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Modelling Opinion Formation with Physics Tools: Call for Closer Link with Reality

In essence, the author is calling out physicists for building models for the social sciences without actually knowing anything about the social sciences. An occasionally entertaining read, and one that has a larger message about people who build models and the need for sanity checks with the phenomena that they're intended to model.

EDIT: fixed the link so that the anchor text and URL are each now in their proper place. :P :)
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from BoingBoing:


A wedding procession involving a little girl in a Darth Vader helmet. Why didn't we think of that?


"I don't know how well I'm reaching my students, or the readers of my book, but if I can teach a homicidal maniac like the Green Goblin about change of momentum, then _I'm making a difference!_"

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(which includes some discussion)

Ultimately, Andersen hopes to have his visualization of particle physics used for educational purposes. "The distance between Fermilab and the dinner table is getting larger," he says. "I want to aid communication between a larger audience and physicists, and make this fantastic and beautiful part of our world conceptually available to a broader audience."


(has images of all the particles in the Standard Model)

A very nice idea, indeed. Elegant.
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CERN: General relativity vs. exotic dark matter

Summary: it appears that it may not be necessary to assume the existence of "dark matter" in order to explain certain astronomical observations.

Includes a link to the actual paper on the LANL preprint archive.
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Use Thinking Putty to Confirm the Speed of Light

V. cool.
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...but like a magic missile (i.e., anywhere you want it to, once you've figured out how to aim it):

NYT: Remembrance of Things Future: The Mystery of Time

So many people are going to be so disappointed if it turns out that the universe does not, in fact, care (on some levels, anyway) whether we think that its processes should be logical. :)


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May 2011

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