(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Bede

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana”*…

 

guitar

Just as the boundaries of a guitar string (how it is pinned at both ends) determine how it vibrates, the distant past and far future of the universe may govern what happens today.

… imposing old Newtonian Schema thinking on new quantum-scale phenomena has landed us in situations with no good explanations whatsoever. If these phenomena seem inexplicable, we may just be thinking about them in the wrong way. Much better explanations become available if we are willing to take the future into account as well as the past. But Newtonian-style thinking is inherently incapable of such time-neutral explanations. Computer programs run in only one direction, and trying to combine two programs running in opposite directions leads to the paradoxical morass of poorly plotted time-travel movies. In order to treat the future as seriously as we treat the past, we clearly need an alternative to the Newtonian Schema.

And we have one. Most physicists are well aware of a different framework, an alternative where space and time are analyzed in an even-handed manner. This so-called Lagrangian Schema also has old roots and has become an essential tool in every field of fundamental physics. But even physicists who regularly use this approach have resisted the last obvious step: thinking of the Lagrangian Schema not just as a mathematical trick, but as a way to explain the world. Perhaps we haven’t been taking our own theories seriously enough.

The Lagrangian Schema doesn’t just allow future-based explanations. It demands them. By treating the future and the past on the same footing, this framework avoids paradoxes and makes new explanatory opportunities available. And it just might be the viewpoint that physics needs for the next major breakthrough…

More at “To Understand Your Past, Look to Your Future.”

Anthony Oettinger (though often mis-attributed to Groucho Marx)

###

As we disentangle entanglement, we might spare a thought for Bede (or as he is more frequently remembered, Venerable Bede); he died on this date in 735.  An English monk, Bede studied and wrote widely on scientific, historical, and theological topics, ranging from music and metrics to exegetical Scripture commentaries.  He was an accomplished translator (Pliny the Elder, Virgil, Lucretius, Ovid, Horace, and other classical writers in both Greek and Hebrew).  And his  Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People) has earned him the title “The Father of English History.”  Indeed, it was in this work that Bede established as common practice the use of “BC” and “AD” with dates.

Bede as depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493

source

Written by LW

May 26, 2016 at 1:01 am

A(nother) matter of perspective…

 

Yesterday’s post located our moment in the larger sweep of time; today’s locates our experience– the things we can touch and see– in the larger hierarchy of scale.

Readers may recall Cary and Michael Huang’s “The Scale of the Universe”— in the spirit of xkcd’s nifty toon, a wonderful Flash re-do of Charles and Ray Eames’ classic Powers of Ten: an animation that lets one scroll through the orders of magnitude of existence.  Not content with “pretty terrific,” the Brothers Huang have revised and improved their tour of the universe…  Ladies and Gentlemen, “The Scale of the Universe 2“:

[TotH to friend CE]

###

As we ruminate with reverence on our place in the scheme of things, we might spare a thought for Bede (or as he is more frequently remembered, Venerable Bede); he died on this date in 735.  An English monk, Bede studied and wrote widely on scientific, historical and theological topics, ranging from music and metrics to exegetical Scripture commentaries. He was an accomplished translator (Pliny the Elder, Virgil, Lucretius, Ovid, Horace, and other classical writers in both Greek and Hebrew).  His  Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People) has earned him the title “The Father of English History.” Indeed, it was in this work that Bede established as common practice the use of “BC” and “AD” with dates.

Bede as depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493

source

 

If food be the music of love, play on…

Vanessa Dualib is a Sao Paulo-based “daydreamer, pseudo-photographer, wanna-be astronaut and untrained intellectual who tends to find inspiration specially in fruits and veggies.”  That inspiration found form in her book Playing With Food.

Happily for us, she’s graciously shared the photos that animate her book; they’re available as a photo set, “Playing With My Food” on Flickr.

As we brave the broccoli forest, we might recall that it was on this date in 4004 BC that all creation began…  at least according to what is known as the Ussher Chronology.  Developed  in the 17th century by James Ussher, the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh (in what is now Northern Ireland), it held that the first day of creation began at nightfall, Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC.  Ussher’s conclusions were published in 1650 in his Annales veteris testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti (Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world).

Ussher’s specific choice of starting year may have been influenced by the then-widely-held belief that the Earth’s likely “life-span” was 6,000 years (4,000 before the birth of Christ and 2,000 after), corresponding to the six days of Creation, on the grounds that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).  In any case, his conclusion varied a bit from other Biblically-based estimates, like those of Bede (3952 BC), Ussher’s near-contemporary Scaliger (3949 BC), Johannes Kepler (3992 BC) and Sir Isaac Newton (c. 4000 BC).

Ironically, it was on this date in 1977 that paleontologist Elso Barghoorn announced the discovery of the oldest life-forms on earth:  3.4-billion-year-old one-celled fossils.

source

 

%d bloggers like this: