“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

First quantum effects seen in visible object

First quantum effects seen in visible object - physics-math - 17 March 2010 - New Scientist

The physicists over at University of California Santa Barbara give us this treat—yes, superposition happens. It's not just a neat (though weird) way of explaining things. Put that together with my previous about photosynthesis...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Don't Get Upset, You Won't Persuade Anyone

That seems to be the implicit injunction in this rather scientistic account of arguments for working on global warming. Thanks to Jairus Grove of The Contemporary Condition for showing this to me.

It sounds a little bit like the way Republicans sometimes frame the debate about taxes: “Don't be starting any class warfare, now!”

The underlying assumption is that strong emotions are me-centric. An idea that's had a lot of traction, at least since Plato: the dichotomy between your head and your heart.

This cannot be the case. My nine-month old son was crying when his sister cried, because his mirror neurons were developing so fast. End of conversation?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quantum Developments

My colleague David Robertson gave a fascinating talk today in which he used Shakespeare's song “Full Fathom Five” in connection with photography:

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

It made me realize that the song could be all about how photographs develop, in little pools of chemical solutions...

So photographs contain information about the environments in which they were developed.

Monday, March 8, 2010