Is our present defined by decisions we make in the future?
And maybe we don't know who killed JFK because the universe hasn't decided yet. A Huffington Post science blogger discusses the nature of history from a quantum perspective. To quote Stephen Hawking, "The histories of the universe depend on what is being measured, contrary to the usual idea that the universe has an objective observer-independent history." [more inside]
posted by GnomeChompsky
on Aug 20, 2010 -
The 300th issue
of This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics
will be the last. It is not an exaggeration to say that when John Baez
started publishing TWF in 1993, he invented the science blog, and an (academic) generation has now grown up reading his thoughts on higher category theory
, zeta functions
, quantum gravity
, crazy pictures of roots of polynomials
, science fiction
, and everything else that can loosely be called either "mathematical" or "physics."
Baez continues to blog actively at n-category cafe
and the associated nLab
(an intriguingly fermented commune of mathematicians, physicists, and philosophers.) He is now starting a new blog, Azimuth
, "centered around the theme of what scientists can do to help save the planet
posted by escabeche
on Aug 14, 2010 -
Physicist Erik Verlinde proposed in a recent paper
that the force of gravity can be derived from the principles of thermodynamics. NY Times explains
. [Physicist Lee] Smolin called it, “very interesting and also very incomplete.”
posted by jjray
on Jul 12, 2010 -
Experts are little help in the constant struggle in this conversation to separate myth from reality, because they have the same difficulty, and routinely demonstrate it by talking past each other. Respected scientists warn of imminent energy shortages as geologic fuel supplies run out. Wall Street executives dismiss their predictions as myths and call for more drilling. Environmentalists describe the destruction to the earth from burning coal, oil, and natural gas. Economists ignore them and describe the danger to the earth of failing to burn coal, oil, and natural gas. Geology researchers report fresh findings about what the earth was like millions of years ago. Creationist researchers report fresh findings that the earth didn’t exist millions of years ago. The only way not to get lost in this awful swamp is to review the basics and decide for yourself what you believe and what you don’t.
posted by infinite intimation
on Jun 27, 2010 -
is a physics game whose goal is to collect sprockets to unlock argumentations to your egg shaped rocket ship (and school you about IP law but you can ignore that part)
. [more inside]
posted by Mitheral
on May 31, 2010 -
Gravity from Quantum Information At the heart of their idea is the tricky question of what happens to information when it enters a black hole. Physicists have puzzled over this for decades with little consensus. But one thing they agree on is Landauer's principle: that erasing a bit of quantum information always increases the entropy of the Universe by a certain small amount and requires a specific amount of energy.
posted by kliuless
on Apr 1, 2010 -
is a physics game. Throw blocks off the stage by shooting balls at them. There are many types of blocks, there are many types of balls. 30 levels to finish. (flash, music/sound effects optional) [more inside]
posted by crunchland
on Mar 9, 2010 -
Quantum processes involved in photosynthesis?
"[A]lgae and bacteria may have been performing quantum calculations at life-friendly temperatures for billions of years. The evidence comes from a study of how energy travels
across the light-harvesting molecules involved in photosynthesis. The work has culminated this week in the extraordinary announcement that these molecules in a marine alga may exploit quantum processes at room temperature to transfer energy without loss. Physicists had previously ruled out
quantum processes, arguing that they could not persist for long enough at such temperatures to achieve anything useful." (via mr
posted by kliuless
on Feb 10, 2010 -
Double Full Full Full, annotated
(NYT video, reg REq'd) U.S. Olympic Team aerial skier Ryan St. Onge and a science reporter describe via video the physics going on as he executes a triple backflip with four twists.
Also, the snowboard halfpipe
. (Don't ask me why a triple backflip with four twists is called a "double full full full")
posted by planetkyoto
on Feb 3, 2010 -
The Genesis 2.0 Project The L.H.C. is not merely the world’s largest particle accelerator but the largest machine ever built. At the center of just one of the four main experimental stations installed around its circumference, and not even the biggest of the four, is a magnet that generates a magnetic field 100,000 times as strong as Earth’s. And because the super-conducting, super-colliding guts of the collider must be cooled by 120 tons of liquid helium, inside the machine it’s one degree colder than outer space, thus making the L.H.C. the coldest place in the universe.
posted by srboisvert
on Dec 29, 2009 -
The World's Smallest Snowman
is 10 µm across, 1/5th the width of a human hair. The snowman was made from two tin beads used to calibrate electron microscope astigmatism. The eyes and smile were milled using a focused ion beam, and the nose, which is under 1 µm wide (or 0.001 mm), is ion beam deposited platinum.
posted by netbros
on Dec 19, 2009 -
"Fun To Imagine"
is a BBC series from 1983 featuring theoretical physicist Richard Feynman thinking aloud. What is fire? How do rubber bands work? Why do mirrors flip left-right but not up-down? All is explained in his lovely meanderingly lucid manner. [more inside]
posted by mhjb
on Dec 15, 2009 -
Metafilter's Own Charlie Stross
asks the question; " You, and a quarter of a million other folks, have embarked on a 1000-year voyage aboard a hollowed-out asteroid. What sort of governance and society do you think would be most comfortable, not to mention likely to survive the trip without civil war, famine, and reigns of terror?" engrossing commentary follows
posted by The Whelk
on Dec 11, 2009 -