Tag Archives: Science

Some Things I Would Have Done Differently in My Pursuit of a Degree in Physics

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.

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Educational Videos (Cauchy-Schwartz Inequality, Binomial Theorem, Hermitian Matrices)

I feel that there is not a large enough presence of proof-based mathematics on YouTube. I would like to try to change that.

Here are a couple new ones I made (Hermitian and Unitary matrix video [not proof based], and Cauchy-Schwartz Inequality) and my most beloved video (Binomial Theorem Proof).

Cauchy-Schwartz Inequality Proof using Inner Product and Complex Analysis

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Matt Berkowitz’s Science Literacy Channel

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

The most important piece of knowledge to pass on, and posters

Scientific Method Poster
A poster I recently made.

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.

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Of Rational Communication

rationaldiscussionHaving essentially grown up through the internet, I’ve taking part in all sorts of discussions. Serious discussions and not so serious discussions… all through various means of communication. When I analyze social change and how to best obtain results, the topic of communication remains forefront. How do we communicate most effectively? Do I get my point across properly? It has become clear to me that with the infinite pile of garbage information that exists, communicating in an effective way is of utmost importance towards creating a better future. However, we live in a society that has evolved from dead, inefficient language systems that perpetuate throughout our communication.

I want to be clear. What matters is the full idea and reasoning behind the idea being communicated in an effective and efficient way. This does not imply that both parties uphold perfect grammar or spelling, however, key words must be well-defined and accepted upon in the discussion. It is important to understand that everyone you communicate with has a different background then you. Words, key definitions, slang, and memes that may mean something to you, may mean nothing to them.

“Very few people can communicate with one another.  The only language that’s not subject to interpretation is mathematics, chemistry, basic science, engineering principles, and applied agriculture.  But other than that, many systems today are subject to interpretation.” ~ Jacque Fresco, TVP teamspeak seminar, January 15 2012

As Jacques Fresco states, the best language to communicate with is the language of science as it is well-defined.

With that being said, the ambition of this infographic is to create an atmosphere of rational communication between two opposing viewpoints where an honest, evidence-based decision can be made on the topic of choice. Only when we can communicate properly and be willing to alter our viewpoints, can we make the change that will create a more evolved civilization.

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The Mysteries of Benford’s Law

Benford’s Law, in the most elementary form of understanding, states that the number “1” transpires as the leading digit 30% of the time compared to higher digits such as 9 which occurs 5% of the time. This occurs for all kinds of data sets ranging from electricity bills, street addresses, stock prices, to even physical and mathematical constants. Yes, that’s right, the physical and mathematical constants of the universe follow this mysterious law.

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This graph showcases the percentage to be expected based on the results of Benford’s Law. The number 1 representing 30% frequency rate as the leading digit to the number 9 representing a mere 4.6%. Even more strange, the percentage decrease in order from 1 to 9.

 

The law has been used in court cases to detect fraud based on the ‘plausible’ assumption that people who make up numbers evenly distribute them. It has been used to detect election/voting frauds, fraudulent macroeconomic data, and even scientific fraud.

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A Science of Morality and Society

Matt Berkowitz “A Science of Morality and Society”

The moment you grant that the worst possible misery for everyone is the worst case scenario we could imagine, and that morality has to do with well-being, you have to admit there are better and worse ways to proceed with respect to morality — which is of course contingent on the laws of nature and the scientific method to uncover.

I. Morals must relate to the well-being of conscious creatures.

II. The worst possible misery for everyone is the worst case scenario we could imagine.

There are better and worse ways to proceed with respect to morality.

Meet the Dropleton

Science continues to evolve as yet another state of matter has been discovered. On February 26, 2014 the creation of dropletons was announced. Original Source

science-environment-dropleton-it-exists-solids-acts-liquidDropletons apparently behave like a mixture of solid and liquid particles and exist for only 25 picoseconds. Dropletons are as wide as 200 nanometers, about the size of the smallest bacteria, and can be seen with a conventional microscope. Dropletons join plasma and supercritical fluids as newer states of matter that have been discovered. For an extensive list of exotic states of matter check here.

The Legend of Nikola Tesla (In Comic Form)

I never liked science or math when I was a kid. In fact, I used math class as nap time in high school and science class as an extra period of lunch. This all changed when I came across the legend of Nikola Tesla. In my curious search of the world (post high school) I picked up a biography on Nikola Tesla (Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla : Biography of a Genius) and upon learning of his contributions to society, I quickly changed my attitude towards science and math. In many ways, the story of Nikola Tesla has drastically altered the direction of my life (I like to think of this as a positive change).

If you are like most people, you likely haven’t heard of Nikola Tesla, which is a shame. I am convinced that his contributions to society are unrivaled. He is truly one of a kind. Attached to this post is a rather long ‘comic’ style representation of his greatness and why you most likely never have heard of him.

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Ecological Debt Day

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Ecological Debt Day, also known as “Earth Overshoot Day”, is the calendar date each year in which the total resources consumed by humanity will exceed the capacity for the Earth to generate those resources that year. It is calculated by dividing the world biocapacity, the number of natural resources generated by the earth that year, by the world Ecological Footprint, humanity’s consumption of the Earth’s natural resources for that year, and multiplied by 365, the number of days in one Gregorian calendar year; expressed as:

[ world biocapacity / world Ecological Footprint ] x 365 = Ecological Debt Day

So, Ecological Debt Day is a big deal. The sad reality is that, on average, Ecological Debt Day has fallen on an earlier day each year.

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