by on June 22, 2006 at 1:16 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

1. Top-down cosmology, from Stephen Hawking: "Out of this profusion of beginnings, the vast majority withered away without leaving any real imprint on the Universe we know today. Only a tiny fraction of them blended to make the current cosmos, Hawking and Hertog claim."  Hat tip to Jason Kottke.

2. France yields on iTunes, sort of.

3. A listing of libertarian professors; apparently I still make the grade.

4. Bryan Caplan doubts himself.  Beware the intelligent argument, it may seduce you.

5. "People are going to be having sex with robots within five years."

6. Larry Summers offers investment advice: poor countries should buy fewer U.S. Treasury securities and more equities.

1 Half Sigma June 22, 2006 at 2:32 pm

How will society change when robot sex becomes as good as the real thing?

2 Swimmy June 22, 2006 at 3:10 pm

Tennessee, my home state, has 4, though I would argue Glenn Reynolds doesn’t really fit the bill. Virginia has 31, if I counted correctly, 22 at George Mason alone (Buchanan included). I love this school.

They spelled your name wrong.

3 Half Sigma June 22, 2006 at 3:18 pm

“Whoa, I’ve got two of them at my school.”

If you’re talking about sex robots, then I want to know what school you go to!

4 Jacqueline June 22, 2006 at 4:02 pm

You may still make the grade but they don’t know how to spell your name.

5 o June 22, 2006 at 6:20 pm

Re: point 5. I think he meant to say “men are going to be having sex with robots”, not “people”.

6 Chairman Mao June 22, 2006 at 6:49 pm

Herr Cowen,

Re: Libertarian professors

Why would you want to be typecast like that?

I find this compilation odd and disturbing. One expects such lists for politicians but not professors. A seasoned and noble professor (and I have no reason to believe that you or many others in that list d not fall in that category) should not openly declare affiliation with a political/economic ideology. You should declare yourselves open-minded and impartial even if you side with the libertarian philosophy more often than others. You are professors, academics, engrossed in the process of learning and enlightenment. Define yourselves by your work and not political labels.

PS. Mr. Buchanan’s affiliation with GMU is not noted.

7 Ronald Brak June 22, 2006 at 10:29 pm

People are going to be having sex with robots within five years? I’m sorry but it’s already happened.
(It’s amazing the things you learn when you hang out with drunk engineers.)

8 Rue Des Quatre Vents June 23, 2006 at 2:10 pm

The Top-Down Hawking theory, at least with so cursory a presentation, leaves many questions open. For instance, if in the early moments of the universe there was a super-position of possible universes, the question still remains as to why this superposition even existed. To return to ever that baffling question: why is there something rather than nothing? Hawking’s theory is silent on that question. Further, of all the possible universes, it is both improbable and surprising that THIS one exists. Hawking evidently appeals to an argument along the following lines to spoil this surprise:

(1)- Life would exist, if the universe were a certain way.
(2)- The universe is that way.
(3)- (1) explains (2)

Call the set of fine tunings necessary to support life, a Special Feature. If we suppose that the universe has some special feature, which of two beliefs seem more credible: that the universe merely happens to have this feature or that the universe is that way because it has that feature? Hawking wants to say the later, but there’s no argument in the article for it. As an aside, it’s interesting that they draw on the jargon of Derek Parfit’s article, “Why anything? Why this?” London Review of Books, 1998.

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