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Scott Toste
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David Chalmers - Towards a Science of Consciousness

Here's another video from +Closer To Truth with David Chalmers that explores frameworks in which consciousness can be studied and understood. Panpsychism seems to be a viable paradigm.

#philosophy   #consciousness   #hardproblemofconsciousness   #neuroscience  
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Scott Toste

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Long ago I received my Bachelor's Degree in psychology. It armed me with a strong understanding of the scientific method, along with its historical origins, theoretical structure and underpinnings. I was a class short of getting a minor in philosophy where I studied logic and epistemology. Although I did not pursue a career in psychology (I instead received a Doctorate in Pharmacy and now farm for a living -- go figure), the understanding I gained of science and philosophy has been important in my life. I ran across this wonderful web resource that offers info on the the scientific method in social sciences. 
What is the Research Methods Knowledge Base? The Research Methods Knowledge Base is a comprehensive web-based textbook that addresses all of the topics in a typical introductory undergraduate or graduate course in social research methods. It covers the entire research process including: ...
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I found the section on Positivism & Post-Positivism most interesting. http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/positvsm.php
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Wow! This is amazing!
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A nice infographic
Here's a helpful little infographic that has been floating around the Web. It's a simple look at how the "exposure triangle" -- aperture, shutter speed, an
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We're having a drought in California. The governor has ordered cities and communities to reduce water usage by 25%. Some people have complained that agriculture uses the biggest share of water so the cuts should be made there. Take a look at this slide presentation by a UC Davis Professor who's interested in irrigation. It's technical and designed to accompany a lecture so it's not the easiest thing to follow, but there's good info in it. One of the questions asked is, "How do we balance the demands for water by the urban/industrial, environmental, and agricultural sectors with the water supply?" The honest answer is that no one appears to have the answer. He has found that It is unlikely that increasing irrigation efficiency will have a large impact in supplying the predicted future water needs of the urban/industrial and environmental sectors. The price that society has to pay for food is the water and land required to produce the crops needed for food. 

When we truly look at all of the real life variables involved, it's a complex issue (and it hurts my head). Although I am self-motivated to take the side of the farmer, I try to look at it in a balanced and rational manner. We have a limited supply of water. Where should WE and how should WE use it? All of us need to make that decision together. It is important, however, to fully understand the ramifications of that decision and live with the consequences if we do not choose wisely.

On my farm we irrigate with ground water. Way before it became a hot topic on the news we've tried to use our water supply as efficiently as possible, even during non-drought years. It costs a lot of money to pay for the electricity to run our pumps. Not only are we aware of the dwindling water supply, but there's a cost involved in acquiring it that plays a big role. I've heard negative talk about how much water goes into growing almonds (compared to grapes). I can't help but feel that the media latched on to a snippet of info without looking at a larger context. The land we are growing almonds on was formerly used to grow alfalfa and corn which uses far, far more water than almonds. So there's a net savings we've personally contributed. We've also put in drip irrigation systems along with some hi-tech ground moisture monitoring systems so that we can use the drip system even more efficiently. Almonds make more money than alfalfa. Good for us. But what about the cost to society? Someone needs to grow the lower cost, more water demanding crops like alfalfa, corn, winter forage and rice. Dairy cows produce milk and eat alfalfa, corn and winter forage. Dairy farmer's are already struggling with high feed costs. The drought has pushed prices up even higher because less feed is being grown. Many have gone out of business because it's too costly to operate. Milk is an important food product and it is used in a LOT of other food products and it's components (e.g. casein, etc) are also used in various food and non-food products. When dairies go out of business supply and demand drives up the cost of milk and milk products.

It takes water to grow plants. If we reduce the amount available to farmers, who are already trying to conserve because it is a good business practice, then fewer agricultural products will be produced. The cost of food and fiber will increase. People don't eat lawns, or rose bushes, or ornamental plants, or iPhones. They need the food that farmers produce. Cutting back water to farms directly cuts back the food available for people. Farmer's aren't selfish people who are trying to gobble up a resource. They are trying to use water to grow food and fiber that benefits all of us, and they are trying to make a living in the process.

In many ways, farms are our nation's most valuable resource. And farms need water.

 The disconnect that exists between the consumer and food production worries me. As farmers become more efficient at what we do it takes less of us to get the job done and our numbers dwindle. At the same time the consumer becomes farther removed from the process of food production (and many times this leads to ignorance and misconceptions). We live in a democracy and the voice of farmers has become woefully underrepresented compared to the importance of the products and services we provide. This scares meet and is the reason that I continue to rant about water and agriculture. It is easy for the majority to pass laws that are not well thought out and can harm farming and ultimately society as a whole.

Now I don't want to sound all doom and gloomy, so I'll also point out that the ease at which people can purchase/acquire food has freed them to pursue other endeavors (i.e. specialize) that have benefited society immensely. Engineers, scientist, philosophers and poets (just to name a few) have made innumerable advancements in the lives of peoples. These are really good things that I have both benefited from and marvel at. It's important to remember that we have been able to achieve these great things because the majority of our population does not have to worry about growing their own food. In this way, farming is the foundation of civilization. I hope it gets the respect that it deserves.

#drought   #californiadrought   #water   #irrigation   #farming  
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Here's an interesting film I ran across. Although it does show a conservative bias, it does make good points.

http://nowaternofarmernofood.com/trailer/
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The Hubble Space Telescope can take only black-and-white images. Color photos are created by using different filters in the camera (green, blue and red) and compositing (reconstructing) the individual B&W photos.
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Astrophotography time lapse video from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
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Scott Toste

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How do we approach studying consciousness. Our consciousness is a fundamental aspect of our existence, says philosopher David Chalmers: "There's nothing we know about more directly.... but at the same time it's the most mysterious phenomenon in the universe." He shares some ways to think about the movie playing in our heads.

#philosophy   #consciousness   #hardproblemofconsciousness   #neuroscience  
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What is panpsychism? Robert Kuhn explores this question in this interview series from the PBS show "Closer To Truth." The topic of panprotopsychism is also discussed.

#philosophy   #consciousness   #hardproblemofconsciousness   #neuroscience  
Panpsychism is the extreme claim that everything in the physical world—all subatomic particles-are in some sense 'conscious' or have a basic kind of 'proto-consciousness'. Why are an increasing number of leading philosophers taking panpsychism seriously? Something must be up. Could it be doubt that the scientific project to explain consciousness has failed?
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Here's another interesting exploration of panpsychism. https://youtu.be/QHRbnNwIg1g
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You know that dream where you’re about to take a final exam, only to realize that you have neglected to study and, moreover, to put on... Read Full Post
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I find it an interesting commentary on our society that the Disneyland attraction, "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" doesn't require fastpasses -- there are always more empty seats than those filled in the showings I've attended. Lincoln, and what he stood for, where very important to Walt Disney. He personally oversaw the creation of the attraction. These days it is not very popular, but I'm glad it is still here. I always enjoy seeing it when I visit Disneyland. Take a moment to read the plaque I found in the entryway of the opera house. I find it poignant in the present era where there it's so much political and ideological division. We have more to gain working together than divided. It is what makes America great.
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There's a new genome-editing technique called CRISPR that could potential eliminate malaria. It involves passing an engineered gene onto offspring that after many generations would saturate the gene pool. It will be a very powerful tool. Scientists want  the public to help decide whether the research should move forward. “What we have here is potentially a general tool for altering wild populations,” Esvelt says. “We really want to make sure that we proceed down this path—if we decide to proceed down this path—as safely and responsibly as possible.”

I have to hand it to them that they are starting this discussion now, before the technology is fully developed. It is a wise and ethical move.

#genedrive   #CAS9   #geneticengineering   #CRISPR  
By combining two techniques—CRISPR and gene drives—scientists are proposing a system that could change nearly any sexually reproducing species anywhere.
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"The technology has the potential to sweepingly alter the world for the better—wiping out malaria, fostering the development of benign pesticides, even bringing species back from extinction. Which is why the conversation about the technology’s use is so urgently needed. In less than six months, CRISPR gene drives went from published theory to practical application. Who knows what will happen six months from now?"

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/evolution/lets-talk-about-designer-critters-not-designer-babies/ 
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Have him in circles
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Work
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Farmer & Pharmacist
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Explorer - Scientist - Scholar - Family Man
Introduction
So what can I briefly say about myself? Nature fascinates me, and I am passionate about exploring it. I use the tools of science and technology to understand it, my senses to enjoy it, and photography to record it. Oh, and I love maps.

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My photography site
Bragging rights
Photography is my hobby and I'm an avid hiker and explorer. The Sierra Nevada Mountains of California and the Pacific Coast are my favorite places to visit. I have an incredible wife and two boys. My oldest son survived childhood cancer and has been cancer free since the end of 2008! I have a Doctorate in Pharmacy.
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Married