Friday, June 17, 2011

The beginning, as we think of it now, is unlikely to have been the beginning.

Finally something worth reading at The Conversation.

Astrophysicist Geraint Lewis has written a piece which neatly points out that the Big Bang is a singularity. In this case a gravitational singularity at which the gravitational field becomes infinite.

The article notes;

But science is replete with singularities ... and all physicists know the presence of singularities means one thing above all else: you have pushed your scientific theory too far, and something has gone horribly wrong.

In other words the Big Bang isn't so much a theory as a mental note that we need a new theory. Hence the conclusion of the article;

The beginning, as we think of it now, is unlikely to have been the beginning.

There is another singularity in popular science - the so-called technological singularity at which machine "intelligence" (or processing capability) exceeds that of man. The term singularity has been chosen to reflect the idea that it is impossible to predict what happens at that point.

But that singularity is growing in its mythic status - and to those who intone this singularity as if it really presages some new disaster I say "The end as you think of it now is unlikely to be the end."


I introduced this piece with a throw away line about The Conversation. It trumpets itself as;

A New Approach to Journalism

Launched in March 2011, The Conversation is an independent source of information, analysis and commentary from the university and research sector. The site is in development and we welcome your feedback.

The first observation to make is it has NOTHING to do with "journalism", it is not reporting on the who, what, where and when. It is just one section of a newspaper - the opinion page.

In that it is really just the same as On-Line Opinion.

Both are reactions to the increasingly narrow range of views that are being invited to contribute to the Fairfax and News opinion pages. But neither is journalism.

The difference is that The Conversation restricts itself to a set of "privileged voices" from within academe - described as the "university and research sector". I guess I could claim - under my DigEcon Research hat - to fit that profile. But I doubt it.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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