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Charlie    2

I wish I understood what you two were saying. I'm fascinated by physics but understand very little of it. Even those cool physics programmes the BBC make for the thicko layman sometimes confuse me. :(

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LuisBSF    26

I am severely out of date and most of that I learned of my own accord in a very patchy way; last physics I studied was purely electromagnetic spectra related (mainly signals) quite a few years ago; surely Rotwang can find a good couple of links to lay out the basics of all this?

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Rotwang    323

surely Rotwang can find a good couple of links to lay out the basics of all this?

 

Not really, I'm afraid; I'm not a fan of popular science generally. I will say that Wikipedia's technical articles are pretty reliable in my experience, so they're as good a place as any to start.

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Charlie    2

I am severely out of date and most of that I learned of my own accord in a very patchy way; last physics I studied was purely electromagnetic spectra related (mainly signals) quite a few years ago; surely Rotwang can find a good couple of links to lay out the basics of all this?

 

Rotwang is too busy working on the mythical Theory of Everything. I was hoping Hawking would discover it but I fear he's now a spent force. It's time to unload all our hopes and heavy expectations onto Rotwang's broad shoulders.

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needle ninja    13

Rotwang is too busy working on the mythical Theory of Everything. I was hoping Hawking would discover it but I fear he's now a spent force. It's time to unload all our hopes and heavy expectations onto Rotwang's broad shoulders.

 

Yea Rotwang is just about to discover the meaning of life the Universe and Everything, and post it on Psynews first :rolleyes:

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Rotwang    323

Sadly not. I am working on some ideas about the foundations of quantum mechanics, but it remains to be seen whether they pan out or not (obviously the odds are overwhelmingly against).

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karan129    2

Not really, I'm afraid; I'm not a fan of popular science generally. I will say that Wikipedia's technical articles are pretty reliable in my experience, so they're as good a place as any to start.

 

They're reliable but they're really hard to read in my experience. I agree with you about popular science in the sense you can't understand science fully unless you actually sit down and do the math. That's the problem with communicating science to the public, wrt issues such as global warming, it's hard to communicate math.

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Veracohr    106

Ah come on! Popular science makes us dummies feel smart! :huh:

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Rotwang    323

Ah come on! Popular science makes us dummies feel smart! :huh:

 

From reading the crackpot theories that insane laypeople come up with (sort of a hobby of mine), my impression is that making "dummies feel smart" is not a good thing. Understanding university-level physics, or whatever, is something that takes time and effort; if you could learn General Relativity and Quantum Field Theory by reading A Brief History of Time then physics degrees wouldn't need to take four years. There's nothing wrong with not understanding e.g. GR (nobody has time to understand everything), but the problem is that popular science books give people the impression that they understand something when they don't. That's why there are so many cranks who think they've come up with the Theory of Everything; because they have no idea how current theory makes predictions, what those predictions are and how many of those predictions have been tested and found to agree with experiment, they think that any idea that pops into their heads is just as good. The various physics and mathematical cranks that litter the internet are an amusing diversion rather than a social problem, but cranks in some other areas (e.g. the anti-evolution and anti-climate change people) have a lot more power than they ought to.

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karan129    2

Scientific American article on the gap between what the public thinks science is and what science actually is. Good read. Focuses on the issues people have with climate change.

 

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/doing-good-science/2011/07/06/dividing-cognitive-labor-sharing-a-world-the-american-public-and-climate-science/

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Veracohr    106

From reading the crackpot theories that insane laypeople come up with (sort of a hobby of mine), my impression is that making "dummies feel smart" is not a good thing. Understanding university-level physics, or whatever, is something that takes time and effort; if you could learn General Relativity and Quantum Field Theory by reading A Brief History of Time then physics degrees wouldn't need to take four years. There's nothing wrong with not understanding e.g. GR (nobody has time to understand everything), but the problem is that popular science books give people the impression that they understand something when they don't. That's why there are so many cranks who think they've come up with the Theory of Everything; because they have no idea how current theory makes predictions, what those predictions are and how many of those predictions have been tested and found to agree with experiment, they think that any idea that pops into their heads is just as good. The various physics and mathematical cranks that litter the internet are an amusing diversion rather than a social problem, but cranks in some other areas (e.g. the anti-evolution and anti-climate change people) have a lot more power than they ought to.

 

If you're talking about 'cranks', then I guess I misunderstood your use of the phrase "popular science". Besides, I was just being sarcastic and trying to push your buttons anyway. :P

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LuisBSF    26

I was given a full theory of the natural world at Ozora's Magic Garden last week... kinda went like "Dood, the universe is, like, this amAzing thing maan!" followed by why the sun happens to be god. Should put the likes of Rotwang out of business, you might just as well give up.

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IronSun    45

I was given a full theory of the natural world at Ozora's Magic Garden last week... kinda went like "Dood, the universe is, like, this amAzing thing maan!" followed by why the sun happens to be god. Should put the likes of Rotwang out of business, you might just as well give up.

 

You made me laugh out loudly, thank you.

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Rotwang    323

If you're talking about 'cranks', then I guess I misunderstood your use of the phrase "popular science".

 

How so? By "popular science" I mean books like A Brief History of Time and The Elegant Universe and so on.

 

I was given a full theory of the natural world at Ozora's Magic Garden last week... kinda went like "Dood, the universe is, like, this amAzing thing maan!" followed by why the sun happens to be god.

 

Huh. I never thought of that.

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Charlie    2

Yea Rotwang is just about to discover the meaning of life the Universe and Everything, and post it on Psynews first :rolleyes:

 

He won't if you keep that attitude up. It's all about confidence with these intellectual academics, once that's shot they seldom achieve anything, so a little more encouragement please. ;)

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Veracohr    106

How so? By "popular science" I mean books like A Brief History of Time and The Elegant Universe and so on.

I'm not really sure. :unsure: My mind is less than fully-functional lately.

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Rotwang    323

On why computational complexity is important for philosophy. What an awesome topic.

 

http://eccc.hpi-web.de/report/2011/108/

 

Just finished reading this. Very good, I didn't agree with all of the sections but there was a wealth of interesting info nonetheless.

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Veracohr    106

^

Those folks don't pay enough attention to science fiction to know they are paving the path to hell! :P

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karan129    2

I'd be interested in how the chip 'dynamically rewires' and how they select nodes to be connected. I mean are all nodes connected to each other, or just some. Because in the brain each neuron is connected to a several thousand other neurons out of the 100 billion neurons present. So how are these connections chosen?

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abasio    228

I was just reading that. It seems SETI is getting wet at the news too :P

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