Science & Society

The three problems of humanity were outlined in a talk by Nick Bostrom (of Oxford University, UK) at TED in April 2009.

In this piece I will continue to examine the "big" problems identified in the TEDTalk.  It is this third point that begins to illustrate what the underlying objective of all the other pieces truly is.  

Problem #3:  Life Isn't Usually as Wonderful as it Could Be is a BIG problem
This blog is in response1 to Patrick's excellent M.A.D. 2.0 article. It started as a comment, but I thought, what the heck, let's make it my first blog. I've got to make the leap at some point instead of just lurking and hijacking!
I've come to the conclusion that there is only one thing worse than running out of oil - and that is NOT running out of oil. As the prospect of continuous but ever depleting reserves of hydrocarbons seems quite likely, it becomes even more essential we find alternatives to our current toxic habits. As Patrick clearly articulates, we will be up to our ear-balls in muck if we don't stop using oil. If not us, certainly our children.
The three problems of humanity were outlined in a talk by Nick Bostrom (of Oxford University, UK) at TED in April 2009.

In this piece I will continue to examine the "big" problems identified in the TEDTalk.

Problem #2:  Existential Risk is a BIG problem.
Anyone can be skeptical about a scientific result. It's good to state your skepticism, to make your view known. But are you done once you speak your view? Is that all it takes, a quick skeptical wrench and we shut off the flow of science? Guest writer Dan Krimm neatly captures the useful role of skepticism in the scientific process, below.

Alex
Tuesdays at The Satellite Diaries and Friday at The Daytime Astronomer (twitter @skyday)

The title, “The 2010s will be to the 2060s what the 1960s are to us today” is in a sense the most uplifting quote I have heard in a long while (yeah, I know about all the bad things, too, whatever). Since the 60s also stand for quite some influence of psychoactive substances onto later influential, if not revolutionary science and technology that made especially the "2.0" of Science2.0 possible at all, and since indeed the 2.0 part is taking off right now (as is a new wave of psychoactive activity above and underground), I found these quite fitting to add to the topic of Science2.0.

Economics is called the dismal science for a reason - things are never very good to economists.  Heck, economists have been over the moon about the economic downturn because it gives them something to talk about ("Economy booming, inflation low without any help from economic theory" is not exactly going to be a fun article for economists to write) and they get to be more optimistic than the people with no jobs again this year.

Poor nations aren't going to be thrilled about a new paper showing that even peasants under the feudal system had a better standard of living than they had.   Dismal, indeed.
Did you get visit here after quickly vanquishing my puzzles in this morning's New York Times Science section? If so, you're likely ready for a new challenge.

Below are the puzzles the Times cut — because they're too darn tricky or perhaps because the first gently pokes fun at the sacred cow that is Mariano Rivera. But they're certainly not too tricky for you, gentle reader.

No, no, if  you've made it this far, they're right up your alley. 
The three problems of humanity were outlined in a talk by Nick Bostrom (of Oxford University, UK) at TED in April 2009.  While I'm sure there are some that will consider these points to be quite reasonable in setting goals, I'm continuously amazed at the lack of rigor or introspection these claims aim at.  

In a nutshell, the talk identified three (3) problems that were perceived as needing to be addressed to "fix" humanity. In this article, I will discuss the first one.

Problem #1:  Death is a BIG problem.
Not sure how all this works yet, but anyway, I found this nice presentation of world life expectancy and wealth over the last 200 years. The data is interesting in itself, but the presentation is particularly interesting/entertaining.

Anyone who woke up yesterday morning hoping that December 2nd 2010 might be a historic day in the search for extraterrestrial life is likely to be sorely disappointed. All week the hype has been building since the NASA PR machine announced that they were about to release an astrobiology finding that would "impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life." Speculation got a little bit crazy to say the least!