Dear Awareness People:
Shut the F......... (1) I'm begging you.
I already have more than enough to be aware of. Even more than I'm aware of.
You try walking around Manhattan unaware. You won't be walking for long. Nope, there will be the usual horde of coked-up delivery guy lunatics whizzing around on bikes (sidewalks only, please) just praying for the opportunity to be the first to run you over.
What is chance? Or better, does the word "chance" really have an absolute meaning? I believe this is not an idle question. We tend to use that word to describe phenomena which we cannot trace back to an explanatory cause by a cause-effect relation. But words are important: labeling an event as due to chance has a direct impact on our perception of reality, as the statement that something "happened by chance" constitutes a final verdict, which labels the event as something not liable to be scrutinized in more depth.
It can't have been easy for former environmental activist Mark Lynas to change sides. His friends were on the anti-science side, he was a dutiful reader of The Guardian, where activists and environmental trade groups reign supreme, and he was adored there.
But he had an ethical dilemma. How could he talk about the science consensus on climate change, despite generous potential funding by corporations to say otherwise (no, really, anti-science people think that happens), while continuing to deny the science consensus in agriculture. Exxon's revenue was 20X that of Monsanto and yet even with far fewer scientists in climate studies they were not "bought off" as his side claimed about farming.
Summer is coming, and with it some more intense than usual travel for me. I actually started last month, when my path touched Rome, Athens, La Londe Les Maures (a small town on the south French riviera), and Athens again. Since being away from home means also having a chance to meet people you would otherwise not get in touch with, I have decided to make public my travel plan this year, in the hope of crossing the path of friends or acquaintances.
Stephen W Hawking actually wrote me a letter in response to one I sent him (actually I think it was an email) while in hindsight it was very likely to have been written by a functionary for him or the like it was still nice. At about the same time I sent a message to someone at Fermilab and got a response which they posted to their website and kept there ever since
. Which I consider to be a distinct honor as it was either the first or one of the first such questions (and alone the lines of something people must think of from time to time if they know a little physics.)
Yesterday over 50 million Italian citizens were called to voted to elect the new government, after a rather tense period of political campaign. And today the results are out, yielding a quite confusing picture, at least for what concerns the chances of forming a coalition with a majority in both chambers.
I was born and have lived in Venice for over 51 years now (omitting to mention some 2 years of interruption when I worked for Harvard University, 18 years ago), but this has come to an end on December 31st, when I concluded a rather complex move to Padova, 35 kilometers west.
Venice is a wonderful city and quite a special place, if you ask me. A city with a millenary history, crammed with magnificent palaces and churches. A place where one could write a book about every stone. Walking through the maze of narrow streets or making one's way through a tight network of canals is an unforgettable experience, but living there for decades is something else - it makes you a part of it. I feel I own the place, in some way. So why did I leave it?
A comment under "Relevance Of Race And G Factor Over Social Darwinism In China And General
" showed me again that also many smart Science2.0 readers, even those who read me for years, cannot understand that there is more than either progressive science deniers or Jew gassing Nazis, but Science2.0 castrated the comment system for some reason, by pure coincidence during the great 2016/17 shuttering of free speech to rescue freedom.
Sing a Song of Politics
I was testing my memory, trying to remember things that I learned way back when I was a small kid, and I realised that my most intense memories are of or related to poems and songs.
I seem to remember it was Ogden Nash
who wrote this little ditty during the early years of the cold war:
Rock of ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in thee.
When the bombers thunder past,
Shelter me from fire and blast.
And, though they say all men are brothers
Let the fallout fall on others.
How many songs can you remember from your childhood?