In pursuing a physics degree, I have stumbled into many problems a long the way. Here are some of them and what I wish I did differently.
1. Start Young
Chances are, if you are reading this, you are not young. This will ultimately end up being a moot point for most of you. However, I am constantly contemplating where I would be if I had started studying physics (really, science in general) at an earlier age.
Fellow Pro-RBE, PRO-TVP/TZM friends, I am curious about some insight on how you discuss/promote topics among different types of people. These cases are some of the common individuals that I meet and have conversations with. Also, I have supplied the most common results of dealing with these types of people. Feel free to let me know of some of your habits and results.
Case I: The careless friend.
This friend could not care less about the state of the world. He/she enjoys what the world has to offer (usually is well off according to today’s standards or gets by well enough). Usually their mind is consumed by sports, television, media, activities such as drinking/smoking/partying, etc. This person does not see the state of the world as an issue or of relevance to their life.
I am taking a math writing course and our first assignment was to create an essay from lecture notes. This is what I came up with.
Also, a nice read on writing mathematics is found at this pdf: http://homepages.math.uic.edu/~kauffman/SuGuidelines.pdf
Elementary Proofs in Geometry Using Features of Pi
Pi is an extraordinarily beautiful number in mathematics. One of pi’s most amusing features is that the measurement of a straight angle is pi radians. Similarly, the sum of the interior angles of a triangle is also equal to pi radians. We seek to prove these facts and use them to determine if parallel lines can ever meet.
First, we will prove that all vertical angles are congruent. After proving this theorem, we will show that parallel lines never meet. To prove this theorem, we will give a definition of what it means for two lines to be parallel and then use the theorem that the sum of the interior angles of a triangle is equal to a straight angle to prove it.
Theorem 1: Vertical angles are congruent.
To prove that vertical angles are congruent we will utilize two axioms.
A new educational channel dedicated to improving scientific literacy has been created by Matt Berkowitz. Some may remember Matt from his lecture on assessing scientific research here:
The channel’s first video with a description of what is ahead:
From the about section: “This channel is dedicated to improving public science literacy. Improving the world appears to be directly related to society’s alignment with an evidence-based approach to solving problems (social, economic, political, etc.). Therefore, one of the most important features to the public health of any society is the degree to which people are educated in scientific affairs.”
I strongly suggest subscribing and following this channel as Matt has been a beacon of scientific literacy for some time now. This is something that every human being should understand before engaging in debates about public policy. I also feel scientific literacy has a lot to do with one’s own well-being. Do yourself a favor and keep up to date with this project.
YouTube Channel Located here: https://www.youtube.com/user/ScienceLiteracy Facebook Page Located here: https://www.facebook.com/ScienceLiteracyChannel?fref=ts
I wanted to take a moment to share my favorite current YouTube channel, Libertarian Socialists Rants by Cameron Watt. It’s the one YouTube channel that gets me giddy when new material is created.
As the title suggests, Libertarian Socialists Rants is an anarchist perspective on the political landscape, current world events, and the past. LSR’s has also taking on some of the more profound right-wing extremists, racists, and pro-capitalists across the YouTube field inducing hilariously enjoyable response videos.
Here is the link to Libertarian Socialists Rants YouTube channel.
Top 5 Favorite Videos from Libertarian Socialists Rants
In the 21st century it is entirely reasonable to house and feed every human being on the planet. The current system lacks the ability to make this goal a reality. Countless buildings sit empty and/or inhospitable and good food is consistently thrown out. Due to the abhorrent nature of the socioeconomic system we occupy, two inspiring ideas have emerged.
The Fight for $15 campaign promotes a minimum wage hike to compete against rising costs of living and seeks to secure a living wage for the hard-working people of this nation. They make the respectable claim that the current minimum wage employees cannot make enough to properly survive off of their current pay. This movement has grown in strength and has already had success on some ventures.
Intuitively, we have a hard time with systems. System behavior is, by definition, output behavior that is unpredicted by the behavior of its parts taking separately. This is a very profound understanding and utterly counter to our intuition and our five-sense reality. We assume our behavior and intention stands on it’s own, and if we mean well in this system, then we can’t possibly be part of something hurting others or something that is destructive to our planet. The truth is, we are involved in a larger order framework – and that framework has its own structural logic. This is why statistical analysis and the scientific method is so critical to our progress in the last century. So we can see through the clouds and limited perceptions that our small brains create. -Peter Joseph, Lecture on The End of Capitalism
This is a profound understanding. What is being said is that intentions and good morals are essentially useless in the current system structure.¹ We can interpret this as playing the role of a cog in a machine. Permitting you go to work and continue to ‘fuel’ the system every week, you are indirectly responsible for the human suffering that capitalism causes.² The take home point here is that externalities is a system consequence and has nothing to do with intentions. As long as we are working within the system, we are part of the externalities.
The other day I came across an article that highlighted Carl Sagan’s critical thinking toolkit. Being very familiar with Carl Sagan, I knew what this was, but simultaneously, I was in a debate with some people promoting pseudoscience. This caused me to realize the profound importance that is thinking critically and applying the scientific method to our problems instead of relying on faith and/or baseless intuition.
So I asked myself, What is the most important piece of knowledge that every human being should understand?
I started to think… there’s a lot of vague (but important) motto’s like ‘Never give up‘ or ‘always follow your dreams‘ that are very valuable pieces of information. Perhaps a more practical piece of information would have a larger effect such as the knowledge of economics or a basic understanding of every human language.
Tim Hjersted recently posted a fine article entitled “Anarchists Who Vote Versus Anarchists Who Don’t Vote: Is There Really Only One True Way?” over at www.filmsforaction.org. In this article he argues that it may be better for anarchists to look at voting as a tool in the activist toolbox, albeit, a very ineffective tool he admits. He then discusses the ratio of an activist’s time spent on activism vs. electoral politics and makes the point that it is better to be 50/50 compared to 0/0. Finally, he makes the point that notable anarchists like Noam Chomsky did indeed support voting.