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Everything posted by dennislmay

  1. Every day right now students and the public are being mis-educated concerning the kinds of mathematics required to do physics, the foundations of physics required to understand cosmology and future physics advances, the requirements of the scientific method, and what is and is not actual science being touted as science in the public arena. These errors have a direct impact in our daily lives. Dennis Right now we are in the midst of a "beauty is truth" crisis in physics. Some physicists have even talked about entering a post-empirical era! When physics become post-empirical it will be the restoration of platonic and Aristotelian nonsense. Back in 1609 Galileo began digging us out from under Aristotle's nonsense and in 2014 Max Tegmark is reburying us under Platonic effluence. Ba'al Chatzaf Ba'al Chatzaf is correct about this crisis - when science is no longer science. I remember recoiling in horror when I was about 15-16 and I first understood what "scientists" were saying when they kept talking about beautiful equations. It made me sick then and it has only grown worse since. Dennis
  2. Like Michao Kaku and Carl Sagan he is an activist central planner leftist type who lies about science and technology when it suits his socialist politics. Tyson's latest leftist rants were about how only governments can do space properly. When the leftist dominated media only allows a handful of scientists on the national stage to speak about science you can get the wrong impression that scientists in general have a hard time communicating. That is the false narrative created and perpetuated by the media which in no way represents the literally tens of thousands of scientists with careers equaling or bettering Tyson with equal or superior communication skills. I have known real scientists who were ladies men, professional male models, martial artist black belts, Olympic athletes, professional golfers, professional speakers, executive members of speaking clubs, and many who worked in large organizations requiring public speaking daily. Tyson has nothing unique to offer other than his connection to Sagan and being selected as the leftist agitator talking head for science for the leftist media. Like Sagan I'm sure 95% of what he does will be informative to the general public. Also like Sagan when asked to lie on important issues affecting socialists politics he will lie convincingly and the adoring general public will believe his lies. Dennis
  3. Every day right now students and the public are being mis-educated concerning the kinds of mathematics required to do physics, the foundations of physics required to understand cosmology and future physics advances, the requirements of the scientific method, and what is and is not actual science being touted as science in the public arena. These errors have a direct impact in our daily lives. Dennis
  4. It's not clear to me what point you're trying to make with your professor anecodte.... But to answer your question... I think the answer depends on what you mean by "complex variables". If you regard C as a real vector space, then it is isomorphic to R^2, and then I think that you can do physics without using complex variables. However, if you regard C as a complex vector space, then I'd have to say the answer is that you can't. The correct answer: complex variables [imaginary numbers in any form] are not required to produced real results. Imaginary numbers may provide mathematical methodology difficult to achieve in closed form otherwise but they add nothing in information content - any of their forms can be expressed using only real numbers if the beginning and end results are also a real numbers. If you have not been taught this don't feel bad, In 1979 I encountered a professor of applied mathematics at Drake University who didn't know it either. I suspect very few people are aware of this non controversial fact - simply because the entire educational system does want to have to explain it in class a billion times - so sweep it under the rug and keep on plugging what we tell you to plug. Why is it important? Because when you get into graduate school you will run into professors who will roadblock progress in physics because they have come to believe imaginary numbers are in fact required - problems like the Airy disk can't be solved without them - they were taught wrong so it is their job to make sure you think the "right" way too. This is just a simple example of a problem which stretches across countless issues in our educational system. Beauty and intuition in mathematics do not necessarily translate in any form once physics is involved. A beautiful equation [or even closed forms] in physics is the extremely rare exception. When mathematicians try pushing beauty onto physics you can with very very few exceptions be sure that beauty came at the cost of neglecting some of the physics - perhaps even the most important parts. When you take short cuts for the sake of beauty you can only stunt progress - likely for generations. Dennis
  5. Here's a definition from wikipedia: Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference and/or the use of reason. To illustrate further, you could use your understanding of the equation in my previous post to automatically intuit that e^(i*(pi/2)) = i, e^(i*(3pi/2)) = -i, e^(i*(pi/4)) = Sqrt(2)/2 + i*Sqrt(2)/2, etc. simply by fixing a unit length at the origin of the complex plane and rotating it by the apporpriate angle. You can therefore know a true statement without having to prove it rigorously first. This is how mathematicians work. They intuit a theorem first, and then try to prove it. Never underestimate non-verbal reasoning. The best example I've run into in my life was in 1987-1988 in a graduate class on complex variables. The professor used the example of complex variable integration around a hole - expanding the results outward giving an Airy disk-like result. In his mind this "proved" that everything relating to quantum mechanics as far as diffraction and interference was already well understood - this was his mathematical intuition at work, His level of understanding was already more than a century old and neglected all of the interesting physics but it could be presented in the form of a "proof". A proof of course is only as good as its underlying assumptions and your level of understanding of the subject matter. Speaking of interesting questions: Agree or disagree and why?: The real results of all complex variable problems can in theory be arrived at without the use of complex variables. Dennis
  6. Yes, did you have anything to add to the discussion? Dennis
  7. An important link in the development of visual thinking skills - hand-eye development by throwing objects. I have known this all my life and was obsessed with throwing things from my earliest childhood. Dennis
  8. A good point. Here is an historical instance. Michael Faraday who invented the field concept did not own ten lines of mathematics. He worked as a book binder when he was a lad He made a good impression on Humphry Davy, a leading scientist in England who hired him on as a lab assistant. Faraday went from success to success. He was genius at experimenting and designing experiments. He also had a supreme talent of -visualization-. His right brain genius is what enabled him to see lines of force and fields in space without a single line of calculus. James Clark Maxwell appreciated the nature of Faraday's genius and he put his superlative mathematical talent to work on Faraday's visually original ideas. The result was classical electrodynamics. Faraday would have flunked the math section of the SATs. So your remark about looking the wrong way at math talent has some evidence. Faraday would have been classified as innumerate. Fortunately that was not how he was judged. Ba'al Chatzaf Very interesting, I had not heard about Faraday's history but it does not surprise me at all based on my own experiences. The same problem exists in the engineering sciences. Many recent graduates of engineering find themselves involved in factory machinery or other machinery specifications work. Many of the best engineering students sail through on their mathematical abilities and ability to follow rules based formulas and specified procedures to arrive at solutions. When confronted with new problems requiring visualization skills and original solutions many are helpless. This gives a very bad impression of engineering to maintenance men in those factories who do not have the mathematical background or education but often know the possible set of solutions through experience and hands-on spatial skills. A good example happened about ten years ago when I was in a factory in Arkansas. I was dressed in an hourly worker smock and beard net [you have to go way out of your way to get an engineering smock and safety hat] and I am older than and look more like Larry the Cable Guy than most engineers seen in that factory. While taking some measurements and photos of equipment modifications done in the factory the maintenance man for the line came up to me and wanted assurances that some idiot engineer wasn't going to ruin the piece of equipment by putting on a bunch of unnecessary guarding. I assured him I would do my best to make sure someone doesn't screw it up and make his job harder. Since I don't look the part I got feedback at many plants from maintenance men who all seemed to believe I was just an hourly safety assistant of some kind. They all have such a bad impression of know nothing engineers that most "pretty boy" young engineers never get told what is really going on because it is commonly viewed as a waste of time to try to explain things to them since they don't know anything and aren't going to last anyway. Dennis
  9. From Ba'al Chatzaf 23 January 2011 - 06:53 AM: "Innumeracy is a neologism coined by analogue with illiteracy; it refers to a lack of ability to reason with numbers. The term innumeracy was coined by cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter and popularized by mathematician John Allen Paulos in his 1989 book, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences. Possible causes of innumeracy are poor teaching methods and standards and lack of value placed on mathematical skills. Even prominent and successful people will attest, sometimes proudly, to low mathematical competence, in sharp contrast to the stigma associated with illiteracy. [12]" Unless the previous researchers identified this logarithm sensory/neural link in their discussions of innumeracy [i have not read their work] they did - in my opinion - miss the boat on a fundamental understanding of the subject matter at hand. More work in their area should involve visual analytic versus verbal analytic thinking skills in overcoming innumeracy [innumeracy with my expanded definition]. There is necessarily a high correlation of genetics and brain development related to this issue. Dennis
  10. The Unexpected Power of Baby Math: Adults Still Think About Numbers Like Kids "Educated adults understand numbers "linearly," based on the familiar number line from 0 to infinity. But children and uneducated adults, like tribespeople in the Amazon, understand numbers "logarithmically" -- in terms of what percentage one number is of another." Well that makes sense - innumeracy originating in early development. The sense of sound is logarithmic, the article below indicates all senses and our nervous system is built around logarithmic scaling. It would be my view that the difference between those stuck thinking "logarithmically" about numbers - leading to innumeracy - is related to verbal analytic thinking versus visual analytic thinking. In my experience those physicists most likely to fall into innumeracy are those most comfortable with rules based formulaic physics but largely crippled in laboratory physics, physical models, and general engineering spatial skills. Dennis
  12. A waste of good dart wear and tear. I quit watching NOVA once PBS became unavailable to me [government satellite rules] for a number of years. Once the rules changed I tried to watch a couple episodes and could not stomach it so I quit even looking at what they were offering. Dennis
  13. In any case there are too many numb skulls writing crap for the newspapers and magazines. Also some of them produce dreck for the cable t.v. channels. I am very rapidly losing my patience with some of the "documentaries" on the cable Science Channel. Ba'al Chatzaf The Science Channel is the best of them and it is terrible. Dennis
  14. I would think 1,000 is very generous. I was thinking more on the order of 2-3 dozen. Dennis
  15. I have three relatives in journalism related areas - one has a physics degree and is a photographer for a large newspaper in Raleigh-Durham NC. He started because of an intense 2nd generation physics optics background. Someone had to pay for those ten-fifty thousand dollar cameras. Another relative was top of his class in journalism but went advertising and stayed there till this day. He was the photographer for the college newspaper as his last journalism gig. Another relative is an artist-illustrator for a large newspaper in Missouri. All are nice journalism related people but none are reporters. 2 of 3 have traveled the world doing their craft. My brother used to report the news on a local radio station as part of his job and worked with both radio and TV news personalities on the radio but it required no special skill or training other than a good speaking voice and technical knowledge of how to operate the broadcasts. I don't know of any science reporters that stand out in my mind. I worked with a woman [AF Officer] who had a Masters degree in the History of Physics from Harvard so I guess she had the creds to speak on background for science reporting. I suspect there are only a handful of qualified science journalists in the country. Dennis
  16. Since I saw it firsthand beginning in childhood I have never taken the media or authority figures at face value. I remember thinking my teachers were borderline idiots starting in 5th grade, the media was dead to me by 6th grade, even science teachers were idiots by 9th grade, university professors in physics were dolts by 11th grade. I've been ruined from the start and I've only gotten worse with age. My father was a science teacher and I used to go to the science club meetings where we did high school experiments [which were equal to many college experiments now]. I lived that from 2nd-6th grade and never felt out of place among high school age kids. Even in kindergarten and 1st grade I got to go to college biology labs and see everything they had. The media is at best populated by the low end of what passes for an education. Dennis
  17. Then you have text books enshrining reporter style inaccuracies into orthodoxy - omit what doesn't fit the narrative. Suppress minority views. Dennis
  18. Ellen is correct, I saw that first hand with my father being interviewed on TV when I was in 6th grade and experienced it myself a couple times in my life. Reporters are often liars not good enough to be used car salesmen. Dennis
  19. I don't see that there is anything baffling about what they are finding. Enough time passed for there to be multiple human groups spread all over. Likely a dozen or more groups remain undiscovered. Dennis
  20. Given human nature as it is and has been manifested thus far, I would not bet a wooden drachma for a civilization to last more than 3000 or 4000 years. Human beings have not yet outgrown their primate extremities of behavior. I suspect we are at least a half dozen evolutionary jumps away from wisdom. Ba'al Chatzaf That is indeed some of the subject matter to be discussed in the SND series. Dennis
  21. SND is primarily about how any civilization will have to deal with WoMD in the long run. SND is a strategy for the survival of civilization and life itself. As discussed before in this forum the speed of light and the distance between stars are largely irrelevant to questions concerning the Fermi Paradox. There are trillions of lesser bodies between each star and there is plenty of time available to spread once the industrialization of space occurs. Civilizations on Earth do not tend to last very long but there are no natural frontiers in space. There is no need for ET to have ever visited the Earth in the SND discussions. The Cold War was a civilization learning experience. SND will be the final result. Dennis
  22. I have known Dan on-line since my earliest days on the Internet about the time I also met George H. Smith, Debbie Clark, Jeff Riggenbach, Jimmy Wales, and a few others you still see in libertarian/objectivist discussions including here. Interesting people come in many forms. I would place Dan in the top ten of all time people I've ever met on-line, off-line or in person having interesting things to say - particularly in the sciences and technology. On the subject of Superstealth-SND he is the only other person to date I've heard of that seems to get it - and he came upon it independently which is a double-miracle. We have differences in some areas. The primary difference seems to be the time scale expectations of change. Dennis
  23. On this site and at least 4-5 others inhabited by libertarians and objectivists Dan Ust and/or I have had discussions [some quite extended] on the subject matter of: Superstealth AKA Stealth - Nomadic - Dispersed [sND]. Superstealth is Dan's term, SND is mine. Superstealth-SND is a set of strategies for civilizations to survive WoMD. It is my opinion that SND explains the Fermi Paradox. Dan has differing views. I have been interested in the subject matter for over 30 years - After more than dozen years discussing it on line I have decided to expand on the subject into a science fiction series and fill in all the details. Dan Ust recently began publishing short science fiction stories on Amazon/Kindle. One of his stories touched a little on the subject at hand. His encouragement has me following his lead publishing the SND series on Amazon/Kindle as a series of short stories. The subject matter is quite large and it will take as long as it takes - in as many pieces as it takes. I would appreciate comments here and on Amazon. Comments are likely to help me fill in details in the subject matter. ***** SND - The GuildVolume 1 of the SND SeriesAs Interpreted by Dennis May SND - Observer CorpVolume 2 of the SND SeriesAs Interpreted by Dennis May A vision of the future for all civilizations Artwork by Eric May his art on as well as at: *****Dennis