Media & Events

This Is The Room Where The Internet Was Born

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LEONARD KLEINROCK, 2010 laureate, supervised the first message sent over the ARPANET (the progenitor of what was to become the global Internet) on October 29, 1969.

This room, with its glaring, lime green paint and scuffed linoleum flooring, is where the first ARPANET node was installed, where communications protocol was established, and where the first message was sent over the network to another node at Stanford University.

Read the GIZMODO article, March 5, 2014

About Leonard Kleinrock and an interview with him, IEEE Global History Network

 

What do you really remember?

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Brain Edits, Splices Past Memories With Current Events

While we may like to think of our brains as a video camera that records events exactly as they happen, a new study from scientists at Northwestern University has found that the brain acts more like an editing studio, cutting and splicing past events based on present circumstances.

Read the redOrbit article, February 5, 2014

Do you laugh enough?

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Laughing Makes Your Brain Work Better, New Study Finds 

Ever have trouble remembering where you just left your keys? Just laugh it off. New research suggests that humor can improve short-term memory in older adults.

Read the abc News article, via Good Morning America, April 20, 2014

 

 

 

 

World’s Greatest Crime against Humanity and Nature

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The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

JAMES HANSEN, 2007 laureate, warns that nuclear energy is our only hope and is here to stay

"If we burn all fossil fuels, the carbon dioxide added to the air will have enormous effects. Sea level will 
rise many meters, submerging thousands of coastal cities. Hundreds of millions of refugees will be 
driven from coastal regions and island nations. A large fraction of the world’s species will be 
exterminated by shifting climate zones that amplify other human-made stresses. Summer heat waves, 
droughts and fires will be more extreme. Rain, when and where it occurs, will be heavier and floods will 
be more devastating. Storms will be stronger.

We had knowledge 25 years ago that should have allowed
climate change and air pollution to be manageable problems, not tragedies. However, we failed to
communicate the implications well enough with political leaders and we did not achieve effective action.
We must try harder now, because it is still possible to minimize the climate change effects and it is
possible to solve the air pollution problem.

...nuclear energy creates nuclear waste and the danger of a possible accident.

Today’s nuclear reactors, “slow” reactors that utilize less than 1% of the nuclear fuel, can be 
made passively safe, so they shut down in an emergency such as an earthquake and cool themselves 
without outside power. “Fast” reactors, which utilize more than 99% of the nuclear fuel and can “burn” 
nuclear waste, will be needed several decades in the future as easily available uranium is used up. 
Nuclear reactors can also be made more resistant to weapons proliferation than today’s reactors. This is 
important because nuclear power is here to stay, existing in more than 30 nations. 

“Green” organizations had indoctrinated themselves in anti-nuclear fervor, and their intransigence blinded them to the fact that they were nearly eliminating the one option for abundant clean electricity with inexhaustible fuel and a small planetary footprint. The enormity of anti-nuclear policy decisions would be difficult to exaggerate.  

We scientists should have made clearer that there is a limited “carbon budget” for the world, i.e., a limit on the amount of fossil fuels that could be burned without assuring disastrous future consequences. We should have made clear that diffuse renewables cannot satisfy energy needs of countries such as China and India. It seems we failed to make that clear enough."

Read the article, Columbia University, 10 March 2014

 

 

 

Do you have free will?

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William T. Newsome, 2004 laureate, discusses Neuroscience, Explanation, and the Problem of Free Will

Are we "all simply pawns in the brain’s elaborate chess game"? Are constructs for human behavior such as beliefs, values, goals, and choices are in reality “nothing but” brain activations, neural circuit computations, collections of action potentials, neurochemical modulation, expression of genetic predispositions, ...

"I argue that mental states and processes, like many other complex processes in our world, are organizational entities instantiated in high-level neural systems within the brain, which resist explanation through eliminative reduction. Understanding organizational entities and processes requires engagement at multiple phenomenal levels and elucidation of the mechanisms that link phenomena at different levels.

I believe that my mental states have causes (I would be worried if they didn’t!)—the key issue is what counts as a cause? For me, the essence of freedom is that my actions are caused, at least in part, by my beliefs, my values, my memories, my choices, my aspirations.

I am most free when my behavior originates in those propositions I consider to be true about the world, and those values and aspirations that I have selected to guide my journey through the flux of events. I readily admit, of course, that much of my behavior is not free. I am subject to all of the negative qualifiers above and more (except, so far as I know, neurological disease)—this is simply part of the human condition. Importantly, however, “free” and “unfree” are not either/or conditions; most of the time our choices and actions lie somewhere along a scale between these poles, influenced to some extent by both. I consider personal growth and maturity to be a life-long effort to move from the “unfree” side of that scale toward the “free”."

Read the article

 

Judaism - Religion or Civilization?

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AMOS OZ, 2008 laureate, discusses this question in 'Jews and Words', as reviewed in Haaretz.

They claim that Judaism is not as a religion only or even primarily, but a civilization, a heritage much more than a faith-based belief system. “The heritage,” Oz said, “contains first and foremost books [and] texts, and religion is only one of the components.”

The authors, 'atheists of the book' feel entitled to be “lovingly selective” from within Jewish continuum, a 'Jewish intertextuality' generated from the early religious books,  But to be selective, lovingly or otherwise, presupposes scriptural literacy. Odds are, however, that typical non-observant Jews (outside the world of scholars and the literati) rarely read or think about the Bible or the Talmud or anything else in the “text line” of which the Ozes are so fond.

Do these values retain a unique, or at the very least distinct, Jewish flavor without some substantial knowledge, not just of any books, even those defined as “Jewish,” but of Jewish religious texts and history?

Late in their book the authors say that a Jew is anyone who wrestles with the question, “Who is a Jew?” Jean Paul Sartre, not in any way a Jew, involved himself in that age-old chestnut in the 1940s, and many anti-Semites have as well.

 

READ THE ARTICLE, by Gerald Sorin, Haaretz, January 27, 2013 'Reading between the lines: How Amos Oz views Jewish identity'

 

Let's end with an excerpt from Annie Hall in which Woody Allen speaks of an existential dread with a Jewish twist:

NINE-YEAR-OLD ALVY: The universe is expanding.

DOCTOR: The universe is expanding?

ALVY: Well, the universe is everything, and if it’s expanding, someday it will break apart and that would be the end of everything!

ALVY’S MOTHER: What is that your business? [To the doctor:] He stopped doing his homework!

ALVY:  What’s the point?

ALVY’S MOTHER: What has the universe got to do with it? You’re here in Brooklyn! Brooklyn is not expanding!