Mittwoch, 30. Dezember 2009

Two short videos

I didn't post anything the last months and collected a few things. Those two vidoes are nice, but especially the second one is old.

The Known Universe by AMNH



Star Size Comparison

Donnerstag, 17. September 2009

Some physics

Just a few words, I haven't posted anything the recent days...Anyhow I bought a new book:

Quantum Non-Locality and Relativity: Metaphysical Intimations of Modern Physics (Aristotelian Society Monographs)



It covers the Bell theorem and the compatibility issues that arise with it and relativity. In short, the Bell theorem states that you cannot make quantum mechanics deterministic by adding hidden local variables and thus explain e.g. quantum entanglement ("Spukhafte Fernwirkung") by a local theory.

I also want to point you to Epiphenom's blog, which has great articles. In short
I want to know why people believe in gods, and what the psychological and social consequences of those beliefs are. I read the research, and when I find something juicy I write it up and post it here!

Dienstag, 1. September 2009

Drugs

Without any comment: Milton Friedman on drugs. I'm thinking about writing down a short essay with more links on the subject of drugs, legalization and abuse.

Mittwoch, 19. August 2009

Model United Nation

Thanks to a friend I learnt about the existence of Model United Nations. It's a role-play like simulation of a conference of some bodies of the United Nations and covers various topics. Participants play GOs and IGOs, have debates and write position papers. There is also a search engine which knows about many MUNs.

Mittwoch, 22. Juli 2009

Banach-Tarski-Theorem

I wonder why I did not post this when I first read it, but because I just crossed that topic again, here is a nice, even though not formal and not technical sketch of a proof of the banach tarski theorem at irregular webcomic.

On moral and ethic

Just two quick links to videos on youtube. I will not comment on the degree of agreement I have with those, just take them as initial input for discussing those and the relevant foundational topics:

Noam Chomsky and Peter Singer on abortion

Peter Singer and Richard Dawkins: Interview on morality

I think, especially without knowing to much on the foundation of Peter Singer's ethics, these videos raise interesting questions about how to define ethical/moral behaviour. The second video suggests that moral behavoiur according to Singer tries to minimize the infliction of pain towards living beings. Beyond the discussion about vegetarianism that dominates the interview, one should also consider the "side-effects" of our current life style. Even if you doubt effects like global warming, it is obvious that we have driven many species to the edge of extinction and moreover, done considerable damage to indigenous peoples all over the world.

Assuming a decline or at least a unchanged situation, what does this imply dealing with the future harm of yet unborn animals (including humans)? What kind of trade off can we afford? Is there some kind of cost-benefit analysis weighting the benefits of our life style versus future harm? How do you measure those factors? Actually, is it even justifiable to think about cost-benefit analysis when talking about pain and suffering? Furthermore, who is to take responsibility for our life style? Even if I try to live a "green" life, due to being trapped in our rather wasteful society, I will cause harm. In fact, most of us are certainly opportunistic conformists, just following the mainstream of society.

Montag, 6. Juli 2009

(dual) n back

I just learnt about the concept of n back tests. Basically, you are presented tokens from a sequence and your task is to determine whether the current token matches the token N steps back.
This can of course be done in parallel with multiple sequences, called "dual", "triple" (..) N-Back, although I haven't seen any implementation of a triple (k, m, n)-Back with different periods in each sequence.

There is a paper which claims to establish a connection between playing dual n back and fluid intelligence. There is also a wired article summarizing the paper.

Check out the flash game presenting a visual and an audio sequence.

Montag, 15. Juni 2009

Sonntag, 19. April 2009

Rating systems

Just something short on (elo) rating: http://www.ratingtheory.com/

When posting about rating for games, just some nice games of starcraft:

http://www.gomtv.net/videos/638

Also the youtube channels of moletrap, VioleTAK, diggitySC, CholeraSC have some more nice games.

Mittwoch, 15. April 2009

Persistence of intuitive beliefs

At Helen's blog at the cognition and culture is a short article about intuitive vs scientific explanations. Some of the comments posted there are also interesting.

By the way, I included the snap shots feature. For those who dislike it, disabling it is quite easy via the drop down menu at the top right corner of each snap shot.

Futhermore I moved the few german-only postings to a new blog and won't bother readers of this one with more german writings.

Donnerstag, 2. April 2009

Illusions

An interesting blog article named "Hallucinatory neurophysics
" can be found here: http://preposterousuniverse.blogspot.com/2005/02/hallucinatory-neurophysics.html. Unfortuntally I wasn't able to find the paper by now. (There are, by the way, some nice videos about hallucinatory drugs on youtube, and some good articles in Spektrum). And Jack Cowans appointment to math and neurology also sounds pretty interesting. Computational neuroscience seems to be a field of its own.
I came there via a blog about "imagining more than 3 dimensions" at http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2009/03/30/why-cant-we-visualize-more-than-three-dimensions/.

That previous blog post reminded me of the "Imagining the tenth dimenson" video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjsgoXvnStY ) which I first watched years ago. This version contains some annotations taken from the book (for which the video is supposed to be pomotional material I guess). I found them not too easy to follow and I doubt the correctness of some claims. But to discuss this I'd need the book, but one at the first glace strange thing is his integration of Everett's many-world interpretation of quantum physics.

edit: I found a paper which seems to have a similar focus: "Geometric Visual Hallucinations, Euclidean Symmetry, and the Functional Architecture of Striate Cortex" at http://www.math.utah.edu/~bresslof/publications/01-1.pdf

Samstag, 28. März 2009

Stanford University lectures

I (was) stumbled over the stanford university youtube channel, containing a quite large collection of video-taped lectures:

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=stanforduniversity&view=playlists

The modern physics series seems to be ok, if you don't exspect abstract math concepts explained in detail but are ok with the that's-all-we-need kind of math (or know the concepts anyways). Watch the first 10 minutes of the quantum mechanics part if you want some explaination of the purpose of lecture series.
The chemical engineering lectures seem to be stupid. I suppose they're quite self-contained in regard of the missing slides if you only have the videos, but seriously, I strongly dislike the professor and his attitude. And I so would have failed his class for he over-emphazises excercises so extremly..ridiculous :>

Nothing to tell about the rest of the lectures, maybe some point later.

Some small addition to the philosphy of science post: Popper wrote quite some chapters about probability and theories based on that. He disregared this notion for being only meta-physical, not scientific. As for my understanding, he says you need to find some way of falsification of a theory to get it out of the meta-physical trap.

Dienstag, 17. März 2009

philosophy of science - popper vs howson

The current german edition of the "scientific american" magazine contains an essay about philosophy of science. It's questioning the Karl Popper view of theories in science and the idea of falsification of theories. The rivaling idea is one of "degrees of belief" by Colin Howson. I haven't accessed his book (scientific reasoning: the bayesian approach) yet and can only link a review for now (http://www.glennshafer.com/assets/downloads/review15.pdf ).
I don't really like the idea (even though it scores some imporant points and Popper might fail at some) because of its randomness. For me it seems more like a guideline to establishing theories which ultimately adhere Popper's requirements. I'll write more on it once I've read the book and got a better grip on the whole picture of howson's theory.

Freitag, 13. März 2009

Speed math game

http://www.jimmyr.com/blog/speed_math.swf

Are you a genius, too? There are some videos on youtube teaching how to apply the speed arithmetic method the author uses, but you don't need to use in order to get all stars in that game.

Mittwoch, 11. März 2009

Suffrage for children?

Some nice thoughts about voting rights for children can be found here:

http://scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=389

Dienstag, 3. März 2009

Tiling wm for windows

http://freenet-homepage.de/bug.n/index.html is an interesting add-on for linux users working on windows. Bases on dwm. I'm currently testing it, it has some problems with those fance small colorful windows poping up everywhere on windows.

Donnerstag, 26. Februar 2009

Quote by Francis Bacon on Houses

Houses are built to live in, and not to look on: therefore let use be preferred before uniformity.

Francis Bacon

http://quotationsbook.com/quote/19190/

Before I forget what i thought, I'll just write it down:

"Unless houses are built completly underground or invisble, they're part of our environment; thus we continously are forced to look on them. I prefer aesthetics and beautiy over uglyness. Uniformity as the only requirement is not enough.".

Interestingly, the book I read only contained the quote up to the colon and at least partly misinterpreted the quote by omitting the demand for uniformity.

Sonntag, 15. Februar 2009

Sonntag, 1. Februar 2009

Machine learning applied to team balancing

Well, team balancing for games played with the Spring engine. Nonetheless pretty interesting: http://student.science.uva.nl/~fhuizing/report.pdf