Friday, September 30, 2011

Isn't Spacex trying to do too many things at once?

Falcon 1e, ISS resupply, Falcon 9 heavy, recoverable Falcon 9, manned Dragon, plus ????
If you try to do too many things at once you end up being unable to do anything.
Evolving from a proven base like happened with Atlas V or Delta IV makes more sense to me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Physics is hard

Physics is hard to do.  As a consequence physics is hard for students to learn   AND    it is hard for teachers to teach.  Society should be grateful that it's possible to do physics at all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why are there so many small businesses?

There is so little freedom and democracy in the work place and some people just can't stand working as slaves all day long.  They will do anything to gain some measure of control for themselves.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Faster than light signaling?

If neutrinos really can travel faster than light could we modulate them and send signals back in time?  Warn ourselves of dangers, etc?
(Note: various string theories contain tachyons)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Keep STS flying?

Armstrong, Cernan, et al want to bring back the shuttle.  George W. Bush and his congress and then Barack Obama and his congress did not think america could afford the cost of keeping the shuttle flying AND developing a new replacement.  What has changed? Is our economy better today?  Can we tax the rich to pay for it?

The shuttle is too dangerous to keep it flying any longer.  Obama extended its life several flights already.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


A better SLS design would allow for launch of crew without solid rocket boosters (which is safer) and a cargo only configuration which can include SRBs to boost payload mass.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Science as description of what we see in the world

If two people observe the same event they would use different sentences to record/describe it.  If a single person saw the same event on different days they would likely use different sentences to describe it.  In science we may use equations in place of sentences but again the description of some event is likely not going to be unique.

A set of sentences is not true of the whole world or at all times.  Similarly, our equations are only a good description of the world under the right conditions. (Classical mechanics is often times a good description of motion, but not if the motion is too fast.  General Relativity is often times a good description but not of the very tiny world of the atom.  Quantum mechanics is often times a good description, but not in too strong a gravity field...... And there are various sorts of mathematics you may use in order to formulate your descriptions.)

Our equations are like a stenographer's shorthand.  Like some set of sentences our description of what we observe is always approximate and incomplete.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Should artificial intelligences have "multiple personalities?"

Multiple personalities may be a way for a mind to deal with an especially challenging environment.

Having multiple (differing) theories of a knowledge domain is better than having just one theory (R. Jones, Bulletin of the American Physical Society, March 2008, see also my website, philosopher, the laws of nature are not unique, also Peter Cheeseman in The Mathematics of Generalization, D. H. Wolpert, ed, 1995, pg 315).

One strategy for handling inconsistency in a knowledgebase is to devide it into consistent subsets of the knowledgebase and reason with each of these individually.