Category Archives: Cosmology

Alan Lightman on Cosmology and Human Meaning

Yesterday I mentioned the Harper’s essay by Alan Lightman, What Came Before the Big Bang?, which concerns a couple different theories for that question: one by Sean Carroll and Alan Guth, a so-called “Two-Headed Time” theory, and another by Ukrainian/US … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Science and Math and Religion

Radio interview with Lee Goldman, MD, about his new book Too Much of a Good Thing, subtitled “How Four Key Survival Traits Are Now Killing Us”. This is about the familiar idea that our species is optimized for survival in … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Fermi Paradox; books by Brian Attebery and Frank Wilczek; Religious suppression; Religious fantasy

NY Times, Dennis Overbye: The Flip Side of Optimism About Life on Other Planets. (The print version was titled “A Case for Why We’re Alone”.) A consideration of the “Fermi paradox”: why, if by reasonable estimates there are likely millions … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Lucky Numbers; Paleo diet; Narratives about Charleston; Pinker on violence, and the news media

First, keying off my earlier post today about the Alan Lightman book, here’s an essay by George Johnson in the New York Times about Humankind’s Existentially Lucky Numbers. Four fundamental forces rule reality, but why is the number not three … Continue reading

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Alan Lightman, The Accidental Universe

Alan Lightman’s THE ACCIDENTAL UNIVERSE (2014) is a short book of seven essays, most previously published, on various ways the universe is not obviously what it appears to be, or is at odds with what humans might prefer. (Lightman is … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: The Size of the Universe; The Size of the Planets

» NPR’s blog Cosmos & Culture: Lessons From The Beginning Of Time. One report, among many in the past few days, that the apparent detection of ‘gravitational waves’ from the Big Bang, a year ago, was a false alarm: the … Continue reading

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Narrative as Reality; or, Reality as Narrative

For tonight, Paul Krugman’s NYT column from a couple days ago: Hating Good Government Evidence doesn’t matter for the “debate” over climate policy, where I put scare quotes around “debate” because, given the obvious irrelevance of logic and evidence, it’s … Continue reading

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Sean Carroll on the afterlife, life, death, happiness, and our place in the universe

Today chanced upon this video speech by physicist Sean Carroll, on his blog, upon his winning an Emperor Has No Clothes Award, from the Freedom From Religion Foundation — won previously by everyone from Ursula K. Le Guin to Dan … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Good News about the state of the world; cultural concepts; science; religion and fantasy

Catching up on links and comments from the past three weeks or so, given the holiday lapse. * First some Good News: Slate: Steven Pinker and Andrew Mack: The World Is Not Falling Apart In the world is getting more … Continue reading

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Hawking’s Theory of Everything

Stephen Hawking & Leonard Mlodinow, THE GRAND DESIGN (2010) This is the most recent book authored (or co-authored) by Stephen Hawking, the well-known brilliant physicist, subject of the recent film The Theory of Everything. The film depicts (in addition to … Continue reading

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