Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election result madness

So I'm probably just about the last person in the world to post about the election, but we did pretty well. Both Rick "Man on Dog" "santorum" Santorum and George "Mcaca" Allen lost (though the virginia race was damn close. South Dacota threw out its abortion ban, and I got to vote for Rush Holt again.

These all make me happy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A tale of misogyny

So I work for the army research lab (ARL) as a co-op. I have a female co-worker who I was reminded of reading this post by Molly of Molly saves the day regarding an event of misogyny in the sciences. This co-worker (who shall remain nameless) was transferred from one post to another (as the army likes to do) and she went to duty. She did a variety of things (as she still does) but no one ever gave her a job description. Eventually someone came to give her a job description and found that she did duties that should have earned her much more pay. She could have sued for lots of money (she chose not to because she wanted to keep her job).

After writing this it seems much less damning than hearing it in person and knowing most of the people involved. Very few are explicitly misogynists, but many seem to have internalized the woman = clerical labor idea that lead to this (not that there is anything wrong with clerical work, I know nothing would get done without the branch and division secretaries, and it's a shame they aren't paid enough to make it an attractive position). That she performs many clerical tasks (making phone calls, making sure things get shipped, etc) may play into it, but she nonetheless was treated like something she wasn't and paid less because she is a woman.

There are other tales I could tell of misogyny, but that is the most egregious one. The reason there are few more is largely because there are so few women at ARL. It is mainly physicists and electrical engineers, and there are so few women among those groups that I can count on one hand the number of scientist/engineer positions held by women at ARL that I know of.

That is the real tragedy.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Physics topics for beginners part 3: the Heisenberg uncertainty principle

Lots of people have heard of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, but most people who haven't studied physics have an incorrect idea of what it means. The way it is usually stated is that the better you know the position of something the less well you know its velocity. What the Heisenberg uncertainty principle means, fundamentally, is that things smaller than an atom are not particles like we are used to, in that they are spread out over space. When they interact you can treat them like particles, they have a size and shape, but they exist in more than one place at a time (or rather they might exist in more than one place at a time).

A better way to look at it is to think of subatomic particles (like electrons) not as particles, but as an energy field (that term made me wince but there is no better way to put it without using physics jargon). The less space it takes up, the more concentrated it is. If you think about it this way the uncertainty principle is pretty obvious: the smaller the area of the field the better you know the position, the more concentrated the energy the higher energy you would measure at a point inside the position. The energy is proportional to (the square of) the speed, so with a higher energy the particle will move faster, but you don't know what direction it is moving, so it's probably bouncing around wildly in there, and you have less and less certainty about the velocity (which is the speed and the direction of motion). It is easy to see how it works the other way too.

This isn't quite how it really works, but it is a good intuitive description that clears up a lot of the misconceptions about the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. It, unfortunately, says nothing about free will, moral certainty or the existence of the universe. All it says is that if you look at really small things they get fuzzy.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Confessions of a reformed Nice Guy™

So I stumbled upon this post at Punkassblog and seeing all the hating on the fake not-nice nice guy I thought I would add my two cents. Because, you see, I used to be one, though my shyness restrained any assholery latent in my psyche.

What makes someone into a Nice Guy™? Sexual frustration combined with social inaptitude, and a lack of exposure to women. When you don't have any success with the opposite sex and don't spend enough time with women to get to know them as friends it is easy to "other" them and ascribe unknowable motivations to them (like wanting "jerks").

The solution? Probably time and experience are the only things that will necessarily work. I know that for me the really bad Nice Guy™ period ended with college, but the last bits of that mindset were eliminated when I get a female roommate (well... What the British would refer to as a "flatmate"). I had never gotten to know a woman (other than my mother, who doesn't count because you specifically go to lengths to not think of your parents as sexual creatures) as well as her, and so time with her dispelled any myths I had (especially the one that women aren't attracted to physical appearance. It's hard to see how someone could actually believe that and actually know women).

I still need to get past that shyness thing but that affects all my relationships not just my sexual ones.

I'm back (to being lazy)

So I wait over a week after I get back from the beach to post... Lazyness continues to dominate my life. Anyways I'll try to post more often.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


I'll be in north carolina next week, sitting on the beach, and enjoying the sun (and sleep). So no blogging for me.

Newsflash: sometimes small children are annoying

So there was a recent article by a woman who does not enjoy spending every waking moment with her children. Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon points out that parenting is hard work.
The point of all this is not to bore anyone to death but to say that parenting is labor like any other--you do a job, no matter how much you like it, you have earned bitching rights. The bitching rights go up in inverse proportion to the pay, which means that mothers have the official right to bitch non-stop if they want to.

sums things up nicely.

Molly takes the opportunity to locate some anti-mother bias in some feminist circles.

Personally I think mothers have a rough deal and am glad I'll never have to be one ;) (though I would hope that no one else has to be one either)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Fuck spoilers

So apparently the new Will Farrell movie is pretty good. That's good.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Why theists piss me off

In this interesting and productive article at Pandagon a theist came in and basically stated accusing everyone of being prejudiced against theists, and racists.

I am not prejudiced against theists, the whole idea is laughable. Literally almost everyone I know in real life is a theist. Theists please stop telling me I hate you, I don't (at least not because you have silly beliefs).

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A porn maker is a shifty misogynist? Say it isn't so.

So apparently the guy who makes girls gone wild is a rapist and a bully. Surprise, surprise. Now I don't have a problem with porn, I watch (probably too much of) it. My problem is with anyone who would force a woman to get naked against her will, or much, much worse to rape her.

Now what I really don't understand is the mindset behind this quote:
But the women are changing, Francis tells me, and that makes him sad. In the beginning, when "Girls Gone Wild" cameramen first popped up in clubs, the women who revealed themselves seemed innocent--surprised, even, by their own spontaneity. Now that the brand is so pervasive, the women who participate increasingly appear to be calculating exhibitionists, hoping that an appearance on a video might catapult them to Paris Hilton-like fame.

He has a problem with women wanting to get naked? Personally the only kind of porn I find appealing is that where the woman at least seems to be enjoying herself (though I know most of it is probably faked).

Anyways, this guy is an asshole with a capital A.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

hmm... How to create controversy

I've come to the conclusion that I should post more and be more controversial in an effort to attract (any) readers.

To that effect I'm going to say that anyone who can't deal with breastfeeding is mentally damaged. Feeding babies is the primary purpose of breasts, the fact that they are fun to look at (and play with) is probably related to that fact.

Also Mel Gibson has not been keeping it a secret that he is an anti-semite. Anyone who has looked at his history at all knew this fact before he made it explicit. Let me make it explicit: Gibson is an anti-semite, a homophobe, and a misogynist. This was also the official position of the Catholic Church for years, but now it is only homophobic and misogynist (though some want a return to "the good old days").

That is all.

Physics topics for beginners part 2: Energy

So I'm back from working at a mysterious government site, and its time for me to blog about energy. Energy is one of the central topics of physics, it comes up in classical mechanics, E&M, statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, relativity, and any other topic I'm neglecting to mention, but what is it?

Energy is the most misused term in physics, not by physists, but by pseudoscientists. Energy is not just any "non material" thing, there are also forces and fields (and force fields). Energy means something very specific, defined mathematically, but it can be thought of as being like a currency of motion. There are two types of energy: kinetic energy and potential energy. Kinetic energy is the simplest type, it is just proportional to the (square of the) speed of whatever object you are worrying about, in the money analogy it is the value of goods you can buy or sell. The actual money in the analogy is potential energy, you can turn it into kinetic energy, or kinetic energy can be turned into it. So what causes potential energy? Forces do, for example if you are at the top of a rollercoaster you have a lot of potential energy because you are feeling a force from gravity and if you fell you would accelerate. The moment you start going down the rollercoaster you are changing potential energy into kinetic energy "buying" motion with your "money". Then when you go up the next hill you slow down "selling" your motion.

So why is this a big deal? Well first of all total energy is always conserved (though some may be lost as heat, which is really kinetic energy of atoms or molecules bouncing around), this makes certain kinds of physics problems easy to solve. However this isn't that big of a deal, and for a for a while after the idea of energy was formalized it wasn't a big deal, but then some smart physists figured out that you could solve physics problems just using energy, without worrying about Newton's laws, and this made a lot of physics problems easier, and a lot of open problems were solved. Now when physics started branching out into and dealing with things that are outside of everyday experience it turned out that the only way to solve these problems was using energy. So for this reason all of quantum physics, as well as statistical mechanics (which deals with the behavior of large numbers of atoms or molecules), and relativistic mechanics are defined in terms of energy.

Now I don't know how that is evidence for the afterlife, but lots of people on the internet seem to think that it is...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I'm going

I'll be away from the internet all week so I thought I would add some links.

Molly's back.
Some stories are just plain fucked up
yes there are some stupid physists

I'm out.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Physics topics for beginners part 1: Entropy

I've decided that lots of people don't really understand some commonly used concepts in physics, and I should try to spread information about their true meanings. The two I'll do first are entropy and energy, because those are the two most misused.

I'm somewhat sympathetic to those who don't understand entropy because it is a pretty strange concept. It's usually described as the disorder in a system, and although that is true, that can be misleading unless you know what entropy really is. Entropy, most fundamentally, can be said to be a measure of the homogeneity of the system. In everyday language that means how mixed together things are: the entropy is at maximum when the system is totally mixed together and is identical everywhere. How do I come to this conclusion? For this we need to use a little simplified quantum mechanics.

Let's say you have a switch: it can be either on or off. If you have two switches they can be either all on, all off, or one on and one off. Let us say that we can't tell the switches apart, then any combination of one on and one off is identical. So there are two ways of getting one on and one off, but only one way of getting both on or both off. As you keep adding switches there are more and more ways of arranging things so that they all look the same. The entropy of one of these combinations is defined as being proportional to (actually the logarithm of) the number of ways of arranging it without changing how it looks.

From that it is easy to see that the highest entropy will be when exactly half of the switches are on and half are off. The second law of thermodynamics (entropy of a closed system never decreases) is easy to see as probabilities: the most likely combination is the highest entropy one, so with large numbers of switches you are extremely unlikely to go from higher to lower entropy.

Now how does this discussion of switches relate to reality? In quantum mechanics things (for example atoms or molecules) have distinct states, some times two or three (or another whole number), but usually an infinite amount, making the math much more difficult, but the parallels to the switches example are obvious.

If you have any questions leave comments.

ps. The reason I did the entropy one first is that creationists are always misusing the second law of thermodynamics to try to refute evolution. The part the forget of course is the "closed system" part (hmm... could there be a massive heat source not too far from the earth?), but their objections are based on a misunderstanding of what entropy is. Life creates entropy, usually by changing chemical energy to heat energy when we metabolize food (this creates entropy because there are more ways of arranging heat energy without changing the total amount then with chemical energy). Entropy has nothing to do with complexity of structure (until you get to really high levels of entropy: at the so called heat death of the universe).

Anyways I don't expect this to stop most creationists from using the second law of thermodynamics as an argument, but at least it gives reasonable people the knowledge to call bullshit on bullshit.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I'm stirring up trouble

So I was over at Bitch Ph.D where she's having a big sex talk. I didn't have much to add, but to discuss the reasons why men are less likely to have serious sex talks with other men. My thought (among other things) is that men are usually homophobic (in that they never want to be thought of as gay), and that in general men are taught not to consider their bodies attractive. This kicked off a big discussion (probably not helped by my initial wording on my comment), so I thought I would put here my full thoughts on male body image.

Basically I know that I don't really consider myself attractive, and I know that many guys that are don't either, however it is more than that (and here is where it differs from women's body image problems), men don't usually think that the male body can be considered attractive (probably as a result of the earlier mentioned homophobia). The end result tends to be misogyny: basically the guy wonders how women can be attracted to men, and decides that they aren't really, they just use sex as a way to get what they want, thus leading to the "all women are whores" sentiment. The solution seems to be convincing men that they too can be attractive, and/or using imagination to imagine that someone can be attracted to something you don't consider attractive.

However most people are products of their environment, and don't have a great amount of imagination, so until society changes there seems to be not much to do. On the other hand society does seem to be changing, and increasing number of men don't follow traditional gender rolls (although metrosexuality doesn't seem like a great thing to aspire to).

anyways, enough on this.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Local music

So on Wednesday I went to a free concert at The Strathmore. There were two bands, one was a sort of art-rock band called Cascade in Blue, and another whose name I forget (a more sort of countryish band). Cascade was pretty good, so I got a CD for $5. I think this underplays the problems with popular music. Most people (in my experience at least) are happy buying CD's, the only problem is that they're all overpriced in stores. When the music is overpriced one of two things will happen: 1. No one will try new music bcause there is too much of an investment involved, 2. People who do want to try new music will do so illigally.

I think this is a large part of the reason why mainstream music has been stagnating in America.

I'm baaack

ok, so I've been back, but I've also been busy, and lacking in computerness (I just built one).

let's see, Belgium is cool, and I wish America was a lot more like Europe. I turned 21 on the 9th, but had been in europe for the month previous, and so was used to legally purchasing booze. umm... yeah that's about it.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Goin' on a plane ride...

On Sunday I go to Belgium for a month (for business, not pleasure... well there may be some pleasure involved ;) so I have a good excuse not to post.

So anyways... Apparently the pope is considering allowing married couples to use condoms to prevent the spread of HIV if one spouse is infect. A tiny, baby step out of the dark ages, that nonetheless is generating a huge controversy. I never got the argument against birth control, the arguments seem to come down to two things 1. that people will have more sex if birth control is allowed (oh, horrors of horrors, people having sex!), which is a stupid argument because people have sex anyways, and birth control at least reduces the chance of pregnancy and, with some kinds of birth control, STDs. Argument 2 is that no birth control is 100% effective, no, but compared to the rhythm method they work pretty damn good. So I guess that it all comes down to the catholic church (and all opponents of birth control) are against people enjoying sex, something that seems pretty self-defeating, since if people didn't like sex none of us would be here.

I'm tempted to go on a long rant about how religion is the root of all evil, but that would be exaggerating, the better way of saying it already has, too bad I forgot who said it:
In a world without gods good men would do good, and evil men would do evil, but for good men to do evil, that takes religion

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Busy Weekend

So I went to the Pi Nu Convention over the weekend. It was held at Millersville, PA, which is a dying chapter, there is like one active member, so attendance was a bit slim. After the convention there was the banquet, complete with a DJ. DJs always make me nervous because I fear that they will only play music that I don't like, but this guy took requests, and one thing that happens when you fill a room with musicians is that good music gets chosen. After that I drove to Philly and visited friends and went to the Pi Nu bid acceptance dinner and then returned home.

To top all that off my car was towed sometime between 10:00 Sunday and 7:00 Monday and I had to spend a large part of the day getting it back.

Anyways interesting. I'll try to post something of substance at some point.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Chaos Talk

Well tonight I went to a talk on chaos by James Yorke, one of the fathers of chaos theory. It was a fairly nontechnical talk, but was fairly interesting nonetheless. Dr. Yorke was a very engaging speaker, and had lots of examples of chaos.

When a scientist talks about chaos, they mean something very specific: sensitivity to initial conditions. The basic idea is that in a chaotic system a small change in the initial setup results in a large change in the results, the classic example being the butterfly flapping it's wings and causing a storm thing. So what can we do then, if all these systems are chaotic and will deviate widely depending on initial conditions (and just about everything is chaotic if you look at a long enough time scale)? Well chaos theory can help some (by providing estimates of how much accuracy you should need in the initial conditions), but mostly you just need to keep actively adjusting things as they go wrong. He made an amusing analogy about how planned economies such as in the Soviet Union don't deal with the chaos of economies as well as capitalism does, which my be one more factor explaining why communism has been less successful.

My own thoughts on this is that out of the chaos comes predictable patterns, so that while the short term or small scale properties of a system are chaotic, the long term or large scale properties are not, and can be predicted accurately. For example, take four mirrored balls, make a pyramid of them so that there are three balls on the bottom and one on top. There will be four holes in the pyramid. If you shoot a photon into a hole it will follow a chaotic pattern, it is effectively impossible to predict where it will be at any time, or where it will come out of. If however you shine red, green, and blue light (or any three colors, really) into three of the holes and look into the last one there will be a fractal pattern, which is very complicated (infinitely so if you want to get technical), but also very orderly and in principle predictable.

This has combined with the book I'm reading A Different Universe by Robert Laughlin, which deals with the idea of emergence. The basic idea of emergence is that the large scale properties of a system are different from the small scale properties of it, for example there is nothing in H2O molecules that is "liquid" individually, but when you put them together (at room temperature) they form a stable configuration we call water. My own 2 cents is that emergence is an effect of stable chaos on a large enough scale. Each water molecule follows a chaotic path, but you can predict what the whole liquid will do.

And I think the perfect example of all this is DC Beltway traffic ;)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Meeting tonight

So I've been invited by one of the guys at work (Marc Litz) to go to a dinner/talk hosted by Sigma Xi (a researchers society). The talk is on "chaos". Sounds interesting, and my way may have been paid. Free dinner is always appreciated :) I'll be sure to summerise the talk here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

When things get out of hand

So I found via Bitch, PhD. this article about pharmacists refusing to give antibiotics and vitamins to women because of "moral objections". This is bullshit. The whole moral objection to filling prescriptions idea is fundamentally flawed, because it allows pharmacists to force their moral/religious beliefs on others. Following the logic of these proposed laws doctors would not have to treat people whom they thought were immoral (such as a homophobic doctor refusing to treat a gay man), likewise with police or anybody else whose job it is to help people.

Besides, in what way is it immoral to give people medicine, even if you don't agree with what they are doing with it? If you think something is immoral then don't do it, you don't have to force other people to conform to your morality. This is just one symptom of the widespread viewpoint in this country that "whatever I don't personally agree with should be illegal". What ever happened to "I don't agree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it" (with apologies to Voltaire for possible misquotes).

My triumphant return

So what happens whenever I try to write something regularly happened. I got lazy (and busy) so I didn't post anything for a while. I've got ideas, but I had finals, and then I had no internet for a while. Anyways, I've moved down to Maryland and and working for the Army Research Lab again.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Colloquium 2

So it's been about a week since my last post. I need to post more often, but this week has been insanely busy (and is not over yet).

Anyway the colloquium this week was... Unique. It's title was "Physics songs for fun and teaching". It basically consisted of a professor from Haverford College singing and playing music. His website is Some of them are pretty funny. There is a pretty long history of connection between physics and music, most of the physics students here at Drexel are musicians of some sort and there seems to have always been the connection that good physicists are good musicians as well.

Well... I've got homework to do, and a midterm tomorrow to study for so I should cut it off here...

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Sorry for the absence, classes tend to do that to me...

Anyway I went to a colloquium today that was pretty interesting. It was on biophysics which is usually pretty boring, but this one was good. It was about determining the specificity of reactions between chemicals and proteins. Specificity is basically how much that particular reaction is preferred to other reactions. This is important when designing drugs, because drugs with a high specificity have few side effects (because they will be performing the reaction that is wanted, not another one). However until now the only way to find the specificity is to test all possible combinations (or more likely, simulate them) and compare what happens. They guy giving the talk developed a method to determine the specificity of a reaction based on the energy spectrum of the reaction. Basically when the two chemicals get close together they can fit together is many ways, each of which has its own energy level. If the lowest energy level (and therefore most likely) is very separate from the next energy state then the two chemicals are a "good fit" and have a high specificity.

So hopefully future medicines have fewer side effects due to this research.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Video addiction

So my roommate has gotten me addicted to the show Stargate SG-1 (not Atlantis yet, but that will come, I'm sure). I have to admit that is why I haven't been blogging.

Anyway, I also saw Richard Dawkin's documentary The Root of all Evil. It was very well done, showing how much of what people believe about religion (especially that it is a moral guide) is either downright false, or extremely dubious. It came in two parts, The first concerned with showing the danger of religious fanaticism, especially in the middle east. The second part was about how religion is passed onto children, and essentially has a warped moral message. The documentary is full of good lines (Dawkins calls god the most unpleasant character in all fiction at one point) and it's certainly shows danger of religion. Of course I'm already convinced of that, but it was a good documentary in any case.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Science roundup + political rant

So I've had a busy first week of classes. I've read about two interesting physics related things in Cosmic variance. Well, one is interesting and the other is sort of sad.

The first one is about an interesting result of a survey of Gamma Ray Bursts. It suggests that the amount of Dark Energy (the stuff postulated to explain why the universe is expanding at an increasing rate) is increasing over time. This is an interesting result that could have all sorts of effects on how we understand the universe. More details at Cosmic variance.

The other result is on the sorry state of American particle physics. If things continue like they have been there will be no particle physics experiments going on in the US by 2010. The reason for this is purely bugetary, the US is so deep in debt that lots of programs are being cut, and particle physics is one of the most expensive fields of physics. Of course compared to the costs of a war in Iraq, or tax cuts for the rich the costs are pretty trivial, but can't cut things like that for political reasons. Something like fundamental research, which is what will make the biggest difference is the future at the fraction of the cost of military action, can obviously be cut because it has no immediate benefit. Politicians are by their very nature short sighted, but as I keep stressing compared to most government programs science is cheap. Oh well... At least Europe has the right idea.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Thoughts on PBS

Last night there were two shows on PBS that I watched that were quite thought provoking. Both were on the topic of America's future. The first one was on how America is losing it's technical superiority, the second was on Walmart, and specifically it's role in moving a lot of production to China.

I think that the larger of the two problems (losing a technical lead and losing an industrial lead) is losing the technical lead, since the moving of production to China is essentially a temporary thing based on China's lack of worker's rights, which will hopefully be improved. Losing the lead in innovation is a much larger problem for America, especially with globalization and the internet making it easy for services to be moved anywhere. So creative and research jobs are the only way to have a really secure future, because anything else can be outsourcing.

And on Walmart, I don't have a problem with buying from foreign producers, but the whole reason they are cheaper is that their workers are payed next to nothing, and have no benefits. As I mentioned before I think this is ultimately a temporary situation, but it can certainly hurt America in the near term.

Anyway, enough economics ranting. Classes start again on monday so I'll probably have less political-economic stuff.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Skeptic circle

Hey, there's a new skeptic's circle at The Saga of Runolfr. Since I'm in it, I'm sure there's all sorts of new people coming by here. I don't have a whole lot of stuff written right now, but what I do have is mostly on science, since I'm a physics student. Anyways, welcome.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Pseudoscientists in my own back yard?

I noticed an article in the Trenton Times on physics, it seemed interesting so I read on. Apparently in the next town over (My hometown is West Windsor, this town is East Windsor) is a company called Blacklight Power Inc. They claim to have discovered a new way to generate power using hydrogen.

unfortunately their claims are in contrast with quantum mechanics. They claim to be able to put hydrogen into a lower energy state then the base state. This releases energy and creates a substance they call hydrinos. They explain it thus:
According to standard quantum mechanics, in a hydrogen atom there is one proton (positive charge) and one orbiting electron (negative charge) that are separated by a fixed distance between the electron and the atom's nucleus.

But BlackLight's Mills contends that by exciting hydrogen gas with a catalyst gas, the electron actually moves closer to the proton, creating a previously unrecognized state of hydrogen dubbed a "hydrino." This hydrino formation releases up to 1,000 times as much energy as ordinary hydrogen combustion, Mills said.

Dr. Randell Mills, the founder of the company, wrote a book on the theory he calls Classical Quantum Mechanics (CQM). That book is where (supposedly) all the theory necessary for this to make sense is and since I don't have the book I can't prove them wrong yet (and I may lack the knowledge to do so even if I did have the book). I do however have a hypothesis that Dr. Mills is a pseudoscientist. I also have some supporting evidence for this theory:
  1. Dr. Mills is a medical doctor, with some electrical engineering and chemistry training. This isn't a fatal point, but doesn't give me much confidence in his work.

  2. In order for him to be right all of physics has to be changed. That is a lot to swallow. This is actually one of the classic signs of a kook, a replacement of all of physics (or whatever field they are working in) with their own pet theory.

  3. What physics can be seen from his website contradicts many observed features of quantum mechanics. For example he claims there is no zero-point vibration (basically a wiggle required by Heisenburg's uncertainty principle), that quantum entanglement doesn't exist, and that Heisenburg's uncertainty principle is incorrect. All of these have observable consequences that have been confirmed to exist, (though not without controversy in the case of quantum entanglement).

  4. Selling a book for the popular audience before being accepted by the scientific community is a common tactic of pseudoscientists. He has also raised $40 million to develop his process, mostly from energy companies.

  5. The article said that he has sued people who have claimed that he's wrong. Real scientists don't work like that.

I'm sure Dr. Mills is a very intelligent fellow, but he is almost certainly wrong. His work is much closer to real science than most pseudoscience I've seen, but he still doesn't have any real experiments to back up his assertions, and from what I've seen of his theories there is not much of worth there either. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence is what it comes down to, and these are some extremely extraordinary claims. The suing of critics is especially damning, as in science criticism is expected, not fought.

Anyways, it's scary to think about the fact that I've driven by a pseudoscience research lab multiple times, that it's practically in my hometown. I feel so... dirty.

Oh, by the way, Blacklight is even listed in Crank dot net.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Years!

Happy new years everyone.

by the way, I don't believe in new years resolutions, if something is worth doing it's worth doing anyways. Why should promising to do it for new years improve your motivation? I don't know.

Anyways, enjoy the new year, and get over your inevitable hangovers.