Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose..............J.B.S. Haldane
Quantum Mechanics is not only stranger than you imagine, but stranger than you can imagine ............(a version attributed to Richard Feynman)
One other damned thing about getting old: I am increasingly impatient with stupidity.
Alexander at 30 something grieved that there were no more world's to conquer. Robbert Dijkgraaf writing in Quanta, asks whether physics has reached that sad state. While he concludes in the negative, his denial sounds more like "hey, we can still add a few decimal points here and there." Lubos Motl and Peter Woit both have commentaries up today, and Lubos is predictably outraged at his one time coauthor, and Peter is more measured. The Universe still has some puzzles for us of course, but it is not clear that their understanding will have the same kinds of revolutionary import that the discoveries of Newton, Maxwell, Einstein and the quantum theorists have had. In particular, the Cosmos is starting to feel a bit cramped. Of course it is indeed large beyond our imaginings, but there don't seem to be dragons out there, or at least not dragons that we don't already know about. Black holes, quasars, gamma ray bursters all seem to fit pretty neatly under known la
I am arguing with Connolley again. The occasion is his review ( http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-tyranny-of-merit.html ) of a book called the Tyranny of Merit. It's not likely to be a book I would read, because I'm a lot more concerned about the tyranny of folly. Dr. Connolley, and perhaps the author, manage to wander into the thorny philosophical territory of the meaning of value, justice, and merit. Can we say anything about these except that opinions differ? Connolley: " The assertion (p 136) that Hayek doesn't understand that things other than market value, have value, is drivel. So what we get is a fatal problem for his theory: market value isn't moral worth. His answer (again, p 136) is to take market value as a proxy for social contribution, which is lying worthy of Plato. In his version, free-market liberalism differs from meritocracy. In mine, it doesn't." Dr. C tends to get a bit vituperative, which tends to have a bad effect on me,
The US spent a trillion dollars fighting the Taliban and equipping a large Afghan government force with modern weapons and training. The government troops are far more numerous than the Taliban and much better equipped, and they are melting before the Taliban like a July snow. Why? The great Arab Historian and polymath Ibn Khaldun figured this out eight centuries ago. He called it asibiyah, the social glue that holds a nation or a fighting force together. The asibiyah of the Taliban is a fanatic devotion to a religion that promises paradise to martyrs. The government forces have no equivalent. Bush and his idiot advisors often and proudly announced that they were not into nation building. When they said that, I thought “then you will surely fail.” After World War II, the US and allies spent vast sums and many decades in building Germany and Japan into modern democratic nations. That effort has proved immensely successful. Any similar efforts in the targets of B