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It’s 7:13am and about two hours ago I decided to randomly Wikipedia my boredom away.

I came across an article about the Brass Rat, also known as the MIT class ring. Now, I have the habit of getting all excited about new knowledge and it mentioned that each ring has a symbol on it that identifies the wearer’s MIT major. I started to surf the net to see the various designs and meanings.

Then I came across the Brass Rat for the Division of Health, Science and Technology. The symbol shows two snakes spiral-wound around a test tube. I stared at the symbol for 10 minutes until I went to the contact section and started to write an email to the design committee.

My issue? Two snakes spiral-would around a staff is known as a herald’s staff and symbolizes the trades of Hermes, which are: commerce and negotiation. It’s the symbol used by government facilities for commerce.

Of all places, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology would make such a mistake!

I decided to email them that the correct symbol for medicine would be the rod of Asclepius (Asclepius was the son of Apollo and a mythological physician).

We will see if they write back!

Long time no read, eh? It’s 2011 and I managed to not post at all for years. Oh well.

This post shall be about my current night time endeavour: doing a short course in the Philosophy of Science.

I love philosophy and especially the science part, because I have the vision of one day helping scientists bridge between their professional aspiration for accuracy and the layman’s need to understand what the point of science is. There are plenty of popular science books out there but most are written by scientists with a limit knowledge of philosophy (which tends to be the reason why they use the word “truth” and “fact” so unquestioning).

My course is introductory, so I simply get a broad overview of the great contributors to the Philosophy of Science and their views on scientific revolutions, the scientific method and science in general and in particular.

The biggest names so far, were Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend. All four approach science and its issues in, at times, vastly different ways and to anticipate the outcome for you: I do not agree with any of them. Therefore, my personal goal is to review each and make up a better (i.e. better for me) theory up as I progress in my understanding. Maybe I tell you a little bit about the Big 4 mentioned.

Karl Popper or Mr Wrong

Popper, like all of the philosophers of science, was greatly concerned with the so-called demarcation problem. The demarcation problem is the peculiar issue that it’s bloody hard to distinguish between science and everything else that has theories but probably isn’t science (you know religion, pseudoscience, somewhat-but-not-really science and ultimately, philosophy). Popper’s idea was that a single theory could be judge by its ability to be false. If a scientist goes and tests a theory, he shall do so to refute it. If at any one time the respective theory has a flaw, it must be abandoned.

In simple terms, if we have the assumption that all tomatoes are red, we must go out and try to find a not-red tomato. If we come across a yellow tomato, we must abandon the assumption that all tomatoes are red. We have refuted our theory and the theory that all tomatoes are red is now non-science.

Thomas Kuhn or Co-exist not, my good ‘ol paradigm!

Thomas Kuhn decided to go a bit beyond Popper. While Popper had sought to distinguish only between theories, Kuhn wanted to distinguish between entire schools circling around a theory. When Kuhn encountered a theory, which had laws and a core idea, he would look if that theory also came with a how-to description on how it could solve existing problems and new technological advancements. If a theory had all that, he called it a paradigm. If a paradigm starts to be disturbed by anomalies and they pile up, the whole thing gets into a crisis. Scientists look for new ideas and if those are tried and enough scientists persuaded (that can happen simply through enough of the old people dying); we have experienced a paradigm shift.

Simple: Dude has an idea, persuades enough people, people work on it until something seems fishy, big fight, new dude, new idea, new people persuaded – repeat ad nauseam!

Imre Lakatos or Now children, let’s not fight!

Lakatos was influenced by both, Popper and Kuhn. He agreed with some stuff from either party but was determined to solve the problems their theories proposed. To do so, he introduced his idea of scientific research programmes (SRP). A SRP had three characteristic: a hard core, the key idea that needed protection from falsification, a protective belt with auxiliary hypotheses, body guards to the hard core and positive heuristics, a funny word describing the ability of a SRP to deal with anomalies. Lakatos thought that the scientist had to decide if a theory is better than another rather than if it were true.

Simpleville: A theory has new interesting ideas, so me, Dr Blogreader, goes after this one, instead of the old one that just became too weird or boring.

Paul Feyerabend or Anarchy with a PhD!

Feyerabend is a controversial philosopher with the sharp idea that there is no scientific method at all and that’s how it should be. He thought that methodological rules would limit scientific progress and de-humanize scientists

That’s pretty much the essence that is important to know about Feyerabend.

And that is what I think about lately, how to distinguish science from non-science. Cheers!

No, thank you.

‘Natural’ death, almost by definition, means passing away slow, smelly and painful. My grandfather died naturally, of old age. He was blind, deaf and basically starved at the end and he died in a retirement village hospital, which was eerie, foul-smelling and colorless.

Dying not too old, maybe through violence or suicide seems suddenly more graceful.

Meetings.

None of us is as dumb as all of us.

I came to the realization that meetings are by far the most ridiculous, uneffective thing men ever created.
My grandma was right when she said too many cooks spoil the broth.

That must be the reason why employers always want “teamplayer” as employees, because that makes sure that they never look less clever then they subordinates.

Usually I would try to avoid to write (too much) about politics, I wouldn’t beable to write about anything else if I’d do… but now I have to. This video of belgium politicians from the Vlaams Belang & Front Nationale party made me rip my eyes and ears out… I can’t eat as much as I wanna puke…

The video was put on youtube by the now ex-wife of the man on the right, during the divore procedure.

Translated that would be:

My little Jewish girl is in Dachau.
She is in unslaked lime.
She has left her ghetto, to be burnt alive.

Therefore, here my Christmas wishlist:

  • I want all seccesionist parties of this world to overthink their point. Do they really want to free their folk for  supporting its old culture or do they actually have nationalsocialistic idologies which expect a cut out of all “not part of them” people. (waving specifically to Vlaams Belang!!! …and because I’m german, to the Bavarian Party)
  • I consider myself a natural feminist – for I am a woman but I wish for the feminist parties to consider if they really are fighting for equality or actually for matriarchy. My full support for equality, I wanna get paid the same for the same job, I want to be able to enter any club/society/team like any male if I’m equally qualified etc etc but I don’t want to seperate myself for thinking I’m superior. I never understood why girls have to bring less results in crtain sports for the same mark – sports where men will succeed because of their bodystructure are understanable but why seperate lets say in stepping mistake in basketball? Girls get more seconds, why? Simultaniously will I NEVER understand why, in Germany at least, girls are not allowed to join Baseballteams, or why they need gender-seperated teams in Bowling, Lawn Balls, Boccia, Curling, even Chess, non of those sports require extraordinary strength. But to come back to the actual point, please all members of feminist parties re-think if you fight for equality or matriarchy.
  • Islamic, Christan, Jewish, Hidu….all religious parties – are you sure you can solve today’s problems with pamphlets written by people thousands of years ago? People who thought rape is a husbands right and beating children is a way to educate them? Sure? Personally, I wish for the complete seperation of religion and politics. (I also wish for the seperation of philosophy and religion, but that’s another wishlist)
  • To all Nazi, rascist, faschist, anti-semitic, anti-anything else parties… just drive with your (japanese) Mitsubishi’s to your local italian, to have a pizza and drink a nice glas of french Merlot. After that, why not visiting your church and worshipping actually jewish Jesus – oh you arn’t religious? Ok, what about joining the lottery then, picking some arabian numbers to win the big money. Or why not just starting to be a thinking, tolerant person. Won’t hurt, promise!
  • Ok to the last one… I must say that I’m not saying drugs are the root of all evil or anything between those lines but I wonder if the ‘Legalise Cannabis’ parties seriously think legalising drugs would be a good step. Is it really helpful when people sit around giggling and drug-driving all day? Will that help the economy? (well actually it might, tabaco helps the economy…okok I give you that one) but will it help lowering unemployment rates, help the education system, the health system, any damn system? I didn’t think so.   So, smoke away but please don’t base political discussions on the benefits of your personal drugaddiction. PS: Yes I am well aware that pot can help lowering the pain in cancer/aids patients, if medical evidence proves that it helps them to die more peacefully, very well, give out medical supervised amounts for deadly ill patients but don’t form a party about it because you like to “chillax” in your freetime.

That’s my political christmas wishlist. The only point I’d like to add still… I wish I would understand why anybody would support Prop 8 and especially why 70% of pro-Prop 8 voters were black. I don’t get it! A part of society that fought ages for it’s rights, tattooed tolerance in all of our brains is color but not genderblind? I DO NOT understand!

(49% of the pro-Prop 8 voters were white)

So dearest Santa, I hope my wishlist isn’t too long, I’ll make you milk and cookies and promise I was a good girl all year long… make it come true and help me to understand (and send Rudolph over, he’s ace!)

The Elf Effect

I have a love for symmetric faces. Every actress, model, musician, normal person… I ever thought to be beautiful has an elf-like face. It’s a bit scary that my favorites have so similar features, and because I simply can, I’ll post my definition of beautiful in here.

Post Scriptum: Interesting enough, my BF admires one of the women I think to be beautiful, we obviously have a similar taste.

Natalie Portman & Audrey Tautou

Winona Ryder & Audrey Hepburn

Alexis Bledel

But I also like faces that are alienated – still with an elf touch.

Gemma Ward & Lily Cole

Christina Ricci & Devon Aoki

If I analyse myself a bit, it is quite obvious what makes those faces fascinating. Basically all of them have reasonable straight lined eyebrows something you don’t see much by the average person, it makes them look vulnerable but mysterious. All have small to medium sized lips, big bulky lips alla Angelina Jolie are too oversexed for my taste of beauty. More subtle sized lips look more elegant and innocent. Big eyes seems to be a must to myself, interesting, I myself have small eyes, something I always thought to be ‘weird’ about my own face. All are tiny. The facestructure of all of them is tiny too, it looks soft and childlike. When I picked the pictures to post here, I seem to have picked only those with a less makeup and the makeup that is pictured is centered on the eyelashes. Same goes for the hair, all spot simple hairstyles.

So all in all I like faces that you won’t see on the streets. Ever.

November 5, 2008 – Barack Obama becomes the 44. President of the United States Of America. He is black, has an atheist and muslim background and already spoke against the Iraqi war before anyone had know his name (2002).

Let’s hope he’ll make a change!

Hymnbooks.

What is the point in hymnbooks? Nobody knows the songs, so everybody tries to frantically find the vers, while the few who found it kill the song with their unbearable singing voice, meanwhile the lost ones might have been found….sadly, it’s when the bad singers already say “amen”.

I like words. I like language. I have a close relationship with books and there is nothing funnier for me than wordgames.

But there is a problem that I have that exclusively shows that language and words are pro-depressants.

Most people overuse certain words or misuse them, let’s start with a mild one: tacky.

First mentioned in 1862, the reliable Oxford English Dictionary tells us that the original use of “tackie” was a broken-down, worthless horse, meaning then a “poor white of the Southern States.” Ever since everything that is chabby and/or cheap is named tacky, in 1980 every friggin fashion mag would name the newest creations of designer soandso “delightfully tacky”,

anything out of the ordinary is “tacky”, tacky tacky all the way.

So if you see an old horse today, would you call it tacky? I didn’t think so.

Another one, a bit more serious is the word “detoxication”. The diet industry loves that word, you will get 1,840,000 result in 24 seconds if you type ‘detox diet’ in google.

Awesome. Especially because it is so absolutely unscientifical. Our body is able to detox itself quite efficient,

we have a liver to deal with alcohol for example and we own kidnays to deal with

certain levels of mercury in fish.

Diets that cause the body to release so called toxins too quickly or dangerous, many detox diets result in temporary better health but support lack of nutritions in the long run. How come so many people believe their own body is toxic? Who allows those wannabe doctors to use a scientific term such as toxicity?

When we are already by medical terms, the word schizophrenia is so misused, it hurts… Newspapers, TV, internet based media and so many others use the term schizophrenia in a fatally misleading consent. Schizophrenic Economy, Schizophrenic Politics, Schizophrenic Sports all this titles are out of well recognized media and all pretend that schizophrenia would have to do anything with multiple/split personalities. Well that is not true. Schizophrenics do NOT have more than one person inside of them, they do NOT hear voice in their heads, they are NOT more or less dangerous than anyone else and they are not more clever or more dumb than the average.

This wrong picture of the illness led to a giant bunch of stigma which made the lives of many people

suffering from schizophrenia even more unbearable.

I wish people would only use words they actually understand.

____________________________________________________________

We are all very  cautious about certain words. We don’t go around calling people fat (but we have no problem calling them skinny…) even when they are morbidly obesed, we won’t say someone is delusional when he talks to an invisible creature, we say he has faith, we don’t say somebody was an asshole when he died, we will say that he had a strong will and was direct and honest.

Nobody dares to say “the N word” but saying – the other N word – is cool. (PS: the other N word is Nazi. Lovely insult…)

Words do matter, why can’t people start using the right words, to the right events at the right times,

it would make all our lives easier.

I guess.

Ok, so another entry for my girlshit category. It took me twenty plus years to discover that I’m female so all the girly thoughts hiding in the back of my hippothalamus crash out now and sadly, my dearest readers have to deal with it.

I went sportcloth-shopping with BF yesterday and beside a male-sized pair of running shoes and a nice black & white pair of 3/4-trousers, did I also saw something else in the endless lines at one of the cheap-ish shops in out-town Adelaide…WELLINGTONS! I adore any kind of strange shoewear and I always wanted Wellingtons. I had the chance to buy some in Berlin before, but I never fell for the designs; but now, there, in a country basically lacking of any kind of rain, my dream Wellingtons stand innocently in front of me, for 15 friggin Dollar! That’s 7,80 Euro, 10 US Dollar or 6,20 british pound my friends. I’m overjoyed and I try hard to find a reason to wear my new reasons of eternal happiness. Here are they btw:

*sigh*