Peter Lewis is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami. He graciously provided the following answers as part of the accompanying article on quantum immortality.
In Young's experiment, why doesn't the box qualify as an observer? Isn't it observing the photons and recording their passage through the slits as well?
Coming of age beneath the foamy clouds and hoppy, verdant landscape of the Great Pacific Northwest, Joe Hubris has always had a soft spot in his heart (and liver) for beer. He is also a proud liberal, and a believer of the positive role government can and should play in peoples' lives. That's what makes the news of last weeks beer raids in Philadelphia an even more sour brew to swallow. It is truly ironic that this great capitals of liberalism has laws that treat our blessing-in-a-bottle as if they were written by members of the Liberty University board of trustees.
There was a day, within the lifetimes of those among us, when there were no video games, no Internets, no Blue Ray, no DVRs, no FIOS, no Satellite TV, no DVD's, no VCR's, no cable, no broadcast TV, no Cd's, no MTV, no cassette tapes, no 8-tracks, no LP's no 45's, no 78's, no XM radio, no FM radio, no radio, period.
In that day, the upright piano was the state-of-the-art in home entertainment technology. In 1909, over 350,000 pianos were manufactured in the United States. That's almost six times as many as in 2007, in a country with one-third the population. The age of the piano came and went. It, along with its partners the sheet music industry and the professional piano tuner, succumbed to the radio the gramophone, television, etc.
The highlights of this decade have been too few and too far between. The lowlights, on the other hand...
The singular, headline event of the decade can be traced back to the fabulous fifties and our cold-war efforts to keep the Commies away from the Persian gulf. Overthrowing the first democratic government in the Muslim world seemed so easy (and more importantly, so cheap) that the temptation to do it again would be too great. There followed a pattern of supporting short term economic and global political goals at the expense of the human and civil rights of Muslims. Sadly, America became a force for evil in that part of the world. Even after the Soviet threat to the region was on the wane and then gone, we continued to support the most repressive governments in the world in a short-sighted effort to keep the magic stuff flowing.
Something is real if it can be causally related to anything else that is real. Our definition of real is constrained by our own observational limitations. We can only base our knowledge of the world on our observations of it. It is only through observations, that evidence for or against a particular position/hypothesis can be gotten. It is true that what we experience when making an observation is not the thing observed, but an illusion, a reconstruction of reality based on information obtained by our senses and analyzed by our mind. It is also irrelevant to this discussion. The human mind has split the atom, written the Koran, eradicated polio, taken us to the moon, and reconstructed long-dead written languages, It has also devised ever-more effect ways to commit murder, denuded the great forests of the Pacific Northwest, used misinformation to destroy the lives o
- By Joe Hubris at 12/27/2009 - 15:05
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A parable to illustrate the limits and progress of science and human knowledge.
There is a community of intelligent beings who live in a place they call Cognita. It's made up of two islands: Prima and Segunda. Collectively, they call themselves the Cognitians. Their world is composed of a variety of natural environments, full of life in a multitude of forms. All the life on the two islands (and the waters surrounding them) evolved from a single common ancestor. The Cognitians themselves descended from a single ancestor (the Proto-Cognitian) who was herself born of an earlier species of beings (the Pre-Proto-Cognitians or Precognitians). All Cognitians were born on either Prima or Segunda and none has ever ventured beyond them.
This World Series promises to be epic. The best two teams in the league face off and there are almost too many back stories to list.
There are the cities. One is the faded former center of American political and economic life. One is the megalopolis capitol of the world. One feels the shadow of the other. One has too many threads flowing to pay more than a passing glance to the other.
There are the teams. One is the most successful sports franchise in history, with 40 pennants and the beneficiary of the most famous curse in baseball. The other has a history of winning that has been over-shadowed by another curse and the all-time record for losses.
The theory of natural selection has application beyond speciation and biological morphology, it can describe cultural and social institutions as well. Take for example, the Roy Rogers restaurant chain. Their fixin's bar is one of the great achievements of American fast food. At one time, there were some 650 locations primarily in the mid-Atlantic region of the east coast. Today, there are 52. Almost half are located in a kind of commercial archipelago--the expressway service area. Just as marsupials in Australia (the island continent) were shielded from the rise of placental mammals by the oceans, so Roy Rogers have only been able to survive in an economic niche.
2002 was the year the Raiders returned to the Superbowl. It was bad luck and perhaps a sign of things to come that the coach on the other side of the field was the man who had put together the team. Jon Gruden brought Tampa Bay its only Superbowl title after bolting the Raiders the previous year. Even without Gruden, the team had been good enough to get that far. Since then, not so much.
There has been much good news in the Philadelphia baseball world in the last year and some heartache. Add to that some hubris. Catching a home run ball is the dream of any baseball fan. Even more so when it is your first trip to a major league game. For 12-year-old Jennifer Valdivia, that dream came true at a Marlins-Phillies game on July 17th when Ryan Howard hit his 200th career homer at the fastest pace in Major League history.
Part Two: The Present
In our causally deterministic universe, all time can be divided into three categories: the unitary past, the unitary present and the unitary future. The present is the most interesting of the three. All moments spend some time as the past and future, but only one moment as the present. J. M. E. McTaggart proposed this view of time as the A-Series theory of time (as opposed to the B-Series which breaks time into two categories: the past and present).
Part One: The Past
IF we live in a casually deterministic universe, then everything in the past that gave rise to the present really existed. The past must be perfectly preserved as a record of what has come before the present. Every event, all objects and all energy were actually there when the present swept past them. In an infinitesimally small moment, the then-present became a part of history stored in a subsequent present in an ongoing process. Our memories appear to mimic this process--imperfectly. We live in the present, as does the universe. We recall the past, as the universe does. And we predict the future, which the universe also appears to do.
What is the Present? The apparent motion of time in one direction, apart from an apparent asymmetry, leads us to the obvious question of how do we describe the past, present and future in a meaningful way. Do these different "times" actually exist as separate things or are they an illusion created by our minds. The best evidence is that the present does exist as an independent physical entity. It must, otherwise there would be no way for our our minds to differentiate between it and other times.
But if it does, what is it? It is the forward edge of the time component of space-time. It contains a perfect record of all past and present events and objects and it constructs the future based on that record. In that sense, the future, while determinable by the present, does not actually exist until it becomes part of the present and then part of the past.
30 years ago, American conservatives were in the ascendancy. The devil-worshipping hippies were banished to the fringes of American culture, selling organic food and practicing yoga. The former liberal mainstream of the Democratic party had suffered the body blow of the Kennedy assassination and had seen their great society eaten alive by the war in Vietnam. Incredibly, they had escaped the shadow of Watergate and elected their most promising president in decades.
Since YouTube was her downfall, it was only appropriate that Kari Ferrell, the "Hipster Grifter" appeared at her extradition hearing via closed-circuit TV. It's standard procedure for the waiver hearings to be conducted without bringing the prisoner all the way to the CJC from State road. Ferrell has taken grifting far. She started out in her hometown of Salt Lake and managed to become one of their "most wanted." She then managed to turn herself into a quasi-celebrity while stealing cellphones and duping hiptards from Prospect Heights to Park Slope. And she was snared as only a hipster grifter could be. A local musician who had been in contact with her lured her onto a Chinatown bus with a promise of a free ride to Portland. When she arrived, officers from the 6th District were waiting. She has since been held at the House of Detention here in Phi
Pro basketball fans from Astoria to Zigzag can take heart: the Blazers are back. For those unfamiliar, here is a brief history of the team. Born of fire and steel in 1970, the Portland Trailblazers have seen their share of ups and downs over the years. The original team of Geoff Petrie, Rick Adelman and Sidney Wicks gave way to the Walton/Lucas Championship year. Then came the Billy Ray Bates years, then the Sam Bowie draft.
Having destroyed the Andean region of South America and the inner cities of North America, US drug policy is now marching like a wildfire through Central America and is now raging through the border regions of Mexico
. There is a shooting war going on south of the border. A civil war is being fought between various poly-drug trafficking organizations and between them and the government. The situation there is looking more and more like the situation in Colombia. American drug policy has allowed organized criminals to amass huge coffers with which they can engage in even more nefarious activities.
This week, Muntadar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who gave voice, or rather foot to all of our feelings when he hurled his shoes at Bush Jr. last year, finally had his day in court. Neo-con's always maintained that we were in Iraq in part to free the Iraqi people from the tyrannical rule of Saddam Hussein. Replacing him would be a democracy with respect for the rule of law, not the rule of him. Add yet another lie to the fire. Mr. al-Zaidi was sentenced to 3 years
in prison for? Not his "attack" on Bush, but for embarrassing Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki, who was standing beside Bush at the time.
It was 1987. Ronald Reagan ruled the land with a palsy-ed, yet iron fist. his domestic team had taken Thatcherism, given it an SUV, cut its income tax, raised its payroll tax, given it private healthcare, deregulated its savings and loan industry and unleashed it on the Ranch of the American homeland. Abroad, the party that had given us the Shah of Iran and the Contras, brought us the Iran-Contra Affair. Into those heady times, Alan Moore injected The Watchmen
. It was nothing less than the greatest comic/graphic novel of all time, imho (in my hubristic opinion).
The Mad Max Trilogy (1979-1985; Director: George Miller; Starring: Mel Gibson, Tina Turner and Bruce Spence)
UPDATE October 14, 2009: In honor of his 200th birthday, a "missing link" of flying dinosaurs, which filled in a gap, millions of years long, between the earliest, primitive pterosaurs and those that followed has been named after him. The gap was known in Darwin's time and the features of Darwinopterus reveal much about how these creatures evolved.
Ah to be 23, the most accomplished athlete in the world and a multimillionaire. God forbid, you go out and have a good time. Michael Wilbon leads the chorus of boos and criticism of Michael Phelps' party night at USC. He wants his feet "held to the fire." He fairly cites Phelps' 2004 DUI. That is worthy of opprobrium. What makes something morally wrong is the harm (or risk of harm) to others. Smoking weed doesn't make the cut. Even if you do think that breaking the marijuana laws of South Carolina rises to the level of drinking and driving, One misdemeanor every four years does not a bad citizen--nor bad corporate spokes/role model--make.
Since Joe Hubris has been bush-free, he feels 100% better. He can think more clearly. His hair has stopped falling out. He's not bloated all the time. He's making healthier decisions at mealtime. Most importantly, He's been able to get off the oxy's.
No one can deny that Joe Hubris is as liberal as the hills. He believes that liberalism is the best hope for all of us. That being said, he hates the degree that the city of Philadelphia intrudes into the lives of his fellow residents. Now, couple that with hubris and you get the latest loss for the city and its economic health.
The second nominee is: WALL-E (2008, director: Andrew Stanton, starring Kathy Najimy, Fred Willard, and Jeff Garlin)
In what is unquestionably their best work to date, the CGI team at Disney/Pixar lands a well-deserved place on this list. One does not normally think of the post-apocalypse when one thinks of Disney--Way to break the mold! The story of the lonely little robot with his cockroach little buddy, left behind on an Earth devastated by consumerism and waste is remarkable--made even more so by the fact that the film is still essentially a children's movie.
You cannot help but feel the authentic sense of loss that Wall-E feels as he rolls across the devastated landscape. The visuals are outstanding. The picture painted of a future humanity, where Walmart is the government, no one gets out of their power chairs and every meal comes out of a cinema big gulp cup is both comic and tragic.
Resident linguist, Geoff Nunburg, selected his 2008 Word of the Year and it's all coming up Joe!
UPDATE: Sadly, Miriam Webster selected "Bailout" as their Word of the Year. Bailout? Really? I'm sure Geoff would agree that it lacks a certain flair. bailout...
Comments to Joe Hubris.
- By Joe Hubris at 12/26/2008 - 03:54
With the new year's release of The Road and the latest installment of The Terminator Saga (Terminator Salvation--finally we get to the good stuff), the all-seeing eye of Joe Hubris has been drawn to this topic. The former is an adaptation of Cormack McCarthy's devastating novel. The later, starring Christian Bale, carries the promise of the original Terminator's Man vs. Machine war of the future. It all raises the question: what is the greatest post-apocalypse film ever made?
The first nomination: On the Beach (1959, director/producer: Stanley Kramer; starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, Anthony Perkins)
From Nadir to Apex.
In 8 years, America has gone from its modern political low point to its high point. David Axelrod is the anti-Karl Rove. The debacle that was the 2000 race--that which seemed to so dominate our view of national politics has been washed away.
Also gone, is the Reagan era. Up until this year, the coalition that carried the Republicans in 1980 had held. Now, with Obama able to carry Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and perhaps North Carolina, he and his campaign have created a new coalition. Unlike Reagan's which was white, this one is white, black and brown. Hispanics helped deliver Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico and look to be a permanent part of the new Democratic majority. McCain was unable to build on the progress that Bush made. In fact, the Republicans backslid.
I may or may not have heard of Professor Thomas Sowell prior to reading his column, "Ego and Mouth" on Realclearpolitics.com. The only ego on display here, appears to belong to Mr. Sowell.
Prof. Sowell begins his piece with the modest assertion that Obama's only qualifications are "ego and mouth." This despite his time as a Senator and his time in Illinois state politics as an elected representative of thousands of American citizens. He follows that up with the equally supportable contention that Obama has not acheived anything other than "cocksure confidence." And later, that he has "actually accomplished nothing." It seems like becoming the presidential nominee of the Democratic party is an achievement and perhaps also an accomplishment.
Leave it to the Phillies to be denied their Title, not by the other team, but by the first ppd in WS history.
I arrived at game 5 of the World Series at "the Bank" to a steady drizzle of rain. The game, however, would start on time. My friend Chris and I made our way up to Harry the K's bar high above the field, at the base of the Jumbo-tron. The stories-high TV screen blocked a lot of the rain that was coming down.
I'm not saying that things didn't get worse when they called it later, but it was perfectly predicted in the weather report and frankly, not much worse than it had been.
My complaint is that they should have just postponed the game from the beginning. That would have been the smart/fair thing to do. As it is, making them play in that soup blunted Philly's Number-one advantage: Cole Hamels on the mound.