It’s only Thursday and already we’ve had a MASSIVE week! On Tuesday we announced our 2022 tour of the incredible theoretical physicist professor Brian Greene, and yesterday we announced an exciting new Think Inc. Academy cosmology course with Professor Alan Duffy. We hope you’re as excited as we are.
This week we’ve also got news on why the international space community is angry with Russia, Anil Seth blesses us with a fascinating new TED Talk, some of the world’s greatest tech minds meet in Seattle, and we discuss The Great Resignation and whether it’s really happening down under.
As always, let us know if you come across any interesting news – we love hearing from you.
Have a great week,
BRIAN GREENE TOUR 2022
This week we announced our June 2022 live tour with the incredible theoretical physicist Professor Brian Greene!
We first toured Brian in 2016 and since then he has done so much, including writing and publishing his bestselling book: Until the End of Time, and continuing his work as co-founder and chairman of the World Science Festival, where he promotes the joy of science and the arts to the general public.
It goes without saying that Brian is an absolute superstar of the science world, and we cannot wait to share his incredible mind with you in June 2022.
Around the same time we’re also running a Think Inc. Academy cosmology course with Professor Alan Duffy! Register your interest in the course here
RUSSIAN ENDANGERS ISS ASTRONAUTS
Russia is in the bad books with the international space community after conducting a missile test that has been labelled “dangerous and irresponsible."
The Russians used an anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) which is a high-tech space weapon used to destroy satellites for strategic or tactical purposes. From what we know, only the US, Russia, China and India possess ASATs, and although they’ve never been used in warfare, countries use them as a show of force (as Russia did on Tuesday).
When Russia blew up their own satellite they created a massive cloud of debris that forced the ISS crew to shelter in their craft. Not only did they put the ISS astronauts at risk, but they caused a cloud that may take months, or even years, to clear up and people in the space industry are already fed up with the amount of litter that’s floating around in space.
NEW ANIL SETH TED TALK
Professor Anil Seth recently gave a fascinating TED talk on how the brain invents its sense of self. It’s part of Anil’s ground-breaking theory of consciousness which he lays out in his latest book Being You.
His theory is that we are feeling machines, or beast machines; machines that create consciousness based on sensory input.
He uses the example of colour to explain his theory. When we see a black hat our brains aren’t really seeing the colour black. Newton discovered long ago that the colours we see are just wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, which itself is entirely colourless.
The black hat exists regardless of if we perceive it or not, but the way we perceive it is actually just the result of our brains processing the information our eyes receive. And the way we perceive ourselves is not too different. Our sense of self is the result of information processed by our brain – meaning that yes, we exist, but we might not be what our consciousness creates.
Is your head hurting yet?
Last week Seattle hosted an exclusive national summit on all things tech. The event, called COSM, was founded by futurist George Gilder who some say predicted the internet economy. This year's speakers discussed topics such as 5G and WiFi6, tokenized time, the quantum revolution, the “spatial web” and space flight.
Speakers included Niall Ferguson, the historian and author who wrote The Ascent of Money. They also had Bob Metcalf, who co-invented Ethernet, and Kai-Fu Lee, the inventor of AI speech recognition.
Perhaps the most interesting speaker was Peter Thiel, the billionaire entrepreneur and venture capitalist best known for co-founding PayPal. If you’ve listened to Peter speak before, perhaps on The Portal with Eric Weinstein, you’ll know that he’s pretty sceptical about how far we’ve advanced in modern science.
He believes we’ve stagnated in scientific discoveries since the 1960s. At COSM he said that surveillance AI involves “fairly dumb computers”. So if you’re worried about transhumanism, The Singularity, and AI taking over, maybe Peter Thiel will calm you down.
THE GREAT RESIGNATION
The Great Resignation: it's been seen in other countries, and experts are debating whether it’s happening in Australia.
In the US, nearly 35 million workers quit their jobs this year. Many say this is due to the pandemic shifting their personal priorities and seeking a better work-life balance. It’s been a favourable market for employees, with some 10 million job openings and 7 million unemployed people, allowing workers to demand better pay and conditions.
Figures from Australia are not so straightforward. Workers still outnumber jobs, but some industries, such as hospitality, are really struggling to find enough staff. According to some experts, what we’re seeing is not a Great Resignation but a Great Resistance to the idea of returning to the office, and the daily commute.
MIRACLE FOR PARALYSIS
Scientists from Northwestern University have created a self-assembling gel that, when injected at the site of spinal cord injuries in paralysed mice, enables them to walk again!
This is a photo of the section of damaged spinal cord treated with the therapy. The regrown blood vessels are shown in red – how amazing is that?!