01 DEC 2014 by ideonexus

 Schrodinger's Cat as a Lock for a Box

Quantum mechanics claims that there is no definite cat in the box, only a ghost, a superposition of a live cat and a dead cat. That is, until we open it and look. A measurement will collapse the system into one state or the other. So goes Schrödinger’s thought experiment. It is completely wrong, of course. A cat is a macroscopic system, and there is no mysterious intervention by a magical observer needed to make it live or die: just its interaction with the rest of the Universe, a phenome...
Folksonomies: quantum physics
Folksonomies: quantum physics
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22 APR 2014 by ideonexus

 Knowledge VS Understanding

Knowledge understanding The facts The meaning of the facts A body of coherent facts The “theory” that provides coherence and meaning to those facts Verifiable claims Fallible, in-process theories Rightor wrong A matter of degree or sophistication I know something to be true I understand why it is, what makes it knowledge I respond on cue with what I know I judge when to and when not to use what I know  
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24 DEC 2013 by ideonexus


However, the subject need not be an esoteric one for a gedankenexperiment to be fruitful. My own favorite is Galileo’s proof that, contrary to Aristotle’s view, objects of different mass fall in a vacuum with the same acceleration. One might think that a real experiment needs to be conducted to test that hypothesis, but Galileo simply asked us to consider a large and a small stone tied together by a very light string. If Aristotle was right, the large stone should speed up the smaller one...
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Gino Segre on the importance and validity of "thought-experiments," using Galileo's disproof of objects falling at different rates as an example.

08 AUG 2013 by ideonexus

 The Siren Server

A Siren Server, as I will refer to such a thing, is an elite computer, or coordinated collection of computers, on a network. It is characterized by narcissism, hyperamplified risk aversion, and extreme information asymmetry. It is the winner of an all-or-nothing contest, and it inflicts smaller all-or-nothing contests on those who interact with it. Siren Servers gather data from the network, often without having to pay for it. The data is analyzed using the most powerful available computers, ...
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Web services that entice people to contribute to them, and whose contributions are then aggregated in various forms for the profit of the server owner.