Kookiness

Category archives for Kookiness

I reported on the start of this class last week, and sinc ethen, we’ve had three more class meetings. Since this whole thing is an experiment, I’ll keep reporting on it from time to time (heh). First, though, a quick answer to a request from comments: I’d like to hear more about your class on…

Over at Scientific American, John Horgan has a blog post titled In Physics, Telling Cranks from Experts Ain’t Easy, which opens with an anecdote any scientist will recognize: A couple of decades ago, I made the mistake of faxing an ironic response to what I thought was an ironic faxed letter. The writer–let’s call him…

The title is a .signature line that somebody– Emmet O’Brien, I think, but I’m not sure– used to use on Usenet, back in the mid-to-late 90′s, when some people referred to the Internet as the “Information Superhighway.” I’ve always thought it was pretty apt, especially as I’ve moved into blogdom, where a lot of what…

The Real Point of Zero Point

While Kenneth Ford’s 101 Quantum Questions was generally good, there was one really regrettable bit, in Question 23: What is a “state of motion?” When giving examples of states, Ford defines the ground state as the lowest-energy state of a nucleus, then notes that its energy is not zero. He then writes: An object brought…

Don’t Be a Dick

I’m probably about the last person with an interest in such things to get around to watching Phil Plait’s (in)famous “Don’t Be a Dick” speech, but I finally got around to it, and it’s really excellent: Phil Plait – Don’t Be A Dick from JREF on Vimeo. Phil has posted about the speech itself, online…

Crazy and Dishonest Physics Update

The problem with writing about fake physics is that once you start, it’s hard to stop. And there’s always something new and disreputable to find, such as this hideous bit of scammery. As I said in How to Teach Physics to Your Dog, if quantum physics really allowed you to amass vast wealth just by…

A reader emails to ask about a new-to-me theory of physics, called “Quantum Space Theory” being promoted by a fellow named Thad Roberts. I wouldn’t usually bother with this, but Roberts was one of the speakers at TEDx Boulder. this is disappointing, to put it mildly– TED is a respected organization, and I don’t like…

I don’t remember who pointed me at this transcript of Deepak Chopra interviewing Michio Kaku, but if I remember who it was, I fully intend to hate them. DC: Is our conversation affecting something in another galaxy right now? MK: In principle. What we’re talking about right is affecting another galaxy far, far beyond the…

As mentioned previously, I have an inexplicable fondness for the “Ancient Aliens” show on the History channel. It’s such a bizarre mishmash of every crazy idea out there in the UFO community that it ends up being hilarious where it ought to be just reprehensible. To give you an idea of the wackiness, the episode…

One of my many character weaknesses is a fondness for the kooky UFO programs run on the History Channel and other educational cable networks. The nuttier the better– there’s something about the credulity and self-delusion displayed by the “researchers” they trot out that I find really hilarious. I have to say, though, that they’ve outdone…