A Very Short Story For Physicists

March 15, 2013

Hogg’s Bison And the Dog Particle

Ducks quarked in the field where Farmer Hogg’s bison lived a strange and charmed life, until one day they found a particle of dog in their feed, and they strung up Hogg symmetrically.


More Technology Hangups

March 15, 2013

Further to my recent piece on issues with today’s technologically driven society, here are a couple more examples where problems (both serious and trivial) arise.

One of them comes from Simon Garfield’s wonderful book “On The Map” which I will be reviewing soon.  He talks about GPS, and notes:

GPS“The resulting maps also have an effect on the way we learn to see things.  When we’re looking at maps on our dashboard or on phones as we walk, we tend not to look around or up so much.  It is now entirely possible to travel many hundreds of miles … without having the faintest clue about how we got there.  A victory for GPS; a loss for geography, history, navigation, maps, human communication and the sense of being connected to the world all around us.” (p.384)

The second comes from my own experience this morning.  Until very recently, if one saw someone standing by themselves and talking out loud, it was not unreasonable to assume that they were, as my mother might say, “touched”.  There was just such a person in the library lobby today.  It was only when I got really close that I realised she was talking into a hands-free phone gizmo attached to her ear.  The loss in this case is not for the user, of course, but for those around them.