science

the puzzle of spin 1/2

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Subatomic particles have a property called spin which reflects their internal symmetry. Imagine a deck of cards: the joker is usually any figure that you would have to rotate 360 degrees to make it look upright. On the other hand, you would have to rotate a king or queen figure only 180 degrees to make it look the same. The first case is akin to a particle of spin 1, while the second is akin to a particle of spin 2. Intuitively, dividing 1 / spin yields the factor of 360 degrees needed to rotate the particle such that it comes back to identity. A particle of spin 5 could look, for example, as a star with 5 equal branches (because you would rotate it 1/5 of 360 to make it come back to the same position).

theophobia!

It appears to me that the Western mind has become afflicted with theophobia, or the fear of religion. This is apparent in the speech of the scientific community, which posits rationality (aka reason) on a high pedestal, and considers both emotionality and spirituality as inferior or even negative modes of knowing.

And this attitude trickles down to the Western social and personal level, where an individual who displays any spiritual tendency will be frowned upon by his peers - a supposedly tolerant and open-minded bunch, as opposed to the superstitious and fanatic Orientals. This happened to me today, when I innocently mentioned to a friend that I was attempting to cut down on my addictions during the month of Ramadan. The knee-jerk response I got was: "Oh, are you turning religious?" in a clearly derogatory tone.

Seriality and entanglement

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According to the quantum model, particles that collide with each other can become entangled. That means that even though they could travel very far apart after the collision, their states would be related, so that when one particle is observed, the other's state would change accordingly.

For an avid connection seeker like myself, this sounds like a plausible explanation for the phenomenon of synchronicity aka seriality, described by Jung and Kammerer.

I might be reaching but I'm not alone, as this Google search reveals. But then again, the Internet is just a mirror to your thoughts.

The trouble with computer science undergraduate education...

...is that it is precisely computer science oriented. In all of the CS departments I've seen, undergrads are only required to turn in proof of concept programs of the topic being studied, in the form of assignments or term projects.

In the real world, the prototype is the very first release in the lifecycle of a system. It is never used in a production environment, to solve a real problem. Starting with the prototype/proof of concept, the professional software team adds to the system all the software qualities required for it to be put to good use. Qualities including robustness, scalability, security, extensibility, manageability. And the system keeps getting upgraded throughout its lifetime as a result of interaction with the real world. The undergrad student never experiences any of these stages, and only gets exposed to them theoretically through the "Software Engineering" course. The practice of the engineering discipline is almost never offered, except perhaps through internships of dubious benefit.

Rheomode: an Arabic construct

David Bohm was a quantum physicist who tried to reconcile the philosophical implications of new discoveries in physics (chiefly quantum behaviour) with art, society, and eastern mysticism. Retaining scientific rigour all the while, which earned him near-universal respect.

The origin of Time and Space

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This is, of course, pure speculation.

When I think about Time, a recurring theme that I find is cycles. A year is a full cycle around the Sun. A day is full rotation around the Earth's axis. Since 1967, a second is defined as the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom. In simpler terms, it is a specific (and large) number of electron cycles.

Intuitively, this makes sense. After all, if nothing at all ever repeated, there would be no numbers because there wouldn't be two of anything, let alone more. So it would make no sense to say: 2 minutes please!

The Internet, mirror to your thoughts

Try this: choose a crazy thought you've been keeping to yourself and google its keywords. You'll be surprised to find people having actually written about it!

It keeps happening to me. For a few months I've been thinking about ambiguity. A few days ago it hit me that it can be a powerful compression technique. So I googled "ambiguity compression" and got some interesting results, notably an article about Loglan, a synthetic language designed to eliminate ambiguity, and a Cyber conference paper regarding ambiguity as an artistic expression tool. Right on!

This phenomenon reinforces my belief that

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