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What Einstein meant by ‘God does not play dice’ | Aeon Ideas
How Einstein’s early experience of Judaism may have coloured his understanding of reality
Aeon 
3 days ago by thx1138
Algorithms are opinions, not truth machines, and demand the application of ethics | Aeon Videos
It can be easy to simply accept algorithms as indisputable mathematic truths. After all, who wants to spend their spare time deconstructing complex equations? But make no mistake: algorithms are limited tools for understanding the world, frequently as flawed and biased as the humans who create and interpret them. In this brief animation, which was adapted from a 2017 presentation at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) in London, the US data scientist Cathy O’Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction (2016), argues that algorithms can be useful tools when thoughtfully deployed. However, their newfound ubiquity and massive power calls for ethical conduct from modellers, regulation and oversight by policymakers, and a more skeptical, mathematics-literate public.
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
The prince of the people: Machiavelli was no ‘Machiavellian’ | Aeon Essays
His name has become synonymous with egotistic political scheming, yet Machiavelli’s work is effectively democratic at heart
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
Transgender identities: a conversation between two philosophers | Aeon Essays
The conversation about trans identities has been riven by bitter divisions. Two philosophers offer radically different perspectives
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
Dance seems to be the ultimate frivolity. How did it become a human necessity? | Aeon Videos
Every culture dances. Moving our bodies to music is ubiquitous throughout human history and across the globe. So why is this ostensibly frivolous act so fundamental to being human? The answer, it seems, is in our need for social cohesion – that vital glue that keeps societies from breaking apart despite interpersonal differences. The French sociologist Émile Durkheim (1858-1917) theorised that ‘collective effervescence’ – moments in which people come together in some form of unifying, excitement-inducing activity – is at the root of what holds groups together. More recently, Bronwyn Tarr, an evolutionary biologist and psychologist at the University of Oxford who is also a dancer, has researched the evolutionary and neurological underpinnings of our innate tendency to bust a move. Drawing on the work of both Durkheim and Tarr, this Aeon Original video explores that unifying feeling of group ‘electricity’ that lifts us up when we're enthralled by our favourite sports teams, participating in religious rituals, e
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
Can relationship anarchy create a world without heartbreak? | Aeon Ideas
What becomes of the brokenhearted? In relationship anarchy, they get on with their lives, among all their other loved ones
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
The idea of intellectual property is nonsensical and pernicious | Aeon Essays
Copyrights, patents and trademarks are all important, but the term ‘intellectual property’ is nonsensical and pernicious
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
Punishment isn’t about the common good: it’s about spite | Aeon Ideas
What if fairness is not about equity but about no one getting more than you? On spite and the evolution of punishment
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
Deny and become: the radical ethos of negative capability | Aeon Essays
Forget memory. Kill desire. Open up in the moment to unleash creativity, intuition, and even political transformation
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
My odious handiwork: Frankenstein is about art, not science | Aeon Ideas
My odious handiwork: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was about the dangers of art and creation, not of science and discovery
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
On the path to improvement, follow the jester, not the sage | Aeon Classics
The philosophy that improves you by mocking your beliefs: Alan Jay Levinovitz introduces the Zhuang Zi
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
How slaveholders in the Caribbean maintained control | Aeon Ideas
The whip was not the only device of control slaveholders used: they were masters of manipulation too
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
Why did shamanism evolve in societies all around the globe? | Aeon Essays
The trances and healing powers of shamans are so widespread that they can be counted a human universal. Why did they evolve?
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
There be monsters: from cabinets of curiosity to demons within | Aeon Essays
Monsters once inhabited the mysterious fringes of the known world. In our human-dominated present, can they still be found?
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
Lava, ice and hints of life – an immersive 360° tour of volcanism in our solar system | Aeon Videos
Here on Earth, volcanoes have a reputation for creation and destruction, regularly spewing out our planet’s molten innards as a consequence of plate tectonics. Nearby in the solar system, however, volcanism seems to have gone extinct, leaving behind the Moon's darkened, basaltic plains and Mars’s massive mountains. But our relatively recent exploration of the outer solar system – where tidal heating unleashes massive volcanic plumes on Jupiter’s moon Io, and water vapour spurts through the icy surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus – has proven that Earth is far from the only body in our solar system churning with volcanic life. Indeed, these discoveries have given rise to a fascinating new frontier of volcanology. Part of the American Museum of Natural History’s Shelf Life series, which explores science through the museum’s collection of artifacts and specimens, this short video guides viewers through a survey of volcanism in our solar system, and in doing so raises questions about volcanoes’ potential role in t
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
They came in the night – the all-female bomber regiment of the Soviet Air Force | Aeon Videos
During the Second World War, the Soviet Air Force initially barred women from serving in combat. That was until October 1941 when the pilot Marina Raskova personally convinced Joseph Stalin to deploy the world's first all-female air force units to fight against Axis powers. Primarily made up of volunteers in their late teens and early 20s, these regiments flew wood-and-canvas Polikarpov U-2 biplanes, aircraft originally intended for crop-dusting and hardly equipped for warfare, lacking guns, radio, radar and even parachutes. In this short animated documentary, the US filmmaker Alison Klayman recounts the story of Nadezhda Popova (1921-2013), a pilot in the notorious 588th Night Bomber Regiment – known by fearful German soldiers as ‘Nachthexen' ('night witches'), for their sudden, nearly soundless approaches before devastating bombardments. In The Night Witch, Popova's experiences – from her childhood to old age – represent the complex intersection of 20th-century warfare with women's growing empowerment.
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
The physics revolution that started with the flicker of a lightbulb | Aeon Videos
The discovery of quantum mechanics at the start of the 20th century shook the very foundations of physics, forcing scientists and philosophers to reexamine everything from particles upward. But as this short animation from MinutePhysics explains, the quantum revolution was jumpstarted by a rather unremarkable question. As the German government asked the theoretical physicist Max Planck: how can lightbulbs be made more efficient? To help solve the problem, Planck tried to account for the changing colour of light based on temperature, which he eventually realised couldn’t be explained by classical Newtonian physics. Working backwards from his data in ‘an act of despair’, Planck found that light wasn’t emitted continuously, but rather in discrete packets that he referred to as ‘quanta’. And the rest is the illusory arrow of time that we call history.
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
Why Simone Weil is the patron saint of anomalous persons | Aeon Essays
Estranged but not alienated, devout but not obedient, philosophical but not a systematiser, Simone Weil defies conventions
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
What do we consent to when we consent to sex? | Aeon Ideas
Sex under false or mistaken pretences isn’t necessarily criminal; and consent doesn’t solve the problem of bad sex
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138
Why would Apollo make positive statements about Judaism? | Aeon Essays
Confused, inferior and philosophically unsound: the Greco-Roman critique of the Old Testament could have been written today
Aeon 
5 days ago by thx1138

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