Science

“Random” prime numbers and human projections

“So just what has got mathematicians spooked? Apart from 2 and 5, all prime numbers end in 1, 3, 7 or 9 – they have to, else they would be divisible by 2 or 5 – and each of the four endings is equally likely. But while searching through the primes, the pair noticed that primes ending in 1 were less likely to be followed by another prime ending in 1. That shouldn’t happen if …

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Religion’s smart-people problem

Religion’s smart-people problem: The shaky intellectual foundations of absolute faith – Salon.com: “But we shouldn’t be deceived. Although there are many educated religious believers, including some philosophers and scientists, religious belief declines with educational attainment, particularly with scientific education. Studies also show that religious belief declines among those with higher IQs. Hawking, Dennett and Dawkins are not outliers, and neither is Bill Gates or Warren Buffett.”

This is the perfect opening to a scifi novel…

“With the help of James Jubilee, a former American arms control officer and now a senior science and technology coordinator for health issues in Kazakhstan, Dr. LaPorte tracked down Mr. Dey through the State Department, and his images and documentation quickly convinced them of the earthworks’ authenticity and importance.” Source: NASA Adds to Evidence of Mysterious Ancient Earthworks Get to writing, someone. I want to read this book and how humanity is shaken to its …

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On Invoking Galileo and Columbus in Your Arguments

“If you are arguing against climate change, vaccines, evolution, etc. you do not get to invoke Galileo because in any accurate analogy, you are the religious fanatics (or the astronomers who blindly clung to Aristotle).” Source: No one thought that Galileo was crazy, and everyone in Columbus’s day knew that the earth was round | The Logic of Science If only I had a dime for every time I’ve encountered the “Yeah? Well, everyone thought …

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Polynomial Codes Over Certain Finite Fields, or Why Things You Don’t Think Matter Actually Matter

“Whatever new technologies are on the horizon, history has taught us that Reed-Solomon-based coding will probably still be there, behind the scenes, safeguarding our data against errors. Like the genes within an organism, the codes have been passed down to subsequent generations, slightly adjusted and optimized for their new environment. They have a proven track record that starts on Earth and extends ever further into the Milky Way. “There cannot be a code that can …

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“Losing My Religion”

“If people do that and remain or become evangelical, I’m OK with that.  So long as they don’t hurt and exploit others, especially the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized.   If they remain or become Catholic, AOK.  If they remain or become Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, pagan, agnostic, atheist, or anything else, I really don’t care.  I care only that (a) they think about it and (b) they actively love others and do good to …

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Realizing Our Place in the Universe

“This image, captured with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is the largest and sharpest image ever taken of the Andromeda galaxy — otherwise known as M31.This is a cropped version of the full image and has 1.5 billion pixels. You would need more than 600 HD television screens to display the whole image.” via Sharpest ever view of the Andromeda Galaxy | ESA/Hubble. I had to download the 4.3 GB file. For science.

Brian Greene on the State of String Theory 2015

Much as the sonorous tones of a cello arise from the vibrations of the instrument’s strings, the collection of nature’s particles would arise from the vibrations of the tiny filaments described by string theory. The long list of disparate particles that had been revealed over a century of experiments would be recast as harmonious “notes” comprising nature’s score. via Why String Theory Still Offers Hope We Can Unify Physics | Smithsonian.

Shortest Day of the Year

The Sun is directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere during the December Solstice. The December Solstice occurs when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, when the North Pole is tilted furthest – 23.5 degrees – away from the Sun. via TimeAndDate.com At 6:03 PM EST last night, our geographic location was the furthermost position away from the sun that it will be until …

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My Interstellar Review (Spoiler Free!)

I was excited to see Interstellar last weekend. I’ve always been impressed with Director Christopher Nolan’s movies and the artistic vision he has brought to everything from Batman to Inception. It’s hard to write a full review of something as expansive as Interstellar, especially since I’m not a film critic and there are a number of supposed plot twists, surprises, and a “big reveal” at the end that I’m guessing was supposed to move viewers …

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Math on the Simpsons

Fun read… A look into the deep, dark, strangely complicated world of Simpsons mathematics. via Homer's Last Theorem – Boing Boing.

Earth Has Water Older than the Sun

They estimate that somewhere between 30% and 50% of the water in Earth’s oceans must be older than the Sun. via Earth Has Water Older than the Sun – Scientific American.

Happy Birthday, Principia

Almost missed it… Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Latin for “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”, often referred to as simply the Principia, is a work in three books by Sir Isaac Newton, in Latin, first published 5 July 1687 via Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Universal Numbers

Thanks to Steven for passing this on…

Watching the new Cosmos on Fox (Newton episode) and really miss being an 8th grade science teacher now.

Inflationary Theory Confirmation and Human Nature

That humans have confirmed the Higgs boson and much of the underpinnings of the inflationary nature of the universe shortly after the Big Bang (gravity waves!) in the last two years (not to mention other advances in biological, psychological and sociological sciences) in a time of scientific budget cuts and anti-scientific thinking in our country gives me great hope for our species in this still young century. We’re explorers, and these understandings of the universe …

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Decomposers and Radiation

Chilling to see the results of Chernobyl still working themselves out in the natural world… “Apart from a few ants, the dead tree trunks were largely unscathed when we first encountered them,” says Timothy Mousseau, a biologist at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and lead author of the study. “It was striking, given that in the forests where I live, a fallen tree is mostly sawdust after a decade of lying on the ground.” …

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SC Earthquake!

Merianna and I were watching House of Cards Season 2 and I happened to be sitting on the floor playing with the pups when I remarked “was that an earthquake??” Turns out… yep.

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