Marriage is love.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Universe 'too queer' to grasp

I have been reading articles about a fascinating conference going on in Great Britain:

Universe 'too queer' to grasp
By Jo Twist, BBC News science and technology reporter

Scientist Professor Richard Dawkins has opened a global conference of big thinkers warning that our Universe may be just "too queer" to understand. Professor Dawkins, the renowned Selfish Gene author from Oxford University, said we were living in a "middle world" reality that we have created. Experts in design, technology, and entertainment have gathered in Oxford to share their ideas about our futures. TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is already a top US event. It is the first time the event, TED Global, has been held in Europe.

Species software

Professor Dawkins' opening talk, in a session called Meme Power, explored the ways in which humans invent their own realities to make sense of the infinitely complex worlds they are in; worlds made more complex by ideas such as quantum physics which is beyond most human understanding.

"Are there things about the Universe that will be forever beyond our grasp, in principle, ungraspable in any mind, however superior?" he asked.

"Successive generations have come to terms with the increasing queerness of the Universe."

Each species, in fact, has a different "reality". They work with different "software" to make them feel comfortable, he suggested.

Because different species live in different models of the world, there was a discomfiting variety of real worlds, he suggested.


More than 300 leading scientists, musicians, playwrights, as well as technology pioneers and future thinkers have gathered for the conference which runs from 12 to 15 July.


Time to switch off and slow down

At a hi-tech conference bristling with bloggers constantly checking messages on Blackberries, smartphones, laptops and handheld computers, it is odd to hear a speaker suggest an e-mail free day.

But journalist Carl Honoré told attendees of the TED conference in Oxford they should unplug and slow down in a world that was stuck in fast- forward.

And for a wired world accustomed to having nearly unlimited information and the boundless choices of online shopping, it seems almost heretical to suggest that the infinite possibilities of the modern world leave us less satisfied instead of more.

But author Barry Schwartz told the conference that it was better when we had only a few choices of salad dressing instead of the 175 at his local supermarket.

These were just some of the suggestions to the audience at TED in their search for the good life.

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) brings together experts in design, technology, and entertainment to share their ideas about our futures.