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About BaalChatzaf

  • Rank
  • Birthday 08/24/1936

Previous Fields

  • Full Name
    Robert J. Kolker
  • Description
    I am retired, but far from inactive. A day without a twenty mile bicycle ride is a day without joy.
  • Favorite Music, Artworks, Movies, Shows, etc.
    Music: Mozart, Bethoven. Movie: Casablanca. Favorite Philsopher: David Hume
  • Looking or Not Looking
    not looking

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Currently residing in New Jersey, the Bad-a-Bing State.
  • Interests
    mathematics, physics, alternative energy sources.

    I am also involved in preparing recorded books for blind and dyslexic folks.

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  1. A photograph of the 29 smartest people in the world

    Human beings are constrained by Nature. The (so-called) physical laws of Nature are the most general principles of operations of Nature that we know which are well corroborated by experience and experiment. In modern times the physical laws of nature are constantly challenged by new experiments using improved technology. Even so, there are physical phenomena for which no theoretical description or explanation exists. Examples: "dark" matter and "dark" energy. The term "dark" is a placeholder for our ignorance. There are also phenomena where the laws are well known and established, but do not yield certain predictions because of the sensitivity of the laws to initial and boundary condition is so great we cannot determine the initial conditions exactly so the consequential actions will be very varied. Look at a compound pendulum sometimes. If you give it a big enough swing the end of the pendulum bobs about in a seeming random pattern. Weather is like that also. We can never measure current conditions accurately enough to make accurate predictions more than ten days (or so) out. Have a look at this: or this (even better): The differential equations of the motion are completely known, but exact solutions are not possible since the initial conditions can only be established approximately. Einstein himself could not predict the trajectory of the pendula over time. If two initial positions of the pendulum differed by even the width of an air molecule the course of the swings would be different.
  2. A photograph of the 29 smartest people in the world

    Riddle: What is the hardest thing about learning to ride a bike? Answer: the ground.
  3. A photograph of the 29 smartest people in the world

    Just about every kid in the West gets to play with magnets. All magnetic fields are produced by electrically charged particles in motion. There is no knows magnetic monopole so the only way we can produce a magnetic field is by moving electrically charged bodies (primarily electrons). Everyone who has ever shuffled over a carpet on a dry winter day has had a first person introduction to electrical charges.
  4. A photograph of the 29 smartest people in the world

    How many realities are there? Besides that, the trend in development of scientific theories is finding a single theory that can account for multiple effects or processes. In the early 19 th century Oersted discovered that the flow of electric current through a wire produces a magnetic field around the wire. This ultimately lead Michael Faraday to do experiments showing that electric flow and magnetism are are part of one process. The phenomena of electricity and magnetism were completely accounted for by a unified theory developed by Maxwell and Faraday. This was the first major unification in physics. Later on the electromagnetic force and the weak nuclear forces were accounted for by a unitary theory. So the physicists have the urge to explain diverse phenomena and effects with a unitary or unified theory. Strictly speaking no one has shown it to be logically necessary or axiomatic that there be a unitary theory, but the physicists like the idea so they pursue it.
  5. A photograph of the 29 smartest people in the world

    The currently held view is that when we finally have a proper theory of gravitation it will be consistent with quantum theory. The General Theory of Relativity is of a completely different character than a quantum theory of gravitation. Unfortunately all attempts at producing an internally consistent quantum like theory of gravitation without the plague of infinities and singularities, have failed. So we are currently stuck with two incompatible theories. On which describes gravitation very well and the other which describe the remain 3 forces (or interactions). This bothers the physicists a great deal. Reality is one thing so a proper theory of (physical) reality should be unitary and unified. So finding one theory that describes are the known interactions is one of the current Holy Grails of physics.
  6. A photograph of the 29 smartest people in the world

    The idea is to have one theory explain all known interactions: electromagnetic, strong force, weak force and gravity. The two interactions humans perceive the most are the electromagnet force, which hold matter together and which makes electromagnetic radiation (including visible light), and gravitation which keeps us on the ground. Every kid learns gravitation the hard way when he falls and skins his knees.
  7. A photograph of the 29 smartest people in the world

    Finding the Higgs closed up the last known empirical gap in the Standard Model of Fields and Particles. Now we come to the Big One. Incorporating gravitation into a unified theory. At this juncture physics is in two pieces. One piece adequately accounts for the electromagnetic, strong and weak forces. Gravitation is handled (so far) by the General Theory of Relativity. Since reality is all of a piece and our theories our not, physics is far from complete. And there are a lot of yet unanswered question. If you are willing to spend an hour look at this: Sean Carrol is a first class expositor and his talk is aimed at intelligent non-specialist. He does not dumb down the physics but he avoids most of the mathematical complexities.
  8. A photograph of the 29 smartest people in the world

    Written by a true ignoramus. You know sh*t about modern science.
  9. A photograph of the 29 smartest people in the world

    No. Epistemology, Ethics, Politics and Aesthetics are also part of philosophy. But it has been classical metaphysical theories that retarded the development of modern science the most. Plato taught us that our senses deceive us. And Aristotle taught us that what we experiences will lead us to the fundamental axioms of Nature. But Aristotle denied that matter was made up of much smaller bodies (atoms), he denied the existence of a vacuum and he totally missed out on inertia. In Europe medieval scholars in the 5 th century made some observations that contradicted Aristotle's ideas on motion.(in particular John Philiponos) Please see : Progress in the physical sciences has required the de-Aristotlization of the science. Natural Philosophy could not progress until all or most ties to Aristotle's metaphysics were severed.
  10. Aristotle's physics properly deconstruct

    Newton was on the cusp between old (medieval) ways of thinking and something brand new. Newton effectively drove the transition from old science to new mathematically based science. Newton has no idea of the details of the atoms of matter although he was an atomist. Modern chemistry was born of the efforts of Le Voissier, Dalton and Avagadro. So Newton's alchemy did not reduce the validity of his work in mechanics (matter and motion). Newton himself was a mystic and a God Phreak and he wrote four times as much on the Hidden Meaning of the Scriptures than he did on mechanics, light and astronomy. Newton created modern science, but he himself was not a modern scientist.
  11. A photograph of the 29 smartest people in the world

    Far from it. Advances in particle physics have required the incorporation of Bayesian inference from very large bodies of data. One such instance was the verification of the Higgs Boson at CERN in 2012. It was not a simple matter of look and measure. The methodology of geological science is quite distinct from the methodology of gentics and bio-molecular science and the methods of particle and field physics.
  12. A photograph of the 29 smartest people in the world

    The methodology of science is neutral ethically. It can be practiced to achieve either good or evil ends. An equation does not care to what end it is derived or used. But this is true of any craft or tool. Rope making is a craft. But ropes can be used to tie on load or can be used to strangle people. The art of rope making is neutral with respect to the use of ropes.
  13. A photograph of the 29 smartest people in the world

    Modern science was born separately from Platonic or Aristotelian metaphysics and to some extent in opposition to Platonic or Aristotelian metaphysics. The metaphysics of Aristotle and Plato interfered with the development of proper physical science. That is why most people in the physical sciences have anti-metaphysical attitudes.
  14. A photograph of the 29 smartest people in the world

    Discourses about scientific methodology are epistemological, not metaphysical. Metaphysics has been largely removed from modern physical science. Any well structured discipline will have a corpus of meta-disciplinary statements. The game of bridge not only has rules but it has literature on strategy which are -about- the game of bridge, not the game itself.
  15. A photograph of the 29 smartest people in the world

    I will be more specific. What have the metaphysics of Aristotle and Plato delivered (besides error).? The real problem is metaphysics. Modern philosophical theories are epistemological and analytic rather than ethical or metaphysical. Since the 19 th century the trend has been to make the physical sciences as free of metaphysics as possible.