Genius or Crazy? Jonathon Keats

His experiments provoke thought, laughter, debate, bewilderment, even outrage. So we ask you, readers of Big Think: Jonathon Keats – Genius, or Crazy? 

Genius or Crazy? Jonathon Keats

Today's homepage article shares the latest work of experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats – a kind of tightrope walker over the chasm of Possibility. This is a man who has copyrighted his own brain on the grounds that its neural networks are a kinetic sculpture he created by thinking. He opened an “anti-bank” in an attempt to counteract the global recession with a mirror economy based on antimatter, issuing paper currency in denominations of 10,000 positrons and higher. Keats has even attempted to introduce legislation in the state of California: the Law of Identity – which, sadly, did not pass – would have stated that “A = A, or: every entity is identical to itself.” 


From his porn theater for plants (showing films of bees pollinating flowers) to his attempt to genetically engineer god in a petri dish, Keats turns science and everyday reality inside out, making the Twilight Zone manifest. His experiments provoke thought, laughter, debate, bewilderment, even outrage. So we ask you, readers of Big Think: Jonathon Keats – Genius, or Crazy? 

A brief history of human dignity

What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.

Credit: Benjavisa Ruangvaree / AdobeStock
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
  • That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
  • We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
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An artist's drawing of a particle jet emanating from a black hole at the center of a blazar.

Credit: DESY, Science Communication Lab (used with permission by Astronomy Picture of the Day, which is co-managed by Robert Nemiroff at Michigan Tech).
Surprising Science
  • Astrophysicists propose that gamma-ray bursts may exceed the speed of light.
  • The superluminal jets may also be responsible for time-reversibility.
  • The finding doesn't go against Einstein's theory because this effect happens in the jet medium not a vacuum.
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Philosophers have been asking the question for hundreds of years. Now neuroscientists are joining the quest to find out.

Sponsored by John Templeton Foundation
  • The debate over whether or not humans have free will is centuries old and ongoing. While studies have confirmed that our brains perform many tasks without conscious effort, there remains the question of how much we control and when it matters.
  • According to Dr. Uri Maoz, it comes down to what your definition of free will is and to learning more about how we make decisions versus when it is ok for our brain to subconsciously control our actions and movements.
  • "If we understand the interplay between conscious and unconscious," says Maoz, "it might help us realize what we can control and what we can't."

The Arecibo telescope has collapsed: A look at its 57-year history

Puerto Rico's iconic telescope facilitated important scientific discoveries while inspiring young scientists and the public imagination.

The Arecibo radio telescope

Credit: dennisvdwater via Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • The Arecibo Observatory's main telescope collapsed on Tuesday morning.
  • Although officials had been planning to demolish the telescope, the accident marked an unceremonious end to a beloved astronomical tool.
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DeepMind AI solves 50-year-old biology problem in breakthrough advance

The Google-owned company developed a system that can reliably predict the 3D shapes of proteins.

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