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From: [identity profile]
This may sound odd, but you're my first!
The first physicist I have ever "met" and spoken to at length (other than my High School/college science teachers).
So I will probably ramble on a bit here since, although I have some wonderful friends, as the only writer among them, I know almost no one who finds this stuff (philosophy, science, people, etc) as fascinating as I do.
What's after death? I can only speculate. Perhaps all things made of matter were not the first things in existence, even before the Big Bang. Stands to reason if a thing exists without any physical form, then no physical universe would be required for it (God or angels).
Sagan postulated a two dimensional universe (or he built on others' postulations), how about one with a single dimension? Or none at all (as we understand it)?
I certainly think it is more reasonable to consider that, if God and angels do exist, then they were here far ahead of anything else. This idea is preferable to me than the generally accepted Christian et. al. concept that God made "the heavens, the earth" and then the people - only to turn them all into angels after they die no matter how wicked they've been or even if they don't want to become an angel.
The immortality of the soul idea, and not actually a biblical idea, is also a concept with which I disagree. Are we physical creatures or aren't we? If we are, how could a physical body "contain" something non-physical? And if there is a non-physical soul, why in the world would it need to be confined to a physical body for any length of time in the first place?
I detest lazy religion.

Even their religious teachers don't really believe all this "Grandma's in heaven now, Suzie." stuff.
What priest hasn't "sent" even a gross sinner to heaven? Ever been to a funeral where someone was sent the other way? Me neither.
But since I obviously cannot confirm or refute any concept of spirit beings (other than what my eyes, mind, reasonable thought or proved science will support), for now I'm in a holding pattern.
Though I tend towards a belief in God, I also have grave doubts as to any particular religions personal edicts on God's actions (or presumed lack there-of). Until a few very serious things can be reasonably explained to me with reasonable evidence to support it, I shall hold my tongue.

The Janele character, yes. Sad as it is, I've encountered people like her. The only way they stay interested in life is to incite drama or conflict. They matter only if they can be the eye of a shit-storm; stir up misery for others or exact whatever just desserts they believe is due them.
Amazing how few people sit down and examine their own motives for the screwed-up things they repeatedly do to themselves and others.
It is hard to change, but all you really need (I agree with House on this) is a little more reason and whole lot less emotion.
Years ago there was an HIV positive man who traveled through Canada (can't recall where he was from), but he deliberately slept with dozens of women for the purpose of infecting them.
Power trip? Attempted murder in my opinion. (they did catch him).

From: [identity profile]
(^^) Glad to be your first then! I say the title "physicist" with reference to being a 4th year - meaning final-year undergraduate Masters - student of a MSci (Hons) Physics with Astrophysics degree. Technically, I have not graduated yet (although most of my friends have now left me, since they were on the Bachelors course), but we've been told that once into 2nd year it would be appropriate to term ourselves as physicists and I have been using the title since as such.

It's just personal opinion, but I do know some other physicists who share my observations, that physics and philosophy can come very close together at times - especially when one starts approaching the world of Quantum Mechanics, where you have to start thinking more abstractly (in the case of QM, trying to understand it using philosophical techniques as a placeholder is often the only way to grasp the inital theory of it, before applying physical knowledge).

If it makes any sense whatsoever, I am deep down, both consciously and unconsciously, an Atheist, but I would perhaps like to entertain the idea of Agnosticism (even though/but my rational and dominant mind will not let me), simply because the thought of "nothingness" terrifies me - the idea that I wouldn't be "aware" anymore. Please don't hold it against me. I'm basing my thoughts on 21 years of life experience, old enough, but still whimsical. One of my good friends helped a lot with that "fear" though, when he said to me, "Well... You didn't care before you wre born, so why would you care when you're dead?" :) An excellent point which has done much to alleviate me.

My thoughts on the subject aren't as well formed as yours, meaning I have opinions but I haven't thought all that deeply about it. What you have said regarding "why would unphysical beings generate a physical universe" make sense though, and was a view my father used to share. :D He used to half-jokingly hold the opinion that if there was an "afterlife" of a sort, it was simply a different dimension where physicalness didn't exist.

Until a few very serious things can be reasonably explained to me with reasonable evidence to support it, I shall hold my tongue.

Precisely my point-of-view. *glomps you* :DDDDDDD Which is epic, considering House's, "judging by the amount of natural disasters" comment. :DDD 'Nuff said.

Comment continued below due to LJ character limit - D'OH!!
From: [identity profile]
I am sad to say that even in my 21 years of life, I have come into contact with those same types of people you mentioned being similar to Janele.

Apologies, but I'm going to have to have to verbally expound on my personal life a little to explain certain points. I was actually born and raised in Dublin City (Republic of Ireland) you see, but my family moved to Belfast (Northern Ireland and part of the UK) when I was 12. I'm not sure how much you've heard of it in the US(?), but I have a friend in Canada whom I met a couple of years back who assured me that the whole unrest thing in Belfast was well known my those in Canada and presumably the States ("The States. :D The States, the States, the States. :D :D :D Oh~ America. Americaa~ha~~" XDDDD Name that tune).

Let's just say, when I moved up there things had calmed down a lot ("ceasefire" and all), but that due to some people like Janele, no one ever says/said particularly "sensitive" things. They still don't as a matter of fact - no-one wants to get their windows bricked. Self-censoring is still about, just encase you start rambling and complaining to the wrong person. I did have an easier time of it though, because I don't have an Irish accent. My ethinicity is mainly Chinese with some Russian on my father's side, so because neither of my parents were particularly brilliant at English, my mother used to tape Sesame Street for me as a toddler, which I would watch over and over. As a result, my accent has been termed American, Canadian, Mid-Atlanic, and "American with surprise-English/Irish" (the last one was due to an American friend who thought I was American until we had a huge "What?(o__O)"-"What?(O__o)" over the terms "rubbish bin" and "trash can" :P).

As for that HIV+ man, we had one over here too (in England I think) except as opposed to dozens of women, he deliberately seduced and slept with 3 married women whom already had kids and family. D: They caught him here too.


Date: 2009-08-31 06:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
One other thing wholly off-topic:
I am for certain more right-brain than left, though I find numbers and math a hauntingly seductive field of study.
As a physicist, I can only assume the ins and outs of mathematics is a subject you must be deeply familiar with; one you must need to make use of regularly.

My problem: my attempts over the years (I'm 46), to wrap my head around this subject have proved less than successful.
Yet give me week to myself, free and unfettered, and I will write you a novel without scribbling down a single note or missing nary a beat in rhythm, flow, continuity - I "see" the action, the words, the expressions, I "feel" the characters emotions, I am inside their heads and am part of the scenery also. I can write the thing forwards, backwards, with half my brain tied behind me.
But anything beyond simple fractions defeat me.
How can this be?
Is there any method you know of that can get these concepts across to a brain that works like mine does? How do I explain how my writer's brain works? Hmmm.
A jigsaw "novel" in pieces. They can spin around me in a disorganized, unrecognizable mess, but then I pluck them out of the air alone or on hand-fulls and put the damn novel together with the ease of eating a pie. I hardly have to think about it beyond an insight here or there.
I have an extraordinary memory, but sitting in math class in college (a course I HAD to take to get my certificate in health office administration), even with excellent teachers, my mind would start to blank and fret and fall behind. It was despairing.
My math teacher gave us three exams in various types of fractions over the course of six months. I studied and practiced my butt to the bone - but my mark went down with each exam.
Yet the exams were very similar.
The more I studied, the worse I did! 75%, 67%, 60%!!
(I stopped studying for fear I'd fail the Final).

My teacher said "You just don't have a head for math."
In everything else, I am an A-plus student, so I'm not sure I believe that statement.
In math I am always orbiting a C.
It's like being a great cook with a book of wonderful recipes all of which you've made plenty of times, except for just that ONE that for some insane reason you can't read.
I did extremely well in science and chemistry in high school: again, A-plus.

I ask this somewhat odd question of you because no one among my friends takes me seriously when I talk about it - but it bugs the hell out of me! Maybe this is a question you can pass along to one of your professors sometime, or discuss with your colleagues. Just maybe there's an answer out there somewhere. Or maybe it's a quirk in my brain that doesn't work just right. (My husband jokes about that - my adorable Mr.-Can't-Look-For-My-Keys-Until-My-Wife-Finds-Them-For-Me).

Just a thought. As I said, you're my first physicist. 8^)

(I'll be watching my In-box, but no pressure. ;^)

Re: also...:^)

Date: 2009-09-01 09:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I am for certain more right-brain than left, though I find numbers and math a hauntingly seductive field of study.

I took a quiz once, and I am far more left-brained that right it seems (19:11).

Anyways, onwards.

Math is a finicky subject, and while in my line of study there are many collegues and classmates who have an innate understanding and instant grasp of new mathematical concepts, I at least however, do not. As such, perhaps, if I may be as so bold as to say so, I am in a better position than most to offer advice, instead of an admitted genius who perhaps doesn't understand what is so difficult to fathom about the subject (I say this because I have had the experience of a mathematically brilliant classmate who did comment unthinkly/offhandedly to me once about the ease of higher mathematics and why some would possibly do physics if they weren't good at it, to which point I was not happy about).

A lot of the problem is mentality a well as the need for approaching maths from a different direction. Even as a child I detected that there was a pattern in mathematics, and not a rational pattern. The general consensus - or lament - of various schoolchildren around the globe is, "I hate maths". As children, even if we find maths interesting, we do begin to "hate" it and not look forward to it during timetabled classes because of that group/peer mentality. The opinions are not without reason though, and yes, math is difficult with when looking with the wrong coordinate set (that was a mathematical metaphor, which you might not get, but tell me if you want me to explain it! :D), but can be made easier with the right set.

I have an extraordinary memory, but sitting in math class in college (a course I HAD to take to get my certificate in health office administration), even with excellent teachers, my mind would start to blank and fret and fall behind. It was despairing.

Sometimes, some people can be geniuses at mathematics, but make the worst teachers ever. "Good and knowledgable at subject" does not necessarily translate to "good at passing on said knowledge in an effective way". People who aren't intrinsically understanding at mathematics require a different approach.

If there is one thing that I love about mathematics, it is this - black and white answers. As opposed to secondary school English or something of the sort, where an answer may have right and wrong points and may be argued, one of mathematics' strong points is its certainty. I learned to love it. :D You do a question/problem and your numerical answer is one of two things - right or wrong, no three ways about it. That does NOT mean to say that if you get an answer wrong they give you 0 marks - in mathematics they will give you "method marks" if you show your reasoning.

For me, just the knowledge that there is a purely 100% correct answer out there makes me smile. Even more than Physics, which is close to Mechanical Mathematics except with much more theory of the way the natural/physical world work, to me mathematics is the purest thing we humans can come close to understanding - Calculus especially, which fractions would be a part of. The rules of mathematics will not change. Theories may change, but the underlying math will not. *shrug* I had to learn and let myself love it.

That does not mean to say it isn't difficult, but at least then I had the right point of view.

Comment continued below due to LJ character limit.

Re: also...:^)

Date: 2009-09-01 09:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Typo: "why someone would possibly choose do physics if they weren't good at it [meaning maths], to which point I was not happy about". The implication was that one had to be "innately" good at maths to be good at physics, which is to an extent true, but I resented the comment.

Re: also...:^)

Date: 2009-09-01 09:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As the rules do not change, much of math is based on practice. Doing the same problems again, and again, and again, and again, and again... aaaaand so forth. :) Not to say you didn't do that, but just to say that it is indeed the way to do it. Reading about math from a book does not help; it requires pencil-to-paper and much use of an eraser until you get used to the "pattern" of the new concept you have been introduced to. As a rule, I rarely erase mistakes on my first go-throughs. I leave the mistakes there and just scribble cross them out so I can tangibly see what was wrong about the path I was going down before.

That being said though, lay out your work in some semblance of order. I don't mean it has to be perfect (far from it, you should the preliminary workings-out of physics/math problems), but it's very difficult to "tangibly see" what one is doing when one cannot make out what one was doing in the first place. Write nice and big and clear. :) Can't afford to be environmentally friendly with maths, much paper is used up by me on a regular basis! (=__=)

Another thing... I find those neat "square" ruled copy books for doing maths in very irritating, because it makes one want to fit all your workings out in said boxes. You'd be busy counting out the squares you need to line up the numbers for subtraction rather than focusing on the math. Use file paper instead, if you don't already - has more space and makes everything more raw and less focused on the neatness. I'm going to do some maths later and take pics of it and show you want I mean, because there's also a personal laying-out aspect to it that will help.

My math teacher gave us three exams in various types of fractions over the course of six months. I studied and practiced my butt to the bone - but my mark went down with each exam.
Yet the exams were very similar.
The more I studied, the worse I did! 75%, 67%, 60%!!

In my experience, the more you stress about mathematics, the worse it appears. When practicing, not just in exams, I'm betting there were problems you came across which you couldn't do. I find that the longer I look at a maths problem, the more distressed I get when I can't find the correct method to work it out, and I keep trying work around it or find another way to no avail. If it reaches that point, I leave it. Honest to House God, I just leave it (perhaps throw my hands up in the air or my pencil across the room) and go eat chocolate and watch TV. :D :D :D Serotonin rocks. I don't even think about the problem subconsciously, I actively and completely ignore it.

I go back and look (really, just look at with my eyes, not decipher) at the problem after several hours, and sometimes, just sometimes, that act will at least show me what "path" I was on prior to giving up, like a third person looking in on a problem someone else had left behind, at which point a new path might make it's way known in my brain. It's kind of like House looking at a whiteboard, in particular the example at the beginning of S3 where he was looking at the many years of symptoms the Kids had written down for the paralyzed man and basically got "stomache ache" out of it. :D

Date: 2009-12-18 02:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hey there! Hope you dont mind that I friended you, saw you around at the House_Wilson comm :)

Date: 2009-12-19 02:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm pretty sure you friended me already. :) I was the one who said that you were free to friend me, but to please not be offended if I didn't friend you back as I have personal rants on here, and also because all my fandom stuff is unlocked anyway. ;)


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