Monday, September 24, 2007

This and That

  • Perimeter Institute is now accepting postdoc applications for the next academic year. More info on the website. The deadline is Nov 5.


  • The German Media Group Burda joins the Seed Media Group to introduce science blogs in Germany. According to FAZ.net they call their target group 'Leonardos', defined as 'young people who are interested in science, but also politics and arts' (you further ought to be living in a metropolis and have a decent salary, just so you know). Marcel Reichart, Burda's CEO in Research and Development, hopes 'science blogs as media markets of the next generation could bridge the gap between science and the public'. (Thanks to Stefan).


  • Flip has started an interesting series of posts around the Web2.0, so far there is Part I and Part II. Since I was about to utter something about that topic as well, I encourage you to read these really informative exposes first.


  • In the spirit of yesterday's discussion about the many mathematical worlds, here is a remark from Achim Kempf that I thought might humor you, made at the end of Max Tegmark's colloquium here at PI last Winter (the very last minute of the audio):

      "If I understood you correctly there would be part of the universe where everything is pretty much the same as here [...] You would be there, we would be here, but you'd be telling us exactly the opposite - so why should I believe you?"


    According to Garrett, the answer is that a Tegmark telling the opposite wouldn't be as pretty.

    Saturday's talk that caused me to wake up in the early morning from a dream in which I was a holomorphic function, is now online.


  • Spell check wants to replace 'holomorphic' with 'Hallmark', so much about the Mathematical Universe.


  • Neil informs us that today CBS starts a new series Big Bang Theory - according to their website 'a new comedy that shows what happens when two hyperintelligent scientists meet a beautiful woman'. Once again, I am happy not to own a TV. Let's hope they explain at least the basics of string theory, it could come in handy every now and then.


  • If one turns the PI logo around it reads Id.


  • I got a salary increase for sitting around a whole year without doing anything too obviously embarrassing. Therefore, here is my conclusion from the Many World's at 50 conference that ended today:

      "We are

      Living in a material world
      And I am a material girl
      You know that we are living in a material world
      And I am a material girl"


    ~Madonna


  • Have a nice day

25 comments:

CarlBrannen said...

I love that song! And the similar song by The Police that came out about the same time.

And by the way, your anti spam stuff has gotten incredibly annoying.

Bee said...

Hi Carl,

what anti-spam stuff? The word verification?

-B.

Arun said...

And I am a material girl

Yeah!

We live in a modal realist world, and I'm a mathematical structure doesn't scan well either and so can't be true!

Bee said...

:-)

We live in a modal realist world, and I'm a mathematical virgin?

Anonymous said...

"Papa don't preach, I'm in trouble deep
Papa don't preach, I've been losing sleep
But I made up my mind, I'm keeping string theory...."

organiker@lycos.com said...

CBS' new comedy The Big Bang Theory is hilarious! Absolutely sidesplitting! That idiot scheming blonde... The guys are ordinary fellas thrust into a dysfunctional world. Nice solid state level diagram on the left-hand whiteboard.

stefan said...

Dear Bee,

If one turns the PI logo around it reads Id.

Thanks for the explanation :-) It took me some time to understand the "face factor" - I would have never realized the PI pun ;-)

Cheers, Stefan

QUASAR9 said...

If there are many worlds, does that mean there is a world where there is no hunger, no suffering, no pain (no gain?), and no decay... no ageing or death.

But for that, the laws of physics would have to be different,
1) no decay - no matter?
2) no ageing - no time?

But alas, me thinks we are all here in the material with the material girl. And Madonna? well she's been around for a while now, but couldn't possibly say if she's a mathematical virgin or not - lol!

Bee said...

Dear Quasar,

Despite him being ridiculed by Voltaire, I am with Leibniz and believe ours is "le meilleur des mondes possibles" - for better or for worse ;-) Best,

B.

PS: If I ever come around to finishing it, will have a post about the topic...

John Baez said...

Bee writes:



... today CBS starts a new series Big Bang Theory - according to their website 'a new comedy that shows what happens when two hyperintelligent scientists meet a beautiful woman'. Once again, I am happy not to own a TV.



Why? Because if you bought one you'd watch silly shows like this, thereby wasting your time? Or because if you bought one you wouldn't watch silly shows like this - thereby wasting your money?

I have a TV, but I'll probably never watch this show. I'm still recovering from watching an episode of "NUM3ERS". It's taken over a year so far.

Carl Brannen writes:



And by the way, your anti spam stuff has gotten incredibly annoying.



It's been incredibly annoying for a long time. I don't think it's become any more so recently.

For some reason my Firefox browser doesn't show the word verification stuff on this blog. It's invisible! So, I can't post comments using Firefox. (That's not true on other blogs - I don't know why.) Also, cookies seem to be required for the word verification to work.

So, to post comments I need to turn off Firefox, turn on Internet Explorer, make sure it's accepting cookies from you, sign in with Google/Blogger, do the word verification, post a comment, make sure my browser stops accepting cookies, turn off Internet Explorer, then turn on Firefox.

Actually I've learned to shorten this process two steps by putting you in the list of "exceptions" who are allowed to put cookies in my browser. I'll take a cookie from you any day, Bee.

But still, it's a lot of work. So, I rarely post comments to your otherwise very nice blog.

QUASAR9 said...

lol Bee, well if this is the best of all possible worlds, I'd hate to think what the worst one would be like.

Nevertheless, it is clear that there is much more out there (and all around us) than meets the eye.

And the LHC may open a portal to other worlds where particles can and do reside (though of course as you've pointed out before these other worlds are indeed part of the One universe).

Arun said...

Wegman's here has some very nice cookies! What type do you like - chocolate, sugar, nuts?

Bee said...

Hi Carl, Hi John,

Well, thanks for letting me know. I didn't realize it's a problem because a) I don't use Firefox and b) don't have to do the word verification anyhow. If I had more time I'd move this blog elsewhere but that's not an option right now. The problem is that the word verification is the only spam filter we have. I can give it a try turning it off, but the last time I tried I gave up after a day. See, I get the comments send by email. I can unsubscribe from this, but then I will miss not only much of the spam but also of the comments (and you will have to live with the junk). If anybody has a suggestion, please let me know. Best,

B.

Thomas D said...

What if two hyper-intelligent women were to meet a beautiful scientist ...

Or would that be too immensely improbable for anyone to contemplate?

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Bee, I'm sure there's an optimal mathematical solution.

In the meantime you can just install haloscan on old blogger, it gives you more control over the comments (you can even edit them). There's no spam filter, but you can 'block' spammers.

PS - The only snag is you'll lose all the past blogger comments, but I think you'll lose them if you move your blog too.

George Barouxis said...

The only snag is you'll lose all the past blogger comments, but I think you'll lose them if you move your blog too.

Not so. Wordpress imports Blogger posts and comments (although some users report problems and some do not). Have a look . Or at here if you prefer to host it in your own site, which is a much more flexible solution.

QUASAR9 said...

Bee, I just had a look at your string theory link, why was I not surprised

many worlds & daughter universes - is that depicted as branches on a tree?

QUASAR9 said...

Hi George Barouxis, Thanks for that
I've heard the same about Wordpress
Can you edit your comments on Wordpress

Bee said...

Hi George:
I would definitely prefer to run my own software. reg. wordpress, what are the requirements on the server? Best,

B.

George Barouxis said...

Hi Quasar,

I think commenters cannot edit their comments, if that's what you mean (the administrator of the blog of course can edit posts and comments). They may be able to if they register in your blog, although I haven't checked this.

Hi Bee,
Server requirements: php version 4.2 or greater, mysql version 4.0 or greater for WP 2.3.

I moved my blog from Blogger to WP hosted in my site, and everything went fine. My posts and comments were very few compared to yours, but you can always test the import and move the blog when you have everything the way you want it.

Regarding spam, you can have comments sent to the moderation que if they contain specific words in content, name, URL, e-mail, or IP, or if the links they contain are above a certain number; or mark comments as spam and block them if they contain specific words in content, name, URL, e-mail, or IP. I got rid of spam with very few select block words.

George Barouxis said...

One more thing, for anyone who may be looking for a host (such as Scott Aaronson who complains about Bluehost). I am hosting three sites at Godaddy (physics "crackpot" site, professional translation site and my daughter's fashion and crafts site). In their cheapest plan, for 3.99 USD per month you get 5 GB space, 250 GB transfer, 10 mysql databases and more email accounts than you'll ever need, with great uptime and no problems to speak of since I switched from windows to linux server. It does sound like an advertisement, but, well, that's the way it is.

Bee said...

Hi George,

Thanks for the info! That is good to know -- the mysql and php requirements then are no problem, and I've worked with both so should be fine there. I will keep godaddy in mind, but as things are, I have a couple of websites with a German host who I have never had any problems with, so we are going to stick with them. Just today my husband and I decided on a domain (up to a minus that it).

If we move the blog, it will imply a change of name: backreaction.com is not free and a forward to quantumbrain.org which I however didn't know when I picked the name. Plus, I never really liked the name, it was just the first thing that came into my mind.

If I had known two years ago that I would have so much fun writing the blog, I would have chosen more carefully. Now I hope we won't loose readers with the move, but sooner or later I have to get away from blogger. The most annoying thing is the headbar (next blog!) that one can't get rid of, and that there is no option to have a top menu for an 'about' or something.

Hi Carl, Hi John,

I've turned off the word verification. Amazingly, up to now (12 hours later) there has been only one spam comment. Maybe blogger has had some update on the filter (we used to get a lot of drug advertisements for whatever reason). As long as it stays that way, I leave it turned off, hope that helps.

Hi John,

Why? Because if you bought one you'd watch silly shows like this, thereby wasting your time? Or because if you bought one you wouldn't watch silly shows like this - thereby wasting your money?

The latter. Because it confirms that I still have no desire in getting one (I've never had one). I watch TV once or twice a year, typically in a hotel room, or at my parents place. I usually end up zipping through 50+ channels wondering who wants to see this stuff. I own a lot of DVDs though, it's not that I don't like movies or so, I basically just don't know what to do with this kind of information I get on TV. To me it's more a meta-information. Like, what does it say about the society we live in.

Hi Quasar,

Thanks for the advise. I have considered haloscan, but I just don't like it. For one, I don't like the comments popping up in a new window, I prefer to have everything on a single page that one can just scroll down. But what is worse is that this new page has no indication of where the posts belong to. I have once or twice linked to a comment section under haloscan, but after a couple of months it's almost impossible to find out what was the post these comments belonged to. Also, haloscan (as far as I noticed) doesn't show up in any search engines, which imho is a big disadvantage especially since blogger's own search function really sucks (it doesn't search comments either, Google does).

Best,

B.

Neil' said...

There's a great discussion going on over at Uncertain Principles ("Many Worlds, Many Headaches") about the mysteries of quantum splitting and interference of photons etc. in a Mach-Zehnder interferometer. I put up my own paradox there, about what happens to the distant wave function, if we find out there was no absorption/detection in a gray filter inserted into one leg. I plan to get this up on my blog soon also.

Media Communities said...

Thanks for your interest in our partnership with Scienceblogs. Science literacy and culture is to me a key aspect of the challenges we face as societies. Al Gore's Nobel Prize is exemplary. And all this seems to converge into some sort of a new renaissance, taking reference to Lisa Jardine's book. What do you think about briding Scienceblogs to Europe? Marcel Reichart

Bee said...

I'd rather see Europe starting an own site independent of Scienceblogs. I am not a big fan of monopolies.