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Philosophy of Religion Religion and Memetics

Posted: November 23, 2016 at 10:00 pm

Evolutionary theory has revolutionised modern thought. The way that we understand the world has been profoundly influenced by Darwins insight into the way that natural selection guides progress over time. Recently, it has been recognised that Darwins theory applies not only to biological organisms but also to ideas. Some, such as Richard Dawkins, Susan Blackmore, and Daniel Dennett, have argued that this provides an explanation of religious belief, and that this explanation counts against the idea that such beliefs are true.

Darwins theory of evolution sought to explain the diversity of species in the world in the following way:

The world contains only a limited supply of the resources necessary to support life. Organisms must therefore compete with each other for these resources in order to survive.

As biological organisms reproduce, random genetic mutations occur, introducing variety into the species. Because of these mutations, some members of the species are better able to compete for resources, i.e. fitter, than others.

The result of this natural selection is the survival of the fittest. As the competition is won or lost, weaker members of the species will die out, without reproducing, and their genes will be lost to the gene pool. Stronger members, on the other hand will survive, and their fitter genes will be replicated.

The process will then repeat, with mutations again introducing new genetic variety, and natural selection again choosing the fittest members of the species to survive and reproduce.

There are thus two stages to evolution: mutation, which introduces variety into a species, and natural selection, which chooses between the members of the species, driving progress by ensuring that only the fittest members survive and reproduce.

With each iteration of the process of natural selection, the gene pool becomes stronger; species develop on an upward trajectory. Given enough time, evolution theory holds, this upward trajectory can take a species far; indeed, we ourselves are thought to have evolved from single-celled organisms via this process.

Recently, it has been recognised that this theory can be applied not only to biological organisms, but also to ideas. Ideas, too, replicate themselves, passing from one individual to another, changing over time. Ideas, too, compete for survival in the minds of the people of the time; an idea that is rejected altogether dies out.

Just as the fittest organisms will survive and reproduce, then, so too will the fittest ideas. Ideas that replicate themselves in this way have been called memes, a term coined by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene; the study of this process is called memetics.

What makes for fitness in ideas will be similar to what makes for fitness in genes. The ability to replicate itself is important if either a gene or an idea is to spread; the greater this ability the better. The ability to survive is also vital if the gene or idea is not to be wiped out before it reproduces.

One thing that need not be involved in the fitness of an idea is truth. An idea may replicate itself widely and be extremely robust without corresponding to reality.

Christianity does indeed possess those features that are necessary for an idea to compete for survival effectively.

Christianity is very good at replicating itself; the great commission, Jesus instruction to his followers, is to go and make disciples of all nations. Those who possess the Christian meme, who believe in the God of the Bible, therefore replicate Christianity as far as they are able to do so.

Christianity is also very robust. The all too common emphasis of religion on faith to the exclusion of reason makes those that possess the Christian meme liable to reject evidence against it. Christianity has even been accused by Antony Flew in his paper Theology and Falsification of being unfalsifiable, i.e. of being such that no evidence could possibly count against it. Those that possess the Christian meme are therefore unlikely to lose it.

None of this memetic critique of Christianity, of course, proves that Christianity is false; that is not what it attempts to do. Rather, what the memetic critique of Christianity attempts to do is demonstrate that even if Christianity were false, we would expect belief in it to be widespread. Atheism, the argument goes, can explain Christianity; there is nothing mysterious about the success of religion.

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Philosophy of Religion Religion and Memetics

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Libertarian Reddit: Social News from a Libertarian Point of …

Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:14 am

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Personal Empowerment Coach Certification – The S.W.A.T …

Posted: at 11:06 am

Our Personal Empowerment Coach Certification is designed for the woman who is either ready to launch her coaching business or is already an expert in her chosen field and would love to add Certified Personal Empowerment Coach to her resume.

This self-paced program will give you the fastest yet most comprehensive training to help shift your clients out of any disempowered situation into making healthy, authentic, appropriate choices.

Throughout this course, you will work closely with Professor Izabela Viskupova, L.L.M., M.A., and The S.W.A.T. Institutes Founder, Crystal Andrus Morissette, in receiving all the the practical and theoretical guidance youll need in order to fully master your coaching skills.

Professor Izabela graduated with a Masters degree in Law at the Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. Later, she earned another Masters degree in Psychology, from the University of Glasgow, Scotland; she also holds a Certificate in Person-Centred Counselling from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland and is a Master Empowerment Coach certified by The S.W.A.T. Institute.

Our Personal Empowerment Coach Certification is composed of three modules:

The learning objective of the first module is to introduce the students to Empowerment Coaching and the basic tools of this specific coaching method. In this module, students will be invited to master the basic framework of Empowerment Coaching which includes:

This module takes the students in detail through the most crucial emotional levels on the Map of Empowerment such as Shame, Guilt, Apathy, Grief, Fear and Anger, while offering specific coaching strategies and interventions for each of these levels.

Module One offers a vast opportunity for the students to listen to practical examples of real life coaching sessions, which is an invaluable component of the program. Also included are video lectures on each emotional level, one live weekly call where students can chat with Professor Izabela, and a private Facebook Group for fellow student empowerment coaches to share, connect, and support each other.

Nearing the end of this module, students will also be introduced to the concept of Emotional Age (EA), which is the basis of Crystal Andrus Morissettes upcoming book, The Emotional Edge (Random House Publishing, December 29, 2015).

The objective of the second module is to build on the foundations laid out in Module One so that the students can further hone and expand their coaching skills.

This module also incorporates some of the more general topics in coaching such as how to structure the coaching sessions or how to build rapport with a client.

The aim of Module Two is also to prepare the students for some unexpected or more challenging circumstances in coaching such as coaching a client with a different cultural background or a client that has just lost someone they loved.

At the end of this module, students are invited to participate in the 12-Week TeleCourse: The Emotional Edge taught by Crystal Andrus Morissette in order to integrate their learnings, personally. Completion of the 12-Week TeleCourse is not mandatory in graduating with your Personal Empowerment Coach Certification.

The objective of the last module is to have the students do their own coaching and practice all the skills and techniques they have learned throughout the course while coaching their own clients. The clients will be provided by The S.W.A.T. Institute through the Mentorship Program that enables women from any part of the world to get free coaching. This is a beautiful opportunity for our students to hone their coaching skills.

Section 1: What you need to do to start your Practice Coaching

The objective of this section is to cover the logistics side of the coaching practice so that the coaches in training have everything set up and ready before they start their practice coaching.

Section 2: The Critique session

As soon as students have completed approximately half of their practice sessions (10-15 practice session), they select three of their calls and submit them to their Professor of Coaching who will review them and schedule a critique session with them. The objective of the critique session is to give them feedback on how they have been doing thus far.

Section 3: Final Exam Assignment

The objective of the Final Exam is to put everything together for the students both the practical as well as the theoretical side of the training. In order to do that, they are required to:

A new generation of women has emerged and I feel honored to be part of it. Unique women who have come together under a common call: to thrust the world forward while birthing a brighter humanity.

I proudly belong to a tribe of visionaries. They may call us insane, rebels, inspirational, powerful masters, guides or coaches we call ourselves: Simply Woman Accredited Trainers!

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Every Tuesday, Crystal Andrus Morissette answers your questions and offers you strategies to your own challenges during a live call! You can write in or chat with her directly on the phone or Skype. Plus, you have two other opportunities each week to chat live with Professor Izabela and our Student Advisors! No matter where you live in the world, you will feel like you are close by, connected to, and supported by our entire institute. We are women empowering women!

Our Mentorship Coaches have all graduated from their Empowerment Coach Training at The S.W.A.T. Institute and are beginning to build their own coaching practice. Before they can graduate they must complete 30 practice hours. Our coaches have spent countless hours learning the empowerment process and this is the perfect way for them to refine their skills while women around the world get the support and empowerment they need at no charge. Its a true giveback and a beautiful win-win! Plus, our Mentorship Coaching Program offers our students and graduates lifelong coaching at no charge. Thats right! You have a slew of brilliant coaches at your fingertips, whenever you need a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or some kick-ass advice! Click here to learn more!

One of the most unique and special aspects of The S.W.A.T. Institute is our private forum where our students or as we call them siSTARs connect with, share, care, and support each other. No matter what is going on in their lives, each woman gets the loving advice, feedback, validation, and support she needs. We truly are a global coalition of empowered women!

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Nano-Bots, Mind Control & Trans-Humanism – The Future of …

Posted: at 11:01 am

Christina Sarich, Staff Writer Waking Times

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest-a kind ofoptical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion isa kind of prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.~ Albert Einstein

You cannot discuss the nano-technology being used in todays world without understanding something about the transhumanist movement. Within this tight group of technological autocrats, no pun intended, human beings, as created by God, or evolution, take your pick, can be vastly improved upon. We are meant to be immortal. So while I applaud the technology that allows a veteran to replace a lost limb, I certainly dont plan on cutting off my right hand toreplace it with a cyber-hand. Even thehuman brain should be reverse-engineeredby 2030 according to some. It may sound fantastical, but this is the world that transhumanists imagine. It is at the root of GMO crops, eugenics, and eerily, mirrors the plot of the famous Matrix movies developed by the Wachoski brothers.

Never send a human to do a machines job. ~ Agent Smith, The Matrix

In an article published inDiscoverymagazine, and written by Kyle Munkittrick, seven conditions for becoming trans-human are aptly outlined. This is a very immense subject which could not possibly be covered in a single article, and the technology behind it develops rapidly, and is also heavily guarded. Below is my take on the movement as succinctly put as possible:

2.We will begin to treat aging as a disease instead of a normal function of the cycle of life: i.e., a seed grows into a plant, a plant prospers and grows, a plant dies, it becomes fertilizer for the next generation of plants.

3.Politicians will remove rights from humans increasingly as they become more like machines. Our sentience is being stolen from us already, and once it is suppressed sufficiently (though true awareness is Universal and cannot be destroyed) we will be easier to control, like remote-controlrobots.

4.Neuro-implants and other prosthetics will replace the current biology as a normal and accepted paradigm. Genetic engineering is already altering the human genome drastically. Currently they aretesting out their mad science on animals and plants, but humans, are next.

5.Artificial intelligence will replace human cognition, integrated into our nano-bot matrix within the biological system. This will in turn develop into an AR (augmented reality) which can be controlled at the will of persons deciding what is acceptable action and what is not for a trans-human to engage in.

6.Our average age will exceed 120, but we will take with us the same perceptions of the world that have created the current mess we are in. Without an abrupt halt to these maniacal technological plans the subtlety of human personality will be destroyed. While the ego is inflated to serve an elite class, the lesser-cultivated ideals of love, harmony, balance within nature, etc. will be destroyed. So who cares, really if we live longer?

7.Reproduction will only take place through assisted reproductive technologies. Natural sex, and birthing will become an outdated, historical phenomenon.

8.Legal structures will be put into place to support Ones genetic make-up, neurological composition, prosthetic augmentation, and other cybernetic modifications will be limited only by technology and ones owndiscretion.

9.Our rights as humanity will be completely replaced with the rights of personhood, and then an arbitrary change in the definition of a person who can then be treated as a cyber-slave.

So is this something you want to participate in, enthusiastically? To become more than human? It doesnt matter if you arent on board. You are already being transformed into a cyber-human without your agreement. It starts withforced vaccines through Bill Gates and the US militarys technology.Nano-patchesare already delivering many vaccines.

TheEuropean Coalition Against Covert Harassmentestimates that more than 80% of the population has already been infected with nano-technology, via chemtrails, vaccines, and dental procedures, to control our minds and behavior. The ECACH has already put forth a document to the EU Parliament requesting the cessation of:

. . . weapons systems operating on new physics principles used to torture or inflict other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment including electronic weapons, electromagnetic weapons, magnetic weapons, directed energy weapons, geophysical weapons, wave-energy weapons, frequency weapons, genetic weapons, scalar weapons, psychotronic weapons, chemtrail aerosol weapons, implant weapons, nanotechnology weapons, high frequency active aural high altitude ultra low frequency weapons,[and]information technology weapons.

Collectively these are called new physics torture weapons. So it seems, the war for your consciousness really is playing out on the world stage. Apparently, nano-bots in aerosol chemtrails can identify their host via a chemical signature.

Under development since 1995, the militarys goal is to install microprocessors incorporating gigaflops computer capability into smart particles the size of a single molecule. One might ask why are they doing this? The answer maybe as simple as, they can. Its all about control. The power to control everything.

Apparently these nano-particles are being made of mono-atomic gold particles, and they are just an augmentation of the militarys drone paradigm. This is no joke. As the air is filled with nano-particles of smart fibers, something calledBEAGLE Application Programming Interface and High-Performance Computing Library for Statistical Phylogenetics which can compute every move you make, and every single bodily function, including your heart rate, breath rate, hormonal activity, and so forth for what purpose? Well, there is aGamervideo clip which hides the truth in plain sight. Reference at about min 1 and 14 seconds.

You can also see a video that shows nano-bots, though not in their smallest form,here. Our entire DNA has been scheduled fornano-bot overhaul:

Recently, scientists Anirban Bandyopadhyay and Somobrata Acharya from the National Institute of Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan, have built the first ultra-tiny, ultra-powerful brains for nanobots.The brains just two billionths of a meter across act as tiny computer transistors. But instead of carrying out just one operation at a time, like a normal transistor, the new devices can simultaneously perform 16 operations at once. In other words, the devices use parallel processing like the human brain rather than serial processing like a normal computer. The researchers call this ability one-to-many communication.

The tiny machines are composed of 17 duroquinone molecules that act as logic gates. The researchers arranged 16 of these molecules in a wheel, and placed the last molecule in the middle, which acts as the control center. The entire wheel was constructed on a gold substrate.

Just think Minority Report utilizingnano-tech BioAPI, where your coherent thoughts areread and sampledby a supercomputer in real time, you can be controlled before you even act on your desire to overthrow a government or host a sit-in outside Monsantos annual shareholder meeting.

No one has to take this lying down. The soft-kill, and technological stealth which would allow the powers that be to take over our very humanitycanbe eradicated.Youare in control of your consciousness not the government, no matter how hard they try to manipulate you with their advanced technology. There are ways to become super-human without losing our humanity. In recent reports from Science Daily, it was proven that human DNA can be changed with meditation.Gene expression is totally altered with just a few hours practice. Why is this not a more accepted paradigm in our world? Likely because reports like this are swept aside while you stay locked in Fukushima and false flag fear.

Meditate, and you will see past all illusion, including the mind-prisons they would keep you within. Nano-bots may be the tiny, evil soldiers of a eugenicist class, but our collective will is stronger:

If by this superhuman concentration one succeeded in converting or resolving the two cosmoses with all their complexities into sheer ideas, he would then reach the causal world and stand on the borderline of fusion between mind and matter.There one perceives all created things solids, liquids, gases, electricity, energy, all beings, gods, men, animals, plants, bacteria as forms of consciousness, just as a man can close his eyes and realize that he exists, even though his body is invisible to his physical eyes and is presentonly as an idea. ~Paramahansa Yogananda Ch. 43 The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar

Christina Sarichis a musician, yogi, humanitarian and freelance writer who channels many hours of studyingLao Tzu,Paramahansa Yogananda,Rob Brezny,Miles Davis, andTom Robbinsinto interesting tidbits to help you Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, andSee the Big Picture. Her blog isYoga for the New World. Her latest book isPharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. Its okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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What Is Posthumanism? (Posthumanities): Cary Wolfe …

Posted: November 10, 2016 at 5:34 pm

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What does it mean to think beyond humanism? Is it possible to craft a mode of philosophy, ethics, and interpretation that rejects the classic humanist divisions of self and other, mind and body, society and nature, human and animal, organic and technological? Can a new kind of humanities-posthumanities-respond to the redefinition of humanity’s place in the world by both the technological and the biological or “green” continuum in which the “human” is but one life form among many?

Exploring how both critical thought along with cultural practice have reacted to this radical repositioning, Cary Wolfe-one of the founding figures in the field of animal studies and posthumanist theory-ranges across bioethics, cognitive science, animal ethics, gender, and disability to develop a theoretical and philosophical approach responsive to our changing understanding of ourselves and our world. Then, in performing posthumanist readings of such diverse works as Temple Grandin’s writings, Wallace Stevens’s poetry, Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark, the architecture of Diller+Scofidio, and David Byrne and Brian Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, he shows how this philosophical sensibility can transform art and culture.

For Wolfe, a vibrant, rigorous posthumanism is vital for addressing questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems and their inclusions and exclusions, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity. In What Is Posthumanism? he carefully distinguishes posthumanism from transhumanism (the biotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality. In doing so, Wolfe reveals that it is humanism, not the human in all its embodied and prosthetic complexity, that is left behind in posthumanist thought.

The Posthuman

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Cary Wolfe is Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English at Rice University. He is the author of Critical Environments: Postmodern Theory and the Pragmatics of the Outside (Minnesota, 1998) and Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory, and the editor of Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal (Minnesota, 2003).

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What Is Posthumanism? (Posthumanities): Cary Wolfe …

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Harun Yahya

Posted: November 8, 2016 at 3:43 pm

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Devout Jews must excitedly await the coming of the King Messiah and follow the portents of his coming

The website of the Christian Institute reported that Robert Davis, an education expert from Glasgow University, warned that atheists like Richard Dawkins want to exclude other perspectives and make pressure for a one-sided perspective in the curriculum.

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On 4 January, 2012, the U.S. news portal The Huffington Post carried an article titled Does Islam forbid even studying evolution? Written by Nidhal Guessoum, professor of physics and astronomy at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, the piece dealt with a recent report widely covered in the international media regarding the unwillingness of Muslim students in Great Britain to study evolution.

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It is impossible for the evolutionists to come up with an explanation for the formation of proteins

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ADNAN OKTAR: In Hell, Allah will show darwinists how pathological would the world produced by coincidence be.

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ADNAN OKTAR: We have a worldwide struggle against Darwinism and we have vanquished them completely.

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Since Darwinists are fearful of science, they employ propaganda tactics instead. Darwinists employ a hypnotic technique that prevents people from thinking independently or examining the true scientific evidence. The reason millions of people have been misled by Darwinism for years is that they have, either knowingly or unknowingly, been taken in by this spell cast by Darwinism.

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Probabilistic calculations make it clear thatcomplex molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids (RNA and DNA) could not ever have been formed by chance independently of each other. Yet evolutionists have to face the even greater problem thatall these complex molecules have to coexist simultaneously in order for life to exist at all.

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ADNAN OKTAR: What’s important is not dajjal messiah (anti-messiah) but the ideological system of the dajjal which is Darwinism.

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An article by Jaless Rehman was published on the world renowned Huffington Post web site on 1 January, 2011. In that piece, Rehman referred to the influence and importance of the works of the globally esteemed author Mr. Adnan Oktar.

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The Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Education has been demoted from his post because of his anti-Darwinist thoughts

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Darwinists do not talk about the soul as the soul cannot be explained in materialistic terms.

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ADNAN OKTAR: Even though Darwinists give in to the facts, they can not announce it because they refrain from the public backlash and their methods of escape

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Darwinism, which holds that life has no purpose, is an invitation to suicide.

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There is no evolution in the Qur’an

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What is Singularity (the)? – Definition from WhatIs.com

Posted: October 31, 2016 at 2:54 am

The Singularity is the hypothetical future creation of superintelligent machines. Superintelligence is defined as a technologically-created cognitive capacity far beyond that possible for humans. Should the Singularity occur, technology will advance beyond our ability to foresee or control its outcomes and the world will be transformed beyond recognition by the application of superintelligence to humans and/or human problems, including poverty, disease and mortality.

Revolutions in genetics, nanotechnology and robotics (GNR) in the first half of the 21st century are expected to lay the foundation for the Singularity. According to Singularity theory, superintelligence will be developed by self-directed computers and will increase exponentially rather than incrementally.

Lev Grossman explains the prospective exponential gains in capacity enabled by superintelligent machines in an article in Time:

Their rate of development would also continue to increase, because they would take over their own development from their slower-thinking human creators. Imagine a computer scientist that was itself a super-intelligent computer. It would work incredibly quickly. It could draw on huge amounts of data effortlessly. It wouldn’t even take breaks…

Proposed mechanisms for adding superintelligence to humans include brain-computer interfaces, biological alteration of the brain, artificial intelligence (AI) brain implants and genetic engineering. Post-singularity, humanity and the world would be quite different. A human could potentially scan his consciousness into a computer and live eternally in virtual reality or as a sentient robot. Futurists such as Ray Kurzweil (author of The Singularity is Near) have predicted that in a post-Singularity world, humans would typically live much of the time in virtual reality — which would be virtually indistinguishable from normal reality. Kurzweil predicts, based on mathematical calculations of exponential technological development, that the Singularity will come to pass by 2045.

Most arguments against the possibility of the Singularity involve doubts that computers can ever become intelligent in the human sense. The human brain and cognitive processes may simply be more complex than a computer could be. Furthermore, because the human brain is analog, with theoretically infinite values for any process, some believe that it cannot ever be replicated in a digital format. Some theorists also point out that the Singularity may not even be desirable from a human perspective because there is no reason to assume that a superintelligence would see value in, for example, the continued existence or well-being of humans.

Science-fiction writer Vernor Vinge first used the term the Singularity in this context in the 1980s, when he used it in reference to the British mathematician I.J. Goods concept of an intelligence explosion brought about by the advent of superintelligent machines. The term is borrowed from physics; in that context a singularity is a point where the known physical laws cease to apply.

See also: Asimovs Three Laws of Robotics, supercomputer, cyborg, gray goo, IBMs Watson supercomputer, neural networks, smart robot

Neil deGrasse Tyson vs. Ray Kurzweil on the Singularity:

This was last updated in February 2016

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Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World …

Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:59 am

Admirably clear, . . . wise, up-to-the-minute and wide-ranging. . . . Free Speech encourages us to take a breath, look hard at the facts, and see how well-tried liberal principles can be applied and defended in daunting new circumstances.Edmund Fawcett, New York Times Book Review

A major piece of cultural analysis, sane, witty and urgently important.Timothy Garton Ash exemplifies the robust civility he recommends as an antidote to the pervasive unhappiness, nervousness and incoherence around freedom of speech, rightly seeing the basic challenge as how we create a cultural and moral climate in which proper public argument is possible and human dignity affirmed.–Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and former Archbishop of Canterbury

Timothy Garton Ash aspires to articulate norms that should govern freedom of communication in a transnational world. His work is original and inspiring. Free Speech is an unfailingly eloquent and learned book that delights as well as instructs.–Robert Post, Dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law, Yale Law School

“A thorough and well-argued contribution to the quest for global free speech norms.”Kirkus Reviews

“There are still countless people risking their lives to defend free speech and struggling to makelonely voices heard in corners around the world where voices are hard to hear. Let us hope that this book will bring confidence and hope to this world-as-city. I believe it will exert great influence.–Murong Xuecun, author of Leave Me Alone: A Novel of Chengdu

“Garton Ash impresses with fact-filled, ideas-rich discussion that is routinely absorbing and illuminating.”Malcolm Forbes, The American Interest

“Particularly timely. . . . Garton Ash argues forcefully that . . . there is an increasing need for freer speech . . . A powerful, comprehensive book.”Economist

Timothy Garton Ash rises to the task of directing us how to live civilly in our connected diversity.John Lloyd, Financial Times

Free Speech is a resource, a weapon, an encyclopedia of anecdote, example and exemplum that reaches toward battling restrictions on expression with mountains of data, new ideas, liberating ideas.Diane Roberts, Prospect

Illuminating and thought-provoking. . . . [Garton Ashs] larger project is not merely to defend freedom of expression, but to promote civil, dispassionate discourse, within and across cultures, even about the most divisive and emotive subjects.Faramerz Dabhoiwala, The Guardian

“Timothy Garton Ashs new book Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World is a rare thing: a worthwhile contribution to a debate without two developed sides. Ash does an excellent job laying out the theoretical and practical bases for the western liberal positions on free speech.”Malcolm Harris, New Republic

“An informative and bracing defense of free speech liberalism in the Internet age . . . In a world where free speech can never be taken for granted, Garton Ashs free speech liberalism is a good place to start any discussion”David Luban, New York Review of Books

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space travel – NYMag.com

Posted: October 6, 2016 at 2:56 pm

(Photo: Courtesy of Virgin Galactic)

At dawn one morning last Novemberjust as the edge of Earth comprising Florida spun into the field of light bursting from roughly 93 million miles awayshe emerged one last time from the monstrous doors of the Vehicle Assembly Building, twelve stories long but dwarfed. This was what had been billed as the final mission of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, a 9.8-mile journey to her final resting place at the Kennedy Space Centers visitors complex. That Atlantiss journey would begin at the VAB525 feet tall, the largest single-story structure in the world, having sprouted a half-century ago in the frenzy of the space race, as stupendous an achievement as each of the space-faring rockets that would be assembled inside itmultiplied the emotion.

Very far away, still sheathed in its massive launch-apparatus exoskeleton, one could make out Launchpad 39A, site of the historic Apollo 11 moonwalking blastoff, where Atlantis had also taken off to orbit the Earth, once more and finally, in 2011, marking the last in NASAs 30-year-old shuttle program. The other surviving orbiters, Discovery and Endeavor, had already completed their extraordinary processionals to museums in northern Virginia and Los Angeles (the latter requiring hundreds of trees cut and roadways reconfigured to accommodate its size). A throng of personnel was on hand, those who had built and maintained and flown her, including some of the 7,000 whose jobs were ending with the program. With signs and T-shirts that read WE LOVE YOU ATLANTIS and THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES and WE MADE HISTORY, they fell in behind her. Many wiped away tears as she crept along at two miles an hour, past the dense, still swampland that had, many times before, exploded along with her, the alligators and pigs and birds flushing at her ignition, the fish heaving themselves from the water, the light from the trail of fire flashing from their scales.

Now the procession was funereal. For NASAs public-relations machine, desperate to engage Americans notoriously fickle interest, it would amount to an odd victory: Stories about Atlantiss retirement appeared in media outlets across the globe, all written as obituaries. The events of the following evening were equally bleak: A formal dinner at the nearby Radisson commemorating the mission of Apollo 17, whose lunar module had closed its hatch 40 years earlier and ferried the last man back from the moon. In attendance were ten surviving Apollo astronauts, an extraordinary group to say the least, the only men to have traveled to the moon, now gray-haired or bald. Their fears for the nations space future were well aired; many of themincluding the famously reticent Neil Armstrong, whose recent death had cast a significant pallhad written letters to President Obama saying his space policy portended the nations long downhill slide to mediocrity. Just as China rushes to land on the moon by the end of this decade, the astronauts noted ruefully, the U.S. is now essentially vehicleless. For a taxpayer-funded fare of almost $71 million per seat, American astronauts are now taxied to the International Space Station by their former archenemies, the Russians, aboard the old, reliable Soyuz rockets against which NASA once raced. The delivery of cargo is now outsourced to private companies. In a tear-stained column titled In an Earthbound Era, Heaven Has to Wait, the Timess Frank Bruni said that for Americans already profoundly doubtful and shaken, the shuttles end carries the force of cruel metaphor, coming at a time when limits are all we talk about. When we have no stars in our eyes.

All of which made the scene Id observed in a desert town in southern New Mexico a week earlier even more exceptional.

In a landscape redolent of Mars, a group of scientists, many of them young NASA astronauts recently decamped to private industry, practically evangelized about this very moment: Unbeknownst to most of the world, after decades of failed Jetsons-esque promises of individual jetpacks for all, peoplecivilians, you and me, though with a good deal more meansare finally about to ascend to the heavens. If the twentieth-century space race was about the might of the American government, the emerging 21st-century space age is about something perhaps even more powerfulthe might of money. The necessary technology has converged in the hands of a particularly boyish group of billionaires whose Right Stuff is less hard-boiled test-pilot, more high-tech entrepreneuring wunderkindand whose individual financial means eclipse those of most nations. A massive industry is coalescing around them. Towns and states and even some countries are fighting one another for a piece of it. In New Mexico, workers are putting the finishing touches on the first of at least ten spaceports currently under construction around the world. More than 800 people have paid as much as $200,000 apiece to reserve seats on commercial flights into space, some of which are expected to launch, at long last, within a year. Space-travel agents are being trained; space suits are being designed for sex appeal as much as for utility; the founder of the Budget hotel chain is developing pods for short- and long-term stays in Earths orbit and beyond. Over beers one night, a former high-ranking NASA official, now employed by Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin transportation conglomerate, put it plainly: We happen to be alive at the moment when humanity starts leaving the planet.

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Articles about Space Travel – latimes

Posted: at 2:56 pm

BUSINESS

November 26, 2013 | By Shan Li

Virgin Galactic, the company aimed at taking tourists to space, is accepting the digital currency bitcoin as payment for future space travel. Richard Branson, the British billionaire who founded the futuristic company, called bitcoin “a brilliantly conceived idea” that has “really captured the imagination recently. ” “All of our future astronauts are pioneers in their own right,” Branson wrote in a blog post titled “Bitcoins in space. ” “This is one more way to be forward-looking.

HEALTH

November 2, 2013 | By James S. Fell

Col. Chris Hadfield, who until recently was commander of the International Space Station, has a workout regimen that is out of this world. Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Hadfield’s new book, “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth,” goes into detail about what it takes to be in shape for space travel. What kind of shape do you need to be in to qualify for the space program? To qualify to live on the space station, you have to pass the hardest physical exam in the world. There has to be a high lack of a probability of a problem, whether it’s your appendix or an injury.

TRAVEL

October 6, 2013 | By Jane Engle

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – I was inept at moonwalking. My rocket was a dud. And I crashed the space shuttle. Fortunately, I was just an astronaut wannabe and not the real deal. But it’s as close as this middle-aged space geek is going to get. That geekiness, inspired by IMAX documentaries on space and news coverage of NASA’s final shuttle launch in 2011, was what brought me to Adult Space Academy. The trip was a gift from my wife. The three-day program is among more than a dozen versions of Space Camp, which the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville created more than 30 years ago to give visitors a taste of what it’s like to train as an astronaut.

ENTERTAINMENT

October 3, 2013 | By Scott Collins

NBC is hoping to get a space-travel reality show off the ground this time. The network is teaming up with producer Mark Burnett and billionaire Richard Branson to make “Space Race,” a competition series that would send the winner up in SpaceShipTwo, a commercial space-travel service from Branson’s Virgin Galactic. The series could offer Virgin a key opportunity to plug its services. FULL COVERAGE: Fall TV preview 2013 “Virgin Galactic’s mission is to democratize space, eventually making commercial space travel affordable and accessible to all,” Branson wrote in a statement.

SCIENCE

September 4, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan

A lemur that hibernates is strange and cute enough. But studying its lethargic state may provide a clue to sending humans on long-distance space travel or healing the ravages of heart attacks, stroke and head trauma, according to researchers at Duke University. The western fat-tailed dwarf lemur, a pocket-sized nocturnal primate native to Madagascar, is the closest genetic cousin of humans to hibernate for long periods, a discovery made by a German research team in 2004. The revelation that primates hibernated led to a happy coincidence at Duke, which happens to have a lemur center and a sleep laboratory.

ENTERTAINMENT

June 21, 2013 | By Joe Flint

A new distribution platform is emerging and no one knows what to make of it. The established players are wary of it and see it as more foe than friend. Others are afraid of losing their shirt by investing in it. Sound familiar? But this isn’t the Internet. This was cable television in the early 1980s. Back then there were only a handful of networks and few were talking about 500 channels full of original content. “It was an unproven business, investors were not convinced that cable programming was a good investment,” said John Hendricks, founder of Discovery Communications.

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