Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

We wish all our readers a good start into the year 2012! We hope that you find the insight you have been looking for, get the job you want or the grant you need. May it be a delightful year for you.

I'll use the opportunity to dump a few interesting links I've come across lately:


  1. Happy New Year Bee, Stefan and daughters. Thanks for all the interesting info over the past years.

    May the coming years be prosperous for your family.


  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. "NYT readers believe that "physical sciences produce abundance so great that wealth becomes meaningless as a difference between people" and we'll be living in a post-scarcity world.'

    How naive; this is already the case. The apparent scarcity is artificial. Scarcity is the precondition of antagonism which is the driving force behind the evolution of modern capitalistic societies. Even if there is an abundance of goods we have to pretend that there is scarcity.

    Happy new year!

  4. The idea of the Everest webcam is cool, but it's a bit boring!

    Happy 2012 to you and your family!

  5. Hi Giotis,

    Yes... I originally wrote something to the extend that wealth will remain relevant as long as we rely on capitalism to drive progress. I took it out though because it got too long. Capitalism only works by creating new demands, and as long as we rely on its mechanism, we'll continue to produce scarcities just to then meet them. The question is then more what is scarce. I suspect that what they were talking about is the absence of (local) scarcity of goods essential for survival. Say, food, and the necessary infrastructure. Clearly, we're not quite there yet. Otoh, once we have figured that out, we might just come to find it essential that everybody gets a transplant of these lab-grown new hearts once their own one gives out, etc. Best,


  6. Hi Alyssa,

    I believe the webcam is there to study cloud drifting or something. Yes, it's not much going on, but it clearly rocks ;o) Best wishes to you and your family too,


  7. Hi Plato,

    Thanks for your reliable contributions, which are always interesting! Best,


  8. Yes, an essential principle of capitalism (and its justification up to a point) is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. If there is a free lunch people get lazy and if people get lazy there is no progress.

    So even if they can feed the whole world for free, they won't do it because this will undermine the foundations of the 'system'.

  9. Food of course is just a metaphor. I mean the essentials for a living:

    e.g. A home, water, electricity, food, clothes, health care, basic and higher education.

    These will never be provided for free under the present economical system even if the resources are adequate.

  10. abundance so great that wealth becomes meaningless as a difference between people

    1) What minority will be productive without reward so that the majority can be rewarded without productivity? The Dole has imploded.

    2) Civilization is driven by energy, raw materials, intelligence, and greed. The first two are outlawed by Enviro-whinerism, the third by diversity; and the last invalidates the original proposition.

    3) The whole of planet Earth at extreme most can support 10^9 people to US standards. America + Europe + China burst that bubble. The other six+ billion have nothing now and ever.

    4) Mandated charity for the indolent, insane, crippled, diseased, and religious destroys the source of charity. Invest in the future you want not loathe.

    5) Aboard the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701 through -F), who cleaned the water closets?

  11. Hi Bee & Stefan,

    I’d also like to wish you and all a Happy New Year and to say how much I continue to appreciate your blog. My only comment in regards to what you revealed here being is if the phone voting ever came to pass when attempting to do so I’d most likely be greeted with a busy signal.

    Oh yes, one more thing, in doing some research in relation to the Mayan’s and their calendar, which some say perhaps suggests this year may be our last I’ve made an interesting discovery. That is after carefully observing the Mayan figures of people displayed on the wall outside of what is thought to be a ball court (In Chichen Itza) I found them all to be holding the fingers of their left hand in curiously unnatural position. Then in realizing this forms to being a gesture which is still prominent today my conclusion is that the Mayan’s were the original bullshitters; thus I conclude we have nothing to fear:)

    Once again a Happy New Year to all and many to come,


  12. Thanks Bee, and Happy New Year to all as it zips around the world at around 463 m/s.

  13. Hi Phil,

    Ah, right, the world is about to end this year. They should have put this on the NYT timeline ;o) It was also about to end on Nov 11 2011, if I recall correctly, so I apologize for not being terribly worried. Also, the movie 2012 was the possibly worst movie I've seen for a decade or so. Best,


  14. In the LSC we use cvs, svn, and even git to write collaborative papers; and quite a few of us were born before 1980. So it's not true that physicists don't know how to, or want to, use modern electronic tools.

    Perhaps some sub-classes of physicists don't.

  15. Hi Thomas,

    I didn't say that "physicists don't know how to, or want to, use modern electronic tools." I would never make such a general statement. There are exceptions to any rule. I have simply said that in my experience they're slow. I'd be more than happy to be proven wrong, but I just don't see much happening. I don't know if that depends to some extend on the field. Difficult to say. I suppose the larger the collaboration, the larger the benefit of using suitable software. Best,




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