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Archive for the 'Science' Category

The Pauli Exclusion Principle

Remember this little rule from High School physics or chemistry class? Usually taught as: No two electrons can occupy the same quantum states at the same time. Or, more generally, for those of us who went to school beyond the High School level: No two identical Fermions may occupy the same quantum state simultaneously.

Have you ever asked WHY this is so? Do you have an intuitive way of explaining the underlying cause for the above rule to your 12 year old kid, say? Not to worry. At the time of this writing  no one has such an intuitive and fundamental explanation. I recall reading...Continue Reading »

Science JJG 19 Sep 2008 07:02 2 Comments

Measuring Light

If you take a step back and look at what we know about the Universe you’ll quickly realize that ALL our knowledge about distant space comes from measuring light that is emitted by far-away astronomical objects.Thus any experimental technique that promise to dramatically increase the accuracy and stability of measuring light is a big deal for observational astronomers. In a recent issue of Science such a big deal was published. It’s called a Laser Frequency Comb and works...Continue Reading »

Science JJG 18 Sep 2008 09:46 3 Comments

Science Debate 2008

as a follow-up to a previous post: It turns out that John McCain has recently submitted his positions to the Science Debate 2008 list of 14 issues. Both candidates’ statements can be found here.

Here’s my take on both candidates’ positions:

1. Innovation

Sen Obama proposes a doubling of government funded basic research expenditures over the next decade. He quotes detailed statistics that frame the issue. He proposes...Continue Reading »

Politics and Society &Science JJG 15 Sep 2008 10:48 No Comments

The Humbling Universe

It’s incredible how things have changed in the last couple of hundred years, or so. Up until that time, mankind thought that it was the crown of creation, the sole purpose for the existence of the Universe. Then came the realization that mother earth is not the center of the solar system and that things don’t literally revolve around us. Oh well, we were still pretty important. Then came the insight that we humans are just the most recent link in the chain of Primate Evolution and that in fact Primates themselves evolved from little rodents, etc. But the least we could do is name...Continue Reading »

Science JJG 26 Aug 2008 08:48 No Comments

Freshwater – a precious resource

This is something that has been bothering me for a while. The way most of us here in the United States of A. take the availability of safe drinking water for granted. Yet, lack of potable water is one of the major problems for the rest of earth’s population: 1.3 billion people lack access to it. Millions of people die each year because of this, among them approximately 6,000 children every day. This number will go up. The U.S.A. does not have a water policy. Let me repeat that: Your government does not have a coherent plan to ensure future availability of safe drinking...Continue Reading »

Politics and Society &Science JJG 02 Aug 2008 10:43 No Comments

Biggest discovery ever

What do you think is the most important thing that we’ve learned by studying nature? Is it that matter is composed of identical, indivisible subunits called atoms? Is it Plate Tectonics? Or maybe the insignificance of earth in the incomprehensibly vast cosmos?

In my book it is Evolution. The fact that every living thing on this planet evolved from microbial life is far and away the most influential concept that we’ve learned so far. This fact is so surprising that a majority of us still can not accept it. You don’t hear many people doubting the correctness of atomic...Continue Reading »

Science JJG 05 Feb 2008 13:54 No Comments

Move your butt and live 10 enjoyable years longer

Yesterday’s Science Daily reported on the results of a recent extensive study that found a correlation between regular physical exercise and aging: Sedentary Lifestyles Associated with Accelerated Aging Process. For most people that exercise on a regular basis the results of this study are not surprising. Taking pills on a regular basis is good for the pharmaceutical industry but does little else.

Here’s my subjective rating of the relative importance of lifestyle choices that will...Continue Reading »

Science JJG 30 Jan 2008 13:57 1 Comment

Evolution, gravity, Iowa, scandals, torture and indefinite detention

Number of Presidential candidates that question Evolution’s role in the development of life on earth: Three (3). We are now down to one, Mike Huckabee, since the other two dropped out of the "race".

Is it fair to call someone an idiot for questioning the reality of Evolution? No. People can believe whatever they want to believe. If Mike Huckabee wants to deny the existence of Gravity next, after warming up with Evolution, he is welcome to do so. But these irrational positions automatically disqualify that person from receiving my vote for pretty much any position...Continue Reading »

Politics and Society &Science JJG 03 Jan 2008 15:36 1 Comment

The Day After Tomorrow

Got to watch the 2004 movie "The Day after Tomorrow" over the weekend. It’s a good movie, even  though basic science gets grossly abused in the process of creating the required gripping story line. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to look at how far we’ve come in our appreciation of climate change since 2004:

Science JJG 29 Oct 2007 09:48 No Comments

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