Tag Archives: Science

The Q-Drive and the difficulty of interstellar exploration

I’ve discussed the difficulties of interstellar exploration before.  To get a spacecraft to another star within a human lifetime requires accelerating it to an appreciable percentage of c (the speed of light), say 10-20%.  In general that requires titanic amounts … Continue reading

Posted in Space | Tagged , , , | 56 Comments

Viruses and the definition of “life”

One of the things we often debate here is the definition of “consciousness,” but consciousness is far from the only concept that is difficult to define.  Others include religion, democracy, free will, and biological life. Life has a number of … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

An excellent explanation of quantum decoherence, and how it might lead to many worlds

Matt O’Dowd is a first class science communicator.  In this latest video, he does an excellent job explaining decoherence, and why the MWI (many worlds interpretation) ends up being so tempting when you see it through. Of course, this doesn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , | 42 Comments

The role of beauty and simplicity in scientific theories

In the post on Copernicus earlier this week, I noted that his heliocentric theory, right from its initial publication, was hailed as far more mathematically elegant than the Aristotelian / Ptolemaic system, which was taken as the canonical model of … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , | 12 Comments

A theory more pleasing to the mind

For most of human history, the Earth was seen as the stationary center of the universe, with the sun, planets, and starry firmament circling around it at various speeds.  The ancient Greeks quickly managed to work out that the Earth … Continue reading

Posted in History | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

The discovery of discovery

I’ve been thinking lately about the history of science, particularly the period between 1500 and 1700, what is usually referred to as “the scientific revolution.”  I’m a bit leery of many accounts of this period, as they often assume that … Continue reading

Posted in History | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

The problems with post-empirical science

Jim Baggott has a pretty good piece at Aeon on the problems with post-empirical science.  I’ve highlighted Baggott’s views before.  Along with others like Sabine Hossenfelder and Peter Woit, he calls attention to a serious issue in physics, the rising … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , | 67 Comments

Don’t teach Congress about science and technology; teach the voters

M. Anthony Mills has a short piece at Politico advocating the return of the OTA (Office of Technology Assessment), which was defunded in the 1990s as a budget cutting measure.  The argument is that congress needs to know more about … Continue reading

Posted in Society | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

Sean Carroll’s Something Deeply Hidden

I’m just about finished reading Sean Carroll’s Something Deeply Hidden.  I was going to wait to post this until I’d completely finished, but all I’ve got left is the appendix, I perceive that I’ve gotten through the main points, and … Continue reading

Posted in Science | Tagged , , , , , | 157 Comments

Why you can’t use quantum entanglement for faster than light communication

Albert Einstein, with his theory of special relativity, established that the speed of light is the absolute speed limit of the universe.  A rocket ship attempting to accelerate to the speed of light encounters some well known effects: time dilation, … Continue reading

Posted in Science | Tagged , , , , , , | 86 Comments