How many readers recall the fear that preceded the first test of a fission
bomb, and then later of a fusion bomb, that such an explosion could ignite
the earth's atmosphere? Sound familiar?
I can even recall the reasoning that led some to argue that reaching the
speed of sound in the atmosphere would  cause any object (aircraft) to
shatter as though striking an immovable solid object.

I don't mention these cases to say that one should always ignore such
worries, but rather to explore the abductive and statistical reasoning
processes that we often use to make such decisions.
This is loosely related to the reasoning that causes lottery ticket
purchases to soar as both the probability of winning plummets as the prize
value grows. The psychology is well studied and yet the empirical science
side of this issue is not. We have a very minimal understanding of how to
assess the "probable significance" of alternative unproved theoretical
predictions. This is of course an issue of understanding the referential
and normative aspects of information.

— Terry

On Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 3:06 AM, PEDRO CLEMENTE MARIJUAN FERNANDEZ <> wrote:

> Dear FISers,
> Herewith the Lecture inaugurating our 2017 sessions.
> I really hope that this Curious Story is just that, a curiosity.
> But in science we should not look for hopes but for arguments and
> counter-arguments...
> Best wishes to All and exciting times for the New Year!
> --Pedro
> ------------------------------
> *De:* Otto E. Rossler []
> *Enviado el:* miércoles, 04 de enero de 2017 17:51
> *Asunto:* NY session
> ----------------------
> *A Curious Story*
> Otto E. Rossler, University of Tübingen, Germany
> Maybe I am the only one who finds it curious. Which fact would then make
> it even more curious for me. It goes like this: Someone says “I can save
> your house from a time bomb planted into the basement” and you respond by
> saying “I don’t care.” This curious story is taken from the Buddhist
> bible.
> It of course depends on who is offering to help. It could be a lunatic
> person claiming that he alone can save the planet from a time-bomb about to
> be planted into it. In that case, there would be no reason to worry. On the
> other hand, it could also be that you, the manager, are a bit high at the
> moment so that you don't fully appreciate the offer made to you. How
> serious is my offer herewith made to you today?
> I only say that for eight years' time already, there exists no
> counter-proof in the literature to my at first highly publicized proof of
> danger. I was able to demonstrate that the miniature black holes officially
> attempted to be produced at CERN do possess two radically new properties:
>    - they cannot Hawking evaporate
>    - they grow exponentially inside matter
> If these two findings hold water, the current attempt at producing
> ultra-slow miniature black holes on earth near the town of Geneva means
> that the slower-most specimen will get stuck inside earth and grow there
> exponentially to turn the planet into a 2-cm black hole after several of
> undetectable growth. Therefore the current attempt of CERN's to produce
> them near Geneva is a bit curious.
> What is so curious about CERN's attempt? It is the fact that no one finds
> it curious. I am reminded of an old joke: The professor informs the
> candidate about the outcome of the oral exam with the following words “You
> are bound to laugh but you have flunked the test.” I never understood the
> punchline. I likewise cannot understand why a never refuted proof of the
> biggest danger of history leaves everyone unconcerned. Why NOT check an
> unattended piece of luggage on the airport called Earth?
> To my mind, this is the most curious story ever -- for the very reason
> that everyone finds it boring. A successful counter-proof would thus
> alleviate but a single person’s fears – mine. You, my dear reader, are thus
> my last hope that you might be able to explain the punch line to me: “Why
> is it that it does not matter downstairs that the first floor is ablaze?” I
> am genuinely curious to learn why attempting planetocide is fun.  Are you
> not?
> For J.O.R.
> ---------------
> _______________________________________________
> Fis mailing list

Professor Terrence W. Deacon
University of California, Berkeley
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