"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Friday, October 02, 2009

"It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid." - George Bernard Shaw

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Steven Weinberg on Physics Imperialism (claiming all other branches of Science are subordinate to Physics):

"So far, I have been speaking in a style that is sometimes called physics imperialism. That is, the physicist provides a set of laws of nature that explain everything else and all the other sciences appear to be offshoots of physics. I want, at least in part, to disavow this. I do believe there is a sense in which everything is explained by the laws of nature and the laws of nature are what physicists are trying to discover. But the explanation is an explanation in principle of a sort that doesnt in any way threaten the autonomy of the other sciences. We see this even within physics itself. The study of statistical mechanics, the behavior of large numbers of particles, and its applications in studying matter in general, like condensed matter, crystals, and liquids, is a separate science because when you deal with very large numbers of particles, new phenomena emerge. To take an example I have used elsewhere, even if you tried the reductionist approach and plotted out the motion of each molecule in a glass of water using equations of molecular physics to follow how each molecule went, nowhere in the mountain of computer tape you produced would you find the things that interested you about the water, things like turbulence, or temperature, or entropy. Each science deals with nature on its own terms because each science finds something else in nature that is interesting. Nevertheless, there is a sense that the principles of statistical mechanics are what they are because of the properties of the particles out of which bodies are composed. Statistical mechanics does not have principles that stand alone and cannot be deduced from a deeper level.

As it happens, that deeper level has usually been a more microscopic level. If we ask any question about nature—why the sky is blue or the grass is green—and keep asking why, why, why, we will get a series o answers that generally takes us down to the level of the very small.

There is a sense in which the kind of thing that elementary particle physicists study is especially fundamental, hut in no way does it threaten the separate existence or the special importance of other sciences. Because we physicists think we are moving toward the final answer, the work we are doing is not necessarily more worthy of support than the work of other scientists."
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