Salt and Fire


This film was directed by Werner Herzog. I know him from his film Dinotasia but he does a variety of off the cuff films that bring awareness to various historical events.  Lawrence Krauss has a supporting role in the film, his film debut was quite entertaining.

The films intention was to bring awareness to climate change. This was meant to be a different point of view than the film Before The Flood but about the same subject of climate change.

I found the film hard to follow. I was left with a feeling of ‘what was that all about’. With the dialogue that followed I understood what Herzog was aiming for but I personally felt he fell short. Jeffrey Sachs was also on stage for the dialogue, he is an economist who currently works in Washington with Congress providing advice that isn’t very often listened to regarding the need for funding to fight climate change. He was very outspoken about the refusal to acknowledge this disaster on Capitol Hill. Krauss was as I said entertaining in the film and I loved it.

It was worth going to see because Krauss was in it but I didn’t think much of the film otherwise to be honest. Still a great cause to bring awareness to climate change and props to Krauss for doing so.

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Before The Flood


This film was directed by Fisher Stevens, I remembered him from the movie Short Circuit. Leonardo DiCaprio narrates and travels the world speaking to experts and speaking before large audiences about climate  change. It is a very powerful deliverance of the dangers of ignoring this disaster. There is continuously stunning footage how the world is slowing warming and offers strong evidence and scientific data to back up these claims. DiCaprio is admirably using his celebrity status to promote awareness for this cause. I found the film informative and captivating, even for someone who is painfully aware of what is happening there is more too see here.

Krauss had a great conversation with Fisher Stevens following the film. It is very obvious that bringing awareness to climate change is something both Stevens and DiCaprio believe in wholeheartedly and that they are not in this for the fame or the glory but for the good of mankind.

And as always Professor Krauss was warm, friendly and enthusiastic after the event at the book signing. I am out of books for him to sign but he did sign my program and graciously took a photo with me.19401891_10214004907145158_2225545743545626441_o

Great Debate: the Future of Artificial Intelligence, Who’s In Control


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Eric Horvitz is managing director of Microsoft Research’s main Redmond Lab, an American computer scientist, and technical fellow at Microsoft. Horvitz received his PhD and MD degrees at Stanford University, and has continued his research and work in areas that span theoretical and practical challenges of machine learning and inference, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and more. He is a fellow of numerous associations and academies, has received numerous awards, given both technical lectures and presentations for diverse audiences, and been featured in the New York Times and Technology Review.

Jaan Tallinn is co-founder of Skype, Estonian programmer, investor and physicist. He is partner and co-founder of the development company Bluemoon, Board of Sponsors member of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and one of the founders of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and the Future of Life Institute. He strongly promotes the study of existential risk and artificial intelligence, and the long-term planning and mitigation of potential challenges.

Kathleen Fisher is a professor in and the chair of the Computer Science Department at Tufts University. Previously, she was a program manager at DARPA where she started and managed the HACMS and PPAML programs, a consulting faculty member in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University, and a principal member of the Technical Staff at AT&T Labs Research. Kathleen’s research focuses on advancing the theory and practice of programming languages and on applying ideas from the programming language community to the problem of ad hoc data management.

Subbarao Kambhampati is a professor of Computer Science at ASU, and is the current president of the Association for the Advancement of AI (AAAI). His research focuses on automated planning and decision making, especially in the context of human-aware AI systems. He is an award-winning teacher and spends significant time pondering the public perceptions and societal impacts of AI. He was an NSF young investigator, and is a fellow of AAAI. He received his bachelor’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and his PhD from University of Maryland, College Park.

Lawrence Krauss is an author, professor, physicist, public intellectual and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, where he is also Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Department of Physics.

The Origins Panel will bring rich, enthusiastic, and perhaps surprising perspectives to these questions of vital importance for our future having to do with the challenges and benefits of upcoming developments as AI changes our world.

This public event is associated with a closed scientific workshop that will be held to spark discussions, asking participants to envision and address potential adverse outcomes of artificial intelligence.

Materiality of a Vacuum


Theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek is Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Origins Project Distinguished Professor at Arizona State University. He received the Nobel Prize in 2004 for his work on asymptotic freedom in the theory of strong interaction. From the Origins Web Site.

The lecture was actually rather enjoyable. I was afraid it would be over my head but Professor Wilczek has a way of putting things that are not only comprehensible but funny in a geeky sort of way.

He posed the plausibility of parallel 2 dimensional worlds that left one thinking.

The dialogue following the lecture was the typical physicist banter and subtle competition fueled a little disagreement here and there. It was a good evening.

And I got my 10th and final book signed. Professor Krauss was gracious as always.

Conversation: Inconvenient Truths – From Love to Extinctions


This panel consisted of writer Elizabeth Kolbert, publisher of Skeptic Magazine Michael Shermer and professor and archaeologist Curtis Marean.

Kolbert talked about species that have gone or are near extinction; very informative, archaeoligist Marean discussed the evolution of man and how they migrated and populated the earth. He talked about the traces of Neanderthal DNA in today’s humans.

Michael Shermer who is one of my favorite intellectuals discussed ways to engage in civil debate and conversation with those of opposing views on subjects that can get pretty heated like religion.

 

And as always Professor Krauss was personable and gracious. He signed my copy of Beyond Star Trek. Shermer signed my copy of The Moral Arc and took a photo with me. I will post links to the video when it airs.

Political Bodies; Sex, Gender and Reproductive Rights


This was an excellent dialogue. Two of the panelists were Transgender and they had some very powerful stories to tell. The fact that Lawrence Krauss is socially aware in areas that don’t intersect with science speaks volumes to his character.

And again he had time to sign two books this event, my copy of Quintessence and The Fifth Essence.

Here are the links:

Sex, Gender and Reproductive Rights Part 1

Sex, Gender and Reproductive Rights Part 2

Mariette DiChristina and Lawrence Krauss


Mariette DiChristina is the editor of Scientific Magazine and it seems a good friend of Krauss’. She was interesting and funny, though she doesn’t have a scientific background, which actually makes her more appealing to us average Joe’s, she has a good grasp of scientific knowledge and she is a logical thinker as well as an experienced journalist. I enjoyed the evening very much.

And as always Krauss had time to sign another book, my copy of Lee Burvine’s The Kafir Project for which Krauss wrote the forward.

The questions; Did you re-publish the uncensored article by Hans Bethe and Have you ever published anything by Oppenheimer were mine.

Here are the links:

DiChristina Part 1

DiChristina Part 2

Dialogue: Downs and Krauss


This one was extra interesting as I grew getting my news from Hugh Downs and watching 60 Minutes. Downs is in his 90’s and incredibly sharp witted, age doesn’t seemed to have muddled his mind. He forgot a few details when answering questions but just little details and only a couple. He was funny and warm.

As usual Krauss was his awesome gracious self. He signed my copy of Hiding in the Mirror.

The question; Have you ever protected a source that you felt shouldn’t be protected was mine.

Here are the links:

Hugh Downs Part 1

Hugh Downs Part 2

Einstein’s Legacy; Celebrating 100 Years of the Theory of Relativity.


I most definitely have to admit I was in a little over my head on this one. However, Krauss as usual explains things so that any layman can understand physics, at least the basic principles of it. He had a panel of scientists for this one, Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus, at California Institute of Technology, Kip Thorne, Theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek, Thomas J. Barber Professor in Space Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Adam RiessDiana Kormos-Buchwald, Professor of History at California Institute of Technology and director of the Einstein’s Papers Project.

The discussion was very interesting, I learned several things about Einstein’s career that I didn’t know before. They also discussed the discovery of gravitational waves! The last guest to speak on the panel was Kip Thorne, he was the science adviser on the movie Interstellar. I hadn’t watched the movie but did so a couple of days later. It was fun to have heard the inside scoop on some of the scenes.

As usual Krauss was very personable with his fans and at the book signing. He signed my copy of Atom.

Here are the links:

Einstein’s Legacy Part One

Einstein’s Legacy Part Two

Johnny Depp – Finding The Creativity In Madness


The very first question that comes to mind is why would Lawrence Krauss be interviewing Johnny Depp for an Origins Project Dialogue? Professor Krauss and several unnamed colleagues are do some research on madness in the minds of those with a higher than average IQ. There are many reasons to understand this mentality; look at Hitler for example. Madness in a brilliant mind can be very dangerous, or it can be very creative. Johnny Depp is brilliant, creative and very very mad.

Krauss is developing an interview style much like the master himself; James Lipton. IT was all together a wonderful, warm, funny, informative and all around enjoyable evening. Depp opened up about his childhood, told stories about the great Hunter S. Thompson and let the audience in a few secrets about upcoming stuff.

The even shook hands and agreed to make a movie about an unsong great character in history Thomas Paine. Should be interesting.

I am looking forward to Professor Krauss’ next dialogue!

Here are the links:

Johnny Depp Part 1

Johnny Depp Part 2

Origins Project Panel on Evolving Ethics: Food, Sex & Death


This was an interesting panel, Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, Jason Robert, Director at Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics, Christopher Wharton, Director at Food Systems Transformation Initiative, GIOS, Ron Broglio, Senior Sustainability Scholar, GIOS and Associate Professor of English, Joan McGregor, Professor of Philosophy at the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at ASU.

Lawrence Krauss moderated. Peter Singer is a world renowned animal rights activist who really made me think about factory farming. Though I could not commit to being a vegan as he is I definitely walked away with a more remorseful outlook on how the animals are ‘farmed’. Though I didn’t quite agree with everything he stands for, as I think he is somewhat extreme; but I do see that we can and should be more humane in our meat eating endeavor.

And as always Professor Krauss was there after to give time to his fans. He signed my copy of Quantum Man.

The question: What moral obligations does a doctor have to administer pain meds to an Alzheimer’s patient who’s husband, by default, has medical power of attorney and is telling the doctor not to give any.

Here are the links:

Peter Singer Part 1

Peter Singer Part 2

Observing Our Origins In The First Galaxy:Adrian Liu


April 15,2015, Adrian Liu, recipient of the inaugural Postdoctoral Lectureship Prize, gave an interesting lecture; introduced by Lawrence Krauss for the ASU Origins Project ‘Adrian Liu is an astrophysicist working to make the exciting new field of 21cm cosmology a reality. He has garnered multiple teaching awards, including the Buechner Teaching Prize, the Henry Kendall Teaching Award, and the Goodwin Teaching Medal. He is currently a Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, and will begin an appointment as a Hubble Fellow in Fall 2015.’

I really enjoyed this lecture. He was very articulate and easy to understand. I am looking forward to see what he does in the future!

I was able to approach Lawrence Krauss after the lecture, even thought they were not  doing a book signing afterward Krauss graciously signed my copy of ‘A Universe From Nothing.’

https://origins.asu.edu

Lawrence Krauss and Noam Chomsky


March 22, 2015 I attended my first Origins Project Dialogue with Lawrence Krauss.

I have never been a big fan of Chomsky. I have been a huge fan of Krauss since I first watched a debate with Michael Shermer against D’Souza and another Christian Apologist. He has been my ‘patron saint’ of science and non-belief ever since. I admittedly was somewhat surprised to learn that Krauss had such reverence for Chomsky, for starters Krauss makes no secret about his opinion of philosophy; it is anything but favorable and sometimes he finds it intolerable even as much so as religion at times. Not because Chomsky is unworthy or respect or even reverence but because he is in my opinion a pacifist more than an activist; I would even go so far as to call him an apathetic complainer, even anti-American. His disdain for the U.S. government and it’s institutions borders on Right Wing Conservatism even Tea Party politics, if he wasn’t an atheist who condemns religious scripture. What he doesn’t condemn is the Church or it’s institutions. In fact he often praises them for the good they do in the world with the poor, the sick and the hungry. Support of the Catholic Church let alone religion in general is not something Krauss has ever shown. Ever.

Outside of that, the impact on politics and government; the difference he has made in communities, society and academia is volumes. He is the most cited living scholar in history and has authored over 100 books. He attended the University of Pennsylvania in 1949 at the age of 16, and went on to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. as a member of the Harvard Society of Fellows from 1951-1955, earning a degree in Linguistics, Philosophy, and Mathematics.

His activism over the course of history has landed him in jail several times. He even landed on Nixon’s enemy of the state’s list. His protests of the Viet Nam war to his condemnation of religion he has never held his tongue.

Krauss in his truly reverent and heart felt introduction he even said that where most people might ask ‘What would Jesus do?’ I ask ‘What would Noam do?’. That in my mind was one of the most sincerely reverent statement I have ever heard. He went so far as to call Chomsky his Mentor; he was one of Krauss’ instructors at MIT.

I won’t say I was disappointed by the dialogue but I most definitely was not impressed by Chomsky, I was however more that awestruck by Krauss. He was everything I expected and more. Not only in his ability to have such an inspiring and informative conversation with Chomsky but by how approachable he was afterwards when they were signing books. I unfortunately didn’t get a book signed, the line was at least 500 people long. What I did manage to do was go up to the side of the table he was on; it seemed everyone was waiting for Chomsky, and I loudly said ‘Professor Krauss’ and when he turned around I told him I had a gift for him, then I gave him a copy of ‘Los Alamos Place Names’. It is not only my home town but my family legacy is there in the ‘X Lovato Field’ which is a softball field named after my dad in 1975. He was very receptive.

A couple of weeks later I tweeted him; ‘I hope you enjoy the Los Alamos Place Names book I gave you’. To my absolute surprise he tweeted me back the same day’ Thank you very much. I was pleasantly surprised. From that moment on I have attended every local event here in the Phoenix area but one. I have even gone to the smaller talks on campus at ASU in the Marston Theatre inside the Tech 4 Building where Krauss office is.

https://origins.asu.edu

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