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> blog post Hard science tells you like it is

Hard science tells you like it is
Sun, 19 Oct 2008 11:38:16

Any respectable blog has book recommendations. Or should have. This is a bold statement, I know, but someone has to make it. I won't defend it now. I might never. But this IS a respectable blog. No controversy in that statement. So where's the book review? Right under your noses. Read on brothers and sisters:

So I'm reading this collection of transcriptions of lectures of the late Richard P. Feynman. He's supposed to be this hot shot physicist who did cool stuff all over the place. Like, ehh... helping in developing the atom bomb, I just learned from Wikipedia. Way to go! I wouldn't know, cause I hardly know anything about physics. That's why I'm reading this book: 'Six easy pieces, six not-so-easy pieces.' Those pieces are transcriptions from a selection of classes, part of a series of quite famous introductory courses on physics he gave once, called 'the Feynman lectures on physics'.

In general they rock. The easy pieces that is. Very swiftly Feynman paints a picture of the state of physics in the SIXTIES. Yes people, the lectures are THAT old. But then again, science doesn't move THAT fast for him to be obsolete. Neither does physics. Didn't come to the hard pieces yet. Thought it to be smarter to write this now, before having to admit defeat to the three people and the cow that read this blog.

I'm sorry to have bored you with all these facts. Who cares about facts anymore. Lets talk about feelings: The cool thing about this book is that it ties up facts about very obvious things that you never thought about. Example: We're just matter, moved about by forces. There's some matter, and there are a few forces acting on it. And that's it! All of the universe explained! So you've got gravity. That's a force. But not the one that's doing the attracting between atoms. 'What!!!', you scream, 'it's not????'. And I'll reply, plucking an imaginary beard: 'No, that's what electricity is for!'. Mouths fall open. Slowly the crowd gets an applause in motion.

Oops, some facts crept in. But all this babbling in the paragraphs before, is just introductory static, leading up to this great quote from Feynman from that very book that this post is about; again about electricity:

'More was discovered about the electrical force. The natural interpretation of electrical interaction is that two objects simply attract each other: plus against minus. However, this was discovered to be an inadequate idea to represent it. A more adequate representation of the situation is to say that the existence of the positive charge, in some sense, distorts, or creates a "condition" in space, so that when we put the negative charge in, it feels a force. This potentiality for producing a force is called an electric field. When we put an electron in an electric field, we say it is "pulled".'

'Yea! Well ain't that the truth! Rub it in why don't you!', says our narrator, and he lapses into a fit of inconsolable weeping. Curtain drops. Three mice do a little dance in front of it, after which they go away in search of food. Audience leaves, feeling betrayed.



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