Saturday, December 27, 2014

Neil Degrasse Tyson's Christmas Tweets Caused A Brouhaha

It seems that a few harmless tweets by Astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson are causing quite a stir on the internet.

Honest, I don't see this as being a big deal. I don't even find it mildly offensive and I wish those people who are criticizing him for it would explain what exactly it is that they don't like. After all, it appears that his words actually meant something for them to either follow him, or take the time to respond. Otherwise, why bother or give a hoot about what he has to say?

There are more offensive things being said and done against Christianity, especially at this time of the year. Picking a fight based on a bunch of FACTS (yes, look closely, he is simply stating FACTS) being presented in a rather cheeky way is a freaking waste of time! So get a GRIP, people!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Astronomically Correct Twinkle Twinkle

This is just way too much fun.

Happy Holidays!!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Winter Solstice

I'm posting this on Dec. 21, 2014, which is often considered as the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year for Northern Hemisphere.

Now most people will associate that with the idea that from this day onwards, sunrise will be earlier and sunset will be later in the day. However, this article shows that that is not the case as they showed in the table.

Day Sunrise Sunset Day length
(All times GMT)

Turns out, it has to do with a day not being exactly of the same length all year long.

There are two reasons why the length of the solar day varies, the first being the fact that the axis of the Earth's rotation is tilted - 23.5 degrees from vertical - and second, the Earth's speed varies because it moves in an elliptical orbit around the sun, accelerating when it is closer to the star's gravitational pull and decelerating when it is further away.

The sun therefore in effect lags behind the clock for part of the year, then speeds ahead of it for another.

So there you go!

11 December 2014 07:56 15:51 7:55:37
21 December 2014 08:04 15:53 7:49:45
31 December 2014 08:06 16:01 7:54:39
31 January 2015 07:41 16:48 9:06:42

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Defending The Integrety Of Physics

The suggestion made by a few theorists that theoretical physics, at least some aspect of it, should be accepted merely based on "aesthetics" and not from experimental verification is downright STUPID! This is highlighted in the opinion piece published in Nature recently (I don't know how long this article is available online for free, so read it now!).

This year, debates in physics circles took a worrying turn. Faced with difficulties in applying fundamental theories to the observed Universe, some researchers called for a change in how theoretical physics is done. They began to argue — explicitly — that if a theory is sufficiently elegant and explanatory, it need not be tested experimentally, breaking with centuries of philosophical tradition of defining scientific knowledge as empirical. We disagree. As the philosopher of science Karl Popper argued: a theory must be falsifiable to be scientific.

Without experimental verification, then such ideas are no longer physics but rather, a religion. You accept things purely on a matter of faith, or beauty, or elegance, etc.. without being able to empirically show that it is valid.

I will fight tooth and nail to make sure physics doesn't go into that rout. If these theorists want to pursue such a thing, then they should stop calling themselves physicists and start their own religion.


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

2014 Physics Gift Guide

Rhett Allain has some suggestions for gift-giving during this holiday season. Why he called his post a "physics gift guide", most, if not all, of the items are more "technical" and engineering in nature (except for books, of course).

I would add to that list something that a physicist or physics student might find useful. How about a scientific spreadsheet and plotting software? Many of these, such as Origin, are horribly expensive to own individually. But something such as Psi-Plot is quite affordable and has almost all the bells and whistles that one would need.

For a casual physics enthusiast, especially those who are caught up in al the hoopla with particle physics and the Higgs, one could get merchandise with various "geeky" prints at zazzle.

Do you have anything to add to this list?