Why Our Brains Suck #1

Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds

"As people invented new tools for new ways of living, they simultaneously created new realms of ignorance; if everyone had insisted on, say, mastering the principles of metalworking before picking up a knife, the Bronze Age wouldn’t have amounted to much. When it comes to new technologies, incomplete understanding is empowering.

Where it gets us into trouble, according to Sloman and Fernbach, is in the political domain. It’s one thing for me to flush a toilet without knowing how it operates, and another for me to favor (or oppose) an immigration ban without knowing what I’m talking about."

This article is a fairly long read, but well worth your time. We humans are not nearly as good at reasoning as we think we are. It's up to each of us to constantly ask ourselves "why do I think what I think, why do I think I know what is true". It's not easy, but it's a skill that is perhaps more essential to learn than any other as we move further into the 21st century.

Words of peace from The Dude

This was an interesting read: Jeff Bridges searches for peace in Trump's America, come 'Hell or High Water'


Give it a look, Mr. Bridges makes interesting points and a compelling case. I think it's essential for our progress and survival to heed the call for level-headedness. As I occasionally give in to reading comments on posts or what people who share news items say about what they share, I am struck by the raw and violent hate I see coming from all sides of an argument. Every disagreement seems to immediately escalate into all out war. If that can't be stopped, we may as well take up arms now and get our next civil war over with.

I do have one point of disagreement with Bridges. From his closing: "We don't know what's right and wrong, you know, completely, it's our opinion." In matters of personal judgment I agree, but where science and scientific consensus can more completely inform our judgments, I think there is much less room for opinion. And that perhaps is one area that is now causing so much of the hate. I think many people are not comfortable being confronted with the idea that science can invalidate their opinions. As a theme this year, the need to communicate scientific consensus better than we do is ongoing. I'm still not sure what the answer is, but someone once told me sometimes all you can do is live as a good example, and don't sink into the mud with the arguing and hate. I think The Dude would abide.



Thank you! That's what I have to say. That screenshot above shows I've broken 2000 downloads in 29 episodes and since only the end of May when I started. That number doesn't include the just over 300 plays on youtube as of this writing. I know, it's a tiny drop in the podcast bucket. Some of the casts I listen to have tens of thousands of downloads a week. Still, I'm doing this show for several reasons, one being to share progressive scientific views on the world with others, and I appreciate all who've tuned in.

Blue Lava

As much as I love space, the Earth certainly can amaze and astound with it's own alien landscapes. Here a very neat place in Indonesia, photographed by Reuben Wu.

Story from Wired.com

(Reuben Wu)

No Man's Sky Is A Game For Introverts

I like this game, and I won't apologize for it.

No Man's Sky is a game for introverts.

The View

So in the past few weeks, after the official release of No Man's Sky, the gaming community has lost it's mind and threatened the game's developer with enough pitch forks and torches that refunds have been offered. I won't be asking for one, because I like this game. Maybe it's because I'm 40 and I don't care. I forget I'm 40 when reading what other gamers are saying, and I need to remind myself they might all be young angry boys.

I think some of my reasons for liking the game are because I'm not actually a hard core gamer. I didn't not get exposed to every bit on hype leading up to it's release. I did not spend days on end speculating with others about how awesome it was supposed to be. I did not anxiously await the download finishing so I could be the first in. I knew what it was in a very general way, and I never thought it would be something you could plow through. If Hello Games did oversell the game as something it's not, then shame on them, but I didn't get exposed to whatever that hype may have been. And if you played 40 hours in and then asked for a refund, shame on you.

If your favorite game is Call Of Duty, No Man's Sky is not for you. As I have played the game, I've developed the sense it's much like raking a Japanese zen garden. It is a slow game, and it's supposed to be. It is a lonely game, and it's supposed to be. No Man's Sky is a game for introverts. Maybe that's why I like it. Hours of explorations and no humans messing up my mood. I have spent a lot of my time searching for alien ruins and monoliths to expand my knowledge of the languages used in the games. Huh, imagine that, a game that allows you to make intellectual pursuit your main goal.


I've heard complaints about the graphics. I like them. They are not hyper-realistic, but then, neither is Picasso or Van Gogh. It has a style and I can appreciate that. The creatures are odd, the planets sometimes beautiful, sometimes harsh. It's a world design I can enjoy. What does a "real" alien look like anyway?

There isn't much combat in the game. I think this might also be a complaint for some. But wow, a game not based on violent conflict, how refreshing. I'll take it. And then, in those moments when conflict arises, it's all the more surprising and jolting. It can be a slog to build something, but should it be easy? And I also don't feel like this is a game you should play 8 hours at a stretch. Back to the zen garden metaphor, load up No Man's Sky and meditate for an hour or two, then get on with your life, hopefully with some lingering hope for the future and awe at the scope of the universe.

If you didn't buy it yet, I would wait. The price tag is steep, and for what the game is, I think that's a valid complaint, as I think most games are expensive these days. It isn't perfect, but it's not worthless, and in the interest of preserving civilization even if I didn't like it I would not attack the developers with the vitriol that so many have. But if you're looking for a mostly relaxing, visually interesting game that you don't have to have the reflexes of a 17 year old on six red bulls to play, get No Man's Sky. I would expect it to drop in price soon, and Steam often has holiday season sales. I like sci-fi, and as with movies and tv, sometimes any is better than none, and this game isn't awful as some would have you think. It just isn't what so many thought it would be. Blame the developer, blame your brain for buying the hype. I don't blame the game itself because I've found a purpose for it in my life. Whatever it's problems, I would still rather be out there, in No Man's Sky, than here at my desk.

In Flight