Post with 5 notes
Could 501 seagulls really airlift a peach that large? The answer: No. To make it work, James would have needed approximately 2,425,907 seagulls.
Boing Boing: Great Moments in Pedantry: James and the Giant Peach needs moar seagulls
Photo with 14 notes
Wingtip vortex with coloured smoke (NASA Langley Research Center).
Quote with 3 notes
Something unknown is doing we don’t know what
Quote with 5 notes
The misconception which has haunted philosophic literature throughout the centuries is the notion of ‘independent existence’. There is no such mode of existence; every entity is to be understood in terms of the way it is interwoven with the rest of the universe.
Post with 4 notes
After winning the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics, Richard Feynman received a letter from Dr. George Beadle at the University of Chicago offering him an honorary degree.
This was his reply:
Yours is the first honorary degree that I have been offered, and I thank you for considering me for such an honor.
However, I remember the work I did to get a real degree at Princeton and the guys on the same platform receiving honorary degrees without work—and felt an “honorary degree” was a debasement of the idea of a “degree which confirms certain work has been accomplished.” It is like giving an “honorary electricians license.” I swore then that if by chance I was ever offered one I would not accept it.
Now at last (twenty-five years later) you have given me a chance to carry out my vow.
So thank you, but I do not wish to accept the honorary degree you offered.
Richard P. Feynman
From: Don’t You Have Time to Think? (Penguin Books, 2005)
Post with 4 notes
All the evidence now points to the likelihood that our Universe will keep on expanding forever, at an accelerating rate. The process is exactly like a slower version of the inflation that produced the bubble of space we live in. Eventually — and it doesn’t matter how long it takes since we have eternity to play with — all the stars will die and all the matter of the Universe will either decay into radiation or be swallowed up in black holes. But even black holes do not last forever. Thanks to quantum processes, energy leaks away from black holes in the form of radiation. This happens at an accelerating rate, and eventually they disappear in a puff of gamma rays. So the ultimate fate of our Universe is to become an exponentially expanding region of space filled with a low density of radiation. This is exactly the situation described by the solution to Einstein’s equations found by de Sitter, and known as de Sitter space.
John Gribbin, In Search of the Multiverse
Post with 4 notes
Whereas science is positive, contenting itself with reporting what it discovers, scientism is negative. It goes beyond the actual findings of science to deny that other approaches to knowledge are valid and other truths true….The triumphs of modern science went to man’s head in something of the way rum does, causing him to grow loose in his logic. He came to think that what science discovers somehow casts doubt on things it does not discover; that the success it realizes in its own domain throws into question the reality of domains its devices cannot touch.
Huston Smith, Forgotten Truth
When it repudiates a past paradigm, a scientific community simultaneously renounces, as a fit subject for professional scrutiny, most of the books and articles in which that paradigm has been embodied. Scientific education makes use of no equivalent for the art museum or the library of classics, and the result is a sometimes drastic distortion in the scientist’s perception of his discipline’s past. More than the practitioners of other creative fields, he comes to see it as leading in a straight line to the discipline’s present vantage.
Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Post with 8 notes
The girls on the Modern side were doing German and Spanish, which, when rehearsed between periods, made the astonishing noises of foreign stations got in passing on the wireless. A mademoiselle with black frizzy hair, who wore a striped shirt with real cufflinks, was pronouncing French in a foreign way which never really caught on. The science room smelt unevenly of the Canongate on that day of the winter’s walk with Miss Brodie, the bunsen burners, and the sweet autumnal smoke that drifted in from the first burning leaves. Here in the science room — strictly not to be referred to as a laboratory — lessons were called experiments, which gave everyone the feeling that not even Miss Lockhart knew what the result might be, and anything might occur between their going in and coming out and the school might blow up.
Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie