"Kids are never the problem. They are born scientists. The problem is always the adults. The beat the curiosity out of the kids. They out-number kids. They vote. They wield resources. That's why my public focus is primarily adults."
Preach it, dude.
1) The fact that an electron has no known size -- it's smaller than the smallest measurement we have ever made of anything.
2) That Quarks come only in pairs: If you try to separate two of them, the energy you sink into the system to accomplish this feat is exactly the energy to spontaneously create two more quarks - one to partner with each of those you pulled apart.
[Many caveats. For instance, any given hadron (the collective name for things made of quarks, which to date means only mesons and baryons) is not actually made up of quarks with definite color, but rather a quantum superposition of many possibilities. I think mesons, for example, are always a balanced superposition of R-antiR, G-antiG, and B-antiB. So you could never point to a given meson in an experiment and say "that meson was blue-antiblue".]
Q: Since time slows relative to the speed of light, does this mean that photons are essentially not moving through time at all?
A: yes. Precisely. Which means ----- are you seated?
Photons have no ticking time at all, which means, as far as they are concerned, they are absorbed the instant they are emitted, even if the distance traveled is across the universe itself.
Yes. Or another way of looking at it, from a photon's perspective the Universe has no size at all! I love that.
Not at all. Size has unambiguous meaning down to the Planck scale (10^-35 meters) and electrons simply haven't been probed at scales smaller than 10^-22 meters. They could very well have heretofore-undetected structure (e.g. preon models) on the scales of 10^-20 while still have fifteen orders of magnitude (about the relative span between an atom and the radius of the earth) over which distances are perfectly sensible.
Likewise, before the deep inelastic scattering experiments of the 60's, physicist had no direct evidence that neutrons and protons had any internal structure. All they could say is "we know that if they have internal structure, it's smaller than this length scale".
[FYI: The Planck scale is (arguably!) where the notion of size becomes murky because quantum fluctuations in the background spacetime (against which the sizes of things are measured) become substantial. Of course, no one has ever seen (even indirect) evidence of a quantum fluctuation in spacetime. And, as is well known, appling quantum mechanics to gravity and spacetime is full of difficulties. But most physicists believe there are such quantum effects because it seems damn near impossible to reconcile a classical spacetime with quantum everything else.]
An elephant has a wavelength it's just that it's rather small compared to the elephant
Q: If you could add one course to a student's curriculum, what would it be?"
A: Course title every university should offer: "How to tell when someone else is full of shit"
The "prophet" was a sheikh/imam in Iraq (?) that said math and Satan were connected. Islam had - up until that time - managed to have some pretty amazing feats.
That said, it's interesting how we blindly take advice from men with authority. Whether that's religious figures, famous people, or politicians.
Not trying to excuse myself, but I'm simply not good at remembering details. Would have to watch the video again!
It's my view that religion often isn't the thing that impairs scientific learning. Rather it's men's interpretation of those events.
Just needed to make that subtle correction :)
"Ghazali has sometimes been referred to by historians as the single most influential Muslim after the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Others have cited his movement from science to faith as a detriment to Islamic scientific progress."
It's all good. I gues it's okay to put God where your knowledge limits you, or the current more wide one, but just don't spread it that it's because of God.
e.g. God is "what we don't understand"
A:That is will never end. That it's on a one way trip of expansion. Something that many find to be philosophically unsettling. My view is that if your philosophy is not unsettled daily then you are blind to all the universe has to offer.
Which is, in my view, a mistake. Those who seek out challenge tend to end up with a lot more luxury than those who don't.
The singularity is all about AI surpassing human intelligence. On this front, I can tell you after having studied a lot of AI for the past three years, we are not close. We're a lot further than many people think, but still not quite that far.
As for extending lifespans, this is something we've been doing from the dawn of medicine. We've been making significant strides here for thousands of years, and as Aubrey DeGray puts it, we've become very efficient mechanics on the car that is the human body, and we're only getting better at it. There's a lot of research being done on slowing the aging process and beating genetic disorders, which are two of the largest barriers to extremely long lifespans for humans.
Note also that - at least as far as I am aware - we have not managed to extend lifespans. Erastothenes for example lived till 82, at or more than the current expected lifespan of many western and first world countries. We have only increase the probability of arriving near the maximum life span by dealing with famine, war, diseases and optimizing diets and nutrients and lifestyle.
That said, is there any way to know if we've increased the maximum lifespan? It seems that accurate birth-date records in many parts of the world didn't start until the 1900s, as there's even difficulty 'verifying' the oldest person in the world today.
You're probably right that on the top end we haven't seen a ton of progress though, I think that first we have beat the things that tend to kill you in old age (cancers!) before we'll start dumping major resources into actually preventing the damage from aging itself that causes us to top out a little after 100.
Hopefully we'll also manage to reap an affordable vaccine or cure for malaria and some of the nasty diseases of tropical poverty in the next 20 years too, which will help that average skyrocket even more.
I just think this makes a lot more sense than the whole "we will build a conscious robot" thing, especially since many of the innovations that are used as evidence of an approaching singularity have helped human beings become ever more tightly interconnected.
We all want to believe that our consciousness is fully independent, but it's pretty hard to separate from our memetic history. Perhaps someday we'll be able to wire our brains together physically via wetware, and our philosophical questions about individually will take on a whole new level of complexity.
This is a common misunderstanding. According to Kurzweil's timeline, AI surpassing human intelligence is only a stepping stone to the singularity, the former happening around 2029, the latter around 2045.
Rather, the singularity refers to the point at which the exponential slope representing technological progress begins to approach infinity. What this mathematical model means for reality is anybody's guess, and the majority of the predictions that have been made are pure conjecture.
To me, the name actually seems like a better fit for Vinge's or Good/Yudkowsky's predictions than Kurzweil's. They both have specific "singularity" points, while Kurzweil's "singularity" is just an ever-growing exponential (or super-exponential).
I'm not skeptical of the singularity but I can see how/why an intelligent person could be. (Though I do feel it's worth considering that semi-sentient software could precipitate singularity-like changes without being able to pass the Turing test. I mean, it's sort of inherently myopic that we base the distinction of when a machine has crossed the threshold of sentience based on whether or not it's as smart as/smarter than a human. That could turn out to be a completely useless metric.)
My understanding of the arguments in support of meaningful extension of human lifespan (trending towards immortality) in the foreseeable future is that we're ±100 years from a development that results in (let's say) a 20 year bump, before those 20 years are up we will have accomplished a 60 year increase, within the following 60 we'll have managed to tack on 180, etc.
I do think mind uploading is probably a much more sustainable approach to Immortality for Everyone!®—then again, that's a lot of electricity.
Predicting the future by extrapolating a trend without bound, that's kinda like the singularity. I have trouble with this sort of thinking. It's a little too pat, a little too wishful, requires a little too much reliance on faith. Things are never that simple. You can't just find one screw and keep cranking on it indefinitely. Progress relies on the occasional blacksmith.
And this is good. It helps social mobility. I have a hard time imagining a metric that wouldn't entrench a tiny set of haves if it grew without bound. Monotonic progress perpetuates the status quo, like trees stunting the ground around themselves. To avoid it requires periodic creative destruction. Ends of eras. The saturating of metrics.
(If I could still edit my original comment I'd replace 'weird' with 'interesting/weird'.)
You can watch full episodes online, no commercial interruptions after they start. It does a good job at filling the popular science video niche, in addition to Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman.
Can someone explain how I have misunderstood and the show really is meant for kids? Because it's designed like a kid's show, complete with silly music, wacky editing, colourful demonstrations/analogies to illustrate scientific principles, and narration that sounds as if written for a toddler. In this respect it's almost as unwatchable as Michio Kaku's (who's ordinarily a bright guy) weirdly infantile Science of the Impossible series. (It's also an incredibly American show, formatwise, extremely brash and loud and fluffy.) I started watching the show as I'm a fan of Tyson, but I ended up disappointed.
For now, the only regular series (as opposed to one-offs like Jim Al-Khalili's excellent shows on atoms and chemistry, or Sagan's Cosmos) I consider worth watching is BBC's Bang Goes the Theory (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lwxj1), which is fairly obviously targeted at teens, but has some good content. Two of the hosts are fairly annoying generic twentysomethings who do the show as though it's some kind of music video programme, but the third guy is an adorable geek with an obvious passion for science and engineering, and they have some assisting hosts who are quite quirky.
But I was similarly annoyed with Brian Cox's Wonders of the Solar System, which is beautifully designed and calmly edited, but comes across as really fluffy thanks to the lack of scientific detail and the gushing, ultrapositive personality of Cox, who describes everything as "brilliant" and "mindboggling". I like Cox, but he's a bit over the top.
I've found myself hunting down online content such as TED, and also Nottingham University's work, such as the periodic table of elements series (http://www.youtube.com/user/periodicvideos).
Conflation of genres imo, both science shows and "popular science" shows can be enjoyed independently of one another, similar to how adults may enjoy both drama and comedy. From what I've seen of Bang Goes the Theory on youtube, it appears to be a clone of MythBusters and cover much fluffier one-off engineering problems simple enough to reproduce on TV.
On the other hand, ScienceNow is more of a newsmagazine that highlights what several different researchers are currently working on, and why they are interested in that problem. Ex: natural language processing robots, growing human ears on mice for reconstructive surgery, etc.
Jim Al-Khalili (Twitter: @jimalkhalili)
"The Story of Electricity" and "Everything and Nothing" is also in my queue. And your University of Surrey session! You're a prolific guy! Between all the documentaries and books and radio programmes and lectures, do you find any time to do science research at all?