Friday, 14 November 2008

Disproving Dato Seri Nazri Aziz

Imagine this. Dato Nazri Aziz says UMNO is CLEAN. UMNO is PURE. Imagine further, Nazri Aziz says:- ( Sakmongkol adapts this story from Carl Sagan)

"A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage"

Suppose sakmongkol makes such an assertion to you. Surely you'd want to check it out, see for yourself. There have been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!

"Show me," you say. Sakmongkol leads you to his garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle -- but no dragon.

"Where's the dragon?" you ask.

"Oh, she's right here," Sakmongkol replies, waving vaguely. "Sak neglected to mention that she's an invisible dragon."

You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon's footprints.

"Good idea," Sak says, "but this dragon floats in the air."

Then you'll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.

"Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless."

You'll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.

"Good idea, but she's an incorporeal dragon and the paint won't stick." And so on. Sakmongkol counters every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won't work.

Now, what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there's no way to disprove sakmongkol’s contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that sakmongkol’s dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate sakmongkol’s hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless...

Nazri Aziz does not define the term PURE and CLEAN. Pure as regards what? Clean in terms of what? What are the particular aspects you want us to test and disprove? Just don’t ask Sakmongkol to discuss String Theory.


Anonymous,  14 November 2008 at 14:41  

Hahaha, Pure & Clean, at least virginity can be tested right?

Mat Cendana 14 November 2008 at 19:48  

This is probably the kind of post that Mamasita had advised me not to write at my Cendana Blues blog - the kind that will stun most readers into silence:-) I had told her not to worry, because I wouldn't know "how to" even if I "want to" Haha!

But I hope you won't be discouraged by the lack of comments with this kind and discontinue. PLEASE DON'T! I enjoy reading this kind too, and I think so do many others. It's just that I (and probably these others too) don't know what to contribute or argue about concerning the subject matter.

Anyway, I do remember (the late) Carl Sagan - had researched on "UFO" before and I had come across him and read a few of his articles. This is the poster boy of "Scientific" (But I disagree with his views on "God", among other things).

You had mentioned "String Theory" - Is it connected to something about "how the universe came into being"? I seem to remember having read something about this from a print edition of Scientific American in 2006. And at the unlikely place of ... Pusat Serenti Gambang.

sakmongkol AK47 aka Mat Tomoi 14 November 2008 at 20:27  

haha mat c. i have forewarned not to ask me about string theory. perhaps people like walla or mat bangkai can explain what it is. all i know, it is a theory of everything- buy yet to be completed. it requires deep mathematics, which maybe the technical economists will understand. physiscists will of course find string theory a cinch to explain. ask them mat. haha

walla 15 November 2008 at 17:22  

Actually, by alluding to string theory in connection with disproving political statements made, sakmongkol has already shown deeper understanding of the whole matter than even he is aware of.

The fact of the matter is it will require solar-size technology to prove or disprove string theory as it stands. Maybe in the future it will fall into a black hole and some holographic information will seep out at the edges. The Hawking leakage, one may say.

What is string theory? As the readings below suggest, it's quite complicated but let's imagine sakmongkol's rapier sharp pen has such a needle-point nib that it makes a point on the paper. A point that is only one-dimension. What the theory suggests is that when you go down to the scale of ten to the power of thirty-three centimeter or so (i'm myopic so i may be wrong here), then what you will see is not a point-sized dot but a long string. Like the string that i am trying to thread this needle so that i can sew this button to keep my shorts from falling of. Or, if you wish, like the string that wriggled out of the kitchen sink the other night. And it has got legs. Anyway, where was i? Oh, the string. Well, the theory says this string vibrates. We know that how we ping a violin or guitar string will give out different notes. The theory says each different note from this super-incorporeal string is actually a fundamental particle of nature. Different notes, different particles.

Ah, a light appears in walla's head. Particles are strings which vibrate. Therefore mass is actually music. Which means when Inul gyrates, walla vibrates. QED.

So, when a politician makes a statement that he is all for change and all is clean, ask him first what is the frequency he's vibrating at. If it synchronizes with the tuning fork of the rakyat, play the music. If it doesn't, approve him for more dangdut sessions.

Why is string theory important? For years, the physicists knew there are four fundamental forces in the universe. They think if they can unify these four forces, they will be able to theoretically predict everything that happens in the physical world. In other words, to know the mind of the Almighty. String theory has been identified as one possible candidate to be the telephone line to Him. But what is the number to dial? One shall have to search hard. Maybe it's in a yet-to-be-published edition of the TMB yellow pages.

Something anecdotal and more human to end this short wallapedia on string theory. Three guys moved on it. Schwarz, Greene and Witten. It is Witten (and he is the first on the reading list below) which will warm sakmongkol. Witten was once voted by his class as the smartest kid in the universe. He didn't start with physics and maths but, of all subjects, history. Then he worked in politics (ahah!) as an assistant to McGovern. After the campaign, he took to physics with a vengeance, ending up in Princeton, where the profs are paid just to think. Soon his reputation grew. He became the most prolific expert in the field of string theory, coming out with fantastic discoveries year after year. On what motivated him to delve into this esoteric branch, he said it was because when he was doing his research, suddenly the property of gravity appeared as a necessary and integral part of the theory. In other words, this basic property which holds all of us to the ground was already hidden in that theory. In his excitement, he remarked that the theory (soon to grow to be called superstring theory followed by his own pioneering term, m-theory)was like 21st century physics falling back into the 20th century. Like a telephone call made to you before you even think of calling the caller.

For his remarkable mathematical prowess that reflected deep appreciation of physical principles couched in elegant formalism, Witten won the Fields medal, the maths equivalent of the nobel prize for the sciences.

Does he use any tools when he works? Apparently not. Just stare into space in his room and work out the maths in his head, occasionally writing out on the board those ideas:

If only all politicians will be equally precise, political science will be a precise science, and therefore open to nobel nominations.

It remains to ask were there others like him in the past and are there others like him in the present?

Einstein comes to mind. Stirred by the wonder of the perpetually north-pointing compass when he was small, he spent an entire lifetime trying to read the mind of the Almighty through his equations, never believing in the foggy probabilities that underpin quantum theory but always believing the Ancient One doesn't play dice with us. Was there another? Dirac, the swiss-english electrical engineer of Bristol who sat in the Newton chair before Hawking. Dirac it was who was named the nobel physicist most admire by CN Yang, the Chinese nobel laureate who visited KL years back. Dirac was known to be a man of few words. After one of his lectures, someone asked by saying: 'Professor Dirac, i don't understand that part when you said...' Dirac stood silent until it was so embarrassing the organizer offered to repeat the question to him. His reply was :'oh, that was a statement made, not a question, so i can't answer.' Dirac once remarked that the equations must be beautiful and if they are not, continue doing the experiment until the data fit the theory.' One recalls that Rutherford of New Zealand also had that gallant but opposite way at Cambridge. When he was stuck in deriving some equation, he would gloss over it just to continue until it fitted his experimental conclusions.

Finally, one physicist needs to be mentioned. Feynman, the american wizard whose three volume Lectures on Physics out of his teachings at Caltech i keep in my hard disk (somewhere next to Landau of Russia's volumes). He it was who created a breakthrough in ideation by saying everything is possible and happens at the same time but...

This is just an anguishingly long divertissement on a rainy weekend afternoon. Alas, the pink mop beckons again for the old chemist to go and do the old chore all over again, leaving behind friends (he hopes) to ponder and cogitate the mysteries of string theory. He hears the roar of an engine. Is it a supermarine spitfire? Has Mat Bangkai arrived too?

It is of course not just string theory we have been discussing. It is also about the importance of having a solid foundation to build a solid framework that stacks one achievement on top of another in the procession of time bejewelled by the constantly probing minds of masters. Whether they came from history, or engineering, or even economics or law, it matters not. Progress based on common ideals in pursuit of the eternal. That will lift politics. And the course of our own humanity.

(i was top in the nation for natural products chemistry but that was so long ago; now it comes back but only as the next cup of tongkat ali coffee).


(specially for Mat Cendana - ask away, i left my heart at Pantai Cinta Berahi so many moons ago):

sakmongkol AK47 aka Mat Tomoi 15 November 2008 at 17:58  

thanks for the material by witten. have to revise my maths now. haha. ok on to CN Yang

walla 15 November 2008 at 19:06  

Veltman has arrived at your box, sakmongkol.

But it is not Veltman alone who is interesting in our journey into the unknown. It is his collaborator as well. T'Hooft.

But it is not only T'Hooft that we should pay attention to.

It's also this thing called 'oxford analytica'. Select, notify, await and replace that maschinengewehr.

But if that fails, there is always Wacker's "500 Year Delta".

The old chore has been despatched with the usual clinical efficiency so there's time to while away. Again.

Mat Cendana 17 November 2008 at 05:45  

It is also about the importance of having a solid foundation to build a solid framework that stacks one achievement on top of another in the procession of time bejewelled by the constantly probing minds of masters. Whether they came from history, or engineering, or even economics or law, it matters not. Progress based on common ideals in pursuit of the eternal. That will lift politics. And the course of our own humanity.

I don't half (or even one-tenth) understand the basics of the String Theory part. Nor did I expect to. But the last parts I understand well enough. And the line that I have made bold is something worth pondering.

It is my belief that finding common ideals isn't difficult at all. People, regardless of things like nationalities, race and religion do share "enough" common ideals.

The problem starts when it comes to "prioritising" these common ideals. And ironically, incidents a lot worse than arguments and quarrels have happened when various parties can't decide on which IDEALS to pursue!

Personally, I'm sticking with these Basic Three of "HOW" as recommended by the fellowships of Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous. BTW one need no be an active or recovering alcohol/drug user to benefit from these for they are universal - Honesty, Open-Mindedness, Willingness.

Get these three right and the ideals will naturally follow; and we will know which ones to pursue at any given moment. Whenever we see problems between individuals, groups or countries, try evaluating the above three - their presence or lack of.

(specially for Mat Cendana - ask away, i left my heart at Pantai Cinta Berahi so many moons ago):

A lament that is mysterious and enticing by Walla, which naturally results in `journalists' from the "tabloid and URTV-type" of blogs sitting at the edge of their seats (Mat Cendana is from the "politics-meets-entertainment" type of blogs)

BTW Walla: The stars are either with or against me from 15 Nov 7 PM onwards - which, I don't really know ... couldn't get my Celcom GPRS to receive signals faster than 1Kbps. Well, it would have been churlish of me to simply ignore links that you had thoughtfully provided, but I just couldn't.

At the same time, I'm worried they would be *documents* (I'm 99.9% sure they won't be *pictures* of the likes of Mas Idayu and others of her scientific bent) that would have sentences like this:

"The quarks and gluons slowed down so much that some of them could begin sticking together briefly. After nearly 10 microseconds had elapsed, the quarks and gluons became shackled together by strong forces between then, locked up permanently within protons, neutrons and other strongly interacting particles that physicists collectively call `hadrons'."

My current mental condition calls me to avoid things like this:-) But I'm game enough to TRY understand this and similar topics "when conditions are right". And I'm actually from the "non-science/mathematics" group with not much foundation (got F9 for Maths in the MCE)

I had actually read the above a few times - from "the first few MICROSECONDS" in Scientific American May 2006; about "physicists replicating conditions of the infant universe - with starling results".

And I was also impressed with the writer's description of it - he actually makes it sound exciting (which it is). This ability and command of the English language is something which I'm sure people like you, Sakmongkol, Zaharan Razak, Mat Bangkai etc will appreciate.

[BTW a kind and generous friend - an American in Korea - had sent a few copies of that plus other magazines and books to me when I was at Gambang in 2006]

Unfortunately, right now I'm too harassed - pursuing different topics all at the same time in the name of "cari makan" ("interested" also plays a part; else I won't be doing it, making a living or not). So, it was probably my good fortune not to be further weighted
down by some heavy-duty readings:-)

[Mat Cendana had faced connection problems with his Celcom Mobile claimed to be-Broadband since 7PM Saturday 15 Nov. This comment was typed using NoteTab Light - a freeware text editor that is among his "desert island must-have tools" that he's emotionally attached to]

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