Ask Ethan: What Does ‘Truth’ Mean To A Scientist?

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If you look farther and farther away, you also look farther and farther into the past. The farthest we can see back in time is 13.8 billion years: our estimate for the age of the Universe. It’s the extrapolation back to the earliest times that led to the idea of the Big Bang. While everything we observe is consistent with the Big Bang framework, it’s not something that can ever be proven.

In many ways, the human endeavor of science is the ultimate pursuit of truth. By asking the natural world and Universe questions about itself, we seek to gain an understanding of what the Universe is like, what the rules that govern it are, and how things came to be the way they are today. Science is the full suite of knowledge that we gain from observing, measuring, and performing experiments that test the Universe, but it’s also the process through which we perform those investigations. It might be easy to see how we gain knowledge from that endeavor, but how do scientists arrive at the idea of a scientific truth? That’s Curtis Brand’s question, as he asks:

Publisher: Forbes
Date: 2019-07-13
Author: Ethan Siegel
Twitter: @forbes
Reference: Visit Source

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What To Do If Someone ‘Steals’ Your Baby Name

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Sci-Fi Author Ted Chiang on Our Relationship to Technology, Capitalism, and the Threat of Extinction

In 2010, a small book lit up the world of science fiction, then disappeared. Very few people have even read it.

GQ: These stories cover a fairly long period of time. The oldest, ‘What’s Expected of Us,’ was first published nearly fifteen years ago. How have your interests evolved over that time? What are the most significant ways you feel our culture’s relationship with technology has changed in that time?

Ted Chiang: I think my interests have remained fairly consistent over time; themes like free will and the relationship between language and thought were visible in my first collection, and they’re visible in Exhalation as well. As for our culture’s relationship with technology, I think the biggest change has been the rise of social media. We’ve essentially given every individual their own television network, and we’re still trying to understand the ramifications of that.

Publisher: GQ
Author: Cond’ Nast
Twitter: @gqmagazine
Reference: Visit Source

Being a hyphenated Palestinian: an identity game of hide and seek

‘You have such a beautiful, unique name ‘ where does it come from?’ asks a woman enthusiastically, with a bright and engaging smile.

‘My name is etymologically Greek, but its usage spread to Arab countries. I am half-Palestinian ‘ my father is Palestinian,’ I answer candidly, inviting my companion to continue our exchange.

The woman’s face turns pale, her eyes immediately look away. After half a minute, the woman pretends to regain her composure, and manages to mutter an unconvincing: ‘oh, how interesting!’.

Although I vividly remember the details of this encounter ‘ where it happened, the woman’s face, the clothes she wore, even the dim lighting in the room we were in ‘ there was nothing out of the ordinary, out of my ordinary, in this exchange. This specific interlocutor was unique ‘ her words were not.

Publisher: openDemocracy
Twitter: @openDemocracy
Reference: Visit Source

Greetings Earthlings: Cloaking was activated. The data presented above may one day be zapped to another dimension. Just thought you should be aware. Hey, buddy, why are all the planets not aligning?