Think Inc. Thursdays #012

Spread certain misinformation on Twitter or Facebook, and you might find yourself banned for life… Spread defamatory misinformation about a person though, and most of the time you’ll get off scot-free! Isn’t it time we held these social media behemoths accountable?

Aside from that contentious question, we’ve got info on the plausibility of freezing time, how GMO mosquitos may be our best defence, Venusian exploration, and much more to pique your interest!

If you come across news that everyone should know about, send me a link to it via info@thinkinc.org.au and we might include it in the next edition!

Warm regards,
Suzi

CRYING WOLF

The mother of third-wave feminism, Naomi Wolf, is to be permanently banned from Twitter.

Wolf is most famous for her 1990 book The Beauty Myth, which argues that the patriarchy subjugates women by dictating ever-changing and impossible beauty standards. This is now a key tenet of the progressive ideology, so one might assume she’d be in the clear in terms of cancellation – right?

Well, that’s not the case, as Wolf got in trouble for questioning the efficacy of lockdowns and vaccines. To be honest, these aren’t the only conspiratorial beliefs she expressed – she’s also voiced concerns about 5G.

Most of us would disagree with Wolf’s conspiracies, and you may even consider her beliefs to be dangerous – but should she be permanently banned from Twitter? Maybe it’s better to have unscientific claims aired in the open so that they can be publicly disproven?

Let us know your thoughts.

→ Click here to learn more.

LET THEM SPEAK

On the topic of permanently banning misinformation-spreaders on Twitter, Peter Singer says it’s usually better to let them speak.

These comments came up in podcast interview with UnHerd last week. Peter also invited us to consider the fact that Twitter and Facebook are basically monopolies. Unlike print media, which can cater to a niche worldview, and refuse to print anything to the contrary, Facebook and Twitter have to account for a whole world of different people and opinions. They are essentially the only platforms that provide global-scale communication, so it’s pretty serious when they ban users.

Peter also raised the issue that social media sites take no responsibility for defamatory speech, unlike traditional media. This leaves people with no legal recourse if lies are spread about them online – yet other forms of misinformation are banned.

Do you believe that social media sites should be held accountable for hosting defamatory speech?

Also, don’t miss our new blog post that went up yesterday! It explores effective altruism and the work done by The Life You Can Save, Peter’s not-for-profit. It also lists Peter’s top four most recommended charities based on effectiveness.

→ Click here to learn more.

FREEZING TIME & NUCLEAR CLOCKS

Have you ever considered if stopping time was actually plausible? Answering the question requires a deep dive into physics, philosophy and human perception.

First, we must define time with a little help from our friend and theoretical physicist Sean Carroll, who says that “Time is just a label on different parts of the universe. It tells us when something is happening.”

Einstein’s theory of relativity shows that time can get warped, by gravity for example, but that difference in relativity doesn’t actually signify the stopping of time. As Carroll says, if time stopped, all motion would stop as well, including the moving of air, which would seem impossible.

In terms of physics, it sounds pretty far-fetched, but psychologically it’s possible. Chronostasis happens when you glance at a clock and then stare at something else before looking back and focusing on the second hand. If done correctly, it will appear that the second hand is frozen in time 😲

→ Click here to learn more.
Speaking of clocks, scientists are trying to make them nuclear.

If physicists can build nuclear clocks, they might be the most precise timepieces yet! We already have atomic clocks that rely on the behaviour of atoms’ electrons, but if we could make one based on the atomic nuclei it would be far more precise.

Nuclear clocks could let researchers devise new tests to see whether fundamental constants of nature (for example, the gravitational constant or the speed of light) vary over time. They could even be used to search for dark matter, which may tweak the clicking of the clock!

→ Click here to learn more.

DEFENDING THE UNIVERSAL VALUES OF SCIENCE

Empiricism has traditionally been the foundation of science – but is that changing?

Many people who work in science or academia would argue that it is, due do political or cultural influences. In a poignant essay published in Quillette last week, friend of Think Inc. and theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, wrote a fabulous defence of the Universal Values of Science.

He writes about how some postmodernists have labelled the scientific method as racist, colonial and sexist, and lists a few of those examples in his piece.

He argues that some postmodernists, in a rush to paint empiricism as Western-centric, seem to overlook the fact that modern science wouldn’t be where it is today without the foundations of Arabic algebra and Chinese astronomy. Science knows no geographic boundaries; and every week we bring you science news from all corners of the globe – so why are these distorted depictions of science being perpetuated?

→ Click here to learn more.

GMO MOSQUITOES

Mosquitos kill a whopping one million people each year, but luckily scientists have recently reached a breakthrough with two of the most deadly diseases – Zika and Dengue fever.

Biotech company, Oxitec, has genetically engineered mosquitoes so that the male bugs, who they’ve engineered to not bite, pass on faulty genes which make their female offspring die when they’re only in the larvae stage.

Over time, more and more females die and the swarms disappear, all without the need for insecticides 🤯

→ Click here to learn more.

VENUS NEWS

NASA has announced it plans to launch two new scientific missions during 2028 – 2030 to our mysterious neighbour Venus!

The first mission is called DAVINCI+, and it’s going to measure the composition of the Venusian atmosphere to determine how it developed.

The second mission, VERITAS, will map the planet’s surface to investigate its geological history and unveil the reasons why it developed so differently to Earth.

Traditionally, Venus has proved difficult to explore due to its thick clouds of toxic sulphuric acid and its blazing surface temperature which can reach 471 degrees Celsius!

One would assume that the possibility of life on Venus would be next to nothing, but last year scientists detected a gas, phosphine, which suggested there’s a chance.

What do you think scientists might find on Venus?

→ Click here to learn more.

Picture of the week

Jeff Bezos, and his brother Mark, are set to fly to space on July 20.

This date is significant not only because it’s my birthday 😉, but also because it’s the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The flight has been years in the making, but recently Bezos’ company Blue Origin had their “dress rehearsal” and everything’s looking set to launch.

Currently there’s an auction underway for the third ticket onboard the ship. Bidding closes in two days, and it’s already at $2.8 million USD!

Bezos has named his ship New Shepard after the astronaut Alan Shepard who was the first American in space. The capsule is designed for tourism, with massive windows and comfortable seating for up to six people.

The trip will only last ten minutes, and will make Jeff Bezos the first person to travel to space on his own rocket. The Musk-Man is gonna be jealoussssssssss…

→ Click here for more info.

Close Menu
×

Cart