Archive for 10/28/2002

Marxism and Quantum Physics

I can’t believe I haven’t head about this, but apparently, in 1996, Alan Sokal, a physicist at NYU, wrote an article titled “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity“, in which he parodied cultural studies, postmodernism, and so on, writing a paper full of gibberish using dozens of Marxist, Socialist and other “Post-Modern” writers. The hillarious thing is that he actually got the paper published in a peer-review journal, “Social Text” — which as you might imagine, is full of such postmodern crap.

What’s really hilarious is that the paper is full of complete gibberish, yet makes fun of all the “post-modern” crap that has been popularized in academia, and shows how “a liberatory postmodern science” leads to blatant nonsense when subjectivism is applied to scientific knowledge.

Scientists Shake Hands over Internet: Porn Industry Interested

As this Reuters story reports, scientists are developing a way to “recreate the sense of touch” over the Internet.
Says Reuters:

“Pushing on the pen sends data representing forces through the Internet that can be interpreted by a phantom and therefore felt on the other end,” said Mel Slater, Professor of Computer Science at University College London (UCL).
“You can not only feel the resulting force, but you can also get a sense of the quality of the object you’re feeling — whether it’s soft or hard, wood-like or fleshy.”

I don’t think I need to point out that as soon as this technology becomes viable, the porn industry is going to explode, and we’ll all become mindless cyber-sex addicts.

In other news, it seems that there was a slight miscalculation in the amount of gas that was injected into the Russian theatre to free the hostages, killing at least 120 of the hostages by the toxic gas, while only one person died from being shot during the raid. I’m no fan of the terrorists, but I think the Russian government showed gross incompetence on many levels by not calculating the effects of the gas, not providing medical attention shortly after the raid, and then not informing the doctors of what the toxic agent actually was, so that they could provide the proper antidote. Afterwards, the Russian government refused to reveal the status of the hostages, the number dead, or the nature of the gas that was used, and told the doctors involved to stay mum or else. I think the general problem can be characterized as a complete disregard from human life by the Russian government, Soviet-style incompetence, and a disregard for free speech.