This is a classical type of problem in physics. Imagine you are on the beach, and you throw a ball somewhere in the ocean. You the decide to have a race with someone who can get to the ball faster. Both of you run at the same speed, and when you enter the ocean, you slow down due to the water’s resistance. Therefore, the only thing that will affect who will win the race is what path each one of you takes. So the question is, which is the fastest path?
Okay, recently, I found a new lecture on cosmology, the origin and property of the universe, and what our future universe would look like in a hundred billion years’ time. The lecture is done by professor Lawrence Krauss. He is an amazing lecturer, and I love his injection of humor into it. Trust me when I say you will learn a lot of amazing things about the universe. Some of it may be speculation, but a lot of it is experimentally verified. Check it out:
Hat tip: Pharyngula commenter Lewelly
…from my physics teacher: Einstein, Pascal, and Newton were playing hide and seek, and it was Einstein’s turn to seek, while the others were hiding. While Pascal went to hide, Newton just sat out there in the open, drawing a square around him. So Einstein found Newton first. “Found you,” he said. But he was confused as to what Newton was doing out there in the open. So he asked, “We are playng hide and seek, you are supposed to hide. Why are you sitting out here in the open?” But instead Newton replied, “You didn’t find Newton, I drew a meter squared around me, so you found Pascal!”
You get bonus geek point if you understood this joke.
Have you wondered, how deep down the gravity well are we in? Me neither. But this xkcd comic let us know:
It turns out it is a really good picture of what a “gravity well” is, which has to do with the amount of speed, thereby energy needed to climb out of the well and prevent yourself from clawing at the wall and falling. Now you know how come you need a giant rocket to get out of this really deep well we call Earth. Of course, compared to the giant planets and the gargantuan sun, Earth’s well is nothing. Falling into Jupiter must make one heck of a nasty experience…
Fear the stupid, fear it:
Stupid has no limits. It especially burns when you know something. And indeed, the following video is like showing a cross to a vampire, except this one is with science and educated people:
Just in case you don’t know, homeopathy basically says that if you imbibe something that caused harm in small amount, it will cure you of whatever you had. I know, it is like saying if you rub feces on you, you will get cleaner. Just doens’t make sense. Orac does a good job deconstructing these things (and hat tip to him for providing this entertaining and painful show). Of course, he focuses in the medicine, but he can also tell something is horribly wrong in her “physics” lecture. He covers the physics part pretty well, but I will go in more details in the physics side of things.. Even if I become Patrick Star stupid after this, I will at least have provided entertainment, so here I go. *gulp*
Note: I am not an expert in physics, but I did make as much as I could with what I knew, and a little research. Any errors, feel free to correct me.
And heh, she says at the beggining that she will “explain” things, heh, “explain,” followed by asking if anyone had chemistry classes. Probably none of them had it, and if they did, they must have failed horribly, or it is the suckiest school ever because as you watch the rest of the tape, you will start wondering what part of all of these were part of physics and chemistry classes.
Notice how she begins by throwing in a famous name? Makes everything seem a little bit oh so credible, doesn’t it. Immediately after mentioning his name, though, she begins to screw with physics and what he actually said. Okay, not so much, it is more of me nitpicking. C squared is speed of light squared, not speed of light. If it were speed of light, then you wouldn’t need that square, would you? But now the mental stuff begins. She claims that if you put all the mass in the universe so that there is no space in between the matter, that it would be the size of a bowling ball. Well, if she means by all the spaces an atom has because of electrons, you only need to look at neutron stars. Neutron stars are so massive that electrons are absorbed by the proton, turning into neutron. It happens to 1.5 solar mass core of even more massive giant stars. So you see, if the whole universe is squeezed like that, it would certainly be much larger than a city sized neutron star, and then, it would squeeze into a black hole, which is mathematically infinitely small. Of course, mathematics does not reflect reality, but it is super small definitely. If you take account of the event horizon, that is a different story.
But no, the fact that she was wrong on that fact was not why it bothered me. Uh uh. If you keep playing the video, she is implying as if having small volume means that the amount of mass is small. That is incredibly stupid. Look, we are mostly empty space, all right? Because an atom’s size depends on the very small, very far apart electrons. I still weigh 70 kilos regardless! I would weigh 70 kilos even if I shrunk enough so that I become a neutron star. I would weigh 70 kilos even if I became a black hole, albeit a super small black hole. If you squeeze a cotton ball, there is still the same amount of cotton. Volume doesn’t matter, only the amount of stuff matter. You still have to take account of the stuff.
And then she makes an even a larger leap of logic. She then claims that since mass occupies a small volume, the term mass(m) of e=mc^2 becomes infinitely small, and what is left is e=c^2! Ow, ow, I got brain fever. What a horrible abuse of math and physics. Firstly, as I said before, mass does not change! Secondly, if you make the limit of mass to zero, then it might as well become zero value. And if you multiply 0 value by c^2, guess what? E=0! Also, how does the unit m^2/s^2 makes sense? That is speed squared, not energy. Energy has the units kg*m^2/s^2. What e=mc^2 do say, though, is that if, say, you turn a paperclip into pure energy, it will probably explode with the power of a nuclear bomb. Tiny little mass=BIG BOOM! And even if there were a gazillion times more energy in the universe (well, there is dark energy, but that is a different story) than energy stored as matter, it doesn’t change the fact that those matter exist.
Then she mentions the fact that vision is important because energy=C^2. I don’t get it. More importantly, of course having “vision system” is important! We would die without the ability to sense our way around. We evolved that way. Life adapts to nature, and natural selection did the best it could by selecting genes for eyes. I don’t know who “Hanneman” is, but I strongly suspect I know why scientists didn’t fall in his camp (clue: he was wrong).
Afterwards comes another abuse of physics, this time throwing unceremoniously the name Stephen Hawkings. Can someone go to her and tell her to research things at least a little bit, or consult with a physicist, a little, at least, or something. Stephen Hawkings did not invent string theory, funnily enough (check year 1970). He is known for his work on black holes and Hawkings radiation, so I don’t know how someone came up with that connection. Anyways, string theory doesn’t say that there are whole other particles out there that are like strings. It states that those particles are made out of those strings, which vibrate at certain frequency (or was it wavelenght?). Different frequencies corresponds to different particles. And no, those strings are subatomic, so it doesn’t affect the macroscopic except the fact that normal matter is made of them. When she mentions that strings vibrating is energy, e=c^2… More research, ma’am, more research. The internet is awefully convenient for that, you know.
Then she goes on to the connection of physics and biology. Again, she makes the statements which I addressed before, cells are still made of mass, even if it is mostly empty space! And the fact that atoms are mostly empty doesn’t matter at this large scale either. She then talks of breaking the cells into energy, like protons, electrons, neutrons… Wait a minute… That is what atoms are made out of, and atoms are matter! *facepalm* With that logic, she says we are made of energy. Physics class indeed, physics class. With that comes the most incredible piece of stupid in the video yet, just when I thought it couldn’t get stupider. She declares we are energy and that diseases are caused by changes in energy state, like turning chemical energy into heat or something, except something else. Well, there goes germ theory of disease. People, I present to you a most puzzling and curious specimen, a germ theory denialist in the 21st century. Of course, she isn’t denying the germ theory only, since not all diseasees are due to germs, she is ignoring the basics of all biology, pretty much.
Okay, here comes the apex (or nadir, the bottom, if you will) of illogic of the whole piece, which doesn’t make sense even if all her other premises were true: We are energy, disease is caused by energy change, so to cure disease, you have to change it into a prevous state… by using the same stored energy that caused the bad thing to happen. All of it with the analogy of throwing a bomb to a neighbor’s house because a dog pooped in your home. Yup, even if her bad science were true, it doesn’t make sense. It is like saying that you can quench thirst by drinking salt water because salt water causes thirst. And all of that comes along with bad analogy. She is holding no punches back.
The rest is just the whole vibration/energy bull, along with an anecdotal story. If you know anything about standards of evidence, anecdotes are bad evidence. Primarily because human judgment and memories are unreliable. Which is why in a court of law, if you only have eyewitness, but no material evidence, you are screwed.
Oh, and one last comment on energy. You can’t just use energy as if it were something. It exists, that is for sure. Matter turns to energy, energy turns to matter. But mostly, energy is in a form like motion, stored due to position, or as light itself, all being work due to force. So saying we are all made out of energy is… Well, in a way we are because matter is basically condensed energy, but other than that, energy is an abstract concept relating motion with a number, and in case of light, wavelenght with a number, the numbers being energy. And using that number, we can calculate all sorts of things about that motion, and that number is conserved throughout the whole thing. Indeed, this is something that physicist Richard Feynman explains very well.
Now that this mega piece of deconstruction is done, I will end with one last note. “Dr.” Werner, I have never heard so much nonsense concentrated in such a short amount of time. I believe she deserves the accolade of, as the young people say these days (yikes, I am 19 and I already feel old ), “ignunt” of the month.
Watch the following video in the following time, in which a top will appear: 11:15, 26:30, and 49:10. There is a top moving, and for a very LONG time.
What the @!*&$ is in that black box?! Is it the bump on it? Is there some magnet in there that keeps it moving?
I have finally decided to write the solution for my previous pop quizz which I felt so lazy to write. Although you have to understand, writing math equations is really annoying. And I didn’t practice LaTex for a long time, so I felt apprehensive about it. Plus, I will have to make more diagrams, which is even more annoying. But still, I like physics and math, and I like writing about them. So, before you get to the solution, firstly, if you know high school physics or above, this could be cake for you, but if you want to proceed, you should see the problem in the link I put above first. Note, you may see that in the movie clip, the solution is already there, but I want to clarify it. Have you reviewed it? Good, now here goes the solution: Read the rest of this entry »
I found it here on the microsoft research web page. Even though there are quiet a few mathematics, many of them are understandable enough. Even if you don’t, it doesn’t matter. What matter is that you learn science, and indeed, he makes physics truly interesting. With him, you truly get a sense that nature is both beautiful and crazy. I hope this makes any of you who just have a passing glance at science to be truly interested. ^_^ (hat tip quantum pontiff) And if you are interested in the more advanced stuff, quantum electrodynamics, here is the link which I posted a long time ago.
This is the nth edition of *drum rolls* Pop Quizz! A quizz in which the answers are not obvious and if it is obvious, and you get it wrong, you are rebuked at!!!
Occasionally, I will occasionally ask a question, and the reader will answer them! Sometimes, a wrong answer won’t invite rage, some really obvious one will, and you will be called an idiot if you can’t answer the obvious one. ^_^
Today’s problem comes from a really popular anime called Detective Conan (Case Closed in America). These days, I have been watching too much of it. I just watched over 200 episodes, in fact, which explains my absence. ^_^ Basically, it is about a teenage detective who shrinks into a kid after he was given a poison when he was discovered meddling in the affairs of a criminal syndicate. Since no one takes him seriously as a kid, he has to use an incompetent detective to solve various crimes via a sleeping dart and voice changer. Yeah, I know, it is pure fantasy. Read the rest of this entry »
Addendum: Hey, looks like someone listened to my plight! ^_^ (check the comment section) Oh, and I have got to tell you one more classic woo physics from this book. Get this, energy=s*m^2 according to the book, not energy=kg*m^2/s^2. Looks like Mr. Witt just failed middle school physics. (Remember? Kinetic energy=1/2*mass*velocity^2, which makes kg*m^2/s^2, or potential=mass*gravitational acceleration*height gives the same result.) Ohh, and rubbing salt to the injury: another comment from a physicist.
Oh boy, here it comes, with people promulgating “open mindedness,” as if being open minded always leads to intelligent decision. Well, theories sure ain’t intelligent if they are internally inconsistent and well, not real. And so, here comes, from my comment in one of my posted reviews of “Our Undiscovered Universe.” It is boring and insipid, so be ready, and also be ready for a very long rant:
Here is an open-minded review of Null Physics. Eveyone in the scientific community seems very upset over the book. Some readers have even spent their valuable time tracking down Mr. Witt online and posing reviews every time they see his name. I wonder why? Is it because Witt has discovered something important they don’t want the world to read about? Dr. Morse’s review is very fair. Every review should bring out the positives and the negatives. He also does not use the word “crackpot.” I’ve never featured out what a crackpot is anyway.
He also has some very interesting points about James Randi on his web site as well.
OUR UNDISCOVERED UNIVERSE BY TERENCE WITT
BOOK REVIEW BY MELVIN L MORSE MD FAAP
Just when you thought you were starting to understand quantum physics, here comes Terence Witt with Our Undiscovered Universe in which he challenges virtually all the accepted assumptions underlying our current perception of reality. Terence Witt’s Universe is infinite, timeless (no beginning and no end), with no Big Bang, no accelerating galaxies away from the center, and no sub-sub atomic particles such as quarks. Instead, he postulates that the Universe consists of nothing! This is why he calls his theory “Null Physics”. But not just empty space, not that kind of nothing. Terence Witt’s view of the Universe is that is consists entirely of curved space, gravity, and energy forming a complex balance of matter and anti-matter, energy and dark energy, all adding up to nothing at all. Read the rest of this entry »