tl;dr – how do you convince people of your worldview when „facts“ based on yours only tend to reinforce their own? Are you open-minded enough to accept challenges to your own worldview? I’ve been thinking more and more recently about something psychologists call the „Backfire Effect.“ Both with respect to recent elections, and with respect […]

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The un-googleables of bygone days.

After reinstalling Windows, I just reattached a hard drive with a few hundred scanned childhood picturs and watched Picasa index them. At some point I started googling the names of some of the people on the pictures I haven’t been in touch with for at least a decade, only to find that Google is usually […]

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We didn’t start the rhyming.

Maybe someone should tell the Guardian’s higher education columnist David Cohen that claiming to not know Billy Joel doesn’t make anyone look younger – just a little ignorant. Ignorant though he may be about pop-classics, Mr Cohen writes about a very entertaining website called ‚philosophy songs‘ featuring a number of philosophically inspired re-lyricised cover versions […]

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Face/Off?

Today, two teams of doctors in London will explain that – with some psychological and moral issues pending – face transplants are now possible. And no, there doesn’t seem to be any connection to President Bush’s state visit to the UK… Sueddeutsche Zeitung outlines some of thequestions involved.

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It’s Been A Hard Day’s

and I’m having trouble with my computer. So I won’t be exactly long winded for a change ;-). There are many reasons for people to pursue a particular lifestyle or live in a particular culture. Some do it by choice [disregarding for practical reasons that any discussion about „choice“ will sooner or later approach the […]

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Semi-daily discussion on Sen’s paradoxon

A neat little discussion occurring at Brad DeLong’s Semi Daily Journal, regarding the question whether Sen’s paradoxon – which basically says that it is possible to dream up utility functions which would allow liberalism and the pareto principle to be in conflict – is actually a paradoxon. And it is evolving into a real debate […]

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Famous Words.

Not that I think the current international crisis is even slightly reminiscent of the danger posed by the Cuba Missile Crisis in 1962, the words JFK used in his speech to the American people are worth remembering in these days. „Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right-not peace at […]

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DeLong Run.

Brad DeLong at his best. He’s always there for us when it’s about time to leave the dreadful current international affairs aside for a moment and delve into the long term streams of human development. And which of them could be more important than the history of economic thought?

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Numbers You Don’t Need

While browsing through today’s WIRED newsletter, I found a link titled „Life on earth given 500 million years„. Apparently, two American scientists have written a new book. Accordinly, their publishing house has decided to give them some PR backing by putting out strange press statements. I haven’t read the book but I am pretty sure […]

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Did it happen? Does it matter?

Could it actually be telling that the first press statement about a cloned human baby comes from a company, Clonaid, founded by a strange sect, the Raelians, and headquartered in Hollywood (although, Hollywood, Florida)? Currently, 62% of the people voting in a CNN online poll believe it is. They do not think a cloned baby […]

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Closing The Gap?

There were times when a lot of people on this planet thought that human beings would have all been replaced by intelligent robots by the year 2000. But the operating system you are using right now as well as state of the art research in artificial intelligence (check these MIT media lab resources, for instance) […]

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Wise Men (in Black) Say…

Last night I watched the first part of „Men in Black“ again. And I noticed it features an immensely wise line which I won’t withhold from you, of course. Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is explaining to prospective Agent J (Will Smith) why the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent life on earth must be kept hidden […]

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