The bogus “interpretations” of quantum mechanics

I've not written on this blog for a long time. A talk in Mouans-Sartoux yesterday prompted me to write this rant about what I will (demonstrably) call bogus interpretations of quantum mechanics. Specifically the "dead and alive cat" myth. Schrödinger's cat One of the most iconic thought experiments used to explain quantum mechanics is called Schrödinger's … Continue reading The bogus “interpretations” of quantum mechanics

The (Lost) Art of Presentation

Reviewing my daily feed of tweets this morning, I ran across a presentation called "It's time to fix HTTPS". The topic itself is of interest to all of us, since it concerns the security of e-commerce transactions, among other things. Yet the slide deck lacks basic appeal: Only text (or busy screen snapshots) No obvious … Continue reading The (Lost) Art of Presentation

Futurism

IEEE Spectrum pokes fun at Ray Kurzweil's predictions about the future: Therein lie the frustrations of Kurzweil's brand of tech punditry. On close examination, his clearest and most successful predictions often lack originality or profundity. And most of his predictions come with so many loopholes that they border on the unfalsifiable. Yet he continues to … Continue reading Futurism

P versus NP

A researcher from HP Labs named Vinay Deolalikar announced a new proof that complexity classes P and NP are different. The paper made it to the Slashdot front-page (more on this below). What constitutes a "proof"? This is far from being the first claimed proof. There are about as many proofs that P is the same … Continue reading P versus NP

Really bad math in a sci-fi book…

I have just been reading Alien Embassy by Ian Watson (in the French translation published by Presses Pocket). This is a somewhat esoteric book, and I can't say that I'm really fond of that genre. But it is an interesting story, it's well written, and I enjoyed it. Howewer, something really puzzled me, and it … Continue reading Really bad math in a sci-fi book…

The woes of the "One laptop per child" project

Ivan Krstić writes in Sic Transit Gloria Laptopi about the woes of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. The whole essay is a bit long, but definitely worth reading. It goes through the history of the OLPC project (including its roots in early experiments), through musings about the best choice of operating system, to … Continue reading The woes of the "One laptop per child" project

How To Teach Special Relativity

How to Teach Special Relativity is a famous article by John Bell where he advocates that the way we teach relativity does not give good results. He describes an experiment now known as Bell's spaceship paradox (even if Bell did not invent it): In Bell's version of the thought experiment, two spaceships, which are initially … Continue reading How To Teach Special Relativity