Saturday, June 22, 2024

Climate scientists can’t agree on how warm it is

I recently read that the world has crossed 1.5 degrees of warming above the pre-industrial level, the limit set in the Paris agreement. Then I read that we crossed it several years ago. Then some climate scientists objected. Why can’t climate scientists agree on how warm the Earth is? Have we already broken the Paris agreement? I have the summary.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Biggest Self-Own in Quantum Computing, Ever

Quantum computing, so the fairy tale goes, is the next big thing in technology. News has popped up time and time again noting major advancements in the field, but the latest statement from company D-Wave had people scratching their heads. Are quantum computers really the next big thing? Who’s at the forefront of the field now? Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Gravity Without Mass Could Explain Dark Matter

I recently read that you can have gravity without mass. Ha, no way, I thought and had a look at the paper. It's wild, people. The author says that there are hollow spheres scattered across the universe that have no gravitational attraction and that these spheres explain dark matter. I will try to sort it out for you.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

This New Idea Could Explain Complexity

The universe creates complexity out of simplicity, but despite many attempts at understanding how, scientists still have not figured it out. We do know that complexity relies on the emergence of new features and laws, but then again we don't understand emergence either. The first step must be to clearly define what we are talking about and to measure it. A group of scientists now put forward a way to do exactly this. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Dark Energy comes from Anti-Universe, New Theory Says

Dark Energy is the name that astrophysicists have given to what ever accelerates the expansion of our universe. In a recent paper, a physicist has now claimed that it's nothing to do with dark energy, it's that we are entangled with an “anti-universe.” I thought this was complete nonsense until I noticed the idea is closely related to Eric Verlinde’s emergent gravity that I was quite fond of before it basically disappeared.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Big News for Quantum Computing: First Scalable Platforms

A lot of big banks are banking on quantum computing because they think it’ll give them an edge in trading. Though I have on previous occasions noted my doubt that we’ll see any useful quantum computers within the next ten years, two new papers detailing new methods of scaling quantum computers have shifted my perspective. Let’s have a look.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Is the intelligence explosion near? A reality check.

I had a look at Leopold Aschenbrenners recent (very long) essay about the supposedly near "intelligence explosion" in artificial intelligence development. I am not particularly convinced by his argument. You can read his essay here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

This could test Stephen Hawking’s prediction

Stephen Hawking’s most famous prediction is that black holes decay by emitting radiation. This prediction has never been tested and most physicist, me included, think that it's basically impossible to test. So I was surprised to see that a group of astrophysics recently claimed they can put the prediction to the test because black hole mergers produce morsels. What does that mean? Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

AI Learned to Lie Deliberately (but it’s kinda funny)

We just saw another open letter about the risks of artificial intelligence, calling for more regulation. Justified or not, AI worry is making some people’s life miserable. Are concerns that AI will lead to humanity’s extinction overblown or not talked about enough? A recent review paper about AI learning to lie has been eye-opening. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, June 09, 2024

The Benefits of Climate Change

Climate change is bad -- we hear this a lot. But this isn't the full story. Climate change also has benefits. And I think we need to talk about those too. Some regions of this planet will see milder climate and better conditions from agriculture. We'll see fewer people freeze to death, and, yes, some plants actually benefit from carbon dioxide.

Saturday, June 08, 2024

Why Bitcoin Mining is Good for the Environment -- And why it isn't

I was under the impression that Bitcoin mining was bad for the environment. It turns out that the situation is much more controversial and interesting than I originally thought. So what is it, is bitcoin good? Or is it bad? Let’s have a look.

Thursday, June 06, 2024

“Are we the idiots?” – Bill Gates on Planting Trees

Bill Gates has recently been under fire following an interview in which he said that planting trees won’t save us from climate change. Is he right? Is this just another quote taken out of context? What does the science say? Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Musk is Right: Neutrinos Are Evidence for New Physics

Elon Musk made a surprising tweet about neutrinos, writing that “Anything that potentially challenges the Standard Model is a very interesting experiment.” What is he going on about? Is he correct? Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

AI’s Dirty Little Secret

here’s a lot of talk about artificial intelligence these days, but what I find most interesting about AI no one ever talks about. It’s that we have no idea why they work as well as they do. I find this a very interesting problem because I think if we figure it out it’ll also tell us something about how the human brain works. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, June 02, 2024

The Hypersonic Arms Race: What You Need to Know

Hypersonic weapons have been in the headlines a lot over the past year as Russia, China, and the US race to develop the next generation of high-tech missiles. But are these supersonic sensations all hype and less hype-r? Let’s have a look.

Saturday, June 01, 2024

Howard's Theory of Everything is Nonsense, but I try to Say it Nicely

Actor Terrence Howard claims that he has invented a theory of everything that improves physics, based on the idea that 1x1=2. After an appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast, his ideas have unfortunately attracted attention.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

How to Detect Quantum Bullshit

Quantum physics could revolutionize everything… at least that’s what some news headlines would have you believing. For those with a few billion dollars to spare to invest in the next big quantum technology, there are a few things you should look out for.

This video comes with a quiz which you can take here:

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Seven Candidates for Dyson Spheres

Dyson Spheres are hypothetical megastructures built by highly advanced civilizations around their stars to harness energy. A group of astrophysicists says they have identified several possible candidates… and I think it's not as crazy as it sounds! Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

This Huge Cosmology Problem Might Just Have Disappeared

The rate at which the universe is currently expanding is known as the Hubble Rate. In recent years, different measurements have given different results for the Hubble rate, a discrepancy between theory and observation that's been called the “Hubble tension”. Now, a team of astrophysicists claims the Hubble tension is gone and it's the fault of supernovae data. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Unapproved Trial for Discredited COVID Cure: Scandal In France

In 2020, French physician Didier Raoult claimed that hydroxychloroquine was a cure for Covid-19. The results could later not be reproduced, but tens of thousands of people died because they did not receive or not seek treatment that might actually have helped them. Unbelievable as it sounds, the story of his unethical practices continues to this day. I have the summary.