Chinese scientists recently created gene edited babies using the controversial CRISPR-Cas9 technique. Scholars have alarmed the world about the ethical questions raised by genetic engineering. Writers also grappled with the recent explosion of machine learning and its effects. This includes the science behind how computers make decisions. This way they can determine its effects on society. … Continue reading How to improve your moral reasoning in the digital age
More than just a game: the video game character Psycho Mantis broke the fourth wall by speaking to the player. This is like writer Kurt Vonnegut's addressing of the reader him/herself in Breakfast of Champions. It served to remind us the limits of video game technology in disseminating information: no matter what, we're still players … Continue reading How a 2001 video game warned us about the dangers of artificial intelligence and genetic engineering
As I parse through A Field Guide for Science Writers on my Kindle cloud reader, I recognize how science writing is a craft that takes decades to hone. I also begin to hypothesize that, no matter what you write, there are always ways to improve it. In describing how writing differs from other activities, I draw … Continue reading The immortality of science writing
Henry Fuselli's "Silence"I wake up in the middle of the night. I wake up frequently, actually, because I can barely get any sleep. A solitary prisoner confined to a cell, the night marched on. My comfort is forced to the cold, dank concrete that carried me in and out of sleep. As I dreamt, the … Continue reading The science and philosophy of silence
The aesthetic value of Umberto Boccioni's "Dynamism of a Cyclist" shaped the Futurist movement. It was an admiration of science and technology. The constant movement of the perceived world reveals how our minds conceive such speed and motion.Beauty is truth, truth beauty, — that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know … Continue reading Art meets science: the limits and ethics of neuroaesthetics
Zebra finches use a "critic" in the brain to differentiate between the rhythm of songs of other birds and, through this, learn songs.Like the ebb and flow of the ocean, A rhythm emerges from the pen,I capture it, imagine it,before it disappears. Appropriate rhythm in writing means making sense of the relation between words and phrases. Stress, … Continue reading The science, mathematics, and philosophy of rhythm
Picasso’s "Le coq saigné", painted in France in the mid-20th century could be seen as a response to the traumatic events of World War II.It's miraculous that after two world wars, a Holocaust, and a cold war, "trauma fiction" was only coined in the 1990's. Trauma is fascinating, whether it's sexual, verbal, physical, or another … Continue reading "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close": Science, aesthetics, and ethics of trauma fiction
No! I won't! I won't write a poem! You can't make me! Nor will I succumb to my desires. No, no, no... I'm a researcher. That's right. I seek knowledge and certainty. I seek soundness and completeness. I seek objective truths. For I see the world in black and white. Atop a ship in a … Continue reading "Overcoming my fear of poetry"