Sunday, June 9, 2024

Quantum Fields: The Most Beautiful Theory in Physics!

The Crazy Mass-Giving Mechanism of the Higgs Field Simplified

This is the kind of thing that interests me.  It might not interest anyone else.

There is a fundamental mechanism of nature that we don't understand.  We can only describe the results mathematically.

A field just means that there is a value at every position in space.  All the fundamental particles have fields.   We know that there are fields because subatomic particles behave like waves.  These waves only become particles if they have a sufficient energy.  If the energy is not sufficient, then a "virtual particle" can pop in and out of existence for a microsecond.  This is because empty space is buzzing with vibrating fields.

These fields interact with each other as if the fields are "God's Computer Program" for the laws of physics.

The Crazy Mass-Giving Mechanism of the Higgs Field Simplified

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Unscientific American | City Journal

Shermer submitted a column discussing ways that discrimination against racial minorities, gays, and other groups has diminished (while acknowledging the need for continued progress). Here, Shermer ran into the same wall that Better Angels of Our Nature author Steven Pinker and other scientific optimists have faced. For progressives, admitting that any problem—racism, pollution, poverty—has improved means surrendering the rhetorical high ground. "They are committed to the idea that there is no cumulative progress," Shermer says, and they angrily resist efforts to track the true prevalence, or the "base rate," of a problem. Saying that "everything is wonderful and everyone should stop whining doesn't really work," his editor objected.

Shermer dug his grave deeper by quoting Manhattan Institute fellow Heather Mac Donald and The Coddling of the American Mind authors Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, who argue that the rise of identity-group politics undermines the goal of equal rights for all. Shermer wrote that intersectional theory, which lumps individuals into aggregate identity groups based on race, sex, and other immutable characteristics, "is a perverse inversion" of Martin Luther King's dream of a color-blind society. For Shermer's editors, apparently, this was the last straw. The column was killed and Shermer's contract terminated.