Archive for August, 2012

New Old Ideas

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

There is something both appealing and repellent in the idea that our "modern" attitudes are prefigured in the work of ancient philosophers. It is exciting to find a voice from the past that feels like "one of us" but at the same time a bit discouraging to think that there is nothing new in our […]

On Wavefunction Collapse in QM

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

This, and especially this, reminds me of something I did long ago which, it turned out, had already been done by Hepp expanding on von Neumann's treatment of the measurement problem. The idea was to explain "collapse" of the superposition into a mixed state on the basis of having the measurement process consist of interaction […]

The Camera Often Lies

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

This article by Melanie Fahlman Reid came out while my brother Tony and I were up in Haida Gwaii and by coincidence the guesthouse where we were staying had a book about the various kinds of (mis)representation by photographers "documenting" native culture.

Progress in mathematics

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Among the many fond recollections that followed the recent death of William Thurston, I came across a reference to this article on proof and progress in mathematics. Thurston, a geometer of great insight and also I think a great contributor to the popularization of mathematics, argues for a view of mathematical progress which does not […]

Are there any applications of complex numbers which can be explained to High-School students? | LinkedIn

Monday, August 27th, 2012

This recent discussion on LinkedIn asks for applications of complex numbers which can be explained to High-School students. The case of AC electric circuits is one familiar application which was mentioned by several respondents and one of them pointed to http://www.picomonster.com/ where an attempt is made to motivate their use for describing relationships between other […]

What's Wrong With Religion?

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

This is just a prompt for me to consider the issue. It's very far from "right" for me but does contain some points I agree with.

Free Speech vs. Hate Speech

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Stephen Downes has commented on a discussion of free speech issues at the University of California but I think his focus on intended harm as the only excuse for restricting freedom of speech is too limited.