Posted 5 hours ago

New theory could be an alternative to the multiverse

New theory could be an alternative to the multiverse

It seems like there have been a number articles recently talking about the soul searching currently going on in the Physics community over the failure of the LHC to find evidence for super-symmetry (at least so far), a theory that had a lot of theoretical work resting on it.  This article discuses that and a new theory: scale symmetry.  Radical New Theory Could Kill the Multiverse Hypothesis |…

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Posted 1 day ago

Is logic and mathematics part of science?

Is logic and mathematics part of science?

Partial view of the Mandelbrot set.

Partial view of the Mandelbrot set. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week was scientism week at Scientia Salon, and I reblogged a post by Coel Hellier on a defense of scientism, mostly by arguing that mathematics was actually part of science.  As I indicated in my comment on that reblog, while I agree with Coel that both logic and mathematics have foundations that are empirically observable (my…

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Posted 1 day ago

Doctor Who: ‘Deep Breath’ - I like the new Doctor

Doctor Who: ‘Deep Breath’ – I like the new Doctor

doctor_who_peter_capaldiThe new Doctor Who season started Saturday and I just got around to watching the season opener.  I think Peter Cabaldi is going to make an excellent Doctor.  I’m pretty pleased to see the show return to an older Doctor.  Since it was restarted in 2005, the Doctors have been getting younger and younger, but anyone who watched the classic show knew that the Doctor has historically been a mature…

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Posted 1 day ago

Science is not a frog

Science is not a frog

Originally posted on Scientia Salon:

enjoy_scienceby Steven Paul Leiva

I am the author of a science fiction novel, Traveling in Space, and there is a bit of an irony in that. When I was in high school and college I was lucky to achieve even a D in science courses, and to this day any math beyond the four basics — addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division — puts me into a cold sweat. Even the four…

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Posted 6 days ago

Defending scientism: mathematics is a part of science

Defending scientism: mathematics is a part of science

Originally posted on Scientia Salon:

1+12[Editor’s Note: This essay is part of Scientia Salon’s special “scientism week” and could profitably be read alongside other entries on the same topic on this site, such as this one by John Shook and this one by yours truly. My take on the issue is very different from that of the authors who contributed to this special series, and indeed close to that of…

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Posted 1 week ago

xkcd: California drought

I’m reminded of Jared Diamond’s point in his book ‘Collapse’ about Montana, that if it were an independent civilization with the same environmental problems, not integrated with the rest of the United State, that it might have already collapsed.  Seeing this about California’s drought, it’s tempting to wonder the same thing about them, or the southwest in general.

Click through for full sized…

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Posted 1 week ago

Why is there something rather than nothing? Why would there be nothing?

Why is there something rather than nothing? Why would there be nothing? #philosophy #physics #religion

Amanda Gefter has an interesting article at Nautilus looking at a somewhat perennial question: How can something come from nothing? The Bridge From Nowhere – Issue 16: Nothingness – Nautilus.

In science, explanations are built of cause and effect. But if nothing is truly nothing, it lacks the power to cause. It’s not simply that we can’t find the right explanation—it’s that explanation itself fai…

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Posted 1 week ago

A Dialog on Happiness - Existential Comics

What is happiness?  I think anyone who has ever given the question serious thought realizes that there is no one simple answer.

Click though for the full version.

via A Dialog on Happiness – Existential Comics.

I would say that Amencia’s first example is defective though.  If the man hooked up to the machine is watching terrible things but isn’t enjoying it while it’s happening, then the machine…

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Posted 1 week ago

Poseidon’s Children: a review of the first two books

Poseidon’s Children: a review of the first two books #ScienceFiction #scifi

BlueRememberedEarthCoverI’ve recently read the first two books in Alastair Reynolds’s new series, ‘Poseidon’s Children’: ‘Blue Remembered Earth‘ and ‘On the Steel Breeze‘.  I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of Reynolds’s work, and these books fit his usual style: hard(ish) science fiction, a rich and interesting universe, and characters in interesting situations and dilemmas.

The first book takes place in the 22nd…

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Posted 1 week ago

IBM’s Watson: Cognitive or Sentient?

I’ve heard of Watson of course, the supercomputer system that won at Jeopardy, but I think I stilled picked up some interesting bits from this video.