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Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category

Jun 30, 2016

Asteroids could threaten Earth, scientists say

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Captain Obvious has OBVIOUSLY taken over NASA, I’m afraid.

;-)


Space rocks are a bigger threat than people realize, scientists say. An organization is trying to bring awarness to the dangerous of asteroids.

Jun 28, 2016

The Top Ten Reasons I Believe Vaccine Safety Is an Epic Mass Delusion

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, ethics, existential risks, government, health, life extension, policy, rants, science, scientific freedom

Its painful to bear views that make many think I’m an imbicile and dislike me. So please, if anybody has a rational argument why any of this is wrong, I beg to be enlightened. I’ve set up a diagram for the purpose that will support you to add your criticism exactly where it is pertinent. http://truthsift.com/search_view?id=406&nid=4083

(1) The National Academy’s Reviews Of Vaccine Safety
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies has provided several multi-hundred page surveys studying the safety of vaccines, but rather than reassuring, these itemize some iatrogenic conditions being caused, and pronounce the scientific literature inadequate to say whether most others are. The 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Review[1] looked at 146 vaccine-condition pairs for causality, reporting:

  • 14 for which the evidence is said to convincingly support causality, the vaccine is causing the condition.
  • 4 where the evidence is said to favor acceptance.
  • 5 where the evidence is said to favor rejection, including MMR causing autism.
  • 123 where the evidence is said insufficient to evaluate.

The 2003 IOM Review on multiple vaccines said[2]:
“The committee was unable to address the concern that repeated exposure of a susceptible child to multiple immunizations over the developmental period may also produce atypical or non-specific immune or nervous system injury that could lead to severe disability or death (Fisher, 2001). There are no epidemiological studies that address this.”
and:
“the committee concludes that the epidemiological and clinical evidence is inadequate to accept or reject a causal relationship between multiple immunization and an increased risk of allergic disease, particularly asthma.”

  • None of the IOM Safety Reviews[1][2][3][4] addressed the aluminum (for example whether the aluminum is causing autism), or mentioned contaminants, or discussed animal models although they had concluded as just quoted there is generally no epidemiological or clinical data worth preferring.

Continue reading “The Top Ten Reasons I Believe Vaccine Safety Is an Epic Mass Delusion” »

May 31, 2016

TruthSift: A Platform for Collective Rationality

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, computing, disruptive technology, education, existential risks, information science, innovation, science, scientific freedom

“So there came a time in which the ideas, although accumulated very slowly, were all accumulations not only of practical and useful things, but great accumulations of all types of prejudices, and strange and odd beliefs.
Then a way of avoiding the disease was discovered. This is to doubt that what is being passed from the past is in fact true, and to try to find out ab initio again from experience what the situation is, rather than trusting the experience of the past in the form in which it is passed down. And that is what science is: the result of the discovery that it is worthwhile rechecking by new direct experience, and not necessarily trusting the [human] race[’s] experience from the past. I see it that way. That is my best definition…Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.“
–Richard P Feynman, What is Science? (1968)[1]

TruthSift.com is a platform designed to support and guide individuals or crowds to rationality, and make them smarter collectively than any unaided individual or group. (Free) Members use TruthSift to establish what can be established, refute what can’t be, and to transparently publish the demonstrations. Anyone can browse the demonstrations and learn what is actually known and how it was established. If they have a rational objection, they can post it and have it answered.

Whether in scientific fields such as climate change or medical practice, or within the corporate world or political or government debate, or on day to day factual questions, humanity hasn’t had a good method for establishing rational truth. You can see this from consequences we often fail to perceive:
Peer reviewed surveys agree: A landslide majority of medical practice is *not* supported by science [2,3,4]. Scientists are often confused about the established facts in their own field [5]. Within fields like climate science and vaccines, that badly desire consensus, no true consensus can be reached because skeptics raise issues that the majority brush aside without an established answer (exactly what Le Bon warned of more than 100 years ago[6]). Widely consulted sources like Wikipedia are reported to be largely paid propaganda on many important subjects [7], or the most popular answer rather than an established one [8]. Quora shows you the most popular individual answer, generated with little or no collaboration, and often there is little documentation of why you should believe it. Existing systems for crowd sourced wisdom largely compound group think, rather than addressing it. Existing websites for fact checking give you someone’s point of view.

Corporate or government planning is no better. Within large organizations, where there is inevitably systemic motivation to not pass bad news up, leadership needs active measures to avoid becoming clueless as to the real problems [9]. Corporate or government plans are subject to group think, or takeover by employee or other interests competing with the mission. Individuals who perceive mistakes have no recourse capable of rationally pursuading the majority, and may anyway be discouraged from speaking up by various consequences[6].

Continue reading “TruthSift: A Platform for Collective Rationality” »

May 18, 2016

Space exploration will spur transhumanism and mitigate existential risk

Posted by in categories: alien life, cyborgs, existential risks, geopolitics, policy, robotics/AI, solar power, space travel, sustainability, transhumanism

Friends have been asking me to write something on space exploration and my campaign policy on it, so here it is just out on TechCrunch:


When people think about rocket ships and space exploration, they often imagine traveling across the Milky Way, landing on mysterious planets and even meeting alien life forms.

In reality, humans’ drive to get off Planet Earth has led to tremendous technological advances in our mundane daily lives — ones we use right here at home on terra firma.

Continue reading “Space exploration will spur transhumanism and mitigate existential risk” »

May 16, 2016

Evidence of ancient giant asteroid discovered in Australia

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

ACTON, Australia, May 16 (UPI) — Researchers in Australia recently found a collection of spherules, evidence of a massive asteroid that struck Earth as it was still forming.

Spherules are tiny glass beads formed from material vaporized in the intense heat of an asteroid impact. They were found in northwestern Australia by a team of geologists led by Andrew Glikson of the Australian National University.

The glass beads were found scattered among ancient ocean sediments dated to the middle of the Archean Eon — 3.46 billion years ago. The spread of the spherules deposit suggests the impact would have left a crater between 12 and 18 miles in diameter.

Continue reading “Evidence of ancient giant asteroid discovered in Australia” »

May 4, 2016

If Something Is Going To Destroy Humanity, It’s Going To Be One Of These Catastrophes

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, climatology, existential risks, sustainability

Pandemics, asteroids, nuclear war, and sudden, destructive climate change are all unlikely—but not so unlikely that we shouldn’t be planning for them.

Apr 27, 2016

If You Care About the Earth, Vote for the Least Religious Presidential Candidate

Posted by in categories: energy, existential risks, genetics, geopolitics, policy, transportation

My new Vice Motherboard article on environmentalism and why going green isn’t enough. Only radical technology can restore the world to a pristine condition—and that requires politicians not afraid of the future:


I’m worried that conservatives like Cruz will try to stop new technologies that will change our battle in combating a degrading Earth

But there are people who can save the endangered species on the planet. And they will soon dramatically change the nature of animal protection. Those people may have little to do with wildlife, but their genetics work holds the answer to stable animal population levels in the wild. In as little as five years, we may begin stocking endangered wildlife in places where poachers have hunted animals to extinction. We’ll do this like we stock trout streams in America. Why spend resources in a losing battle to save endangered wildlife from being poached when you can spend the same amount to boost animal population levels ten-fold? Maye even 100-fold. This type of thinking is especially important in our oceans, which we’ve bloody well fished to near death.

Continue reading “If You Care About the Earth, Vote for the Least Religious Presidential Candidate” »

Apr 25, 2016

Adelaide AI pioneer says Terminator-like takeover unlikely

Posted by in categories: existential risks, robotics/AI, singularity

Apparently, Rodney Brooks, AI pioneer (@MIT CS & AI Lab; iRobot), is skeptical about artificial superintelligence:

“The difference between science fiction robots and real-life creations was the concept of robots being able to learn and teach themselves independently. A person can generalise, but we don’t have that kind of generalisation in any of these AI learning systems. So relax is my message.”

Or is he? This article by ABC Australia was focused on the same unfortunate meme, the unlikely Terminator which nobody has ever seriously suggested is realistic: “The Terminator series of movies foretold the future of humans and robots with Skynet becoming self-aware and launching its own nuclear war. But Professor Brooks said that was just science fiction.”

Continue reading “Adelaide AI pioneer says Terminator-like takeover unlikely” »

Apr 16, 2016

Stephen Hawking: Human Aggression Could ‘Destroy Us All’

Posted by in categories: existential risks, space travel

I couldn’t agree more…aggression and recklessness.


Stephen Hawking may be getting some Hollywood love for “The Theory of Everything,” a biopic about his life that earned actor Eddie Redmayne the best actor Oscar at last night’s Academy Awards. But that hasn’t stopped the world-famous physicist from issuing yet another warning about humanity’s impending doom.

Human aggression threatens to destroy us all, Hawking said during a tour of London’s Science Museum last week. The remark was in response to a question about what human shortcomings he would most like to alter. Hawking suffers from a neurological disease similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Continue reading “Stephen Hawking: Human Aggression Could ‘Destroy Us All’” »

Apr 16, 2016

Tweaking Genes to Save Species

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, existential risks, genetics

Another gene editing triumph.


Genetic engineering may emerge as an important tool to avert extinctions. But ecosystems are complex, and this tinkering might not unfold as planned.

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