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Comment Re: Enlightenment (Score 1) 221

I'm as far from being religious as you could possibly imagine. I strongly believe the scientific method is the single best tool humanity has to discern reality from misleading inferences our minds tend to make due to confirmation bias and other evolved approximations.

I'm an occasional user of both psychidellics and cannabis.

Far from making me believe bullshit, my experiences with these altered states of consciousness have been not only incredibly beautiful sensory experiences but profoundly fascinating from an intellectual standpoint.

In short, LSD makes you ponder everything. It makes you look at the world around you in a new light. You already know rationally that when you look around you, you aren't directly looking at reality. You're looking at your brain's model of reality. A model generally informed and refined via your senses, but imperfect nonetheless. You don't typically perceive just how imperfect it is, and how arbitrary the mapping of sensory input to emotional experiences really is.

The first time I tripped, my faith in my own mind's model evaporated. I knew the outside reality hadn't changed, but *my* world changed in every way you could possibly imagine, and many ways you could not. Most of this experience is almost impossible to put into words forged by humanity to describe far more everyday experiences, but if you imagine vividly seeing colours you've never seen before, intuitively grasping the motion of objects through multiple dimensions, and feeling emotions you didn't know 'exist', you'll have a slight hint of what it's like.

Your rational mind does not go away. You know when you see a brand new and impossible colour it's not because reality has changed, but because your brain uses colour as an internal label for certain perceptions, and what colour it has chosen to represent the sensation of a particular wavelength of light hitting your retina is totally arbitrary. You cry at how beautiful some of the other contenders were. You realise you could just as easily have been born a different being, who's organs can sense a broader spectrum, and it's fascinating to even imagine how this could 'appear' as an experience. You marvel at the wonder and the beauty of the vast range of sensory experiences you can perceive, and the ones that you as a human cannot, but other life forms possibly can.

What I experienced wasn't a delusion. It was a heightened state of imagination in which I could feel things that would normally be impossible, and ponder the fascinating feats and compromises evolution had to make to map the outside reality to the specific way in which we humans perceive the world. This contemplation, introspection, and abandonment of trust in anything your brain convinces you is real is something I'd more closely associate with science than any other philosophy.

Comment Re:42 (Score 1) 600

That said I'm not convinced in the inevitability of the singularity because I wonder about the physical limits of processing and how close the brain may already be to that.

Depends what you mean by 'processing'. We can reliably evaluate complicated mathematical expressions in a barely-visible block of silicon. We can reliably store vast amounts of factual information in the volume of a postage-stamp. I suspect combining a human brain with the knowledge of wikipedia and the math potential of a CPU could lead to some interesting progress, and that's before we get into the idea of linking brains via the internet...

Comment Re:This is SO WRONG !! (Score 1) 297

So, you're suggesting that it's wrong to freely select a society on this planet in which you wish to spend your life? Instead, you have the ethical obligation to forever remain in the hut/town/city/country/continent you just so happened to be born in, fighting hard to try and change the surrounding government to align with your values - because a few others are?

Say, hypothetically, I'm born into a society that doesn't resonate at all with my views. Maybe practicing science is illegal. Maybe I'm legally required to sacrifice a goat every Sabbath. Maybe Scientology is the only state-approved religion. Maybe possession of caffeine is punishable by castration. Maybe the official country motto is "In Zeus we trust". Maybe hackers are given longer prison sentences than rapists. You get the drift... there's stuff I don't agree with, and the local society isn't my cup of tea.

Would it be wrong for me to say "fuck it" and move somewhere I consider more enlightened. Somewhere where I could contribute to society by exploring my scientific interests without fear of getting castrated for caffeine consumption or neglecting to sacrifice a goat? After all, and are fighting in a vain attempt to correct the idiocy of my hometown - and according to your logic it would be disturbing if I chose to live my short life in a society who's values resonate closer to mine.

Comment Re:This is SO WRONG !! (Score 1) 297

Life is short. You could spend it fighting against the approaches of the people who happen to surround you, or you could find somewhere inhabited by like-minded people who you can team up with to create greater awesomeness in the world.

There's nothing noble about remaining in whatever shithole you happened to find yourself in - trying to change people who may not want to change. Let them get on with it. Many of us will chose where to live our lives, based on the people and places they want to be surrounded by.

Comment Can this possibly be secure? (Score 4, Interesting) 391

So let's get this straight... iTunes will allow you to replace a pirated copy of your music with an official download, presumably identifying the original track based on audio fingerprinting and/or file hashes.

I can't think of any way in which this could be designed not to be broken. I'm expecting people will quickly figure out a way to trade hashes/fingerprints, bypassing the requirement to even bother downloading a pirated copy. Or maybe if the threshold is low enough we'll get a Shazam-like app - that records snippets of music then presents them to iTunes as a ripped track for replacing with a HQ version.

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