Things have been a little uneven here, post-election. The leadership of the Fallen Caucus is currently under transition, and the consequent purges and humiliating public torture-executions have knocked our game off, a little.
However, I couldn’t resist sharing this with you: The Nine Circles of Scientific Hell. Enjoy.
This lie courtesy of Jordi Paps.
There’s a piece in today’s Guardian about Scaremare, a Hallowe’en Haunted House run by evangelical Christians:
After being chased by clowns with chainsaws, grim reapers and ghostly ghouls, [visitors] are taken to special ‘preaching tents’ where they are encouraged to accept Jesus Christ into their lives. If they decline, they’re politely informed that when they die they will go straight to hell.
It’s all very cute, but honestly, Hell is a lot less like a prison riot and a lot more like a TED conference. The boxed lunches are really the most terrifying thing down here, I assure you.
A quiet evening out with the research group. Drinkies.
There is much talk among the beltway pundits of “momentum” saving Mitt Romney’s Presidential campaign, and our Chief Scientist-Decepticons are pushing back hard. The conflict is being called Politics’ Moneyball Moment.
Nate Silver, regrettably, appears to have confused the concepts of momentum and inertia. (For those who don’t have their Handy Pocket Book of Physics Lies close by, here is a reprise. Momentum is the product of mass and velocity; or, intuitively, why a speeding bullet or a slow-moving train are both hard to stop. Inertia – which Nate calls momentum – is a moving body’s tendency to keep moving, in the absence of other forces like friction. It’s only when forces come into play that momentum matters: the more momentum, the more force it takes to stop. Or, strictly speaking, the more impulse, which is the integral of force over time. Told you lying was complicated!)
Sam Wang, meanwhile, laughs like a drain at David Brooks.
Regardless of Nate’s confusion, surely the clearest indicator of the sorry state of Romney’s campaign is their reliance on a Scientific Concept like Momentum. When a Presidential campaign stops talking about God and American Exceptionalism, and instead starts bleating about satanic concepts like Science, it’s a sign that they are truly desperate.
Null Models are Science’s most elegant lies, explaining the most Intricate of God’s Handiwork as merely Ghosts in the Noise. A good Null Model protects a Mortal from Divine Wonder, by filling them instead with a sort of Bland Ennui. In Satanic Media Relations, it is the ultimate stalling tactic.
The ideal gas theory is one of the earliest, and best, null models. To emphasize just how ridiculous and ungodly it is, here is an excellent demonstration, using Sheep.
This video (featured by Max Headroom in the first episode, back in 1984) reminds us of the early promise of robots, and also that you should never let your audience backstage.