• Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact

  • Science, Frontiers

    June 12th, 2011
    frontiers, goals, science
    Riding the ferry past the woods hole oceanographic institute this afternoon, I felt a pull that I last felt looking at this picture of amundsen-scott station at the south pole:

    Both are places where people are working in hostile environments to understand things very different from what we encounter in our daily lives. The ocean is not well understood, which makes sense considering how large it is and how many different environments and ecosystems make it up. I want to be working to discover things, pushing our bounds as a civilization.

    Since I was a science fiction reading middleschooler, I'd always thought that if we had a thriving space industry, with research, terraforming, and exploration, I'd grow up to work and live on a space station, ship, or colony as a scientist. But frontiers nearly as forbidding with nearly as great potential rewards are being studied and explored already here on earth, and I don't work on them.

    In one of the standard fantasy plots, a protagonist from our Earth, a sympathetic character with lousy grades or a crushing mortgage but still a good heart, suddenly finds themselves in a world where magic operates in place of science. The protagonist often goes on to practice magic, and become in due course a (superpowerful) sorcerer.

    Now here's the question - and yes, it is a little unkind, but I think it needs to be asked: Presumably most readers of these novels see themselves in the protagonist's shoes, fantasizing about their own acquisition of sorcery. Wishing for magic. And, barring improbable demographics, most readers of these novels are not scientists.

    Born into a world of science, they did not become scientists. What makes them think that, in a world of magic, they would act any differently? -- eliezer yudkowsky

    I like living in boston where I know people. I can dance, call, and play for contra dances. I can live in an environment where I can breathe the air and walk in parks. I can have a well paying job where I have enough surplus to donate without much privation on my part. But I feel like I'm missing working on something huge staying where it is safe and comfortable instead of where there's the most to be learned, working on what maximizes profit and global utility instead of knowledge.

    Comment via: facebook

    Recent posts on blogs I like:

    How did we decide to have a kid?

    ...and then some more kids? The post How did we decide to have a kid? appeared first on Otherwise.

    via Otherwise January 28, 2023

    My Rainbow Kit

    For Christmas I got a really fun kit about rainbows. It had a rainbow catcher, a really cool necklace, a streamer thingy, and it also had a really really cool pinwheel, and it also had a bracelet and a pinata. Unfortunately the pinata didn't work out …

    via Anna Wise's Blog Posts January 5, 2023

    Phones

    I think that once a kid is in third grade they should be able to get a phone. I think that while sometimes parents might want kids not to have them at certain ages, phones can be quite useful at times. Tablets don't have GPS, they don't have WiFi…

    via Lily Wise's Blog Posts January 5, 2023

    more     (via openring)


  • Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact