We’re used to thinking about the self as an independent entity, something that we either have or are. In The Ego Tunnel, philosopher Thomas Metzinger claims otherwise: No such thing as a self exists. The conscious self is the content of a model created by our brain—an internal image, but one we cannot experience as an image. Everything we experience is “a virtual self in a virtual reality.” But if the self is not “real,” why and how did it evolve? How does the brain construct it? Do we still have souls, free will, personal autonomy, or moral accountability? In a time when the science of cognition is becoming as controversial as evolution, The Ego Tunnel provides a stunningly original take on the mystery of the mind.
One hundred years ago, scientists would have said that lasers, televisions, and the atomic bomb were beyond the realm of physical possibility. In Physics of the Impossible, the renowned physicist Michio Kaku explores to what extent the technologies and devices of science fiction (such as phasers, force fields, teleportation, and time travel) that are deemed equally impossible today might well become commonplace in the future.
A look at the end of the last Czar and his family at the hand of the Bolsheviks, and the 4 centuries of grand, bloody and war-torn history that proceeded it - the might of the double-eagle throne fascinates us to this day. The killing lasted 20 minutes. Czar Nikolaus II. was the first to die – shot in the heart with a pistol at close range. Then the Bolsheviks shot his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna, his daughters Olga, Tatyana, Maria, Anastasia, the heir apparent Alexei, and four employees of the royal family. The death of the Romanovs marked the end of a dynasty reaching back to the crowning of Michail Romanov in July 1613. The Czars always ruled their huge empire with an iron fist – which in the end became their undoing. 400 years of Romanov rule – 4 centuries of grandiose and fateful European and Russian history.