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 & POINT OF VIEW

depends upon how you look at it!
Pass it on! Tell a friend!

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“A consequence of relative motion is that who or what is moving is always a matter of point of view.”
— Lee Smolin, Time Reborn

 

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Inside the Proton

the most complicated thing you could possibly imagine

By Samuel Velasco — Quanta Magazine

The positively charged particle at the heart of the atom is an object of unspeakable complexity, one that changes its appearance depending on how it is probed. We’ve attempted to connect the proton’s many faces to form the most complete picture yet.

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How Do Bacteria Move?

scientists solve a 50-year mystery

By University of Virginia

Bacteria move themselves forward by coiling long, threadlike appendages into corkscrew forms that function as makeshift propellers.

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Why Time Passes Faster As You Age

Mind time cannot be measured on a watch.

By Ephrat Livni — QUARTZ

Mind time and clock time are two totally different things. They flow at varying rates.

The chronological passage of the hours, days, and years on clocks and calendars is a steady, measurable phenomenon. Yet our perception of time shifts constantly, depending on the activities we’re engaged in, our age, and even how much rest we get. 

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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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“…every entity in the universe evolves dynamically, in interaction with everything else. This is the essence of the philosophy of relationalism…”
— Lee Smolin, Time Reborn

Carlo Rovelli Interview

“reality is not things but connections.”

By New Scientist

Inspired by the art of Cornelia Parker, physicist Carlo Rovelli explains the idea of relational quantum mechanics – and how it could resolve some key problems concerning the nature of reality.

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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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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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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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“There is no antidote for our ability to fool ourselves except to keep the process of science moving so that errors are eventually forced into the light.”
— Lee Smolin, Time Reborn

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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Quantum Entanglement Directly Observed

at the macroscopic scale

By David Nield — SCIENCE ALERT

Quantum entanglement is the binding together of two particles or objects, even though they may be far apart – their respective properties are linked in a way that’s not possible under the rules of classical physics. It’s a weird phenomenon that Einstein described as “spooky action at a distance”, but its weirdness is what makes it so fascinating to scientists.

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Quantum Entanglement

wins the 2022 nobel prize in physics

By Ethan Siegel — BIG Think

There’s a simple but profound question that physicists, despite all we’ve learned about the Universe, cannot fundamentally answer: “What is real?” We know that particles exist, and we know that particles have certain properties when you measure them. But we also know that the very act of measuring a quantum state — or even allowing two quanta to interact with one another — can fundamentally alter or determine what you measure. An objective reality, devoid of the actions of an observer, does not appear to exist in any sort of fundamental way.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t rules that nature must obey.

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The Universe Is Not Locally Real

the physics nobel prize winners prove it

By Daniel Garisto — Scientific American

Elegant experiments with entangled light have laid bare a profound mystery at the heart of reality.

One of the more unsettling discoveries in the past half century is that the universe is not locally real. “Real,” meaning that objects have definite properties independent of observation—an apple can be red even when no one is looking; “local” means objects can only be influenced by their surroundings, and that any influence cannot travel faster than light. Investigations at the frontiers of quantum physics have found that these things cannot both be true. 

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History of Quantum Entanglement

that led to the nobel prize

By Hamish Johnston — Physics World

This episode of the Physics World Weekly podcast focuses on the 2022 Nobel Prize for Physics, which is shared by Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger for their experimental work on the quantum entanglement of photons.

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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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Erwin Schrödinger

Why Did He Fail at Oxford?

Matin Durrani reviews:  Schrödinger in Oxford by David Clary

Troubled Times: After an unhappy three years in Oxford starting in 1933, Erwin Schrödinger returned to Austria.

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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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January 12, 2023

Bat-People on the Moon

what a famed 1835 hoax reveals about misinformation today

By Kirsty B. Carter — aeon

While the social media age may allow misinformation to spread like a highly contagious virus, ‘fake news’ is, of course, as old as the news itself. And, as The Great Moon Hoax chronicles, the Moon proved fertile ground for misinformation long before the persistent conspiracy theory that the Apollo landings were faked. In this short, the Australian journalist Kirsty B. Carter interviews the US writer Matthew Goodman who explains how a series of stories, originally intended as satire and published in 1835 in the New York paper The Sun, convinced millions that the Moon was teeming with life – including, infamously, a race of bat-people. 

Watch the video!

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Collective Illusions

Conformity, Complicity, and the Science of Why We Make Bad Decisions

By Tod Rose

Much of our thinking is informed by false assumptions—making us dangerously mistrustful as a society and needlessly unhappy as individuals. 

The desire to fit in is one of the most powerful, least understood forces in society. 

As human beings, we continually act against our own best interests because our brains misunderstand what others believe. A complicated set of illusions driven by conformity bias distorts how we see the world around us.

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Why Do We Believe Liars?

By F. Diane Barth — NBC News

Denying reality, or not crediting something we know is true, is a way to unconsciously protect ourselves from the pain of an untruth.

It is not unusual for people to believe someone, even when they have substantial proof that the are being lied to. Why do we continue to believe someone, even when we have rational and substantial evidence that they are lying to us?

With denial we can reassure ourselves that everything is okay, even when it is not. The reassurance can give a frightened psyche time and space to work on possible solutions, which is harder to do when you are in a state of panic, anxiety or dread.

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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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