Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed, a brief review

After my post the other day on what fields I thought someone needed to be familiar with for coming up with credible theories about why civilizations collapse, a number of people recommended I read Jared Diamond's book, 'Collapse'.  I finished it this week, and like the other books I've read by Diamond, I enjoyed it. … Continue reading Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed, a brief review

Fluid tests and quantum reality

The other day, I mentioned that I had some sympathy for the deBroglie-Bohm interpretation of quantum mechanics, namely an interpretation that there isn't a wave-function collapse as envisioned by the standard Copenhagen interpretation, but a particle that always exists but is guided by a pilot-wave. It turns out that there are some people doing experiments with … Continue reading Fluid tests and quantum reality

How life transformed the planet – Robert Hazen – Aeon

In my post on how similar or dissimilar life might be if evolution started over, I observed that much of the environment that life operates within is itself generated by other life.  It turns out that goes deeper than I imagined.  I knew that things like oxygenated atmosphere and soil were products of life, but it turns … Continue reading How life transformed the planet – Robert Hazen – Aeon

The Paleo delusion, and a delusion about that delusion

Today at lunch I listened to the latest Point of Inquiry podcast, which was an interview of Marlene Zuk about her new book on common delusions about evolution and the paleolithic life style.  These misconceptions usually run along the lines of assuming that since we evolved to be hunter gatherers, that we should live like those … Continue reading The Paleo delusion, and a delusion about that delusion

Sean Carroll defends philosophy

Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist, has a post up on his blog telling his fellow physicists to "stop saying silly things about philosophy". The last few years have seen a number of prominent scientists step up to microphones and belittle the value of philosophy. Stephen Hawking, Lawrence Krauss, and Neil deGrasse Tyson are well-known examples. To redress the balance a … Continue reading Sean Carroll defends philosophy

If evolution started over, how similar would its results be?

Zach Zorich has an interesting piece at Nautilus asking if the world began again, would life as we know it exist? In less than five milliseconds, a Hydromantes salamander can launch its tongue—including the muscles, cartilage, and part of its skeleton—out of its mouth to snag a hapless insect mid-flight. Among amphibians, it is the quick draw … Continue reading If evolution started over, how similar would its results be?

A debate on quantum mechanics interpretations

"Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it." --Niels Bohr "If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics."  --Richard Feynman Quantum mechanics are utterly bizarre.  Quantum particles behave like spread out waves, until their position is measured, when they suddenly behave like a particle with definite position.  The … Continue reading A debate on quantum mechanics interpretations