Real Clever Science

My name is Ari Einbinder. This is the journal of my travels into the realm of science and science education.
I've worked at science museums in NY (NYSCI and AMNH) and across Europe. Currently I'm studying "museology" (aka museum studies) at UW in Seattle, WA. I'm also one of Tumblr's Science Section editors.

I discuss anything that fascinates me, but popular topics include evolution, transhumanism (e.g BCI), futurism, psychology, quantum computing, climate change, sustainability, genetic engineering and occasionally politics - to name a few.

Enjoy!

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For a quick glance at previous posts, check out the Archive

Visit my website: RealCleverName.com
Tue Jan 8

bitesizedbiology asked: Entropy is one of those subjects that continually blows my mind. If you want to read more about negative temperatures, this is the best article I've found so far: "What the Dalai Lama can teach us about temperatures below absolute zero" from Empirical Zeal. I'd include the link, but Tumblr won't let me!

Thanks! Sounds interesting!

Mon Jan 7

Atoms Reach Record Temperature, Colder than Absolute Zero

So, this is kinda huge news. I’d really like to see more discussion of it, to validate that these findings are legit, and to hopefully explain it better cause right now it’s blowing my mind!

RCS Highlights:

Absolute zero is often thought to be the coldest temperature possible. But now researchers show they can achieve even lower temperatures for a strange realm of “negative temperatures.”..

This unusual advance could lead to new engines that could technically be more than 100 percent efficient, and shed light on mysteries such as dark energy, the mysterious substance that is apparently pulling our universe apart.

An object’s temperature is a measure of how much its atoms move — the colder an object is, the slower the atoms are. At the physically impossible-to-reach temperature of zero kelvin, or minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 273.15 degrees Celsius), atoms would stop moving. As such, nothing can be colder than absolute zero on the Kelvin scale.

Bizarro negative temperatures

To comprehend the negative temperatures scientists have now devised, one might think of temperature as existing on a scale that is actually a loop, not linear. …

At absolute zero, atoms would occupy the lowest energy state. At an infinite temperature, atoms would occupy all energy states. Negative temperatures then are the opposite of positive temperatures — atoms more likely occupy high-energy states than low-energy states…

"Yet the gas is not colder than zero kelvin, but hotter. It is even hotter than at any positive temperature — the temperature scale simply does not end at infinity, but jumps to negative values instead."

As one might expect, objects with negative temperatures behave in very odd ways… Another odd consequence of negative temperatures has to do with entropy, which is a measure of how disorderly a system is. When objects with positive temperature release energy, they increase the entropy of things around them, making them behave more chaotically. However, when objects with negative temperatures release energy, they can actually absorb entropy…

So, the whole article is really fascinating, but that idea about “absorbing entropy” is particularly interested for me. I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve always wondered if we could use natural entropy processes as a form of energy, since it directs events along certain paths. And yeah, maybe it is completely outlandish, but it’s fun to dream.

Sat Jan 5

fixingships asked: FYI, A woodchuck could chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

roryyy-williams asked: I have a question that will stump you, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

jabberwookiee asked: overlooked technologies - how about the contribution of textile technology to transit? from sails to saddle blankets to safety belts, textiles have made a significant contribution to travel that most people wouldn't think of.

Interesting point. In fact, textiles are a huge part of life in general and we probably fail to appreciate how much it effects our lives. Esp since we started creating synthetic materials. Thanks jabberwookiee!

sockhaven asked: Can you please follow me I love your account and am new to tumblr!! Thanks

I’m soo sorry, but I really can’t! I have a hard enough time keeping track of the ones I already follow - and am really way behind!

But I do encourage all the sock enthusiasts to check it out.

Cheers!

Anonymous asked: What do you think is a discovery that is often over looked but had a large impact on its field?

Figuring out how to make paper from tree pulp. (That’s the best I have offhand for such a surprising and excellent question.) Or maybe biblical criticism/archaeology.

How about you followers? Any ideas?

numbedd-deactivated20130521 asked: Your blog is absolutely amazing! xo

This is a wonderful idea, and not surprising from Carl Sagan. It kinds reminds me of the Tardis: Bigger on the inside, can take you anywhere in time and space. Yes, the mind, the imagination, they can build universes in our minds. It’s pretty amazing.
Sometimes I think of digital versions of this. It kinda blows my mind that we can generate virtual worlds, like in video games or whatever. They seem real (ish). They have space. Objects. Often natural laws, like those of physics. When you’re playing, you may feel like you’re walking around a place - someplace obviously much bigger than the screen or software.
And yeah, I obviously understand how it works, but there does seem to be something amazing about being able to create a huge (virtual) spaces inside of actually much smaller real spaces.
(I don’t think I can express it any better than that. Consider it more of an artistic feeling than a scientific thought.)

This is a wonderful idea, and not surprising from Carl Sagan. It kinds reminds me of the Tardis: Bigger on the inside, can take you anywhere in time and space. Yes, the mind, the imagination, they can build universes in our minds. It’s pretty amazing.

Sometimes I think of digital versions of this. It kinda blows my mind that we can generate virtual worlds, like in video games or whatever. They seem real (ish). They have space. Objects. Often natural laws, like those of physics. When you’re playing, you may feel like you’re walking around a place - someplace obviously much bigger than the screen or software.

And yeah, I obviously understand how it works, but there does seem to be something amazing about being able to create a huge (virtual) spaces inside of actually much smaller real spaces.

(I don’t think I can express it any better than that. Consider it more of an artistic feeling than a scientific thought.)

(Source: new-world-devestators, via cognitivedissonanzzz)

Fri Jan 4

lifeduality asked: The Lightening strike analogy works for randomness though right? Evolution as I've learned it is the environment favoring genetic mutations that help that species survive and reproduce. But those genetic mutations are in themselves random.

I’m not sure it’s exactly the same. But yes, evolution does have an element of randomness, but it is definitely an non-random process. It’s like playing backgammon: You don’t have control over the die, but you can decide how to use your moves. Mutations are random, but the environment decides what to do with them.

Cheers!

lol, I know it’s old but this still makes me laugh.

(Source: danieldaylois, via rebzzzz)

Thu Jan 3

jtotheizzoe asked: I don't like that lightning analogy. Evolution isn't random and it isn't rare and it isn't the path of least resistance, and it isn't even made of super-heated plasma. Nope.

I don’t think the analogy said that evolution is random or rare, but I do agree that the idea of “path of least resistance” can be confusing, though I do think it’s a legitimate way to understand it.

Basically, it’s the kind of analogy that could work for some but not for others. (Use with care?)

skepticalavenger:

Actually a pretty darned good analogy.

Indeed!
Though I could also see this analogy confusing someone without a good understanding of evolution. The point is: It’s not really random; it just had a very complex set of options determined by the environment. (Did I just make it more confusing?! lol)

skepticalavenger:

Actually a pretty darned good analogy.

Indeed!

Though I could also see this analogy confusing someone without a good understanding of evolution. The point is: It’s not really random; it just had a very complex set of options determined by the environment. (Did I just make it more confusing?! lol)

(Source: atheistfeeddotnet)

Wed Jan 2

Anonymous asked: I've kept up with scientific advances surrounding things resembling invisibility cloaks as well, but when a company has such a low quality website and must use poorly edited photos because they can't reveal their most valuable product, I am highly, highly skeptical. Not of the science, but of this particular claim to have mastered it.

Totally fair.