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Ignorance (General or Otherwise)

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Ian Dunn
719584.  Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:53 pm Reply with quote

For those who did not hear the latest edition of The Museum of Curiosity, there was quite a bit of discussion around ignorance.

Neuroscientist David Eagleman decided to donate to the museum the idea of an "International Ignorance Day" (no-one knows when it takes place yet) to celebrate all the things that we do not yet know yet.

Amongst the questions that we do not yet know the answer to that appeared on the show were:

* What is time?
* What is life?
* Why do we sleep?
* Why do we dream?
* How did life begin?
* How did cells form?
* How do placebos work?
* How did the universe begin?
* How will the universe end?
* Why are we here?
* What happens after we die?
* What's the point of junk DNA?
* Why do the Earth's poles sometimes reverse?
* Does life exist anywhere else in the universe?
* Are there extra dimensions?
* Are there extra universes?
* What are the things we do not know we do not know (unknown unknowns)?

I also propose the following:

* Is there a god?
* What killed the dinosaurs?
* What is interestingness?
* What is the difference between left and right?
* What shape is the universe?

I really like the idea of this day and we should make it a reality. I think the date of such a day should be 20th February, the day which The Museum of Curiosity was first broadcast in 2008.

 
Spud McLaren
719610.  Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:45 pm Reply with quote

Ian Dunn wrote:
"International Ignorance Day" (no-one knows when it takes place yet) to celebrate all the things that we do not yet know yet.

...
I really like the idea of this day and we should make it a reality. I think the date of such a day should be 20th February, the day which The Museum of Curiosity was first broadcast in 2008.
No, I think we should all be kept in the dark. After all, if the date of it is known, it wouldn't be in keeping with the idea it commemorates.

You know, a bit like no-one bothering to turn up for the inaugural meeting of the Apathy Society.

 
MinervaMoon
719635.  Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:17 pm Reply with quote

Ian Dunn wrote:
* What killed the dinosaurs?

While it would be rather difficult to prove exactly how the dinosaurs died given the lack of living witnesses, I had thought it was agreed upon recently with a high level of certainty that the K-T extinction event was precipitated by an asteroid hitting the Yucatan peninsula.

 
bobwilson
719656.  Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:57 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
* Why do we sleep?


That's the wrong question - why do we wake up? Most life doesn't and manages perfectly well without consciousness.

Quote:
* How do placebos work?


Do they though? Doing nothng seems to work quite well. The majority of tests involving placebos are designed to compare the placebo to a purportedly active ingredient. There is very little testing (statistically) of the difference between a placebo and doing nothing. (That latter statement is going to generate some comment).

Quote:
* Why are we here?


This presupposes that there is an answer to the question.

Quote:
* What's the point of junk DNA?


As above, this presupposes that there "is a point" to everything.

And if we're going to have a day to celebrate - I'd suggest the 12th of Never

 
Ian Dunn
719696.  Tue Jun 15, 2010 3:10 am Reply with quote

MinervaMoon wrote:
Ian Dunn wrote:
* What killed the dinosaurs?

While it would be rather difficult to prove exactly how the dinosaurs died given the lack of living witnesses, I had thought it was agreed upon recently with a high level of certainty that the K-T extinction event was precipitated by an asteroid hitting the Yucatan peninsula.


Although it is likely, that doesn't mean we know for certain.

 
plinkplonk
726828.  Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:36 pm Reply with quote

To you facing the computer:

< This is left. This is right >

 
Jenny
726870.  Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:40 pm Reply with quote

The difference between left and right is that if I hold my two hands out in front of me with the backs facing towards me and the thumb and first fingers of each hand at right-angles to each other, only on the left hand will they look like a capital L for left. The right hand will be a mirror image of that.

 
zomgmouse
726881.  Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:56 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
What is interestingness?

Subjective, for one.

 
RLDavies
726959.  Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:15 am Reply with quote

I'd venture that some of what we call "junk" DNA is actually performing a valid function. We already know that some non-coding stretches of DNA are important marker and control sections, and there are certainly other controls we haven't found yet.

Some genetic diseases are marked by abnormally long or short stretches of "junk" repetitions. Which suggests that they play some sort of role, or are at least connected with important mechanisms.

It's a bit like the old saw that people only use 10% of their brains. People use all of their brains. It's just that 90% of the function is "behind the scenes" and less obvious to the casual viewer.

Other bits of DNA may be actual junk, inserted by retroviruses millions of years ago and replicated forever after without serving any function. In which case there's no point to it at all, it just is.

 

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