06 FEB 2015 by ideonexus

 The One-Electron Universe

I received a telephone call one day at the graduate college at Princeton from Professor Wheeler, in which he said, "Feynman, I know why all electrons have the same charge and the same mass" "Why?" "Because, they are all the same electron!" And, then he explained on the telephone, "suppose that the world lines which we were ordinarily considering before in time and space - instead of only going up in time were a tremendous knot, and then, when we cut through the knot, by the pl...
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29 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

The controversial Sapir-Whorf hypothesis^ states that there is a direct relationship between the categories that are available in a language and the way the speakers of that language think and act. While if it were true that Ianguage completely determined thought, people would never have any thoughts that they could not express (and we know that's not true), there have nevertheless been some suggestive experiments in this area. For exampie, it was recently shown that one Amazonian tribe witho...
Folksonomies: language hypothesis
Folksonomies: language hypothesis
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The idea that restrictions in language restrict our ability to think.

21 JUN 2013 by ideonexus

 von Neumann Correctly Hypothesizes How Memory Works

The question of the physical embodiment of this memory remains. For this, various authorrs have suggested a variety of solutions. It has beeen proposed to assume that the thresholds—orr, more broadly stated, the stimulation criteria—^f or various nerve cells change with time as functions of the previous history of that cell. Thus frequent use of a nerve cell might lower its threshold, i.e. ease the requirements of its stimulation, and the like. If this were true, the memory would reside i...
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Neurons that get used more often become easier to use. He's just speculating, but his description is spot on.

24 FEB 2013 by ideonexus

 Hypothesizing on a World Without Stars

'Well, then, supposing there were other suns in the universe.' He broke off a little bashfully. 'I mean suns that are so far away that they're too dim to see. It sounds as if I've been reading some of that fantastic fiction, I suppose.' 'Not necessarily. Still, isn't that possibility eliminated by the fact that, according to the Law of Gravitation, they would make themselves evident by their attractive forces?' 'Not if they were far enough off,' rejoined Be...
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Asimov's world with so many suns there is no night is a place where people hypothesize other configurations of worlds they cannot see and do not believe exist.

29 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 The Problem with the Term "Music Theory"

Music Theory. You will forgive me for turning, as I always do in moments of intellectual want, to my Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, which defines the word "theory" as, and we quote, "The analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another." My friends, few words offer as much rational solace as does the word "theory." Examining the plausibility of a theory demands that we analyze facts, reason logically, think objectively, and examine comprehensively. Having done so, we will assumab...
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"Theory" implies facts and scientific understanding through observation and testing. Music is an art, filled with idiosyncrasies, and no hard rules.

08 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 Trivia VS Knowledge

Have you ever met anyone with an encyclopedic knowledge of obscure rock bands? I knew a group of people in Los Angeles who spent their time browsing the used bins at record shops back in the days when music was recorded on vinyl (which is making a comeback these days, even though most kids have never heard anything other than compressed 128-kilobite-per-second digital recordings). Some of these people were so obsessed with obscure bands that they deserved the moniker "vinyl vermin." They coll...
Folksonomies: theory hypothesis trivia
Folksonomies: theory hypothesis trivia
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Graffin relates the story of "Vinyl Vermin" who collected trivia about music rather than cultivating opinions on what was good or bad. He relates this to amassing taxonomy knowledge without a theory.

27 AUG 2012 by ideonexus

 Three Classes of Natural Philosopher

THOSE who have treated of natural pilosophy, may be nearly reduced to three classes. Of these some have been attributed to the several species of things, specific and occult qualities; on which, in a manner unknown, they make the operations of the several bodies to depend. The sum of the doctrine of the Schools derived from Aristotle and the Peripatetics is herein contained. They affirm that the several effects of the bodies arise from the particular natures of those bodies ariſe from the pa...
Folksonomies: philosophy hypothesis
Folksonomies: philosophy hypothesis
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Those who name things, but give them no meaning, those who extrapolate big ideas from observed phenomena, but ideas subject to fancy, and those content to describe the simple basic principles and leave it at that.

23 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 The Problem With a Good Hypthesis

There is one great difficulty with a good hypothesis. When it is completed and rounded, the corners smooth and the content cohesive and coherent, it is likely to become a thing in itself, a work of art. It is then like a finished sonnet or a painting completed. One hates to disturb it. Even if subsequent information should shoot a hole in it, one hates to tear it down because it once was beautiful and whole. One of our leading scientists, having reasoned a reef in the Pacific, was unable for ...
Folksonomies: science hypothesis
Folksonomies: science hypothesis
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Is that it is like a work of art and we are afraid to harm it.

06 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 Reasons the Dinosaurs Went Extinct

Why Become Extinct? Authors with varying competence have suggested that dinosaurs disappeared because the climate deteriorated (became suddenly or slowly too hot or cold or dry or wet), or that the diet did (with too much food or not enough of such substances as fern oil; from poisons in water or plants or ingested minerals; by bankruptcy of calcium or other necessary elements). Other writers have put the blame on disease, parasites, wars, anatomical or metabolic disorders (slipped vertebral ...
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A long list of crazy hypotheses.

05 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 How Science Really Works

It is often held that scientific hypotheses are constructed, and are to be constructed, only after a detailed weighing of all possible evidence bearing on the matter, and that then and only then may one consider, and still only tentatively, any hypotheses. This traditional view however, is largely incorrect, for not only is it absurdly impossible of application, but it is contradicted by the history of the development of any scientific theory. What happens in practice is that by intuitive ins...
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The scientist focuses on certain details, then hypothesizes, the hypothesis that holds up becomes theory.