June 2, 2008

MetaLinking 2008/06/02

It has been well over a month since we have offered MetaLinking - mostly due to a strategic 'slow down' of our internet activities. The IRG has made substantial commitments to local community development projects - consulting and designing applications using an integral approach. These commitments have limited our recent public relations/blogging efforts considerably.

However, the IRG will continue to provide innovative and informative content for the readers of Integral Praxis. And, as always, we are OPEN to individuals who want to collaborate or conrtribute to this blog - helping to co-evolve a more post-formal, post-theoretical integral pragmatism & zeitgeist.


Consciousness and Mental Life – “In Consciousness and Mental Life, Daniel Robinson argues for the foundational primacy of folk psychology over cognitive neuroscience. Robinson answers the question whether consciousness can fully be explained by the sciences of the brain with a clear no, for it lacks the very conception that urges humans to ask such questions -- mental life. In a very readable and highly witty way, Robinson manages to discuss most of the major positions and key players in the current debates surrounding consciousness."
– “The moral dilemma is an agonizing staple of philosophy classes. A new study shows that its difficulty may be caused by a battle in the brain… The fMRI scans reveal the neural equivalent of competing moral philosophies, says Greene. The social-emotional part of the brain pushes people to obey seemingly universal moral rules, such as an edict against murder, while the reasoning part pushes them toward a utilitarian goal: the greatest good for the greatest number of people.”

VIDEO: Brain Science and the Future of Computers – “To date, there hasn't been an overarching theory of how the human brain really works, Jeff Hawkins argues in this compelling talk. That's because we still haven't defined intelligence accurately. But one thing's for sure, he says: The brain isn't like a powerful computer processor. It's more like a memory system that records everything we experience and helps us predict, intelligently, what will happen next. Bringing this new brain science to computer devices will enable powerful new applications -- and it will happen sooner than you think.”

Self-confidence: Unwitting Wits – “Modesty is one thing. But when you attribute your drawerful of trophies to mistakes, luck, and deception, it's a different thing entirely. So say those who describe Impostor Syndrome—the conviction that others grossly overestimate one's abilities. The "impostor" feels she doesn't deserve her accomplishments and fears that eventually she'll be unmasked as a fraud.”

Psychology's greatest case studies – “BBC Radio 4 have just broadcast a fantastic new radio series called Case Study that looks at some of the most influential, and most remarkable, case studies in the history of psychology.”

Models of cognitive control in prefrontal cortex – “In the May issue of Trends in Cognitive Sciences David Badre reviews different models of the cognitive controls in our prefrontal cortex that support flexible behavior by selecting actions that are consistent with our goals and appropriate for our environment. I thought I would pass on two nice graphics from the papers, showing the structures and models involved. They do make the point that we have a long way to go before figuring out how the system works.”

AUDIO: A Guided Tour of 'Your Brain' – “Two neuroscientists have written a book for a general audience to debunk misconceptions about how the human brain works. The result is the book ‘Welcome To Your Brain’.”


That’s why they embrace Islam – “…fellow anthro-blogger Martijn de Koning was awarded his doctorate at the Free University of Amsterdam last week. In his Ph.D. thesis he shows how Islam has become the most important frame of reference for Moroccan-Dutch youth to reflect upon who they are and what they want to be. In the late 1990s, the general perception was that young muslims were turning away from their religion. But things went differently, he says in an interview with Radio Netherlands. Young Dutch Moroccans are increasingly turning to their religion.”

3 Ideas That Are Pushing the Edge of Science – “Medical bots powered by sperm, clean fusion power, and two-dimensional time.” ---- Very cool science and very innovative minds.

Evolution and Atheism: A Fascinating Exchange - “Two old friends have left a fascinating set of comments on an earlier thread and I liked them so much that I'm moving them up here to make sure everyone sees them. I have known Henry Neufeld for about 15 years, since first meeting him in the Compuserve religion forum. I have known Sastra for probably 10 years, since meeting her in a religious debate channel on IRC. Henry is a Christian, a Hebrew scholar and the director of a Bible school; Sastra is an atheist and longtime activist. Despite those differences, they are two of the clearest thinkers I have ever known.”

The Ethics of Climate Change: Pay Now or Pay More Later? - "What should we do about climate change? The question is an ethical one. Science, including the science of economics, can help discover the causes and effects of climate change. It can also help work out what we can do about climate change. But what we should do is an ethical question."

Axel Bruns on why Ning trumps facebook - “Very interesting critique of Facebook by Axel Bruns. After the critique in the first part, Axel focuses on why Ning solves a number of the outlined problems… Ning is anything but a walled garden. Its boundaries are immensely permeable in both directions - in the form of RSS feeds, Flickr photos, YouTube clips, and other materials, content can be drawn into Ning easily, but what happens on Ning is also instantly visible to users on the wider Web (there’s even a widget for posting Ning activity to Facebook), so that community interaction doesn’t have to stop where Ning stops. (That said, Ning sites can be set to ‘private’, though.) Ning can be just one element - a central hub, aggregator, forum, perhaps - in a federated network of personal and collective blogs, wikis, collaborative project sites, and there’s no requirement for all members of that federation to commit to it.”

Part of Ancient Egyptian Fertility Temple Found in Nile – “Egyptian archaeologists found the portico, or covered entryway, to the temple of the ram-headed fertility god Khnum while conducting the first-ever underwater surveys of the Nile.”


How People Influence Connectivity Among Ecosystems – “Ecosystems are constantly exchanging materials through the movement of air in the atmosphere, the flow of water in rivers and the migration of animals across the landscape. People have also established themselves as another major driver of connectivity among ecosystems. A new article looks at how human influences interact with natural processes to influence connectivity at the continental scale.”

Climate Change and Tropical Cyclones – “Just as Typhoon Nargis has reminded us of the destructive power of tropical cyclones (with its horrible death toll in Burma–around 100,000 according to the UN), a new paper by Knutson et al in the latest issue of the journal Nature Geosciences purports to project a reduction in Atlantic hurricane activity (principally the 'frequency' but also integrated measures of powerfulness).”

Playing Climate Change Catch-Up – “Global warming is not a problem for the future. We're already feeling the catastrophic effects today. Question is, is it too late to do anything about it?”

Chemists Create Cancer-detecting Nanoparticles – “Chemists have created the smallest iron oxide nanoparticles to date for cancer detection by magnetic resonance imaging. The magnetic nanoparticles operate like tiny guided missiles, seeking and attaching themselves to malignant tumor cells. Once they bind, the particles emit stronger signals that MRI scans can detect.”

Diamond-Like Crystals Discovered In Brazilian Beetle Solve Issue For Future Optical Computers – “Researchers have been unable to build an ideal "photonic crystal" to manipulate visible light, impeding the dream of ultrafast optical computers. But now chemists have discovered that nature already has designed photonic crystals with the ideal, diamond-like structure: They are found in the shimmering, iridescent green scales of a beetle from Brazil.”


Darfur death toll could be as high as 300,000, according to UN official – “Two high-ranking United Nations officials suggested on Tuesday that the death toll in the five-year conflict in Darfur has risen to 300,000 people. A 2006 World Health Organization estimate placed the number of people who have perished in the Sudanese region from the combined effects of the conflict — including hunger, disease and violence — at around 200,000. But John Holmes, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, and Rodolphe Adada, the joint representative for the UN and African Union in Darfur, told the UN Security Council in New York City on Tuesday that the situation is getting worse.”

The question I have is, why is the international community still doing very little to help resolve some of the issues in this conflict? Are we waiting for it to sort itself out because we allow ourselves to label this conflict a “civil war”, and in doing so convince ourselves that it is part of some ‘internal’ Sudanese affair? What about our responsibilities as humans? From a species-centric moral vantage point, isn’t this conflict an ‘internal’ HUMAN affair? Of course it is not that simple because we must respect the political, cultural and intellectual boundaries of people – which means working within their systems and discourse traditions, while simultaneously evolving hybrid solutions and amalgamated strategies for prosperity, self-determination and legitimation, on the way to peaceful change. Learn more about this conflict Here and Here.

Why Rebel Groups Attack Civilians – “In civil war, rebel groups often target civilians despite the fact that their actual target is the government and that they are often dependent on the support of the civilian groups they attack. This may seem illogical, but there are rational reasons for this type of violence. Swedish peace and conflict researcher Lisa Hultman describes these reasons.”

Geopolitics and Geology Force Oil Companies to Explore New Options – “Crude oil and retail gas hit record high prices last week--more than $135 a barrel and $3.83 for an average gallon of regular. During a congressional hearing, lawmakers verbally pummeled oil execs for raking in profits while consumers endure pain at the pump. "Does it trouble any of you when you see what you're doing to us?" Sen. Richard Durbin (D–Ill.) asked industry officials hauled to Capitol Hill to testify on skyrocketing oil prices.”

The Way to A Just Foreign Policy – “The United States has some pivotal choices now that its brief time as the world’s sole superpower is drawing to a close. Becoming a good neighbor is one of them.”

Navajo Nation Pushes for Uranium Cleanup – “Despite the lure of potentially big money, the Navajo Nation has banned uranium mining on its reservation, which spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. In part, the decision reflects deep Navajo concerns about how past mining activities have damaged health and the environment.”

Brazilian Tribes Say Dam Threatens Way of Life – “Brazil's government wants to harness the hydroelectric power potential of the Xingu River to meet the country's energy needs. But the ancestral inhabitants of the Amazon fiercely oppose plans to build what would be the world's third-largest dam.”

Afghanistan Unveils Ambitious Development Plan – “Next month, Afghanistan will present a $50 billion strategy to rebuild the country. But given allegations of corruption, mismanagement and weak local governance, Western officials say the government still must prove it is capable of administering the five-year plan.”
- "Most people agree that emotions can be caused by a specific event and that the person experiencing it is aware of the cause, such as a child's excitement at the sound of an ice cream truck. But recent research suggests emotions also can be unconsciously evoked and manipulated."

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