PERCEPTION AND POV

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“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
George Orwell

PERCEPTION AND POINT OF VIEW

all depends how you look at it
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The Fight of Our Lives

My Time with Zelenskyy,
Ukraine’s Battle for Democracy,
and What It Means for the World

By Iuliia Mendel

When Ukrainian journalist Iuliia Mendel got the call she had been hired to work for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, she had no idea what was to come.

In this frank and moving inside account, Zelenskyy’s former press secretary tells the story of his improbable rise from popular comedian to the president of Ukraine. Mendel had a front row seat to many of the key events preceding the 2022 Russian invasion. From attending meetings between Zelenskyy and Putin and other European leaders, visiting the front lines in Donbas, to fielding press inquiries after the infamous phone calls between Donald Trump and Zelenskyy that led to Trump’s first impeachment.

Mendel saw firsthand Zelenskyy’s efforts to transform his country from a poor, backward Soviet state into a vibrant, prosperous European democracy. Mendel sheds light on the massive economic problems facing Ukraine and the entrenched corrupt oligarchs in league with Russia. She witnessed the Kremlin’s repeated attacks to discredit Zelenskyy through disinformation and an army of bots and trolls.

Woven into her account are details about her own life as a member of Zelenskyy’s new Ukraine. Written with the sound of Russian bombs and exploding shells in the background, Mendel details life lived under Russian siege in 2022. She says goodbye to her fiancé who joins the front lines, like so many other Ukrainian men. Throughout this story of Zelenskyy, Ukraine, and its extraordinary people, Iuliia Mendel reminds us of the paramount importance of truth and human values, especially in these darkest of times.

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What Is Happening “Now” Is Relative

In special relativity, the statement that two events happened at the same time is meaningless.

By Sabine Hossenfelder — BIG THINK

  • We always see things as they looked a little bit earlier, but we don’t normally notice this in everyday life. It gets even weirder, though. 
  •  In special relativity, the statement that two events happened at the same time is meaningless. 
  • Every event is “now” for someone.
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TIME: A Discussion

Carlo Rovelli and Oliver Burkeman talk about time

By 5×15

Watch the FREE video!

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Four Thousand Weeks

time management for mortals

By Oliver Burkeman

The average human lifespan is absurdly, insultingly brief. Assuming you live to be eighty, you have just over four thousand weeks.

Nobody needs telling there isn’t enough time. We’re obsessed with our lengthening to-do lists, our overfilled inboxes, work-life balance, and the ceaseless battle against distraction; and we’re deluged with advice on becoming more productive and efficient, and “life hacks” to optimize our days. But such techniques often end up making things worse. The sense of anxious hurry grows more intense, and still the most meaningful parts of life seem to lie just beyond the horizon. Still, we rarely make the connection between our daily struggles with time and the ultimate time management problem: the challenge of how best to use our four thousand weeks.

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You’ve Probably Seen Yourself in Your Memories

Remembering your life in the third person is a little creepy and surprisingly common.

By Jacob Stern — The Atlantic

Pick a memory. It could be as recent as breakfast or as distant as your first day of kindergarten. What matters is that you can really visualize it. Hold the image in your mind.

Now consider: Do you see the scene through your own eyes, as you did at the time? Or do you see yourself in it, as if you’re watching a character in a movie? Do you see it, in other words, from a first-person or a third-person perspective? Usually, we associate this kind of distinction with storytelling and fiction-writing. But like a story, every visual memory has its own implicit vantage point. 

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How Will We Know if NASA’s DART Mission
Successfully Changed an Asteroid’s Orbit?

By Lowell Observatory

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, also known as DART, is humanity’s first attempt to change the motion of a non-hazardous asteroid in space by intentionally crashing a spacecraft into it. After impact, ground-based observatories across the globe will turn their eyes to the skies to determine if this planetary defense test was successful. In this vode, NASA visits Lowell Observatory to learn more about how astronomers have been tracking this double asteroid over the course of many years, and how they will document the orbital change post-impact.

Watch the YouTube video!

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The Big Misconception About Electricity

it doesn’t work the way you thought

By Veritasium

The misconception is that electrons carry potential energy around a complete conducting loop, transferring their energy to the load.

Watch the YouTube video!

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Power Transmitted Over 98 Feet of Thin Air

By DAVID NIELD — Science Alert

We could one day charge our phones and tablets wirelessly through the air, thanks to newly developed technology.

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Existential Physics

A Scientist’s Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions

By Sabine Hossenfelder

Not only can we not currently explain the origin of the universe, it is questionable we will ever be able to explain it. The notion that there are universes within particles, or that particles are conscious, is ascientific, as is the hypothesis that our universe is a computer simulation.  On the other hand, the idea that the universe itself is conscious is difficult to rule out entirely. 

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Quantum Field Theory

something is missing!

By Michael Driver — Quanta Magazine

Quantum field theory may be the most successful scientific theory of all time, predicting  experimental results with stunning accuracy and advancing the study of higher dimensional mathematics. Yet, there’s also reason to believe that it is missing something. Steven Strogatz speaks with David Tong, a theoretical physicist at the University of Cambridge, to explore the open questions of this enigmatic theory.

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Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution

The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum

By Lee Smolin

A daring new vision of quantum theory from one of the leading minds of contemporary physics

Quantum physics is the golden child of modern science. It is the basis of our understanding of atoms, radiation, and so much else, from elementary particles and basic forces to the behavior of materials. But for a century it has also been the problem child of science: it has been plagued by intense disagreements between its inventors, strange paradoxes, and implications that seem like the stuff of fantasy. Whether it’s Schrödinger’s cat–a creature that is simultaneously dead and alive–or a belief that the world does not exist independently of our observations of it, quantum theory challenges our fundamental assumptions about reality.

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Helgoland

making sense of the quantum revolution

By Carlo Rovelli

One of the world’s most renowned theoretical physicists, Carlo Rovelli has entranced millions of readers with his singular perspective on the cosmos. In Helgoland, he examines the enduring enigma of quantum theory. The quantum world Rovelli describes is as beautiful as it is unnerving.

Helgoland is a treeless island in the North Sea where the twenty-three-year-old Werner Heisenberg made the crucial breakthrough for the creation of quantum mechanics, setting off a century of scientific revolution. Full of alarming ideas (ghost waves, distant objects that seem to be magically connected, cats that appear both dead and alive), quantum physics has led to countless discoveries and technological advancements. Today our understanding of the world is based on this theory, yet it is still profoundly mysterious.

As scientists and philosophers continue to fiercely debate the meaning of the theory, Rovelli argues that its most unsettling contradictions can be explained by seeing the world as fundamentally made of relationships rather than substances. We and everything around us exist only in our interactions with one another. This bold idea suggests new directions for thinking about the structure of reality and even the nature of consciousness.

Rovelli makes learning about quantum mechanics an almost psychedelic experience. Shifting our perspective once again, he takes us on a riveting journey through the universe so we can better comprehend our place in it.

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Quantum Entanglement

two atoms 20 miles apart

By Ben Taub — IFLSCIENCE

By quantum entangling two stationary atoms across 20 miles of fiber optic cable, researchers may have paved the way for the creation of a quantum internet.

A new quantum entanglement record has just been set by physicists at Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) who successfully connected two rubidium atoms across 33 kilometers (20 miles) of fiber optic cable. The achievement represents a major milestone in the quest toward a quantum internet, which would allow for the instantaneous transmission of information between nodes in a network.

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Robotic Motion in Curved Space

defies standard laws of physics

By Georgia Institute of Technology

Researchers have proven that when bodies exist in curved spaces, they can in fact move without pushing against something.

When humans, animals, and machines move throughout the world, they always push against something, such as the ground, air, or water. Until recently, physicists thought this to be a constant, following the law of conservation momentum. However, scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) have now proven the opposite – when bodies exist in curved spaces, it turns out that they can in fact move without pushing against something.

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The Wonderful World of Necrobotics

warning: this is creepy!

By James Vincent — The Verge

Scientists reanimate dead spiders as robot gripping claws

Why bother to design your own robots when you can just reuse what nature created?

This was the thought process behind a research project from engineers at Rice University who successfully transformed dead spiders into robotic gripping claws. The scientists have dubbed their new area of research “necrobotics” and say it could create cheap, effective, and biodegradable alternatives to current robotic systems.

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How Do We Know That Time Exists?

By CORDIS — Phys.Org

The alarm goes off in the morning. You catch your morning train to the office. You take a lunch break. You catch your evening train back. You go for an hour’s run. Eat dinner. Go to bed. Repeat. Birthdays are celebrated, deaths commemorated. New countries are born, empires rise and fall. The whole of human existence is bound to the passing of time.

But we can’t see it and we can’t touch it. So, how do we know that it’s really there?

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Portal Opens to Extra Time Dimension

just what we need, eh?

By Zeeya Merali  — Scientific American

Opening a portal to an extra time dimension—even just a theoretical one—sounds thrilling, but it was not the physicists’ original plan. 

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Time Isn’t Simply Just Another Dimension

By Ethan Siegal — BIG Think

We live in a four-dimensional Universe, where matter and energy curve the fabric of spacetime. But time sure is different from space!

  • According to Einstein’s General Relativity, matter and energy curve the fabric of spacetime, and that curved spacetime determines the motion of matter and energy. 
  • But while spacetime itself is four dimensional, it can be decomposed into three spatial dimensions and one time dimension. 
  • Even though we understand the mathematics governing them magnificently, time has some fundamental differences from every other dimension; here’s what everyone should know.
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We’re Floating Through Space at Dizzying Speeds

where are you really?

By Derya Ozdemir — Interesting Engineering

If you’ve ever wondered about your place in the vast enormity of the universe, this video is for you. In its latest video, Kurzgesagt, which is known for its top-notch animations paired with existential questions and satisfying answers about our universe, takes you on a journey showing how we are hurtling through space at breakneck speeds. 

Check out the amazing video!

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Visualizing the Proton

a Physicists’ Innovative Animation Depicts the Subatomic World in a New Way

By Sarah Costello, MIT School of Science — SciTechDaily

Try to picture a proton — the tiny, positively charged particle within an atomic nucleus — and you may envision a familiar, textbook diagram: a bundle of billiard balls representing quarks and gluons. From the solid sphere model first proposed by John Dalton in 1803 to the quantum model put forward by Erwin Schrödinger in 1926, there is a storied timeline of physicists attempting to visualize the invisible.

Check out the amazing pictures!

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The Neuroscience of Optical Illusions

“Reality” is constructed by your brain. Here’s what that means, and why it matters.

By Brian Resnick — Vox

“It’s really important to understand we’re not seeing reality,” says neuroscientist Patrick Cavanagh, a research professor at Dartmouth College and a senior fellow at Glendon College in Canada. “We’re seeing a story that’s being created for us.”

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The Knowledge Illusion

Why We Never Think Alone

By Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach

We all think we know more than we actually do.

Humans have built hugely complex societies and technologies, but most of us don’t even know how a pen or a toilet works. How have we achieved so much despite understanding so little? Cognitive scientists Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach argue that we survive and thrive despite our mental shortcomings because we live in a rich community of knowledge. The key to our intelligence lies in the people and things around us. We’re constantly drawing on information and expertise stored outside our heads: in our bodies, our environment, our possessions, and the community with which we interact—and usually we don’t even realize we’re doing it.

The human mind is both brilliant and pathetic. We have mastered fire, created democratic institutions, stood on the moon, and sequenced our genome. And yet each of us is error prone, sometimes irrational, and often ignorant. The fundamentally communal nature of intelligence and knowledge explains why we often assume we know more than we really do, why political opinions and false beliefs are so hard to change, and why individual-oriented approaches to education and management frequently fail. But our collaborative minds also enable us to do amazing things. The Knowledge Illusion contends that true genius can be found in the ways we create intelligence using the community around us.

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Consciousness Is Irrelevant to Quantum Mechanics

an interview with Carlo Rovelli

Interviewed By Alexis Papazoglou — Editor for IAI News

In this interview, Carlo Rovelli explains Heisenberg’s anti-realist motivations, clarifies the role of the “observer” in quantum mechanics, and articulates his relational interpretation of the theory, according to which reality is a network of interactions.

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Why Scientists Are Worried About the W Boson

Something is amiss!
And things have changed!

By Monisha Ravisetti — C/NET Science

And that something could totally change one of the universe’s most fundamental frameworks.

You’ve probably heard of protons, positive specks anchoring atoms. You’ve likely come across electrons, negative blips roaming around those protons. You may have even pondered photons, the stuff coming out of light bulbs in your room. 

But right now, we need to worry about an odd little particle that usually escapes the limelight: the W boson.

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The retired head of Israeli space security claims:

The Earth Is Collaborating with a Galactic Federation

By IFLSCIENCE!

The former head of Israel’s Space Security Program, Haim Eshed, has either just spilled the biggest secret in world history, or is deeply delusional. Eshed allegedly claims a Galactic Federation has been in touch with the governments of the United States and Israel but asked for its existence to be kept secret.

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