Monthly Archives: June 2011

Some Notes on Energy, Work, Heat and That Other Thing

Humans are muddled creatures, as I argued the other day. Our brains were not evolved to think about thermodynamics or statistical mechanics, as witness the tendency of those to do so to kill themselves: Boltzmann and Ehrenfest are two prominent … Continue reading

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Some Notes on Imagination

I’ve argued previously that the human imagination is a lousy tool for understanding reality. Here I want to talk about some examples of that, and generally be mean to philosophers, economists and social theorists who continue to use their imagination … Continue reading

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What is Wrong with this Picture?

I’m using this video as the creator seems to think of it as a meditative device rather than a seriously suggesting that perpetual motion is possible. There are a series of twelve such videos, all of them variants on the … Continue reading

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Some Notes on Perpetual Motion: I

Perpetual motion is a fascinating topic, and one whose study can shed enormous light on the nature of reality. It is the perfect anodyne to an exclusively pragmatic educational focus, because it proves that sometimes you can learn more by … Continue reading

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The Age of Assassination

Apparently my tax dollars are being spent to attempt to assassinate a head of state. Many years ago a math prof at McGill named Donald Kingsbury wrote a novel called “The Moon Goddess and the Sun”. It was a Cold … Continue reading

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Popular \”Science\” and Ovulating Women\’s \”Gaydar\”

Madelaine White at the Globe and Mail has taken umbrage over the a recent study by a prof at U of T on the relationship between women’s estimated fertility and their ability to distinguish gay from straight men by looking … Continue reading

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Everything but the Raccoon

A week in paradise amidst the trees beside a lake so full of tiny fish where turkey vultures gently ride the breeze while Nature serves our every little wish: a porcupine slow-shimmies up a birch, an osprey soars with squawking … Continue reading

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Far from the Madding Crowd

“Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife their sober wishes never learned to stray. Along the cool sequestered vale of life they kept the noiseless tenor of their way.” Quoted from memory so use at your own risk. The verse … Continue reading

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Some Notes on the Moon

Every parent dreads the day when their child will look up at them with big curious eyes and ask the eternal question, “Ancestor, where did the Moon come from?” These notes are intended to help perplexed parents answer this vexatious … Continue reading

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Talking About Generation

Matthew Cobb’s “Generation” is a readable history of the changes that took place in the Western World’s view during the 1600’s regarding how new living things come to be, which was known at the time as the problem of “generation”. … Continue reading

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