Do we have free will?

Perhaps not, at least when we are rushed into a decision.

But what I find really odd is that the people who think we have no free will are insistent that we convert to their position, whether it's their religious opinion, or their political preferences.

My friend Harry Kroto was a committed atheist who believed I had no free will, that I had no choice whether or not to be a Christian. And yet he would not give up trying to commit me to atheism.

Goodbye my friend

I shall miss you with all my heart. You smiled when you were happy, you smiled when you were angry, you smiled when you were tired, you smiled when you were everywhere.

You were there with me when Challenger exploded, when I was frustrated and lonely, when I could not care less about carbon, when I was successful and enthusiastic about buckyballs. You told me my career had peaked when I was 23 years old.  I think you were right.

Harry Kroto was one of the greatest scientists in history because he understood joy and connected it to science better than anyone I have ever met.  He laughed and smiled at all things science.

It is with the utmost respect that I must sadly report that Harry has gone to meet his maker (or maybe not), he is pushing up daisies, he has joined the choir invisible.  Sir Harold Walter Kroto, FRS is an ex-chemist.


More Berserker Theories

My post from several years ago on the Efficient Berserker is very popular and I wanted to extend a few ideas.

Suppose there are many intelligent alien species in the Milky Way and most of them believe in the Berserker Hypothesis. Maybe they believe because of evidence, or maybe it's just speculation.

If I believed in this I would hunker down and make sure that my species were as invisible as possible. So this can explain a portion of the Great Silence. Species want to be invisible because bad things can happen when they are found.

This is like being in the French Resistance during World War II. How do you go find other patriots without exposing yourself to the Nazis?

The world in 2030

The National Intelligence Council writes global forecasts. Here is the forecast for 2030 written in late 2012. The next forecast (for 2035) will be published in late 2016.

The discussion of black swans was interesting. I disagree with the narrow focus of financial disasters, they focus on only on the Euro zone. I think there is a very high chance of a nightmare financial collapse in the United States. The reason is that the US Government cannot and will not effectively police the financial markets. Financial derivatives have skyrockted recently, including the frightening bespoke tranche opportunity. In addition the US is almost certain to default on its debt by the year 2030. Medicare will bankrupt our country and there is no political leadership to avoid it.

The discussion of the pandemic was good but there was no mention of a more likely pandemic, not for humans, but for our food chain. Rust is a powerful fungus which is devastating the world's wheat crops, and it is moving from the Middle East towards the breadbasket of India.