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"The primary focus of this path of choosing wisely is learning to stay present. Pausing very briefly, frequently throughout the day, is an almost effortless way to do this. For just a few seconds we can be right here. Meditation is another way to train in learning to stay or learning to come back, to return to the present over and over again."
~ Pema Chödrön, from Taking the Leap  
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Entries in physics (17)

Monday
Jun022014

I'm Not Sitting Still

"I'm not just sitting here doing nothing. I'm actually fighting against earth's gravity. And I'm not sitting still. I'm spinninga thousand miles per houror even more than that!" 

~ Xiangjun Shi

Why Do I Study Physics? (2013) from Xiangjun Shi on Vimeo.

Tuesday
May062014

The Important Thing

 Leonard Mlodinow, from "Randomness and Choice," OnBeing with Krista Tippett, April 30, 2014:

When you look at your life, if you had to sit down and think about, and I'm talking about in detail, not just the headlines, if you think about all the details of what happened to you, you will find that there was a time where you had the extra cup of coffee, where if you hadn't, you wouldn't have met Person A.

When I look back in my life, I could find so many instances like that. And I had fun tracing some of them. And the course of your life depends on how you react to those opportunities and challenges that the randomness presents to you.

If you're awake and paying attention, you will find that things happen. They might seem good, they might seem bad but the important thing is how you reacted to it.

Dandelion seeds are dispersed by the wind.


See also: "Stochasticity," Radiolab

Sunday
Oct132013

The Universe is in Us

Astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was asked in an interview with TIME magazine, "What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?" This is his answer.

The Most Astounding Fact from Max Schlickenmeyer on Vimeo.


See also:

 

 

Friday
Sep162011

Behaving as Both a Wave and a Particle

"One of the most mysterious things about light, is that when you really get down to it -- and this is not just true of light, this is actually true of almost anything once you get on to a small enough, quantum mechanical level -- that light behaves as both a wave and a particle."

~ Sal Khan, from the Khan Academy tutorial "An Introduction to Light"

Saturday
Mar052011

The Range of Human Imagination

Analogies prove nothing, but they can make one feel more at home.

~ Sigmund Freud, from Introduction to Psychoanalysis

Excerpt from Once Before Time: A Whole Story of the Universe by Martin Bojowold:

Once theory pushes forward to a possible understanding of the big bang and the remaining universe, the temptation to explain the emergence of the universe itself becomes overwhelming. Interpretations of theories and their mathematical solutions concerning entire worldviews indeed offer a high degree of fascination. But in too direct and supposedly generally valid an interpretation there lies, especially in this case, a great danger—not least because theories relevant for such questions will for all foreseeable time remain in their infancy. Physics is, after all, even if we disregard its big sister philosophy, not alone in this business. And yet a comparison of different worldviews offers a certain charm, and certainly some knowledge, too.

One should not underestimate myths and what they can teach us about ourselves and the progress we have made. Take the Summer Palace in modern Beijing, a beautiful sprawling park built as the summer retreat of Empress Dowager Cixi. On a small island in a man-made lake, facing the Tower of Buddhist Incense and the Sea of Wisdom Temple on the slope of Longevity Hill which rises from the shore, stand the Hall of Embracing the Universe. It is a small, humble building in the style of its time, the fringes of its roof rising optimistically upward to aim at the sky. The Hall of Embracing the Universe tells us everything there is to know about humanity and the world: It was initially called the Hall of Watching the Moon Toad to honor its role in observing the moonrise; nowadays, the Hall of Embracing the Universe is a souvenir shop.

Hall of Embracing the Universe, completed in Emperor Qianlong's reign (1736-1795)

Surprisingly often, one can find parallels between ideas stemming from the most diverse traditions, an observation probably not hinting at an ember of truth but rather traceable back to the fact that the range of human imagination is despite its excesses, actually quite small.