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The Case Against Reality - The Atlantic

The Case Against Reality - The Atlantic
As we go about our daily lives, we tend to assume that our perceptions — sights, sounds, textures, tastes — are an accurate portrayal of the real world. Sure, when we stop and think about it — or when we find ourselves fooled by a perceptual illusion — we realize with a jolt that what we perceive is never the world directly, but rather our brain’s best guess at what that world is like, a kind of internal simulation of an external reality. Still, we bank on the fact that our simulation is a reasonably decent one. If it wasn’t, wouldn’t evolution have weeded us out by now? The true reality might be forever beyond our reach, but surely our senses give us at least an inkling of what it’s really like. Not so, says Donald D. Getting at questions about the nature of reality, and disentangling the observer from the observed, is an endeavor that straddles the boundaries of neuroscience and fundamental physics. Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. That’s right. Related:  Effetto Risorse and collaterals 4Education to ...To read

To deal with climate change we need a new financial system | Global Development Professionals Network When it comes to global warming, we know that the real problem is not just fossil fuels – it is the logic of endless growth that is built into our economic system. If we don’t keep the global economy growing by at least 3% per year, it plunges into crisis. That means we have to double the size of the economy every 20 years, just to stay afloat. Rapid climate change is the most obvious symptom of this contradiction, but we’re also seeing it in the form of deforestation, desertification and mass extinction, with species dying at an alarming rate as our consumption of the natural world causes their habitats to collapse. The question is what to do about it. But replacing GDP is only a first step. One way to relieve the pressure for endless growth might be to cancel some of the debt – a kind of debt jubilee. This might sound a bit odd, but it’s quite simple. So where does all that additional money come from? But there’s an even more exciting solution we might consider.

Poster: The New Political Map Full-sized downloadable PDF version with hyperlinks here. I have added in the names of seven people I greatly admire (all, sadly, middle-aged or older white males) who have written articles or books that I think exemplify worldviews F through L. In the PDF version, clicking on the names will open links to these articles in your browser. This is not to say that these people exemplify these worldviews; nor are they the authors of the ‘taglines’ I show in the poster for purposes of defining and differentiating the worldviews. Hope you find this useful.

We Could Be Witnessing the Death of the Fossil Fuel Industry—Will It Take the Rest of the Economy Down With It? Oil rig at sunset image via shutterstock. Reproduced on with permission. It’s not looking good for the global fossil fuel industry. Although the world remains heavily dependent on oil, coal and natural gas—which today supply around 80 percent of our primary energy needs—the industry is rapidly crumbling. This is not merely a temporary blip, but a symptom of a deeper, long-term process related to global capitalism’s escalating overconsumption of planetary resources and raw materials. New scientific research shows that the growing crisis of profitability facing fossil fuel industries is part of an inevitable period of transition to a post-carbon era. But ongoing denialism has led powerful vested interests to continue clinging blindly to their faith in fossil fuels, with increasingly devastating and unpredictable consequences for the environment. Bankruptcy epidemic Oil and gas companies most at risk are those with the largest debt burden. Stranded assets The coming debt spiral

Malthus non aveva poi tutti i torti!: Migranti e migrazioni Nell'odierna, immensa massa umana esiste una pattuglia di persone convinte che il sistema economico attuale stia entrando in un collasso globale e che ciò provocherà conseguenze terribili. Anzi, che alcune di queste siano cominciate, mentre la grande maggioranza di noi si rifiuta di riconoscerle per quel che sono: avvisaglie. C’è una buona ragione per questo: l’illusione più o meno cosciente che, ignorando o negando i fatti, ci si possa proteggere dalle conseguenze dei medesimi. O, perlomeno, che questo sia un modo per scaricare ad altri la propria quota di responsabilità per qualcosa che, comunque vada, costerà molto caro a molta gente. Pillole di storia Le migrazioni sono un fenomeno antico quanto la nostra specie (anzi molto di più). Premesse L’accoglienza è un bene od un male? 1 – Non sempre chi lascia il suo paese è spinto dalla miseria, o peggio, ma molto spesso si. 2 – Esiste una differenza fondamentale tra “migranti” e“rifugiati”. Conseguenze. C’è una via d’uscita?

How To Detect Negative Energies At Home Using Only A Glass Of Water? There are so many techniques that can help you detect negative energies in your home. Today we’re going to show you the simplest one which will detect negative energies and clear them from your home and maintain the harmony in your family. We inhabit certain energies wherever we live. Related Article: This 8 Year Old Kid Uses Crystal Grids To Transmute Negative Energy And Explains How It Works The energy debris can be a result of negative emotions, thoughts, occurrences, and stress that you have experienced in your space. Your house is like a sponge. Once they enter your home, negative energies impact your whole life. Before starting, it’s important to know the reason for the disharmony – sometimes, even negative energies are not the culprit. Get a clear (transparent) glass and pour sea salt in it – it should cover about 1/3 of the glass. Put the glass in a hidden spot and leave it for a full day. You can do the same the next day if you still feel bad vibes around you.

The Economics of Power — Pacific Standard The Economics of Power Increasing economic inequality is not just about the changes in the workforce. It’s also about a shift in the balance of power in the economy. By K. Sabeel Rahman The American social contract is collapsing. There are a wide range of policy solutions on the table, from re-classifying freelancers and so-called “independent contractors” into a third category of workers who are not full-time yet are eligible for benefits, to the creation of portable benefits like retirement savings, to proposals for universal basic income and universal childcare allowances available to everyone. But the challenge of re-inventing the social contract is not just about the changing nature of the modern economy, or even about the need to update our policies. The Fissured Workplace and the Re-Distribution of Power Much of the debate about the changing nature of work has emerged from two sectors of the economy. Re-Balancing Power, Restoring Economic Opportunity

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Dopo il capitalismo. Verso nuove economie di saggezza - Permacultura & Transizione La Terza Etica della permacultura ci chiama a praticare una economia basata sulla “Equa condivisione”. Per chi vive nel ventre dell’economia capitalista la sfida è piuttosto ambiziosa. La domanda che pongo alla comunità della permacultura è la seguente: possiamo professarci anticapitalisti a ragion venduta, proponendo un modello economico che vada oltre le belle speranze e le utopie? Se la risposta è sì, a quale nuovo paradigma economico possiamo fare riferimento? In un post precedente abbiamo cominciato a presentare la prospettiva di sviluppare le basi per nuove “economie di saggezza” fondate su parametri più sofisticati del semplice profitto economico, unico driver del turbo-capitalismo vigente. Se è ormai incontestabile infatti che il capitalismo così com’è ci sta portando verso l’autodistruzione, è altrettanto vero che l’anticapitalismo ha i suoi limiti. I limiti dell’anticapitalismo (soprattutto se parolaio) Riimmaginare il capitale Ma di cosa parliamo quando parliamo di capitale? 4.

Researchers uncover molecular event that controls neuron development Toronto researchers have discovered that a single molecular event in our cells could hold the key to how we evolved to become the smartest animal on the planet. Benjamin Blencowe, a professor in the University of Toronto’s Donnelly Centre and Banbury Chair in Medical Research, and his team have uncovered how a small change in a protein called PTBP1 can spur the creation of neurons – cells that make the brain – that could have fuelled the evolution of mammalian brains to become the largest and most complex among vertebrates. The study is published in the August 20 issue of Science. Brain size and complexity vary enormously across vertebrates, but it is not clear how these differences came about. Humans and frogs, for example, have been evolving separately for 350 million years and have very different brain abilities. Yet scientists have shown that they use a remarkably similar repertoire of genes to build organs in the body. And nowhere is AS more widespread than in the brain.

Effetto Risorse: Crepuscolo del petrolio - Un commento sulle tesi di Louis Arnoux Qualche tempo fa su questo blog è stato pubblicato in tre puntate (qui, qui e qui) un lunghissimo articolo di Louis Arnoux che personalmente ho trovato estremamente interessante perché, ad un’analisi che trovo molto convincente, seguono delle conclusioni che, al contrario, mi lasciano molto interdetto. L’analisi di Arnoux L’articolo può essere sintetizzato in 5 punti principali: Punto 1. Il doppio effetto Regina Rossa e Regina Rossa Inversa. In sintesi, La Regina Rossa significa che, dal momento che l’energia netta dei combustibili fossili sta scendendo molto rapidamente, l’industria energetica ne deve estrarre sempre di più affinché si possano continuare a fare le solite cose. La Regina Rossa Inversa riguarda invece tutti i possibili sostituti di petrolio, gas e carbone. In particolare, per Arnoux è critica la situazione dell’industria petrolifera perché è quella più vicina al collasso termodinamico. Punto 2. Punto 3. Punto 4. Punto 5. Un commento Conclusioni

How to Build A Worm Tower Building a worm tower is a simple, enjoyable, sustainable way to nurture your garden so that it can continue to nurture you. Earth—the stuff on the ground, not the planet—is essential for life. Anyone who has a garden (or even a house plant!) has seen a microcosm of this in action. The soil isn’t just something we walk on or that plants anchor in. It’s something that nurtures us and every other form of life on the planet in some sense. Connect with Geoff Lawton on Facebook Human beings learned long ago that constantly growing crops (especially the same crop) on the same plot of land would diminish the soil’s ability to nurture plants. A worm tower is, essentially, a mini worm farm that you plant in your garden, that continually feeds your garden and provides you with a rich, ongoing source of fertilizer. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Your little buddies will be thrilled (well, as thrilled as worms get at least), to have such a safe home that’s always full of delicious munchies. Related Popular

Disability-Simulating VR Promotes Empathy Virtual-reality projects are trying to offer a new perspective on what it’s like to experience conditions such as deafness, migraines, and depression. Dhruv Jain wants to take you to the bottom of the sea so you can understand his life a little bit better. An avid diver and a graduate student in MIT’s Living Mobile Lab, Jain is the creator of Amphibian—a virtual-reality simulator that immerses users in nearly every aspect of a real scuba dive, except the water. It may sound as though Jain is simply trying to re-create what it’s like to go diving. “If I close my hearing aid, I feel liberated,” he says. Numerous virtual-reality and augmented-reality projects aim to give disabled people virtual versions of experiences only the able-bodied can have. In another academic project, Reika Yoshino and Jun Xia, two University of Pennsylvania undergrads, anonymously surveyed 40 students about their experiences with certain mental illnesses and built a virtual environment based on the results.

The Case of the Vanishing Oil Reserves Post Carbon Institute Where are Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade when we need them? A crime is in progress, and only a detective who’s unafraid of stepping on powerful people’s toes is likely to get to the bottom of it. Here’s what we know. Someone is stealing the world’s valuable petroleum reserves right from under our feet—and getting away with it. A fat clue landed on my doorstep last week hidden in the newspaper business pages. Exxon’s not alone. Another possible clue showed up in a report from Carbon Tracker, an organization that assesses how much of the world’s fossil fuels will have to stay in the ground if we’re going to avert catastrophic climate change. As I was dusting my computer keyboard for fingerprints, I accidentally clicked a link and landed on a Bloomberg article claiming that oil discoveries have been super-low the last couple of years. Are the petroleum companies themselves guilty? Now, I’m no Hercule Poirot, but I’ve been around the block a few times. My head was starting to hurt. And me?