Weekly Round-up: the benefits of reason

Welcome to another round up of things that caught our eye. This week, they’re all about the power of reason to make our lives better. What is reason?You start with a hypothesis. You test it with facts, which will either confirm or deny the hypothesis. If facts confirm your hypothesis it becomes true and you move forward to create things like modern medicine, computers, a welfare state, aeroplanes and washing machines. The problem is that for at least ten years more and more people only look for facts which confirm their hypotheses. We had this thinking for thousands of years; it produced only squalor, disease and wars, The following examples show why reason is better than belief:

New hope for the blind It’s early days, but the Mail has a marvellous story about retinal implants which could give blind people the chance to see, and move around more easily. We can’t find a by-line, but its really well written and explained with some fantastic graphics.

Scientists develop retinal implants that could give artificial vision to the blind | Daily Mail Online

Future Proofing- We all know how data centres and servers wolf down energy, especially now that there’s so much cryptocurrency mining going on. Could DNA become a low energy replacement? Heres an intriguing piece from Nature, Tech Firms give DNA data Storage a boost

A small but growing group of researchers advocates for DNA as a sustainable, stable replacement for energy-hungry data centres. These efforts got a lift last November, when a coalition of computing and biotech firms, including Microsoft and Western Digital, announced that they were forming the DNA Data Storage Alliance (DDSA). The low-hanging fruit for DNA data storage is data that are written once and read rarely, if ever. That’s because DNA remains stable for a long time, but data access — through sequencing and data analysis — is slow.Nature | 4 min read

Why we’re not like them Readers of LSS will have long ago realised that the tribal instict is one of the most powerful and destructive forces we know. Here’s a nice piece from the Conversation which shows that only a world wide response to Covid-19 will work and anything else will fail.

Unfortunately, the sort of people who say “I’ve made up my mind-don’t confuse me with the facts!” are free to wallow in their self-pleasuring illusions for a while. In the long run, they drag their societies down with them. If that happens to free western societies, there is no shortage of competitors waiting to take our place.

#blind #retinalimplants #sight #datastorage #dna #covid-19 #vaccines #sars-cov-2

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