Friday, December 30, 2005
Politics of a single supercontinent?
How would the world be different today, geopolitically speaking, if the ancient land masses had never drifted apart and, therefore, today's world consisted of a single supercontinent? How would biological life be affected?
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Accepting our mortality?
For some reason, I have always enjoyed this quotation. Do you?
"When you are seventy years old and look back at what your life has meant, you will not focus on your solo activities. What you will remember are the incidents of touching, those times when your life was enriched by a moment of sharing with a friend or loved one. It is our mutual awareness of this miracle called life that allows us to accept our mortality." - A. Clarke, G. Lee "Cradle"
Monday, December 26, 2005
Virtual ventricumbent vampire?
For $50 million tax free, would you become a virtual vampire? This means you must stay in your home during daylight hours for the rest of your life -- never to leave except in cases of medical emergencies and doctor visits.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
The Wikipedia Encyclopedia has some great material on interesting people. Here's the nice one on Nikola Tesla
. What other cool biographies have you enjoyed at the Wikipedia?
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
The nature of reality?
People afflicted with Charles Bonnet Syndrome see beings from another world. Many scientists would call these beings hallucinations. Others call this syndrome a portal to a parallel reality.
People with Charles Bonnet Syndrome (or "Bonnet-people") are otherwise mentally sound. The beings appear when the Bonnet-people's vision deteriorates as a result of eye diseases Bonnet-people report that they see apparitions resembling distorted faces, costumed figures, ghosts, and little people. What does this tell us about the nature of reality?A web page on Charles Bonnet Syndrome is here
Past or future?
If you had the choice to travel to anytime in the future or anytime in the past, and STAY THERE, would you choose future or past?
For example, one might argue that it is far better to go into the future where all the scary diseases are probably cured, so that you will probably live longer.On the other hand, perhaps you yearn for simpler times of the past, where the pace of life was a little slower, where you can dream of falling in love in the Italian Renaissance and walking hand in hand with your lover along the Amalfi coast of Italy.So, the question for today is: where would you choose to reside -- the future or the past?
Who are you?
Do you think it's possible to change certain fundamental aspects of your personality, or do you think you are who you are, and that while the circumstances of your life may change, you'll react more or less the same?
Become an author expert?
If you could magically be an instant expert on any author and his writings, whom would it be? As an example, perhaps you would choose Joyce, Dostoevsky, or Shakespeare. Perhaps you'd choose a more ancient or more modern author. Whom would you choose?
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
"Prodromic dreams" are dreams that give an indication of an illness of which a person is not consciously aware. For example, an uncomfortable series of dreams about clogged pipes could refer to an impending blood-vessel problem. Perhaps such dreams suggest that the unconscious has becomes aware of tiny symptoms long before they can be consciously perceived. The dream provides the communication channel to consciousness....
Do you feel that prodromic dreams provide any special insight into the nature of reality? More information on prodromic dreams can be found here.
Naughty or nice?
If the list was being checked twice, which side would you be on? Why?
Monday, December 19, 2005
Book and reality?
Have you read any books that made you change your thinking about the nature of ultimate reality?
Mystic or medium?
Would you rather be regarded as a great mystic (with mastery of the divination method of your choice) or a great artist(with mastery in the medium of your choice)?
What divination method or medium would you choose?
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Upstanding citizen or scofflaw?
Do you believe in the rule of law or do you thumb your nose at rules? This simple questionnaire
might help you determine where you stand.
Secret and mysterious tunnels have fascinated humans since the dawn of civilization. Which do you find more interesting, this story of a woman who lived in a furnished lava tube
or this story of the Cu Chi tunnels
-- a parallel universe fill with 10,000 people?
What are your favorite tunnel images, stories, and myths? What famous people through history dreamed of spending their lives in tunnels?
Saturday, December 17, 2005
What is lucid dreaming?
"Lucid dreaming occurs when the dreamer knows that she is dreaming. It's among the most controversial areas of dream research, partly because of misperceptions over how much individuals can influence dreams -- or more importantly, whether they should. Yet proponents say lucidity is an important step in understanding dreams and creates a vital bridge between people's sleeping and waking states." -- Virginia Linn
A few nice lucid dream links can be found Here
Do you think that lucid dreaming lets us glimpse valid realities or that it allows us to interact with our own reality in new ways? Is lucid dreaming "just" a dream?
Friday, December 16, 2005
One month alone
If you had to go someplace by yourself and spend a month (you could meet people in the place of your choosing but not take a travel companion with you), would you pick:
, this city
or the beach
Hypersonic Ben Franklin?
I am just finishing an autobiography of Ben Franklin by Walter Isaacson. Franklin was certainly an interesting and special person!
Today, as I glance through the latest Popular Science magazine with its host of gadgets, megapixel cameras, Japanese robots, hypersonic bombers, high-tech audio speakers and the like, I wonder what would have happened if Ben Franklin were to be given this issue?http://www.popsci.com/popsci/currentissue/index.html
1. How would it affect him personally?
2. How would it affect the world?
3. Do you think Ben Franklin was an interesting or special man?
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Too much information?
If you could know the exact date and manner of your death, would you want the information? (assume that nothing could be done to alter the outcome).
The shape of the Earth?
God says, "In order to shake things up and give humans a feeling of awe and wonder, I will turn the Earth from a sphere into the shape of a doughnut." Do you accept? (Assume that gravity will still work in such a way as to hold people and landmasses to the Earth as it does today.)
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
What is the best way to determine if you are dreaming?
The mind's eye
What is it that you think of most often? Do you fear that your thought patterns ever teeter on obsession?
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Is the path of your life dictated by your quest for a certain goal, idea or piece of information? What is it?
Dinner and conversation?
With whom you would most like to have dinner and conversation about reality: Lisa
, or Maria
Monday, December 12, 2005
If all human religious thought, history, science and knowledge were lost in a cataclysm, what single statement would preserve the most information for the next generation of creatures?
Sunday, December 11, 2005
In trouble for reading?
What book did you get in trouble for reading? (For example, perhaps your parents were upset with the fact they discovered you were reading a certain book.)
Stranger in a strange land
Do you think it's true that people are the same wherever you go?
Saturday, December 10, 2005
In which of the three "taboo" subjects--politics, sex and religion--are you most interested? Why?
Friday, December 09, 2005
What do you believe to be true?
What do you believe to be true that your friends usually do not believe to be true?
Know your audience?
You just wrote a book on the subject of your choice. It will be an international best-seller, celebrated for its insightful brilliance, earning you hard-won financial riches...but you won't ever have a single conversation with anyone who has read it.
You just wrote a book...It will remain obscure and keep you at your day job, yet you will enjoy lengthy, meaningful conversations from time to time with people about how your work affected their lives.
Which do you choose?
Thursday, December 08, 2005
To ensure the survival of your consciousness, you must get your brain implanted in another human body. Thankfully, medical technology has evolved to a point at which the transaction will be safe and effective. Given the equal opportunity to choose from ten bodies (five male, five female, your age, various races...) do you stick with your present gender and race, or switch?
What if your consciousness could be uploaded with the push of a button into a mechanical body that appears completely lifelike? Would you be more apt to experiment with race and gender under such circumstances?
If you could have control over your dreams at night and make them as real as your experiences in waking life, would you accept such a power?
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Peninsulas pointing south?
Why do all the major peninsulas on Earth point south? See for example: Italy, Greece, Florida, Baja, and the tips of Africa, South America, India, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, Kamchatka (Russia), Cap May (New Jersey), and many other landmasses.
Do you believe that this extreme and unnatural deviation from randomness is the surest sign that God exists? Or do you have a better explanation?
Flight or fantasy?
If you had a choice between having a sexual fantasy fulfilled with no strings attached, one time only, or the ability to fly, for twenty-four hours, at the speed, height and distance of your choice, which would you pick?
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
On a cylinder
You wake up one morning to find yourself on top of a mile-high telephone pole that has a 12-foot radius. With you is a German Shepherd dog, a can of unopened chicken soup, a tube of very strong epoxy and a half-mile long rope. Is there any way you can reach the ground safely? (The telephone pole consists only of a smooth, cylindrical column. It has no additional structures.)
If a child at the age of reason asked you whether Santa Claus is real, would you say yes or no?
What if she asked about the existence of heaven?
Monday, December 05, 2005
Fish in a Pond?
Assuming each of the entities is successful at their respective stated missions, and your position is meaningful in each, which do you prefer: being a key player in a small organization with no name recognition, or assuming a minor role in a massive, well-known operation?
Bible or Britannica?
If you were stuck in your home for 5 years with no computer or TV, and could only choose one of the following as reading material, which one of the following would you choose? Remember, you can only have one of these:
1. The Bible (Old and New Testament)
2. The Encyclopedia Britannica (latest edition)
3. A stack of Playboy magazines for the years 1995-2005
4. Every Stephen King Novel
5. Every Robert Heinlein novel
6. Every Anne Rice novel
7. One current TIME magazine a week for the 5 years you are confined
Which do you choose?
Would you completely give up your house and all possessions if doing so could guarantee shelter for 1000 people left homeless by the hurricane season?
Sunday, December 04, 2005
If you could start a new life, with a celebrated career and salary of your choice, in a new geographical location of your choice, with a clean bill of health and fitness, would you accept the situation if contact had to be severed with all but one person you currently love?
Mathematician or chess player?
In my book, A Passion for Mathematics
, I conducted a large survey on this question: "Would you rather marry the best mathematician in the world or the best chess player? What would most people choose?" -- and I give answers in the book.
What is your answer?
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Field of knowledge?
Imagine you could choose 10 books from any field of knowledge so that you would instantly have complete memory and understanding of the 10 books. Which field of knowledge would you choose?
As an example, you might chose 10 very difficult mathematics books, 10 biology books, 10 economics books, 10 religion books, or 10 psychology books -- and you'd have them completely understood and memorized.
From which ONE field of knowledge would you choose the 10 books?
Friday, December 02, 2005
Books or minds?
Given a choice between the ability to read minds or books, which would you choose? Why?
Arm for Arms?
Would you trade one of your own arms for instant, global nuclear disarmament?
Jesus, Moses, and beyond?
If Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, and Buddha, and Confucius were gathered in a room, who would be the first to speak? What would he say?
Nobel prize or bestseller?
Would you rather win the Nobel Prize in medicine or write a book that sells a million copies?
Stay in New York?
For $30 million tax free, would you stay in New York for the rest of your life, never to leave it for any reason?
Rich or poor?
Which do you prefer: being a rich person in a poor country, or a poor person in a rich country?
Money, energy, or information?
Humans can have one of the following gifts, you decide: unlimited money, unlimited energy, or unlimited information.
Which of the Following Objects Best Represent Human Nature?
3) space shuttles
4) musical instruments
6) cloned sheep
9) computer chips
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Bible or Bach?
An alien hands you a note that reads, "We have just travelled through a wormhole in space and would like you to select a single gift for us to bring our people. We come in peace, but have only five minutes before the wormhole closes." You walk into a nearby barn that has an assortment of objects from which to choose one potential gift:
- The Bible (Old Testament)
- Physician's Desk Reference (lists drugs and drug interactions)
- Mobil 2006 Travel Guide to the North East (lists hotels, restaurants, family activities, towns, parks, and includes colorful maps)
- One jar of Peter Pan creamy peanut butter
- The Starry Night (an original oil painting by Vincent van Gogh)
- Sheet music for Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D-minor
- Chap Stick lip balm
- A Pentium computer
- A severed human finger
Which do you choose and why?
Piano or languages?
Would you rather be the 10th best piano player in the world or speak 10 languages of your choice, fluently? Why?
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