If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Surrogates, anyone?

Tan Le's astonishing new computer interface reads its user's brainwaves, making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). She demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.

Tan Le: A headset that reads your brainwaves

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Peter Russell - An Inspiration of Timeless Wisdom

Peter Russell is a fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, of The World Business Academy and of The Findhorn Foundation, and an Honorary Member of The Club of Budapest.

At Cambridge University (UK), he studied mathematics and theoretical physics. Then, as he became increasingly fascinated by the mysteries of the human mind he changed to experimental psychology. Pursuing this interest, he traveled to India to study meditation and eastern philosophy, and on his return took up the first research post ever offered in Britain on the psychology of meditation.

He also has a post-graduate degree in computer science, and conducted there some of the early work on 3-dimensional displays, presaging by some twenty years the advent of virtual reality.

In the mid-seventies Peter Russell joined forces with Tony Buzan and helped teach "Mind Maps" and learning methods to a variety of international organizations and educational institutions.

Since then his corporate programs have focused increasingly on self-development, creativity, stress management, and sustainable environmental practices. Clients have included IBM, Apple, Digital, American Express, Barclays Bank, Swedish Telecom, ICI, Shell Oil and British Petroleum.

His principal interest is the deeper, spiritual significance of the times we are passing through. He has written several books in this area -- The TM Technique, The Upanishads, The Brain Book, The Global Brain Awakens, The Creative Manager, The Consciousness Revolution, Waking Up in Time, and From Science to God.

As one of the more revolutionary futurists Peter Russell has been a keynote speaker at many international conferences, in Europe, Japan and the USA. His multi-image shows and videos, The Global Brain and The White Hole in Time have won praise and prizes from around the world. In 1993 the environmental magazine Buzzworm voted Peter Russell "Eco-Philosopher Extraordinaire" of the year.

See Peter Russell's Site

The Global Brain

From Science to God

Peter Russell - From Science To God (1/3)

Peter Russell - From Science To God (2/3)

Peter Russell - From Science To God (3/3)

The White Hole in Time

Peter Russell - The White Hole in Time (1/3)

Peter Russell - The White Hole in Time (2/3)

Peter Russell - The White Hole in Time (3/3)

Gravity Doesn't Exist?

It’s hard to imagine a more fundamental and ubiquitous aspect of life on the Earth than gravity, from the moment you first took a step and fell on your diapered bottom to the slow terminal sagging of flesh and dreams.

But what if it’s all an illusion, a sort of cosmic frill, or a side effect of something else going on at deeper levels of reality?

So says Erik Verlinde, 48, a respected string theorist and professor of physics at the University of Amsterdam, whose contention that gravity is indeed an illusion has caused a continuing ruckus among physicists, or at least among those who profess to understand it. Reversing the logic of 300 years of science, he argued in a recent paper, titled “On the Origin of Gravity and the Laws of Newton,” that gravity is a consequence of the venerable laws of thermodynamics, which describe the behavior of heat and gases.

“For me gravity doesn’t exist,” said Dr. Verlinde, who was recently in the United States to explain himself. Not that he can’t fall down, but Dr. Verlinde is among a number of physicists who say that science has been looking at gravity the wrong way and that there is something more basic, from which gravity “emerges,” the way stock markets emerge from the collective behavior of individual investors or that elasticity emerges from the mechanics of atoms.

Looking at gravity from this angle, they say, could shed light on some of the vexing cosmic issues of the day, like the dark energy, a kind of anti-gravity that seems to be speeding up the expansion of the universe, or the dark matter that is supposedly needed to hold galaxies together.

Over the last 30 years gravity has been “undressed,” in Dr. Verlinde’s words, as a fundamental force.

This disrobing began in the 1970s with the discovery by Jacob Bekenstein of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Stephen Hawking of Cambridge University, among others, of a mysterious connection between black holes and thermodynamics, culminating in Dr. Hawking’s discovery in 1974 that when quantum effects are taken into account black holes would glow and eventually explode.

In a provocative calculation in 1995, Ted Jacobson, a theorist from the University of Maryland, showed that given a few of these holographic ideas, Einstein’s equations of general relativity are just a another way of stating the laws of thermodynamics.

Those exploding black holes (at least in theory — none has ever been observed) lit up a new strangeness of nature. Black holes, in effect, are holograms — like the 3-D images you see on bank cards. All the information about what has been lost inside them is encoded on their surfaces. Physicists have been wondering ever since how this “holographic principle” — that we are all maybe just shadows on a distant wall — applies to the universe and where it came from.

In one striking example of a holographic universe, Juan Maldacena of the Institute for Advanced Study constructed a mathematical model of a “soup can” universe, where what happened inside the can, including gravity, is encoded in the label on the outside of the can, where there was no gravity, as well as one less spatial dimension. If dimensions don’t matter and gravity doesn’t matter, how real can they be?

Continue reading - A Scientist Takes On Gravity