Search found 69 matches

by sanscardinality
Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:57 am
Forum: Literature and Cinema
Topic: Book Review: The View from the Center of the Universe
Replies: 13
Views: 44898

I haven't read the book or the introduction so I won't comment on that. I will make two comments: First, having taught physics for over ten years now, it is clear to me that students are natural Aristotleans, not Newtonites. The typical student has to struggle just to master Newton's point of view,...
by sanscardinality
Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:15 pm
Forum: Literature and Cinema
Topic: Book Review: The View from the Center of the Universe
Replies: 13
Views: 44898

Again, I can only extrapolate from the introduction. But since you asked, I will mention a couple of recurring points. I think the introduction has given you a caricature of the book as a whole. Publishers (and authors) do like to be controversial in their marketing, but in this case, the substance...
by sanscardinality
Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:56 pm
Forum: Literature and Cinema
Topic: Book Review: The View from the Center of the Universe
Replies: 13
Views: 44898

I haven't read the whole book. This will be a verdict based only on its introduction, which I read at the link that you sent. I detected many dollops of sloppy thinking in that excerpt. I'm all for integrated viewpoints, but the moment I see praise of medieval worldviews I become extremely wary. Ac...
by sanscardinality
Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:37 pm
Forum: Literature and Cinema
Topic: Book Review: The View from the Center of the Universe
Replies: 13
Views: 44898

Book Review: The View from the Center of the Universe

Joel Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams' book is both a 101 on modern cosmology for the layperson and a proposal on what this means for us in our daily lives. There's a web site to accompany at http://viewfromthecenter.com/ So on to the review... First, I recommend the book highly to anyone who wants a ...
by sanscardinality
Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:12 pm
Forum: Literature and Cinema
Topic: Fantasy universes and worlds
Replies: 40
Views: 122658

Douglas Adams was a much funnier writer, but he never really had a plot... That may have been his point to some degree. I think his most poignant/humorous commentary on plot was the immortal character who, out of boredom, decided to insult every being in the universe in alphabetical order. I have a...
by sanscardinality
Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:03 pm
Forum: The Art of Science, Fantasy and Science Fiction
Topic: Recent additions to the Gallery
Replies: 7
Views: 31421

Some notes on the ship renderings: The overall design is rocket's - I did the modeling and rendering based on her sketches and under her guidance. I always knew she was creative and smart, and this effort proved it over again to me. The ships have a "closed" mode wherin the big arms and &q...
by sanscardinality
Wed Apr 04, 2007 4:53 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Creating planetary systems
Replies: 5
Views: 26870

Very cool. I think a 100 AU binary system would be a pretty cool setting for a scifi story. You could have fun with a divided evolutionary lineage if you played your cards right... Can you say sibling rivalry?

SC
by sanscardinality
Sun Apr 01, 2007 11:14 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Twins and Chimaeras
Replies: 7
Views: 31646

When I said "gay" I was referring to either gender, as I think you gathered. I find your answer counterintuitive (like many things that are accureate) and would appreciate a little more information. If men have both X and Y chromosomes, it would seem simpler to get an X and Y from men than...
by sanscardinality
Sun Apr 01, 2007 9:35 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Twins and Chimaeras
Replies: 7
Views: 31646

The links are for you lucky few with Nature subscriptions... But there have been a number of non-pay stories covering the issue. Interesting stuff for sure. A couple questions from the peanut gallery: 1) This appears to be an extraordinarily rare occurrance based on the press it's getting, etc. Is t...
by sanscardinality
Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:34 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Artificial Intelligence / Synthetic Consciousness
Replies: 38
Views: 129782

Will it lead to a kind of popular pantheism, where people tend to believe that everything is conscious? It may not even be malicious, as SC worries, but it could distort the general view of the universe. I chose the analogy to a statue for a reason - Golden Calves, Numens, etc. are the ancient equi...
by sanscardinality
Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:34 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Frozen and freezing seas: Mars, Europa, Titan
Replies: 4
Views: 23940

Ben Bova's Jupiter, Saturn and Titan are some excellent books that speculate about prolific life in the solar system. The Jovian Leviathans are particularly cool!

SC
by sanscardinality
Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:01 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Artificial Intelligence / Synthetic Consciousness
Replies: 38
Views: 129782

DeepBlue is a pretty good simulacra of a chess player. Deep Blue is an effective chess program, but it actually is lousy at simulating a human player. In fact it is an excellent illustration of how little we understand thought. Human players demonstrably "chunk" data--there are experiment...
by sanscardinality
Tue Mar 27, 2007 5:55 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Artificial Intelligence / Synthetic Consciousness
Replies: 38
Views: 129782

I don't think they are very convincing at all--such as in your example. Clearly they are tricks, and take advantage of how people respond to social clues. How will we know it is not a trick? That is hard to answer. Agreed. The convincing simulacra I was describing are more in specialized areas. The...
by sanscardinality
Tue Mar 27, 2007 4:18 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Artificial Intelligence / Synthetic Consciousness
Replies: 38
Views: 129782

Sorry if I came across as argumentative. But I say this is a false analogy. The real analogy would be a plastic-and-glass stomach that adds chemicals to process food and make it suitable for uptake. It might use different chemical processes, but in the end a source of energy and building blocks is ...
by sanscardinality
Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:33 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Artificial Intelligence / Synthetic Consciousness
Replies: 38
Views: 129782

We don't know what exactly consciousness is, so no one can say at present how to distinguish its mere outward signs from the actual occurrence. Speaking strictly for myself, I have a really difficult time being interested in arguing about the differences between "pretend" X and "actu...

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