“Minority Report” Iris Scanners Are Here

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Carl Sagan. Credit: Wikipedia.

The latest Cracked article, 5 Absurd Sci-Fi Scenarios Science Is Actually Working On is a gem you should read. Another one is 6 Absurd Movie Plots You Won’t Believe Are Based on Reality. Science fiction with foundations in science and the overlap with reality are reliable mind-blowers.

I have been getting serious about my love for Carl Sagan in the last year, reading the Pulitzer prize winner Dragons of Eden, his last book, Billions and Billions, and I just finished Broca’s Brain. The latter gets into science fiction writing, the good kind, like that of Arthur C. Clarke (who wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey), that of Jules Verne, Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov, among others.

The way Sagan wrote about science fiction, with so much passion, intellect, love and nostalgia for his beginnings in science through science fiction, got me interested in the genre. I finally got serious about this too, and bought Isaac Asimov’s Robot Series. 

TED Talk: Atheism 2.0

In a world ruled by the hegemony of religion, whether it is the Catholic Church in Latin America, the Christianity of Republicans, or the Islam of Iran or Saudi Arabia, most people in the world live under a type of discourse religion regime, where the hegemony of some type of faith (of that particular faith, on none other is accepted) is total.

It is hard to think critically and individually about matters of the soul, the spirit, the divine, death and life, when you’re being force-fed dogma after dogma. But this is not about atheism, it’s about doubt, it’s about thought, and especially, dialogue.

So how to reconcile and start dialogue with the rest of the world, who, for better or for worse, do believe in these things? Alain de Botton at TED gave an impressive talk on this. Following the same vein as Carl Sagan in Broca’s Brain, de Botton invites atheists not to shut themselves off from the world with a dismissive “go talk to your imaginary friend Jesus”, and to not underestimate politeness.

But he goes further than Sagan and suggests that we can learn enormously from religion in the tools it uses, in the purposes it tries to serve and in the needs it tries to fulfill in people. I’ll let him do the talking.


Radiolab, new favorite thing

Just finished listening to the latest Radiolab podcast featuring the “irresistible podcast called 99% Invisible — a series of tiny radio stories that provoke enormous questions.” The host, Roman Mars, talked about three stories, one about sound design, another about a journalist’s story on a graffiti artist, and another about how a man charts his life as a series of annual reports. So thought-provoking, so well designed as well, and so original in its editing.

WNYC Radiolab: Loops

This podcast explores the loops in music, philosophy, math, neurology, psychology. So full of meaning. How loops are somewhat a taste of eternity. Deeply enjoyable. One of the hosts of the show, Jad Amunrab, won the McCarthur Genius Award, with good reason.