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Twisted watch face representing the infinite time spiral

Can the Future Reach Back and Affect the Past?

Researchers say that only elementary particles can really time travel but there is another way…

If the future influenced the past, that would be retrocausality. As Victor Bhaura puts it, Retrocausality means that, when an experimenter chooses the measurement setting with which to measure a particle, that decision can influence the properties of that particle (or another one) in the past, even before the experimenter made their choice. In other words, a decision made in the present can influence something in the past. Victor Bhaura, “Retrocausality — Future Influences Past Information Before Occurrence Of An Event” at Medium (June 8, 2022) Bhaura reminds us of a limerick called “Relativity” from 1923: There was a young lady named BrightWhose speed was far faster than light;She set out one dayIn a relative wayAnd returned on the previous…

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Chatbot chat bot customer service automation. Hand pressing button on virtual screen.

When LaMDA “Talked” to a Google Engineer, Turns Out It Had Help

Evidence points to someone doing quite a good edit job. A tech maven would like to see the raw transcript…

Readers may recall that Google engineer Blake Lemoine was placed on leave for telling media that a large language program he was working on is a sentient being. Some Googlers looked into the matter and this is what they found: A Washington Post story on Lemoine’s suspension included messages from LaMDA such as “I think I am human at my core. Even if my existence is in the virtual world.” But the chat logs leaked in the Washington Post’s article include disclaimers from Lemoine and an unnamed collaborator which noted: “This document was edited with readability and narrative coherence in mind.” The final document — which was labeled “Privileged & Confidential, Need to Know” — was an “amalgamation” of nine…

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new technologies, a child uses a futuristic processor for augmented reality. high technology and communication concept. TV

Psychologist Promotes “Virtual Children” for the Good of Earth

The former technology advisor to the U.K. government thinks that parents may prefer no-strings AI children for $25 a month

What if you had a child who was simply a virtual reality, who had no existence about from your own wishes? British psychologist Catriona Campbell, whose aim is to secure “a healthy, human-centred relationship with AI,” thinks that’s the way of the future and better for the planet. The vision of the author of AI by design: A Plan for Living with Artificial Intelligence (Chapman and Hall/CRC, 2022, is spelled out at Study Finds: The overpopulation crisis could be solved within 50 years thanks to the evolution of “virtual children,” one of Britain’s leading artificial intelligence experts claims. Computer-generated babies that cost about $25 a month are likely to become commonplace by the early-2070s, according to Catriona Campbell. In addition…

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Human internal organs on metal plate ready for organ transplant.

Firefly 12: The Amazing Mail Order Human Body

The episode, while still interesting, returned to a pattern of puzzling plot developments

I was disappointed with Episode 12. After a run of three great episodes in a row, we experience yet another drop in quality. This drop is marked by the classic telltale sign of a bad episode: Simon says something stupid, and Kaylee storms off in a huff. The context of this conversation is not important; the bottom line is, Kaylee is mad, so all the other women are mad because nobody loves poor Simon. While Kaylee is being consoled, Captain Mal and Zoë are actually doing something important, retrieving the crew’s mail. Now, this plot development was not irksome at first, because Jayne gets a letter from his mother and a funny hat. This made sense. If the crew is…

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Woman fist with woke written. Woke concept refers to awareness of social and racial justice, concern, vigilance, activism.

A Catholic and a Hindu Tackle Woke culture

In a wide-ranging discussion, Michael Egnor and Arjuna Gallagher look at Woke culture, abortion, euthanasia, and microaggressions

In a recent series of Mind Matters News, podcasts, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor interviewed Arjuna Gallagher, a Hindu who lives in New Zealand. The first podcast looked at what the world’s 1.2 billion Hindus generally think about the mind and the second explored the Hindu view of free will and evil. The third podcast addressed the question, “What do Hindus think about the Big Bang?” Now, the fourth and final podcast asks, what do Hindus think of current science and culture issues, especially the flowering of Woke Cancel Culture, abortion, and euthanasia? Gallagher hosts a YouTube channel called Theology Unleashed, which has featured many guests discussing the spiritual dimension of our lives — for example, philosopher David Bentley Hart and neuroscientist…

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炎に包まれた壊れかけのハート

Firefly Episode 10: Jealousy Divides the Firefly Crew in Space

And yet jealousy plays a key role in saving Mal and Wash from a villain’s sadistic torture

Episode 9 marks a turning point for the series. The previous episodes have been somewhat hit and miss but so far, there’s only been one outright bad episode (Episode 5, which broke all the “rules” of consistent character). However, at best thus far, the series has been very… episodic. That is, a handful of the characters recurs but the events from the preceding episodes seem to have no effect on the upcoming ones. But with Episode 9, that changes. The transition from Episode 9 to 10 starts off on a promising note. We see the events of Episode 9 actually affecting the events of Episode 10. This is a trend that continues as the story builds to a crescendo. That…

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Family with laptop, tablet and smartphone, everyone using digital devices

Escaping the “Truman Show” of Our Times

Effective methods intentionally hook us in, keep us engaged, and encourage behaviors that benefit them — and are often damaging for us

This story originally appeared at Newsmax. (April 5, 2022) as “Time to Write Our Own Stories, Not Big Tech” and is reprinted with permission. It’s one of the best movies of the late 1990s. In The Truman Show, Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) has no idea his life is actually a popular TV show. Everything has been fabricated — his parents, his friends, his marriage, his job. But things start happening — a studio light falls from the sky, a fake elevator reveals a hidden backstage room. Suddenly, Truman is determined to discover the truth of his existence. Rebelling against the script being played out all around him, he begins a journey to seek the truth and discover the life he was…

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Sculptor artist creating a bust sculpture with clay

Firefly Episode 7: Jayne Can’t Live With Himself As a Hero

Jayne Cobb, otherwise dumb muscle, once helped many people — inadvertently — and is stuck with deadly consequences when the truth emerges

After the strong “Stagecoach” rebound of Episode 6, Episode 7 focuses on Jayne Cobb. Up to now, the dumb muscle has mainly been comic relief. But when Mal and his crew stop by a planet to retrieve some smuggled cargo — under the pretense of ordering a shipment of mud used to make ceramic parts — we learn a little more about the big man’s past. As the crew exits the Serenity to pick up the goods, they come across a giant mud statue… of Jayne. He has no idea why the statue is there but, come to think of it, he’s been acting nervous throughout the mission. Years ago, we learn, things went south at a job he was…

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A humanoid robot with a shopping trolley is shopping at a grocery store. Future concept with robotics and artificial intelligence. 3D rendering.

Engineering Mag Editor Dislikes Androids That Make People “Feel”

That’s not really the job of a robot, says Evan Ackerman, who“hugs robots” himself

Evan Ackerman, a senior editor at the prominent engineering mag IEEE Spectrum, thinks — even though he “hugs robots” — that we don’t really need androids in daily life. Ackerman, who has a degree in Martian geology, focuses on “Nicola,” an android under development at Riken, a research institute in Japan, modeled on a boy and intended to ““to promote natural interactions with both adults and children.” So far, it is only a head. The reason that this research was necessary is because androids can be tricky to read at times, especially when making expressions associated with negative emotions, which are more difficult to distinguish. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m so skeptical that androids are the best…

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Woman in red cloak praying alone

Study: Accountability to God Means a Greater Sense of Well-being

Researchers found that the association between accountability to the divine and sense of psychological well-being was stronger in those who prayed more

A recently published study sought to measure the difference that a sense of accountability to God made in terms of psychological well-being, as distinct from church attendance, prayer and meditation: Religious believers who embrace accountability to God (or another transcendent guide for life) experience higher levels of three of the four variables of psychological well-being – mattering to others, dignity and meaning in their lives, though not happiness – according to a study from researchers with Baylor University, Westmont College and Hope College. The study also found that this relationship is stronger among those who pray more often, suggesting that accountability coupled with communication may be a powerful combination for well-being. Lorie Fogleman, Baylor University, “Study Examines Link Between Accountability…

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Man and woman shooting with gamepads while playing in virtual reality using VR headsets in the playing room

Take Control of Your Tech Before Metaverse Hits

Soon you will be enticed on all sides by a host of virtual worlds. They will look and feel very real and very cool

This story originally appeared at Newsmax. (February 17, 2022) Facebook’s recent name change to Meta has ushered in the Age of the Metaverse. Big Tech’s focus is shifting to a new frontier, the untamed wilds of the virtual world. Or is it worlds? Interestingly, the Germanic word world has a literal meaning of “age of man.” Which sounds quite fitting. But will the metaverse be an age that will see us grow and be nourished, as the root of age suggests? Or will we give in to our modern tendency toward laziness, entitlement and poor judgment? Before someone dares you to slip on a VR headset to get your first taste of the metaverse, get one thing straight — who is the boss of your tech? By…

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3d rendering of an android robot cyborg woman humanoid - side view and  isolated in an empty background

Watch a Robot Try To Replicate Human Emotions

We wouldn’t know there was such a thing as human emotions if this were our only source

A robot by BilTek trying to replicate human emotions The reactions have been pretty much what we might expect: The clip, posted by EHA News, shows the head of the robot, which has been designed to look so life-like that its eyes, mouth and facial expressions are detailed enough to be able to mimic human expressions. One Twitter user commented that the robot was showing ‘The UK emotions of being absolutely off ya bonk’. Simon Catling, “Scientists Create Robot Trying To Replicate Human Emotions And Everyone’s Saying The Same Thing” at UNILAD (January 14, 2022) Catling notes that a video of another, much creepier, robot by Engineered Arts surfaced last month: The robot in question – called the Ameca –…

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Puppy pressing his paw against a Girl hand

Dogs Understand Many More Words Than We Think

They also pick up very readily on human emotions, researchers have found

Sophie Jacques, Associate Professor, Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, came up with some interesting figures on dogs recognizing words. Starting in 2015, she and a colleague developed a list of 172 words organized in different categories (for example, toys, food, commands, outdoor places) and gave it to an online sample of 165 owners of family and professional dogs. We asked them to select words that their dogs responded to consistently. We found that, on average, service dogs respond to about 120 words, whereas family pets respond to about 80 words, ranging between 15 to 215 words across all dogs. We also found that certain breed groups, such as herding dogs like border collies and toy dogs like chihuahuas, respond to…

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Social but not social

Relationship Advice: Think Before You App

If the people we are having dinner with matter to us, why are we always checking our phones?

This story originally appeared at Newsmax as “You Can Actually Find Joy Outside Your Smartphone.” Recently, I took my family into town to get dinner. We live in a small community, in the country, so it’s a bit of an event to go out to dine in the city. Once there, I called around to see what establishments were open. Before I reached any humans, I was told to visit websites, download apps, and consider ordering online for pickup. One message even hung up on me without transferring me to a person. Finally, I found a place that would take us in and actually feed us. As we moved through the ordering line, one of the workers wore a shirt that made…

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miniature people walking on streets,people are moving across the pedestrian crosswalk in the city road

The Strange Story of Google’s “Selfish Ledger”

If you need Google to run your life, this is definitely for you

At one time, not too many years ago, Google top hats developed the idea to push the rest of us to change society, as follows: The video was obtained and published on Thursday by The Verge. It describes a so-called “Selfish Ledger” that would collect all of your data, including actions you make on your phone, preference settings, and decisions you make, and not just keep it there for future evaluation. Instead, the ledger, which would be designed and managed by Google, would interpret that information and guide you down a path towards reaching a goal, or on a broader scale, doing your part to help solve poverty or other societal problems. In one example, the video describes how the…

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Top view of grey crowd of identical people and special one woman, difference and diversity concept. Unique among the faceless, not like everyone else. Shocked, wondered, going mad. Collage.

How Do I Know If I Am Living in a Digital Ghetto?

AI-enabled tools can help to achieve the objectives of those motivated to create anger, fear, isolationism, or bigotry by manipulating our attention

I have recently been enjoying the PBS documentary on the history of New York City, part of the “An American Experience” series. With that in the back of my mind, I read design theorist William Dembski’s thought-provoking article, “How Does Worldview Differ from Cultural Environment?” I found myself contemplating various aspects of his argument and in this article, I would like to present some thoughts, using this statement as a launching point: When I taught apologetics at seminary, I would stress to my students that in doing apologetics, they needed to get out of the ghetto. Some seem to think that there is a Christian community in which one can isolate oneself. Beyond this Christian community there is a secular…

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embryo silhouette in woman hand

Political Website’s Christmas Gift to Readers: Promoting Abortion

FiveThirtyEight asked readers to share their abortion stories and got something it hadn’t bargained on: Many were glad it didn’t happen
If you want to understand the mindset of the abortion lobby, note that this plea for accounts of killing of children in the womb appeared on Twitter on Christmas Day. Read More ›
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Red Pill Blue Pill concept. The right choice the concept of the movie matrix. The choice of tablets

The Matrix Trilogy: Some Final Thoughts

I enjoyed the films and am looking forward to the Matrix Resurrections but there are some things I need to say as a reviewer

While waiting for The Matrix: Resurrections, December 22: I admit, I’ve given this trilogy a hard time. But I do actually enjoy the films… when I’m not thinking about them. There are some good elements, and I want to point those out before going further. First of all, the relationship between Neo and Trinity is solid. It develops with the trilogy and we don’t have to suffer through a bunch of “will they?/won’t they?” tropes. A viewer can get invested in their relationship, so it hurts when Trinity dies. I appreciate any film where this risk is taken, instead of breaking up the characters and then getting them back together just so the writers don’t have to show the relationship’s…

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Merry Christmas and happy New Year greeting card with copy-space.Many snowmen standing in winter Christmas landscape.Winter background

Reuniting Humanity, One Hello at a Time

The Smartphone has done much more than just reinvent the phone. It reinvented how we interact

This story originally appeared at Newsmax. (December 13, 2021) Lately, I’ve been noticing something in recent years that maybe you’ve noticed as well. We don’t hello to each other in the streets as we once did. Perhaps it’s a small thing; easily dismissed in an age of distraction and (often) manufactured problems. It is nonetheless disturbingly telling. For the better part of a decade, I’ve been taking a couple of walks during my workday. I work in downtown Redmond, in Washington State, which is home to Microsoft and a host of other tech companies. During my 20-minute walks, I see quite a few folks who exercise, walk dogs, bike, wait for the bus, walk for pleasure, or are just  trying to…

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Time travel machine. Surreal steampunk technology

Are We Tethered To Our Time Despite Time Travel?— Sci-fi Saturday

A very short film about a girl on a mission to save her mother raises a profound philosophical question

“Tethers” (2021) at DUST by Matthew Steele Finley (uploaded at DUST November 24, 2021, 5:22 min) A woman travels in time to save another woman’s life but the risk could be far reaching for her own reality. Review: “Don’t kill your mother or anything,” the time travel technician (Larry Herring) warns Anna (Abigail Williams), as she prepares to travel back to prevent a tragedy set maybe thirty years ago in an upper middle class home. Not too many spoilers but Anna must attempt to persuade her future mother Rachel (Alicia Kelley) not to marry her father — a man whom she knows (the way the future knows the past) is not good for her mother. Sshe shows her mom the…