage you all to start your own a cappella group and change the world." He added, "The three keys to happiness and a healthy old age are dancing, singing, and camping."

...



ARTNET
May 15, 2008


Fire And Ice
by Ben Davis

If you haven’t thought too much about the cultural life of Iceland, that’s probably because the entire population of the island nation -- about 312,000 souls in all -- makes it about half the size of my hometown of Seattle. Reykjavik, the country’s clean, modern capital on the southwest coast, is roughly comparable in size to Tacoma, Seattle’s more obscure neighbor.

If you have perchance thought of Icelandic culture, it probably has something to do with Bjork, the pop diva who wore a swan-shaped dress to the Oscars. If you’re in the art world, you probably think of neo-light-and-space wizard Ólafur Elíasson, currently being canonized at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. And Bjork.

Both were on hand to support the opening of the second-ever Reykjavik Arts Festival, May 15-June 5, 2008, a triennial celebration of visual culture in Iceland and a little gem on the international art circuit. Bjork was present in the form of cameo appearances at various openings (and as the subject of nightly, untrue rumors -- which I somehow imagine are common in Reykjavik -- that she would be deejaying later). Elíasson lent his heft as co-MC of the "Experiment Marathon" at the Reykjavik Art Museum, along with ubiquitous art-world pied piper Hans Ulrich Obrist.

As the highlight of the nationwide festival, which featured shows across the country, the marathon offered a two-day program of presentations by international artists and scientists, an extension of a project Obrist first staged at the Elíasson-designed Serpentine Pavilion in London last year, itself an offshoot of a 2001 exhibition he co-curated in Antwerp called "Laboratorium."...

...For the artists, on the other hand, Obrist’s interview on Sunday with weather-beaten thinker John Brockman had a more sobering lesson. Would-be polymath Obrist clearly has a special identification with Brockman, whose shtick is that he is a creativity guru who bridges the arts and sciences with his website Edge.org. For those disinclined to take seriously the possible impact of Obrist’s pop-intellectual art-science synthesis, however, Brockman’s description of how he went from hanging out with John Cage and pondering the implications of cybernetics to consulting for the Pentagon provides a cautionary note as to where an approach that turns art into just another technology to research might lead. ...

...



ART REVIEW
May 15, 2008


Reykjavik Arts Festival Diary, Days 1–4
By James Westcott

Descending through the clouds over Iceland, the land looks like cauliflower, or something growing in a giant petri dish. Driving from the airport, which is basically out in the wilderness a dozen or so miles from Reykjavik, the interminable rockiness of the earth becomes obvious: rock everywhere, volcanic black gnawed and gnarly masses smeared with a thin film of moss, stretching back to the horizon in incredible sliding perspective (as you drive by), before it's stopped short by a wall of squat, tempting mountains. I'm here for the Reykjavik Art Festival, which began last night, and my knee-jerk thought riding through the countryside was: how does culture, let alone a thriving triennial of visual art (this is the second after Bjorn Roth (son of Dieter) and Jessica Morgan's effort in 2005) get a toe-hold here in the midst of such overwhelming, isolating and intimidating nature?

Easy. At the packed opening reception for the festival, hosted by the Reykjavik Art Museum (a mixture of brutalist concrete and steel-and-glass elegance), Hans Urlich Obrist speculated that Iceland is possibly the only country in the world where the president and his wife would come to a performance by Emily Wardill, the emerging London-based film artist. President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson – a big supporter of the arts – was indeed one of those watching in the small auditorium as Wardill kicked off the crowning event of the festival, Obrist and Olafur Eliasson's Experiment Marathon. This is a new iteration of the exhilarating event – a series of presentations, performances and interactions – that was first tried out in the Serpentine pavilion during Frieze last year. (And Obrist revealed that this summer's marathon at the Serpentine will be a Manifesto Marathon – for an era without manifestos – inside Frank Gehry's pavilion.)...

..."Try saying your brain is a computer in the 1970s, and you'd get a lot of flak. Now it's old hat", said cultural entrepreneur and founder of edge.org, John Brockman in an on-stage interview with Obrist. "Who we are is a changing game." Let's hope art can keep up. At the end of the short interview, Brockman quoted James Lee Byars, who is perhaps the father of this kind of polyphonous, multi-disciplinary thinking in the contemporary artworld with his World Question Center (1968): "It's Einstein, Gertrude Stein, Wittgenstein and Frankenstein" – you need all four in order to think; a man can't live on art alone.

Brian Eno, up next, demonstrated how man can't live alone either. Singing helps, and we don't do enough of it. Eno has been campaigning for a compulsory five minutes of singing in English schools every day, and it looks like he's succeeding. With a small group of volunteers leading us on stage, Eno soon got everyone in the audience (which was overflowing today) happily singing 'I can't help falling in love with you' a cappella. It was a joyous, silly, profound moment. ...

...



ART FACTS.NET

Artfacts.Net Interview with Hans-Ulrich Obrist


Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Marek Claassen

Hans-Ulrich Obrist is one of the most prestigious curators of contemporary art. Currently he serves as a Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes, and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery in London. ...

...HUO: What happened is that suddenly this immaterial exhibition of formulas has, by being on 'Edge', reached a completely other context. Suddenly we ended up on top of Boing Boing which is the biggest blog on the planet, and hundreds of thousands of people all over the world would visit it. To some extent, that obviously is very important for us because it is not only about bridging the gap between disciplines, but it's also about reaching art and building bridges to other visitors who usually would not come to an art gallery, and we have 800,000 visitors p.a. Admission is free. So this kind of way is also an interesting link to the internet. You go to "Edge", it's free. You come to the Serpentine, it's free.

...

PERMALINK


Now Available!

Science at the Edge:
Conversations with the Leading Scientific Thinkers of Today
by John Brockman (editor)

"Compelling" — "Stellar" — "Important"

Originally published in hardcover as The New Humanists, this revised and updated paperback edition features additional conversations, as well as a new introduction written especially for this edition.



FRANKFURTER RUNSCHAU
June 2, 2008

"Unseld Edition"
Die Mondflüge der Philosophie
(The moon shots of philosophy
)
By Christian Schluter

The ideal of universal scholars endured for a long time. But sometime in the 19th century, its glory came to an end. Knowledge divided into many—it was soon unclear how just many—fields. The natural sciences and the humanities stood in opposition and became increasingly alienated. A battle flared over the interpretation of sovereignty. In 1883, the philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey finally made the distinction that, while science can only provide us with abstract explanations of the observable universe in the form of laws, the humanities allow for a deeper, sympathetic understanding of living human beings, their culture and their history.

Until today this latter subject of "the mind" seemed unsettled in the face of the technical-scientific world. In 1959 the English physicist and writer Charles Percy Snow developed the concept of the "two cultures" and complained that between them—between the humanities and the natural sciences—there was only silence, which prevents us from solving the great problems of our world. Therefore there must also be a "third culture", and in fact the American literary agent John Brockman published a book by this title in 1995, in which he admittedly gave the floor to the natural sciences, whose naturalistic viewpoint he confidently promoted (www.edge.org).

Now, in 2008, Suhrkamp Verlag is entering the game, and has launched, with their "Unseld edition", a new publishing series, which also campaigns for a "third culture". The series will also be home to a search for ways out of the "blind alleys of the 19th century". Unlike Brockman and his Edge Foundation, whose intermediary work is restricted to making science papers intelligible to all, Suhrkamp promises to resurrect the lost conversation thread between the "two cultures". But are the humanities still a serious interlocutor following the global triumph of the naturalistic worldview model?

...

Google EnglishTranslation



THE NEW YORK TIMES
June 3, 2008

FINDINGS
The Future Is Now? Pretty Soon, at Least
By John Tierney

Before we get to Ray Kurzweil’s plan for upgrading the “suboptimal software” in your brain, let me pass on some of the cheery news he brought to the World Science Festival last week in New York

Do you have trouble sticking to a diet? Have patience. Within 10 years, Dr. Kurzweil explained, there will be a drug that lets you eat whatever you want without gaining weight.

Worried about greenhouse gas emissions? Have faith. Solar power may look terribly uneconomical at the moment, but with the exponential progress being made in nanoengineering, Dr. Kurzweil calculates that it’ll be cost-competitive with fossil fuels in just five years, and that within 20 years all our energy will come from clean sources

...



THE NEW YORK TIMES
June 3, 2008

Dark, Perhaps Forever
By Dennis Overbye

This fall, NASA and the Department of Energy plan to invite proposals for a $600 million satellite mission devoted to dark energy. But some scientists fear that might not be enough. When astronomers and physicists gathered at the Space Telescope Science Institute recently to take stock of the revolution, their despair of getting to the bottom of the dark energy mystery anytime soon, if ever, was palpable, even as they anticipate a flood of new data from the sky in coming years. When it came time for one physicist to discuss new ideas about dark energy, he showed a blank screen.

The institute’s director, Matt Mountain, said that dark energy had given this generation of astronomers a rare opportunity, and he admonished them to use it wisely.

“We are placing a large bet,” Dr. Mountain said, “using our credibility as collateral, that we as a community know what we are doing.”

But many stressed that it was going to be a long march with no clear end in sight. Lawrence Krauss of Case Western Reserve University told them, “In spite of the fact that you are liable to spend the rest of your lives measuring stuff that won’t tell us what we want to know, you should keep doing it.”

...



THE NEW YORK TIMES
June 3, 2008

ESSAY
An Overflowing Five-Day Banquet of Science and Its Meanings

By Dennis Overbye

That was the World Science Festival in New York City this past weekend: 46 shows, debates, demonstrations and parties spread over five days and 22 sites between Harlem and Greenwich Village, organized by Dr. Greene, the Columbia physicist and author, and his wife, Ms. Day, a former ABC-TV producer. Jugglers and philosophers, magicians and biologists, musicians and dancers — a feast one couldn’t hope to sample fairly. ...

...Daniel Dennett, a philosopher at Tufts, argued that humans are free, which he defined as the capacity to be moved by reasons. But weren’t those reasons just part of the environment? Dr. Dennett responded that we have to build the environment so that people will do the right thing.

Morality is the elephant in the room, said Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health, suggesting that humans seem to have an inbred sense of right and wrong from God.

The day before, he had won huge applause for maintaining that he did not have to choose between Darwin and God. A scientist could be religious. But this time he was hammered for failing to consider that evolution could instill such values if they proved adaptive.

“Why do you prefer God to me?” asked Marvin Minsky, a computer science professor at M.I.T. and a founder of the field of artificial intelligence.

“Do you really want to know?” Dr. Collins responded.

...



THE NEW YORK TIMES
June 1, 2008

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Put a Little Science in Your Life

By Brian Greene

When we consider the ubiquity of cellphones, iPods, personal computers and the Internet, it’s easy to see how science (and the technology to which it leads) is woven into the fabric of our day-to-day activities. When we benefit from CT scanners, M.R.I. devices, pacemakers and arterial stents, we can immediately appreciate how science affects the quality of our lives. When we assess the state of the world, and identify looming challenges like climate change, global pandemics, security threats and diminishing resources, we don’t hesitate in turning to science to gauge the problems and find solutions.

And when we look at the wealth of opportunities hovering on the horizon — stem cells, genomic sequencing, personalized medicine, longevity research, nanoscience, brain-machine interface, quantum computers, space technology — we realize how crucial it is to cultivate a general public that can engage with scientific issues; there’s simply no other way that as a society we will be prepared to make informed decisions on a range of issues that will shape the future.

These are the standard — and enormously important — reasons many would give in explaining why science matters.

But here’s the thing. The reason science really matters runs deeper still. Science is a way of life. Science is a perspective. Science is the process that takes us from confusion to understanding in a manner that’s precise, predictive and reliable — a transformation, for those lucky enough to experience it, that is empowering and emotional. To be able to think through and grasp explanations — for everything from why the sky is blue to how life formed on earth — not because they are declared dogma but rather because they reveal patterns confirmed by experiment and observation, is one of the most precious of human experiences.

...

See "Einstein: An Edge Symposium" [9.17.07]



THE SUNDAY TIMES
JUNE 1, 2008


Nassim Nicholas Taleb: the prophet of boom and doom
When this man said the world's economy was heading for disaster, he was scorned. Now traders, economists, even Nasa, are clamouring to hear him speak

By Brian Appleyard

Taleb is now the hottest thinker in the world. ... He gives about 30 presentations a year to bankers, economists, traders, even to Nasa, the US Fire Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. But he doesn't tell them what to do – he doesn't know. He just tells them how the world is. "I'm not a guru. I'm just describing a problem and saying, 'You deal with it.'" ...

Taleb's top life tips

1 Scepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be sceptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.

2 Go to parties. You can't even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.

3 It's not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.

4 Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act — if you can't control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behaviour. You will always have the last word.

5 Don't disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don't understand their logic. Don't pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific 'evidence'.

6 Learn to fail with pride — and do so fast and cleanly. Maximise trial and error — by mastering the error part.

7 Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words 'impossible', 'never', 'too difficult' too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take 'no' for an answer (conversely, take most 'yeses' as 'most probably').

8 Don't read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants... or (again) parties.

9 Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.

10 Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.

...

See "Learning to Expect the Unexpected" by Nassim Taleb [4.19.04]



THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
MAY 30, 2008


Backstage With Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Olafur Eliasson
In Iceland, Building Bridges for Art
By Cathryn Drake

Curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and artist Olafur Eliasson have been discussing the nature of collaboration and art for more than a decade. They met in the early 1990s and soon began visiting Iceland each summer with a contingent of other artists and thinkers to explore the landscape and share ideas, in the hope of spurring creativity.

Their latest project, part of the Reykjavik Arts Festival, is a more formal version of the gatherings. Called the Experiment Marathon Reykjavik, it brought together more than 50 artists, architects, filmmakers and academics to demonstrate the intersection between art and science.

...



NATURE
MAY 29, 2008

Column: Muse
Why we should love logarithms
The tendency of 'uneducated' people to compress the number scale for big numbers is actually an admirable way of measuring the world, says Philip Ball.

Philip Ball

Of course, logarithms remain central to any advanced study of mathematics. But as they are no longer a practical arithmetic tool, one can't now assume general familiarity with them. And so, countless popular science books contain potted guides to using exponential notation and interpreting logarithmic axes on graphs. Why do they need to do this? Because logarithmic scaling is the natural system for magnitudes of quantities in the sciences.

That's why a new claim that logarithmic mapping of numbers is the natural, intuitive scheme for humans rings true. Stanislas Dehaene of the Federative Institute of Research in Gif-sur-Yvette, France, and his co-workers report in Science 1 (#B1) that both adults and children of an Amazonian tribe called the Mundurucu, who have had almost no exposure to the linear counting scale of the industrialized world, judge magnitudes on a logarithmic basis.

...

See: "What Are Numbers, Really? A Cerebral Basis For Number Sense" By Stanislas Dehaene [10.27.97]



NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
June 12, 2008


The Question of Global Warming

By Freeman Dyson

...All the books that I have seen about the science and economics of global warming, including the two books under review, miss the main point. The main point is religious rather than scientific. There is a worldwide secular religion which we may call environmentalism, holding that we are stewards of the earth, that despoiling the planet with waste products of our luxurious living is a sin, and that the path of righteousness is to live as frugally as possible. The ethics of environmentalism are being taught to children in kindergartens, schools, and colleges all over the world. ...

...

See: "Heretical Thoughts About Science and Society" By Freeman Dyson [8.8.07]



THE NEW REPUBLIC
May 28, 2008


The Stupidity of Dignity
by Steven Pinker

Conservative bioethics' latest, most dangerous ploy

This spring, the President's Council on Bioethics released a 555-page report, titled Human Dignity and Bioethics. The Council, created in 2001 by George W. Bush, is a panel of scholars charged with advising the president and exploring policy issues related to the ethics of biomedical innovation, including drugs that would enhance cognition, genetic manipulation of animals or humans, therapies that could extend the lifespan, and embryonic stem cells and so-called "therapeutic cloning" that could furnish replacements for diseased tissue and organs. Advances like these, if translated into freely undertaken treatments, could make millions of people better off and no one worse off. So what's not to like? The advances do not raise the traditional concerns of bioethics, which focuses on potential harm and coercion of patients or research subjects. What, then, are the ethical concerns that call for a presidential council?

Many people are vaguely disquieted by developments (real or imagined) that could alter minds and bodies in novel ways. Romantics and Greens tend to idealize the natural and demonize technology. Traditionalists and conservatives by temperament distrust radical change. Egalitarians worry about an arms race in enhancement techniques. And anyone is likely to have a "yuck" response when contemplating unprecedented manipulations of our biology. The President's Council has become a forum for the airing of this disquiet, and the concept of "dignity" a rubric for expounding on it. This collection of essays is the culmination of a long effort by the Council to place dignity at the center of bioethics. The general feeling is that, even if a new technology would improve life and health and decrease suffering and waste, it might have to be rejected, or even outlawed, if it affronted human dignity. ...

...

See: "A Biological Understanding of Human Nature: A Talk with Steven Pinker" (9.9.02)



THE NEW YORK TIMES
May 23, 2008

OP-ED COLUMNIST
The Alpha Geeks
By David Brooks

The future historians of the nerd ascendancy will likely note that the great empowerment phase began in the 1980s with the rise of Microsoft and the digital economy. Nerds began making large amounts of money and acquired economic credibility, the seedbed of social prestige. The information revolution produced a parade of highly confident nerd moguls — Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Larry Page and Sergey Brin and so on. ...

...They can visit eclectic sites like Kottke.org and Cool Hunting, experiment with fonts, admire Stewart Brand and Lawrence Lessig and join social-networking communities with ironical names. They’ve created a new definition of what it means to be cool, a definition that leaves out the talents of the jocks, the M.B.A.-types and the less educated. In "The Laws of Cool," Alan Liu writes: "Cool is a feeling for information." When someone has that dexterity, you know it.

...

See: "Stewart Brand Meets the Cybernetic Counterculture" By Fred Turner" [10.3.06]



THE NEW YORK TIMES
MAY 22, 2008


Study Finds Big Social Factor in Quitting Smoking

By Gina Kolata

For years, smokers have been exhorted to take the initiative and quit: use a nicotine patch, chew nicotine gum, take a prescription medication that can help, call a help line, just say no. But a new study finds that stopping is seldom an individual decision.

Smokers tend to quit in groups, the study finds, which means smoking cessation programs should work best if they focus on groups rather than individuals. It also means that people may help many more than just themselves by quitting: quitting can have a ripple effect prompting an entire social network to break the habit.

The study, by Dr. Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School and James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, followed thousands of smokers and nonsmokers for 32 years, from 1971 until 2003, studying them as part of a large network of relatives, co-workers, neighbors, friends and friends of friends.

...

See: "Social Networks are Like The Eye" A Talk with Nicholas A. Christakis [2.25.08]



SCIENCE
May 9, 2008


NEUROBIOLOGY:
The Roots of Morality
Greg Miller

Neurobiologists, philosophers, psychologists, and legal scholars are probing the nature of human MORALITY using a variety of experimental techniques and moral challenges

... In another version of the experiment, a nearby trash can doused with novelty fart spray had a similar effect. The findings, in press at Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, demonstrate that emotions such as disgust exert a powerful influence on moral judgments, even when they are triggered by something unrelated to the moral issue, says study co-author Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Haidt is one of a growing number of researchers taking an experimental approach to investigating the nature of human morality. The field has drawn practitioners from diverse backgrounds including philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. They don't always see eye to eye, but they are united in their belief that the scientific method will yield fresh insights into questions that have vexed philosophers for centuries. ...

...The Koenigs study contains hints that emotions aren't the entire story, however, says coauthor Marc Hauser, a cognitive scientist at Harvard University. He points out that the lesion patients still made normal judgments in many situations, particularly regarding dilemmas that didn't tug at the emotions and "easier" ones that are emotionally charged but elicit strong consensus among healthy subjects--that it's wrong, for example, to earn money to feed your family by allowing your young daughter to appear in a pornographic film, even in hard times. "That rules out the strong version of the hypothesis that emotions are causally necessary for making [all] moral judgments," Hauser says. "That just can't be right."

Don't get all emotional
An alternative view, championed by Joshua Greene, a cognitive neuroscientist and philosopher at Harvard, is that when people grapple with moral dilemmas like the trolley problems, emotion and rationality duke it out in the brain. In Greene's view, the key difference between flipping the switch and shoving the man off the footbridge is that the latter evokes a negative emotional reaction that overrides cold utilitarian logic.

In a 2001 Science paper, Greene, then a postdoc with Jonathan Cohen at Princeton University, and colleagues reported that the medial frontal gyrus and other brain regions linked to emotion become more active when people contemplate "personal" moral dilemmas--such as shoving the man onto the trolley tracks or removing a man's organs against his will to save five transplant recipients--compared with when they weigh impersonal moral dilemmas--such as flipping a switch to save the workers or declaring bogus business expenses on a tax return. These impersonal dilemmas preferentially activate a different set of brain regions thought to contribute to abstract reasoning and problem solving, Greene and colleagues reported in a follow-up study, published in 2004 in Neuron.

...

See: Joshua Greene, Jonathan Haidt, and Marc D. Hauser, in "Formulae for the 21st Century: What Is Your Formula? Uor Equation? our Algorithm?" [10.13.07]



THE NEW YORK TIMES
MAY 22, 2008


Study Finds Big Social Factor in Quitting Smoking

By Gina Kolata

For years, smokers have been exhorted to take the initiative and quit: use a nicotine patch, chew nicotine gum, take a prescription medication that can help, call a help line, just say no. But a new study finds that stopping is seldom an individual decision.

Smokers tend to quit in groups, the study finds, which means smoking cessation programs should work best if they focus on groups rather than individuals. It also means that people may help many more than just themselves by quitting: quitting can have a ripple effect prompting an entire social network to break the habit.

The study, by Dr. Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School and James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, followed thousands of smokers and nonsmokers for 32 years, from 1971 until 2003, studying them as part of a large network of relatives, co-workers, neighbors, friends and friends of friends.

...

See: "Social Networks are Like The Eye" A Talk with Nicholas A. Christakis [2.25.08]



BOSTON GLOBE
May 20, 2008


The secret to happiness? Who knows?
by Alex Beam

...What about the undeserving rich? Research shows that it's better to be middle class than poor. Things get complicated as you move further out on the "swinishly wealthy" axis, because $100 million doesn't buy a hundred times the pleasure of $1 million. Best-selling happiness monger ("Stumbling on Happiness") Daniel Gilbert compares accumulating wealth to eating pancakes. "The first one is delicious, the second one is good, the third OK," he told Harvard magazine. "By the fifth pancake you're at a point when an infinite number more pancakes will not satisfy you to any degree. But no one stops earning money or striving for more money."

The hedonometricians even came up with the notion of a "hedonic set point," or baseline. This is like the body weight set point, meaning that if you weigh 175 pounds now, you will probably weigh about that much for the rest of your life. Hedonically speaking: This is about as happy as you will ever be.

Harvard psychologist Nancy Etcoff has asserted that this happiness baseline notion is wrong: "Personality is much less stable than body weight, and happiness levels are even less stable than personality." So, there is an upside: A certain number of people can become more happy. But wait! "For every person who shows a substantial lasting increase in happiness, two people show a decrease," Etcoff wrote on a website called edge.org. ...

...

See: "The Hedonic Set Point Can Be Raised" by Nancy Etcoff (1.1.07)

"The Science of Happiness" by Daniel Gilbert (5.22.06)



WIRED
May 19, 2008


15th Anniversary: The Brian Eno Evolution
By Steven Leckart

[Click here for image]

May 1995

When Brian Eno landed on our May 1995 cover, he proclaimed: "Gossip is philosophy." Since then, his name has appeared in 16 issues, and today the "prototypical Renaissance 2.0 artist" is as busy as ever. He coproduced Coldplay's album Viva la Vida (out in June), composed the score for Will Wright's mega-game Spore (due in September), and is working on new stuff with U2 and David Byrne. We pinged him for some fresh dirt. ...

...Wired: Talking to Kevin in 1995 you also suggested the future wouldn't be "interactive" music, but products that are "permanently unfinished." Since 1995, due to remix culture and the further democratization of tools, many consumers now view all products as unfinished, regardless of artistic intention. On some level, is such inevitable deconstruction enough to prove your prediction came true?

Eno: I just dislike the word interactive. It implies that there are forms of art experience that are somehow inferior because they don't have you physically engaged in them. But the physical engagement is not the interesting part for me. It's the mental engagement, and that's something we get with all art experiences. So unfinished is a better word: It implies that you, the user, are also the maker of the experience. ...

...

See: "Constellations" by Brian Eno" [2.2.07]



THE INDEPENDENT
May 15, 2008


Brian Eno: As he turns 60, the professor of rock is as creative as ever

Eno has been the thinking person's producer since he collaborated with David Bowie and reinvented U2

By Nick Hasted

The quietest revolutionary in rock is 60. Elvis, Dylan, James Brown, even Oasis, have set more souls alight. But, by working for Microsoft (he wrote the Windows start-up theme), Bowie, U2 and Talking Heads, Brian Eno has parlayed outlandish musical ideas into a ubiquitous and lucrative career. Coldplay, with their new album Viva La Vida, are the latest to request his patented production philosophies of misdirection and subtle reinvention. ...

Eno's musical foils

...David Bowie

One of his first pop collaborations was with Bowie in 1977, and his production work on the Berlin Trilogy helped re-categorised the star's work. ...

Talking Heads

Responsible for the overall new wave sound of early Talking Heads. Working closely with David Byrne and the band he co-wrote their critically acclaimed 1980 album Remain in Light. ...

U2

Eno agreed to produce U2's album The Unforgettable Fire with Daniel Lanois in 1984 and since the pair produced some of the band's most famous works including The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby.

Paul Simon

Aged 64, Simon's long and highly-anticipated first collaboration with Eno was realised in the 11-track album Surprise in 2006.

Coldplay

The latest band to get Eno's production on upcoming album Viva la Vida.

...

See: "A Big Theory Of Culture: A Talk With Brian Eno" [4.1.97]



NATURE
May 15, 2008


Written in the skies: why quantum mechanics might be wrong
Observations of the cosmic microwave background might deal blow to theory.

Zeeya Merali

The question of whether quantum mechanics is correct could soon be settled by observing the sky — and there are already tantalizing hints that the theory could be wrong.

Antony Valentini, a physicist at Imperial College, London, wanted to devise a test that could separate quantum mechanics from one of its closest rivals — a theory called bohmian mechanics. Despite being one of the most successful theories of physics, quantum mechanics creates several paradoxes that still make some physicists uncomfortable, says Valentini.

For instance, quantum theory uses probability to describe the properties of a particle. These properties obtain definitive values only when they are measured, which means that you cannot predict a particle's position or momentum, for instance, with certainty.

These premises troubled Albert Einstein. He believed that particles contain extra properties — or 'hidden variables' — that determine their behaviour completely. If only we knew what these hidden variables were, we could predict the fate of particles and the outcome of measurements with certainty. Bohmian mechanics is one of a suite of 'hidden variables' theories — many now discredited — formulated to tackle this problem. ...

...



THE NEW YORK TIMES
May 13, 2008

OP-ED COLUMNIST
The Neural Buddhists
By David Brooks

In 1996, Tom Wolfe wrote a brilliant essay called "Sorry, but Your Soul Just Died," in which he captured the militant materialism of some modern scientists.

To these self-confident researchers, the idea that the spirit might exist apart from the body is just ridiculous. Instead, everything arises from atoms. Genes shape temperament. Brain chemicals shape behavior. Assemblies of neurons create consciousness. Free will is an illusion. Human beings are "hard-wired" to do this or that. Religion is an accident. ...

...The atheism debate is a textbook example of how a scientific revolution can change public culture. Just as "The Origin of Species reshaped social thinking, just as Einstein’s theory of relativity affected art, so the revolution in neuroscience is having an effect on how people see the world.

And yet my guess is that the atheism debate is going to be a sideshow. The cognitive revolution is not going to end up undermining faith in God, it’s going to end up challenging faith in the Bible.

Over the past several years, the momentum has shifted away from hard-core materialism. The brain seems less like a cold machine. It does not operate like a computer. Instead, meaning, belief and consciousness seem to emerge mysteriously from idiosyncratic networks of neural firings. Those squishy things called emotions play a gigantic role in all forms of thinking. Love is vital to brain development.

Researchers now spend a lot of time trying to understand universal moral intuitions. Genes are not merely selfish, it appears. Instead, people seem to have deep instincts for fairness, empathy and attachment.

Scientists have more respect for elevated spiritual states. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania has shown that transcendent experiences can actually be identified and measured in the brain (people experience a decrease in activity in the parietal lobe, which orients us in space). The mind seems to have the ability to transcend itself and merge with a larger presence that feels more real.

This new wave of research will not seep into the public realm in the form of militant atheism. Instead it will lead to what you might call neural Buddhism.

If you survey the literature (and I’d recommend books by Newberg, Daniel J. Siegel, Michael S. Gazzaniga, Jonathan Haidt, Antonio Damasio and Marc D. Hauser if you want to get up to speed), you can see that certain beliefs will spread into the wider discussion.

...

See: "Moral Psychology and the Misunderstanding of Religion"
By Jonathan Haidt" [9.12.07]

"Are Human Brains Unique" By Michael Gazzaniga [4.10.08]

"Moral Minds" By Marc D. Hauser in "Darwin Y La Tercera Culture in Barcelona" [11.30.05]



SEED MAGAZINE
May 12, 2008


The Seed Salon


MARC HAUSER + ERROL MORRIS

Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris has made a career of trafficking in moral ambiguity and complexity. Evolutionary psychologist Marc Hauser has pioneered research into the idea of a universal morality grounded in biology. Hauser believes humans possess a moral grammar; Morris isn't so sure. The two met when Morris asked Hauser to be part of his short film for the 2007 Oscars. They kept in touch, exchanged ideas, and Hauser attended an early screening of Standard Operating Procedure, Morris's film about the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib. Recently in Boston they debated game theory, Stanley Milgram, and whether science can make us better people.

...

See: "Animal Minds: A Talk With Marc D. Hauser" (4.18.99)



NEW YORKER
May 12, 2008

A REPORTER AT LARGE

Birdbrain
The woman behind the world’s chattiest parrots

by Margaret Talbot

As the crowd at the Midwest Bird Expo waited for the cognitive scientist Irene Pepperberg to take the podium, the hum of human chatter was punctuated by the sound of parrots whooping it up—twittering and letting loose with wolf whistles, along with the occasional full-out jungle squawk. The birds, many of them for sale, were displayed in cages just beyond the curtained-off stage, which was inside the main hall of the DuPage County Fairgrounds, in Wheaton, Illinois. Nobody seemed particularly distracted by the commotion. People were too busy pulling out their cell phones and showing one another photographs of their cockatiels back home. It was a warm Saturday afternoon in early April, and a woman in the folding metal chair in front of me, who was wearing large parrot earrings, said that she had driven all the way from Florida to see Pepperberg. Indeed, if this were a political rally, the audience would be Pepperberg’s base. Here were admirers who had sent in ten-dollar bills to help support her research with Alex, the African gray parrot that she worked with for thirty years; and here were people who, after Alex died, unexpectedly, of heart arrhythmia, on September 6, 2007, helped form an online community that comes together on the sixth day of every month to reflect about him.

...

__

Wordbird
Margaret Talbot talks about the scientist Irene Pepperberg and her work with Alex the parrot.

...

See "That Damn Bird: A Talk with Irene Pepperberg" (9.23.03)



SUEDDEUSTSCHE ZEITUNG
May 9, 2008

FEUILLETON

Talent and Patents: The sciences fight for intellectual jurisdiction
By Andrian Kreye

...This is not the first intellectual iconoclasm of a practical science. In the early nineties, the so-called Third Culture arose under the patronage of New York literary agent John Brockman. Since then, in bestsellers and in the online magazine Edge.org, scientists have begun to conquer the realm that traditionally belonged to philosophy and theology. With enormous success, Steven Pinker destroyed the great myths of the Enlightenment with his book The Blank Slate, Daniel Dennett reduced free will to biological processes, and Richard Dawkins supported the core beliefs of millions with his onslaught against religious faith in The God Delusion. ...

See: "The Emerging Third Culture" By John Brockman"



SCIENCE
May 9, 2008


The Roots of Morality
Greg Miller

Neurobiologists, philosophers, psychologists, and legal scholars are probing the nature of human MORALITY using a variety of experimental techniques and moral challenges

... In another version of the experiment, a nearby trash can doused with novelty fart spray had a similar effect. The findings, in press at Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, demonstrate that emotions such as disgust exert a powerful influence on moral judgments, even when they are triggered by something unrelated to the moral issue, says study co-author Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Haidt is one of a growing number of researchers taking an experimental approach to investigating the nature of human morality. The field has drawn practitioners from diverse backgrounds including philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. They don't always see eye to eye, but they are united in their belief that the scientific method will yield fresh insights into questions that have vexed philosophers for centuries. ...

...The Koenigs study contains hints that emotions aren't the entire story, however, says coauthor Marc Hauser, a cognitive scientist at Harvard University. He points out that the lesion patients still made normal judgments in many situations, particularly regarding dilemmas that didn't tug at the emotions and "easier" ones that are emotionally charged but elicit strong consensus among healthy subjects--that it's wrong, for example, to earn money to feed your family by allowing your young daughter to appear in a pornographic film, even in hard times. "That rules out the strong version of the hypothesis that emotions are causally necessary for making [all] moral judgments," Hauser says. "That just can't be right."

Don't get all emotional
An alternative view, championed by Joshua Greene, a cognitive neuroscientist and philosopher at Harvard, is that when people grapple with moral dilemmas like the trolley problems, emotion and rationality duke it out in the brain. In Greene's view, the key difference between flipping the switch and shoving the man off the footbridge is that the latter evokes a negative emotional reaction that overrides cold utilitarian logic.

In a 2001 Science paper, Greene, then a postdoc with Jonathan Cohen at Princeton University, and colleagues reported that the medial frontal gyrus and other brain regions linked to emotion become more active when people contemplate "personal" moral dilemmas--such as shoving the man onto the trolley tracks or removing a man's organs against his will to save five transplant recipients--compared with when they weigh impersonal moral dilemmas--such as flipping a switch to save the workers or declaring bogus business expenses on a tax return. These impersonal dilemmas preferentially activate a different set of brain regions thought to contribute to abstract reasoning and problem solving, Greene and colleagues reported in a follow-up study, published in 2004 in Neuron.

...

See: Joshua Greene, Jonathan Haidt, and Marc D. Hauser, in "Formulae for the 21st Century: What Is Your Formula? Uor Equation? our Algorithm?" [10.13.07]



LOS ANGELES TIMES
May 4, 2008

Does your brain have a mind of its own?
Why can't we stick to our goals? Blame the sloppy engineering of evolution.

By Gary Marcus

Our attempts to pursue our goals are often thwarted by the fact that evolution has built our most sophisticated technologies on top of older technologies -- without working out how to integrate the two. We can plan in advance, using our modern deliberative reasoning systems, but our ancestral reflexive mechanisms, which evolved first, still basically control the steering wheel. When the chips are down, it's those mechanisms that our brains turn to, and that means that our brains frequently wind up relying on machinery that is all about acting first and asking questions later, squandering some of the efforts of our deliberative system.

...

See: "Language, Body, and the Mind: A Talk with Gary Marcus" (1.28.04)



SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
May, 2008


Does Time Run Backward in Other Universes?
One of the most basic facts of life is that the future looks different from the past.
But on a grand cosmological scale, they may look the same

By Sean Carroll

KEY CONCEPTS

—The basic laws of physics work equally well forward or backward in time, yet we perceive time to move in one direction only—toward the future. Why?
—To account for it, we have to delve into the prehistory of the universe, to a time before the big bang. Our universe may be part of a much larger multiverse, which as a whole is time-symmetric. Time may run backward in other universes.

...

See: "On Taking Science on Faith" By Sean Carroll [1.1.06]



BLOOMBERG MARKETS
May, 2008

Flight of the Black Swan

Nassim Taleb's 2007 best-seller on improbable events looks prescient to a Wall Street battered by subprime. Now even NASA wants to pick the former trader's brain for tips on randomness.

By Stephanie Baker-Said

...Extremes are more likely in finance than in the real world, Taleb says. At a conference for risk managers in London last June, he used the following illustration: "Say I sample from the world population and find two people cumulatively 14 feet tall. What's the most likely allocation for Gaussian? One and 13? No, it's seven and seven."

In wealth, it's the opposite. "If we sample from the world population and get two people whose net worth totals 14 million pounds, what's the most likely combination?" he asked. "Seven and seven? No, it's £5,000 and £14 million minus £5,000."

He gives these two domains different names. The first he calls Mediocristan, where, if you have a large sample, the average of an independent, identical, random set of variables will converge in the middle. In Taleb's other domain, Extremistan, average outcomes have little meaning. If financial markets are governed by extreme movements and unexpected events, we shouldn't be fooled into believing worst-case scenarios, he says. "We need more chutzpah,'' he says. "If someone tried to do stress testing before the stock market crash in '87, they would not have tested for 20 percent down."

Taleb likens modern-day financial markets to medicine in the 1800s, when going to a hospital in London or Paris multiplied your risk of death by four times, he says. Similarly, quants increase risk by deploying flawed financial tools designed to reduce it, he argues.

For Taleb, the ills besetting financial markets are a vindication of his ideas. Like medicine, though, he isn't offering easy cures.

...

See "Learning to Expect the Unexpected" by Nassim Taleb [4.19.04]



THE NEW YORK SUN
April 23, 2008

Reconsiderations: Richard Dawkins and His Selfish Meme

By Pat Shipman

...In Mr. Dawkins's view, the organisms containing those genes are merely "lumbering robots" or "survival machines" that house and carry genetic information. The implication is that, in these terms, selfishness, even ruthless selfishness, pays off, and altruism does not.

Some predicted that this book would be the death knell of the idea of group selection. No longer would evolutionary biologists suggest that natural selection worked to promote the good of the species (group selection) or even the individual and his close relatives who share many of his genes (kin selection, a type of group selection).

But prediction is difficult in a contingent world such as ours, where life is complex and accidents and coincidences wield so much power. Has "The Selfish Gene" in fact killed off group selection ideas? Why not? And what effect has the book had instead?

Though selfish genes are still fashionable among evolutionary biologists, group selection and kin selection, its subset, are not dead. In 2007, David Sloan Wilson, professor at Binghampton University, and E.O. Wilson (no relation), a professor emeritus at Harvard University and a Pulitzer Prize winner, proclaimed that Mr. Dawkins had celebrated the death of group selection prematurely.

The pair asserted persuasively that altruism and cooperation can be adaptive if they are directed toward relatives who share a suite of one's genes (kin selection) or if relationships can be established within a group in which cooperation is rewarded with future reciprocity. ...

...

See: "The Selfish Gene: Thirty Years On" [3.16.06]



NEW YORK MAGAZINE
April 21, 2008

If God Is Dead, Who Gets His House?

The fastest-growing faith in America is no faith at all. And now some atheists think they need a church.

By Sean McManus

It seems unlikely that many of the 850 or so people at the Society for Ethical Culture on a recent Saturday night believed that God was still extant. But evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion and possibly the most famous atheist in the world, was not taking any chances. He gave a PowerPoint presentation driving home that religion does not meet any of the standards of basic scientific inquiry, before casually flicking away a few of His last crutches. Doesn’t God provide people some solace? asked an audience member. "Isn’t that a little childish?" Dawkins replied. "Just because something is comforting doesn’t mean it’s true." Then someone asked about death, and Dawkins quoted Mark Twain: "I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born."

The room erupted in loud applause. God had definitely left the building—if he were ever here at all. Dawkins and his colleagues had helped to produce a kind of atheist big bang, a new beginning. But what kind of new structures might evolve?

...

[See: "The Future Looks Bright By Richard Dawkins" (7.23.03)]



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