slashdot bits

The Kansas City Star | A SPACE ODDITY? Strange Kansas City marker part of world-wide mystery. Yep, a good old-fashioned mystery; like crop circles and Britain's horse shoes in the night. Except, far easier to explain - one guy with a van load of equipment could do it. It's an interesting read.

Slashdot | Haunted Houses Explained: Infrasound. This one is worth it just for the arguments in the forum... people still think "science" is about "truths". Think again, people - science is only about observed patterns. I can observe the pattern that a piece of wood burns when exposed to flame while a piece of metal does not; from this you can quite legitimately say that the wood contains Phlogiston and the metal does not. Scientists now "know better" and laugh at the quaint notion of Phlogiston. Yet, the scientific "truths" held dear right now are just our own versions of Phlogiston - we just don't have a better explanation yet. Many people who study science really can't cope with this idea. I did a Philosophy & Science subject as part of my degree... the philosophy students found it stimulating and interesting. The science students were mostly incredulous, angry, depressed or scared - they didn't want anyone to say that perhaps what they were learning in other subjects might not be true. To put it anther way; they had very closed minds. I wonder why you'd study science if you weren't prepared to ask questions? They also missed the fact you can be a scientist and still know that you are just working on the best explanations that you can form given current knowledge, equipment and beliefs. Yes; you can mix science and philosophy, just leave the religion out. People are willing to kill for religion; most people are just willing to get drunk for philosophy.

The Globe and Mail | Forward, into the past, where the state of Science Fiction is lamented. Why are people turning away from SF? Personally I blame post-2000 disillusionment. For decades, The Year Two-Thou-Sand was the benchmark of the coming modern age. We were meant to be living in an SF future by now; yet we aren't. We made it to space, then tried to go to war with it; now we just use it to beam television around the globe. We would have robots if DARPA could make a soliders out of them. We would save the planet if there was any profit in it. We could look to religion for answers if the different names for "God" stopped causing wars. Is it any wonder that people would rather read Fantasy? On top of that; people read less and less in any case. People now think they're all cyber because they like The Matrix; instead of thinking they're all cyber because they read Gibson, Sterling, et al.

Well slashdot sure cheered me up today ;)


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