About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ian’s Picks

by Ian Pollock

* Philosophy Bites interviews Adina Roskies on the relevance (or lack thereof) of certain neuroscience results to free will.

* David MacKay’s fantastic book Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air is a really wonderful starting point for energy policy research; although it is a bit UK-specific, the techniques (he shows his work!) are all nicely adaptable to other countries provided you’re capable of a google search. Even better, for those who are allergic to paying for stuff, there is a free online version.

* Richard Yetter Chappell at Philosophy, et cetera takes on an intuitive objection to Peter Singer’s “drowning child” thought experiment.

* Trends in science fiction’s vision of the future, by Annalee Newitz, complete with interesting speculations on where the trends come from. It appears the future is currently receding from us.

* Optics Picture of the Day is a fantastic site, which not only presents eye candy from the world of optics, but explains it. Do not click if you intend to be productive for the next hour.

* Stephen Novella of NeuroLogica on cognitive decline with aging. Actionable: “risk factors include hypertension, obesity, smoking, a high saturated fat diet, and social isolation. Protective factors include physical activity, staying mentally active and socially engaged, moderate alcohol consumption, and vegetable and fish consumption.”

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