The power of math: 17 Equations That Changed the World - a one table summary of the book by Ian Stewart FRS. Business Insider gives its interpretation of the importance of each equation. Brain pickings (2012) on this book and equations, and another extract from the book. [more inside]
Let's Talk About Science is a blog devoted to discussing the world of science and technology communication with clear, beginner-friendly language, written and compiled by nanoscientist/physicist Jessamyn Fairfield and science educator ErinDubitably. [more inside]
Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia," Twenty Years Later. Novelist Brad Leithauser muses on "the finest play written in my lifetime": One sign of "Arcadia"'s greatness is how assuredly it blends its disparate chemicals, creating a compound of most peculiar properties. The play’s ingredients include sexual jealousy and poetasters and the gothic school of landscape gardening and duelling and chaos theory and botany and the perennial war between Classical and Romantic aesthetics and the maturing of mathematical prodigies. [more inside]
The Nature of Computation - Intellects Vast and Warm and Sympathetic: "I hand you a network or graph, and ask whether there is a path through the network that crosses each edge exactly once, returning to its starting point. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Eulerian' cycle.) Then I hand you another network, and ask whether there is a path which visits each node exactly once. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Hamiltonian' cycle.) How hard is it to answer me?" (via) [more inside]
As they become more readily available to consumers, LEDs will undoubtedly replace CFLs as the primary light source for residential and commercial, inside and out, due to their dramatic efficiency gains. In an unexpected turn of events, however, MIT researchers have developed an LED with 230 percent efficiency. Previously [more inside]
"We do not share the view of many of our economics colleagues that growth will solve the economic problem, that narrow self-interest is the only dependable human motive, that technology will always find a substitute for any depleted resource, that the market can efficiently allocate all types of goods, that free markets always lead to an equilibrium balancing supply and demand, or that the laws of thermodynamics are irrelevant to economics."
Professor Brian Cox: "If there were an afterlife I would have to reconsider the engineering design of fridges with a very critical eye" The field of cessation thermodynamics considers how the hereafter might be powered - probably without 21 grams of human soul - and whether this may mean hell will freeze over. [more inside]
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.”
Claiming to have invented a perpetual motion machine in 2006, Steorn Inc. (previously on Metafilter here and here) challenged a team of 22 international scientists and engineers to "verify" their apparently impossible device. Last week the scientific jury announced their results: “The unanimous verdict of the jury is that Steorn’s attempts to demonstrate the claim have not shown the production of energy,” it stated. “The jury is therefore ceasing work.” [more inside]
The Mechanical Universe...and Beyond is a critically-acclaimed series of 52 thirty-minute videotape programs covering the basic topics of an introductory university physics course. This well produced and highly informative 52 episode series, hosted by David Goodstein of Caltech, is available as Video on Demand (Note: simple registration required to view videos). [more inside]
Previously featured on MetaFilter, "Free Energy" company Steorn had scheduled a demonstration of their revolutionary, world-changing, physics-defying contraption Orbo to open today at London's Kinetica Museum. But due to "intense heat" from camera lighting, their fake invention isn't working today. Here's the live web feed of an empty box. Incidentally, it seems that the Steorn folks have allies in high - very high - places.
Nature abhors a gradient. So I was reading about the latest developments in the Behe Panda trial and I came across a link to this way of thinking, in essence that the 2nd law of thermodynamics is the guiding force behind complexity (summarised here). Like any good scientific theory, they have a blog but can they explain the Tuatara, which seems a little lacking in contemporary gradient reduction?
Perpetual-motion machine being sold on eBay. It's essentially six automotive alternators connected (via motorcycle chain) to an electric motor. One of the alternators supposedly powers the motor, leaving the remaining five to provide 700W of free energy. Sigh...people actually believe this crapola?
"The second law of thermodynamics always rules: Everything is always running down. And so is our Bill of Rights. The current junta in charge of our affairs, one not legally elected, but put in charge of us by the Supreme Court in the interests of the oil and gas and defense lobbies, have used first Oklahoma City and now September 11 to further erode things."
Inventor Claims Zero Point Energy Source Calling his invention a "Jasker", an Irish Electrical Engineer (who is keeping his identity a secret), claims to have a working prototype of a machine that is capable of replenishing its own energy source. We've heard this sort of thing before, and there are hundreds of other "inventors" making the same sorts of claims, but could this one be for real? And how does this fit in with the First Law of Thermodynamics?