Category Archives: Philosophy

Trashless Restaurant!

Trashless Restaurant!

“Owner and operator Justin Vrany personally ensures that any waste the restaurant creates receives the proper disposal: biodegradable materials get composted, cardboard goes to recycling, and so forth.

After two years, Sandwich Me In had produced eight gallons of waste; that’s what an average restaurant throws out in a single hour. Faced with this existential dilemma, Vrany gave the waste to an artist for a sculpture project, officially making the sandwich shop a zero-waste establishment.

In addition to its garbage policies, Sandwich Me In also operates on renewable energy and uses local, sustainable meat. The best part? All of the sandwiches cost less than $10, which goes to show that these policies don’t have to break the bank.”

Decentralized Web Could Transform Our World

Decentralized Web Could Transform Our World

“The “logical” way for the internet to be organised, in Irvine’s view, doesn’t require massive servers in data centres owned by big companies; they’re an unnecessary middleman. In fact, you don’t really need servers. “If you add up all the computers on our desks, it’s much more powerful, with larger storage, and larger CPU than any large corporation,” he said. The SAFE network would be distributed across the hard drives and CPUs of devices linked up to the system—”

What is Quantum Entanglement?

What is Quantum Entanglement?

“Physicists are unmasking a more fundamental source for the arrow of time: Energy disperses and objects equilibrate, they say, because of the way elementary particles become intertwined when they interact — a strange effect called “quantum entanglement.”

“Finally, we can understand why a cup of coffee equilibrates in a room,” said Tony Short, a quantum physicist at Bristol. “Entanglement builds up between the state of the coffee cup and the state of the room.”

If the new line of research is correct, then the story of time’s arrow begins with the quantum mechanical idea that, deep down, nature is inherently uncertain. An elementary particle lacks definite physical properties and is defined only by probabilities of being in various states. For example, at a particular moment, a particle might have a 50 percent chance of spinning clockwise and a 50 percent chance of spinning counterclockwise. An experimentally tested theorem by the Northern Irish physicist John Bell says there is no “true” state of the particle; the probabilities are the only reality that can be ascribed to it.

Quantum uncertainty then gives rise to entanglement, the putative source of the arrow of time.

When two particles interact, they can no longer even be described by their own, independently evolving probabilities, called “pure states.” Instead, they become entangled components of a more complicated probability distribution that describes both particles together. It might dictate, for example, that the particles spin in opposite directions. The system as a whole is in a pure state, but the state of each individual particle is “mixed” with that of its acquaintance. The two could travel light-years apart, and the spin of each would remain correlated with that of the other, a feature Albert Einstein famously described as “spooky action at a distance.”

Will 90’s Syndrome Lead to the Collapse of the Chinese Economy?

Will 90’s Syndrome Lead to the Collapse of the Chinese Economy?

“Fuelled by a steady diet of cheap money, these companies kept adding capacity with no regard to profitability or return on capital. They simply focused on producing more stuff and expanding their size. They employed more people, and everyone was happy.

But, all the while, they were borrowing more and more money, until eventually they collapsed under the debt load when liquidity dried up.

Before Korea, the exact same thing happened in Japan, and a giant, unsustainable debt binge brought the “miracle economy” to its knees.”

Where it All Starts

Where it All Starts

In quantum physics—the scientific study of the nature of physical reality—there is plenty of room for interpretation within the realm of what is known. The most popular mainstream interpretation, the Copenhagen interpretation, has as one of its central tenets the concept of wave function collapse. That is to say, every event exists as a “wave function” which contains every possible outcome of that event, which “collapses”—distilling into the actual outcome, once it is observed. For example, if a room is unobserved, anything and everything that could possibly be in that room exists in “quantum superposition”—an indeterminate state, full of every possibility, at least until someone enters the room and observes it, thereby collapsing the wave function and solidifying the reality.

The role of the observer has long been a source of contention for those who disagree with the theory. The strongest competition to this interpretation, and probably the second most popular mainstream interpretation (meaning, a lot of incredibly smart people think it’s a sound theory) is called the Everett interpretation after Hugh Everett, who first proposed it in 1957. It’s known colloquially as the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI), because it postulates simply that the wave function never collapses; it simply branches into its own unique world-line, resulting in every possible outcome of every situation existing in physical reality.”

Is America Ready for a “Gift Economy”?

Is America Ready for a “Gift Economy”?

“As Charles Eisenstein so famously said, “The gift economy represents a shift from consumption to contribution, transaction to trust, scarcity to abundance, and isolation to community.” Adrian Hoppel has joined a growing number of “gift businesses”, including several Panera bread stores in the United States, and even certain health care clinics in California. By giving and being open to receive, it seems mutual trust and good-willed service can provide sufficient income.”

A View on the Interconnected Nature of All Life, How We Become Seperated From it, and How that Seperation Fuels Societies’ Ills

A View on the Interconnected Nature of All Life, How We Become Seperated From it, and How that Seperation Fuels Societies’ Ills

“The science of Separation offers another explanation of what it calls “altruistic behavior.” Maybe it is a kind of mating display, which demonstrates one’s “phenotypic quality” to prospective mates (i.e., it shows that one is so “fit” that he can afford to squander resources on others). But this explanation takes as an unexamined premise another assumption of the worldview of Separation: a scarcity of mating opportunities and a competition for mates. As anthropology, reviewed in books like Sex at Dawn, has discovered though, this view of primitive life is more a projection of our own social experience onto the past than it is an accurate description of hunter-gatherer life, which was communal. A more sophisticated explanation draws on game theoretic calculations of the relative advantages of being a strong reciprocator, weak reciprocator, etc., in situations of mutual dependency. Such theories are actually a step closer to an evolutionary biology of interbeing, as they break down the idea that “self-interest” can ever exist independently of the interest of others.

Our society runs in large part on the denial of that truth. Only by interposing ideological and systemic blinders between ourselves and the victims of industrial civilization can we bear to carry on. Few of us would personally rob a hungry three-year-old of his last crust or abduct his mother at gunpoint to work in a textile factory, but simply through our consumption habits and our participation in the economy, we do the equivalent every day. And everything that is happening to the world is happening to ourselves. Distanced from the dying forests, the destitute workers, the hungry children, we do not know the source of our pain, but make no mistake—just because we don’t know the source doesn’t mean we don’t feel the pain. One who commits a direct act of violence will, if and when she realizes what she has done, feel remorse, a word that literally means “biting back.” Even to witness such an act is painful. But most of us cannot feel remorse for, say, the ecological harm that the mining of rare earth minerals for our cell phones does in Brazil. The pain from that, and from all the invisible violence of the Machine of industrial civilization, is more diffuse. It pervades our lives so completely that we barely know what it is like to feel good. Occasionally, we get a brief respite from it, maybe by grace, or through drugs, or being in love, and we believe in those moments that this is what it is supposed to feel like to be alive. Rarely, though, do we stay there for very long, immersed as we are in a sea of pain.

How much of our dysfunctional, consumptive behavior is simply a futile attempt to run away from a pain that is in fact everywhere? Running from one purchase to another, one addictive fix to the next, a new car, a new cause, a new spiritual idea, a new self-help book, a bigger number in the bank account, the next news story, we gain each time a brief respite from feeling pain. The wound at its source never vanishes though. In the absence of distraction—those moments of what we call “boredom”—we can feel its discomfort.

Of course, any behavior that alleviates pain without healing its source can become addictive. We should therefore hesitate to cast judgment on anyone exhibiting addictive behavior (a category that probably includes nearly all of us). What we see as greed or weakness might merely be fumbling attempts to meet a need, when the true object of that need is unavailable. In that case the usual prescriptions for more discipline, self-control, or responsibility are counterproductive.

t what we perceive as greed might be an attempt to expand the separate self in compensation for the lost connections that compose the self of interbeing; that the objects of our selfish desires are but substitutes for what we really want. Advertisers play on this all the time, selling sports cars as a substitute for freedom, junk food and soda as a substitute for excitement, “brands” as a substitute for social identity, and pretty much everything as a substitute for sex, itself a proxy for the intimacy that is so lacking in modern life. We might also see sports hero worship as a substitute for the expression of one’s own greatness, amusement parks as a substitute for the transcending of boundaries, pornography as a substitute for self-love, and overeating as a substitute for connection or the feeling of being present. What we really need is nearly unavailable in the lives that society offers us. You see, even the behaviors that seem to exemplify selfishness may also be interpreted as our striving to regain our interbeingness.

Another nonscientific indication of our true nature is visible in yet another apparent manifestation of greed: the endless pursuit of wealth and power. What are we to make of the fact that for many of the very rich, no amount of money is enough? Nor can any amount of power satisfy the ambitious. Perhaps what is happening is that the desire to serve the common good is being channeled toward a substitute, and of course, no amount of the substitute can equal the authentic article.”

Mouse Study Finds that Psychological Aversions Can be Passed Through Generations

Mouse Study Finds that Psychological Aversions Can be Passed Through Generations

Thoughts alter your genes expression, according to studies conducted in Europe, and at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the United States. Based on what we know about heritability, this is a likely explanation for the irregular recurrence of mental illness within families. Negative thought patterns are passed through generations. This is the law of “Karma” at work.