Real News vs Fake News: Michael Crichton on the ‘Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect’

michael-crichton

In an item this morning from Ed Driscoll

As the late Michael Crichton wrote:

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know. Read the rest of this entry »


Periodic Table

periodic-table


Seattle Science Teacher Concerned Students ‘weren’t learning about their own privilege’

pic_giant_021615_SM_Blackboard-DT

New High-School Physics Curriculum Includes Lessons on White Privilege

Katherine Timpfpage_2014_200_timpf writes: A high-school physics teacher has developed his own six-day curriculum that he uses to teach about institutional racism, privilege, and social justice as part of his seniors’ physics classes.rifkin

The teacher, Moses Rifkin of University Prep in Seattle, has also been promoting the lesson plan to other high-school science instructors.

“I was jealous of my colleagues in English and History who got to talk every day in class about society and how it worked and how to be moral and caring and kind, whereas those conversations with students only happened for me outside the classroom.”

John Burk, a math and physics teacher from Delaware, said that he learned about the curriculum when he met Rifkin at a People of Color Conference and gushed that it “brilliantly brings lessons about social justice, privilege, and institutional racism into the physics classroom.”

In fact, Burk loved the unit so much that he had Rifkin write a guest post about it in his (Burk’s) own blog, in which Rifkin explained:

Moses_Rifkin (3)

“I was jealous of my colleagues in English and History who got to talk every day in class about society and how it worked and how to be moral and caring and kind, whereas those conversations with students only happened for me outside the classroom.”

“That I was teaching at a private school only made matters worse: my students weren’t learning about their own privilege (academic and, in most cases, economic and racial),” Rifkin continued.

575x323xUniversity-Prep-575x323.jpg.pagespeed.ic.47k8NI7cyJ08KL-NIK6p

During one section of the course, Rifkin’s post explains, students study black physicists. For a homework assignment, he instructs students to learn about a pre-1950s black physicist and also a modern black physicist. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] A Feather and a Bowling Ball Dropped Together Inside the World’s Largest Vacuum Chamber

Physicist Brian Cox of the BBC Two program Human Universe recently visited NASA’s Space Power Facility outside of Sandusky, Ohio, the world’s largest vacuum chamber, to demonstrate the effects of air on falling objects. In the video, a feather and bowling ball are dropped at the same time in normal Earth conditions and after the air has been removed from the room.