January 22, 2004

Odds 'N Ends

Scientists Lewis Wolpert and Rupert Sheldrake debated each other in London recently over the topic of telepathy, with Sheldrake -- a biochemist and plant physiologist turned parapsychologist -- arguing in its favour. While largely skeptical of telepathy, I personally haven't ruled it out as a possibility. As Sheldrake noted during the debate, some people know who is going to phone or e-mail them, dogs know when their owners are coming home, and there's the alleged telepathic bond between a New York woman and her parrot. "Billions of perfectly rational people believe that they have had these experiences," he said. I'm also interested in parapsychology and the results of certain PK tests. I'm also fascinated by quantum consciousness theories which attempt to explain some of these observations. Until we have a proper theory of consciousness -- something we're not even close to having -- we cannot rule this out as a possibility.

Check out this annotated preprint archive of essays on the anthropic principle. Compiled by Nick Bostrom, it's a total brain cell droolfest.

Evidence has been mounting since November 2002 that Grigori "Grisha" Perelman has cracked the 100-year-old Poincare Conjecture problem, which seeks to explain the geometry of three-dimensional space. Damn! I was so close. No, really.


My latest column for Betterhumans, "Space: Not the Final Frontier," was listed on SciTech Daily's Opinion and Analysis section today -- which would probably explain why it has received 1,000+ hits in the past 24 hours. Thanks to John Smart and Milan Cirkovic for helping me with this one.

I'm back in a Pink Floyd mood these days -- this time their stuff from 1967-1974. Likely reason: my brother got me the DVD, Pink Floyd: Live in Pompeii for Christmas. Amazing stuff. Most underrated Floyd album: More.

Cool movies I've seen recently: The Last Samurai, Big Fish, Avalon and Princess Mononoke. Of the four, Avalon is probably the best -- kind of a Matrix meets The Wizard of Oz and set in a future dystopic Eastern European country. There's some amazing commentary on the realness -- or unrealness of reality -- including the limitations of our sensory perceptions and our constrained perspective on the only reality we know.

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