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Scientists’ optimism & Humanists’ pessimism/relativism
Posted: 26 September 2015 02:10 PM   [ # 16 ]
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Article: Russian scientists make progress on secret of eternal life.

The aforementioned article in Siberian times describes the discovery of living bacteria that have extraordinary longevity (3.5 million years old). The scientists were able to decode their DNA and now they seek to understand the genes that gave to the bacteria this extraordinary property. By reading the article, one can deduce that there is an alleged optimism on behalf of the scientists. With expressions as “If the same substance were to be given to people, it could cause a significant improvement in their health, leading to the discovery of an ‘elixir of life’” or “we finally saw the light at the end of a long and hopeless tunnel” we can conclude that the Snow’s “optimism of scientists” is present.
http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/features/f0159-russian-scientists-make-progress-on-secret-of-eternal-life/

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Posted: 26 September 2015 03:24 PM   [ # 17 ]
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I found two sources related to scientists’ alleged optimism to change [save!] the world. More serious article: GMO Scientists Could Save the World From Hunger, If We Let Them and the blog post Only Scientists & Engineers Can Save The World - I find the rhetoric of the second post more interesting.
“Saving the world” by scientists give them superiority over humanists, the way Snow described it in his work. But the text “Only Scientists & Engineers Can Save The World” also include hidden criticism of humanities, because the author underlines that only innovation and progress can “Guarantee Our Common Future”. This kind of view is similar to the strong opinion of Snow’s colleague who even blamed humanities of causing evil. Phrase: “our survival as species depends on our wake-up” suggest that we will not survive without scientists and engineers.

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Posted: 26 September 2015 03:53 PM   [ # 18 ]
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Article: The World Really Could Go Nuclear.

Link: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-world-really-could-go-nuclear/

The title clearly shows the optimism of scientists. For them using nuclear power instead of fossil fuel is a good way to combat global warming and climate change. But still, fear stands in the way of nuclear-powered future.
“As long as people, nations put fear of nuclear accidents above fear of climate change, those trends are unlikely to change.”
“no renewable energy technology or energy efficiency approach has ever been implemented on a scale or pace required.”

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Posted: 26 September 2015 07:07 PM   [ # 19 ]
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Article: Languages are dying, but is the internet to blame?
LINK:http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-09/24/linguistic-diversity-online

The article illustrated the Humanists’s pessimism toward languages. Although it was still in doubt that whether the lack of language diversity online had been accelerating language death, the scholars’ wording was quite negative, like ‘dying’, ‘inevitable’, ‘never resurrect’, ‘far from’ and etc.

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Posted: 26 September 2015 08:50 PM   [ # 20 ]
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Article: We’re One Step Closer to a Real Invisibility Cloak

In this article we can witness the scientists’ optimism to change the world that Snow talks about in his piece.  We can see it not only in the way that they decided to do something, that has never been done before, but also in how Xingjie Ni (head designer) basically says that even though he’s aware that the cloak isn’t perfect, he sees potential in it for the future. The article is also a great example of how scientists are more oriented towards progress and the future, which is also one of the characteristics that Snow uses.

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Posted: 26 September 2015 09:27 PM   [ # 21 ]
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Business Insider Australia, SEP 19, 2015
Australian schools are scrapping history and geography and replacing them with coding classes

Although the article does not mention anything that specifically detract the humanities over the science, it is clear that the country (Australia) is looking forward to changing the world by making a big use of technology in the years ahead. When the Federal Education Minister of Australia alleges that “all children will need to understand is computational thinking and how it can contribute to their future”, he is somehow stating that science has an advantage over humanities (just like Snow described this issue in his work) since they are giving up history and geography classes. I also see a sort of disapproval over the aforementioned courses because they are not adding up coding classes to their existing curricula, instead they are replacing them by programming courses. If coding were just one more class then the news would be much less shocking.

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Posted: 27 September 2015 01:36 PM   [ # 22 ]
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Article: 10 Misconceptions about Free Will by Sabine Hossenfelder
Link: http://backreaction.blogspot.it/2014/01/10-misconceptions-about-free-will.html

[...] The first words are dedicated from the author to a sort of invective against an hypothetical interlocutor, the target is very vague but she probably refers to the not-scientists that debate about important topics without the sufficient competences. We can associate this first part of the text to an attitude of some of the young scientists that Snow
mentions talking about the relationship between the two groups, a sort of hostility against the ‘opposite’ culture.
Moreover, in sentences as - for free will to exist it is necessary that free will be allowed by the fundamental laws of physics[…] Physics cannot tell you that free will exists, but it can tell you that it doesn’t exist. And that’s what I just told you. – I think it is rather clear what sometimes happens when scientist and humanists deal with the same argument. As written by Snow, often the two groups have a distorted image of each other and this lead to a lot of incomprehension and misunderstanding, in good or bad faith. In the case of the last quote and in some other parts of the article there is the problem related to the use of the expression “free will”, it is clear that the definition of this words is different for scientists and philosophers and sometimes scientists uses concepts coming from philosophy or literature adapting it to the scientific world.

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Posted: 27 September 2015 02:05 PM   [ # 23 ]
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“this new technology converts sea water into drinking water in minutes”
http://www.sciencealert.com/this-new-technology-converts-sea-water-into-drinking-water-in-minutes
Drought is a quite severe problem for a lot of countries, and as it mentioned in the beginning of the news—purifying water is a difficult and expensive process. For scientists, instead of sitting back mourning for those who are suffering, they treat it like a scientific problem: no water—making use of the immense amount of sea water; sea water is undrinkable—purifying it; complicated expensive process—simplify it and using cheap material. Solution found and problem solved!

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Posted: 27 September 2015 03:59 PM   [ # 24 ]
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Article: 26 Japanese universities to abolish humanities, social sciences
http://news.asiaone.com/news/education/26-japanese-universities-abolish-humanities-social-sciences

Apparently humanities, when compared to science, have difficulty with demonstrating interesting accomplishments according to universities in Japan. To “combat” this, they respond by either removing or “reforming” the humanities-related courses. Not sure what reforming here means, they’re very vague about it.

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Posted: 27 September 2015 05:23 PM   [ # 25 ]
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Article: Top Contender for Life Outside Earth: a Saturn Moon

Something that always catches my eye when reading spacefaring related news is the incredibly excited and optimistic tone the articles and scientists involved take. Often you see articles about a “second Earth” being discovered, or a planet which has a certain albedo that could indicate liquid oceans, general stuff like that. It’s of course about answering one of the biggest questions out there, “are we alone?“, which has kept us busy since the dawn of civilization. Any progress in answering that question, however small or misguided, is always met with incredible enthusiasm and positivity.

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Posted: 27 September 2015 06:44 PM   [ # 26 ]
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The large Hadron Collider: Following C.P Snows lecture this article is a prime example of the positivism of Scientists and their motivation to change the world. During the question hour we drew the model of our knowledge as a circle. It is the scientists positivism to break through the boundaries of our knowledge to investigate the unknown. Breaking the paradigm of what we did not know to add to our existing knowledge. This article describes the re-running of the Large Hadron Collider, after repairs, as the biggest build and most expensive experiment in science to date (boasting on the scale) and the possible effects it can have on the question of the creation of our planet, life and evolution. Thus researching one of the biggest life questions, what is life and how did it happen?

http://www.factmonster.com/science/physics/large-hadron-collider.html

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Posted: 27 September 2015 07:56 PM   [ # 27 ]
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Article: http://www.nu.nl/wetenschap/4114662/uitslagen-psychologisch-onderzoek-blijken-vaak-onhoudbaar.html

The news item on page two reflects the seriousness with which researchers look at validating research theories. What I find interesting is that it seems they have accepted Psychology as a real science, trying to replicate the setups for proving psychological theories. Even though most of the time psychology is regarded a “hub-science” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology) covering both science and humanities. The separation Snow talks about is really slowly fading and to me it seems as if Psychology is the best link for
Scientists and Humanists to start working together. It covers the inner life of people but is at the same time really dependent on proven (scientific (?)) theories.

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Posted: 27 September 2015 08:36 PM   [ # 28 ]
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Article (in dutch, sorry!) ‘Waarom zou alzheimer onoplosbaar zijn? (Why would Alzheimer’s disease be incurable?)’
http://www.volkskrant.nl/wetenschap/waarom-zou-alzheimer-onoplosbaar-zijn~a4145103/

This article shows scientists’ optimism in the possibility of curing Alzheimer’s disease. Several groups of scientists propose different approaches to a cure, so this article also shows an interesting ‘divide’ within the optimistic group.

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Posted: 27 September 2015 09:19 PM   [ # 29 ]
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A World without Work
C.P. Snow devotes some time to the Industrial Revolution. Automation and the development of robots are similar to that revolution, it changes how we work and it changes our productivity. Luddites didn’t trust or understand technology, just like how many people now fear automation and robots and are afraid to lose their job or that their society is torn apart.

However, scientists and technology graduates tend to be far more positive. In this article, they’re described as the people who look forward to self-driving cars, automation and ‘limitless freedom’ when we don’t have to work anymore. When humans have more free time because all the work is done by robots, it allows humans to pursue creative interests and socialize again. This reflects the optimism of scientists.

Humanists accuse scientists of not knowing the ‘man’s condition’. This is reflected in the article too. Scientists say that more free time results in creativity and social interaction. However, the people in Youngstown have suffered economically and culturally as they’re unable to find employment and sufficient income. They have leisure time but no money to be creative. And leisure ‘could never entirely fill the vacuum of accomplishment left by the demise of labor’.

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Posted: 27 September 2015 10:29 PM   [ # 30 ]
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Horizon: How video games can change your brain

link: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34255492

Usually stated by the media that violent video games could lead to violent behaviour, according to the article, science not only has failed to find a link between video games and acts of violence, but improves a person skills, abilities and body. It describes how scientists discovered that video games can develop our visual abilities, motor skills, attention span, working memory and brain growth using MRI scanners among other experiments. It also presents this series of benefits and how we can enhance our brain just from playing videogames. This relates with the idea that C.P. Snow, with a science being positive and optimist, and also criticizing the humanities, in that case the media that tend to describe video games as addictive and violent, giving a pessimistic view from a form entertainment very popular and related with new technologies and consequentially linked with science.

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