Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey is an upcoming American documentary television series. It is a follow-up to Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which was presented by Carl Sagan. The new series’ presenter will be Neil deGrasse Tyson.
The executive producers are Seth MacFarlane and Ann Druyan, Sagan’s widow. It was originally announced that it would premiere in the 2012–13 United States network television schedule, but a Twitter update from Neil deGrasse Tyson in June 2012 indicates a Spring 2014 release. Episodes will premiere on Fox and also air on National Geographic Channel on the same night.
The original 13-part Cosmos: A Personal Voyage first aired in 1980 on the Public Broadcasting System, and was hosted by Carl Sagan. The show was considered highly significant since its broadcast; Dave Itzkoff of the New York Times described it as “a watershed moment for science-themed television programming”. The show has been watched by at least 400 million people across 60 different countries.
Following Sagan’s death in 1996, his widow Ann Druyan, the co-creator of the original Cosmos series along with Steven Soter, a producer from the series, and astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, sought to create a new version of the series, aimed to appeal to as wide an audience as possible and not just to those interested in the sciences. They had struggled for years with reluctant television networks that failed to see the broad appeal of the show.
Seth MacFarlane had met Druyan through Tyson at an event that connected Hollywood directors with scientists in 2009, and learned of their interest to recreate Cosmos. MacFarlane was influenced by Cosmos as a child, believing that Cosmos served to “[bridge] the gap between the academic community and the general public”. MacFarlane had considered that the reduction of effort for space travel in recent decades to be part of “our culture of lethargy”. MacFarlane, who at the time has several animated shows on the Fox Network, was able to bring Druyan to meet the heads of Fox programming, Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly, and helped to get the greenlighting of the show.
MacFarlane admits that he is “the least essential person in this equation” and the effort is a departure from work he’s done before, but considers this to be “very comfortable territory for [himself] personally”. He and Druyan have become close friends, and Druyan stated that she believed that Sagan and MacFarlane would have been “kindred spirits” with their respective “protean talents”. In June 2012, MacFarlane provided funding to allow about 800 boxes of Sagan’s personal notes and correspondences to be donated to the Library of Congress.
Just a reminder that this is happening. I nearly vibrate with excitement when I think of it. A year in advance is not too early to set your DVR.
One of the most commonly observed fluid instabilities is the Rayleigh-Taylor instability, which occurs between fluids of differing densities. It’s most often seen when a denser fluid sits over a lower density fluid. In the video above, this is demonstrated experimentally: a lower density green fluid mixes in with the clear, higher density fluid. This is the classical case in which each initial region of fluid is uniform in density prior to the removal of the barrier. But what happens when each zone has its own variation in density? This is the second case. Before the barrier is removed, each region of the tank has a varying—or stratified—fluid density. In this case, the unmixed fluids are stably stratified, meaning that the fluid density increases with depth. At the barrier interface, the two separate fluids are still unstably stratified—with the denser fluid on top—so when the barrier is removed, the Rayleigh-Taylor instability still drives their mixing. Because of the stable stratification within the original unmixed fluids, the mixing region after the barrier’s removal is more limited. (Video credit: M. D. Wykes and S. B. Dalziel; via PhysicsCentral by APS)
The ECB (European Central Bank) has produced the first official central bank study of the decentralized cryptographic money known as bitcoin, Virtual Currency Schemes. Ignoring for a moment the ECB’s condescending and derogatory use of the virtual currency phrase and scheme phrase, the study produced at least one landmark achievement.
In claiming that “The theoretical roots of Bitcoin can be found in the Austrian school of economics,” the ECB forever linked Bitcoin to the proud economic heritage of Menger, Mises, and Hayek as well as to Austrian business cycle theory. This recognition is also a direct testament to the monetary theory work of Friedrich von Hayek who inspired many with his 1976 landmark publication of Denationalisation of Money.
Bitcoin fully embodies the spirit of denationalized money as it seeks no authority for its continued existence and it recognizes no political borders for its circulation. Indeed according to the report, proponents see Bitcoin as “a good starting point to end the monopoly central banks have in the issuance of money” and “inspired by the former gold standard.”
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Thomas W. Malone: A Collective Intelligence
Pretty much everything I’m doing now falls under the broad umbrella that I’d call collective intelligence. What does collective intelligence mean? It’s important to realize that intelligence is not just something that happens inside individual brains. It also arises with groups of individuals. In fact, I’d define collective intelligence as groups of individuals acting collectively in ways that seem intelligent. By that definition, of course, collective intelligence has been around for a very long time. Families, companies, countries, and armies: those are all examples of groups of people working together in ways that at least sometimes seem intelligent.
It’s also possible for groups of people to work together in ways that seem pretty stupid, and I think collective stupidity is just as possible as collective intelligence. Part of what I want to understand and part of what the people I’m working with want to understand is what are the conditions that lead to collective intelligence rather than collective stupidity. But in whatever form, either intelligence or stupidity, this collective behavior has existed for a long time.
What’s new, though, is a new kind of collective intelligence enabled by the Internet. Think of Google, for instance, where millions of people all over the world create web pages, and link those web pages to each other. Then all that knowledge is harvested by the Google technology so that when you type a question in the Google search bar the answers you get often seem amazingly intelligent, at least by some definition of the word “intelligence.”
Or think of Wikipedia, where thousands of people all over the world have collectively created a very large and amazingly high quality intellectual product with almost no centralized control. And by the way, without even being paid. I think these examples of things like Google and Wikipedia are not the end of the story. I think they’re just barely the beginning of the story. We’re likely to see lots more examples of Internet-enabled collective intelligence—and other kinds of collective intelligence as well—over the coming decades.
Full article here