Sir Francis Bacon smacks down Republican party front-runners

Advice for laying down the law of the land

A

s I watch the unfolding of the 2016 presidential election, I find myself wondering more and more where I can register to vote for the “scientific party?”

The electorate seems to want to focus primarily (only?) on the Judeo-Christian principles upon which our country was founded. Though I have no qualm with these principles, they seem to miss the firmer and primary base upon which the country was built at the dawn of the Age of Reason.

Sir Francis Bacon, (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626), English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist and author
in the preface to Novum Organum (1620)

 

Pourbus' Francis Bacon

Read the original 1620 edition in Latin

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Johns Hopkins on film: A guide to university cameos big and small

Some thoughts on movies that shot at Johns Hopkins University

“Homewood campus, Peabody Conservatory, East Baltimore campus have made cameos big and small over the years”

Source: Johns Hopkins on film: A guide to university cameos big and small

It’s almost like they write some of this stuff just for me. Though I was already aware of most of the movies they mentioned, they did miss a few:

Washington Square (1997) directed by Agnieszka Holland in Hollywood Pictures/Caravan Pictures production has a stunning cameo of the interior of the Peabody Library – this cameo is the only reason I vaguely remember the film at all.

The Johns Hopkins Science Review (1948-1955) This production is also particularly notable as being the television debut (October 8, 1951) of actor and alum John Astin who now heads the JHU Drama program and for whom the eponymous theater in the Merrick Barn is named.

Fratricide (1966) – A very independent short black and white film (with no credits) starring professor Richard Macksey that was produced by a group of students which included later Hollywood luminaries Walter Murch (who just a few years later co-wrote THX 1138 with George Lucas), Caleb Deschanel, and Matthew Robbins, who coincidentally co-wrote Crimson Peak with Guillermo del Torro which comes out in theaters today.

I have a nagging feeling there are a few more, but they’re just not coming to me at the moment…

By the way, for those suffering through Head of State, you should know in advance that the Shriver Hall scene doesn’t appear until the very end of the movie and then plays through the credits.

Johns Hopkins was a prettier more "college-y" campus, so it got cast over Harvard in "The Social Network."
More like Johns Hopkins, Fall 2009.  Johns Hopkins was a prettier more “college-y” campus, so it got cast over Harvard as Harvard in “The Social Network.”
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Winter Q-BIO Quantitative Biology Meeting February 15-18, 2016

Winter Q-BIO Quantitative Biology Meeting February 15-18, 2016 (w-qbio.org)
The Winter Q-BIO Quantitative Biology Meeting is coming up at the Sheraton Waikiki in Oahu, HI, USA

A predictive understanding of living systems is a prerequisite for designed manipulation in bioengineering and informed intervention in medicine. Such an understanding requires quantitative measurements, mathematical analysis, and theoretical abstraction. The advent of powerful measurement technologies and computing capacity has positioned biology to drive the next scientific revolution. A defining goal of Quantitative Biology (qBIO) is the development of general principles that arise from networks of interacting elements that initially defy conceptual reasoning. The use of model organisms for the discovery of general principles has a rich tradition in biology, and at a fundamental level the philosophy of qBIO resonates with most molecular and cell biologists. New challenges arise from the complexity inherent in networks, which require mathematical modeling and computational simulation to develop conceptual “guideposts” that can be used to generate testable hypotheses, guide analyses, and organize “big data.”

The Winter q-bio meeting welcomes scientists and engineers who are interested in all areas of q-bio. For 2016, the meeting will be hosted at the Sheraton Waikiki, which is located in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. The resort is known for its breathtaking oceanfront views, a first-of-its-kind recently opened “Superpool” and many award-winning dining venues. Registration and accommodation information can be found via the links at the top of the page.

Source: Winter Q-BIO Quantitative Biology Meeting

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Shinichi Mochizuki and the impenetrable proof of the abc conjecture

The biggest mystery in mathematics: Shinichi Mochizuki and the impenetrable proof of the ABC Conjecture by Davide Castelvecchi (Nature News & Comment)
A Japanese mathematician claims to have solved one of the most important problems in his field. The trouble is, hardly anyone can work out whether he's right.

The biggest mystery in mathematics

This article in Nature is just wonderful. Everyone will find it interesting, but those in the Algebraic Number Theory class this fall will be particularly interested in the topic – by the way, it’s not too late to join the class. After spending some time over the summer looking at Category Theory, I’m tempted to tackle Mochizuki’s proof as I’m intrigued at new methods in mathematical thinking (and explaining.)

The abc conjecture refers to numerical expressions of the type a + b = c. The statement, which comes in several slightly different versions, concerns the prime numbers that divide each of the quantities a, b and c. Every whole number, or integer, can be expressed in an essentially unique way as a product of prime numbers — those that cannot be further factored out into smaller whole numbers: for example, 15 = 3 × 5 or 84 = 2 × 2 × 3 × 7. In principle, the prime factors of a and b have no connection to those of their sum, c. But the abc conjecture links them together. It presumes, roughly, that if a lot of small primes divide a and b then only a few, large ones divide c.

Thanks to Rama for bringing this to my attention!

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Book Review: A Fatal Family Secret by Samantha Marks

A Fatal Family Secret (The Morphosis.me Files, Book #1) by Samantha Marks
A Fatal Family Secret Book Cover A Fatal Family Secret
The Morphosis.me Files, Book #1
Samantha Marks
Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Samantha Marks
May 10, 2015
Paperback
264

What if, with a simple thought, you could change everything about yourself? On the first day of high school, Kayleigh wishes she could be taller, curvier, and cooler. But when she discovers she’s a morph--shape-shifters who can become anyone or anything--the boundaries around personality, sexuality, and gender identity are blurred. Suddenly, everything is fair game. But there are those who want to control Kayleigh and her gifts. Overnight, she becomes a target, and surviving the school year means defending herself against cyber-bullies, learning to control her newfound powers, and hiding from the ancient secret society that kidnapped her mother. Morphing has consequences, and Kayleigh begins to realize that being able to change into anything can mean losing herself in the process. After all, in a world full of morphs, rules are meant to be broken...

This is a well-paced young adult novel that mixes a dose of interesting fantasy in an otherwise all-too-real teenage world. In the vein of classics like Dracula and Frankenstein that take adolescence and turn them into great fiction as well as well-veiled morality plays, this novel, with a much better and modernized version of the “Teen Wolf” plot or perhaps in the vein of “X-Men: The Teenage Years”, takes things up three notches by adding a dose of thriller/suspense in what portends to be an awesome four book series.

Typical teenage protagonist Kayleigh comes home one day to find her father bleeding and injured in an apparent home invasion that ultimate reveals her mother has been either kidnapped or killed. Struggling with the psychological fallout of losing her mother under more than suspicious circumstances, she faces the turmoils of puberty, relationships, and fitting in as a teenager in high school. Making things worse, she discovers, that like her mother, she’s a “Morph” with the ability to change her appearance into almost anyone she can imagine to even animals. Facing post traumatic stress disorder amidst teenagerdom, her new-found ability just compounds things and gives her some hope that her mother may not only be alive but that she may be able to find her — if she can withstand constant bullying from classmate Emma and a very mysterious and potentially threatening online stalker who seems to know her every move.

I can’t wait to see the next installment in November 2015.

Reading Progress
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