If reality is a data structure, can the simulation theory hold up?

Exploring the idea that objects we perceive in everyday life do not reflect objective reality.

  • Professor of cognitive science Donald Hoffman presents his theory that the world we perceive is a virtual reality. Hoffman has tested this theory by running successful computer simulations that suggest there is no objective reality.
  • When it comes to Nick Bostrom's simulation theory, Hoffman agrees with parts and disagrees with others. Hoffman argues that, while space time and physical objects do not correspond with objective reality, conscious experiences like the smell of garlic and the feel of velvet cannot be produced by the simulation.
  • "You can't start with unconscious ingredients and boot up consciousness," Hoffman says.

Greta Thunberg, climate change activist, wins Time Person of the Year

Going from a solitary teenage protester in front of the Swedish parliament to a global icon in little more than a year certainly merits the distinction.

MICHAEL CAMPANELLA/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist, has been named Time's Person of the Year.
  • The award is given to "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse."
  • Considering the magnitude of directly inspired protest movements and real-world impacts she has had, the award seems to be merited, although not everybody is pleased about this.
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The Sooner You Expose A Baby To A Second Language, The Smarter They’ll Be

Just hearing two languages helps babies develop cognitive skills before they even speak. Here's how - and how you can help them develop those skills.

Personal Growth

A new study shows that babies raised in bilingual environments develop core cognitive skills like decision-making and problem-solving -- before they even speak.

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Mars 2020 will hunt for 'microfossils', signs of ancient alien life

The Jerezo crater — where Mars 2020 is set to land — could be a good place to find signs of past life on Mars.

NASA
Surprising Science
  • The Jerezo crater is likely home to hydrated silica, a material which on Earth is especially good at preserving signs of life.
  • Mars 2020 is set to land on the planet crater in February 2021. NASA's Curiosity rover is currently the only rover operating on Mars.
  • The discovery of past life on Mars would be revolutionary, at least in science and philosophy.
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