Why Future Generations May Consider Us Barbaric

Nick Bostrom, a Swedish Oxford-educated philos...
Nick Bostrom

‘Factory farming, eating meat, Internet porn, overprescribing antibiotics, obesity, the maintenance of nuclear weapon stockpiles: these are just some of the reasons that future generations may criticize the morals of our present society, just as we object to yesterdays child labor, bear baiting, slavery, and oppression of women.

Nick Bostrom, the founding director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford, UK, argues that our unpreparedness for existential threats most risks the ire of our childrens children… “For Bostrom, the question is not simply how we deal with obvious threats; it’s whether we should take seriously even the slight chance of something happening that could end human life as we know it.” ‘ (Big Think).

The Map Of Native American Tribes Youve Never Seen Before

‘Finding an address on a map can be taken for granted in the age of GPS and smartphones. But centuries of forced relocation, disease and genocide have made it difficult to find where many Native American tribes once lived.

Aaron Carapella, a self-taught mapmaker in Warner, Okla., has pinpointed the locations and original names of hundreds of American Indian nations before their first contact with Europeans.

As a teenager, Carapella says he could never get his hands on a continental U.S. map like this, depicting more than 600 tribes — many now forgotten and lost to history. Now, the 34-year-old designs and sells maps as large as 3 by 4 feet with the names of tribes hovering over land they once occupied.’ (NPR).

Researchers find clue to stopping Alzheimer’s-like diseases

“We have to take a completely different tack: instead of targeting the cause of the disease, we need to disrupt the plaque building process.” (University of Leeds).

This rare giant flower smells like a corpse

This rare giant flower smells like a corpse Science Alert

‘With its sweet, sweet stench, the beautiful titan arum Amorphophallus titanium is quite a spectacle that draws crowds of avid tourists every time it blooms in a botanic garden.

Last week an even rarer spectacle involving this three-metre-tall flower, native to the tropical rainforests of Sumatra and Indonesia, occurred at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in the US, where two corpse flowers bloomed at the same time. The event, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, is the equivalent of a lunar eclipse in the world of botany.

The flower stays dormant for up to 10 years, hiding its fleshy red and cream petals from nosey humans—and saving the world’s nostrils for its putrid smell, which has been described by members of the United States Botanic Gardens as “the essence of rotting fish” and “a farm on a hot day, where a cow has died”.

Although it’s considered the stinkiest flower on Earth, titan arum’s smell is like Chanel No 5 for dung beetles and flies. When these creatures smell the rotten scent of the flower, they hurry towards it to make sure no other animal steals their precious meal—and they are greedy, going into every nook and cranny until they are satisfied. Once the animals are satiated, they fly away covered in pollen. Titan arum’s mission has been accomplished—the insects will pollinate other flowers.

The flower closes 48 hours after blooming. Its putrid smell disappears, and the titan arum it not seen until years later.’ (Science Alert).

Can You Feel Something If You Dont Have a Word For It?

‘In the early 1960s, Robert Levy, an anthropologist, spent two years in the Society Islands in Tahiti. Ten years later he came out with a book that coined the word

Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer (French, 1865-1953), "...
Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer (French, 1865-1953), “The gust of wind” (“La bourrasque”)

“hypocognition“, which was all about a societys inability to coin an appropriate word. Hypocognition is the lack of a necessary, or at least helpful, word to express an experience. In the case of the Tahitians that Levy studied, the missing word was “grief.” In the Society Islands, just like everywhere else, people lost loved ones and felt that loss, but they described themselves as feeling “sick” or “strange” afterwards. They didnt seem to have words like “grief” and “sorrow.”

Hypocognition, Levy argued, was not just a personal problem. It isnt like having a word stuck on the tip of the tongue. It marked a cultural deficit that wounded people. Without terms for grief and sorrow, people didnt come up with many rituals to alleviate them. Levy found that the islands had a high suicide rate, and believed that the lack of ability to express grief might have been a reason for it.’ (io9).

Bust card: Constitutionally protected smartphone edition

‘Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that warrantless smartphone searches are unconstitutional, heres a bust-card for you to print, carry, and commit to memory so that youll have it to hand when John Law wants to muscle his way into your mobile life.’  (Boing Boing).

 

‘If you forgot to lock your phone (or just didn’t feel like it), the next step you must take is to “calmly and respectfully tell the officer that his search is in violation of the Constitution under the court’s Riley decision,” says Stanley. (Riley v. United States is the name of the court case that triggered this new search warrant rule.)

Stanley suggests that anyone who is arrested “repeatedly” state to the arresting officer and any nearby witnesses, “I do not consent to this search.” By saying this key phrase more than once, you help ensure that “there is no question or ambiguity about whether you’ve consented” to the search, Stanley adds.

Making your feelings known is vitally important in this situation. And if you leave any room for the officer to legally justify the search, then no warrant is necessary.’ (Daily Dot)