Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose..............J.B.S. Haldane
Quantum Mechanics is not only stranger than you imagine, but stranger than you can imagine ............(a version attributed to Richard Feynman)
Trouble with Physics
Bee at the always interesting backreaction has long review of (a manuscript version of) Lee Smolin's new book Trouble with Physics. It's not just a String bashing book, she says. She claims to be rather critical of the book, or maybe she was just critical to Smolin in person, but I thought she put the book in a rather positive light. She also includes a short interview with Smolin.
I will buy the book, but then I was always going to anyway.
One of the more fascinating and creepy events in biology over the past twelve years has been the development of cerebral organoids, sometimes called mini-brains, in a petri dish. Biologists have learned how to transform regular cells, for example skin cells, into pluripotent stem cells and in turn transform these into neural stem cells and grow them in vitro.
These clumps of grey matter spontaneously organize themselves into something like mini-brains, developing axons and dendrites, developing neural connections, and sending each other electrical neural signals. These organoids clearly have the potential to teach a lot about brain development, brain function, and brain disease.
They also pose deep ethical questions. Nobody thinks that these organoids are conscious - yet - but the potential is there. Experimenters are already plotting to make them more brain like by providing them with blood supplies and sensory inputs.
Quanta takes a look at the nascent ethical concerns: https:/…
So who is really the worst President of the last 75 years or so? Three major contenders have to be Nixon, W. Bush, and Trump. Nixon was the only one driven out of office for his criminal conduct, but the fact is, he did some good stuff too, so let's drop him as a contender. Trump is a terrible president, a rotten human being, and quite likely far gone into senility. He is also likely a traitor.
By contrast, Bush seems to be a decent and personable human being, but I still have to give him the ribbon. Evidence:
1) He was warned that bin Laden was planning a big attack on the US, but instead of acting, he mocked his briefer and did nothing - thousands of Americans died.
2) After the attack, he rushed to spirit the bin Laden family out of the country, shielding them from interrogation. He also actively covered up the heavy involvement of Saudis in the attack.
3) He made only a half-hearted attempt to capture bin Laden, and let him escape in order to pursue a war against a comp…