It seems to me that by our everyday standards, hyper-extreme physics of the Einstein variety is magic – abstract, nonsensical and absurd. To me it’s like dada art. And that also isn’t surprising, conceptually. Setting aside the fact that both dada and Einstein came from Switzerland, the turn of the twentieth century brought the great … More Extreme physics as dada art – really!
My short science book Explaining Our Weird Universe 1: cool stuff about time, black holes and quantum magic, is published today. I’m very pleased to have been able to write this. It’s an introduction to the way physicists see the universe just now – a series of short essays exploring some of the weirder concepts … More Explaining Our Weird Universe 1 – out now!
One of the best sci-fi novels I’ve read is Stanislaw Lem’s The Invincible. It’s short, sharp and deals with fundamental questions of humanity and the nature of the human condition, versus machines. Where will our technology – and our arrogance about the powers it gives us – lead us? It’s one of those deep-concept things … More Invincibly lost in translation
There are over a million words in English. Most of them are quite obscure and deserve better attention than they get. This week’s is stylometry. It’s the statistical analysis of literary style. It’s thanks to stylometry, for instance, that we know William Shakespeare’s plays weren’t written by him, but by another William Shakespeare who lived … More The obscure word of the week is stylometry
A reminder that my short book Explaining Our Weird Universe 1: cool stuff about time, black holes and quantum magic, is being released on Kindle on 17 September. You can pre-order it right now on Amazon It’s a short book, collecting together six short essays explaining some of the cooler and weirder realities of our … More Three days until ‘Explaining Our Weird Universe 1’ is unleashed!
While fossicking through the books I have in the back shed the other week I found my copy of Gavin McLean’s Whare Raupo, the official history of New Zealand’s oldest publishers, Reed New Zealand. They are no more, alas – vanishing in 2007 when parent company Elsevier sold their worldwide publishing interests to the Pearson … More What a publisher’s official history has to say about meeeeeeee
The idea of aliens arriving and promptly attacking us, Independence Day fashion, recently popped up again largely on the back of another Independence Day movie. But it’s also been offered as a warning by no less a person than Stephen Hawking. And when Hawking says something – well, it pays to listen. Is it true … More Would aliens attack us, Independence Day style?