from the world's big
Some thoughts on free will
Sorry to belabor this topic, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it!
Does the fact that each person is different, both from the nature side (except identical twins) and the nurture side, mean our decisions are unpredictable? The arguments that our decisions are the result of electro-chemical processes seem unassailable; we can’t escape the laws of physics after all. When presented with a decision the brain will go through predictable processes, reviewing memories of similar choices and weighing the benefits/dangers of each possibility, undoubtedly triggered by electro-chemical events, but the memories recalled, variables considered, and things valued will be different in each person. One may say that this is obvious, and doesn’t mean anything, but I think it may be logically solid way to sneak free will in the backdoor. A decision will be the immediate result of a preceding electro-chemical process, which is itself the end of a casual chain that reaches back to before the person was conceived, but the experience since birth and the genetic makeup will be different in each individual. Say we knew a persons history (I eat cheerios for breakfast almost everyday) we would still have to know his genetic predispositions (when I'm likely to try something new) in order to attempt to predict what the decision will be, even granting that we know the electro-chemical status of the brain throughout the decision making process. No one can "know" what anyone will do, they can do whatever they want, and people often surprise themselves. Two brains experiencing the same electro-chemical conditions could make different decisions, or even if it is a decision made by the same person everyday (like what to have for breakfast), they will have accrued 24 hours more experience between each one, making a different decision possible every day (I think I"ll have eggs for breakfast tomorrow!). The different decision may be a result of a change in outlook on life, health, or just mood, but it can alter the decision. Our free will doesn’t come from an ability to bypass the laws of physics or logic but from our undeniable uniqueness. We may be meat machines, but we, and the world we live in, are so complex that a decision will never be considered the same way twice. We can’t escape the laws of physics any more than we can escape our past or our genes, but they all combine to create an infinite amount of unique conditions since the last two are not nearly as static as the first. Every choice anyone encounters has never been approached by the unique combination of genes/experience that they bring to the table at that very moment. Their choice is therefore completely unique and unpredictable. It may not be the normal notion of free will, but it does allow us to own our actions.
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Many of the most popular apps are about self-improvement.
Emotions are the newest hot commodity, and we can't get enough.
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.