As a teenager I remember being wowed by Larry Niven’s ‘known space’ stories, including his Ringworld novels. Looking back, though, I’m not so sure about his aliens. He had two main ones – the Puppeteers and the Kzin. At the time they were pretty cool. Up until the mid-1960s, most (good) aliens basically looked human,… More I figure that Larry Niven’s aliens weren’t alien enough
I posted a while back on the fact that ‘psychology’ isn’t proper science, still less a valid way of understanding the human condition. To me, the problem is summed up by where ‘psychology’ was taken by one of its pioneers, Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957). Reich, like his teacher Sigsmund Freud, thought everybody was psychologically defective – it was only a matter of degree… More How Wilhelm Reich showed that ‘psychology’ is scientific woo woo
It’s intriguing how we always talk about stuff like radio, microwaves, light, x-rays and the rest – as if all these were different things. Well guess what – they’re not. They’re all exactly the same thing. Electromagnetic energy. That’s it, really. Well, there are differences – as we’ll see in this post. But in terms… More Explaining the electromagnetic spectrum in less than 550 words
I saw a documentary the other day about Project Orion – which to me underscored just how much times have changed since the 1960s. Owing to a severe attack of geekiness, I already knew quite a bit about the idea, but this added interviews with project scientists such as Freeman Dyson. What was it? On… More Surfing the nuclear blast wave – with science!
When I was a teenager in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, I had some dealings – via friends of the family – with people who followed Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (1860-1925). The Austrian cult leader was long dead by the 1970s, but his pseudo-religious dogma – ‘anthroposophy‘ – outlasted him. I never understood why; his stuff was a heavy-handed mashup of nineteenth century mitteleuropäische Christianity… More Is Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy a sign that humanity’s already hit peak stupid?
It always intrigues me how humans tend to imagine matters of opinion to be empirically true – as if matters of fact – even when they are not. It’s a cognitive issue, one that I suspect is linked to the way some people validate themselves. And it leads to a logical disconnect, a favourite of… More When the conclusion doesn’t follow the premise it’s called – stupidity?
How fast is time? If you’re trapped in the office or enduring a maths class or something dull you’d no doubt tell me it drips past. Just as you’d also tell me it moves damn fast if you’re enjoying the latest Star Wars movie. But that’s personal perception of time. To physicists, no matter how… More Einstein’s cool way to make time go slower