Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown - Michael Shermer

"You may disagree with Michael Shermer, but you’d better have a good reason and you’ll have your work cut out finding it. He describes skepticism as a virtue, but I think that understates his own unique contribution to contemporary intellectual discourse. Worldly-wise sounds wearily cynical so I’d call Shermer universe-wise. I’d call him shrewd, but it doesn’t do justice to the breadth and depth of his inspired scientific vision. I’d call him a spirited controversialist, but that doesn’t do justice to his urbane good humor. Oh just read the book. Once you start, you won’t stop."
—Richard Dawkins

"Extremely entertaining."
—Science News

Bestselling author Michael Shermer delves into the unknown, from heretical ideas about the boundaries of the universe to Star Trek's lessons about chance and time

A scientist pretends to be a psychic for a day-and fools everyone. An athlete discovers that good-luck rituals and getting into "the zone" may, or may not, improve his performance. A historian decides to analyze the data to see who was truly responsible for the Bounty mutiny. A son explores the possiblities of alternative and experimental medicine for his cancer-ravaged mother. And a skeptic realizes that it is time to turn the skeptical lens onto science itself.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The 1990 CBC Massey Lectures: Biology As Ideology

The Massey Lectures have been an annual event on CBC Radio for past twenty-nine years. 1990 lecture was presented by distinguished evolutionary biologist Richard C. Lewontin. In Biology as Ideology (also it was published as a book) Lewontin challenges Darwin's adaptionist view in evolution, claims that far from being objective science reflects the dominant ideology and discusses on an ideological bias in modern biology that our sickness and health, our poverty and wealth and the very structure of the society which we live is ultimately coded in our DNA.

Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA - Richard C. Lewontin

"[Lewontin] is the most brilliant scientist I know and his work embodies, as this book displays so well, the very best in genetics (particularly in debunking the reductionism of genetic determinism), combined with a powerful political and moral vision of how science, properly interpreted and used to empower all the people, might truly help to make us free."
Stephen J. Gould

In this brief and extraordinarily eloquent work, R. C. Lewontin—one of the world's most prominent geneticists—takes a close and informed look at this tidy and showmanlike packaging of science as the panacea to global problems, persuasively demonstrating how science (and scientists) is molded by society and how the dominant social and economoc forces in society determine to a large extent what scientists do and how they do it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good - Robert H. Frank

"[Frank's] arguments are carefully crafted and artfully presented to make the case that since we're in the business of designing society from top down anyway we might as well go whole hog and do it right."
—Michael Shermer, author of the Mind of the Market

"Competition often serves the parts better than the whole. This is true for both species evolution and human society. Only a fool would count on the invisible hand. In his usual clearheaded and lively style, Robert Frank explains how Charles Darwin thought more deeply about these issues than most contemporary economists."
—Frans de Waal, author of Our Inner Ape

Who was the greater economist--Adam Smith or Charles Darwin? The question seems absurd. Darwin, after all, was a naturalist, not an economist. But Robert Frank, New York Times economics columnist and best-selling author of The Economic Naturalist, predicts that within the next century Darwin will unseat Smith as the intellectual founder of economics. The reason, Frank argues, is that Darwin's understanding of competition describes economic reality far more accurately than Smith's. And the consequences of this fact are profound. Indeed, the failure to recognize that we live in Darwin's world rather than Smith's is putting us all at risk by preventing us from seeing that competition alone will not solve our problems.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World - Lisa Randall

Lisa Randall is Professor of Physics at Harvard University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. She is one of today’s most influential theoretical physicists.

The latest developments in physics have the potential to radically revise our understanding of the world: its makeup, its evolution, and the fundamental forces that drive its operation. Knocking on Heaven’s Door is an exhilarating and accessible overview of these developments and an impassioned argument for the significance of science.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

BBC Horizon - Mission to Mars (2012)

Curiosity is a billion-dollar rover which is one of the most sophisticated space vehicles ever built. Its mission is to discover if Mars could ever have supported life. Horizon has been behind the scenes with NASA's team as they follow their rover across 350 million miles of space. Broadcast 31 July, 2012 on BBC Two.

Release name: BBC.Horizon.2012.Mission.to.Mars.720p.HDTV.x264.AAC.MVGroup.org.mkv
Duration: 59mins
File Size: 1.64 GB



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable - Bruce M. Hood

"An intriguing look at a feature of the human mind that is subtle in its operation but profound in its consequences."
—Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works and The Stuff of Thought 

"[A] fascinating, timely and important book. . . . Hood's presentation of the science behind our supersense is crystal clear and utterly engaging."
—New Scientist

The majority of the world's population is religious or believes in supernatural phenomena. In the United States, nine out of every ten adults believe in God, and a recent Gallup poll found that about three out of four Americans believe in some form of telepathy, déjà vu, ghosts, or past lives. Where does such supernatural thinking come from? Are we indoctrinated by our parents, churches, and media, or do such beliefs originate somewhere else? In SuperSense, award-winning cognitive scientist Bruce M. Hood reveals the science behind our beliefs in the supernatural.

Superstitions are common. Many of us cross our fingers, knock on wood, step around black cats, and avoid walking under ladders. John McEnroe refused to step on the white lines of a tennis court between points. Wade Boggs insisted on eating a chicken dinner before every Boston Red Sox game. President Barack Obama played a game of basketball the morning of his victory in the Iowa primary and continued the tradition on every subsequent election day.

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