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All things Science related. λν = c

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Old 06-24-2013, 04:45 PM   #271
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Re: All things Science related. λν = c

Science, sort of

More like philosophy, but a great read:-

Skeptics, believers. Lay down your shotguns and knives. Take a moment to bandage and reload, and I will explain to you why an incorporeal garage dragon means that you should not be fighting. As much.

This strange beast, and its fantastical properties, are described in The Demon Haunted World, by Carl Sagan.

“A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage,” he begins, “…Surely you’d want to check it out, see for yourself.”

You do, but you can’t. The dragon is invisible. You could spread flour on the floor to capture its footprints, but, alas, it also floats. You offer to fetch your infrared camera, but, sadly, its fire is heatless. Perhaps a can of spray paint, then, to make the dragon visible? Oh, right. Incorporeal.

You see where he’s going: “Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless,” he writes, “the only sensible approach is to tentatively reject the dragon hypothesis, [but] to be open to future data…”

The garage dragon is a straightforward parable about the scientific value of a non-falsifiable hypothesis, but it contains an important nuance. While rejecting the hypothesis, Sagan still leaves open the possibility that, after all, the dragon might still be real. “Immune to disproof,” after all, isn’t the same as “wrong.”

This may seem like splitting hairs until you consider that within the narrow philosophical gap between “immune to disproof” and “wrong” there lies the entire universe of mystical experience, the wellspring of religion and spirituality. The dragon we’re discussing here is not a cute, intellectual abstraction; it’s a powerful, visionary experience you had of the divine manifesting to you in the form of a winged serpent—and so what if it didn’t leave footprints? Yes, with all that supernatural stuffed into such a tiny crack, it seems that we ought to take a closer look at our epistemology.

In scientific positivism, objectivity is the measure of truth. The observation must be shared, the experiment replicated. To the extent that everyone can achieve the same result, witness the same phenomenon, the scales of evidence tilt that way; but if objectivity is the measure of truth, then, by extension, it is also what delineates the scope of inquiry.

Where materialists overreach is in equating the scope of scientific inquiry with the scope of reality; that is to say, they confuse the map for the territory. The objectively observable universe may well represent the whole extent of reality, but if it were not, then how would we know? For example, what are the laws which decide that a biochemical mechanism called the brain should be inhabited by an awareness capable of sensing the redness of red and the sourness of sour, but that an apple tree capable of blossoming in the spring and bending itself in the direction of the sun should not likewise experience the light and temperature that stimulate its own behavior? Or does it, perhaps? What of a thermostat, the operating system of a factory arm, or the neural network studying your browsing behavior? What is the deciding factor?

We lack an outside frame of reference that permits us to answer questions like these. We are able to gather sensory information from the world, but we can’t “go meta” and find out whether your chocolate tastes like my vanilla. We are constrained in what we can know, given the sort of beings that we are. How constrained, you ask? Well, that’s one of the things that we are constrained from knowing. The material model might not be far off, but it’s also possible that the qualitative universe—the “inner-space,” if you will—is actually a lot bigger, and a lot stranger, than we could ever imagine. You can’t hear it, but the lawn you just mowed—is screaming!

Continued at this link

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Old 06-24-2013, 05:02 PM   #272
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Re: All things Science related. λν = c

^^ An excellent article with which I fully agree.

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It is deeply unsatisfying, for most people, to accept that the deepest answers we can seek are simply unknowable, but for my part, I take comfort in the fact that, regardless of my chosen paradigm, I will still find a mystery at the center of existence. An unanswerable question, after all, yields infinite possibility.
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Old 06-24-2013, 05:11 PM   #273
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Re: All things Science related. λν = c

Posted with you in mind, JR.
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:17 PM   #274
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Re: All things Science related. λν = c

Wow!
3-D printing, even in it's infancy is making amazing strides. The days of replicating food may not be far off you Star Trek fans!

Princeton researchers create 'bionic ear'
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:42 PM   #275
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^^ Resistance is futile, we will be assimilated.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:38 AM   #276
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Re: All things Science related. λν = c

For those of you who like science or have kids you would like to be interested in science I recommend the following:
The Cartoon Guide to Genetics, The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry, The Cartoon Guide to Physics. For those interested in more "mathy" things they have ...Guide to Statistics and ...Guide to Calculus.

My kids love them for the humor as well as the pictures. And as they get older they understand more and more of them. (I also learn from them and I'm a scientist.) Each is written by Larry Gonick along with a professor (in the appropriate department) at a top-level university. The chemistry book covers at least as much as 2 college classes of material (and the others are similarly comprehensive), but the presentation is so humorous that it's hard to put down. The same author also wrote 'A Cartoon Guide to the History of the Universe' (3 books) and 2 books (similarly titled) about American History.

Another great book is Guy Murchie's 'The Seven Mysteries of Life'. He spent 17 years investigating the material (biology), and while the book is about 30 years old, the information he has in it is fascinating and the writing is exquisite. I haven't even gotten to the latter half (the 7 mysteries), but the first half covers so much biology in a fascinating way. For example, in 2 paragraphs he discusses plants that need absolutely no rainfall. (Which ones they are and how they cope.) I have seen this book captivate kids who absolutely detest school. It's well-enough written that I ended up buying all the works of the author (all out of print). It is amazing how he is so concise while at the same time not overbearing with the density of information.

The last thing I'll mention is the Johns Hopkins Physics Fair (usually held in April or May). (This is where I actually discovered the 'Cartoon Guide' series.) When it's over I usually have to drag my kids out kicking and screaming (them, not me.) They have about 200 hands-on experiments covering most aspects in phyics, including a trebuchet that launches cantaloupes about 200 feet. (I call it a cantapult.) When we have to choose between the Physics Fair and Maryland Day, we always choose the Physics Fair (even though I work at Maryland).

Hope these suggestions will be useful.
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Old 07-08-2013, 04:13 PM   #277
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Re: All things Science related. λν = c

Mystery Intergalactic Radio Bursts Detected

The powerful signal, which lasted for just milliseconds, could have been a fluke, but then the team found three more equally energetic transient flashes all far removed from the galactic plane and coming from different points in the sky.

Analysis later indicated that, unlike most cosmic radio signals that originate in the Milky Way or a nearby neighbor galaxy, these four seem to have come from beyond.

Whatever triggered the bursts has come and gone. The signals, detected between February 2011 and January 2012, were one-time events so little follow-up work can be done.

What is known is that in just a few milliseconds, each of the signals released about as much energy as the sun emits in 300,000 years.
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Old 07-08-2013, 04:21 PM   #278
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Re: All things Science related. λν = c

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Originally Posted by CRedskinsRule View Post
Wow!
3-D printing, even in it's infancy is making amazing strides. The days of replicating food may not be far off you Star Trek fans!

Princeton researchers create 'bionic ear'

I love technology and science. Fascinating things can happen.
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Old 07-08-2013, 04:55 PM   #279
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Re: All things Science related. λν = c

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Originally Posted by RedskinRat View Post
Mystery Intergalactic Radio Bursts Detected

The powerful signal, which lasted for just milliseconds, could have been a fluke, but then the team found three more equally energetic transient flashes all far removed from the galactic plane and coming from different points in the sky.

Analysis later indicated that, unlike most cosmic radio signals that originate in the Milky Way or a nearby neighbor galaxy, these four seem to have come from beyond.

Whatever triggered the bursts has come and gone. The signals, detected between February 2011 and January 2012, were one-time events so little follow-up work can be done.

What is known is that in just a few milliseconds, each of the signals released about as much energy as the sun emits in 300,000 years.
this is scaring the crap out of me right now.

im thinking a cosmic blast travelling at uncalculable speeds will just wipe out planet earth at any moment.

we will not have any warning or indication.

in a blink of an eye, everything and everyone is gone.

i blame parenthood for this.
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Old 07-08-2013, 04:56 PM   #280
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Re: All things Science related. λν = c

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Originally Posted by mike340 View Post
The last thing I'll mention is the Johns Hopkins Physics Fair (usually held in April or May). (This is where I actually discovered the 'Cartoon Guide' series.) When it's over I usually have to drag my kids out kicking and screaming (them, not me.) They have about 200 hands-on experiments covering most aspects in phyics, including a trebuchet that launches cantaloupes about 200 feet. (I call it a cantapult.) When we have to choose between the Physics Fair and Maryland Day, we always choose the Physics Fair (even though I work at Maryland).

Hope these suggestions will be useful.
that sounds like an awesome day. will put in my memory bank.
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Old 07-08-2013, 05:15 PM   #281
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Re: All things Science related. λν = c

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this is scaring the crap out of me right now.
I'm guessing it's a huge weapon triangulating on our planet.

At least it will be over in a flash.
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Old 07-08-2013, 08:25 PM   #282
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Re: All things Science related. λν = c

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I'm guessing it's a huge weapon triangulating on our planet.

At least it will be over in a flash.
I am sure there are notices at our local planning commission in Alpha Centauri
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:35 PM   #283
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Re: All things Science related. λν = c

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I am sure there are notices at our local planning commission in Alpha Centauri
lol.

"What do you mean you’ve never been to Alpha Centauri? For heaven’s sake mankind, it’s only four light years away you know. I’m sorry, but if you can’t be bothered to take an interest in local affairs that’s your own lookout."
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:57 PM   #284
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RR, are you a fan of the rogan podcast by chance? Seems it would be up your alley if you've never listened...
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:27 PM   #285
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Re: All things Science related. λν = c

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I am sure there are notices at our local planning commission in Alpha Centauri
well played sir.

i need to re-read that book.
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