Friday, February 25, 2005

The Fabric of the Cosmos

During my recent trip to Boston / MIT, I picked up a copy of "The Fabric of the Cosmos" by Brian Greene, and I read about half of it by now. It is a great reading; I think I am starting to get a vague idea about both how relativity and quantum physics work, subjects that I was utterly ignorant of not long ago. Sometimes the references to the Simpsons and Springfield and agent Mulder and Scully and baseball can be annoying, but overall I am really enjoying this book.

And I am realizing how 'narrow-minded' we humans are. Evolution shaped our minds so that we easily understand what is important for our survival, but there was no selective pressure to evolve an understanding of how things work on much larger or much smaller spatial and temporal scales: having some intuitive ideas about what trajectory a thrown piece of rock describes probably had some survival value, but our ancestors did not need to know about the probabilistic nature of the subatomic world in order to get through the hard times.

My talk on bed thicknesses and power laws

At the end of April I am going to give a talk on power-law and lognormal distributions and how they apply to turbidite bed thickness data. Here is the abstract. And here are some previous thoughts and links on the subject of log-log plots, power-laws and bed-thickness distributions.
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