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Posts Tagged ‘psychic

“The atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts”*…

 

Diagram from Edwin D. Babbitt’s The Principles of Light and Color (1878), illustrating a spectrum of elements and forces, spanning from the (outermost) solidness of rock to the (innermost) “spirit”

 

There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement

– Lord Kelvin, 1900

Kelvin’s (in)famous assertion, among others, have led to the sense that physics at the fin de siècle was believed by scientists at the time to be on the point of completion. But that could not be further from the truth. On the contrary, at that moment almost anything seemed possible.  At the end of the 19th century, inspired by radical advances in technology, physicists asserted the reality of invisible worlds — an idea through which they sought to address not only psychic phenomena such as telepathy, but also spiritual questions around the soul and immortality.

Philip Ball explores this fascinating history, and how this turn to the unseen parallels quantum physics (which was, ironically, first proposed by Max Planck in 1900) in “Worlds Without End.”

* Werner Heisenberg

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As we recall that all things are relative, we might send bounteous birthday greetings to Charles Alfred Coulson; he was born on this date in 1910.  A mathematician and theoretical chemist, Coulson was a pioneer of the application of the quantum theory of valency to problems of molecular structure, dynamics and reactivity.  He was Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford (a position in which he was preceded by E. A. Milne, the mathematician and astrophysicist, and succeeded by Roger Penrose), and was a founder and Director of Oxford’s Mathematical Institute.

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Written by LW

December 13, 2015 at 1:01 am

Being a brat…

 

PRESCOTT, Wis. — Ptacek’s IGA broke the world’s record for the longest bratwurst featured at a celebration that marked the family-owned store’s 100th anniversary.

The bratwurst, made in the store’s meat processing department, measured 52 feet and two inches. Why not 100 feet to commemorate the Ptacek family’s 100th year in business? The bun was the problem. The sausage’s length had to match the length of the longest bun the company could get.

“The bun had to fit in a semi. Laid corner to corner, 52 feet and two inches was the longest bun that would fit,” said Patrick Ptacek, co-owner — with his father and his siblings — of the 20,000-square-foot store.

“The biggest challenge of this whole thing was getting someone to bake the bun. We got Village Hearth/Pan-O-Gold Bakery in St. Cloud — about an hour away from here — to do it”…

Read the entire filling story at Supermarket News.

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As we load up on mustard, we might send eerie birthday greetings to Uri Geller; he was born on this date in 1946.  A performer who purported to demonstrate psychokinesis and telepathy, Geller’s trademark act was bending a spoon “with his mind.”  For most of his career, Geller insisted these effects were achieved via physic abilities.  Critics like James “The Amazing” Randi scoffed at his claims, accusing Geller of passing off magic tricks as paranormal displays; indeed, Randi often duplicated Geller’s performances using altogether “normal” (if amazing) stage illusions.  More recently, Geller has taken to characterizing himself as a “mystifier” and entertainer.

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Written by LW

December 20, 2012 at 1:01 am

The Law of Large Numbers…

from the always-amusing xkcd

As we work on our routines, we might spare a commemorative thought for Ferdinand Magellan, whose expedition returned to Spain on this date in 1522, at the end of the first circumnavigation of the globe– almost three years to the day after the fleet– reduced to a single ship from the original five– had departed.  Magellan never made it; he was killed by a poison dart in a battle on the island of Mactan in the Philippines in 1521.

Magellan's ship "Victoria"-- the one that made it

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Written by LW

September 6, 2009 at 12:01 am

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