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Sascha VongehrRSS Feed of this column.

Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙], physicist and philosopher, studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory) at Sussex University... Read More »


Transparency is the slogan of a new, heterogeneous movement. The demand for transparency unites very different orientations. Many conservatives feel that transparency is similar to anarchy. However, transparency is not primarily there to make it difficult for the powerful to hide their ways. That is just how transparency sells among liberals.

Transparency is stability! Opaque systems may fail entirely due to compromised secrecy. A transparent system is immune against that failure mode.

The so called "memristor" is an intriguing case for the sociology of science [2] and it still unfolds. Especially annoying are critics who do not grasp the core issue. They hand easily refuted charges to Goliath so he can point to them laughing: “Look, all that criticism is mere envious pseudo-science”.

UPDATE: new article on that the memristor has not been found now published by Nature group

The Carnival of Cosmology: Bloggers on Dark Energy is now up and running on Matthew R. Francis' Galileo's Pendulum:

In the spirit of blog carnivals, several of us—cosmologists, physicists, astronomers, and writers who just love all these subjects—decided to write about one of the abiding mysteries of modern cosmology. That mystery is dark energy, the name we give to the accelerated expansion of the Universe.

In 2008, The missing memristor found [1] was published in the respected science journal Nature, and this claimed discovery was announced on the front pages of most major newspapers. This “discovery” is simply a misinterpretation of devices that had been discovered many years before in India [2,3]. Those original inventors did not misinterpret their work in order to make it into the news. Given the serious doubts that have been presented in many places, one seriously wonders whether the fact that the cheated are ‘just a bunch of Indians in India’ has anything to do with the embarrassing situation of that most science media and bloggers do not care.

One of the pretty boys of science writing has fallen. Jonah Lehrer has finally been called out for distorting science. Many more are going to fall. Or wait. No, wait, what? Oh – I see – he misquoted some singer-song writer dude! Ohhhh – how tragic! And without misquoting Bob Marley or whoever that was (please correct me in the comments because I really really care so much), he would be still one of those celebrated “science writers” selling better than porn these days.

Jonah Lehrer - dared falsely quoting Britney Spears instead of pulling Einstein out of context. Some deeds go too far even in science writing.

If the odds are in your favor, why not bet some money? There have been plenty of high profile bets in physics. Bets spice up stuff. Moreover: If nobody is willing to take your offer, they effectively publicly admit defeat.

If Laplace believes in a deterministic, classical universe, if he believes to have a method to use his knowledge to force a certain outcome, he is not only consistent when he bets his first born on that outcome. His bet could prove something about nature!

Dick knows that Brian will lose a certain bet with 99% probability, because that is what quantum mechanics tells. Dick proposes a bet, but can this bet prove anything?