Saturday, November 16, 2013

You're Over-Thinking It
Scientific progress went much quicker in the 1800's. We figured out the electric motor, electricity,  steam train, engine, car, typewriter, mechanical calculator, telegraph, fiber optics, telephone, record player, movie, sewing machine, rubber, plastic, photograph, revolver, dynamite, antiseptic, pasteurization,

Nowadays, electronic devices become ever-smaller, medicine becomes ever more sophisticated but it seems our massive research efforts are just fine-tuning details. At best, we are just optimizing the great discoveries of yesteryear.

Around 1900, people discussed the idea that science must end. We had already discovered everything. My father ruminated on the thought through the 50's and asked me during the 80's whether there was anything left to discover about cars. Then a science prof of mine planted a slightly different explanation; we have already made all the easy discoveries. From here on, advances would only happen through careful analysis of subtle, hard-to-interpret results. Math, especially statistics, was about to get a whole lot harder.

Alternative explanation.

Friday, November 15, 2013

This is Saturn

A real, true-color, photograph of Saturn, taken with the sun in the background!
(Click and zoom to read the labels.)