Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Incompleteness (Score 1) 230

If you believe mathematics lives outside the human brain do not read on....

"Logic" is an extension of our neural wiring. The logical statements that would be created by another being that lives, say, in a highly viscous medium or who lives on very short or very long timescales compared to humans would be almost incomprehensible to us. There would be overlaps because we share the same universe but if our understanding of nature through our development of physics has taught us anything we know our view of nature is heavily dependent upon our observation platform. Quantum "weirdness" is a fine example of the impedance mismatch between our brains which have evolved to make babies, avoid rocks etc, and the atomic scale. (Though mathematics is not physics, the mathematics that sticks around in the minds of many is that which serves some purpose in our understanding of the physical universe so its hard to separate the two.)

The observation in the article hints toward an interesting notion. Intrinsic categorization challenges embedded within networks may have something to tell us about the limits of our ability to categorize nature to some practical purpose. Thanks for the post.

Comment Re:Pseudoparticles (Score 1) 156

"Actually existing in and of themselves"...
I think we will find that even "real" particles are quasiparticles. We only know "real" particles because they act like particles which is exactly how we identify quasiparticles. I think we will get further in understanding our perspective of nature if we realize the names we give to things don't change the things themselves. Particles are the tip of an iceberg we don't fully understand so the distinction between what call particles and what we call quasiparticles is a human thing that is vestigial from previous perspectives. Let it go. :)

Comment Measures of central tendency (Score 1) 312

Physicist here...

I should think the travesty in this article is an economist not making a huge deal about the real issue here and that is measures of central tendency (any measure) only really makes sense when you're looking at gaussian type data (don't economists have fat-tail debacles etched into them at school???). Using a mean and a standard deviation, rmse or whatever to encapsulate a power law distributed thing is dangerous when you start USING it for something (like derivatives pricing). Power law distributions are more prevalent than popularly imagined... Use care when using measures of central tendency on them.

Comment Power Law Scaling (Score 1) 143

We see power-law scaling everywhere and it looks a lot like the statement in the article. If the size of cars obeyed a power law distribution it would be hard to tell how far you were away from the ground by looking at the apparent size of the cars. The wider you make your gaze the larger cars you will find. We see power-law scaling in continuous phase transition when the system can't really "decide" what scale to prefer so it kind of exists in all scales. Perhaps this means the universe is undergoing some sort of continuous phase transition. Very cool.

Comment quasiparticles unite! (Score 1) 128

I believe (in a metaphysical sense) that all particles will be found to be "quasiparticles" in sence that they are emergent from some other phenomena. So, stop hating on the fact that this is not a "fundamental" particle. The idea of the quasiparticle is one of the most significant physics developments evar.

In other news:
Condensed matter physicists enherit the earth!!!!!

Comment Seriously??? (Score 1) 542

3 words:
Orbiting fuel stations (I'm sure someone mentioned this earlier but I didn't see it in first 100 postings)

Think of how absurd it would be if trucks had to deliver fuel to us at out homes for our round trips to work. There are hundreds of solutions to this problem its just a matter of will (and $$$). I'm frankly surprised this made it on the /..

There are more fundamental limitations to drilling past the mantle than this. Furthermore, I think exploring the oceans would be a much better place to spend this type of money. Colonize the ocean!

Slashdot Top Deals

This is clearly another case of too many mad scientists, and not enough hunchbacks.