October 29, 2004
Scientific Discovery of the Moment
Oh my goodness! It looks as if they've found the real life Ancestoral Island Home of the Oompa-Loompas!
The BoingBoing writeup had this tidbit:
But the really cool part [...] is that these tiny people were recent enough that they likely coexisted with humans who could tell stories; there are, to this day, myths among people in that part of Indonesia of distant human ancestors who had tiny, somewhat stupid tiny friends who lived in caves.
Video of the Moment
|--I apologize in advance for this but it's just too snarky to pass up. They say Kerry flipflops, but Bush flips you the bird, in so many ways...classy man.|
Lesson Learned of the Moment
I had a viewpoint shifting experience the other evening. I was in my yoga class, and I made a little joke riffing on "Schrodinger's Cat" -- that famous thought experiment to point out some of the seeming absurdity of the implications quantum mechanics. (You have a cat in a sealed box with a vile of poison with a 50/50 chance of breaking and killing the poor kitty...supposedly the cat is both alive AND dead until you open the box and observe its condition. (It's a little more subtle than that, but still.)) Anyway, the yoga instructor talked about his main yoga instuctor, this famous-ish guy back in NYC, who would always follow the same routine (including just saying "do this....now do this") whether there were 2 students or 100. I joked that the question was if he did that when NO one was there to observe it, making him like Shrodinger's Yoga Instructor....not my best joke, but NO ONE in the class had any idea what I was talking about. There were 6 or 7 other people in there, most of whom seemed pretty smart, including the instructor (my regular doctor) who I think is borderline brilliant, and they all looked at me like I was nuts. Until that evening, I assumed a knowledge of Shrodinger's Cat was just something any educated person would have. It's not something I studied in a class at school, I just picked it up in some books, or maybe via osmosis from geek culture. So...is geek culture that cut off from "normal society"? Or is normal society that disconnected from scientific thought, almost to the point of scientific illiteracy? For people coming to this site, especially my regular readers, how many had heard of Schrodinger's Cat, and for how many is it a new idea?