tisdagen den 24:e april 2012

KVA Börjar Begripa

KVA med Lennart Bengtsson i täten sågar vindkraften i SvD:
  • Att en gigantisk vindkraftsutbyggnad genomförs i ett land som Sverige är obegripligt. 
  • Pengarna borde i stället läggas på att minska utsläppen i transportsektorn.
  • Om avsikten vore att minska koldioxidutsläppen borde investeringarna på hundratals miljarder i stället riktas mot transportsektorn där cirka 35 procent av de fossila utsläppen sker i dag.  
KVA kan inte (längre) begripa vindkraft, men antyder sig begripa att koldioxidutsläppen måste minska, vilket ju är huvudskälet till vindkraft. Hur utsläppen i transportsektorn skall minskas anges inte.

Men KVA verkar vara på väg att även ge upp tron på koldioxidens farlighet:
  • Om avsikten vore...
KVA säger inte längre att koldioxidutsläppen måste minska, utan bara om koldioxidutsläppen måste minska...

Detta kan ses som ett steg mot revidering av KVAs uttalande till stöd av IPCCs koldioxidalarm, eftersom KVA alltid följer vindens riktning... 

Eller hur Lennart Bengtsson (som skrivit KVAs uttalande)? När kommer revideringen? När nu KVA till slut har börjat begripa att det inte är meningsfullt att spendera hundratals miljarder på minskning av koldioxidutsläpp utan både mening och effekt. 

måndagen den 23:e april 2012

Ignorance as Science

The new book Ignorance: How it Drives Science by Stuart Firestein gives an interesting report from the inner secret life of scientists well hidden to the public:
  • Scientists don’t concentrate on what they know, which is considerable but minuscule, but rather on what they don’t know…. Science traffics in ignorance, cultivates it, and is driven by it. Mucking about in the unknown is an adventure; doing it for a living is something most scientists consider a privilege.
This is contrary to the facade of science as a temple of knowledge solidly built stone by stone from the foundation to the top by using logical deduction, mathematics and careful experimental observation according to the model of physics as the King of Sciences assisted by mathematics as the Queen.

But is it true that physicists and mathematicians cultivate ignorance as an expression of their royal stature?  

Yes, I think so. A physicist/mathematician may say that in principle the World is governed by Newton's laws of motion and thus a physicist/mathematician in a certain sense "knows everything" by knowing the  equations expressing Newton's laws. On the other hand, Newton's laws of motion cannot be solved by analytical mathematics, not even for three interacting bodies, and if the equations cannot be solved the physicist/mathematician cannot make any prediction and in this sense "knows nothing". 

This is the clash between a facade of knowing everything and a truth of knowing nothing which the physicist/mathematician has to handle somehow every day. 

If you still believe that a physicist/mathematician knows if not everything for sure a lot, ask about the physics of the CO2 greenhouse effect which is supposed,  to determine the future of humanity, and if you get a sensible answer, send it to me. I have tried myself many times without success.

Another example is Calculus: The mission of a Calculus course/book is to convince the student that all problems can be solved by a proper use of Calculus, for example that all integrals can be computed analytically by a proper combination of tricks, by forcing the student to compute so many integrals that there hardly could be any left which could not also be computed. A Calculus teacher would thus be expected to give the impression to "know everything" while at the same time knowing that there are many more analytically uncomputable integrals than computable.

Similarly, as pointed out by Firestein, the standard academic course seeks to overwhelm the student with facts in order to convince the student that with so much known not much unknown can remain.

Elementary school mathematics fills the student with simple reguladetri problems to give the impression that all problems can be solved if not reguladetri by proper mathematics. Teachers are not used to be confronted with unsolvable problems and thus tend to stick to reguladetri problems all solvable.   

söndagen den 22:e april 2012

Crisis of Physics as Big Science

Nobel Laurate physicist Steven Weinberg gives witness that physics in a state of crisis in The Crisis of Big Science:
  • The discovery (at LHC) of the Higgs boson would be a gratifying verification of present theory, but it will not point the way to a more comprehensive future theory.
  • The most exciting thing to be discovered at the LHC will be something quite unexpected.
  • That is going to be a very hard sell. 
  • So in the next decade we may see the search for the laws of nature slow to a halt, not to be resumed again in our lifetimes.
  • It seems to me that what is really needed... is to unite in restoring higher and more progressive tax rates, especially on investment income. 
  • Government spending stimulates the economy more than tax cuts. 
  • It is simply a fallacy to say that we cannot afford increased government spending. 
  • This is the real crisis, and not just for science.
What Weinberg is saying has that even if physics = big science does not deliver anything to society, it is meaningful for Government to spend lots of money on physics = big science, because there is lots of money to spend and spending on physics = big science would give a much need stimulus to the economy.

But Weinberg seems to feel that there is something in his argument which is not fully convincing and seeks to counter expected criticism by
  • I am not an economist.
In any case Weinberg bears witness of a state of crisis in modern physics. 

tisdagen den 17:e april 2012

What Is a Blackbody?

I search for a definition of the concept of blackbody in two new posts on The World as Computation:
I come to the conclusion that a blackbody is a chosen reference body with maximal cut-off frequency. Universality of blackbody radiation then reflects choosing a specific body as universal reference rather than identifying a universal property shared by all bodies.

söndagen den 1:e april 2012

Small Greenhouse Effect

  • Sherwood Idso does calculations from eight completely different natural experiments which all arrive at similar figures. In short, he reviewed 20 years of work to arrive at a prediction that if CO2 is doubled we will get 0.4°C of warming at most, and even he admitted, it might be an overestimate.
I have come to the same conclusions based on simple models based on observation. In short: Whatever the "greenhouse effect" may be, it appears to be too small to be possible to detect.

One way of expressing this is to say that the "greenhouse effect" has no effect and as an effect without effect does not qualify to be termed "greenhouse effect" in scientific literature.

KTH Upphäver Bannlysningen av BodyandSoul

KTHs Rektor Peter Gudmundson meddelar idag att bannlysningen av BodyandSoul vid KTH, som Ny Teknik rapporterat om och som gått till historien som KTH-gate, nu har upphävts. Rektor understryker att beslutet med största sannolikhet kommer att leda till en total reformation av KTHs hela utbildningsstruktur, något Rektor länge arbetat för men inte lyckats få till stånd.

Rektor förklarar att när nu förskolan infört iPad som främsta läromedel, så har KTH beslutat att inte vara sämre, och eftersom BodyandSoul är en iPad App så har bannlysningen de facto upphävts av Apple, som bara bannlyser dålig pornografi men inte god vetenskap.