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The idea that a memory may be repressed under the influence of trauma is certainly debatable, definitely not proven, and the case doesn't look great -- but I don't think it falls into the category of pseudoscience; more like a theory that current evidence does not favor. Unless I'm badly misinformed, neither current evidence nor current cognitive or psychological theories make it seem like a totally ridiculous idea; it dovetails just fine with what we do know about, e.g., trauma and psychological processes, it just can't be proven and is therefore worthy of severe skepticism.

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Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES
The idea that a memory may be repressed under the influence of trauma is certainly debatable, definitely not proven, and the case doesn't look great -- but I don't think it falls into the category of pseudoscience; more like a theory that current evidence does not favor. Unless I'm badly misinformed, neither current evidence nor current cognitive or psychological theories make it seem like a totally ridiculous idea; it dovetails just fine with what we do know about, e.g., trauma and psychological processes, it just can't be proven and is therefore worthy of severe skepticism.


whether a theory is pseudoscientific has nothing to do with whether it's correct or not, as such; what makes it pseudoscience is that its main proponents are acting in bad faith, with some going so far as to accuse their critics of being child abusers who don't want their crimes brought to light by "recovered memory therapy"

remember, science isn't something that is; it's something you do. we don't call a lucky guess scientific.
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Originally Posted By: waterplant
I don't follow your here, however.


science is a way of relating to the world, not a set of facts. if i say "the earth is round" because i had a dream about the earth being round, and i make no attempt to test whether the earth is actually round, then i'm not being scientific, even though the earth is round
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It's worth remembering, though, that scientific methods presuppose sufficiently tractable questions. And it's only wishful thinking to assume that all important questions are simple enough to be answered scientifically. You're not always lucky enough to drop your keys under a streetlamp. So pseudoscience isn't just everything that isn't science. History isn't science, for example, but history isn't pseudo-science either. History is a discipline where almost all the keys have fallen in dark alleys, that's all.

 

Pseudo-science is stuff that claims to have the bright light authority with which science can answer scientifically tractable questions, but won't bother to properly earn that authority. Conceivably, a proper scientific investigation would have supported the pseudo-scientific theories; it's pseudo-science because they never gave it a proper shot. Usually, of course, that's because everybody knows damn well, deep down, that the thing is crap, and they don't want scientific disproof to break up the game of make-believe.

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A fair amount of pseudoscience is also simply impossible to test scientifically. Karl Popper first picked on historical Marxism and psychoanalysis when articulating the doctrine of falsifiability; while falsifiability isn't a consensus requisite of science, the point remains that if your discipline can't be addressed by the methods of science and still claims to be a scientific discipline, you get a pseudo- prepended.

 

—Alorael, who also considers a facsimile of scientific methods, albeit not quite correct methods, necessary for pseudoscience. You can make a statement and then make the further claim that your statement is backed up by science when it isn't. That's not pseudoscience, that's just non-scientific lying.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Double post. Oops.

 

I'm now reading Accelerando, which takes a very interesting look at the future and at the possibility of technological singularity. I'm behind the curve on reading Vernor Vinge and followers, but I find the genre interesting. The execution is sometimes wobbly and the editor might have needed a heavier hand, but it's well worth reading.

 

—Alorael, who was really sold once digitized lobster brains gone virally sapient became a supporting character.

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
vernor vinge is still the most absurd name

he sounds like he should be a 70s bond villain or something

Ooh, and he's pushing technological singularity too. I could practically write his villainous reveal for him...

"So Mr. Bond... you tried to stop the inescapable progress of technology. And for this, you shall pay the price by being devoured by me army of self-replicating nanobots. Once my hyper intelligent AI has been released on the Internet, all human communications will be disabled save those on MY satellites, and then, in the chaos that follows, my legions can organize a governmental coup installing me as the Global Tyrant-for-life"

Ah, Bond villains used to be so awesome. Of course, they suck now, but I can always keep hoping that they'll ditch blond Bourne for some insanely British incessantly punning hard-drinking womanizer like Bond should be.
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Originally Posted By: Dantius
Ah, Bond villains used to be so awesome. Of course, they suck now, but I can always keep hoping that they'll ditch blond Bourne for some insanely British incessantly punning hard-drinking womanizer like Bond should be.


Dantius, for once, I am in full and total agreement with you.

Originally Posted By: Alo
—Alorael, who was really sold once digitized lobster brains gone virally sapient became a supporting character.


Wait what. I NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.
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You do need to read this book. All its minor flaws can be overlooked by the fact that it is packed with awesome.

 

Later, there are lobsters in the Tuileries in space!

 

—Alorael, who should, in the interest of full disclosure, report that the lobster AI (affectionately known as "crusties") is mostly a background character. You probably really can overuse lobsters speaking human by way of Soviet propaganda.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
Originally Posted By: Dantius
Originally Posted By: waterplant
The Moor's Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie. I wish I was Salman Rushdie.


You wish you were permanently in hiding so you wouldn't be executed with a meat cleaver in the middle of the street by Muslim extremists?


True. He probably lives an ok life considering...

Maybe being Milan Kundera would be less bothersome.
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This seemed the best place to put this without starting a pointless new thread or something, though it's probably rather too specific a request anyway....does anyone have any suggestions for a good book (or webpage i suppose) that talks about why quantum mechanics developed as it did? I don't mean just describing the problems QM had to solved, but going over more how the operators (and the maths behind it) arose etc..i suppose the motivation behind the actual structure of QM.

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Originally Posted By: tridash
This seemed the best place to put this without starting a pointless new thread or something, though it's probably rather too specific a request anyway....does anyone have any suggestions for a good book (or webpage i suppose) that talks about why quantum mechanics developed as it did? I don't mean just describing the problems QM had to solved, but going over more how the operators (and the maths behind it) arose etc..i suppose the motivation behind the actual structure of QM.


So do you want a serious and analytical treatment that basically teaches you QM, or more an explanation in simpler terms, or more a history of its development and the invention of the mathematics behind it? If you're looking to learn the math and concepts, try the Feynman Lectures, but that does require a substantial background in math and science. I'm not familiar with any solid yet easy descriptors of the math accessible to laymen. I'm sure there's about a dozen books tackling the history of the development, just check the science and mathematics section of your local bookstore/library.
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Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES
Originally Posted By: Dintiradan
EDIT: Oh man, have I got to get a copy of this.

"...three giant Qur'ans appear in the sky and fire energy beams..."

oh man.


If Muslims can summon energy beam shooting Qu'rans from the sky, I might have to convert.

That said, Rushide definitely does look kind of diabolical with his goatee and moustache...
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Originally Posted By: Dantius

So do you want a serious and analytical treatment that basically teaches you QM, or more an explanation in simpler terms, or more a history of its development and the invention of the mathematics behind it? If you're looking to learn the math and concepts, try the Feynman Lectures, but that does require a substantial background in math and science. I'm not familiar with any solid yet easy descriptors of the math accessible to laymen. I'm sure there's about a dozen books tackling the history of the development, just check the science and mathematics section of your local bookstore/library.


hmm....I guess what I want is a history of the development that actually does talk about the motivation & development of the maths behind it in reasonable detail (I've covered QM at university so that part's not really the problem, just trying to get slightly more of an understanding of where it came from / how it developed).
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I don't know of a book on this topic (if anyone can recommend one, I'd certainly be interested as well), however last year our physics department had a colloquium on a facet of this history, and I find that the speaker is one of the authors of at least one paper on the subject. (Given that the paper is 70 pages long, not including the bibliography, maybe it actually qualifies as a book.) I haven't read the paper yet, since I just looked it up, but I will when I get the chance.

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Originally Posted By: tridash
This seemed the best place to put this without starting a pointless new thread or something, though it's probably rather too specific a request anyway....does anyone have any suggestions for a good book (or webpage i suppose) that talks about why quantum mechanics developed as it did? I don't mean just describing the problems QM had to solved, but going over more how the operators (and the maths behind it) arose etc..i suppose the motivation behind the actual structure of QM.

For this, I'd imagine that you'd want to read the original Bohr/Heisenberg/etc. papers. It's entirely possible that no such book — which discusses the math in the level of detail that you want and also the history in the same level of detail — has been written. It's a pretty interesting topic and period to study, though, partly because of the context.

And by context, I mean the fact that they were almost all Germans/Danes who fell under Nazi rule only a few years later and either fled to the U.S. or stayed behind and ended up working on the German atomic bomb project. Plus, Heisenberg + Heidegger = bff's.

On the original subject, I'm looking forward to reading Towers of Midnight in a couple of weeks. Should probably re-read The Gathering Storm (and maybe Knife of Dreams) in advance.
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Originally Posted By: Kelandon
On the original subject, I'm looking forward to reading Towers of Midnight in a couple of weeks. Should probably re-read The Gathering Storm (and maybe Knife of Dreams) in advance.
I'm actually planning on one last reread of the entire series, for old time's sake. I may even do a book-by-book post on this thread, just like Sanderson. Unlike Sanderson, though, I don't have to like everything. The Wheel of Time is a great series and all, but man, there's certainly parts of it that are just... yeah.
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I don't know about quantum mechanics per se, but Abraham Pais's Inward Bound is a history of particle physics, starting from the discovery of x-rays. So it covers the development of QM at least in passing. And Pais was a physicist turned historian; he made some significant contributions to QED in its early days. He put equations into the text. And he had met or even known some of the historical figures, to boot.

 

Reading the original papers is likely to be disappointing and confusing, I would predict. When you realize that nobody thought about the connection between the wave function and probability until Max Born published it in a footnote in 1926, that in 1954 he got the Nobel prize for that footnote, but that it took until 1954 before it was fully recognized how important this was ... you realize how confused the early writers were.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I read Towers of Midnight today (Book 13 of the Wheel of Time). It was pretty spectacular, as The Gathering Storm (Book 12) was. The following is not really spoilerful, but just in case...

Click to reveal..
I was so in the mode of re-reading the last few books in the series before the next one came out that I tried to re-read Books 11 and 12 before Book 13, but after the fact, I feel as though I really should've re-read Books 4 and 5. Book 12 seemed as though it was tying up the loose ends from Books 8-11, and Book 13 seemed as though it was tying up the loose ends from Books 4-6. Some of those topics were so old that I could barely remember how they had been left when we last talked about them, despite the fact that I re-read the series a year ago.

 

The above leaves me a little conflicted about what to re-read before Book 14 comes out in early 2012. I may just re-read Books 12 and 13. They were certainly good enough. I kind of feel as though, judging from the rest, I should re-read Books 1-3. I could try, probably in vain, to re-read the entire series one last time before the final book comes out. I guess we'll see in a little over a year.

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Originally Posted By: Kelandon
Well, I read Towers of Midnight today (Book 13 of the Wheel of Time). It was pretty spectacular, as The Gathering Storm (Book 12) was. The following is not really spoilerful, but just in case...
Click to reveal..
I was so in the mode of re-reading the last few books in the series before the next one came out that I tried to re-read Books 11 and 12 before Book 13, but after the fact, I feel as though I really should've re-read Books 4 and 5. Book 12 seemed as though it was tying up the loose ends from Books 8-11, and Book 13 seemed as though it was tying up the loose ends from Books 4-6. Some of those topics were so old that I could barely remember how they had been left when we last talked about them, despite the fact that I re-read the series a year ago.


The above leaves me a little conflicted about what to re-read before Book 14 comes out in early 2012. I may just re-read Books 12 and 13. They were certainly good enough. I kind of feel as though, judging from the rest, I should re-read Books 1-3. I could try, probably in vain, to re-read the entire series one last time before the final book comes out. I guess we'll see in a little over a year.


Didn't the author die a few years ago? I could have sworn I heard about it about the same time I heard Douglas Adams passed away. May he RIP and with a lot of laughter.
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Originally Posted By: Ham is also A Piece of Pork
Didn't the author die a few years ago? I could have sworn I heard about it about the same time I heard Douglas Adams passed away. May he RIP and with a lot of laughter.
Brandon Sanderson is writing the official fanfiction ending for the series.

(Seriously though, the original editor wrote a lot of notes for the ending, as he knew his illness was terminal for quite some time, and the fact that the editor for the series was also his wife helps as well.)
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Myth-Interpretations by Robert Asprin, edited by Bill Fawcett. Once again proving that death is no interruption to a successful author. It's part reprints of older short stories and some new material like the pitch for the first four books of the Myth series and a few stories that are finally getting out of an old shoe box.

 

Worth your time even if you have read them.

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Starting in on the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy. Four book trilogy, to be precise.

 

—Alorael, who notices that it's the story of King Arthur, but with time shuffled around a bit. In particular, it takes place when Arthur is old, dying, and Mordred is largely not in evidence.

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I'm currently reading very big books about chemistry, physics, math et cetera.(I have always been bad at math, so why I ended up picking a math heavy course in University I have no idea. But I'm actually doing much better than I ever dared hope!)

 

In relations to SoT's post earlier, I will be taking a Quantum Mechanics class next autumn, and I have heard the bar is set insanely high there.(Up to 90% fail on the final test.)

I doubt I would manage to be in the top 10% if the test were so difficult again, but I don't expect it will be.

Either way I think I should start studying the subject at least next summer. So my questin is, where to start?

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