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Welcome to The Origins Blog. Here we share insights from behind the scenes interviews with our prestigious guests and colleagues, new and inspired perspectives from what we learn and discover about our origins, and a bit of the unexpected about our events and what goes on behind the scenes.
Nobel Laureate Albert Einstein published three papers on what he called the general theory of relativity in November of 1915, just over a hundred years ago. The theory though proved difficult to test owing to the minute deviations from Newton’s theory arising in typical experiments in our solar system and the technological precision necessary to measure these deviations.
Digital entertainment and technology is now a highly consumed staple and facet of today’s industrialized societies. One of the most rapidly growing areas has been in video games, which as of two years ago was a $93 billion global industry. Even outside entertainment, games are seeing application in research, social change, and in business, even within intuitions such as Arizona State University.
Rather than the verbosity I expected in reaction to the bountiful Antarctic beauty, I’ve struggled to write publicly about my adventure. This reticence is in part because there simply are not words enough to appropriately echo the contrasts of an endless horizon of black water against miles of sky-blue glacier terminus. Rather, my difficulty with articulation is due more to the emotional impact of this journey, and the cognitive dissonance I experienced.
One of the most exciting things for me on this trip has been the chance to see icebergs up close. Having been raised in the Southwest desert, icebergs hold a terrifying fascination for me. They seem like beautiful monsters with 90% of their mass hiding invisibly beneath the water, just waiting for an unsuspecting ship to pass by just a touch too close.
When I first learned that I would be able to go on a once in a lifetime cruise to Antarctica as part of the Origins Project, I had ambitious plans to blog every day, sending photos and pithy commentary back via satellite signal. Actually being in Antarctica has proven me not only overly ambitious, but also overwhelmed with the constant bombardment of natural beauty.
Stealing a few moments during his packed schedule, I had the chance to ask him about empathy, rationality, and animal rights. Generous with both his time and his intellect, he gave me the following thoughtful responses on some of our most pressing ethical issues.
“When this monster entered my brain, I will never know but it is here to stay. How does one cure himself? I can’t stop it, the monster goes on, and hurts me as well as society. Maybe you can stop him. I can’t.”
When Lawrence Krauss took the stage, attentions were directed instantly, all eyes and ears focused on the author, professor, physicist, public intellectual and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University. Playfully, Krauss drew attention to his faux leather shoes, “I wore these for Peter Singer and to show that you can have fashionable shoes made with fake leather.”
Over the past millennia, we have looked toward universities as the apex of education and knowledge. However, one radical method of education harkens back to an axiom from Plato: “You can discover more about a person in a hour of play, than in a year of conversation.” Now a PhD student and her team are embracing this idea in a new undergraduate course. They’re introducing an unlikely learning tool into higher education: Lego Serious Play®.
When describing moral philosopher Peter Singer, there is a temptation to focus on the controversy surrounding some of his more polarizing views. For the better part of the last century, Singer has been challenging some of the more uncomfortable ethical perspectives in western society.