That's right, we're featuring a lot of intellectual high-flyers this week.
And for good reason! Pinker, Haidt and Peterson have got us thinking about psychology, philosophy and politics; Yascha Mounk and Peter Singer discuss the pros and cons of utilitarianism, Richard Dawkins talks about the new type of hate mail he's receiving, and we update you on the Juno mission and a new type of unbreakable glass!
As always, let us know if you come across any interesting news – we love hearing from you.
Have a great week,
CYA CRACKED PHONE SCREENS
Here's some great news for you klutzes – scientists from the University of Queensland have developed a composite glass that is practically unbreakable!
To address the breakage issue, scientists turned to a mineral called perovskite, a calcium titanium oxide crystal. Perovskite nanocrystals are extremely sensitive to light, heat, air and water, and can be wrapped with porous glass to make an unbreakable screen. This glass could also be used to make flexible solar panels, and our nano-glass phone screens could even be used as mini solar panels.
This is incredible news, considering Australians have forked out an incredible $755 million over the last 5 years to fix their phone screens.
JUNO MISSION NEWS
Last week experts from the Juno mission gave a press conference to update us on their new findings, one of them being that Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is far deeper than previously thought.
We also got new 3D imagery which gives us a better understanding of the planet. The images allow scientists to look beneath Jupiter’s dense clouds to see the structure of its many vortex storms.
HAIDT, PINKER & PETERSON
Jonathan Haidt and Steven Pinker have blessed us with a 2-hour long journey into their psyche on the Jordan B. Peterson podcast.
The three phenoms discuss a long list of fascinating topics and questions, including whether humans have an inherent religious impulse, whether having a common purpose or shared beliefs is a more powerful way of uniting people, and the future of Western civilization. Don’t expect this to be an echo chamber, these guys don’t agree on everything and come at issues from different angles.
About half-way through Pinker has to leave, and we’re left with Haidt and Peterson, who get into a really captivating conversation on disgust and how it’s been measured in human and animal studies. Did you know disgust sensitivity is one of the strongest predictors of political preference?
This podcast is super relevant to our Think Inc. Academy course Politics as the New Religion which we’re bringing back next year due to popular demand. You can register your interest for our future classes here.
DAWKO'S NEW BOOK + JUICY INTERVIEW
Richard Dawkins has given a juicy interview in The Times UK all about his past controversies, and his new ones!
As you may know, Dawkins is no stranger to hate mail. He’s received angry messages from religious zealots for decades. But what’s fairly new is the hate mail he’s getting for stating a biological reality that used to be uncontroversial, but is now seen by some as hate speech.
As you may remember, earlier this year Dawkins had his 1996 Humanist of the Year award taken off him due to a tweet he made. The tweet brought up the disconnect between how we discuss biological markers such as sex and race.
In The Times interview Dawkins argues that in many ways, identity politics is similar to religious faith in the sense that it denies science and is cult-like.
Dawkins has also just announced a new book coming out November 11. It’s called Flights of Fancy: Defying Gravity by Design and Evolution, and it’s all about the miracle of flight, from pterodactyls to birds to helicopters and space rockets. The book is beautifully illustrated by Jana Lenzová. It’s also dedicated to Elon Musk, whom Richard describes as the “Columbus of our age”. Yes, Dawkins and Musk are mates and supposedly Dawkins loves his Tesla!
If you’re a massive Dawkins fan, grab yourself a signed copy of Science in the Soul from our shop.
PETER SINGER + YASCHA MOUNK
Peter Singer has gone on The Good Fight (Persuasion) podcast with Yascha Mounk. It’s a very philosophy-heavy discussion with a focus on the strengths and weaknesses of utilitarianism.
Utilitarianism often gets criticised as being distasteful or offensive – think about all the flack Peter has copped for his ethics on abortion and euthanasia. It’s also criticised for being naive or impractical, but as Peter describes in this podcast, utilitarians have consistently been on the "right side of history" and ahead of the curve. For example, early utilitarians such as Jeremy Bentham supported gay rights and gender equality far before it was the norm, all based on utilitarian reasoning.
Aside from utilitarianism, Peter and Yascha discuss the effectiveness of the effective altruism movement, and why freedom of inquiry is crucial to improving the world.
Don’t miss your chance to see Peter talk LIVE next year- grab your tickets today!
EUROPA'S NORTH POLE
We finally know what the north pole of Jupiter’s moon, Europa, looks like!
The Juno spacecraft captured this stunning shot of the previously unseen region of this icy moon. We should get even better images of it next year when the spacecraft inches closer.