Tech/Science

Psychonauts: Blasting off into mindspace

“I didn’t know if it was my birth I was re-experiencing; or my death, which was yet to come. This is the actual core of where all of reality is emanating from. This is where meaning comes from. Symbols were pouring out, they were intertwined, every symbol and letter in every language was pouring out…

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Welcome to the new Middle Ages

In the 1970s the famous semiotician and novelist Umberto Eco published a collection of essays titled Travels in Hyperreality, in which he elaborated on a variety of interrelated topics, such as wax museums, holographic representation and our evident fascination with the Middle Ages. In fact, he argued, although we think of ourselves as modern (or…

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Quantum computing and the real: Ontological implications

In an engrossing (pun intended) article in the most recent TIME magazine (February 17), Lev Grossman wrote about the “Infinity Machine – Quantum Leap” (pp. 28-35). A revolutionary new kind of computer is introduced to those who are willing to expand their minds in an effort to understand it. Admittedly, this is a mainstream magazine,…

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Information overload and OCD

I guess I’m VERY lucky, having been earning a living for over 40 years doing one of the things I love: philosophy. Actually, it is not “one” thing in the sense of focusing on one “field” to the exclusion of others; rather, it is “one” thing because the activity of doing philosophy involves something distinctive,…

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How money is more important than lives in healthcare technology

I saw via Twitter an interesting link on Reuters here about how students have developed a smartphone application with a microscope attachment to diagnose malaria. The article shows a picture of a child at risk somewhere in Africa. Great idea, and one that can go a long way to help people who really need it….

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The French philosopher and the American whistle-blower

Unless one acknowledges the complex nature and often unexpected connections among things, events and people, one might find it a smidgen astonishing that what the French poststructuralist philosopher, Jean-Francois Lyotard, wrote in his “report” on the state of knowledge in “advanced” societies, better known as The Postmodern Condition (1979; English translation: Manchester University Press, 1984),…

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Forget cyberbullying, I suffer from hit remorse

I can’t believe I’ve done it again. I’ve gone ahead with the not-so-good old hand slam. Flipped the bird to every fibre of my not-so-absolute sense of morality and reared the ugly head of the secret monster. Immediately post-contact, post-hit, post-click, click, click boom I find my heart starts to beat a bit faster. It…

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Is the motor industry killing the goose that lays the golden eggs?

So there you are, an ordinary guy with an ordinary job who wants to buy the best car that you can afford. It has to be reliable and economical rather than have a “WOW” factor, so you’ve pretty well set your mind on a boring new 1.3-litre hatch for R160 000 when up pops a pristine…

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What ordinary people don’t know about the deep web

The November 11 edition of TIME magazine features a cover article on “The Secret (or Deep) Web” (pp20-27), which most regular users of the internet are not even aware of — I, for one, did not know that what I had always regarded as that most splendid of inventions, the internet as “horizontal”, democratising axis…

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Goodness gracious! This Dacia is a Nissan!

So poor old Sydney Gordon (65) of Johannesburg is suing Nissan South Africa because he bought a Nissan NP 200 from them for R131 342 on February 22 2012 and a year later discovered that it had “Renault” stamped all over it. He must have gone to a lot of trouble stripping the bakkie to identify…

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