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Posts Tagged ‘Science’

Oh, the laws of physics and of logic…  the number system…  the principle of algebraic substitution.  These are ghosts.  We just believe in them so thoroughly they seem real.
    —     Robert M. Pirsig
From his book:  “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
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On This Day In:
2021 So Will Persistence
I Won’t Shed A Tear
2020 Minute Fractions Of Happiness
There’s Angels Everywhere
2019 Far Too Often
2018 A Divided / United Nation
2017 What We Want
2016 To The Extent
2015 Ambition
2014 More Branches To Climb
Just In Time — Happy Thanksgiving (2014)
2013 For And Against
2012 De Mortuis Nil Nisi Bonum
2011 Similar And Different
2010 Reminiscing
Differences

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The truth may be puzzling.  It may take some work to grapple with.  It may be counterintuitive.  It may contradict deeply held prejudices.  It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true.  But our preferences do not determine what’s true.  We have a method, and that method helps us to reach not absolute truth, only asymptotic approaches to the truth — never there, just closer and closer, always finding vast new oceans of undiscovered possibilities.  Cleverly designed experiments are the key.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Fighting New Guitar Fever
Bad Trades In The Tunnel
2020 Give And Gain
Can We Talk For A Second
Almost Ready To Take A Breath
2019 Transfiguration
2018 2018 Mid-Terms
Praying For A Blue Tsunami Election
2017 Islam Is Not The Enemy
2016 A Checkered Past, A Checkered Future
2015 Preferences
2014 Have You Taken The Pledge?
2013 Nurture Tolerance
2012 Election Day – Please Hear What I’m Not Saying
2011 Mostly Strange, Always Blue
What Is It You Want?
2010 MSNBC, Bring Back Keith !!!
Value..
Worse Still…
Afraid So…
Making It
Don’t Jump Small
Time
Push!!
I’m Still Here… (A Message To Keith Olbermann)
Choose
Not Yet…
Mean Too
Still Building (and Planning)
Hangin’ High
Always…

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Science is much more than a body of knowledge.  It is a way of thinking.  This is central to its success.  Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions.  It counsels us to carry alternative hypotheses in our heads and see which ones best match the facts.  It urges on us a fine balance between no-holds-barred openness to new ideas, however heretical, and the most rigorous skeptical scrutiny of everything — new ideas and established wisdom.  We need wide appreciation of this kind of thinking.  It works.  It’s an essential tool for a democracy in an age of change.  Our task is not just to train more scientists but also to deepen public understanding of science.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Experience A Simple Whatever
A Thousand Kisses
2020 Talking Politics With Trump Republicans
In Another Lifetime
2019 People Will Come
Change Is Here…
2018 Be My Hero – Vote Tomorrow!
He Was All Of Us…
2017 Black And White
Advice For #DumbDonald
2016 Mirror, Mirror
2015 Speaking With Forked Tongue
2014 The Code
2013 Eventually Formed
2012 Remember To Vote Tomorrow
2011 It Sounds Like Chaos Theory To Me

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If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.
    —     Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Are We Talking About Health Insurance / Oil Companies, Facebook Or Faux News?
When MTV Was Young (And Fun)
2020 Resting
A New Day Just Means We Continue The Struggle (With A Smile)
2019 One For Two
Why Trump Insults Pelosi and Schiff
2018 The Worst
2017 #DonTheCon In The Oval Office
2016 Are You Like #AmnestyDon And Sarah Palin?
2015 Begin Today
2014 Look Again (At Life’s Illusions)
2013 None Knows
2012 Yet
2011 No End In Sight
2010 Back At It…

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It is true that if there were no phenomena which were independent of all but a manageably small set of conditions, Physics would be impossible.
    —     Eugene Wigner
From his paper:  “The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences
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On This Day In:
2021 The Only Winning Move
Says Who?
2020 I’m Guessing It’s Real
For One More Day
2019 Like Smartphones And FOMO?
Getting Ready For Halloween
2018 Nothing To Build On
2017 This One Is…
2016 Happy Is…
2015 Dare Yourself To
2014 Damned If You Do…
2013 On A Rainy Sunday
2012 Not Sure Anymore
2011 But What Does It Cost?
2009 Another Day, Another Diet…

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Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
    —     Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 I’ll Keep Trying To Anyway
She Knows
2020 Respond
Still Trying To Adjust
2019 The Limits Of My Knowledge
2018 Even Tiny Progress
2017 Real Conservatism
2016 The Business Of Life
2015 Alone Again, Naturally
2014 Agreed
2013 Smile From Your Heart!
2012 Like You
2011 Got Days?
2010 K9 Humor – Has Anyone Seen My Setter?  (Must read!!)
A Longer Blog Than You Want To Read (Probably)
2009 Back and Forth and Round Again…

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Scientific progress is measured in units of courage, not intelligence.
    —     Paul Dirac
[Found on one of the blogs I follow:  “ram H singhal
Located at:  https://ram0singhal.wordpress.com/
The specific post is at:  https://ram0singhal.wordpress.com/2021/07/13/1933-nobel-prize-in-physics-paul-adrien-maurice-dirac/
Please visit the original site if you have a spare moment.     —     kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 True Fervor
Still Sparkles
2020 A Destructive Mistake
I’d Rather Live In HER World
2019 And #IncompetentTrump Is A Failure At Both
2018 To Excel At Your Craft
Day 12: Waiting
2017 Like When You Can Order Others To Fight For You
2016 Holding Fast
2015 Alms Or Balms
2014 A Day At The Beach
2013 Pillows
Steppin’
2012 Invincible Summer
2011 Being Objective
2010 First Things First…
Northwest Passages – Intro
Northwest Passages – Day One
Northwest Passages – Poetry
Northwest Passages – Evening One
Northwest Passages – Morning Two

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If you take a look at science in its everyday function, of course you find that scientists run the gamut of human emotions and personalities and character and so on.  But there’s one thing that is really striking to the outsider, and that is the gauntlet of criticism that is considered acceptable or even desirable.  The poor graduate student at his or her Ph.D. oral exam is subjected to a withering crossfire of questions that sometimes seem hostile or contemptuous;  this from the professors who have the candidate’s future in their grasp.  The students naturally are nervous;  who wouldn’t be?  True, they’ve prepared for it for years.  But they understand that at that critical moment they really have to be able to answer questions.  So in preparing to defend their theses, they must anticipate questions;  they have to think, “Where in my thesis is there a weakness that someone else might find — because I sure better find it before they do, because if they find it and I’m not prepared, I’m in deep trouble.”
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 No Profit Without Risk
And One For Me
2020 He’s Forgotten About Drugs And Rock ‘N Roll
2019 I Still Walk Daily
A Windy Monday
2018 No Religious Test, Yes Religious Ban
2017 Looking At #DumbDonald
2016 No Great Thing
2015 Happy Memory
Of Two Minds
2014 Sums
2013 Memories & Binging
Admiration Due
2012 Choices Matter
2011 Acceptance Is The Key
2010 Just A Permanent Crease…
Bodily Functions

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Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.
    —     Henry Ford
[I’ve pretty much got the first 3mph down pat…   ‘c’ == 186,282 miles per second    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 Maybe “Creation” Wasn’t That Difficult After All
C’est Chic
2020 #45: Time Is Ticking Away
#45 Claims COVID-19 Defeated To Open The Economy
2019 Belief Buffet
2018 Change Is Law
2017 A Dog Day Of Summer
2016 Chances Are
2015 Truer Spoken
2014 Not Quite There Yet (Either)
Many Colors
2013 Distance, n.
Less Can Be More
2012 Rise Up!
The Gift
2011 Artful Courage
2010 A Handful of Lessons…

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We were very encouraged by the rapid development of the vaccines, and everybody really thought we were going to vaccinate our way out of this,” he said.  “But then we had people that wouldn’t even take the damn vaccine.”
“We know vaccines work.  We know masks work.  We know social distancing works, and we know crowd control, limiting crowded spaces, works.  This is like a no-brainer, but we cannot seem to do it.”
    —     Dr. Robert Murphy
Executive director of the Havey Institute for Global Health
Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine
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On This Day In:
2021 I’ve Still Not Found #45’s One Thing
Chewin’ On A Piece Of Grass
2020 Listening To A #IncompetentDonald COVID-19 Press Briefing
2019 I Am Doubtful
Future Justice Looks Corporate
2018 True Measures
2017 Hoping For Tapes
In It Now
2016 On Viewing This Mudball
2015 It Takes A Village
2014 In God’s Eyes
2013 We Root For Ourselves
2012 Like A Shark
2011 Discernible Virtue

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History is not an exact science.  And ‘the historian of the future’ is as much artist as scientist or academic.  But the futurologist cannot be taken lightly.  He bases his conclusions on perceived trends, and his predictions themselves may possibly have some effect on the future:  in helping either to prevent his predictions coming true or to realize them.
    —     General Sir John Hackett (et al)
From:  “The Third World War: August 1985
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On This Day In:
2021 Maybe He Agreed With His Mum
Come To Me, You’ll See
2020 Imagine Existence
Posing As Action
2019 Voices Of The Past
2018 Sunrises, Rainbows And Newborn Babies
2017 Untold Agony
2016 Just Borrowed
2015 Warning
2014 Always More Productive
2013 Is Not
2012 Loosely Translated
2011 Your Opinions Are Not My Facts

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The central contention of physics has it that the building blocks of the universe will endure even if, or even when, the humans who tally them, and the planet we live on, all die.  To see into the deathless universe is to try to see nothing so flamboyant as [William] Wordsworth’s favorite daffodils and walnut groves, but to peer into the coldest spaces, the black holes and the fractional electric charge of theoretical subatomic particles.  These entities have no blood flow, of course, but also no DNA;  they’re not susceptible to pandemics, however virulent, or the dividends and ravages of carbon.  They don’t live, so they don’t die.  To model the universe as precisely as possible is to try to see the one thing that even the strictest atheist agrees is everlasting — to try to achieve, in a lab, an intimation of immortality.
Back to the living world that’s under our feet.  [Carlo] Rovelli is right to caution against the potential delusions of those who are greedy for eurekas.  But, as a fellow physicist with a radical streak, he is also sympathetic to their ambitions, a drive to “learn something unexpected about the fundamental laws of nature.”  To Rovelli, whose latest book describes quantum mechanics as an almost psychedelic experience, a truly radical discovery entails the observation of phenomena that fall outside three existing frameworks in physics:  quantum theory, the Standard Model of particle physics, and general relativity.  Only by blowing up one of those frameworks can one achieve the kind of immortality that scientists get, the glory of someone like Einstein or Heisenberg.
But to keep looking, as Rovelli has, as Fermilab has with this study on the muon’s magnetism, is also to apprehend hints.  To follow hints.  In that way, the physicist’s work and the poet’s are the same.  And if Wordsworth is right, immortality can be found, of all places, in the hint — the staggering proposition by nature itself that, in spite of all the dying around us, something of all we love might be imperishable, might still flicker or shine or wobble when the rest of our world is gone.
    —     Virginia Heffernan
From her article:  “Muonstruck
Appearing in:  Wired Magazine;  dtd:  June 2021
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On This Day In:
2021 Keep Growing
I Keep Looking
2020 I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Plans
One Earth
2019 Beautiful Rules
2018 Skepticism
2017 WWGD?
2016 Growing Greatness
2015 When It Is Darkest
2014 Knowledge And Doubt
2013 Three Thoughts
2012 Gentle Reader
2011 Leave The Light On For Me Anyway

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The limit of your present understanding is not the limit of your possibilities.
    —    Guy Finley
In these times – where social appearance is more important than spiritual substance – what has become our longing to change is really the unconscious desire to control not just the shape of our bodies (according to prevailing values) but to dominate our environment as well, regardless of the cost.
    —    Guy Finley
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On This Day In:
2021 I Should Have Started Earlier
To Soothe Your Soul
2020 Let’s Make It So
2019 Today’s Question
2018 A Moment Of Union
2016 Symptoms
2016 Tossers
2015 Hunger
2014 Outside Dependence
2013 Doing Right
2012 A Short Course In Human Relations
If Death Be My Future
Strive
Such A Fool
2011 I’m Working For A Living

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Consider again that dot.  That’s here.  That’s home.  That’s us.  On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.  The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar”, every “supreme leader”, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.  Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.  Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.  Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.  In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life.  There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate.  Visit, yes.  Settle, not yet.  Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience.  There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.  To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 The Imposition Of Position
Rainin’ Fire In The Sky
2020 Stand Up!
Crowd Sourced Scouting Report
2019 Only One Direction
2018 Respect Is Long Gone
2017 Dream Of Dreamers
2016 Dear Automakers
2015 And Some Not So Brave Too
2014 In My Lifetime…
2013 Democracy
2012 Borrowed Expectations
2011 Not Necessarily True

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THE IMPORTANCE OF PERIODIC REVIEW
For precisely the reasons I’ve just outlined — that science is a process, not a set of accepted facts — it’s a good idea (and very common) for scientists, whether professionals or students, to review for themselves both how the scientific web of knowledge was assembled historically, and how it holds together nowadays.  This kind of exercise is a sort of brain calisthenics;  it keeps the mind fresh and clear.
Every time I reconsider what I know from scratch, I learn something new.  Typically I find connections between well-known facts that I hadn’t previously recognized.  Sometimes I discover gaps in my own logic, and a couple of times in my career I’ve even discovered gaps in the scientific community’s logic.  So it’s well worth going through this kind of introspection, even starting at the beginning with basic astronomy.
    —     Professor Matt Strassler
[Found at one of the blogs / websites I follow:  “Of Particular Significance“, at:  https://profmattstrassler.com/
The specific post is:  https://profmattstrassler.com/2022/02/11/why-simple-explanations-of-established-facts-have-value/
Please visit the original site if you have a few spare moments.    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2022 I Learn Something New
2021 I’m Retired, I Always Have Time For It!
Just Mice Elf
That Was A Shot In The Arm
2020 Decide, Support, Vote
2019 Aware Some
2018 Know Any Christians?
2017 The Only Thing I Can Give…
2016 Wiser But Less Cocksure
2015 Not Today
Wicked
2014 …Am Too
2013 Credible?
2012 Both
2011 Risking Hidden Linkage

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