miércoles, 19 de marzo de 2008

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martes, 11 de marzo de 2008

Einstein was wrong

Traditional way of scientific thinking over the last century is being accused these days. Goverments are tired of spending gazillions of dollars in research facilities seeking for the ultimate particle (i.e. Higgs boson) or unified Theories which give precise account of every known interaction (electromagnetic, nuclear or gravitational). Maths are extremely complex and new students are loosing common sense and daring some dark corridors of knowledge that can be simply closed doors ("...but what if we find a solution with an extra eleven-dimension string?").
Two major challenges arise these days: short distances in the range of nuclei and very high speeds measured outside Solar Systems. In both cases actual theories crashes.
A nice article from The Economist of this weeks describes the last situation. Modern instruments have shown a departure from predictions in interplanetary space probes. Something odd happen with the last six of them: not much, four millimetres a second, in the case of Galileo probe.
John Anderson and his colleagues of JPL analysed six escapes from Solar System called slingshots. Crucially for the idea that there really is a systematic flaw in the laws of physics as they are understood today, their data can be described by a simple formula. It is therefore possible to predict what should happen on future occasions. Something doesn't work, even asuming all posible effects, tides, differente computing methods, etc. It seems that -although the cause would remain unknown-, a likely explanation is that something in the laws of gravity needs radical revision. So maybe after all, Einstein was wrong.

viernes, 7 de marzo de 2008

To blog or not to blog (II)

A friend of mine, a professional in a international Telco, don´t get that some people like blogging for some other reason than pretending. In his own words –well, more or less- “blogging is either elitist or naive”. So I took the challenge of seek some truth out there, my absurd crusade of the day. Then I put the question in LinkedIn, in a very straightforward way, and received some 10+ answers in a couple of days. Social thing is the thing nowadays, so no surprisingly I got more feedback –in quantity and quality of answers- than in Change Management, Wireless Issues or StartUps.

I choosed a couple, just to summarize the whole picture. Scott Germaise, for instance, wrote: “Blogging can be naive or elitist or both. Or not. (…)In any case, post printing press we got mimeographs and then copy machines and then computers with desktop publishing and now the web with personal web pages or blogs. I think it's a valid argument to suggest that each time the bar lowered in terms of what kind of skill it took to spew stuff out, as you'd expect, the general quality went down. Robert Jakobson wrote: “We often forget the intent of the blog was to give everyone a voice. Now, just because everyone has a voice does not mean that everything being said is noteworthy in the eyes of everyone. That isn't the purpose of the blogosphere.”

In the end, I think Linda Clement made an excellent comment –and she’ll deserve the LinkedIn prize in the end-. She says: “I think there are a lot of people out there adding gazillions of pixels to the (woefully named) blogosphere without adding anything of value in the way of content (…) not sure how it's elitist... but it can certainly be naive and it is often fueled by vanity (…) Like all the 13 year olds who think they're writing their journals for posterity, a lot of blogging is just poor thinking wrapped in poor English for personal laundry-airing. Pointless, dull and a waste of bandwidth (the same way most journals are a waste of trees)... But there are some exceptional writers in the world, and lots of them blog. Some blogs change people's minds, effectively promote and market products and services and are 'successful' in the way that tends to make the papers. Who ever notices that 99% of the tripe newspapers write never makes any difference to anyone? That same bunch of people never notice that 99% of blogs are irrelevant to the world at large. “