Senator Rand Paul was until very recently supposed to be the most interesting politician in America. And yet, indications are that the Libertarian movement he spurred is already fizzling. This article asks whether there is such a thing as a coherent Libertarian movement, in practice or even in theory.
Should we genetically engineer human beings to better withstand climate change? This seems to me not just a really, really bad idea, but yet another techno-non-solution put out there while the planet goes to hell in a hand basket and we keep doing little or nothing to avoid it.
And speaking of awful ideas, get ready for the November release of “Peeple,” an app that bills itself as “Yelp for People.” Right, so you’ll be able to “rate” other human beings you come in contact with, including co-workers, friends and lovers. And no, you won’t be able to opt out of it, if someone starts publicly rating you. Absolutely ghastly.
SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is getting a much needed shot in the harm, financially speaking. But the question remains: is an enterprise that is based on little more than vague hopes and unsubstantiated assumptions about alien technology and psychology really science? And is it worth hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of scientist-hours to pursue?
Gary Gutting, over at the New York Times’ Stone column, puts out what he terms “Pascal Wager 2.0,” an allegedly improved version of the 17th century argument that you really ought to believe in God, as a matter of statistical odds. Too bad he doesn’t address the well known arguments that are fatal to the original, and against which the new version doesn’t do much better.