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2003 Edge.org World Question

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the what-would-sauron-do dept.

The Media 161

murky.waters writes "The responses to this year's Edge.org question have been published; basically, people were asked to imagine they were nominated as White House science adviser and the President asked them what are some important issues in science and what we should do about them. There are 84 responses, ranging in topic from advanced nanotechnology to the psychology of foreign cultures, and lots of ideas regarding science, technology, politics, and education. The responses were written by academics (e.g. Roger Schank, Marvin Minsky), journalists (Kevin Kelly), Nobel Laureates (Eric Kandel), and others (Alan Alda). Some of responses are politically loaded but the majority has either a more specialised proposal, or general remarks about our world. Many are absolutely fascinating: funny, insightful, interesting, hell even informative. ... One of the most public supporters of the Singularity 'religion', Ray Kurzweil, is a regular at Edge, and currently discussed issues range from said transhumanism to early-universe theories, and many other kinds of exciting and novel science."

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sounds like sci-fi (3, Funny)

mirko (198274) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024156)

-if you were in the gov, what'd would you do ?
-ask for credits :)

The most important information of our time? (-1, Offtopic)

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024158)

fist post

-klerck

(lol)

wow (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024170)

It's nice to see America having so many JEWISH academics.

Re:wow (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024367)

Yeah, isn't it nice that we have at least one subculture that values education and intelligence over the beer-and-tits-and-bright-shiny-things kind of disposable culture?

But what do you care? After all, it cannot be your fault that you didn't get to become a successful academic, a beltway insider, a Wall Street businessman or a lawyer. It can't be your fault. It's all because of the vast zionist conspiracy. All that beer drinking, screwing, fighting and loitering with friends prepared you for the real life -- those jewish boys and girls who spent all their time studying hard know nothing about it. Why should they get to be successful then? Eh?

Stop whining and crawl back to your trailer, bigot. You've never accomplished anything and you never will.

Increase funding for somatic cell research... (5, Insightful)

dagg (153577) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024176)

... to dramatically increase funding for promising new methodologies in the field of "human somatic cell engineering," which bypass entirely fetal stem cells.

I'm happy that this was brought up. I am getting tired of all the talk about banning this research and banning that research. There are certainly ethical ways to do things that don't necesarilly require banning large areas of research.

Re:Increase funding for somatic cell research... (2, Insightful)

ratamacue (593855) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024574)

There are certainly ethical ways to do things that don't necesarilly require banning large areas of research.

The most ethical of which is to keep government out of science completely. Given a choice of whether to (a) force the people to support research, (b) force people to abandon research, or (c) let the people decide for themselves how to spend thier efforts, it should be obvious that freedom is the clearest path to scientific advancement, and the only one which is fair to everybody.

Argh!! (3, Interesting)

Orne (144925) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024882)

When will you people.... Nothing was banned! The US government simply said that it will not provide government money to private research firms to conduct studies on an morally ambiguous process. Whether or not you believe that scooping the dna out of fertilized embryos is equivalent to killing, there is a significant number of Americans who do, and they do not want their tax money supporting what they believe is murder.

Besides, if the same celebrities (the majority of which don't know a stem cell from a make-up applicator) put their effort into supporting adult stem cell research, we'd have a much better attitude towards celluar sciences.

Re:Argh!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5025964)

What's ambiguous about stem cells? They are both tasty AND nutritious.

Re:Increase funding for somatic cell research... (2)

tomzyk (158497) | more than 11 years ago | (#5025575)

There are certainly ethical ways to do things that don't necesarilly require banning large areas of research.

Unfortunately, that's not how politics work though.

From here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/sh owbiz/2 263289.stm

"There are religious groups - the Jehovah's Witness, I believe - who think it's a sin to have a blood transfusion. Well, what if the president for some reason decided to listen to them, instead of to the Catholics, which is the group he really listens to in making his decisions about embryonic stem cell research?" - Christopher Reeve

Hmm (5, Funny)

Cheapoboy (634792) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024182)

Maybe they could work on getting Chaney a Heart, Lott his Courage and Bush a brain... i'll miss you most of all scarecrow.

Re:Hmm (0)

Saeger (456549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024248)

"Cheney needs a heart, Bush needs a brain, the Democrats need courage...hmmm...I might have an idea for a movie here if I could only come up with a good angle" - isaac peterson

--

Re:Hmm (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024388)

It takes a Democrat to make fun of someone's heart condition, laugh at a man that was unfairly crucified by the liberal press or the President himself.

Re:Hmm (-1, Troll)

Cheapoboy (634792) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024420)

yes, i must be with the terrorists huh? how dare i in this post 9/11 world do such a thing yawn

Re:Hmm (1)

hplasm (576983) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024610)

Yep. We all have to watch what we say in the EU since 9th November, too.

Re:Hmm (0)

fluffypancakes (554174) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024490)

Oh so sorry sir, I will go back to hating A-rabs and all the other coloreds. Hold on a second, let me affix my "Proud To Be An American" bumper sticker to my dualie Cheby pickup. Crying eagles, 9/11, etc etc. You know, if Bush wasn't such an easy target, no one would make fun of him. But when you're THAT stupid, it's kinda like he's just setting himself up to be the butt of a joke. And also, everyone knows Dick Cheney is a robot, he doesn't even have a heart! As for Trent Lott, you're just upset that he was OUTED as a racist by the "liberal jew run media".

Re:Hmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024631)

Sarcasm is the weapon of a weak mind, my friend.

No one has told you to go back to hating Arabs or any other ethnic group. On the contrary, President Bush and his administration have time after time gone out on the limb and publicly denounced the calls for general retribution against the Arab world or American Arabs. And who lashed at Trent Lott, who was one of the most prominent Republicans in the U.S.A. at the time, almost without delay? Yup, President Bush. But that wasn't good enough for the liberal press (who said anything about jews? I don't have anything against the Jews!). No, they had to tear the poor man to peaces in public. Conservative press would never have stooped that low if it had been a Democrat on the spot.

As far as Bush's alleged stupidity goes, I have only this to say: if you can get yourself elected as the President of the U.S.A. and deal with the 9/11 atrocities with the skill, restraint and diplomacy as he has done so far, you cannot be stupid.

Admit it. You and your liberal butt-buddies are just bitter after losing two elections and looking to lose the 2004 year presidential elections too.

Re:Hmm (0)

fluffypancakes (554174) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024749)

To be really honest, I'm not all that bitter that Republicans are in the White House and have control of the Senate, swear to God. I live in a country where Vin Diesel's XXX was number one it's opening weekend and FRIENDS is the show that will not die; there's no accounting for taste or intelligence in this country. I really expected it and it doesn't make me all that uncomfortable. Although this whole "economy in the crapper" thing we've got going on sort of bothers me. Truth be told though, I liked it much better when Republicans were just rich greedy white men and not bible-thumping a-holes.

"Conservative press would never have stooped that low if it had been a Democrat on the spot." Have you ever read or heard anything that Snow Queen WASP b*tch Ann Coulter has ever said? There's no point in saying "well Conservative media wouldn't do this ..." because both sides are just as bad about it, even I will admit that. It's hard to find an unbiased news source in this country.

"who said anything about jews? I don't have anything against the Jews!" Sorry my friend, that was just a joke - me and my Zionist humor.

"Bush's alleged stupidity", that's cute. You act as if Bush writes his own speeches or something, hahah! He has very skilled people handling everything he says, so I think his patriotic uplifting pearls of wisdom post-9/11 should be credited to the people who actually wrote them.

"On the contrary, President Bush and his administration have time after time gone out on the limb and publicly denounced the calls for general retribution against the Arab world or American Arabs."

A.) Anything less and the man would be a hate monger in this ultra-PC world we live in. Being a human being in that situation is just standard, not something he should get an award for. Being silent on the issue would have been condoning violence, so he doesn't get any props there.

B.) Um, isn't he the same man who's sending out our troops in preparation to kill Iraqis? They're Arab too, or do they not count because they have the oil he wants?

Keep responding hot stuff, you're getting me all angry and horny! Now if you'll excuse me, I am gonna go listen to some Bruce Springsteen records.

Re:Hmm (1, Troll)

TGK (262438) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024824)

I continualy hear all this about the "liberal press." Yet when campaign season rolls around it's never that way. I just keep wondering when all these paranoid right wingers are going to wake up.

The JOURNALISTS are libreal. Yes. Everyone knoes that. Education tends to do that to people (no that's not a barb, that's a political reality).

At the same time WEALTH tends to make people conservitive. The independent newspaper has gone from the rule to the exception in this country. The media today is the buisness of massive congolmerates. Media is big buisness, and we're all really clear on who the party of big buisness is.

Are there libreal aspects to our media? Certainly. The West Wing pushes a liberal agenda... but then who's really against lowering the infant mortality rate, championing the cause of the downtroden, and fighting for education in the privacy of their own home when it doesn't cost them a dime?

But the question we should be asking ourselves is not "is that reporter a liberal" but rather, is the overall media prespective biased against conservitives.

I think you'll find the answer is no. Did the media go after Lott following his comments? Of course. Did they not also persue Clinton and Monica after their ignoble trist?

While there are countless incidences of highly conservitive bias in the media (for an entertaining read on this check out Stupid White Men and other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation - Michael Moore) I am hard pressed to come up with many liberal ones.

Re:Hmm (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024856)

"But the question we should be asking ourselves is not "is that reporter a liberal" but rather, is the overall media prespective biased against conservitives."

Conservatives shilling for Liberals in order to grab more money. Should I laugh or cry? I have a nice rope for sale which features enough tensile strength to bear a human body, anybody interested?

Re:Hmm (1, Troll)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024848)

No one has told you to go back to hating Arabs or any other ethnic group. On the contrary, President Bush and his administration have time after time gone out on the limb and publicly denounced the calls for general retribution against the Arab world or American Arabs.

Oh, yeah. It sure was going out on a limb denouncing race crimes against American Arabs.

And who lashed at Trent Lott, who was one of the most prominent Republicans in the U.S.A. at the time, almost without delay? Yup, President Bush.

Because it sure would have been *really* politically savvy not to, uh huh, yup.

But that wasn't good enough for the liberal press (who said anything about jews? I don't have anything against the Jews!). No, they had to tear the poor man to peaces in public. Conservative press would never have stooped that low if it had been a Democrat on the spot.

Already forgetting Clinton and a certain intern that got *far* more noise in the press, are we?

As far as Bush's alleged stupidity goes, I have only this to say: if you can get yourself elected as the President of the U.S.A. and deal with the 9/11 atrocities with the skill, restraint and diplomacy as he has done so far, you cannot be stupid.

Where the hell did you get "skill, restraint and diplomacy" from? I mean, he hasn't declared war on China or anything, but I don't see him doing anything all that brilliant. He managed to piss off multiple unrelated countries with his "Axis of Evil" speech (which Powell and others then had to frantically soften), he managed to use Christian terminology multiple times in his post-WTC speech (a Bible quote and "crusade", which has been noised about Islamic countries to his detriment), he's setting up a massive American domestic monitoring and control agency with almost no oversight, he's managed to lose most of the global antiterrorist feeling by feeding off the momentum to fuel his pet war against Iraq...how did you reach those conclusions?

Admit it. You and your liberal butt-buddies are just bitter after losing two elections and looking to lose the 2004 year presidential elections too.

*I* wanted McCain, but that's besides the point...

Oh, sorry (4, Funny)

bravehamster (44836) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024186)

Oh, looks like I forgot to tell all you guys. We've already reached the singularity, and I'm it. I've just left all of you running as semi-independent information gathering processes. Didn't you get the memo? No? My bad. You know, for a superintelligent posthuman, I'm pretty absent-minded sometimes. Well, I'll just get back to finding a way to escape the closure of the universe and become God. IM me if you need anything.

Re:Oh, sorry (1)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#5026082)

I do need something... my personal stock of blue pills is running out and I really don't want one of those red ones. Thanks.

if you do unethical stemcell research (1, Offtopic)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024188)

YOU ARE A TERRORIST

Seriously though, human genome research through other means is a biggy.

I'd put it just above computer science with the procedes(source code) going to the public. We(OSS developers) are far ahead of a multi-billion dollar corporation in terms of development; I'd like to see what results we could achieve without those pesky day jobs.

Re:if you do unethical stemcell research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5026339)

Seriously though, human genome research through other means is a biggy.

I'd put it just above computer science with the procedes(source code) going to the public.


The government better fund the research if you want the proceeds to go to the public- because then noone else will!

I wish I were the hawkmeister (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024189)

or better yet, a beowulf cluster of hawkmeisters

AMD has dropped the ball! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024329)

(shamelessly ripped off The Inquirer [theinquirer.net] )

Intel seriously undercutting AMD on dual multiprocessing systems

AMD far behind on price, performance...

By Mike Magee: Monday 06 January 2003, 09:30

IT'S NOW FAR cheaper for system integrators worldwide to build dual systems using Intel Xeon chips than dual Athlon MP 2200+ processors, it has emerged.

Unless, that is, you consider RDRAM memory, of course.

Intel's new pricing strategy is causing some flurry of activity in the SI channel because price and performance rule the roost.

One system integrator told the INQ that, for example, a dual Xeon 2.4GHz, which comes with GigEthernet, PCI-X and other nicer features than you can get with Athlon MPs, means a switch from AMD.

Why?

He claimed that Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has not dropped the price of its MP processors since last April, and don't seem to want to release any MP CPUs faster than 2.4GHz until Mr Barton MP makes his appearance.

In the meantime, he said, Intel has announced the 3.06GHz Xeon, although it's still a rara avis, and is already shipping 2.8GHz and 2.6GHz Xeons, the premium price point models and therefore attractive buys.

And Intel is shipping 2.4GHz Xeons for less money than the 2.2GHz Xeons.

That, he suggests, means that Intel is providing the dual system CPUs at the 2.4GHz speeds to kill the sales of AMD MP processors.

And, he claims, that is going to seriously affect AMD's bottom line on the lucrative MP chips.

There's one of those little caveats to be entered here, however, and that's for RDRAM memory, if that matters anymore.

Memory is by far the most expensive component in a good workstation. For example, to put 4GB of memory in a Xeon workstation could cost well over $4,000, for those ECC, registered types. So, even if the Xeons are priced below the AMD MP chips, 4GB of memory for a dual Athlon system will cost under $2,000, contrasted with RDRAM based workstations.

For example, a Dell Precision 530 uses PC 800 RDRAM RIMMs, so to add 4GB of memory you're going to have to pay a rather considerable price of nearly $6,000.

Mind you -- that's kind of a defunct configuration...

But if you're using DDR 266 registered memory, like you would do with the new Xeons that use dual channel DDR, well that's a different matter...

educational research (3, Funny)

p944 (631670) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024195)

I would say that the scientific body of the government should be doing research into rapid learning techniques - for the other members of the Whitehouse ;-)

A real question from the test: (1)

Quaoar (614366) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024202)

"Define subliminible in three vowels or less!"

Re:A real question from the test: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024316)

"hard now gas"

alt, "bite me"

Re:A real question from the test: (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024587)

<shrug> uay </shrug>

Re:A real question from the test: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5025008)

sub-threshold

Ecology! (3, Insightful)

Maxwell42 (594898) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024208)

I know Bush doesn't give too much attention to that, and i wonder if he will ever know what this word means but just give it a try...
The world won't last long if the US never change its policics on that (Kyoto.. Johanesburg etc...), IMHO...

I don't agreee with all but have a look at Brian Goodwin suggestions:
Accelerating the rate of CO2 increase in the atmosphere by profligate use of Iraq's vast oil supplies, together with the continuing deforestation of the Amazon, will not only turn the Amazon basin into a parched desert but plunge the entire mid-West into prolonged drought, resulting in famine in your own land. History would then judge you as an apocalyptic Burning Bush, bringing the scourge of parching fire to your country and its people.
Read More... [edge.org]

Re:Ecology! (3, Interesting)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024311)

I know Bush doesn't give too much attention to that, and i wonder if he will ever know what this word means but just give it a try...
The world won't last long if the US never change its policics on that (Kyoto.. Johanesburg etc...), IMHO...


I'm sorry, but you don't know what you're talking about. As everyone knows, two-thirds of the Senate must ratify a treaty before it becomes law. Senators have the ability to vote on a treaty even if the President does not ask them to. In 1997, the Senate voted 95-0 against the Kyoto Protocol.

What does this mean? It means that even if Bush wanted to ratify Kyoto he couldn't, because under the Clinton administration, the Senate rejected it.

Re:Ecology! (2)

HiThere (15173) | more than 11 years ago | (#5026355)

I don't believe that you are actually correct. Not sure though. But I think that the president needs to support the treaty as well as get a 2/3 vote of the senate.

OTOH, it's also basically true that Bush probably couldn't have gotten the Senate to vote for it even if he'd wanted too. So what is going on here is basically just a first statement of policy: "I don't see any reason to play diplomatic games with you. I'm the big wheel, and I don't need to be polite." Rather than anything really substantive.

If you want to look carefully at what Bush has done, externally, the main thing he's done is be less polite than other presidents have been. I happen to consider this to be in and of itself a foolish and dangerous thing to do, but he hasn't yet DONE anything objectively worse than, say, Eisenhower did. (OK, faint praise. I despise the guy, so don't expect more.)

OTOH, Bush's internal policy seems a direct attack on the constitution. He seems to be paranoid occilitating between delusions of grandeur and delusions of persecution. This is not good in a head of state. In fact it's mind-bogglingly dangerous. Sigmund Freud provides a few clues as to why Bush might have these problems, but that doesn't give us much assistance, even if it is dramatically appropriate, considering that his father is ex-head of the CIA. (After listening to Bush, I frequently want to reread the Orestes cycle. Agamemnon got what was coming to him!)

Re:Ecology! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024346)

The Bush Administration -- the fucktards who fucked the world over.

Re:Ecology! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024372)

Yeah, whatever.

I bet you were one of those red-green leftwing hippies who protested against bringing US nuclear missiles to Germany and UK. Too confrontational! Pure warmongering! Star Wars? Utter insanity!

And now, after the totalitarian Soviet communism has collapsed, it has turned out that Reagan and the hard line Presidents before him were right. Confronting the evil by a convincing show of force as well as isolating it led to its downfall. All those missiles, all that Star Wars spending paid off. Democracy prevailed.

Within two decades when the confrontation with the Islamic world is over and the Western democracy has again prevailed and the global warming has been revealed as a left-wing scam, you will see that President Bush was right all along.

Re:Ecology! (0)

TGK (262438) | more than 11 years ago | (#5025005)

Of course! How could I have been so stupid. All this time I've been studying the history of the Soviet Union I've been focusing on the influence of the three pirmary economic models (Stalin, Bukharin, Trotsky) and not on the actions of Right Wing American Presidents. How foolish of me to have assumed that the Soviet Union's downfall was brough about by it's own hardline policies, it's economic collapse, and it's general failure to supply even basic necessities to its people!

Why, if I'd only realised that the massive Soviet missile buildup and bomber buildup had caused the collapse of the economy I could have revolutionized my thesis!

My only question is this. How would I have defended that thesis with the knowledge that the USSR never engaged in those buildups and that the "bomber gap" and the "missile gap" tauted by Nixon in his first campaign were nothing more than a clever KGB scheme? Those inflatable tank regiments in the buffer zone do the argument some real damage too.

Re:Ecology! (4, Informative)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024945)

You realize that Clinton rejected Kyoto first, right? This is not a Bush administration thing. Kyoto pretty much screws the US while letting the worlds biggest polluters off scott free. It also has a time period that just so happens to exclude the emissions from the Eastern Bloc nations -- which would utterly screw most of Europe (especially Germany).

The reason the US won't ratify it is because it's not a fair treaty.

As for Mr. Goodwin's suggestions -- I'd love to know where he got the Iraq bit, since it's not like the US is going to have outright control of the oil supplies regardless of what occurs in the next few months (and while I'm not in favor of an invasion currently, I don't see how we're going to avoid it... Bush has Iraq on the brain, and all I can hope is that there's some intelligence information that's supporting the inanity currently going on).

Re:Ecology! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5025703)

The US is one of the world's biggest polluters...

er (-1, Offtopic)

randyest (589159) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024210)

huh?

too many cocktails? I dunno, but I read it twice and this still eludes me . . .

Video games and education (5, Interesting)

Kajakske (59577) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024211)

Video games compel kids to spend dozens of hours a week exploring virtual worlds and learning their rules. Barring a massive overhaul of our school system, Nintendo and PlayStation will continue to be the most successful at captivating young minds.
Hehe, that sounds harsh.
But he got a point there. However, his point in the article points that video games go at the expense of eductation, where I think they just replcae part of it. People learn at young age to work with PCs and new technology, which is also eductaion IMHO.

Re:Video games and education (2)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 11 years ago | (#5025078)

"People learn at young age to work with PCs and new technology, which is also eductaion IMHO."

To a degree, yes. But I think you're over-inflating the importance of video games.

First, I admit that playing computer games on an Apple ][ is what got me into computers. I started playing with them when I was 2, programming when I was 5, and I graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Computer Science. They've definitely been influential on where I've headed in life.

However, so many video games these days are on consoles. There's only so much a kid can learn from playing GTA:VC on a PS2. When I was playing games on the Apple, I learned some of the DOS 3.3 commands out of necessity. With a console, what can they discover? There's no gradual progression from "generic end-user" to "low-level hacker" -- the only alternative is jumping directly into the deep end of using a modchip to produce and run your own software. And that's something that's not going to happen if the person hasn't already learned more from another venue.

Furthermore, there's a diminishing level of education returns even in a PC context. A kid might learn quite a bit about basic computer tasks in order to install a game like Counter-Strike. Once it's installed, however, the bulk of the useful learning is over. Aside from the occasional video driver update, the 20th hour of racking up frags is just as education-free as the 19th.

Overall, attempting to ennoble videogames by claiming that the education they detract from is comparable to the education they produce is absurd. You just aren't learning that much, for the most part, while playing videogames.

Re:Video games and education (3, Informative)

HiThere (15173) | more than 11 years ago | (#5026237)

That could work... but not in recent commercial games. The amount that is learned on a commercial game is, frankly, trivial. The games are intentionally designed so that extra-game activities, e.g., auto-players, are discouraged. Even something as basic as hacking the items carried is no longer entry level. (Yes, I understand the reasons. The reasons don't change the facts.)

So... video games aren't technical learning experiences. They mainly test/devlop? (depending on the game) reaction time or strategic sense. And even these are quite limited in nature.

Rogue, NetHack, FreeCiv ... those are games that could be learning experiences. But they aren't designed to be so. Robo-Wars (build a fighting robot, and play it against others -- I may have the wrong name) is a real learning game. Perhaps too much so, as this makes it less popular.

Were you to assert that video games could be quite educational, I would agree. But as long as they are commercial and market driven, then don't expect it. "Thinkin' Things" is probably as good as you are going to get. Or, perhaps, "Julliard Musical Adventure". I have to admit that it was pretty good. But it wasn't anything that I would have played for fun, where I've seen Thinkin' Things played for fun.

Or for a really good game, how about "HyperCard!". The color was only black and white, and the sound was add-on, but it was a pretty good game. Good players got the true feel of programming as an adventure, and it was an easy transition from HyperCard to C or Java ... well, fairly easy. What? You say that wasn't a game? See how good it was!

What is a video game? I used HyperCard to roll dice on the screen, to sail ships across the screen. Etc. But I did it in a way reminiscent of extreme programming (a term that hadn't yet been invented). OTOH, I was a programmer before I ever sat down to HyperCard. So perhaps it was only a game for programmers? No, there were lots of easy entry points.

Letting HyperCard slide was one of Apple's worse mistakes. Not integrating color and sound was misunderstanding the nature of what they were selling. And ceasing to include it... the only plausible justification is that they'd let the code go unmaintained for too long. But this killed a large market for Apple, and drove away a large number of people who could have been developed into an environmentally bound set of programmers. They may be starting this up again with Carbon, I don't know. But the costs of building the community up almost from scratch are potentially quite high. And Apple no longer has the market share that it had.

IN SOVIET RUSSIA... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024219)

we imagine we are the science advisor and ask the president to russia you!

Kandel and Consciousness (4, Interesting)

hughk (248126) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024223)

It is interesting that Kandel brought this up. Recently a group of Nobel Laureates from a number of different fields (and countries) were interviewed and they all agreed that this is the next big thing.

Of course, the study of the biological underpinnnings of self-awareness may also help AI to take off in a big way. One of the major issues that the naysayers (such as John Searle and his Chinese Room [google.com] have) is that a machine is a bundle of electronic switches without acknowledging that the brain is just a bunch of biological ones.

Orchestrated Objective Reduction (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024264)

Google that phrase to find papers on the subject.

Penrose argues convincingly that consciousness is a QM phenomenon exhibited by most life forms, even bacteria. In other words, it's not as simple as cranking your Athlon up to 50Ghz and running AI Girl v7.0.

Re:Orchestrated Objective Reduction (2, Funny)

blancolioni (147353) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024473)

You forgot to put "un" before the word "convincingly."

Re:Orchestrated Objective Reduction (2, Insightful)

ralphbecket (225429) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024562)

You must be kidding. Perhaps you just read the conclusion?

Penrose' "The Emperor's New Mind" is a collection of chapters on interesting topics, which have all been addressed far better by other authors also trying to communicate with the layman, each of which ends with an assertion of the form "...and here's a `result', a conving demonstration of which is too large to include in this book." As for the more high powered physics stuff, I can't argue, but for the computation theory and AI philosophy, you could drive busses through the holes.

A major part of the problem is that Penrose simply does not seem to accept Goedel's Incompleteness Theorems. They are theorems, which means they're a fact of life. The correct answer to the observation that human mathematicians have so far been rather good about working around the problem is that human mathematicians are not perfect reasoners and hence are not subject to the Incompleteness Theorems. The down side to this position is that you can't fully trust human mathematics (but there's nothing new there.)

It certainly isn't warranted to suggest that the quantum structure of the brain somehow allows us to violate the laws of logic based upon properties that are neither defined nor observed.

By all accounts Penrose is a first class physicist, but as a philosopher of AI I find him utterly unconvincing.

Re:Kandel and Consciousness (1)

Eustace Tilley (23991) | more than 11 years ago | (#5025462)

Although I have not been able to find John Searle's original paper online (copyright issues?), I remember him writing that "of course" human beings are examples of biochemical machines. I was able to find this, [rutgers.edu] a link to a review of his article, where we read ...
He asserts explicitly that human beings are simply thinking (biological) machines.
That appears to qualify as an acknowledgment that "the brain is just a bunch of biological switches."

Alan Alda for Science Advisor (5, Interesting)

Pingster (14864) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024238)

Alan Alda's response [edge.org] is very eloquent, compelling, and smart. Here's his conclusion:

The problem is that, although we're all entitled to our beliefs, our culture increasingly holds that science is just another belief. Maybe this is because it's easier to believe something--anything--than not to know.

We don't like uncertainty--so we gravitate back to the last comfortable solution we had, and in this way we elevate belief to the status of fact.

But scientists are comfortable with not knowing. They thrive on it. They don't assume that just because they had an idea it must be right. They attack it as vigorously as they can because they don't want to lie to themselves. As Richard Feynman said, "Not knowing is much more interesting than believing an answer which might be wrong."

Above all, Mr. President, I think your science advisor needs to help you help our country learn to be comfortable with uncertainty, and--as hard as this might be to believe--to put reason ahead of belief.

If only all the young minds in the schools could hear this message!

Re:Alan Alda for Science Advisor (1)

videodriverguy (602232) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024339)

Please, please, can someone post this or send me a copy - where I am (China, temporarily) I can't access it. Any email to the above domain will get to me.

Re:Alan Alda for Science Advisor (1)

ender81b (520454) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024408)

just sent it to videodriverguy@rollercoasterrider.com. Out of curiosity is the site being blocked or are there other reasons for your inability to access it?

Re:Alan Alda for Science Advisor (2, Interesting)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024872)

I wish someone in China would set up a "Does China Block this Site" page that lets outsiders see whether a given site is blocked within the country.

It'd be interesting.

Re:Alan Alda for Science Advisor (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024764)

The problem is that, although we're all entitled to our beliefs, our culture increasingly holds that science is just another belief.

There's a difference between "scientific knowledge" and the religon atheists call "science." Once we get to the creation of the universe (not just Earth) or start dealing with the origins of life, etc., science is in religious grounds--and that means that it throws up a religion, even if the researchers themselves are careful to keep their research properly agnostic.

But scientists are comfortable with not knowing. They thrive on it. They don't assume that just because they had an idea it must be right. They attack it as vigorously as they can because they don't want to lie to themselves. As Richard Feynman said, "Not knowing is much more interesting than believing an answer which might be wrong."

Sadly, scientists and the common man differ greatly on this. Science as a whole might be a whole bunch better if they started issuing press releases with all of the proper disclaimers ("this science is only 6 months old, it may be overturned in a week") and media people (jounralists) spent a bit more time hammering home that point.

Then again, I'm biased.

Re:Alan Alda for Science Advisor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5025732)

There's a difference between "scientific knowledge" and the religon atheists call "science." Once we get to the creation of the universe (not just Earth) or start dealing with the origins of life, etc., science is in religious grounds--and that means that it throws up a religion, even if the researchers themselves are careful to keep their research properly agnostic.

I see no problem with science "throwing up a religion",
the problem is not that of proving facts that contradict religion
the problem is people beliving in religious dogmas that are disprovable.

The date of the creation in the bible is one of these things,
but there are even simpler examples; Leviticus 11:5-6 clearly states that rabbits chew the cud, which is clearly wrong from any observation.

Some religions do not make these kinds of statements, and the followers of these religions do not have any such "problems" with science.

The problem is thus not scientists, nor atheists, but with religious fundamentalists who believe their faith is invalidated by their holy scripture being shown not to be litterally true.

A ridiculous stance in any case, as the Bible is full of internal inconsistencies,
which only require reason and logic to thus invalidate their faith anyway.

So the conflict is not between science and religion,
but religious fundamentalism and dogma versus facts and reason.

Re:Alan Alda for Science Advisor (3, Insightful)

Saige (53303) | more than 11 years ago | (#5026006)

There's a difference between "scientific knowledge" and the religon atheists call "science."

Bullshit - no matter how you try to dress it, calling atheism a religion is completely untrue. Just because it deals with topics normally considered "religious", doesn't make science a religion. Someone can posit a theory about how the universe came into existence without it being religious - the evidence for the Big Bang theory continues to mount.

Sadly, scientists and the common man differ greatly on this. Science as a whole might be a whole bunch better if they started issuing press releases with all of the proper disclaimers ("this science is only 6 months old, it may be overturned in a week") and media people (jounralists) spent a bit more time hammering home that point.

It's a sad statement of the level of science education in this country that most people don't realize that this is ALWAYS the case with science. There's no such thing as a "fundamental truth" - just working theories that have various levels of accuracy. For example, classical mechanics was pretty accurate, but not for all possible conditions, thus quantum mechanics came along for more details. Surely other things we take for granted will be changed slightly also - such as gravity.

Re:Alan Alda for Science Advisor (2)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5026266)

Bullshit - no matter how you try to dress it, calling atheism a religion is completely untrue.

Religion isn't "what do you think the things out there are like?", it's "what do you think is out there?." Atheism is a religion, and should be given no more political or scientific respect than any other.

It's a sad statement of the level of science education in this country that most people don't realize that this is ALWAYS the case with science. There's no such thing as a "fundamental truth" - just working theories that have various levels of accuracy.

Blame the funding model. For scientists to get money, they have to justify their existance--and that means saying "we know" when all they should be saying is "we think."

For example, classical mechanics was pretty accurate, but not for all possible conditions, thus quantum mechanics came along for more details. Surely other things we take for granted will be changed slightly also - such as gravity.

Actually, aren't classical mechanics still accurate, if you limit "objects" to non-quantum levels of mass, and include quantum randomness as a "force"?

The thought occured to me over vacation, and I don't have a physics teacher to ask.

Re:Alan Alda for Science Advisor (2, Interesting)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#5026062)

Science cannot be a religion, because there is no faith. Faith is belief without evidence, and rationality is belief only with evidence. Science is the time proven process through which we can eventually figure out from the evidence what might be true, and what definitely isn't true. Also, it can tell us what we don't have a clue about, and what we will never have a clue about.

Science and religion are absolutely opposed to each other on that basis.

Jesus himself said to Thomas that believing without seeing is a good thing.

This wasn't intended as a flame, I'm just honestly pointing out what I see the relationship between science and religion to be.

Re:Alan Alda for Science Advisor (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5026245)


Jesus himself said to Thomas that believing without seeing is a good thing.

This wasn't intended as a flame, I'm just honestly pointing out what I see the relationship between science and religion to be.


A significant portion of the population never reads scientific journals, never does an experiment, and can't even tell you what the scientific method is. Yet these people take whatever scientists say as gospel truth.

It's hard to maintain agnosticism, which is the only "religion" that science can claim to belong to. As a result, there's a significant portion of the population that listens to scientists and not priests, and so fall into a "scientific religion."

Science isn't a religion, but there is a religion based (badly) on science. Anyone who tries telling you that science has disproven God is a member.

Re:Alan Alda for Science Advisor (1)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#5026406)

It's hard to maintain agnosticism, which is the only "religion" that science can claim to belong to. As a result, there's a significant portion of the population that listens to scientists and not priests, and so fall into a "scientific religion."

You're implying the necessity of religion here. I don't think that a person must always have a default religion - e.g.. whatever they believe is their religion. What a person believes must qualify as a religion to say that the person has a religion.

And I think you're confusing some terms. Agnosticism is the statement that you don't know. Strong atheism is the positive statement that there is no god anywhere.

I wouldn't call strong atheism a religion, though I am guessing you would. On the other hand, strong atheism relies on the same shaky foundations as religion, namely a positive statement without evidence.

Re:Alan Alda for Science Advisor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5025698)

The problem is that, although we're all entitled to our beliefs, our culture increasingly holds that science is just another belief.

There may actually be good reason for that. History demonstrates that everything Science has told us is wrong. My favorite example of this is gravity, where we now know that relativity makes the attraction more complicated. And now Nature reports that the speed of light may not even be constant.

The only thing that separates scientific theory from religous belief is that we acknowledge the scientific theory is likely to change as our technological capabilities improve. There are a lot of people, even scientists, who will defend a scientific theory as religously as the Pope will oppose abortion, and that is where is starts being a belief system.

Concept of science as a religion (3)

swb (14022) | more than 11 years ago | (#5026171)

The problem is that, although we're all entitled to our beliefs, our culture increasingly holds that science is just another belief.

I thought this was something that only people way out on the fringes of religious faith subscribed to until I had a casual conversation at a party with a woman I've lived next door to for 3 years. The conversation somehow turned towards evolution and she simply denied that evolution had any validity and that the biblical creation was as, if not more, valid than evolution.

I'm not terribly "up" on this debate, but its my understanding that evolution, as a biological process, has such overwhelming scientific support that it must be considered true, while the human evolutionary tree (ape-man) has a lot of evidence in favor of it but a lot to be learned.

She was felt that evolution just didn't apply to humans, it wasn't true and we didn't evolve from apes. I imagine she had no opinion or interest in fruit flies, barn swallows or any of the obvious but non-{ape,human} examples of evolution.

My response to her was basically that she could choose to believe in anything she wanted, but choosing to not believe in things which have been demonstrated valid by scientific inquiry was kind of a dangerous business. At what point does she follow religion and ignore science? Is the world still flat? Does she believe the sun orbits the earth?

Anyway, it's a scary world and there's an increasing number of people willing to believe in all kinds of fantastic things...

Ah. What a nice dream. . . (4, Insightful)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024239)

people were asked to imagine they were nominated as White House science adviser and the President asked them what are some important issues in science and what we should do about them


What a dreamy way to spend the day.

Imagining that some Questionaire Answerer actually knows anything of value which wasn't discovered 50 years ago and subsequently locked away for gradual public release, (or not at all), and better yet, that the power behind the government actually gives the slightest fig about what his/her opinion might be.

Yes. I'd like to live in that world, too. --You know, the one they still teach to all little kids, where everybody is happy, healthy, wise and caring, we all wear 'vault 13' type outfits, (without the overtones of holocaust, 'natch), we all carry tri-corders and our delicious meat products come from designer plants.

Sigh.


-Fantastic Lad

Re:Ah. What a nice dream. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5026212)

Imagining that some Questionaire Answerer actually knows anything of value which wasn't discovered 50 years ago and subsequently locked away for gradual public release, (or not at all), ...

And just who are these secret scientists who figured out everything there is to know?

It's hard to believe the parent was modded +5... so it goes amongst the super-Libertarian masses of /.

Sigh, indeed.

I like Alan's (5, Interesting)

MegaFur (79453) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024267)

I know it means I'm kinda pathetic, but I really like Alan Alda's [edge.org] (yes, the actor).

From the "Deeper" section:

What your science advisor really needs to do is help you re-fashion the thinking of the country. Too many people think cloning cells for the fight against disease is the same thing as creating Frankenstein's monster. Too many people think evolution is the idea that people are descended from apes. And too many people think that genetic modification of plants is a dangerous new idea, instead of something that's been going on for ten thousand years.
...
The problem is that, although we're all entitled to our beliefs, our culture increasingly holds that science is just another belief. Maybe this is because it's easier to believe something--anything--than not to know.

We don't like uncertainty--so we gravitate back to the last comfortable solution we had, and in this way we elevate belief to the status of fact.

But scientists are comfortable with not knowing. They thrive on it. They don't assume that just because they had an idea it must be right. They attack it as vigorously as they can because they don't want to lie to themselves. As Richard Feynman said, "Not knowing is much more interesting than believing an answer which might be wrong."

I only hope that Alan is wrong about the Death of Reason In The U.S. I hope, but not much. See, on the one hand, people are always saying, "oh, man things are so screwed up." I'm not just talking about the last few years or even the last few centuries. You go back to biblical times and before and there were still people saying how bad it all was. It's a constant throughout the ages.

So there's hope that Alan's wrong and the seeming surge of gulibility (phone psychics, John Edwards, et al.) are just a fad or trend. Or on the other hand, it could be that the U.S's torch is fading. Goodbye reason, hello psychics, how did we ever get along without you! Yes, I understand that it's okay that we murder all those nasty Arab-types 'cause Johnny Edwards says the dead ones are thanking us from Hell...

Okay, I apologize for going a bit freaky there, folks. Obviously, it's late and past my bedtime. Goodnite, don't let the ziparumpazoos bite.

Re:I like Alan's (3, Insightful)

kha0z (307162) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024280)

See, on the one hand, people are always saying, "oh, man things are so screwed up." I'm not just talking about the last few years or even the last few centuries. You go back to biblical times and before and there were still people saying how bad it all was. It's a constant throughout the ages.

Human beings are negative by nature. The constant approach to looking at life is like looking at a glass that is half empty is an inate human characteristic. I can not assume that this has always been the case, however, there are few times that I find people who try look at problems or life as a glass that is half full.

Perhaps, sometimes it would be beneficial to look at that glass for what it is. Not half full, and not half empty, just a container and the contained.

Re:I like Alan's (1)

giel (554962) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024314)

I only hope that Alan is wrong about the Death of Reason In The U.S. I hope, but not much. See, on the one hand, people are always saying, "oh, man things are so screwed up."

Isn't this negative view on life the reason for our constant search for improvement? One can look at the consumption of forest and oil as a way to improvement our lifes (at a cost, which I'm not sure I'm willing to pay...)

Search however leads to questions which in turn lead to uncertainty and...

We don't like uncertainty--so we gravitate back to the last comfortable solution we had, and in this way we elevate belief to the status of fact.

But hey, thank God not all people are afraid of uncertainty... Did I say God?

Re:I like Alan's (0)

twofidyKidd (615722) | more than 11 years ago | (#5025650)

The consumption of oil and forests for energy, ironically, is something we arrived at through scientific discovery and more ironically something that science hasn't been able to ratify.
Some people like things the way they are, some people enjoy the profits of said things and others just lend credence to destructive means via ignorance.
Bush probably fits into all of the above nicely, so as someone else has stated, thats looking at the glass as it is: The container and the contained. There's plenty of time to make half-full/half empty jokes about Bush's intelligence.

To paraphrase Mr. Alda... (3, Insightful)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024454)

Mr. Alda says:
Too many people think cloning cells for the fight against disease is the same thing as creating Frankenstein's monster. Too many people think evolution is the idea that people are descended from apes. And too many people think that genetic modification of plants is a dangerous new idea, instead of something that's been going on for ten thousand years.

He really means, "Mr. President, too many people reject the liberal left's tired dogma. We've got to make them believe!"

Re:To paraphrase Mr. Alda... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024659)

liberal left's tired dogma

And what dogma is that?

Evolution: science
Safety of the gene manipulation: science

Science is never dogma.

Re:To paraphrase Mr. Alda... (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024836)

"Muad'Dave" is just demonstrating Alan Alda's claim that the american public has started thinking of science as "just another religion" which SOME "believe" in and some don't.

liberal left??! What? (2)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 11 years ago | (#5026310)

I'm really confused by that last part of your post.

what did any of what you quoted have to do with "the liberal left's tired dogma?" in fact, some of the things mentioned are MORE opposed by the left than the right (e.g. genetic modification of plants).

Did the conference (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024281)

have a session on the promising new technology of gaysexwithdogs? This area need a dramatic rise, if you ask me.

Slashdot Haiku (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024325)

Michael Sims is Odd
Crack Smoking Moderators
This is not a troll

Re:Slashdot Haiku (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024327)

Yes it is, now go away. We don't like your kind.

Can this technology (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024328)

prevent the disgusting act of gaysexwithdogs or all we all doomed!

Free Downloads? (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024356)

You'd think since these singularity people are so committed to this AI thing they'd have free downloads on thier site, but I don't see it so, what can you say?

meta-answer (5, Interesting)

K. (10774) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024359)

Considering the fact that there are precious few female respondents, one thing that needs to be fixed is an apparent gender imbalance in science.

Re:meta-answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024376)

Yeah, I'm all for having more female physicists at my workplace -- as long as it is not achieved through a quota or other kind of "affirmative action".

Re:meta-answer (2, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024382)

one thing that needs to be fixed is an apparent gender imbalance in science

Why?

I've never quite understood the assumption that something must be wrong if there isn't a 50/50 distribution of men and women in a profession.

Re:meta-answer (2)

K. (10774) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024649)

Women are just as capable of doing science as men, therefore if there's a huge difference in the ratio of male to female scientists, there's an imbalance of some sort going on, and a waste of a lot of potential.

There should definitely be efforts to address the causes of such imbalances (rather than just the symptoms, which is what, say, 50/50 quotas do). It may not work out exactly 50/50 at any one time, but it should surely be better than about 10 in 85.

Re:meta-answer (2, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024731)

Yes, but capable does not mean the same as interested.

I'm a physicist. I would certainly be capable of learning let's say accounting and heading for a new career in business. However, I am not interested in business. On the other hand, I would be very like to paint or write fiction, but I don't have either skill.

What I am trying to say that we are all hardwired to be good at something. Some of this wiring comes from our genes and some of it comes out of the way we grew up. At the age when you are deciding if you want to become/are capable of becoming a good scientist, it's already too late. At my current age, I could learn to be a lousy painter instead of a good scentist but what's the point? The dice was rolled a long time ago and what I am now is the result.

Of course one should address blatant discrimination but sexual or minority quotas will only lead to a drop in the standards. Don't take me wrong. It's not because the minorities were inherently less skilled. It's a case of simple statistics: quotas encourage the less skilled people to apply in larger numbers while discouraging the more skilled ones. As a result, the standards will drop.

If you want to have high standards within a profession like science, you will have to run a ruthless meritocracy.

Re:meta-answer (1)

K. (10774) | more than 11 years ago | (#5025574)

If people are capable but not interested, then you have to ask why. For example, it's been my experience that traditional gender roles are pushed pretty strongly in schools, and that can't help.

Also, I very much doubt we're hardwired for any particular skill that doesn't involve throwing rocks at antelopes etc. It's silly to argue for nature over nurture when you're talking about skillsets that have only been around or important for centuries or decades. You may also be selling yourself short on the painting front, unless you mean successful in the Picasso sense.

(Also, I love the fact that meritocracy has become a positive concept- and without too much analysis of what it actually implies - when it was originally meant as a negative one.)

Re:meta-answer (2)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 11 years ago | (#5026211)

As long as women aren't prevented from becoming scientists because they're women, then the system is fine.

Re:meta-answer (3, Insightful)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024892)

Considering the fact that there are precious few female respondents, one thing that needs to be fixed is an apparent gender imbalance in science.

Yup, we better institute affirmative action immediately!

I'm dubious as to the value of trying to manually "fix" society. Plus, anyone that tries is a target to blame any problems on.

Not Impressed (3, Insightful)

superyooser (100462) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024422)

I read most of the summaries and a few of the responses in full. With all due respect, the typical high school newspaper editorial is more insightful than these. Some of these wouldn't make it beyond +3 here on Slashdot. A lot of it is pretty common knowledge and well-known issues. Some of things they say are downright foolish, and I don't say that just because they're politically at odds with myself or GWB.

One person mistakes the position of Science Advisor for Science Crusader and embarks to convert Bush to Evolutionism. In TWO paragraphs! Surely he knows that Bush is a devout Christian. He might as well be lobbying for bin Laden to be put in charge of Homeland Security on the basis that he's really a freedom fighter.

Another person tries to persuade Bush that animals should be considered to have rights as humans and that we should respect the diverse cultures of all animal/human civilizations. Nnngh? [sexcowairlines.com] Bush is supposed to accept this on the basis of Darwinism. Umm, hellooo?? We're talking Bible-thumping Bush here. That line of argument is gonna fly like a dodo bird. In effect, the guy goes on to wield Occam's Razor against any notions of the Creator. His letter is going in the circular file faster than you can say W.

I don't think these [Over the] Edge people were playing along with the given scenario as they would've if it were real. Knowing who Bush is and what he stands for, it just doesn't seem very bright to even attempt some of the arguments they're making. Besides, you don't make a good first impression with your boss by attacking his most fundamental beliefs in your first correspondence before you even meet him.

Re:Not Impressed (0)

erixtark (413840) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024440)

And of course, licking the *ss of your boss is the only thing that really matters. Especially when getting an assignment on where to take the human race for the coming century.

Re:Not Impressed (2)

superyooser (100462) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024597)

My point is that I noticed a severe lack of ability to persuade. Persuasion from a point of common ground is a vital skill for an advisor to have. Judging from the responses I read, the respondents appear to have given little thought as to how their recommendations would be received by Bush.

I thought that the members of the Edge were supposed to be really brilliant people. And maybe they are. But I realized that I had set my expectations for insight and profundity much too high. I was let down not just concerning the content of their messages, but the futile way in which they tossed their opinions out there supported by hasty, brash arguments, expecting the President to lap them up or rubber stamp them. Not too bright.

Again, I must say that I only read a few in their entirety. Maybe the other responses are in fact deeply profound and masterfully presented and argued. Given the ones I did read, I guessed that the rest wouldn't be worth my time.

Re:Not Impressed (1, Offtopic)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024723)

At least, three articles out of ninety + articles were insightful. Compared to the three years of news headlines I've seen at Slashdot, that's pretty good.

Now, if edge.org could only have some slashcode running in the backend for each one of those articles, the overall result and the resulting insights would be a lot better than Slashdot.

Re:Not Impressed (1)

ruzel (216220) | more than 11 years ago | (#5025606)

I've always said that the difference between a good writer and a famous writer is that one of them is famous. You can pretty much replace 'writer' in that phrase with any profession. Some of the people on this list are very bright. Some of them are very well known. Unfortunately, our society mostly values the opinions of the well known.
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Do you think (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024457)

Alan Alda had gaysexwithdogs at the conference?

Instead of (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5024477)

modding gaysexwithdogs down, tell me why gaysexwithdogs not revelant topic to discuss. WHY?!

Hopeless (0)

pben (22734) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024561)

Yale tryed for four years to teach him something and he got a C. The only thing that will make Bush The Lesser listen is a big check, half a million or so spread out over the Republican party. I think you could get him to take you seriously enough to listen then.

He will not change but he will kiss your ass until you run out of money.

Correction of an error in the text (1)

palfrey (198640) | more than 11 years ago | (#5024962)

The idea of a singularity (shorthand here for "technological singularity") is a theoretical idea (currently), not a "religion". Given that a religion is roughly a belief system involving at least one god, and this is a technology some of us would like to work towards, not a belief system. You wouldn't describe nanotech replicators as a "religion", but they've got similar odds to happening as the singularity.

Re:Correction of an error in the text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5025310)

irony [reference.com] ( P )
n. pl. ironies

1.
a. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.
b. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning.
c. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect. See Synonyms at wit.

Nuclear Power (2)

sfe_software (220870) | more than 11 years ago | (#5025278)

I'm not sure if this falls under Science, but what about Nuclear power? The US currently has a policy against building any new nuclear power plants, which is based on nonsense. We're the only country with such a policy, and I think it's rediculous...

I did a lot of reading on the subject after the Chernobyl article, facinating stuff. I never knew about this policy before.

Apparently the only reason noone wants to chance this policy is that it would be a bad political move (piss off all the ill-informed anti-nuclear people). If only people were willing to become educated on a subject before protesting against it (most anti-nuclear arguments are based on uninformed assumptions, it seems)...

Come to think of it, if I had an opportunity to influence political figures, the first thing I'd do is try to ban religious-based state laws, ruling them unconstitutional. Specifically, state laws that disallow alcohol purchase on Sundays are based purely on the beliefs of some particular religion. I like to relax with a beer on my "day of rest", and unfortunatly in GA I have to plan ahead, something I'm not very good at.

But that's me, my priorities are all screwed up :p I'll let someone else -- with actual scientific goals -- have this opportunity.

Hmm.. (1)

PaulGrimshaw (605950) | more than 11 years ago | (#5025392)

people were asked to imagine they were nominated as White House science adviser and the President asked them what are some important issues in science and what we should do about them

Judging by the last couple of years, I had'nt realised that the Whitehouse had a scientific advisor!!

Re:Hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5025807)

Judging by the last couple of years, I had'nt realised that the Whitehouse had a scientific advisor!!

Actually, the Whitehouse was without a scientific advisor until late last year.

Science vs. Politics (3, Insightful)

sonsonete (473442) | more than 11 years ago | (#5026023)

Most of these questions are very political, usually leaning toward big government and socialism.
e.g., David Lykken's proposal, involving the government in the most personal aspects of our lives: One promising example of such legislation would be a program of parental licensure requiring persons, wishing to birth and rear a baby, to demonstrate at least what we should minimally require of persons wishing to adopt someone else's baby.

or David Buss's proposal to infiltrate our minds to stop murder: We are endangered from the outside by our avowed enemies. We are threatened from within by killers among us. An urgent need for the nation to establish a deep scientific understanding of psychological circuits dedicated to murder and the causal processes that create, activate, and deactivate those circuits.

Other suggestions involve the complete rejection of ethical standards in research, in the manner of Nazi Germany, using Ian Wilmut's argument that "This research cannot be carried out in any other way."

What we need scientist to do is act like scientists and not politicians. We need them to abide by the ethical standards that have kept scientific development going at an increasing pace for the past several centuries. We need scientists to do their jobs well and not waste their time philosophizing about what the current administrations foreign policy should be.
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