from the world's big
How trying to solve death makes life, here and now, worse
Maybe we should stop worrying about what happens after we die, and make the best of what we have on earth right now.
MICHAEL SHERMER: Yeah. Ray Kurzweil, I met Ray several times. He's a super good guy; I like him a lot. And I'm glad he's out there doing it in this sense. I'm not skeptical in a cynical way like I hope that those singularity people are wrong, no I hope they're right. I hope he does it. I hope he lives forever because that means I may have a shot at it, whatever that would even mean living forever. And so when people like Ray say to me, "Shermer, don't you want to live 500 years, 1000 years?" Listen, I'm 63 just get me to like 80 without my brain going crazy and I'm losing my mind and Alzheimer's and senility and get me to 100 without cancer and get me to 120 without being bedridden, just one step at a time, one problem at a time.
That's how progress really happens, incrementally slowly, not this grand let's aim for Utopia. I mean aim for it fine, but just take it one step at a time. Cancer there's like 50 different cancers that kill people, just tackle them one by one. Heart disease, Alzheimer's, senility, just solve those problems because we know that the human body is so complex that if you live to 150 or 200 there maybe other things that happen we don't even know yet. I mean most people 500 years ago had no idea about Alzheimer's other than a handful of people that seemed to have lost their memories, but now we realize because so many of us live that long.
So that's the problem with that is too utopian in their thinking. Just incremental steps. And then second, my skeptical alarms always go off when the chief proponent of an idea that's going to be the next big thing always says it's in our generation. Every religious leader and cult leader in history has always said it's going to happen now in our generation all the way back to Jesus who said, "There are some standing here before me now who will not see the end of time before I return." Okay, and we're still waiting. So when Ray says it's going to happen in 2040 it's within our lifetime, Ray what if it's 2140? I know you're doing all the blood cleansing but you're not going to make it another century now, so what if it's 3140 a thousand years from now? That's possible but you and I aren't going to be here to enjoy it.
Why sell it like it's got to happen in my lifetime because that always to me seems like you're just tickling that part of the brain that religions like to tap in, that sort of egocentric it's all about me and I want to continue on in the future. I get that of course I do too, but all the more reason we should be skeptical when the idea on the table being offered to us feels too good to be true. It almost always is. Not always but usually. And there's hardly anything bigger than offering immortality or the afterlife because – so here's the problem, we are all aware that death is real because we see it all around us, 100 billion people have lived in before us, they're all gone; not one of them have come back, not even Jesus in my opinion, but that's a different video.
And yet you cannot conceive of what it's like to be dead because if I asked you picture yourself dead what do you see? Most people say well I see myself there at the funeral in the coffin and my loved ones are hopefully grieving. No you wouldn't see that you wouldn't see anything because to see anything you have to be conscious. To conceive of anything you have to be a sentient being, you have to be conscious and if you're dead you don't have any of that you're just – really death is just nothing and the whole idea of the afterlife is fairly new. I mean the ancient Hebrews their idea of the afterlife was nothing, you're just nothing you're just gone that's it. There's no place to go with angels and flowers and whatever, it's just nothing. All that was added on centuries later and probably for socio-political reasons. Offer the peasants something nice so that they'll keep building our pyramids or whatever. Again, we can't conceive of what it's like to be dead and yet we see it all around us so this creates something of a paradox that we have to resolve in our minds. Most people resolve it by thinking well I'm not actually going to die I'm just not going to do it I'm going to live forever or I'm going to accept Jesus or whatever and I'm going to heaven.
Yeah but what if you're wrong? It's not a Pascal's wager where you can say I have nothing to lose and everything to gain because which religion and their version of the afterlife is the right one? Which one are you going to pick? Well the Christians we're the right ones. Yeah well there's a billion Muslims who disagree with you. They don't accept Jesus as a savior. They don't think he was even the Messiah or the son of God so now what? And they believe just as strongly as you do. So what if your God is the wrong one, your version is the wrong theory and they have the right one? You wasted your whole life investing on this idea and it turned out to be wrong. Why not jettison the whole idea entirely and appreciate the here and now because that's all we have. Whatever is in the hereafter, the here and now is what we have.
- The concept of the afterlife, argues Michael Shermer, take away from appreciating what we have right in front of us.
- Why be afraid of death? 100 billion humans have died before us. It's part of the process.
- Maybe that '80s song was right... maybe heaven really is a place on earth.
Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and UtopiaList Price: $30.00New From: $5.00 in StockUsed From: $4.75 in Stock
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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.
- Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
- One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
- "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
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>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.