Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

More Than A Second String Queen!



(via A Capella Science - shamelessly ripped off Pharyngula)

Love science? Love Queen? 

Sit back, turn up the volume and take in the latest tour de force from a rising star in science education media.

Tim Blais has done it again! If you thought he could not outdo himself after "Rolling in the Higgs", you are in for a treat! This video has everything - musical talent, humor, an Einstein puppet and best of all - it condenses some difficult science concepts down to a nearly comprehensible 4 minutes! Sure, I still haven't a clue about string theory, (hello, people go to university for years to try to understand that stuff!), but oh it is thrilling to see the first glimmers of that distant light!

For your Wednesday Wonder:  Bohemian Gravity!

Bohemian Gravity

Is string theory right?
Is it just fantasy?
Caught in the landscape,
Out of touch with reality
Compactified
On S5 or T*S3

Space is a pure void
Why should it be stringy? 
Because it's quantum not classical

Nonrenormalizable
Any way you quantize
You'll encounter infinity
You see

Quanta
Must interact
Via paths we understand
Using Feynman diagrams
Often, they will just rebound
But now and then they go another way
A quantum
Loooooop
Infinities will make you cry
Unless you can renormalize your model
Of baryons, fermions
And all other states of matter

Curved space:
The graviton
Can be thought of as a field
comic by xkcd

But these infinities are real
In a many-body
Loop diagram
Our results diverge no matter what we do...
A Quantum Soup (any way you quantize)
Kiss your fields goodbye
Guess Einstein's theory wasn't complete at all!

I see extended 1-D objects with no mass
What's their use? What's their use? Can they give us quark plasma?
What to minimize?
What functional describes this
String?
Nambu-Goto! (Nambu-Goto)
Nambu-Goto! (Nambu-Goto)
How to quantize I don't know
Polyakov!
I'm just a worldsheet, please minimize me
He's just a worldsheet from a string theory
Reperametrized by a Weyl symmetry!

Fermi, Bose, open, closed, orientable?
Vibrations
Modes! They become particles (particles!)
Vibrations
They become particles (particles!)
Vibrations
They become particles (particles!)
Become particles (particles!)
Become particles (many many many many particle...)
Modes modes modes modes modes modes modes!
Oh mamma mia mamma mia,
Such a sea of particles!
A tachyon, with a dilaton and gravity-vity-VITY

(rock out!)

Now we need ten dimensions and I'll tell you why
(anomaly cancellation!)
So to get down to 4D we compactify!
Oh, Kahler!
(Kahler manifold)
Manifolds must be Kahler!
(Complex Reimannian symplectic form)
If we wanna preserve
Any of our super-symmetry

(Superstrings of type I, IIa and IIb)
(Heterotic O and Heterotic E)
(All are one through S and T duality)
(Thank you Ed Witten for that superstring revolution and your new M-theory!)

(Maldecena!)
(Super-Yang-Mills!)
(Type IIB String!)
Dual! Dual!
(In the AdS/CFT)
(Holography!)

Molecules and atoms
Light and energy
Time and space and matter
All from one united
Theory

Any way you quantize...

Lyrics and arrangement by Tim Blais and A Capella Science
Original music by Queen


String Theory 2  (artwork via fractalpages)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

National Day of Reason




Religious people in the USA will be pushing the National Day of Prayer into your face all day today. Yes, there has actually been a day mandated by Congress for the establishment of (Christian) prayer in nearly every government legislature, offices, schools and businesses throughout the land because, you know, the prioritizing of religious privilege had not been quite blatant enough before. There is another designation for today - the Day of Reason - but unlike the National Day of Prayer, it hasn't been widely publicized on national media or trumpeted proudly by our elected representatives.

There have been a few notable exceptions to the general bowing and scraping before the intimidation of religious power and a couple of mayors even proclaimed a Day of Reason to balance the national day of prayer. Most elected officials, however, refused to risk their careers by daring to champion the foundational principle upon which this country was built - the recognition that the establishment of authoritarian religion as a basis for any society leads to discrimination, injustice and eventually violence and brutal oppression. Instead, nearly all tugged their virtual forelocks, bowed their heads and murmured spells and incantations to one of the skygods in a show of obsequious respect for the dominant, hypervigilant, easily-offended, dangerously powerful Christian evangelical movement.

Those politicians - like non-Christians and non-believers everywhere - recognise the terrible truth. Religious privilege is so total, so oppressive and so vicious that to even suggest that forcing it on the population in the form of faith-based laws and "social services" might cause real harm to some citizens while reducing every citizen's liberty results in hysterical blowback. Fox "news" wasted no time this morning drawing an imaginary line spuriously connecting the Day of Reason to the Holocaust.

Oh, those silly, angry atheists!
Even the mildest criticism of religion unleashes the vitriolic pushback from religionists - usually in the form of mockery (he's an "atheist" angry at God he claims doesn't exist! harhar), followed by the inevitable comparisons between non-believers and monsters of history*. Hyperbolic language like that is not harmless. That kind of demonization of people who do not share the dominant faith in any society has paved the way for progroms, Inquisitions, burnings, genocides and brutal persecution for all of human history. Unbelievers know it and believers know it, too. They deploy this type of language as both a threat and a promise: Shut up and submit to our god-given authority or you will be targeted for the punishment that we believe your kind of evil deserves.

The religious right has been working tirelessly for several decades to seize the kind of absolute political, economic and social power which they have been imperfectly prevented from grasping since the United States of America was formed, largely thanks to the wisdom of the founding fathers who inserted the Establishment clause into the Constitution. But, theocrats are patient.  After the social revolutions in the 1960's they experienced a resurgence in energy and an implacable determination to take over the country once and for all, rolling back the clock on civil rights (especially women's rights). The first and most important step in their strategy was to promote the false idea that "secularism" is a religion like Christianity - although naturally secularism is a godless (and therefore evil) religious cult. By drawing a false parallel between "faith" and "godless secularism", they laid the groundwork to polarize society into "good" and "bad" camps, where the price of accepting anything outside of religion as possibly good for society was to be put in the "bad" camp. And those in the "bad" camp, being compared to Hitler and all, might just be righteously punished at some point, amirite?

Just for the record...
Seriously, if you truly believe that a group in your community is really just like the Nazis, then isn't it your duty to neutralize them to prevent them from subjecting innocent people to atrocities? Isn't that the reasoning behind the notion of "just war"? In fact, this is the very rationale behind the murders of health workers who provide abortion services. The far right has moved on to demonizing atheists, humanists and non-Christians of every religious stripe, including people who may think they are Christians but who fail to pass the litmus test of the religious right (many are just not true Christians, don't you know). Religious fundamentalists try to attack all of these people under the umbrella of hated secularism but they fail to realize that secularism is favored by many moderate religionists since secularism is, you know, NOT a religion but a philosophy of how best to ensure a just and free society. Hence, the 'not a true Christian' label is applied followed by increasingly pointed attacks on moderate Christians who are just not Christian enough.

In the past decade, as the destructive power of the Christian theocratic movement finally began to be so obvious that even religious moderates could not fail to notice it, a group of atheists began to push back against religious hegemony. Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have all written famous (and infamous) books on the dangers of handing unfettered power over to religious believers. Their work started a movement which has grown slowly but surely - containing both non-theists and theists who share a grave concern for the future of this country if theocrats continue to ride the wave of unquestioned religious privilege to the highest seats of political power.

Last year, Richard Dawkins teamed up with another outspoken atheist - physicist Lawrence Krauss - to make a movie about this movement and the vitally important work it is trying to do. The movie's premiere this week in Toronto quickly brought out the usual attacks and insinuations that without religion, human beings are reduced to hopeless nihilism:

Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss double down on disbelief, the Globe and Mail, April 30, 2013.

New film examines science vs. religion, CNN belief blog, April 29, 2013.

A better and more thoughtful interview came at GlobalNews (Canada): Dawkins, Krauss have faith in 'The Unbelievers',  John R. Kennedy, GlobalNews, April 29, 2013.

Here is the official trailer for The Unbelievers. You need to see this movie!




One final word. It's been true for all of history and is still true today. It doesn't matter what flavor of religion they practice, when they carry their religious beliefs to their logical conclusion, true believers are literally capable of anything:























*I refuse to link to any of the sites which demonize rational, reasonable human beings in this manner, but a simple google search for "evil, atheists" should reveal as much as you need to see to understand that this is a real problem.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thorsday Tonic - Escaping Our Island Earth

Starry Night Over the Rhone, Vincent Van Gogh


There is way too much winter out there still!

For your Thorsday Tonic, let's escape this winter-weary planet and journey to the stars!

First, from the poetry corner:

Stars 

How countlessly they congregate
O'er our tumultuous snow,
Which flows in shapes as tall as trees
When wintry winds do blow!--

As if with keeness for our fate,
Our faltering few steps on
To white rest, and a place of rest
Invisible at dawn,--

And yet with neither love nor hate,
Those starts like somw snow-white
Minerva's snow-white marble eyes
Without the gift of sight.

-Robert Frost


And now for some Morgan Freeman/science/autotune awesomeness!

Quote for the Thorsday win:

"Because what man can imagine, man can do."




(from the talented MelodySheep, Morgan Freeman, Escaping Earth.)

*I hope Morgan Freeman meant "humankind" here but went with "man" for the staccato rhetorical impact  - but just to be clear, it's "humankind" in the NiftyUniverse!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Christian Conservatives Hate The World...Therefore Climate Change Denial




























"Immediately after the distress of those days " 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' 30 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. Matthew 24:29-31:29

This month in Scientific American magazine, there is a fascinating in-depth account of the history of the Christian conservative anti-science movement which has ebbed and flowed in this country for nearly 200 years. The concluding paragraph sums up this critical issue very well:

In an age when science influences every aspect of life—from the most private intimacies of sex and reproduction to the most public collective challenges of climate change and the economy—and in a time when democracy has become the dominant form of government on the planet, it is important that the voters push elected officials and candidates of all parties to explicitly state their views on the major science questions facing the nation. By elevating these issues in the public dialogue, U.S. citizens gain a fighting chance of learning whether those who would lead them have the education, wisdom and courage necessary to govern in a science-driven century and to preserve democracy for the next generation. (Shawn Lawrence Otto, America's Science Problem).

"President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise
of the oceans,and to heal the planet." What a good joke!
NPR has a related story today about conservative climate change denial and how it is affecting the current election. At the RNC convention in Tampa, the guffaws from the Republican faithful at Mitt Romney's thinly veiled coded "joke" pointed to not only global climate change denial, but to an even more sinister truth about conservative Christian theology. They laugh about denial, because it is a political tool to further their religious agenda. It is possible that many conservatives understand very well that global warming is happening, but that fact is actually a source of gleeful satisfaction to the true believer, not a cause for concern. So why do they publicly deny it? The policy of denial is necessary in order to block any efforts by sane people to slow down or stop human activity that contributes to global warming. Evangelicals see this climate crisis as part of the end times, the most highly anticipated and welcome event in the conservative Christian mind.

There is something I think people must understand every time they read examples of the often incoherent dishonesty of Christian apologists as they deny the reality of global climate change: Christians want the world to end. In their religious delusion, they really do believe that it is necessary for the world to be destroyed in order to bring about the return of their Messiah, and they welcome the end of the world

This truth cannot be overstated: conservative Christians despise the World™. They deny the importance of this mortal life. It is a religion of self-loathing where the only relief for the wretched sinner is not in this life - on this earth - but in another "life" after death.  The entire point of Christianity is to deny that this life is all we may have, to disparage the efforts of human beings to improve this life for themselves and others, and to work toward bringing about the end of this world, so that their bronze-age mythical "prophesies" can be brought to fruition. This is not hyperbolic fear-mongering. Christians are open about this. They consider it to be "good news".

Standing up to the propaganda of religious madness,
the President is the adult on the national stage.
In the larger conservative movement, there was a concerted effort to undermine efforts to slow global warming combined with propaganda "education" designed to mislead people into thinking that there is a scientific "controversy" over whether global warming was an actual phenomenon. There is no controversy about global climate change: the scientific community is unanimous that it is happening and that it has been greatly accelerated by human activity. As with their successful effort to convince more than half the population of the lie that Evolutionary theory is scientifically "controversial", conservative groups managed to undermine the trust that people once had in scientific research, leaving the population adrift in a sea of religious lunacy and doubt.

From time to time, a thinking Christian speaks up, trying to sound the alarm, but even knowing how much is at stake, he is careful not to offend the powerful religious majority. Even the rational Christians who claim not to agree with the extremists will not break away from the power and privilege that belonging to that group gives them. They know on what side their bread is buttered and they hope to continue to perform a balancing act between what they know is morally right and their desire to remain aligned with power. The agenda of Christian fundamentalism has become a juggernaut and it has swept all other voices to the fringes.

Global warming denial propaganda funded by
conservative groups with Christian ties like the
Heartland Institute helped to sway public opinion
against the scientific reality.
Every effort that science makes to warn about or mitigate global warming is met with fierce resistance by powerful lobbyists backed by radical fundamentalist Christian groups. One fact canot be stressed enough: These groups want the world to come to an end. With the irrational zeal of true believers, they welcome mass death, destruction and horror because they imagine themselves to be the "elect" - the tiny group of their god's favored people who will not be destroyed in the cataclysm that they are doing their utmost to bring about.

There won't be any satisfaction for the rest of us if and when these fools discover that they and their descendants will perish along with all those they hate if they succeed in setting the world on a final path to global catastrophe. It won't matter that they were dangerously, madly wrong and we were right. The only thing that matters is that we find the courage to speak up now and take action now to slow down the disaster.

A few items to read and ponder:

Fact: June 2012 was the 4th hottest month since record-keeping began in 1880.  It was the 328th consecutive month that global temperatures have remained above the 20th century average.

Here is the sort of story which will warm the cockles of the fundamentalist's heart, while it chills the blood of people who care about humanity.

Mother Jones, The state of climate change denial.

Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy, Shawn Lawrence Otto, Scientific American, October 17, 2012.

Equal time to truth and bullshit, from No brain left behind.




Thorsday Tonic - Science is Real (They Might Be Giants)




via ParticleMen

"A scientific theory isn't just a hunch or guess - it's more like a question that's been put through a lot of tests and when a theory emerges consistent with the facts, the proof is with science; the truth is with science."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Inspiration - Evolution



Check out this gorgeously illustrated, clear, concise and relatively brief (10 minutes) explanation of the Theory of Evolution.

Helpful for parents trying to help older children understand, too!

via QualiaSoup

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday Wonders - Rolling In The Higgs



I am a sucker for a cappella singing, especially multiple harmonics. I am also a sucker for clever lyrics which make science both easy to understand and fun.

Tim Blais has combined both of these things in a great little video that is well worth less than 4 minutes of your time.


Rolling in the Higgs - Lyrics


There's a collider under Geneva
Reaching new energies that we've never achieved before
Finally we can see with this machine
A brand new data peak at 125 GeV
See how gluons and vector bosons fuse
Muons and gamma rays emerge from something new
There's a collider under Geneva
Making one particle that we've never seen before

The complex scalar
Elusive boson
Escaped detection by the LEP and Tevatron
The complex scalar
What is its purpose?
It's got me thinking

Chorus:
We could have had a model (Particle breakthrough, at the LHC)
Without a scalar field (5-sigma result, could it be the Higgs)

But symmetry requires no mass (Particle breakthrough, at the LHC)
So we break it, with the Higgs (5-sigma result, could it be the Higgs)

Baby I have a theory to be told
The standard model used to discover our quantum world
SU(3), U(1), SU(2)'s our gauge
Make a transform and the equations shouldn't change

The particles then must all be massless
Cause mass terms vary under gauge transformation
The one solution is spontaneous
Symmetry breaking

Roll your vacuum to minimum potential
Break your SU(2) down to massless modes
Into mass terms of gauge bosons they go
Fermions sink in like skiers into snow

Lyrics and arrangement by Tim Blais and A Capella Science
Original music by Adele

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday Wonder - The Longest Time (The Coral Triangle)



Every now and then I come across and video that makes me both smile and think. This is one of them. As one of the commenters below the video on YouTube pointed out: this is what the video campaign promoting science to girls should have been more like.

Lyrics are in the video. It's a great song (Billy Joel's "The Longest Time") and you will learn something new! Please do watch - it's great!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dinosaurs!






Lyrics:

[Dr. Alice Roberts]
How can we start to come close to animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago?

Dinosaurs
[Jack Horner]
Dinosaurs
[Bill Nye]
Dinosaurs
Di-Di-Dinosaurs

[Dallas Campbell]
Dinosaurs weren't just giant lizards
But a truly unique kind of reptile

[Narrator 1]
Dinosaurs roamed
For more than 150 million years
Dinosaurs roamed
In amazing shapes and sizes

Very few left evidence of their existence
And those bones never cease to fascinate us

[Roberts]
The more we find
The more complete our understanding
Utterly awe-inspiring
The world of the dinosaurs

[Campbell]
There are always new discoveries out there
Waiting to be found

[Narrator 2]
Tyrannosaurus, the largest flesh eater
The world has ever seen
Dinosaurs - all the dinosaurs-
Followed a well trod trail to oblivion

[Narrator 1]
Rock layers span the age of dinosaurs
The deeper the layer, the older the rock

At the top - rock from the Cretaceous
Below that, the Jurassic
And near the bottom, red Triassic badlands
When dinosaurs first appeared

(refrain)

(dino breakdown)

[Nye]
65 million years ago
[Nigel Marvin]
A meteorite smashed into the Earth
[Nye]
Hurtling toward our planet
At a hundred thousand kilometers a second
**correction: per hour, not second!

[Roberts]
If we'd never found their bones,
We wouldn't ever have known
These ancient animals ever existed

(refrain)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

Space Exploration - Onward To The Edge!



Another great video from Symphony of Science.

To mark the occasion of the Mars landing of the Curiosity rover..

Lyrics:

[Neil deGrasse Tyson]
The act of moving onward means we pass these sign posts
One of them was first leaving earth
The next one is hanging out on the moon
What's next? The planets

Onward to the edge
We're moving onward to the edge
Here we are together
This fragile little world

[Brian Cox]
This is our sun
Just another star in a sea of stars
The heart of the solar system
Just another star in a sea of stars

Mercury is the closest planet
This tortured piece of rock has been stripped naked

[Tyson]
The moon has a sky
It has a horizon
It's another world

It's got earth in the sky
Just the way we have the moon in the sky

(refrain)

We're not the only world to think about
Worlds unnumbered
We're not the only world to think about
Think about worlds unnumbered

[Carolyn Porco]
There is a powerful recognition
That stirs within us
When we see our own little blue ocean planet
In the skies of other worlds

The Saturn system
Offers splendor beyond compare
Because of its rings
And very diverse moons

[Tyson]
These are no longer abstractions
These are worlds
Maybe there's life there
They've changed how we think about Earth

[Cox]
"A mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam
The pale blue dot" (Carl Sagan)

(refrain)

The laws of nature create
Vastly different worlds
With the tiniest of changes

[Tyson]
When I reach to the edge of the universe
I do so knowing that along some paths of cosmic discovery
There are times when, at least for now,
One must be content to love the questions themselves

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Inspiration - The Unbroken Thread




Thanks to Symphony of Science for these wonderful videos.

Lyrics:

(Carl Sagan's lyrics written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan and Steven Soter)


[David Attenborough]
All life is related
And it enables us to construct with confidence
The complex tree that represents the history of life

Our planet, the Earth, is as far as we know
Unique in the universe; it contains life
Here plants and animals proliferate in such numbers
That we still have not even named all the different species

Darwin's great insight revolutionized the way in which we see the world
We now understand why there are so many different species

[Carl Sagan]
Every cell is a triumph of natural selection
And we're made of trillions of cells (Within us is a little universe)
Those are some of the things that molecules do
Given four billions years of evolution (We are, each of us, a multitude)

Now how did the molecules of life arise?

[Attenborough]
It began in the sea
Some 3 thousand million years ago
Complex chemical molecules began to clump together

These were the "seeds"
From which the tree of life developed
They were able to split, replicating themselves
As bacteria do

[Sagan]
The secrets of evolution
Are time and death
There's an unbroken thread that stretches
From those first cells to us

(refrain)

[Jane Goodall]
There isn't a sharp line dividing humans
from the rest of the animal kingdom
It's a very wuzzie line

It's a very wuzzie line,
and it's getting wuzzier
All the time

We find animals doing things that we,
In our arrogance,
Used to think was "just human"

(refrain)

[Attenborough]
Its continued survival now rests in our hands

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Quantum Theory Explained!





Lyrics:

[Morgan Freeman]
So, what are we really made of?
Dig deep inside the atom
and you'll find tiny particles
Held together by invisible forces

Everything is made up
Of tiny packets of energy
Born in cosmic furnaces

[Frank Close]
The atoms that we're made of have
Negatively charged electrons
Whirling around a big bulky nucleus

[Michio Kaku]
The Quantum Theory
Offers a very different explanation
Of our world

[Brian Cox]
The universe is made of
Twelve particles of matter
Four forces of nature

That's a wonderful and significant story

[Richard Feynman]
Suppose that little things
Behaved very differently
Than anything big

Nothing's really as it seems
It's so wonderfully different
Than anything big

The world is a dynamic mess
Of jiggling things
It's hard to believe

[Kaku]
The quantum theory
Is so strange and bizarre
Even Einstein couldn't get his head around it

[Cox]
In the quantum world
The world of particles
Nothing is certain
It's a world of probabilities

(refrain)

[Feynman]
It's very hard to imagine
All the crazy things
That things really are like

Electrons act like waves
No they don't exactly
They act like particles
No they don't exactly

[Stephen Hawking]
We need a theory of everything
Which is still just beyond our grasp
We need a theory of everything, perhaps
The ultimate triumph of science

(refrain)

[Feynman]
I gotta stop somewhere
I'll leave you something to imagine

Sunday, July 8, 2012

(We Are) Children Of Africa!



via Symphony of Science

Lyrics:

[Jacob Bronowski]
Man is a singular creature;
He has a set of gifts which make him unique among the animals
So that unlike them, he is not a figure in the landscape
He is the shaper of the landscape

[Alice Roberts]
We are all children of Africa
They say this is where it all began

[Bronowski]
In a parched African landscape
Man first put his foot to the ground

[Roberts]
Africa was our only home
for tens of thousands of years
until a small handful of people made their way
out of Africa

[Carolyn Porco]
These beings with soaring imagination
Eventually flung themselves and their machines
Into interplanetary space

[Roberts]
We are all children of africa
This landscape has been home to humans
Two hundred thousand years

[Porco]
We have come so far
All of this is cause for great celebration
We have come so far
This is a story about us

[Roberts]
Those early Europeans
Were people like you and me
But it is humbling
When you see the challenges they faced

People like you and me
Overcame the Neanderthals
People like you and me
Made it through the ice age

[Refrain]

[Jane Goodall]
We are not the only beings
With personalities, minds, and feelings
Chimpanzees have very clear personalities

[Robert Sapolsky]
Take a chimp brain foetally
And let it go two or three more rounds of division
And out comes symphonies and ideology

[Neil deGrasse Tyson]
Everything that we are
That distinguishes us from chimps
Emerges from that one percent
Difference in DNA

[Roberts]
People like you and me
Overcame the Neaderthals
People like you and me
Made it through the ice age

[Refrain]

[David Attenborough]
Using his burgeoning intelligence,
This most successful of all mammals
Has exploited the environment to produce food
For an ever increasing population.

Instead of controlling the environment
For the benefit of the population
Perhaps it's time we controlled the population
To allow the survival of the environment

Friday, July 6, 2012

Nova - The Elegant Universe Begins 7.11.12 !




Mark your calendars!  Nova's The Elegant Universe will be rebroadcast on PBS beginning on July 11, 2012.

Episode 1 - July 11, 2012

Episode 2 - July 18, 2012

Episode 3 - July 25, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Greatest Show On Earth



I'm still struggling with several complex topics, but in the meantime:


Lyrics:


[David Attenborough]
How could one species turn into another?


[Richard Dawkins]
How is it that we find ourselves surrounded by such complexity, such elegance?


[Bill Nye]
The genes of you and me
They're all made of DNA
We're all made of the same chemicals
DNA - we're all made of DNA


[Attenborough]
Only the fittest survive
And that is the key
Natural Selection
That is the key


[Dawkins]
We are surrounded by endless forms
Most beautiful, most wonderful
Evolution - the greatest show on Earth


There is grandeur in this view of life
Evolution - the greatest show on Earth


[Attenborough]
The history of life can be thought of
As a many branched tree
The five kingdoms of life
were established early on


Bacteria
Protists- amoeba like creatures
Fungi
Plants 
And animals


[Dawkins]
We find ourselves perched on one tiny twig
In the midst of a blossoming tree of life


[refrain]


We are surrounded by millions of other species
Walking, flying, burrowing, stalking, chasing, fleeing,
Outpacing


[Attenborough]
Animals strive to reach this one ultimate goal
To ensure the survival of the next generation
This one ultimate goal
To pass on their genes
That is what life is all about


[refrain]


[Dawkins]
As we look back on the history of life
We see a picture of never ending,
ever rejuvinating novelty


[Attenborough]
Those animals may seem to us to be very remote,
strange, even fantastic


But all of us alive today
Owe our very existence to them

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thorsday Tonic - A Wave of Reason





Lyrics:
Russell:
When you are studying any matter
Or considering any philosophy
Ask yourself only: what are the facts,
And what is the truth that the facts bear out

Sagan:
Science is more than a body of knowledge
It's a way of thinking
A way of skeptically interrogating the universe

If we are not able to ask skeptical questions
To be skeptical of those in authority
Then we're up for grabs

Shermer:
In all of science we're looking for a balance
between data and theory

Harris:
You don't have to delude yourself
With Iron age fairy tales

Porco:
The same spiritual fulfillment
That people find in religion
Can be found in science
By coming to know, if you will, the mind of God

Krauss:
The real world, as it actually is,
Is not evil, it's remarkable
And the way to understand the physical world
is to use science

Dawkins:
There is a new wave of reason
Sweeping across America, Britain, Europe, Australia
South America, the Middle East and Africa
There is a new wave of reason
Where superstition had a firm hold

Plait:
Teach a man to reason
And he'll think for a lifetime

Sagan:
Cosmology brings us face to face with the deepest mysteries
With questions that were once treated only
in religion and myth

The desire to be connected with the cosmos
Reflects a profound reality
But we are connected; not in the trivial ways
That Astrology promises, but in the deepest ways

Feynman:
I can't believe the special stories that have been made up
About our relationship to the universe at large
Look at what's out there; it isn't in proportion

Russell:
Never let yourself be diverted
By what you wish to believe
But look only and surely
At what are the facts

Randi:
Enjoy the fantasy, the fun, the stories
But make sure that there's a clear sharp line
Drawn on the floor
To do otherwise is to embrace madness