Category: Answers With Joe

Do You Have Free Will? (Hint: Not Really)

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Do you make your own decisions? Science says maybe not. Not really, anyway.

Starting in the 1950s, neuroscientists turned to split brain surgery in an effort to cure epileptics with uncontrollable seizures. Split brain surgery cut the corpus callosum, a band of nerves that connects the two hemispheres of the brain.

By doing so, they discovered some amazing side effects that basically suggest that there are subconscious modules in your brain that make decisions without your conscious awareness, and an interpreter module in your brain that translates those decisions to your conscious brain.

These tests, performed by Roger Sperry and Michael Gazzaniga, have brought up endless questions about how we make our decisions, who’s actually in charge in our brain, and whether we have actual free will.

10 Famous Human Oddities

There was a time when traveling circuses and freak shows were the preeminent form of entertainment of the day. Some people made a great living as human oddities, showing off their natural (and unnatural) bodies. Here are 10 of the most famous.

NASA’s Eagleworks Lab: Pushing The Boundaries Of Physics

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If we’re ever going to reach other star systems, we need a new type of revolutionary propulsion system. NASA’s Eagleworks Lab is exploring the fringes of physics to find exactly that.

he Craziest Foods You’ll Eat In The Future

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With rising global temperatures and a rising population, the way we produce and consume food is going to have to undergo a fundamental change around the world. Here are some of the technologies and innovations that could find their way to our dinner plates in the future.

The United States faced a crisis in the Great Depression, not just of economic issues, but ecological as well. The Dust Bowl turned some of the most fertile land in the country into a desert due to overproduction of crops.

Today we face similar, even more intractable issues with population rise and climate change, and our current methods of production and consumption are going to have to change for things to be sustainable in the future. So here are some of the most promising techniques and technologies that could make their way to our dinner plates in the future.

Edible insects are a thing in many cultures around the world, and due to their high protein content and feed consumption ratio, we may find ourselves following suit.

Companies like Impossible and Beyond Foods have created meat from plants, with blood and everything. The science behind it is remarkable and could transform how we eat.

Nebraska is not known for growing warm-weather foods like oranges and citrus, but Russ Finch has created simple and effective geothermal greenhouses that make it possible for people to grow their own food in extreme environments.

As we approach 9 billion people on Earth, the need for leafy greens will go up, and we don’t have much more space to plant them. Luckily plantscrapers and vertical farms make it possible for a lot of food to be grown in a small space.

And a potential replacement to the plastic bottle could be found in water balls, made of digestible and biodegradable seaweed extract.

Afterlife Insurance: Is Cryonics Really That Crazy?

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Cryonics is the act of freezing a dead body so that someday it can be revived when future technology can bring them back to life. The chances for success are slim. But is it a bad idea?

Humans have been trying to cheat death for as long as we’ve existed. The drive to live longer, to survive, seems etched into our DNA. The entire field of medicine exists for that one reason – to extend human life.

Our medical technology has progressed by leaps and bounds over the years and along the way our notions of death has changed as well. We no longer see it as a state, but a process. And some have taken this notion to extremes and believe that you can freeze that process indefinitely so that future medicine can cure you. This is cryonics.

There are a handful of major cryonics companies, including Alcor, the Cryonics Institute, and KrioRus. They have spent years mastering the cryopreservation process that starts as soon as possible after the body is declared dead.

Whether this process will actually work is unknown, but it’s a bet cryonicists are willing to take.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon – Elon’s First Step to Mars

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Elon Musk’s plan to get humans to Mars can only be achieved if they first get people to space. For this, they have built the Crew Dragon capsule, which will finally start testing at the end of this year, with the first astronauts scheduled for Spring 2019.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule is a manned version of their Dragon cargo capsule. Fully autonomous with room for 7 passengers, this is the most advanced space craft ever built. Along with the new Boeing Starliner, this will give NASA 2 different options to send up astronauts for the first time in their history.

Launching astronauts into space from American soil would be the first time that’s happened since 2011, when the famed Space Shuttle flew its last mission. The first two astronauts to fly on Crew Dragon are Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, two seasoned astronauts with years of experience between them.

Everything Is Memory

Today we go a little deeper and talk about the mystery of memory.
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From Plato’s Allegory of the Cave to The Matrix, we’ve believed that reality is not exactly what we experience. Can that be because of the fact that we are all living in our own simulations – the conscious experience that our brain creates.

And this imagined reality creates the beliefs that we cling to and create our worldview around.