Photo
laughingsquid:

‘Particle Clicker’, A Game That Teaches Particle Physics in the Style of ‘Cookie Clicker’
Photo
A rare moment for me these days.

A rare moment for me these days.

Photoset

kenobi-wan-obi:

Universe Is Made Of Math, Cosmologist Says

Scientists have long used mathematics to describe the physical properties of the universe. But what if the universe itself is math? That’s what cosmologist Max Tegmark believes.

In Tegmark’s view, everything in the universe — humans included — is part of a mathematical structure. All matter is made up of particles, which have properties such as charge and spin, but these properties are purely mathematical, he says. And space itself has properties such as dimensions, but is still ultimately a mathematical structure.

"If you accept the idea that both space itself, and all the stuff in space, have no properties at all except mathematical properties," then the idea that everything is mathematical "starts to sound a little bit less insane," Tegmark said in a talk given Jan. 15 here at The Bell House. The talk was based on his book "Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality" (Knopf, 2014).

Nature is full of math

The idea follows the observation that nature is full of patterns, such as the Fibonacci sequence, a series of numbers in which each number is the sum of the previous two numbers. The flowering of an artichoke follows this sequence, for example, with the distance between each petal and the next matching the ratio of the numbers in the sequence.

The nonliving world also behaves in a mathematical way. If you throw a baseball in the air, it follows a roughly parabolic trajectory. Planets and other astrophysical bodies follow elliptical orbits.

"There’s an elegant simplicity and beauty in nature revealed by mathematical patterns and shapes, which our minds have been able to figure out," said Tegmark, who loves math so much he has framed pictures of famous equations in his living room.

One consequence of the mathematical nature of the universe is that scientists could in theory predict every observation or measurement in physics. Tegmark pointed out that mathematics predicted the existence of the planet Neptune, radio waves and the Higgs boson particle thought to explain how other particles get their mass.

Some people argue that math is just a tool invented by scientists to explain the natural world. But Tegmark contends the mathematical structure found in the natural world shows that math exists in reality, not just in the human mind.

And speaking of the human mind, could we use math to explain the brain?

Mathematics of consciousness

Some have described the human brain as the most complex structure in the universe. Indeed, the human mind has made possible all of the great leaps in understanding our world.

Someday, Tegmark said, scientists will probably be able to describe even consciousness using math. (Carl Sagan is quoted as having said, "the brain is a very big place, in a very small space.")

"Consciousness is probably the way information feels when it’s being processed in certain, very complicated ways," Tegmark said. He pointed out that many great breakthroughs in physics have involved unifying two things once thought to be separate: energy and matter, space and time, electricity and magnetism. He said he suspects the mind, which is the feeling of a conscious self, will ultimately be unified with the body, which is a collection of moving particles.

But if the brain is just math, does that mean free will doesn’t exist, because the movements of particles could be calculated using equations? Not necessarily, he said.

One way to think of it is, if a computer tried to simulate what a person will do, the computation would take at least the same amount of time as performing the action. So some people have suggested defining free will as an inability to predict what one is going to do before the event occurs.

But that doesn’t mean humans are powerless. Tegmark concluded his talk with a call to action: "Humans have the power not only to understand our world, but to shape and improve it."

(Source: afro-dominicano)

Video

Sea stars in trouble - this clip reminds me to get out and be in the world. So many environments I have observed in my life time really are changing.

skeptv:

Starfish Die-Off

Learn about the disease that is causing massive starfish die-offs on the West Coast and how you can help monitor starfish and their ecosystems.

Learn more: http://www.calacademy.org/sciencetoday

via California Academy of Sciences.


Video

A tribute to the odd birds in this world. 15 of 19 species are considered at risk (proposed for listing or are listed as threatened or endangered).

skeptv:

Penguins: Popularity, peril and poop

Penguins are odd birds. For one, they cannot fly (but they are amazing swimmers), and, contrary to popular belief, the majority of penguin populations live in warmer regions. But these beloved birds are in danger, with populations declining up to 90%. Dyan deNapoli explains the reasons behind the decline — and why penguins are like the proverbial canary in the coal mine of our oceans.

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-popularity-plight-and-poop-of-penguins-dyan-denapoli

Lesson by Dyan deNapoli, animation by Zedem Media.

via TED Education.


Photo
Beautiful!

infinity-imagined:

Earth seen by the Electro-L weather satellite, May 18th 2011.

Beautiful!

infinity-imagined:

Earth seen by the Electro-L weather satellite, May 18th 2011.

(Source: eng.ntsomz.ru)

Photo
I like this!


jack-hudson:

Bobby and the Bubble Car
I’ve recently been working with the brilliant Joe Bichard on some short looped animations to be shown at Latitude festival this weekend. We also decided to make some fun gifs out of the work we produced and here’s one of them.
It was so nice to work on something more challenging that also had a really open brief! More footage from the collaboration to come over the next few weeks but I’ll leave you with this mesmerising bouncy bubble car for now.

I like this!

jack-hudson:

Bobby and the Bubble Car

I’ve recently been working with the brilliant Joe Bichard on some short looped animations to be shown at Latitude festival this weekend. We also decided to make some fun gifs out of the work we produced and here’s one of them.

It was so nice to work on something more challenging that also had a really open brief! More footage from the collaboration to come over the next few weeks but I’ll leave you with this mesmerising bouncy bubble car for now.

Photoset

atomstargazer:

Happy Pi Day!
What is Pi?

Pi (π) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pi is a constant number, meaning that for all circles of any size, Pi will be the same.

The diameter of a circle is the distance from edge to edge, measuring straight through the center. The circumference of a circle is the distance around.

History of Pi

By measuring circular objects, it has always turned out that a circle is a little more than 3 times its width around. In the Old Testament of the Bible (1 Kings 7:23), a circular pool is referred to as being 30 cubits around, and 10 cubits across. The mathematician Archimedes used polygons with many sides to approximate circles and determined that Pi was approximately 22/7. The symbol (Greek letter “π”) was first used in 1706 by William Jones. A ‘p’ was chosen for ‘perimeter’ of circles, and the use of π became popular after it was adopted by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1737. In recent years, Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits passed its decimal. Only 39 digits past the decimal are needed to accurately calculate the spherical volume of our entire universe, but because of Pi’s infinite & patternless nature, it’s a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.

Geometry

The number pi is extremely useful when solving geometry problems involving circles. Here are some examples

The area of a circle.

A = πr2

Where ‘r’ is the radius (distance from the center to the edge of the circle). Also, this formula is the origin of the joke “Pies aren’t square, they’re round!”

(via afro-dominicano)

Tags: pi
Link

neuroticthought:

Here’s a nice review by Kerr et al. of the current research on mindfulness meditation, primarily focusing on the somatosensory cortex and top-down control.

Summary:

Using a common set of mindfulness exercises, mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) have been shown to reduce distress in chronic pain and decrease risk of depression relapse. These standardized mindfulness (ST-Mindfulness) practices predominantly require attending to breath and body sensations. Here, we offer a novel view of ST-Mindfulness’s somatic focus as a form of training for optimizing attentional modulation of 7–14 Hz alpha rhythms that play a key role in filtering inputs to primary sensory neocortex and organizing the flow of sensory information in the brain. In support of the framework, we describe our previous finding that ST-Mindfulness enhanced attentional regulation of alpha in primary somatosensory cortex (SI). The framework allows us to make several predictions. In chronic pain, we predict somatic attention in ST-Mindfulness “de-biases” alpha in SI, freeing up pain-focused attentional resources. In depression relapse, we predict ST-Mindfulness’s somatic attention competes with internally focused rumination, as internally focused cognitive processes (including working memory) rely on alpha filtering of sensory input. Our computational model predicts ST-Mindfulness enhances top-down modulation of alpha by facilitating precise alterations in timing and efficacy of SI thalamocortical inputs. We conclude by considering how the framework aligns with Buddhist teachings that mindfulness starts with “mindfulness of the body.” Translating this theory into neurophysiology, we hypothesize that with its somatic focus, mindfulness’ top-down alpha rhythm modulation in SI enhances gain control which, in turn, sensitizes practitioners to better detect and regulate when the mind wanders from its somatic focus. This enhanced regulation of somatic mind-wandering may be an important early stage of mindfulness training that leads to enhanced cognitive regulation and metacognition.

(via afro-dominicano)

Quote
"Security signs that begin with “For your protection…” essentially end with “…we will restrict freedoms and invade privacy.”"

Neil deGrasse Tyson  (via climateadaptation)