This hypnotic animation shows the rise and fall of Middle Eastern empires over the past 5,000 years, starting with the Egyptians, in 90 seconds. More at Maps of War.
world religious distribution (view full size)
An interview with Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, in which he argues religion in the modern world does more harm than good.
(…) this whole style of believing and talking about beliefs leaves us powerless to overcome our differences from one another. We have Christians against Muslims against Jews, and no matter how liberal your theology, merely identifying yourself as a Christian or a Jew lends tacit validity to this status quo. People have morally identified with a subset of humanity rather than with humanity as a whole. (…)
I think atheism and secularism are (…) names that ultimately we don’t need. We don’t need a name for disbelief in astrology. I don’t think we need anything other than rationality and reason and intellectual honesty. (…)
There’s no doubt that praying to Jesus for 18 hours a day will transform your psychology – and in many ways, transform it for the better. I just think that we don’t have to believe anything preposterous in order to understand that. [We can] value the example of Jesus, (…) and we should want to discover if there’s a way to love your neighbor as yourself and generate the kind of moral psychology that Jesus was talking about. (…)
Either you can be held hostage by the human conversation that occurred 2,000 years ago and has been enshrined in these books, or you can be open to the human conversation of the 21st century.
Previously on CN:
… translated “Our Anthem”, is a Spanish version of the US national anthem getting a lot of attention (and air-time) in light of the recent movement in immigration reform, featuring Wycleff Jean and several prominent Spanish artists. What does Bush have to say in response?
I think the National Anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be citizens of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the National Anthem in English.
Yeah, and I’m sure the Native Americans really wanted to learn our language … or, I don’t know where I’m going … yes I do.
When visiting cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, or Philadelphia, in pivotal states, George W. Bush would drop in at Hispanic festivals and parties, sometimes joining in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in Spanish, sometimes partying with a “Viva Bush” mariachi band flown in from Texas.
Kevin Phillips, American Dynasty
Every year since 1998, the Edge Foundation has published one question, and the answers to this question from esteemed scientists and thinkers from around the world. This year’s question is “What is your dangerous idea?”, with 117 original essays in response.
The most dangerous idea I’ve come across so far is trying to consume all these responses in one sitting.
Here you will find indications of a new natural philosophy, founded on the realization of the import of complexity, of evolution. Very complex systems — whether organisms, brains, the biosphere, or the universe itself — were not constructed by design; all have evolved. There is a new set of metaphors to describe ourselves, our minds, the universe, and all of the things we know in it.
The Colbert Report premiered Monday (weekdays @ 11:30pm, following The Daily Show on Comedy Central), and if you haven’t yet caught it (fools), here are the first week’s episodes available for download, courtesy CommonBits:
Those are torrent files, BTW – so if you can’t use them, here’s the first episode for direct download:
Founded by Jeff Reifman, a former Microsoft manager, CommonMedia is an online community and family of websites for news, politics, music, and video.
CommonBits provides downloadable political media, including regular Daily Show excerpts (no worries, Jon Stewart says it’s cool). CommonFlix and CommonTunes collect freely available music and video and organize it by category, popularity, and age. Much of this content is distributed via BitTorrent, which provides for efficient, decentralized file sharing.
CommonTimes is a social news aggregator that pulls together current events and discussion into an intuitive and easy to navigate interface.
All of CommonMedia’s services are also available as RSS subscriptions, so you can easily keep track of whatever strikes your fancy. Podcasting is supported as well (previously mentioned).
This site (really) isn’t going to become a soapbox of any kind, but it’s hard to turn away from something that tickles your frontal and parietal lobes simultaneously with concise logic (in response to apathy concerning the anti-war movement) and clever motion design (won best animation in last year’s Brooklyn International Film Festival). Directed and produced by Knife-Party (a.k.a. Simon Robson) with a monolgue by Barry McNamara: some interesting food for thought and eye candy for dessert…
“William McDonough (…) argues that we can only think of our future cities if we think about what our intention is as a species.”
(Jo Twist, BBC)
“The Stone Age did not end because humans ran out of stones. It ended because it was time for a re-think about how we live.”
Communist China, which will face the challenge of providing shelter for 400 million more people in the next 12 years, has adopted McDonoughs’s recent book, Cradle to Cradle, as government policy. Furthermore, they have comissioned him to create a village according to his vision: Huangbaiyu, a pilot for potential cities of similar design.
“Everything in his cities is designed from the molecule up. (…)
He looks at the Next Cities as objects of human artifice. They can grow, they can breathe, and they can be ecologically sound, just as trees, forests, and gardens are.
They can use energy, expel waste, and reproduce in ways that nature intended without destroying everything else around them. (…)
The buildings and all around it work like biological, growing beings, photosynthesising and producing and re-using their own energy.”
(Jo Twist, BBC)
“… the book itself is a physical symbol of the changes to come. It is printed on a synthetic ‘paper,’ made from plastic resins and inorganic fillers, designed to look and feel like top quality paper while also being waterproof and rugged. And the book can be easily recycled in localities with systems to collect polypropylene, like that in yogurt containers. This ‘treeless’ book points the way toward the day when synthetic books, like many other products, can be used, recycled, and used again without losing any material quality – in cradle-to-cradle cycles.”
(book description, author’s website)
“Icaro Doria, a Brazilian designer, has done some amazing graphic interpretations of common flag designs for countries around the world (…) comparing sections of each color on the flags to segments of their population. The campaign is called Meet The World, and has been running in Portugal since January.”
(via Josh Spear)