The Nightshirt Sightings, Portents, Forebodings, Suspicions

Posts tagged with “Evolution”

The Time Eye: Nuts and Bolts of a Biological Future Detector

Wednesday, 21 September, 2016

Rubbing my temples and squinting, I foresee that no less a science writer than James Gleick will very shortly be publishing a book called Time Travel. Unlike his most famous book, Chaos, which was incredibly forward looking—introducing a whole generation to a really cool new concept, “the butterfly effect” (i.e., the way a butterfly flapping […]

The Wyrd of the Early Earth: Cellular Pre-sense in the Primordial Soup

Sunday, 22 May, 2016

Stand brave, life-liver, bleeding out your days in the river of time. Stand brave: Time moves both ways … —Joanna Newsom, “Time, as a Symptom” The philosopher Alfred Korzybski, who influenced Phil Dick, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, and other science-fictional minds of the mid-20th Century, named “time binding” as a characteristic human activity. He was […]

Psi of Regret: Pitfalls of Prophecy from Patanjali to Paul Muad’Dib

Sunday, 23 November, 2014

It’s been over twenty years since I last read Dune, but inspired partly by the phenomenal documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, I recently re-read Frank Herbert’s masterpiece and a few of the sequels. Although the latter are uneven, I need hardly say that Dune itself holds up magnificently. It is still the one novel I would put […]

Humans Everywhere (the REALLY Anthropic Cosmos)

Thursday, 24 October, 2013

There is the important, often-heard argument that in our attempts to think about extraterrestrials and extraterrestrial intelligence we should not be anthropocentric—that aliens will be alien, maybe so alien that we have already encountered them and cannot even recognize that fact. This is one of the arguments against the extraterrestrial hypothesis for UFO encounters—that our […]

Existential Futurology (A Few Thoughts on the Unlikelihood of Interstellar Colonization)

Monday, 14 October, 2013

According to various estimates, including a mathematical model published a couple years ago by Thomas W. Hair and Andrew D. Hedman, the galaxy (let’s limit ourselves to our galaxy for purposes of discussion) should already have long been colonized by a spacefaring civilization. That our solar system appears to be untouched can only mean (according […]

The Singularity (Thoughts on Bifurcation, pt. 1)

Saturday, 20 November, 2010

“Who wants to live forever?” – Queen Transhumanists plan for the coming Singularity, the threshold of transcendence of biological mortality and of flesh-enslaved consciousness—i.e., posthumanity. Ray Kurzweil for example clasps his hands together and squeals that the first person to be immortal is already alive, and that we can right now (through diet and exercise) […]

Those Alien Bastards (Or, Who Are the Real “Hybrids”?)

Thursday, 30 September, 2010

The “crypoterrestrial” hypothesis recently proposed by the late skeptic blogger Mac Tonnies has a lot going for it over the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) that most UFO believers still adhere to. For one thing, there is the historical span of reported encounters with strange humanoid beings. Encounters with “UFOs” and their purported otherworldly inhabitants are a […]

Boskops, Bigfoot, and the Problematic Intelligence of Cryptids

Monday, 4 January, 2010

The weird and sort of shady neighborhood of the blogosphere I haunt was lately abuzz (a-twitter?) about a new book called Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence, by neuroscientists Gary Lynch and Richard Granger. I haven’t read it yet, but I gather it’s an account of the evolution of the large human […]

The Truth About Vegetarianism

Monday, 2 November, 2009

The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability is, to me, a perfect followup to Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, which I waxed ecstatic about a couple years ago. Such a powerfully as well as sympathetically stated case against all the arguments underlying vegetarianism is long, long overdue. Keith, a former, very committed vegan, […]

Politely ignoring linguistic primitivity

Monday, 23 June, 2008

M.J. Harper (The Secret History of the English Language–see previous post) has been taken to task for an apparent misunderstanding of how evolution works: A form can’t evolve from another living form, goes the dogma; rather, two related forms are said to share a common ancestor. So, for example, humans did not evolve from chimpanzees; […]