kybernetikos + science   39

Book Review: The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions | Slate Star Codex
When I hear scientists talk about Thomas Kuhn, he sounds very reasonable. Scientists have theories that guide their work. Sometimes they run into things their theories can’t explain. Then some genius develops a new theory, and scientists are guided by that one. So the cycle repeats, knowledge gained with every step.

When I hear philosophers talk about Thomas Kuhn, he sounds like a madman. There is no such thing as ground-level truth! Only theory! No objective sense-data! Only theory...
philosophy  science  kuhn 
5 weeks ago by kybernetikos
Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans? - The Atlantic
It’s not often that you write a paper proposing a hypothesis that you don’t support. Gavin and I don’t believe the Earth once hosted a 50-million-year-old Paleocene civilization. But by asking if we could “see” truly ancient industrial civilizations, we were forced to ask about the generic kinds of impacts any civilization might have on a planet.
science  civilization  archaeology  history  Astrobiology  geology  anthropocene 
april 2018 by kybernetikos
MythBusters Results - List of Myths and Summaries
The MythBusters tested over 1,000 distinct myths in 271 hour-long episodes spanning 14 years, resulting in a vast amount of information about common myths and interesting phenomena. The following overview attempts to summarize and categorize the results of the entire MythBusters series as succinctly as possible.
fun  tv  science  myth 
march 2016 by kybernetikos
Sci-Hub: removing barriers in the way of science
At this time the widest possible distribution of research papers, as well as of other scientific or educational sources, is artificially restricted by copyright laws. Such laws effectively slow down the development of science in human society. The Sci-Hub project, running from 5th September 2011, is challenging the status quo. At the moment, Sci-Hub provides access to hundreds of thousands research papers every day, effectively bypassing any paywalls and restrictions.
ebooks  research  science  papers 
february 2016 by kybernetikos
Universe Sandbox
Create and destroy on an unimaginable scale
astronomy  physics  science  software  space 
january 2016 by kybernetikos
Charlie's Diary: The High Frontier, Redux
I write SF for a living. Possibly because of this, folks seem to think I ought to be an enthusiastic proponent of space exploration and space colonization. Space exploration? Yep, that's a fair cop — I'm all in favour of advancing the scientific enterprise. But actual space colonisation is another matter entirely
future  science  scifi  space  technology  hard  colonisation  impossible  difficult 
january 2016 by kybernetikos
How the Eyes of a Dragonfly Helped Us Discover New Galaxies
With a 14-centimeter aperture,1 one Canon lens wouldn’t reveal much: It would take weeks of nightly exposures just to collect enough light to make out the kind of dim objects the cosmologists hoped to see. And that was assuming perfect weather and no technical hiccups. But what if they added more lenses? By imaging galaxies through multiple lenses simultaneously, like a dragonfly’s compound eye, they could capture fainter structures in less time, while also correcting for errors.
astronomy  science  space  lens  optics  galaxy 
january 2016 by kybernetikos
The Dark Age Myth: An Atheist Reviews "God's Philosophers" | Strange Notions
The myth goes that the Greeks and Romans were wise and rational types who loved science and were on the brink of doing all kinds of marvelous things (inventing full-scale steam engines is one example that is usually, rather fancifully, invoked) until Christianity came along. Christianity then banned all learning and rational thought and ushered in the Dark Ages. Then an iron-fisted theocracy, backed by a Gestapo-style Inquisition, prevented any science or questioning inquiry from happening until Leonardo da Vinci invented intelligence and the wondrous Renaissance saved us all from Medieval darkness.
history  religion  science  atheism  conflict  medieval  dark  age 
may 2014 by kybernetikos
Cryptography Breakthrough Could Make Software Unhackable - Wired Science
A black box obfuscator would provide a way to instantly convert any private cryptography scheme to a public one that could be performed over the Internet by strangers. In a sense, obfuscation is the key to all cryptographies.
cryptography  science  security  obfuscation  program  public  private  code  secrecy  zeroknowledge 
february 2014 by kybernetikos
Norvig on Experiment Design
The warning signs to look out for when evaluating studies. Also, some good hints and tips for designing studies.
design  research  science  statistics  probability  hypothesis  testing  test  norvig  experiment 
october 2013 by kybernetikos
Short Words to Explain Relativity
Relativity explained in words of 4 letters or less.
humor  physics  relativity  science  einstein  constraints  short 
may 2013 by kybernetikos
Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine - The Long Now
"I'm sad because you're going to die."

"Yeah," he sighed, "that bugs me sometimes too. But not so much as you think." And after a few more steps, "When you get as old as I am, you start to realize that you've told most of the good stuff you know to other people anyway."
brain  connection  science  flow  wolfram  feynman  computer  computation  education  explain 
may 2013 by kybernetikos
The physics of that ‘kickalicious’ kick | Empirical Zeal
Analysing a trick kick: inspired by Rhett Allain’s blog posts, I decided to try my hand at analyzing this video with physics.

I downloaded a clip of the last trick, and opened it up in Tracker, an open source physics toolkit for video analysis.
tracker  track  trick  kick  analysis  science  trajectory 
january 2013 by kybernetikos
The drugs don't work: a modern medical scandal
As a doctor, I did something that, on the balance of all the evidence, harmed my patient, simply because unflattering data was left unpublished.

Nobody broke any law in that situation, reboxetine is still on the market and the system that allowed all this to happen is still in play, for all drugs, in all countries in the world. Negative data goes missing, for all treatments, in all areas of science. The regulators and professional bodies we would reasonably expect to stamp out such practices have failed us....

Drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients, and analysed using techniques that are flawed by design, in such a way that they exaggerate the benefits of treatments. Unsurprisingly, these trials tend to produce results that favour the manufacturer. When trials throw up results that companies don't like, they are perfectly entitled to hide them from doctors and patients, so we only ever see a distorted picture of any drug's true effects.
drugs  medicine  academic  science  badscience  badpharma  drug  funnel  publication  bias 
september 2012 by kybernetikos
PHYS771 Lecture 9: Quantum
the only reason we need experiments is that we're not smart enough. After the experiment has been done, if we've learned anything worth knowing at all, then hopefully we've learned why the experiment wasn't necessary to begin with -- why it wouldn't have made sense for the world to be any other way. But we're too dumb to figure it out ourselves!
physics  quantum  science  mathematics  math  lecture  teaching  probability 
july 2012 by kybernetikos
Letters of Note: Dear Einstein, Do Scientists Pray?
Dear Phyllis,

I will attempt to reply to your question as simply as I can. Here is my answer:

Scientists believe that every occurrence, including the affairs of human beings, is due to the laws of nature. Therefore a scientist cannot be inclined to believe that the course of events can be influenced by prayer, that is, by a supernaturally manifested wish.

However, we must concede that our actual knowledge of these forces is imperfect, so that in the end the belief in the existence of a final, ultimate spirit rests on a kind of faith. Such belief remains widespread even with the current achievements in science.

But also, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.

With cordial greetings,

your A. Einstein
history  einstein  deism  atheism  theism  god  science  religion 
july 2012 by kybernetikos
Color Wheels are wrong? How color vision actually works by @ASmartBear
You have to take perception into account when understanding color.
color  theory  art  design  science 
june 2012 by kybernetikos
MIT's Freaky Non-Stick Coating Keeps Ketchup Flowing | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation
When it comes to those last globs of ketchup inevitably stuck to every bottle of Heinz, most people either violently shake the container in hopes of eking out another drop or two, or perform the "secret" trick: smacking the "57" logo on the bottle’s neck. But not MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith. He and a team of mechanical engineers and nano-technologists at the Varanasi Research Group have been held up in an MIT lab for the last two months addressing this common dining problem.
science  materials  ketchup  sauce  waste  bottle  packaging  showergel 
may 2012 by kybernetikos
Phonograph - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In December, 1877, a young man came into the office of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, and placed before the editors a small, simple machine about which very few preliminary remarks were offered. The visitor without any ceremony whatever turned the crank, and to the astonishment of all present the machine said : " Good morning. How do you do? How do you like the phonograph?" The machine thus spoke for itself, and made known the fact that it was the phonograph..."
edison  sound  audio  phonograph  recording  science  engineering  invention  innovation 
may 2012 by kybernetikos
How to Fix Science
Science is broken. We know why, and we know how to fix it. What we lack is the will to change things.
philosophy  science  rationality  bias  method 
march 2012 by kybernetikos
Ultra-efficient LED puts out more power than is pumped in
While MIT's diode puts out more than twice as much energy in photons as it's fed in electrons, it doesn't violate the conservation of energy because it appears to draw in heat energy from its surroundings instead. When it gets more than 100 percent electrically-efficient, it begins to cool down, stealing energy from its environment to convert into more photons.
thermodynamics  efficiency  electronics  physics  science  light  led 
march 2012 by kybernetikos
Why Do Some People Learn Faster? | Wired Science |
The problem with praising kids for their innate intelligence — the “smart” compliment — is that it misrepresents the psychological reality of education. It encourages kids to avoid the most useful kind of learning activities, which is when we learn from our mistakes. Because unless we experience the unpleasant symptoms of being wrong — that surge of Pe activity a few hundred milliseconds after the error, directing our attention to the very thing we’d like to ignore — the mind will never revise its models. We’ll keep on making the same mistakes, forsaking self-improvement for the sake of self-confidence. Samuel Beckett had the right attitude: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
education  intelligence  learning  psychology  science  praise  reinforcement 
february 2012 by kybernetikos
Scott and Scurvy
Somehow a highly-trained group of scientists at the start of the 20th century knew less about scurvy than the average sea captain in Napoleonic times. Scott left a base abundantly stocked with fresh meat, fruits, apples, and lime juice, and headed out on the ice for five months with no protection against scurvy, all the while confident he was not at risk. What happened?
history  medicine  science  scurvy  deficiency  vitamin  germ  theory  scott  antarctic 
february 2012 by kybernetikos
Secret Worlds: The Universe Within
View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.
animation  astronomy  physics  science  space  scale  magnitude  powersoften  optics  zoom  perspective 
february 2012 by kybernetikos
Scale of the Universe 2012
Flash applet zooming from the quantum foam to the observable universe, visiting lots of things in between.
science  space  scale  zoom  powersoften  perspective  magnitude 
february 2012 by kybernetikos
Zap your brain into the zone: Fast track to pure focus
Whether you want to smash a forehand like Federer, or just be an Xbox hero, there is a shocking short cut to getting the brain of an expert
brain  flow  science  transcranial  stimulation  electrode  shock  neurology 
february 2012 by kybernetikos
Geometry Games
Games and applications in unusual geometries.
geometry  math  games  learning  science  fun  education  topology  mathematics  software 
november 2010 by kybernetikos
Vortex tube
Gives you hot and cold air simply through funnelling air flow.
energy  gas  science  wikipedia  vortex  heat  physics  thermodynamics  availabletotheancients  primitive 
november 2010 by kybernetikos
The Shared Scientific Toolbox
The Shared Scientific Toolbox is a library that facilitates development of efficient, modular, and robust scientific/distributed computing applications in Java. It features multidimensional arrays with extensive linear algebra and FFT support, an asynchronous, scalable networking layer, and advanced class loading, message passing, and statistics packages.
java  programming  science  linearalgebra  fft  numeric 
october 2010 by kybernetikos
Free Matlab compatible language
math  software  matlab  mathematics  science 
april 2008 by kybernetikos
The palimpsest
Archimedes was an amazing guy, and we've only just learnt how amazing through the recent work on this palimpsest.
archimedes  history  math  mathematics  physics  philosophy  science  hidden  mystery  book 
december 2007 by kybernetikos
symmetry - Particle Physics
Some interesting particle physics topics explained in 60 seconds.
physics  particle  explain  minute  education  research  science 
december 2006 by kybernetikos
13 things that do not make sense
New Scientist does a quick review of some unexplained scientific phenomenon.
science  weird  unexplained  placebo  constant  darkmatter  space  darkenergy  cosmicrays 
november 2006 by kybernetikos

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