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review 2018-06-23 19:08
Implausifiability in Physics: “Lost in Math - How Beauty Leads Physics Astray” by Sabine Hossenfelder
Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray - Sabine Hossenfelder

“The time it takes to test a new fundamental law of nature can be longer than a scientist’s career. This forces theorists to draw upon criteria other than empirical adequacy to decide which research avenues to pursue. Aesthetic appeal is one of them. In our search for new ideas, beauty plays many roles. It’s a guide, a reward, a motivation. It is also a systematic bias“

In “Lost in Math - How Beauty Leads Physics Astray” by Sabine Hossenfelder

One of the most obnoxious notions I’ve ever read in Physics is the one that purports that we’re a simulation. If it's all a simulation, why wouldn't the world that simulated us be a simulation too? This is the turtles all the way down idea. This doesn't mean it isn't true but it's also the same question as, if God created the universe and us, who created God? The answer I sometimes get when I say it’s all hogwash, is that the theory is aesthetically pleasing. Where is the evidence? And more importantly, is it “implausifiable” (I’m borrowing here Hossenfelder’s term)? The supposed evidence for our universe being a simulation seems to largely include the idea that if we extrapolate our technological progress further ahead in time, we will be able to build such a simulation ourselves *therefore* we are a simulation.


If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-04-27 17:16
Dumbed-Down-Science Squared: "String Theory for Dummies" by Andrew Zimmerman Jones
String Theory For Dummies - Andrew Zimmerman Jones,Daniel Robbins

My criticism of these kind of books, from what I have read from other stuff, is that the writers tend to spout all the standard or classic theories as tablets of stone and rarely introduce new ideas (presentation-wise). Imagine you were able to generate a video clip of a science book where a whole gallery of core concepts flashed by in say 60 minutes. Are we sure we’d be able to learn something from the process? Is it likely that some of the images would leave a deep impression on you? My two cents: in fact, you are seeing it, but not understanding it. It is probably similar with these dummy series of books; you get an impression, maybe even learn something, but it is unlikely to have a significant effect on your understanding of the subject at hand. I suppose it depends on the reason one attempts the book in the first place. Snobbery? (Yes, of course I have read a String Theory book.) To enter a pub quiz? (Answer to Q69: The twin at the edge of the galaxy ages more quickly.) To search for understanding about how and why the world works as it does, and how we came to understand it? (Say what?) In this age of everything-available-at-your-fingertips, aren't we all a little guilty of wanting answers to pub quiz questions without doing the work of understanding how the answer was derived? I had a physics teacher at college who kept insisting for me to "show my working". Seeking facts without understanding limits our horizons; reduces us to consumers of other people's work; makes us lazy; leads eventually to the (sorry, folks) copy-and-paste unchecked stories about the EU, the bite-size propaganda of referendum campaigns, the swallowing hook-line-and-sinker of stories that serve as confirmation bias, the decrying of experts simply because they are experts, the loss of critical reading skills.


Which is where we are today.



If you're into Fake Science, read on.

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review 2017-10-24 17:21
Wayward Vols 1-4
Wayward Vol. 1: String Theory - Jim Zub,Jim Zub,Steve Cummings,John Rauch
Wayward Vol. 4: Threads and Portents - Jim Zub,Steven Cummings,Tamra Bonvillain

The Wayward series chronicles the adventures Rori when she goes to Japan to live her mother.  Rori’s parents are divorced, her father is Irish, and something has happened to drive her away from Ireland where she spent most of her life.  The culture shock she suffers is more “my Japanese isn’t all that good” which is a nice refreshing change.  She is of both and of neither culture.


                Rori soon finds that things in Japan are different.  She can see threads, and this leads her to meeting with Ayane, a cat girl (or cats who are a girl), and eventually Shirai and Niakido.  The four are teens who have a variety of unique powers, and they are being hunted by the Japanese powers of old, including Kitsune.  Rori’s mother is connected and in some way, and the first volume ends with an epic and from a story telling standing point, a very brave showdown. 


                The second and third volumes add more characters, including Ohara Emi and Inaba Kami (who is kitsune who is very cute but kick ass).  The team struggles with unfolding power, manipulation, and the question of what is right.


                Part of what makes Wayward so compelling is the very human nature of those who inhabit the story.  It isn’t just Rori and her companions, but their enemies as well – beings who are struggling just as much to keep alive.  Rori’s methods too are at times questionable.  One of the most heart wrenching sequences concerns Ohara who is trying to be both a dutiful daughter and a savior of society.


                In Wayward, Jim Zub and Co have presented not just a fable for modern society, but something more, something that examines not only multi-cultural issue but globalization    as well. 


                Seriously, you should read this.

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review 2017-10-14 21:30
Entangled Strings: "Theories of Everything" by Frank Close
Theories of Everything: Ideas in Profile - Frank Close
I’ve got a theory that the rules of the universe ARE created by people thinking up theories about it. Although due to elitism bias, i am yet to receive any funding for my groundbreaking “hypothesis.” Fucking scientist bastards, getting paid for thinking about stuff they think I can’t understand... what a scam.
I suspect that a lot of the hostility and rejection of science by people who can't understand it is because it makes them feel stupid. It is, after all, fundamental to understanding how the world works. Some people are scientists; some people are not, but know what science is; but some people not only don't understand science, but don't know that they don't know, because they can't even see it. This is a bit analogous to being able to read. Some can go into a library and read in a few languages, some only in one, others can know what books are but not be able to read, and some don't actually know what books are and feel stupid, so pretend that they either don't exist or are some sort of conspiracy against them, which makes them feel important. There are theories around which involved such complex mathematics only a handful of people in the entire world can understand them. Peer review not much use here and enter this new age of egg-heads trying to “out-complexify” each other.
If you're into Physics and Loop Quantum Gravity, read on.
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review 2017-09-19 07:44
All Much Ado about Nothing: “The Trouble with Physics” by Lee Smolin
The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science and What Comes Next - Lee Smolin

“The Weinberg-Salam model requires that the Higgs field exist and that it manifest itself as the new elementary particle called the Higgs boson, which carries the force associated with the Higgs field. Of all the predictions required by the unification of the electromagnetic and weak forces, only this one has not yet been verified.”


In “The Trouble with Physics” by Lee Smolin



Hello physicists and Lee Smolin in particular,


I can't say I agree with such a hard stance against string theory personally like Smolin does, but I’m what’s known as a stupid person, so it doesn’t really matter what I think. However, I do feel it is healthy for science to have people that challenge ideas from all sides. All this will do is galvanise people to work harder to provide evidence to prove or disprove any theory that tries to describe realty. Science thrives in areas of confliction.


Life is the memory of what happened before you died, i.e. we cannot extricate ourselves from the universe in any way shape or form, including our "objective," apparently repeatable theoretical notions. By definition, there is only one UNI-verse. If you want to call it a universe of multiverses or a multiverse of universes, or balls of string with no limits, no problem, but there is only one of everything that is and isn't. This assemblage of atoms, no different from any other atoms, called the human body, has a life and death, as do the stars; it also has an internal resonance we like to call the consciousness of self-awareness of existence. We all too often, de facto, accept that there is a universe outside our "selfs", our bodies, i.e. it’s just me, my-self, and I, and the universe that surrounds my body, as if there were a molecular separation of some sort. This starting point for science, i.e., this assumed separation from a universe that surrounds our (apparent) bodies is the first thing that has to go. By definition there is only one UNI-verse that includes Heisenberg, I, the photos and videos of flying objects that make apparently perfect right angle turns at thousands of miles per hour, which we casual observers are not able to identify, black holes, white holes, pink holes, blue holes, our memories, our records, not to mention everything else. It's all much ado about nothing. As someone else used to say, "This IS the cosmic drama," we are living at the interface of the Sun's outgoing light and the apparent incoming light from the universe that appears to surround the Sun. Ah, but, what if we live in a black hole and don't realize it? That would mean the night sky, which most of us consider to exist outside the sun would actually be all the light of the sun after doing a 180, except, and here's the kicker, daylight, i.e., the light of the sun that we experience as sunshine.



If you're into Physics and String Theory in particular, read on.

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