Monday, 24 September 2012

Particle Physics Papers Will Become Free For All To Read

Join the world's leading scientists at the frontiers of knowledge

12 journals which publish leading particle physics 'peer reviewed' papers have signed an agreement which give the public free access to the papers. This is great news, leading scientific research is finally being displayed hot off the press to our screens. People may be thinking 'yeah.... how are we going to understand this stuff anyways?'... that is not the point... this liberalization of peer reviewed papers will benefit everyone in the long run. Very smart youngsters who are capable of following and learning cutting edge science will be able to read the latest papers without having to pay a hefty fee. This means they can even take part or get in contact with leading scientists about their work and even help them.

The journals will get their financing from libraries and other upfront payments (privately funded or university funded). Finance is not the issue with journals, it is (in this case was) about their restriction to just leading scientists or people who could afford to read it. Now their work can be scrutinized and read by everyone, obviously the big names in the field will still do most of the rebuttle or validation of papers but as youngsters become more tuned in to leading science then we will see a great acceleration in interest and hence more economic interest.

This is how science should really be, it should be publicly open to everyone to really rip it's claims and mathematics apart. It is also a way in which the gap between leading science and other lay fields or layman can be closed.

Read more at Nature leading scientific journal :

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

How Freedom of Expression Allows Efficient Selection of Memes

Freedom of expression is a principle which states that the individuals of a state may speak, write or publicize messages freely. The limitation is that the messages sent by individuals cannot lead to incitement of violence or crime. This limitation is obviously disputable as causal links are not explicitly known, discussions on this limitation are not relevant at the present time.

This principle carries legal power and this power differs in various states around the world. Generally speaking in western countries such as Great Britain and the U.S.A the law around this principle is similar. Individuals and companies can express themselves freely without worrying about offence (legally, ignoring some racial cases) and they can publish their opinions on the government, its officials and the happenings of the state.

Various magazines, pornography, numerous television shows and newspapers thrive on this principle, that is, without having the ability to express freely these shows would either be stopped by the state (due to their negation to policies or their ill influence on the people) or would be too boring to thrive economically.

John Stuart Mill proposed that freedom of expression of individuals is intrinsic to their individual freedom. He offers very reasonable and insightful arguments in favor of this claim. However there may be an argument for the protection of freedom of expression without appealing to morality. We could appeal to utility and how freedom of expression acts as a selection sieve for memes in the 'meme pool', and how this sieve speeds up the process of selection and therefore speeds up culture and intellectual progression.

Let's re-paint our picture of memes and the meme pool... which are just re-named jargon for ideas and culture. We use the word meme for idea and meme pool for culture not to confuse ourselves, we use them to remind ourselves that ideas could perhaps act like genes and they could also take part in a very similar process we commonly know as... natural selection. In 'Memes: The Survival of Ideas' I propose that the meme pool contains memes which act as the super-meme, they act as a sort of abstract monopoly. For example I outlined how religion and fundamentalism acted like super-memes in the past, ideas which contradicted or threatened this super-meme would not succeed in copying itself or adapting itself to the meme pool. I also argued how science was a meme which arose which went against the super-meme, it gradually spread throughout the meme pool due to its success in aiding humans understanding and manipulation of the world (memes which most encourage physical benefits within humans are greatly favored as it most definitely aids gene survival). Science became the new super-meme which over time would change the face of the meme-pool.

Back to freedom of expression... what does this do in the meme-pool? Well humans who are free to speak would converse more about their true opinions on important ideas, or just general ideas (like the best club to go too), if we focus on the important ideas we see that public debates, television shows, newspaper articles etc. publicly show humans talking about these ideas either with conflicting views or general discussions. These debates spread through screens to people homes and influence their own memes and would stimulate home debates. This microscopically translates to collisions of memes and meme activity as more memes are able to come into 'intellectual' contact. Over time this activity will lead to some memes dying out or some memes succeeding (for example feelings on disabled people may have greatly changed after paralympics due to tv talks and hence home debates). For instance a meme embodying prejudice or 'bad' feelings for disabled people may be quickly eradicated due to meme activity encouraged by freedom of expression.

This freedom of expression would lead to increase in meme activity and selection processes, we would hope in thinking that this would lead to improvements in our culture, science and general intellectual nature. Looking at states where freedom of expression are encouraged we see that this translates to economic success and scientific and moral developments.

We must remember that 'freedom of expression' is a meme itself. It is succeeding in meme pools where the super memes are of a rational, modern and scientific nature, as science and reason encourage open debates of research, contentious issues and any problem as problems are solved through discussion and experiment.
If 'freedom of expression' meme helps promote the super meme i.e. science and science helps humans then it logically follows that freedom of expression would help humans as a species.

This meme would not work where religion, traditionalism and totalitarianism are quite powerful in the meme pool (such as North Korea and Eastern Nations) as freedom of expression could lead to questioning of authority of the state or of religious authority. This negates dictatorship, indoctrination and authority which are the tools religion etc. use to keep themselves dominant in the meme pool.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Could Economic Drought Be Necessary For An Evolving Economy?

We hear in the news that recessions are intrinsically bad, that they reflect the faults in our economy and our economic models. Yes they do encourage unemployment. Yes they do lead to some businesses closing down. Yes they do put our country in debt. What if this is temporarily bad for those unemployed or for those businesses, but necessary over time for an evolving economy, one that is changing based on new technologies, new demands and based on a complicated animal... us.

Firstly recessions represent the slowing down of economic activity, again we must think of demand and investment priority (human quantities) as changing in the private sector. Resources may be shortening out too which could cause some businesses to halt. So we can think of recessions as human caused, either on the consumer level, provider level and on the banker level. Remember bankers are human too and to keep their money rolling in they will do whatever they can, to them capital > morals.

Recessions happen for a reason, they happen due to an accumulation of micro-economic human activity which is trying to push the direction of the economy into a different direction. When I say direction I do not mean physically or financially (being only two- up or down) I mean that there are big changes in markets and businesses which microscopically are significantly affecting the economy as a whole.

So in recessions... some businesses fail to keep their revenue stable this means they have to drop staff to keep break even. This leads to unemployment. Now those who are unemployed may have skill sets and move to other businesses who are still doing okay, or they will stay unemployed for a while or move to a different job or location. This means that there is massive musical chairs of employees waiting to find another seat. The businesses that fail to keep standing will die. After time other businesses will pick up their profits and begin to look for more employment and hence pick up those that were unemployed. Some may stay unemployed because they have out of date skills or are not wanted or a just plain lazy. What is key here is that a recession has the ability to sieve out unwanted businesses, unwanted skills but give possibly new business or prevailing businesses more market room and possible employment (from unemployed). So the economy has evolved slightly, some die some prevail. If unemployment and business inactivity are halted for a while it merely shows that something needs to change... businesses need to meet demands more successful to grow, people need to get better qualifications (or update their qualifications) and of course this takes time. (Look at Greece).

We always think of the economy as an entity infinitely progressing upwards through time... yes some quantities like GDP can progress upwards for a very long time, but the economy is a complicated system based on finite objects and cannot expand infinitely. The fuel for the economy (money) is limited and as such we should view the economy as an organism or collection thereof which can only get more efficient in its environment (nation) it is not something which can get infinitely bigger and richer.

If we view the economy as an organism which is built upon 'selfish' businesses then it is to no surprise why recessions occur, they could mathematically (this has not been proven) be necessary for it's evolution algorithm.

It is common sense really, at the moment,  we are an ever changing (culturally short term wise) organism and if something which is based on us does not change infrequently and slightly chaotically then it will fail. It will fail to adapt to is environment.

In nature, genes die out or spread and become successful. Nature is ugly but efficient over time. We have to drop the assumption that large complicated systems should obey simple rules and adapt linearly. They are ugly and complicated and hence we need methods resembling chaos to explain them .

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Physicists Question Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle

Uncertainty principle expressed mathematically

In the development of quantum mechanics many claim that Heisenberg's principle of uncertainty embodied the strange personality of the quantum world. With Dirac's input and Schrodinger's equation the uncertainty principle acted as the foundation of this fairly new physics.

It states that the 'degree of certainty' of a measurement of a particles displacement would effect the 'degree of certainty' of the measurement of the particles momentum. In the expression above, the Greek symbol delta
is used to denote the 'degree of certainty'. The product of the delta(displacement) and the delta(momentum) must obey a rule which states that the product must have a value larger or equal to a constant. This constant is related to planks  constant and it is a well known one in quantum mechanics.

Recent research in the University of Toronto has found data implying that the principle may be too 'pessimistic', the disturbance on the system by measurements might be slightly more than what the researchers found. This does not invalidate that principle, it is merely an improvement due to more precise measuring equipment.

The team at Professor Aephraim Steinberg's quantum optics research group at U of T  used a weak enough measurement (which did not impose itself too greatly on the system of photons) on a pair of photons then measured it strongly to see the effect of the weak measurement on the system. They found that the disturbance was less than Heisenberg would have predicted. Many repeats of these experiments help validate the conclusion that the principle needs slightly adjusting for weaker measurements.

Maybe Heisenberg wasn't so certain about his principle aye..