Tag Archives: science

Quote

How to learn physics, via Susan Fowler

Susan is famous now (for good reason!), but before she was famous, she wrote this excellent blog post:  If Susan Can Learn Physics, So Can You — Susan Fowler.

I came across it because I was trying to learn physics again. (I started off taking physics ages ago but dropped it because, well, long story, but I ended up in Computer Science and Mathematics and went on to have a career at IBM so it worked out.) I followed a lot of Susan’s advice, and while I am not good at physics yet, I highly recommend this to anyone serious about it. (Just stay away from programs that want to weed out most of the class because they want small class sizes.)

(Image via Susan’s blog)

Quote

No, you cannot nuke a hurricane (and the alternatives aren’t great either)

Yes, nuking a hurricane is a bad idea. (duh.) There are better ideas,
but as Vox explains, even those are prone to problems. For example…

In one of the most infamous attempts to slay a hurricane, Nobel laureate Irving Langmuir led a US military experiment in 1947 to seed Hurricane King with ice in hopes of sapping its vigor. The storm at the time was sliding away from the United States and losing strength.

In an excerpt in the Atlantic from his book Caesar’s Last Breath, author Sam Kean explained Langmuir’s idea: Growing ice in the eye of the hurricane would make the eye grow wider and collapse the storm. But Hurricane King didn’t respond as expected. “To everyone’s horror, it then pivoted — taking an impossible 135-degree turn — and began racing into Savannah, Georgia, causing $3 million in damage ($32 million today) and killing one person,” Kean writes.

So yeah, it’s no small thing to stop hurricanes. But given that climate change may make things worse, it could be worth it.

Quote

What goes into a spacesuit?

Quite a lot! And it took quite a lot to figure it out! Did you know part of the mission of the space suit is just to filter out body odor? Or that the spacesuit of one astronaut can be used to help another astronaut with a failing suit? There’s lots of interesting facts about spacesuits, here: Apollo’s PLSS And The Science Of Keeping Humans Alive In Space | Hackaday

Quote

Not all mindfulness is the same


If you think all mindfulness is the same, then read this: Different Types Of Meditation Change Different Areas Of The Brain, Study Finds.

Key quote:

a new study from the Max Planck Institute finds that three different types of meditation training are linked to changes in corresponding brain regions. The results, published in Science Advances, have a lot of relevance to schools, businesses and, of course, the general public.

Mindfulness can be helpful for many reasons. But how you pursue it can yield different results. Something to keep in…mind.

Quote

Everyone should have a hobby. Einstein’s was different than most

When it comes to Einstein, what comes to mind? This?

How about this?


Yep, his hobby was making a better fridge. Read about it here:  Einstein’s Little-Known Passion Project? A Refrigerator | WIRED.

It’s odd but fun to read.

Quote

The problem with falsificationism

An interesting critique of it here:  Why falsificationism is false

Quote

Climate change: the bigger picture, from Bill Gates


If you want to understand the challenge of dealing with climate change, then read this: Climate change and the 75% problem | Bill Gates.

There are things you can do in your own day to day to reduce your contribution to climate change. But in the bigger picture, much larger changes have to happen. And soon. You can contribute there too, by supporting politicians and companies and other organizations that are working to make big positive changes.

You can’t do it alone, but every thing you do move us in the right direction. We are cutting out coal. We are getting energy efficient. We are eating more of the right things. Many many things are being done that help, and much more can be done to improve things. Keep up the good work, and work hard to avoid complacency and despair.