EssentialstheDiagonal is a personal blog by Mike Gerra, skeptic, technologist, psychologist, artist, humanist, collector of grand, eclectic ideas.theDiagonal blog connects the dots across multiple disciplines for inquisitive, objective and critical thinkers, exploring the vertices of big science, disruptive innovation, global sustainability, illuminating literature and leftfield art. It is on this diagonal that creativity thrives, big ideas take flight and reason triumphs.
Monthly Archives: May 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Leonard Mlodinow weaves a compelling path through the world of statistical probability showing us how the laws of chance affect our lives on personal and grande scales. Mlodinow skillfully illustrates randomness and its profound implications by presenting complex mathematical constructs in language for the rest of us (non-mathematicians), without dumbing-down this important subject.
The book defines many of the important mathematical concepts behind randomness and exposes the key fallacies that often blind us as we wander through life on our “drunkard’s walk”. The law of large numbers, the prosecutor’s fallacy, conditional probability, the availability bias and bell curves were never so approachable....read more
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
What happens to a doomsday cult when the world doesn’t end?
Preacher and evangelical broadcaster Harold Camping has announced that Jesus Christ will return to Earth this Saturday, May 21, and many of his followers are traveling the country in preparation for the weekend Rapture. They’re undeterred, it seems, by Mr. Camping’s dodgy track record with end-of-the-world predictions. (Years ago, he argued at length that the reckoning would come in 1994.) We’ve yet to learn what motivates people like him to predict (and predict again) the end of the world, but there’s a long and unexpected psychological literature on how the faithful make sense of missed appointments with the apocalypse....read more
Sunday, May 22, 2011
From Evolutionary Philosophy:
One of the most confounding philosophical questions involves our understanding of who we really are. Are we intelligent matter – stuff that got smart – or are we incarnate spirit – smarts that grew stuff around it? This question is inherent in the very nature of our experience of being human. We have bodies and we have the experience of consciousness – mind and matter, body and soul. Which one is more us, which came first, and which is really running the show?...read more
Tuesday, May 10, 2011