All your science in here


This is a very good point. But, sadly, there is a counter-argument.

With something like celestial mechanics the underlying principles are relatively simple - Newtonian mechanics has been completely understood for centuries and experimentally verified countless times. On a short timescale (hundreds/thousands of years) the many-body corrections to the basic three-body (sun, moon, earth) calculation are negligible. Off the top of my head I think the relativistic corrections are negligible too, but even if they aren’t we know how to do those sums and again they have been verified time after time after time. The degree of doubt in these calculations is essentially zero. And the observations are not open to multiple explanations. A planet either arrives where and when the calculations say it should or it doesn’t. Wrong theories can be eliminated quickly and ruthlessly because they give verifiably wrong answers.

Climate change and a lot of the life-science stuff, on the other hand, are enormously complex and contain elements which are verging on the chaotically unstable. Here is an overview of climate science Each one of the short phrases on the diagram has a chunk of science behind it which is keeping hundreds of experts busy full-time. It’s a miracle that we can actually draw any worthwhile conclusions from it having only studied it for a few decades. When it comes to the life-sciences here is the basic metabolic pathways diagram. You may need to blow this up in size. A lot. Again the complexity is almost mind-boggling and outcomes from these processes can depend very sensitively on numbers which we still can’t measure accurately.

Scientists working in these complex, mathematically sensitive areas have to be realistic and to try to put confidence levels on their predictions (e.g. I am 70% sure that my prediction is within +/-5% of what will happen, and I am 98% sure that my prediction is within +/-25% of what will happen). As long as there is some possibility, however small, that the predictions could be wrong though, there will be people (usually with a vested interest) who will say that the scientists “can’t be absolutely sure”. Then the question becomes “How sure do the scientists have to be before we accept that we need to change something just in case they are right ?”.

Then you pays your money and you takes your choice.



Wish I could have ‘liked’ that twice

or more


That has got to be worth a Douglas Adams Towel award.


The Mind garden is not of this dimension




Interesting & short programme about the current fetish for appearing to be busy.

A great advert for the gentleman’s nap as perfected by Mr MWS

(actually there appear to be 5 of these short programmes in all.) Where will I find the time? :grinning:


When I was posted in germany there was a massive stash of porn in the workshop khazi so you could disappear off for an afternoon wank.

much more refreshing than a nap.


They were obviously ahead of their time.



"The plucky spacecraft:
“Godspeed 'lil hero”

They will be having a funeral for it next!

Fantastic mission and amazing results but please, anthropomorphism of a spacecraft?
Is ‘Dark Star’ beconing a reality?


This looks an interesting toy


Yes. We drew up plans to build a more powerful one here in the UK but the money wasn’t available. I’m not sure what the final bill for the EU-XFEL’s build will be but there won’t be much, if any, change out of a billion currency units (euros, pounds, US dollars - at this level they’re all pretty much equivalent). Sadly for the Hamburg team some of the experimental ‘low-hanging fruit’ has been picked by the Americans who got their XFEL going back in 2009 That facility is now run by the man who was my line-manager before he relocated to the US.



Agreed. I posted it for the photographs though.


Darkness can move faster than light.


Whatever it is you are doing stop immediately and open the windows Stu, you are about to be overcome by the fumes by the looks of that post.


It’s what Sundays are for. :frowning:


Couldn’t you be using your bats to putt your way to par on the golfisting pitch or whatever?



Having flirted with potential success yesterday, I have decided to have a day away from the course.

Decided to read some physics ‘n’ shit inbetween washing the car and hoovering the garage.


You mean you got it through the windmill at the first attempt?


Many pars and a few birdies, money in the bank and automatic qualification for a select competition.

I could go on … but I have £50k to spend on an audiophile cd collection. So going to search for someone selling such a thing. Preferably with no list.