All posts filed under: SOSc

How many more? Ultimately we can’t end evil with violence.

SOSc

I woke up this morning to news of the third mass shooting in less than a week. Dozens of our neighbors, fellow American citizens, have died because of gun violence in less than 7 days. This doesn’t feel random. Two (maybe all three) of the three shooters wanted to kill as many people as possible. They went in with military style weapons and pseudo military equipment and tactics. This was all premeditated. Two (likely three) […]

Toy Universe implies Entanglement creates Time and Space

SOSc

I’ve been reading various papers and reports on something that is being called the “Holographic Universe.” It’s an idea that the three dimensional (four with time a la Einstein) universe in which we live is actually the projection of a two-dimensional surface. Sometimes I’ve heard this mixed up with the idea of the “Simulation Universe” which is the idea that (a la the movie The Matrix) we are living in a computer simulation instead of […]

Fresh water from salt water. This is likely a big deal.

SOSc

Sometimes you see something posted in the news, and you think, wow. This morning is one of the moments as far as I’m concerned. A team at Columbia has come up with a strikingly new way to desalinate water. It appears to be easily manageable and requires less energy than existing methods. From Columbia’s website: TSSE utilizes a low-polarity solvent with temperature-dependent water solubility for the selective extraction of water over salt from saline feeds. […]

Jesus, the Parables and social media. “Is Facebook evil? Everything bad about Facebook is bad for the same reason — Quartz”

SOSc / Web/Tech

In an article that examines the root cause of the problem with most of all of social media, but particularly about Facebook, Nichil Sonnad makes the following observation: Arendt [the Israeli psychologist who analyzed Nazi Adolf Eichman] concludes that it was neither sadism nor hatred that drove Eichmann to commit these historic crimes. It was a failure to think about other people as people at all. A “decisive” flaw in his character, writes Arendt, was […]

Artificial Intelligence Shows Why Atheism Is Unpopular – The Atlantic

SOSc

Fascinating article in the Atlantic that shows the key factors that control the rate of societal secularization: Using a separate model, Future of Religion and Secular Transitions (forest), the team found that people tend to secularize when four factors are present: existential security (you have enough money and food), personal freedom (you’re free to choose whether to believe or not), pluralism (you have a welcoming attitude to diversity), and education (you’ve got some training in […]

The Faustian bargain of a cyber connected world

SOSc / Web/Tech

Our hyper-networked world has given us super-human powers. Sometimes this has been beneficial. But of late, there is a dangerous side to being able to communicate quickly and without the need to reflect. At least two dozen people have been killed in mob lynchings in India since the start of the year, their deaths fueled by rumors that spread on WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service. In Brazil, messages on WhatsApp falsely claimed a government-mandated yellow-fever […]

If Jesus comes back now, what should we expect?

SOSc

Cara Rockhill, a priest here in Rhode Island (and a member of my staff) just posted a wonderful piece on her blog that’s an extended reflection on the easy to foresee violence that has erupted in the Holy Land. Her piece centers on what it would mean for all us right now if Jesus were to return to the Earth – a thing greatly to be desired, and my regular fervent prayer… If Jesus comes […]

The deeper we go, the less we understand.

SOSc

This: The modern-day theoretical physicist faces a taxing uphill climb. “As we learn more, reality becomes ever more subtle; the absolute becomes relative, the fixed becomes dynamical, the definite is laden with uncertainty,” writes physicist Yasha Neiman. via New math bridges holography and twistor theory

Turning moral decisions into computer code

Current Affairs / SOSc

Nicholas Evans, a philosophy professor in Massachusetts, is part of a group tackling the classic moral dilemma called the “Trolley Problem” as part of the development of autonomous cars. Evans is not currently taking a stand on which moral theory is right. Instead, he hopes the results from his algorithms will allow others to make an informed decision, whether that’s by car consumers or manufacturers. Evans isn’t currently collaborating with any of the companies working […]