Posts by Cassius

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 21, 2019) — Dubbed "the man who can read the unreadable," the story of Brent Seales is one of patience and perseverance. With the computer science professor at the helm of the Digital Restoration Initiative, the University of Kentucky is poised to become a world-class leader in "unwrapping" cultural artifacts.

    For more than two decades, Seales and his dedicated team — of staff and student researchers — have doggedly labored to do the impossible. With renowned expertise, they've non-invasively recovered fragile texts, such as Homer's "Iliad" and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    Yet, there is one mystery the team still longs to solve — revealing the elusive texts within the carbonized Herculaneum scrolls.

    These papyri are among the most iconic — and inaccessible — of the world’s vast collection of damaged manuscripts. Buried and burned in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, the scrolls offer a unique window to the ancient world. Unfortunately, they are too fragile to unroll.

    Now, after a 10-year lull, Seales has found a way forward.

    Mellon Grant Advances Digital Restoration Initiative

    Thanks, in large part, to a $2 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Seales finally has the materials access, funding support and technical approach needed to solve the 2,000-year-old mystery.…JKyZeehhcNGClv9IVNOajlXzE

    Digital Restoration Initiative:

    I don’t know how well he knows the physics but he’s a librarian and very well read.

    Probably that means he is like many people, so I won't direct this comment at him, but to the many that I observe who act like the physics is absolutely irrelevant. They miss entirely why it is important, and so they never understand what they are missing, and why it supports (and in fact is the essential base for) the ethics. Pretty much the same thing as the epistemology - it is a required base, and if you don't understand the theory of knowledge you'll never have confidence in your conclusions.

    As we think about structured paths for helping bring people along in Epicurean philosophy, we ought to find a way to stress that this is essential, and discourage people from going further til they understand the base. Because if they don't understand the base they will inevitably backslide, or mutate into something else, never really understanding Epicurus at all.

    Proxima-b, only 4.24 light years away, receives 250 times more X-ray radiation than Earth and could experience deadly levels of ultraviolet radiation on its surface. How could life survive such a bombardment? Cornell astronomers say that life already has survived this kind of fierce radiation, and they have proof: you.

    M stars

    Jack O’Malley-James/Cornell University

    The intense radiation environments around nearby M stars could favor habitable worlds resembling younger versions of Earth.

    Lisa Kaltenegger and Jack O’Malley-James make their case in a new paper, “Lessons From Early Earth: UV Surface Radiation Should Not Limit the Habitability of Active M Star Systems,” published April 9 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Kaltenegger is associate professor of astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences and director of Cornell’s Carl Sagan Institute, at which O'Malley-James is a research associate.…xoplanets-could-host-life

    Today is the day believed to mark the explosion of Mount Vesuvius. Many Epicureans in addition to the library of Julius Caesar's father in law were buried, but because of this disaster we know much more about Epicurus and his philosophy than we would otherwise! 1566652354.jpg

    Martin this reminds me that we need to find some good videos on the physics issues. I know that Alex is very impressed with Victor Stenger and to the extent I have read into him that seems promising. 1. Do you know of videos we should add? 2. Do you consider Stenger to be a good representative of someone who is friendly to Epicurean physics?

    Similarly I bet we can find some videos on the math/geometry vs. reality issues.

    Today I changed the title of the home page from the "Here our highest good is pleasure..." to a generic "The Epicurus and Epicurean Philosophy Discussion Forum" in hopes that this will help make discovery of the forum easier on search engines.

    I also will experiment further with a little google targeted advertising to see if we can increase our findability to those who might be looking for us.

    I will probably create a graphic for the right sidebar to preserve the "Here our highest good..." phrase on the home page.

    Suggestions on these kinds of things are always welcome.

    Good points, Martin, so I changed my "is" to "might be" in that last sentence.

    Yes I am not competent to comment on the medicine, other than to state that in my own case, low-carb dieting has been the best method for me to control weight and blood sugars.

    The issue I find interesting and relevant to us here is the parallel involved when people in a scientific field find themselves at odds with an entrenched establishment, and how they go about dealing with getting themselves heard in today's world.

    For years I have followed various podcasters and websites in this field, and it's interesting to me how they network, share information, have conferences, etc. Usually there seems to be a major book or set of books involved, in this case many of which were generated originally by Gary Taubes, a science writer who is outside of the medical field himself.

    In our case there are very few books with a view of Epicurus such as that of Norman DeWitt. Probably the progression in our Epicurus work will need to follow a similar route, with more books that specifically embrace the non-mainstream view.

    I suppose we can currently add the book by Gosling & Taylor, and the articles by Nikolsky and Wenham, but there is much much more to be done.

    Hiam it sounds to me like he never took an interest in Epicurean physics(?) Once someone understands the "Nothing comes from nothing" argument I do not see how they can backside into considering the idea of anything supernatural.

    And I would not think that hallucinogenic experiences would tempt anyone in that direction unless they never took the physics arguments seriously.

    Is this someone who is primarily buying the ethics but not physics or epistemology?

    As long ago as 2012 I have been interested in the work of science writer Gary Taubes, especially in his efforts to investigate issue of low-carb diets and their effect on heart disease, diabetes, and the like. I read his "Good Calories / Bad Calories" shortly after it came out, and commented in a post at NewEpicurean that I thought the tactics he was using to popularize his theories in the face of "establishment" opposition might be applicable to our work with Epicurean Philosophy.

    I have continued to follow his work and in part because of that (and because a friend was recently diagnosed with Cancer) I came across this video below by Dr. Thomas Seyfried and his continuation of work from mid-century Germany linking cancer to mitochondrial problems rather than exclusively to genetics. This is an issue that Taubes mentioned in his 2012 book developed to a much higher level.

    I see that Seyfried has a number of videos over the last several years, but the one I am linking here impresses me for his passion and his presentation of evidence. I not only find this fascinating, but I continue to think there is a strong parallel between this medical controversy and our Epicurean controversies against "orthodox" interpretations of Epicurus.

    Our equivalent to the groundbreaking work of Otto Warburg, at about the same period of time, might be the groundbreaking work of Norman Dewitt.

    I agree Michelle! Where do people get these ideas? It seems so few are rigorous about providing cites for their propositions!

    I tend to be careful about "moderation" too, because when the goal is fixed on pleasure sometimes we are immoderate, when immoderation is called for, to achieve the goal.

    The "golden mean" idea seems much more Aristotle / Plato than Epicurus, and yet people presume that he taught that since the others did. But placing any goal as a goal in itself equal to pleasure would be inconsistent.

    Just goes to show that I cannot even find the time to read my own calendar! ;-)

    My goal in life is to spend full time on this one day, but unfortunately I am not quite there yet!

    Thanks for the reminder and your taking the lead to post this morning!

    Every month I tell myself that I am going to be on top of the 20th and have something fascinating to post, and every month I get so busy that I hardly remember until it is here. Maybe we need to come up with a PRE-20th sequence of reminders or events to help us burn the 20th into our minds so clearly it can't be forgotten! ;-)