Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME ENTER FORUMS OUR BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Sun Dec 15, 2019 6:41 am





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 54 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Owner
Diamond Contributor 3

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 16196
Location: Florida
Thanks: 3498
Thanked: 1327 times in 1046 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

 Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds

Please use this thread to discuss Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds.



Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:27 pm
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Diamond Contributor

Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 4898
Location: Florida
Thanks: 177
Thanked: 344 times in 294 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
What an odd chapter.

I was glad to see Sagan mention Maxwell. I think he was a genius at least at the level of Einstein but he lost out to Albert for a number of reasons: 1) The hair, 2) photography, 3) his equations seen't as sexy, & 4) he was a devout Christian, he even wrote a hymn or two.

Now Sagan did mention the Christianity bit but it was barely mentioned. That is hard to justify in a book that invests so much time beating up on Christians.

Sagan is a terrible salesman for super colliders. According to him they cost $ billions to build but have no practical application. They might help discover a TOE, but I already have a TOE. So, why should tax money be spent to find another one?

A better way is what happened a year ago. I was in a room full of potential investors being pitched by a consortium of universities who have a boatload of research results on different subjects which need capital to develop them to all kinds of practical applications. That's kind of the difference between Einstein and Maxwell too. Few things in our daily lives intersect with Relativity, at least in ways which Newton couldn't' t handle, but Maxwell's equations affect nearly everything in our daily lives.


_________________
n=Infinity
Sum n = -1/12
n=1

where n are natural numbers.


Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:50 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Diamond Contributor

Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 4898
Location: Florida
Thanks: 177
Thanked: 344 times in 294 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
As for the Nerds, I was at university on the cusp of the transition to the pocket calculator (yup Maxwell's equations) and away from slide-rules (that's how you spotted hard science students - nerds, then a slide rule hanging from their belt, and size did matter. The pocket protector and tapped glasses was gone by then but there were occasional exceptions - like the exceptionally creepy guy I saw hanging around the TRI-DELT house one morning. He had a pocket protector, a slide rule on his belt, a brief case with a sticker on it which read, "BEWARE OF QUANTUM DUCKS - QUARK -QUARK, and I would bet no date with one of the TRI-DELTS. They did not date mortals.


_________________
n=Infinity
Sum n = -1/12
n=1

where n are natural numbers.


Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:02 pm
Profile Email
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
One with Books

Silver Contributor

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2751
Thanks: 2298
Thanked: 731 times in 626 posts
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
Quote:
in a book that invests so much time beating up on Christians.


Beating up on Christians, or beating up on aspects of Christian doctrine?

If a Hindu or an atheist discovered something first does it follow that a Christian could not have made the same discovery?

These are a couple of points that come to mind as I ponder your posts.



Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:20 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Diamond Contributor

Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 4898
Location: Florida
Thanks: 177
Thanked: 344 times in 294 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
There is a prominent disdain against the metaphysical in D-HW but I was present when an unexplained phenomenon occurred. 1973, Gainesville, Florida, the Introductory Astronomy class would take a U of F van from campus to the observatory on Rosemary Hill. We met at the appointed time and the graduate student instructor, Andrew, unlocked the driver's door of the van. He then came around to unlock the passenger doors but he no longer had the key. A thorough search of the van, Andrew's person, and surrounding area including the area under the van was made but the keys were never found.


_________________
n=Infinity
Sum n = -1/12
n=1

where n are natural numbers.


Last edited by stahrwe on Sun Mar 15, 2015 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:50 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Diamond Contributor

Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 4898
Location: Florida
Thanks: 177
Thanked: 344 times in 294 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
Fascinating man, great book.


Paul Dirac


_________________
n=Infinity
Sum n = -1/12
n=1

where n are natural numbers.


Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:58 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Gold Contributor

Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 5481
Thanks: 1302
Thanked: 889 times in 763 posts
Gender: None specified
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
stahrwe wrote:
Fascinating man, great book.


Paul Dirac


Thanks for the recommendation.
It looks really good.
I must add it to my list.



Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:56 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 7075
Location: Da U.P.
Thanks: 1079
Thanked: 2077 times in 1666 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
Stahrwe wrote:
There is a prominent disdain against the metaphysical in D-HW but I was present when an unexplained phenomenon occurred.


If it's unexplained, why do you present it as if it were supernatural?


_________________
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” - Douglas Adams


Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:59 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Diamond Contributor

Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 4898
Location: Florida
Thanks: 177
Thanked: 344 times in 294 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
I did not use the word supernatural. I said metaphysical.
I used that word for the reason that the keys were present on the scene.
PROOF
I arrived before Andrew and tried all the van's doors . They were all locked.
Other students arrived before Andrew but after me and also tried the doors. They were locked.
Andrew arrived and unlocked the driver's door.
He opened the door and left it open so the van' s interior lights were on.

He came around the front of the van but he no longer had the keys.

I have no rational explanation for what happened to the keys. To me that qualifies as a metaphysical experience.


_________________
n=Infinity
Sum n = -1/12
n=1

where n are natural numbers.


Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:12 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 7075
Location: Da U.P.
Thanks: 1079
Thanked: 2077 times in 1666 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
Stahrwe wrote:
I did not use the word supernatural. I said metaphysical.


I see nothing wrong with the word metaphysical, although Sagan might use the word differently. The patterns created by physical things are metaphysical, which is the basis of information. Metaphysical naturalism is based on this connotation.

Stahrwe wrote:
I have no rational explanation for what happened to the keys. To me that qualifies as a metaphysical experience.


I guess I can't glean what you're trying to say when you use the word, since it does have various meanings. Experience is metaphysical in a sense, being more about the interaction of matter than matter itself. It's quite another thing to claim the event is supernatural, but you said that's not the case.


_________________
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” - Douglas Adams


Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:29 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Gold Contributor

Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 5481
Thanks: 1302
Thanked: 889 times in 763 posts
Gender: None specified
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
Sagan wrote:

Quote:
The fascination with this enterprise (SETI) is broad and enduring, and for very good reason. And far from being too expensive, the program would ave cost about on attack helicopter per year.


Good point, Carl.

One Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter costs roughly 35.5 million dollars.

If we directed that money to international aid programs like clean water or doctors without borders instead of trying to ease drop on ET, how many lives could be saved each year?

Public funding SETI is no longer an issue. But you get my point. Because an enterprise is fascinating, it doesn't automatically mean it's a justified expense.



Last edited by ant on Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:08 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 7075
Location: Da U.P.
Thanks: 1079
Thanked: 2077 times in 1666 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
ant wrote:
If we directed that money to international aid programs like clean water or doctors without borders instead of trying to ease drop on ET, how many lives could be saved each year?

Public funding SETI is no longer an issue. But you get my point. Because an enterprise is fascinating, it doesn't automatically mean it's a justified expense.


Just to play devil's advocate, what if overpopulation is what dooms mankind? In hindsight, the best way to spend money isn't necessarily on saving lives, but preventing pregnancies. Perhaps there is a solution to some of these issues in the knowledge pool of ET. Just because something appears to be a justified expense doesn't mean it's a justified expense. How do you prove justification?


_________________
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” - Douglas Adams


The following user would like to thank Interbane for this post:
ant
Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:15 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Gold Contributor

Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 5481
Thanks: 1302
Thanked: 889 times in 763 posts
Gender: None specified
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
Quote:
Perhaps our descendants will look back on our time and marvel at us - possessed of the technology to detect other beings, but closing our ears because we insisted on spending wealth to protect us from an enemy that no longer exists

Carl Sagan.


Carl was speaking about US military expenditures, post Cold War.
What I'm going to nitpick Sagan (the scientist) on is the first part of his quote.

There was ZERO evidence we possessed adequate technology to detect intelligent alien civilizations in Sagan's time, and there is ZERO evidence we have the appropriate technological capabilities in the present. Therefore, it can't be said then or now that we are "closing our ears."

I love the idea of SETI. Carl seems to have trouble grounding himself scientifically when talking about SETI.
This is not meant as an insult - but it truly seems, with this type of talk, that SETI is like a religion to Carl.



Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:23 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Gold Contributor

Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 5481
Thanks: 1302
Thanked: 889 times in 763 posts
Gender: None specified
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
Quote:
Just to play devil's advocate, what if overpopulation is what dooms mankind? In hindsight, the best way to spend money isn't necessarily on saving lives, but preventing pregnancies.


Coincidentally I thought of that very same thing the moment I clicked "submit"

It's a good devil's advocate question. I thought of it because I've been training myself to play DA with myself more often.

I'm uncertain of the truth that overpopulation is a real problem that comes with the serious consequences we often hear about. Maybe to a certain extent, but not close to the gloom and doom, apocalyptic scenarios.

China's concern with overpopulation caused them to limit the amount of pregnancies. An unintended consequence is now a serious concern with an aging populace and a future shortage of man power to care for the elderly while maintaining an enormous economic engine.

I'm not convinced there's not enough resources to go around. Considering the enormous wealth/poverty discrepancies we often hear about, an argument can be made that it's a hoarding and not a shortage of resources (present or future) that's really the issue here.
Not possible to invest in saving lives while resources and wealth continue to be hoarded?
Where's the empathy here?

Of course its harder to be empathetic when one million people are a few thousand miles away from you and aren't starving in front of your face.
When it's closer to home, empathy becomes easier to practice.



Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:47 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Diamond Contributor

Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 4898
Location: Florida
Thanks: 177
Thanked: 344 times in 294 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
There are two aspects regarding over population.

1) it is unlikely that overpopulation will doom mankind. If and when population exceeds resources, limiting factors will reduce the population.

2) even if intelligent life exists and travels in space how are we to assume that they would save humans as opposed to serving them ala
To Serve Mankind


_________________
n=Infinity
Sum n = -1/12
n=1

where n are natural numbers.


Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:58 am
Profile Email
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 54 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:



Site Resources 
HELPFUL INFO:
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!

IDEAS FOR WHAT TO READ:
Bestsellers
Book Awards
• Book Reviews
• Online Books
• Team Picks
Newspaper Book Sections

WHERE TO BUY BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

BEHIND THE BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

PROMOTE YOUR BOOK!
Advertise on BookTalk.org
How To Promote Your Book





BookTalk.org is a thriving book discussion forum, online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a community. Our forums are open to anyone in the world. While discussing books is our passion we also have active forums for talking about poetry, short stories, writing and authors. Our general discussion forum section includes forums for discussing science, religion, philosophy, politics, history, current events, arts, entertainment and more. We hope you join us!


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSOUR BOOKSAUTHOR INTERVIEWSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICYSITEMAP

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism Books

Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2019. All rights reserved.
Display Pagerank