Monday, February 04, 2008

This and That

  • Amara lets us know that IEEE Spectrum is making all of their articles available for free, online. Apparently they have more online than what is listed on that page, articles which are not indexed yet. Thanks, Amara!

  • SciAm informs us about a study done at the University of Alberta that showed "customers were more enthusiastic about clothing when they saw good-looking people handling the clothes", and they further explain "when a fetching model of the opposite sex was seen to sport the shirt, the shoppers said they were then actually willing to spend more for it.". Alas, another confirmation that it's all about sex...

  • Helau! Carnival in Germany: Time for fools.

  • As I told you on Friday I brought my car to the repair shop where they failed fixing the driver's seat adjustment (among other things). Pissed off, I went into the hardware store, bought aluminium wire for $1.59 and fixed the stupid handle. It's not pretty but it works. They just called to inform me to take care of the issue they would have to take out the seat, replace the [something], and [blabla] comes together to an estimated $ 246.03 (I didn't make this up, I wrote it down while on the phone). I said no, thanks.
    I will go see them later today to complain about last week's disaster.

  • Quotation of the last week (sorry for the delay):

    "Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I'll remember. Involve me and I'll understand."
    ~ Confucius


  1. So I buy an expensive blouse because I saw some good looking woman wearing it? I am skeptical.

    I might discover/invent time travel for a beautiful woman BUT wear her clothes?

  2. Hi Michael:

    Funny you say that because when I read the above that's what I also thought. (Well, I thought: why would I buy an XL men's shirt no matter how good the shop assistant looks in it?) But I guess "was seen to sport the shirt" means maybe just shows the shirt or something? Best,


  3. You should know that most of the alleged quotes by Confucius are bogus.

  4. Yeah, who cares. I like the quote, replace "Confucius" with "Wasn't me who said it, I found it on the web."

  5. When they ask you how you repaired the seat for so little, tell them you are a quantum mechanic. It is all about gauge invariance of the wire.

    Aluminum isn't Green because bauxite is all about Third World exploitation and aluminum refining uses electricity, ditto copper. The Green solution is shitanium, the miracle mettle woven from politicians' promises and tax monies. That reduces Global Warming, too.

  6. Hi Bee,

    "Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I'll remember. Involve me and I'll understand." -Confucius

    That is a different translation from the one that I heard which went:

    To hear, I know; to see, I remember; to do, is to understand.

    This translation puts the responsibility of learning on ones self rather then on others, which is more consistent with his philosophy.



  7. Dear Bee,

    I went into the hardware store, bought aluminium wire for $1.59 and fixed the stupid handle. It's not pretty but it works.

    Ah, that's impressive :-)

    Best, Stefan

  8. Hi Bee & Stefan,

    Just as a reminder, at 7:00 pm (eastern standard time)this evening, NASA is going to be transmitting the Beatles tune "Across the Universe" towards Polaris in attempt to contact the ET's. This is to celebrate the 50th anniversay of Explorer I. We are all encouraged to play the song at the same moment. This I had previously alerted all to in a earlier comment I made on Stefan' last Messenger, Mercury, and General Relativity post.



  9. Hi Phil:

    I like this translation actually better 'to do is to understand', but the first part seems to have a completely different meaning: 'Tell me and I'll forget.' is pretty far off from 'To hear, I know'. The first one seems to be more appropriate to the 21st century... Best,


  10. Hi Bee,

    “ 'Tell me and I'll forget.' is pretty far off from 'To hear, I know'. The first one seems to be more appropriate to the 21st century..”

    The 20th and 21st century version of the first is “In one ear and out the other” :-) In my own case something else has occurred, for when I was young my mother would remind people that “I was hard of listening”. After finally conquering this disability it has switched to be “hard of hearing” :-)



  11. Hello Phil, Bee,
    "'Tell me and I'll forget."
    This debate is not complete.
    The ease of intake via ears or eyes
    (for the latter one should further
    distinguish text and graphics)
    is very different for persons.
    Think back to school times,
    how different the learning
    behaviour of Your comrades was.
    Only few can make use of all channels
    with equal sucess.

  12. Hi Bee and Stefan,

    Not quite the same thing, but Science Now Daily News 5 October 2007 had this article Something in the Way She Moves? on lap dancer earnings published in 'Evolution and Human Behavior' from "an evolutionary psychologist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque".

  13. great that there's a study now which confirms that women who are menstruating feel like shit and don't make great lap dancers. i don't actually know what 'subtle' about such 'behavioral signals'.

  14. Bee, why do you think nature has extra dimensions?

  15. hummm. I wrote that 'I believe' in extra dimensions. How believing relates to thinking is another question. Okay, but why do I believe in extra dimensions? Because there is not good reason why our world should have 3+1 dimensions. I can however believe (here it goes again) that if we'd start with an arbitrary number of higher dimensions 3+1 dimensional submanifolds (branes) would naturally arise, and I can also believe that the numbers 3 and 1 play a special role that enables these to develop sufficiently complex structures, like you brain, my brain, Boltzmann's brain? (just to make sure, I insist on 3+1 and not 4 because I believe (and again) the signature plays a crucial role).

    I think we've had that topic previously... ah, yes, here it is

    Why do we live in 3+1 dimensions

  16. Bee, can it seriously be said that no quirky problems of physical consistency would arise (assuming a logical extrapolation or analogy to our laws, I presume - is that unambiguous however?) in universes with other than 3 + 1 dimensions? Think about for example trying to apply dimensional analysis (of the MLT type, so as not to confuse with "number of space dimensions") to the analogous expressions for radiation reaction, radiation power, etc. I have fiddled with that and it doesn't seem to work right. Some have noted there need to be special constants in other kinds of spaces which make those spaces appear "contrived" (i.e., the need special propping up "by hand" to avoid logical loose ends or somesuch.) (Well, ours is too in some ways I suppose.)

  17. Hi Neil',

    I don't know and I didn't say that. I might come back to the topic at some point. I was referring to the behaviour of partial differential equations in D-dimensional spacetimes not necessarily with Lorentzian signature. I think I recall some study somewhere that points out 3+1 seems to be a special case. Also, think about the dimensionality of coupling constants - dimensional regularization works in 4 dimensions but not higher. I don't think that's a coincidence. Best,



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