Physics and English

This site is all about understanding behavior.

Learning is a form of behavior.

And some of the most daunting learning to be done in the “natural” world is staring physicists right in the face.

Physicists.  The same guys who brought you transistors, fractal antennae, MRI and Voyagers 1 and 2.

I saw this excellent video by Brady Haran, with a most excellent professor of physics ranting about someone who PRETENDS to understand physics enough to make outlandish propositions about what it means.

That’s not the point for this post.  The points comes later in his video (3:15 and 6:40) in response to an excellent question from Brady.  Perhaps it’s the language that physicists use to try and communicate the strange phenomena to themselves, and the rest of the world.

Here’s where the behavior comes in.

Physicists talk to each other, and rarely to the public, and even more rarely to academics in other disciplines.  Almost never ever to someone in the English department.

Here’s a list of some of the incredibly weird phenomena they have measured.

  • Entanglement (spooky action at a distance)
  • Spin
  • Momentum
  • Inflation
  • Big Bang
  • CP Violation
  • Dark Matter and Dark Energy
  • Unified Theories containing all the known forces
  • Wave Functions
  • Atomic Orbitals

All of these are extremely strange things that happen in reality, things we use every day without realizing it.

Yet they don’t make sense in our big classical world.

Here’s where the English department comes in.

Physicists need a whole new language that removes all the connections these phenomena make with the classical world.  Using words like orbital, wave, even matter and energy for the quantum world is going to put physicists at a disadvantage.

The person who’s going to figure out how to make sense of the quantum world is going to have to release themselves from the classical world.  When you grow up in a classical world that has orbits and waves, you’re automatically making the job harder.

So, to all you physicists out there who want to confront the greatest natural challenges of our time, take a moment to understand behavior.  Talk to an English major, and change your language.  Shed your classical skin and enter the quantum world.

It’s weird, it’s wacky, it’s beyond classical belief systems.

Yet, it’s all behavior.

Is it a particle, is it a wave?  It's neither.

PS – Who says we can’t have Fun with Fiziks?  By the way, for those who have their own wacky ideas about the quantum world, save them for later.  I have my own, but they will have to wait for the right cocktail party.

PPS – By the way, Math is the proper language of physics, of Nature for that matter.  However, this post is about talking to people who DON’T do math.  Thanks for reading.

Scientific Conservatives Have Axioms

I’m a Sci-Con, a scientific conservative.  It’s not a party, it’s a political philosophy.  As far as I can tell, it’s new.  Please, join me!

Respect history and our traditions, DON'T respect politicians or lobbyists. Validate EVERYTHING.

Remember Geometry?

Yes, way back when.  Yes, school.  Yes, hard.

 

That’s part of being a SciCon.  Doing things the hard way, the right way.  Not listening to the lawyers but deriving things using the best learning system ever invented in the last 2,500 years: Logic and Science.

Geometry has axioms.  These are things that are so true that we can trust them a lot.  A LOT.

You use axioms to prove larger statements.  And from there you can prove many other things.

One of the axioms of being a SciCon has to be along the lines of what police call a dying confession.  If someone is about to die, and they know it, and they tell you something, like so-and-so murdered me, it’s a good bet they are telling the whole truth.  After all, what’s in it for them?

So one of the root axioms of being a SciCon should be similar.

If a woman admits to having been assaulted, and there’s very little gain coming to her for speaking up about something painful, then there’s a very good chance she’s telling the truth.

Seems a bit obvious to some of you, but let’s face it, in this age of #MeToo, there seem to be a lot of “religious” and “conservative” and “family value” types who don’t want to believe all the young women out there who have been personally inspected by the predator-in-chief.

As a SciCon you must believe them.  They aren’t getting rich.  They probably don’t even want the fame.  Therefore, there is a cost to them to speaking up.  Therefore it’s probably true.

To all of you speaking up, please keep it up.  To all of you who are staying silent because you are afraid, you have friends (like me) willing to help in any way.  To those of you staying silent because you’ve been paid off, shame.

And to all those thinking of becoming a SciCon, prepare to believe.  The truth will set us all free.

 

Conspiracy of Silence

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The Rolling Stone magazine did a great article detailing known assault allegations against Don John, Predator-in-Chief.  I’m pretty ticked off about one aspect in particular, buying silence.

In particular, when a predator is done with his victim, he doesn’t want them to tell anyone else.  If the predator is rich enough, he hires a bunch of goons (lawyers) to give the victim money and a contract telling them to be silent.

The victim has sold their story, the truth, and their soul, along with their body.  They are no longer a victim, they are party to a contract.

The real victim becomes the truth.  And because the predator is still at large, more young women will come to harm.  The first victim has decided her pocketbook was more important than those other women’s dignity.

It makes sense that the predator himself wants his victims to remain silent, because it enables him to prey on others more easily.  If he’s rich enough, he can afford it.

But why doesn’t another rich person come along and buy out that contract?  For only a few extra dollars, the first victim can be just as rich, and the world would have her story.

Quid pro quo.  I’ll do you a favor if you do one for me.

If one rich person were to start doing this, than other rich people would do it to him.  As long as it’s only poor people who sell their voices, then the world of the rich is undisturbed.  But if one rich person were to come along and buy the truth, then someone richer would come along and buy stories embarrassing to him.

I’m confident that is how his lawyers would argue it with him.  I’m confident in this because to destroy the system of confidentiality agreements would also cut into the amount of money that lawyers make.  Anything that hurts their income is also one of the things they avoid.

Perhaps someone can crowd-fund social truth.  Perhaps.

Until we begin to truly value truth and values in society, we will continue to live in fear.  Women will be prey, alpha males will be predators.  We deify the rich and famous, ostracize the old and poor.

It’s better if we don’t talk about it.

After all, your silence is worth gold.

 

Buying Silence, Selling Truth

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The Rolling Stone magazine did a great article detailing known assault allegations against Don John, Predator-in-Chief.

The parts of it that make me angriest are those that purchase silence from the victims.

It makes sense that the predator himself wants his victims to remain silent, because it enables him to prey on others more easily.

But such agreements involve others, other men, other women.  These agreements involve parents of daughters, husbands, wives.  Why would these other people get involved in such a transgression of criminal activity?

For one thing, these other people we speak of are lawyers.  And lawyers are taught that ethics, morals, and the greater good are irrelevant.  The only things that matter are laws and verdicts.  The client’s interests are paramount, whether that client is a criminal, murderer, victim, or completely innocent.

Beyond agreements, there is also the ability to buy someone’s voice and become its owner.  The idea of “catch and kill” is something one of HIS friends has done to another woman who knew him.  She got money, he got silence.  She bought a house, he went on to harm another woman.

The women who remain silent, the women who sell their voices have their own conscience to contend with.  In some ways they can be considered almost as complicit as the predator himself.

They seem to be comfortable with selling their body, selling their tongue, even selling their soul.

Why not?  After all, it’s a free market.

Thanks for reading.

 

Scumbags Deserve Worse

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Recently a conservative cousin said women make up stories of assault for free publicity.

I find this belief incredible.  What’s going on in my cousin’s mind?

Maybe she thinks that when men become famous, publicity seeking women make up stories of how they were assaulted to get their names in the news.

Then why are there so many other “famous” men that don’t have hordes of publicity seeking women making up such stories?

Rhetorical question.  I know the answer, and there’s a good chance you do, too.

The stories are true.  The current man in power is a predator, a predator of women.

I can live with that.  After all, we study behavior.  We have to take what nature gives us.  The “majority” elected him, and he’s the head of the government.  Chances are he’s not the first predator-in-chief, and there’s a good chance he won’t be the last.

What can we do about it?

Here’s two names that have something in common: Natasha Stoynoff and Rachel Crooks.  Check out the article and you’ll find their names for the details.

These young women were assaulted by the Drumpf.  And they resisted.  Now their story is out there, but there is no proof.

Young women know they must be attractive.  Yet they have to avoid scumbags.  The chances of meeting a scumbag are excellent.  There’s a lot of them out there, and having a predator-in-chief only encourages them.

So what CAN we do about it?

 

Play along.  Go aggressive.  Pretend you actually like them.  That’s what predators really want.  Affirm their sexual appeal.  They think their very presence is a turn on.

Go ahead.  Turn them on.  Keep your head in high gear, your heart and hands under control, and resist the urge to scream or cry.

Here’s the hard part.  Turn the situation to your advantage.  Maneuver him into a room without his clothes on.  Put yourself into a safe room with a phone and lock the door and call police.  Make him take you someplace with cameras and then run.  Better yet, tie him up and throw all his clothes out the window.  Make sure to broadcast pictures of him first.

Are these bad things?  Of course.  Are they as bad as getting assaulted yourself?  Probably not.  Will they solve the problem?  Absolutely not.

But they will start changing the perception of helpless young women.  That’s what #MeToo is all about, recognizing and talking about the problem.

It’s time to fight back.

There’s a lot of men who aren’t scumbags, and they’ll support you.

Good luck.  And start practicing those knots.

 

Space isn’t big enough for: Space

Would you buy a hectare of moon for a single credit?

How about a million hectares for the same price?

There’s a LOT of moon, and that means there could be a lot of moon to sell.

More importantly for our first colonists, however, is the cost of LIVABLE real estate.

You could own the whole moon, but you’re only going to live on a little bit of it.

And since you can’t sleep outside very long, you’re going to need a roof,

and walls,

vacuum seals,

oxygen generators,

carbon dioxide scrubbers,

and, well, you get the picture.  Living on the moon is going to be very expensive.  It’s going to be way more expensive than living in downtown Tokyo, Manhattan, and London combined.

Do you know anyone who lives in those places?  If so, then you know that they also live under the following conditions:

Small rooms, thin walls, annoying neighbors, and lots of rules of things that they can’t do.

So, imagine what we’ve figured out.  The moon, cheapest real estate in the universe, yet has the most expensive livable real estate in the universe.  You’ll live in space, where there is no horizon, yet you’ll be able to reach out and touch both of your walls.

Infinite space, yet no place for claustrophobia.

Who knew?

 

Learning Yoga From Dad

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Other than modified tree pose, he’s never done yoga.

So HOW could he teach me?

First off, Dad was born in 1929, and he’s got a long list of maladies, any one of which could kill him.  Tomorrow.

But he’s pushing himself, living as if he’ll make it to 90.

He might.

He also tries new things to improve his body.  This means being able to go to the potty more easily.  But it’s his goal, and who am I to quibble?

He’s probably in this mess because of medical advice from 50 years ago for his bad back: Rest, avoid exercise, wear a brace, and take pills.  He did all that.

Today, doctors would probably recommend continuous exercise, working through pain, and avoiding pills is a better way to live.

However, the most important thing of all that I’ve learnt is incredible.

I was with Dad through all of this latest battle, starting with a broken vertebrae (L2), the ER, Hospice House, then a recovery room, and finally back home.  There were two times when nurses told me, this is it.  If he’d died, they would have said it was his time.

Except it wasn’t.  First off, I was able to be there and help him stave off poor medical practices.  Not malpractice, only poor quality.  Second, I was there as cheerleader, boosting morale, encouraging his WILL TO LIVE.  I gave him traditional football game locker room pep talks.

I could see the young athlete come alive.  He was a two-year all state football player in his day.  He was ripped.

That’s the key.  The will to live.

The greatest yogi of the 20th century was Tirumalai Krishnamacharya.  If you do yoga today, he probably invented it.  If he didn’t, you can bet your bippy he influenced it.

Many times, the guy who invents something doesn’t get to cash in on the great idea.  Same was true for TK.  He was dirt poor most of the time.  As advertising, he’d put on demonstrations of stopping his heart.

What?  Impossible!  How?

That’s what we say, knowing modern medicine.

But modern medicine also said my Dad was finished.  And then Dad applied his willpower.

That’s what TK did with his heart.  Willpower.

Both TK and my Dad have shown me that yoga can help us harness our own willpower as a way to become one with every part of our bodies.  Not only the voluntary nervous system, but even the autonomic nervous system that influences our heart.  All of it.  Our WHOLE body.

And that’s how Dad taught me about my own yoga.

  1. Push yourself.
  2. Set your own, small, goals.
  3. Adhere to it as a better way to live.
  4. Willpower is an integral part of our practice.

Thanks Dad.  Love, your son.

Aum…

 

Space isn’t big enough for: Inches

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Long ago, back when caves were considered prime real estate, we measured things using our fingers and feet.

More recently, we started defining the best units to use for learning.  There’s this outfit that helps the whole world get its act together.  They work very slowly, and nothing they do is mandatory.  That’s too bad, because the world has a lot of crazy stuff going on.

The world’s largest economy still uses old measurements based on units that don’t convert easily.  Quick, how many inches in a rod?  How about in a mile?

Do the same thing using the metric system.  Badabing!  Easy peasy.

Guess what?  If you’re an American dreaming of living on the moon, you better pack your undies and your sun-tan lotion (SPF 500!), but leave your feet and inches behind.

There’s not enough room.

 

 

Space isn’t big enough for: French

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As I study French using this great app, I come to a fairly sad realization.

Il n’y a pas de place pour la langue.

Even though space is large, mind-bendingly large, our first colonies aren’t going to be big enough for more than one language.

Imagine there being some kind of emergency, like trying to find the jam in the fridge, and you have to call out without thinking.  What if you used the wrong language?

Alright, maybe looking for jam isn’t the best example.  What if your rocket malfunctions and you need to get help immediately?  Hadn’t everyone better be on the same frequency?  As in knowing how to talk?

Learning french is fun.  The way they organize their thoughts are a bit different from the way us American English people normally do it.  But that’s what makes life here on Earth fun.  If I go to France and order some bread and cheese, but end up with a duck and ketchup, it’s only a moment of embarrassment.

Do the same thing on the moon, and it’s many times worse.  Alright, the bread and cheese example is, cheesy, but you get the picture.  Mistakes on the moon are extremely costly, and speaking more than one language comes with a price.

Sacre bleu!

 

 

 

 

Space isn’t big enough for: Mistakes

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Know of anyone hanging a picture on the wall and puncturing their water pipes?

Or using the toilet and maybe having to yell for toilet paper?  Or maybe the plunger?

Being “only human” means that we know we’re going to make mistakes.

Making a mistake here on planetoid Earth is relatively cheap.  Need the plunger?  Go and get it, take your time.

Now take that toilet and put it on the moon.  Not easy, is it?  Costs quite a bit, doesn’t it?  Maybe there’s only one seat for a whole lot of people.  Better be careful!

Oh oh.  Maybe a bit too much pastrami.  Did I break it?

Better not.  There’s nothing else, nowhere else to go!  Lots of people lining up, and now there no happiness to be had.  What’s going to happen now?

 

That’s only the toilet.

Now, what if you hang that picture, but you put a hole where it shouldn’t be, and you lose your air?  Or if the door doesn’t open right, or if the whole roof is going to fall in?

The kind of little mishaps we shrug off as minor become major mashups when you get up there.  The moon may be smaller than the Earth, and the colony may only have a small number of people, but mistakes would be much more expensive.

So, if you think about moving to the moon sometime, make sure to pack your bandaids and duck tape.  But leave your mistakes behind.

Space isn’t big enough.