1. Intelligence: emergent phenomenon or not? On what do you base your answer?
Yes, I definitely see intelligence as emerging from simple interactions. I am a philosophical materialist — I don't believe in the soul, and I believe the mind to simply be patterns of activity in the brain. My justification for this is simply Occam's Razor — I can't think of anything that can't be explained by simple interactions of matter, so I feel no need to invent any substances beyond matter.
More interesting is the following question: what's so special about the matter in our brains that allows it to express conscious intelligence? The materialist must either find some special property of the matter or structure of our brains, or must allow the possibility that all patterns of intelligence are, to some extent, conscious. I prefer the latter explanation.
2. Talk about some (non-fictional) people you actually admire.
Hmm... never been my favourite question to answer. I feel uncomfortable naming anybody as admirable because I know that everybody has some not-so-admirable traits. On top of this, I don't buy into the great man theory of history — I believe all people have the potential for greatness, and many of the great and good of history were simply in the right place at the right time.
So, at the risk of sounding a bit pat, I reply that I admire everyone who makes the choice to act selflessly rather than selfishly; to improve themselves rather than remain complacent; to do what is right rather than what is easy.
3. If you could tell your ten-year-old self one thing, what would that be and why?
"Treat yourself as you would wish to treat others"
I've always grasped the idea that you should treat others nicely. What seems to have escaped me for many many years is the idea that I should treat myself just as nicely. I am no less deserving of my kindness than anybody else.
4. Your hypothetical child is four years old. E looks up at you with those big, wide, trusting eyes, and with ir reedy young voice pipes "Daddy... where did I come from?" What do you tell em?
"The Argos catalogue"
I can see traumatising the hypotheticals as a big hobby of mine in the future. But in all seriousness, I would imagine that "you grew inside your mummy" is enough detail for that age — although all children are different, of course. Basically, I'll give them as much information as I think they're able to understand, as and when they ask for it.
5. Which pie is the best?
Is it... beeeef pie?
Leave a comment and I'll ask you five questions, on the understanding that you do the same when you answer.
It won't surprise most readers too much to hear that the average American scored only 49%. What is completely shocking, however, is that the average US elected official scored only 44%, 5% less than the average man in the street.
As autopope puts it, that goes some way to explaining Sarah Palin.
Why do Americans enjoy electing people so much stupider than themselves?
Epperson vs Arkansas was a 1968 Supreme court decision overturning a ban on the teaching of evolution in schools in Arkansas. The Supreme Court ruled that the 1928 law was unconstitutional due to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. (That no one religion should be promoted above any other in US law).
Epperson vs Arkansas was the first definitive blow against creationism in the US court system. Forty-three years earlier, the 'Scopes monkey trial' ended with a 'do not pursue' ruling — basically implying that the courts were not interested in prosecuting teachers for teaching evolution, but with no satisfying conclusions being made with regards to the constitutionality of evolution versus creationism.
Epperson vs Arkansas triggered a sequence of related decisions in faviour of evolution, including Daniel vs Waters, where a law requiring "equal time" teaching of evolution with creationism was overturned, and McLean vs Arkansas, where 'creation science' was dismissed as unscientific.
(Didn't initially mean to reference all of four cases, but I got carried away...)
( listy )
Hmm... no actual underlines in my list. A lot of them I read while at school, but not for school. Yes, I was a nerd...
Today, went to Mela in Pilrig park. Had my first taste of a Masala Dosa, which was luvverly, as well as Masala Chai (similarly luvverly). Culinarily, then, definitely a success.
( Nerd test 2. Also geek test )
Because I had so much fun with the last meme, I've decided to set another challenge. I've picked a bunch of books off my bookshelf, and chosen arbitrary passages from each of them. Can you figure what book each passage comes from? Some of them are obvious, some a little more tricky. Most of the books are reasonably well-known. Oh, and I've blanked out some giveaway names.
Edit: Answers now provided! In spoiler-o-vision after each paragraph, so that latecomers may still entertain themselves. Comments now unscreened.( Teh meme )
Not sure exactly what a fandom is, but here's a list of ten clues which each relate to a film, series, book, etc. which I like. What's what?
Edit: I shall now reveal the anwsers! Feel free to throw things at me.
- Its creator(s) derive much of [his/their] humour from forcing a handful of characters together who just can't stand each other. (Red Dwarf; guessed by deralte, random-bloke-in-pub and digitalraven)
- According to an old joke, the main character has three ears. (Star Trek; guessed by dsky, digitalraven and original_aj)
- Apparent references to marijuana use and... erm... sexually ambiguous relationships are actually just the result of cultural shifts since this work was created. (The Lord of the Rings; guessed by dsky, figg, brucec and digitalraven)
- The title character is actually a different person in each installment, but with the same name. (The Legend of Zelda games; guessed by oddity_uk)
- According to this work, it is universally possible to order a gin and tonic. (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series of books; guessed by yodathedark, dsky, figg, deralte, digitalraven and original_aj)
- Entities which are harmless, obedient, and self-preserving. In that order. (Isaac Asimov's Robot Novels; guessed by dsky, figg, deralte, galaxy_girl00, digitalraven and original_aj)
- One's vocalisations of distress, emitted into a vacuum, will be impossible to detect. (Alien; guessed by dsky, figg, oddity_uk, galaxy_girl00, deralte, digitalraven and original_aj)
- Should one 100,000,000,000-km-tall being wish to wed another, the title object would probably make a good token of his intent. 8^) (Ringworld; guessed by dsky, figg, deralte, digitalraven and original_aj)
- The main character is named after a Greek princess, but (partially) modelled on a Japanese one. (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind; guessed by nobody [oops!])
- Origami causes angst! — but only in the Director's Cut. (Blade Runner; guessed by dsky, figg, galaxy_girl00, digitalraven and original_aj)
I like clue 8. Clue 8 is on crack.
You Just Lost The Game!
Rules of the Game:
- You begin playing The Game when you become aware of its existence.
- Whenever you think about The Game, you lose.
- When you lose The Game, you must announce your loss to everyone present.
This post is part of an attempt to document the existence and spread of The Game. To help, please copy this to your own journal and then edit the following page to track its progress through LiveJournal:
This has been going round in email for a couple of years now, and has recently made it onto LiveJournal (courtesy of lisatheriveter).
RECOGNISING A STROKE
Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage while people nearby fail to recognize the tell-tale symptoms.
Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
- Ask the individual to SMILE.
- Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
- Ask the person to SAY A SIMPLE SENTENCE.
If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call for an ambulance immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.
After discovering that a group of non-medical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions. They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting in 2003. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke and prevent brain damage.Reference: The American Heart Association.