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10 Greatest Ideas in the History of Science | big think
While science often moves forward in awkward leaps and bounds, Peter Atkins compiled a list of 10 concepts that are considered “so rock solid, that it is difficult to imagine them ever being replaced with something better.” So our friends at RealClearScience’s Newton blog write about Atkins’s 2003 book, Galileo’s Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science. While Atkins’s picks might be incredibly worthy ones, many are also a bit hard to comprehend, so a guide to these concepts can be found on the Newton blog, and are summarized briefly below.
1. Evolution Occurs by Natural Selection
"The power of evolution comes from its ability to explain both the unity and diversity of life; in other words, the theory describes how similarities and differences between species arise by descent from a universal common ancestor."
2. DNA Encodes Heritable Information
"It wasn’t until 1952 that scientists determined that DNA was the molecule responsible for transmitting heritable information."
3. Energy Is Conserved
"All the energy that currently exists in the universe is all that ever has been and all that ever will be."
4. Entropy: Universe Tends Toward Disorder
"Entropy is sort of like Murphy’s Law applied to the entire universe."
5. Matter Is Made of Atoms
"What are atoms? Mostly empty space, actually. That means you are mostly empty space, as well."
6. Symmetry Quantifies Beauty
"The most beautiful human faces are also the most symmetrical. As it turns out, the universe is riddled with symmetry, or the lack thereof."
7. Classical Mechanics Fails to Describe Small Particles
"Imagine a hot stove: It first starts out red, then turns white as it gets hotter. Classical physics was incapable of explaining this."
8. The Universe Is Expanding
"Not only is the universe expanding, its rate of expansion appears to be accelerating due to dark energy. And the further away an object is from Earth, the faster it is accelerating away from us."
9. Spacetime Is Curved by Matter
"Every time you use your smartphone to succesfully find the local Starbucks, give thanks to Albert Einstein."
10. Mathematics Is the Limit of Reason
"Though it is the language of science, the truth is that mathematics is built upon a cracked foundation."
via bigthinks
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A fuckload of classic literature:

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  3. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  4. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  5. Aesop’s Fables by Aesop
  6. Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
  7. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
  8. Andersen’s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
  9. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  10. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  11. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
  12. Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
  13. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  14. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  15. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  16. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  17. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  18. Dubliners by James Joyce
  19. Emma by Jane Austen
  20. Erewhon by Samuel Butler
  21. For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke
  22. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  23. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  24. Grimms Fairy Tales by the brothers Grimm
  25. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  26. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  27. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  28. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
  29. Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
  30. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  31. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  32. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  33. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  34. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  35. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  36. Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard by Joseph Conrad
  37. Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  38. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
  39. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  40. Paradise Lost by John Milton
  41. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  42. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
  43. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  44. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  45. Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
  46. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
  47. Swanns Way by Marcel Proust
  48. Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  49. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  50. Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  51. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  52. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  53. The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  54. The Great Gatsby
  55. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
  56. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  57. The Iliad by Homer
  58. The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells
  59. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
  60. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
  61. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
  62. The Odyssey by Homer
  63. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
  64. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  65. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  66. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  67. The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli
  68. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
  69. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  70. The Tales of Mother Goose by Charles Perrault
  71. The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan
  72. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Duma
  73. The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
  74. The Trial by Franz Kafka
  75. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
  76. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  77. Ulysses by James Joyce
  78. Utopia by Sir Thomas More
  79. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  80. Within A Budding Grove by Marcel Proust
  81. Women In Love by D. H. Lawrence
  82. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Click on the motherfucking Hypelinks bitches.

Reblobbing for Agnes Grey. Anne always gets overshadowed by her sisters.

It’s a fantasic book.


(via 9thspace)

» i09: Stop calling it "The God Particle!"

The biggest problem with all of this “God Particle” nonsense is that it’s a rather short-sighted way of announcing to the world that the particle physics community doesn’t need any more money, thanks.

Besides greed, there’s the simple fact that while discovering the Higgs means that we’re on the right track with this whole Standard Model, it is absolutely not the end of the story. What doesn’t the Higgs tell us?

  • It doesn’t explain how gravity works.
  • For that matter, it doesn’t really tell us much about how the strong force relates to the electroweak force — the combination of electromagnetism and the weak force for which the Higgs is so useful.
  • It doesn’t tell us what dark matter is — roughly 23% of the energy of the universe.
  • It doesn’t tell us what dark energy is — another 72% of the universe.
  • It doesn’t tell us why the electric charge is what it is, or an electron mass is what it is, or really, much at all about a huge number of physical constant.
  • It doesn’t explain why we have certain symmetries in our universe and not others.

I guess what I’m saying is: more money, please.

(Source: crookedindifference)

» Who Does Facebook Think You Are Searching For? |

Have you ever wondered how Facebook orders your search results? Clearly they have some ordering about who they think you are looking for, and they seem to guess pretty well. I can only guess, but it seems like they order it based on who you interact with, whose profile you look at and who you have recently become friends with.

Note: This is really interesting, but may be embarrassing to you.

» Download collection of Wikipedia articles on a topic as e-book

Just struck Gold….. How did I not know about it before. You can now download collection of Wikipedia articles on a topic as e-book to read at your leisure in your e-readers. It’s a very useful feature for an avid wiki-article reader like me.

» Reclaiming ‘slut’


Sorry, I forgot to thank Soph for giving me this link on Twitter.

I agree with the aims of SlutWalk. I do. As a victim of street harassment and as a woman who has had some not-very-nice experiences with men and expressing sexuality, I fully support the concept behind it. Victim-blaming is shameful and harmful, and women should not feel that their behaviour should be restricted in order to ‘avoid’ being raped. The sad and awful truth is, if somebody wants to rape you, then they will try to. Whether you are dressed in a mini skirt, or jeans and a t shirt. Whether you are drunk, or sober, or high. Whether you are old or young. Whether you are working or minding your own business. A rapist is a rapist, and the only thing rape victims have in common is misfortune. Thus, it seems like a logical conclusion to me, that it is a disgrace when people tell women they are at fault.

That said, I don’t think there is anything remotely redeeming about the word ‘slut’; nothing in it which would make me want to reclaim or take ownership of the word and declare myself one. Why? It’s quite simple. It has been used for years to disparage women and make them feel ashamed, and it’s worked. Slut can’t be converted to ‘sexy’, ‘confident’ or ‘self-assured’. Slut is bad. We learn it from a young age. I’m not sure how using it in a positive way could change the fact that it is intrinsically a negative word and will always be used by the ignorant in that way.

(via mission-to-mars-deactivated2011)

» How our culture is ruining women's health


Back in April, my Salon column pointed out that though women are far less likely to be overweight than men, they comprise 90 percent of customers in the commercial weight-loss industry.

The bottom line is both obvious and indisputable: Women may indeed be less overweight than men, but they are more socially persecuted for their weight, as evidenced by a hypocritical society that so often celebrates the Fat Guy while denigrating the Fat Lady. Because of this dynamic, women solicit weight-loss programs more frequently than men, and weight-loss companies target their advertising more aggressively toward women than men.

Now, two weeks after my column was published, a new Arizona State University study tells us just how successful that advertising and social stigmatization have been in making many women psychologically obsessed with weight — even to the detriment of other health priorities. As the study documented:

[Women] were asked to choose whether they would rather be obese or have one of 12 socially stigmatized conditions, such as alcoholism or herpes. In many cases, the women would rather have more of the other conditions, with 25.4 percent preferring severe depression and 14.5 percent preferring total blindness over obesity.

You read that right — one in four women would prefer to be severely depressed rather than overweight, and nearly one in six would prefer to lose their sight rather than face the same fate. These are truly stunning numbers — but, then, they come as responses to hypotheticals. So the key question this study raises is: Do the results mean anything in real-world practice?

In a word, yes.

Whether from ubiquitous waifs on highway billboards or from the tabloid fetishization of celebrities’ emaciated bodies, women are pressured by a chauvinist culture to prioritize the thin aesthetic over genuine wellness — and that pressure has consequences. It is, for example, one of the roots of eating disorders. It also fuels a market for weight-loss drugs that can have toxic side effects. And it can also be a major factor in smoking — and specifically, the decision by women not to quit for fear that doing so will make them fat.

The ASU study, then, confirms just how powerful this pressure really is — and how it’s become so intense that women may now be willing to endure far more than eating disorders and smoking in the pursuit of thin.

Obesity, of course, is a serious national health crisis and it should be treated as such, regardless of the powerful food conglomerates that have a stake (or steak) in continuing the culture of fat, and irrespective of whom such an aggressive health-focused posture might offend. But that’s the thing: Addressing weight as a health issue is different from addressing it as an aesthetic — and mostly female — concern. The former really shouldn’t offend anyone. It’s the latter that should outrage everyone — especially because that perspective remains today’s regrettable norm, and with increasingly horrific consequences.

(via loveyourchaos)