02 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Star Wars as a Nonsensical Failed State

Most technologies in the Star Wars universe that don’t have some capability of being used in war… well, they kinda just suck. There are so many areas where it seems like average Star Wars tech should outdo itself given how advanced the military-grade technology is, but in practice it doesn’t appear to make much difference at all. Repair droids who aren’t astromechs—like the pit droid crews used in podracing—have nowhere near the sophistication of their battle-ready cousins. Commu...
Folksonomies: critical theory
Folksonomies: critical theory
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25 OCT 2017 by ideonexus

 Anger isn't Necessary and Gets In the Way

A prominent author who recently disagreed with me on a technical matter quickly labelled me as belonging to a ‘department of bullshit’. Ouch! How is it possible not to get offended by this sort of thing, especially when it’s coming not from an anonymous troll, but from a famous guy with more than 200,000 followers? By implementing the advice of another Stoic philosopher, the second-century slave-turned-teacher Epictetus, who admonished his students in this way: ‘Remember that it is we...
Folksonomies: anger stoicism
Folksonomies: anger stoicism
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24 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 We All Experiment

Experimentation is something done by everyone all the time. Babies experiment with what might be good to put in their mouths. Toddlers experiment with various behaviors to see what they can get away with. Teenagers experiment with sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But because people don’t really see these things as experiments or as ways of collecting evidence in support or refutation of hypotheses, they don’t learn to think about experimentation as something they do constantly and thus need...
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Roger Schank describes a world where we are all collecting evidence to test various hypotheses.

25 DEC 2012 by ideonexus

 Life Works Against the Tide of Entropy

The harsh, demystifying light of science has left the modern biologist with one last miracle, a miracle of organization. Somehow, back in the planet's youth, molecules organized themselves into a structure that could reproduce itself. Dust quickened, and into an inanimate world came animation. All the rest has followed, the flight of the pelican, the fragrance of a baby's skin, the songs of wolf and whale. These latter developments are relatively recent and we know in a general way how they c...
Folksonomies: life entropy thermodynamics
Folksonomies: life entropy thermodynamics
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While everything else in the universe is trending toward disorder, life works against the trend.

15 DEC 2011 by ideonexus

 Bumbling Humans Made It to the Moon

So there he is at last. Man on the moon. The poor magnificent bungler! He can't even get to the office without undergoing the agonies of the damned, but give him a little metal, a few chemicals, some wire and twenty or thirty billion dollars and, vroom! there he is, up on a rock a quarter of a million miles up in the sky.
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Written after the success of the Apollo mission, Baker points out how bumbling people are in everyday life, but with technology we can go to the Moon.

19 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 The Empty Space in an Atom

A favourite analogy portrays the nucleus as a fly in the middle of a sports stadium. The nearest neighbouring nucleus is another fly, in the middle of an adjacent stadium. The electrons of each atom are buzzing about in orbit around their respective flies, smaller than the tiniest gnats, too small to be seen on the same scale as the flies. When we look at a solid lump of iron or rock, we are 'really' looking at what is almost entirely empty space. It looks and feels solid and opaque because o...
Folksonomies: wonder atom analogy model
Folksonomies: wonder atom analogy model
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Our senses are not adapted to experience the empty space between atoms.