astronomnomy

Seven tips for (Physics) Freshers: Things to Keep in Mind As You Begin Your Journey

astronomnomy:

Congratulations for picking a really fun and satisfying subject to study! As someone who’s been through it all already (MSci Theo Phys and am in the midst of an Astro PhD) I thought, in honour of the first day of term, I would impart some old-people wisdom for those just starting their first classes - mistakes I made so you don’t have to…

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Cyborg

DEFINITION:

A cyborg, short for “cybernetic organism”, is a being with both biological and artificial (e.g. electronic, mechanical or robotic) parts. The term was coined in 1960 when Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline used it in an article about the advantages of self-regulating human-machine systems in outer space. …

The term cyborg is often applied to an organism that has enhanced abilities due to technology, though this perhaps oversimplifies the necessity of feedback for regulating the subsystem. The more strict definition of Cyborg is almost always considered as increasing or enhancing normal capabilities. While cyborgs are commonly thought of as mammals, they might also conceivably be any kind of organism and the term “Cybernetic organism” has been applied to networks, such as road systems, corporations and governments, which have been classed as such. The term can also apply to micro-organisms which are modified to perform at higher levels than their unmodified counterparts.

{ Wiki }

FROM THE SOURCE:

"Here’s the thing: For most of us, cyborg ends at the human-machine hybrid. The point of the cyborg is to be a cyborg; it’s an end unto itself. But for Clynes, the interface between the organism and the technology was just a means, a way of enlarging the human experience. That knotty first definition? It ran under this section headline: “Cyborgs — Frees Man to Explore.” The cyborg was not less human, but more."
{ The Man Who First Said ‘Cyborg,’ 50 Years Later }
- Alexis Madrigal - Technology - The Atlantic

POP CULTURE:

Fictional cyborgs are portrayed as a synthesis of organic and synthetic parts, and frequently pose the question of difference between human and machine as one concerned with morality, free will, and empathy. Fictional cyborgs may be represented as visibly mechanical (e.g. the Cybermen in the Doctor Who franchise or The Borg from Star Trek); or as almost indistinguishable from humans (e.g. the Terminators from the Terminator films, the "Human" Cylons from the re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica etc.) The 1970s television series The Six Million Dollar Man featured one of the most famous fictional cyborgs, referred to as a bionic man. Cyborgs in fiction often play up a human contempt for over-dependence on technology, particularly when used for war, and when used in ways that seem to threaten free will. Cyborgs are also often portrayed with physical or mental abilities far exceeding a human counterpart (military forms may have inbuilt weapons, among other things).

{ Wiki }

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OS:

It’s unfortunate that most of our “education” about matters of science and technology comes from pop culture / pop fiction and popular media, all of which distort these topics into something barely recognizable and tailored to fit a money-making form. A violent, supposedly “humanistic” form that, while appearing to tell action-packed stories about the preservation of our freedoms, actually destroys them in a way.

By adding certain connotations to those topics (like cyborgs), those stories limit the public imagination by nudging it toward that apocalyptic, man-vs-nature-vs-non-nature-vs… whatever — whatever you’d like to vs any given day if it reels in the cash — scenario. As opposed to actually inspiring that same public to imagine how we can extend our reach, ourselves, our understanding, via science and technology, and thereby actually improve our relationship with the world around us.

wildcat2030
Humanity isn’t static—you can’t just be okay with all development up until the invention of the sarong, and then declare all post-sarong technology to be “unnatural.” Sure, cavemen didn’t have shoes. Until they invented fucking shoes! (You know what else they didn’t have? Discarded hypodermic needles. Broken glass. Used condoms.) They also didn’t have antibiotics, refrigeration, written languages, wheels, patchouli, the internet, and NOT LIVING IN A ROCK WITH A HOLE IN IT. But I don’t see anyone giving any of that up in the name of “health.” Hey, why not install a live gibbon in your fridge so you have to fight it to get to your bison jerky? Just like nature!

The hundredth monkey effect is a supposed phenomenon in which a learned behavior spreads instantaneously from one group of monkeys to all related monkeys once a critical number is reached. By generalization it means the instantaneous, paranormal spreading of an idea or ability to the remainder of a population once a certain portion of that population has heard of the new idea or learned the new ability.

In 1985, Elaine Myers re-examined the original published research in “The Hundredth Monkey Revisited” in the journal In Context. In her review she found that the original research reports by the Japan Monkey Center in Vol. 2, 5, and 6 of the journal Primates are insufficient to support Watson’s story. In short, she is suspicious of the existence of a hundredth monkey phenomenon; the published articles describe how the sweet potato washing behavior gradually spread through the monkey troupe and became part of the set of learned behaviors of young monkeys, but she doesn’t agree that it can serve as an evidence for the existence of a critical number at which the idea suddenly spread to other islands.

However, the story as told by Watson and Keyes is popular among New Age authors and personal growth gurus and has become an urban legend and part of New Age mythology. Also, Rupert Sheldrake has cited that a phenomenon like the hundredth monkey effect would be an evidence of Morphic fields bringing about non-local effects in consciousness and learning. As a result, the story has also become a favorite target of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and was used as the title essay in The Hundredth Monkey: And Other Paradigms of the Paranormal published by them in 1990.

In his book Why People Believe Weird Things, Michael Shermer explains how the urban legend started, was popularised, and has been discredited.

(Wiki)