Friday, March 30, 2007

Words of Wisdom (3): Spark on Woolf

Muriel Spark on Virginia Woolf: "A spoilt brat. All right, she committed suicide, but she didn't have to take the dog with her."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Words of Wisdom (2): Albert Einstein

"The scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation.…His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection. This feeling is the guiding principle of his life and work, in so far as he succeeds in keeping himself from the shackles of selfish desire. "

Albert Einstein
The Religiousness of Science

Friday, March 23, 2007

Words of Wisdom (1): John Prescott

"If you set up a school and it becomes a good school, the great danger is that everyone wants to go there."

John Prescott, British Deputy Prime Minister.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Dalrymple OnThe Delusions Of Neuropsychiatric Triumphalism

Theodore Dalrymple has been to an inspiring neuropsychiatry convention where he learned about the latest dramatic advances in the fields of neuroimaging, neurochemistry, neurogenetics and so forth.

But he was bothered by the triumphalism he detected among some speakers. They implied that neuropsychiatry might soon be able to give a scientific explanation for all human actions and motivations.

Scientific self-knowledge, rejoins the ineffable ex-prison doctor, is neither possible, desirable - nor, if achieved, sufferable.

Link to Dalrymple's article: Do the Impossible: Know Thyself - New English Review

Do the Living Outnumber the Dead?

No, we don't. The claim you sometimes hear - that the number of people living today exceeds the number of people who ever lived - is a myth, according to the linked article in Scientific American.

Apparently some 100 billion people have lived since mankind first emerged around 50,000 BC. Today's global population of 6.5 billion is thus about 6.5% of people who ever lived.
Fact or Fiction?: Living People Outnumber the Dead: Scientific American