Re: Who are we?

Amy Gutmann: So the forces that have shaped where we are today as humans go way beyond us and our intelligence. Anyone who sees the forces today at work in the world – whether they be global warming, or the tsunami, or Hurricane Katrina – has to recognize that we are but specks in the universe. That said, anyone who looks at global warming or tsunami or Hurricane Katrina has to realize that those weren’t purely natural disasters. Take Hurricane Katrina. We could have prevented that. We human beings, as small as we are in the universe . . . in our universe . . . in our part of the universe, we could’ve made a difference. Take global warming. I hope we will make a difference. That’s why as President of the University of Pennsylvania, I’ve committed ourselves to having a plan in a couple of years’ time to become carbon neutral, and that we’re . . . 30% of our energy is wind power. So the forces are enormous in the universe. And scientists as well as humanists are hard at work understanding them. And we should never kid ourselves that we’re more than specks in the universe. But we should never let down ourselves in not doing what we can do to make a difference.

 

 

We should never kid ourselves that we're more than specks in the universe.

7 fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Here are 7 often-overlooked World Heritage Sites, each with its own history.

Photo by Raunaq Patel on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites are locations of high value to humanity, either for their cultural, historical, or natural significance.
  • Some are even designated as World Heritage Sites because humans don't go there at all, while others have felt the effects of too much human influence.
  • These 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites each represent an overlooked or at-risk facet of humanity's collective cultural heritage.
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Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
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Big Think
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