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I know it may be bad practice to blog about things that you really don’t like but in this case I just couldn’t help myself.  I caught some of this movie recently.  It purports to discuss quantum theory and our limited perceptions of reality.

The fundamental premise is that each individual creates their own personal universe, a view supposedly based on evidence from experiments performed by quantum physicists on subatomic particles which have been found to have uncertain properties that are in some sense ‘determined by the observer’.  The film-makers conclude from these ‘scientific findings’ that the real world is an illusion, constructed by our minds through our intentions, choices and actions.

There is a fly in the ointment though.  If it is ‘true’ that we all construct our own universes then why the bleep would we listen to scientists, especially quantum physicists?  They are just imagining their own results anyway, so how can we use any of their findings as evidence from which to draw conclusions?

If science, like everything else, is an illusion – a set of constructs fabricated from wishful thinking, then no theory can be subject to testing – to proof or disproof – and experiments become meaningless.  Quantum physics can prove nothing, so the film neatly removes its own evidential basis and disappears up its own rabbit hole.  There are no reasonable grounds for accepting or denying any of its premises and there is nowhere to go.

On reflection, I would say that the film is aptly named.  The film makers seem to know bleep-all and it looks like they’d like the rest of us to stay that way too.

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Matt Staggs was talking about ludicrous spam with semi-inviting titles on his blog and at first I thought this email was an example. But it isn’t. It’s real and it looks too good to miss.

I cut and paste from my Gmail box:

Speaker: Dr Mark Norman
When: Monday 18 August at 9.20am
For: Primary and Secondary teachers and students, Grade 4 and up
Where: Online in Elluminate.
Sign up: http://knowledgebank.globalteacher.org.au to sign up.

Earlier this month, Melbourne Museum held its first ever public dissection of the largest giant squid Australian researchers have encountered. In this seminar, world-renowned squid expert and Deputy Head of Science at Museum Victoria, Dr Mark Norman, will be talking about what was learned in the public dissection and how it might contribute to greater awareness and understanding of these little-known and rarely seen deep-sea creatures.

This seminar follows our hugely successful “Meet the Motherfish” seminar with Dr John Long where we had more than six teacher-led classes join us online giving their kids a chance to speak direct to Dr Long. This second Science Superstars event is a great opportunity for science teachers to attend with their classes by joining in via electronic whiteboards. Participants will get an opportunity to talk direct with Dr Norman about the squid and what it can teach us.

This event is free but you need to sign up. For more information and to sign up go to:
http://knowledgebank.globalteacher.org.au

Thanks to Knowledgebank for this! I expect all you squid-crazy kids to get on down there and sign up at once.

John Grant (aka Paul Barnett). co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Fantasy is interviewed by Jeff Vandermeer about his book Corrupted Science. Great interview and the book looks like a must-read.

John Grant (aka Paul Barnett). co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Fantasy is interviewed by Jeff Vandermeer about his book Corrupted Science. Great interview and the book looks like a must-read.


Scientific American have an article on the Tunguska mystery, with a charmingly ludicrous image representing the event (above) as witnessed by the farmer Semen Semenov.

This is one of those really strange happenings that conspiracy buffs like to go on about and that turns up in a Thomas Pynchon or Ken Campbell piece.

Now I have to actually read the article though and stop grazing.

This article on Wikipedia makes for a worrying read. Or not.

Wonderful Wikipedia article on memes. I had pretty much dismissed the whole idea for some reason but I recant now!

Paticularly interesting is the memetracker, such that this blog is a tiny molecule in memetic promotion…

This is a really interesting read I picked up in Edmonton Green Library. It’s all connected man… Particularly as I had to return a friend’s copy of ‘Coincidence’ by Robert Anton Wilson (RIP-RAW – I only just found out…) today.

When you search for ‘ubiquity’ on Wikipedia, it comes up with a slightly odd article on Omnipresence.

The following is from the book’s cover:

Why do catastrophes happen? What sets off earthquakes, for example? What about mass extinctions of species? The outbreak of major wars? Massive traffic jams that seem to appear out of nowhere? Why does the stock market periodically suffer dramatic crashes? Why do some forest fires become superheated infernos that rage totally out of control?
Experts have never been able to explain the causes of any of these disasters. Now scientists have discovered that these seemingly unrelated cataclysms, both natural and human, almost certainly all happen for one fundamental reason. More than that, there is not and never will be any way to predict them.
Critically acclaimed science journalist Mark Buchanan tells the fascinating story of the discovery that there is a natural structure of instability woven into the fabric of our world. From humble beginnings studying the physics of sandpiles, scientists have learned that an astonishing range of things-Earth’s crust, cars on a highway, the market for stocks, and the tightly woven networks of human society-have a natural tendency to organize themselves into what’s called the “critical state,” in which they are poised on what Buchanan describes as the “knife-edge of instability.” The more places scientists have looked for the critical state, the more places they’ve found it, and some believe that the pervasiveness of instability must now be seen as a fundamental feature of our world.
Ubiquity is packed with stories of real-life catastrophes, such as the huge earthquake that in 1995 hit Kobe, Japan, killing 5,000 people; the forest fires that ravaged Yellowstone National Park in 1988; the stock market crash of 1987; the mass extinction thatkilled off the dinosaurs; and the outbreak of World War I. Combining literary flair with scientific rigor, Buchanan introduces the researchers who have pieced together the evidence of the critical state, explaining their ingenious work and unexpected insights in beautifully lucid prose.
At the dawn of this new century, Buchanan reveals, we are witnessing the emergence of an extraordinarily powerful new field of science that will help us comprehend the bewildering and unruly rhythms that dominate our lives and may even lead to a true science of the dynamics of human culture and history.


The links below are from the ‘also bought list’ shown at amazon, which makes for an exciting possible reading plan :

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