Science

 

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Chapter 2

  1. In geometry, a triangle center is a point in the plane that is in some sense akin to the centers of squares and circles. For example, the centroid, circumcenter, incenter and orthocenter were familiar to the ancient Greeks, and can be obtained by simple constructions. Each of them has the property that it is invariant under similarity. In other words, it will always occupy the same position (relative to the verticies) under the operations of rotation, reflection, and dilation. Consequently, this invariance is a necessary property for any point being considered as a triangle center.

Chapter 3

  1. In economics, the “Freshwater” school (or sometimes “Sweetwater” school) comprises macroeconomists who, in the early 1970s, challenged the prevailing consensus in macroeconomics research. Key elements of their approach were that macroeconomics had to be dynamic, quantitative, and based on how individuals and institutions make decisions under uncertainty. Many of the proponents of this radically new approach to macroeconomics were associated with the University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Rochester, and the University of Minnesota. They were referred to as the “freshwater school” since Chicago, Pittsburgh, Rochester, and Minneapolis are located nearer to the Great Lakes. The established consensus was primarily defended by economists at the universities and other institutions located near the east and west coast of the United States, such as Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, and Yale. They were therefore often referred to as the saltwater schools.
  2. In physics, the electric dipole moment is a measure of the separation of positive and negative electrical charges in a system of charges; that is, a measure of the charge system’s overall polarity.

Chapter 4

  1. The coenzyme Q\: cytochrome c — oxidoreductase, sometimes called the cytochrome bc1 complex, and at other times Complex III, is the third complex in the electron transport chain, playing a critical role in biochemical generation of ATP (oxidative phosphorylation). Complex III is present in the mitochondria of all animals and all aerobic eukaryotes and the inner membranes of most eubacteria.
  2. In geometry, a glide reflection is a type of isometry of the Euclidean plane: the combination of a reflection in a line and a translation along that line. Reversing the order of combining gives the same result.

Chapter 5

  1. When the pH of acid mine drainage is raised past three, either through contact with fresh water or neutralizing minerals, previously soluble Iron ions precipitate as Iron hydroxide, a yellow-orange solid colloquially known as Yellow Boy. Other types of iron precipitates are possible, including iron oxides and oxyhydroxides. All these precipitates can discolor water and smother plant and animal life on the stream bed, disrupting stream ecosystems.
  2. The Banach–Tarski paradox is a theorem in set theoretic geometry which states that a solid ball in three-dimensional space can be split into a finite number of non-overlapping pieces, which can then be put back together in a different way to yield two identical copies of the original ball. A stronger form of the theorem implies that given any two “reasonable” objects (such as a small ball and a huge ball), either one can be reassembled into the other. This is often stated colloquially as “a pea can be chopped up and reassembled into the Sun.”

Chapter 8

  1. A geodesic dome is a spherical or partial-spherical shell structure or lattice shell based on a network of great circles (geodesics) on the surface of a sphere. The geodesics intersect to form triangular elements that have local triangular rigidity and also distribute the stress across the structure
  2. Buckminsterfullerene (or buckyball) is a spherical fullerene molecule with the formula C60. It has a cage-like fused-ring structure (Truncated icosahedron) which resembles a soccer ball, made of twenty hexagons and twelve pentagons, with a carbon atom at each vertex of each polygon and a bond along each polygon edge. The name is a homage to Buckminster Fuller, as C60 resembles his trademark geodesic domes. Buckminsterfullerene is the most commonly naturally occurring fullerene molecule, as it can be found in small quantities in soot.

Chapter 10

  1. A tunnel boring machine (TBM) also known as a “mole” is a machine used to excavate tunnels with a circular cross section through a variety of soil and rock strata. They can bore through anything from hard rock to sand. Tunnel diameters can range from a meter (done with micro-TBMs) to 19.25 meters to date.
  2. In geometry, a golden rectangle is a rectangle whose side lengths are in the golden ratio, which is approximately 1:1.618.

Chapter 11

  1. In mathematics, modular arithmetic (sometimes called clock arithmetic) is a system of arithmetic for integers, where numbers “wrap around” after they reach a certain value—the modulus.
  2. Number stations are shortwave radio stations of uncertain origin. In the 1950s, Time magazine reported that the numbers stations first appeared shortly after World War II and were using a format that had been used to send weather data during that war. Numbers stations generally broadcast artificially generated voices reading streams of numbers, words, letters (sometimes using a spelling alphabet), tunes or Morse code. They are in a wide variety of languages and the voices are usually female, although sometimes men’s or children’s voices are used.
  3. VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet program available for personal computers. It is often considered the application that turned the microcomputer from a hobby for computer enthusiasts into a serious business tool.

Chapter 13

  1. The Eastern Small-Footed Myotis (Myotis leibii) or Eastern Small-footed Bat is a species of vesper bat in the family Vespertilionidae. It can be found in Ontario and Quebec in Canada and in the eastern United States. It is among the smallest bats in eastern North America.

Chapter 14

  1. Progeria (Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome, HGPS, progeria syndrome) is an extremely rare genetic disorder wherein symptoms resembling aspects of aging are manifested at a very early age. Progeria is one of several progeroid syndromes. The word progeria comes from the Greek words “pro” meaning “before” or “premature” and “gēras” meaning “old age”. The disorder has a very low incidence rate, occurring in an estimated 1 per 8 million live births. Those born with progeria typically live to their mid teens to early twenties. It is a genetic condition that occurs as a new mutation, and is rarely inherited, as patients usually do not live to reproduce. Although the term progeria applies strictly speaking to all diseases characterized by premature aging symptoms, and is often used as such, it is often applied specifically in reference to Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS).
  2. The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) from Earth, as part of the solar system Family Portrait series of images. In the photograph, Earth is shown as a tiny dot (0.12 pixel in size) against the vastness of space. The Voyager 1 spacecraft, which had completed its primary mission and was leaving the Solar System, was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and to take a photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space, at the request of Carl Sagan.

Chapter 16

  1. In 1989, the international pharmaceutical company AstraZenica began selling a drug called Omeprazole under the brand name Prilosec. It is a proton pump inhibitor, and it was marketed as a treatment for heartburn, peptic ulcer disease, and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Two years before the patent expired, AstraZeneca changed the formulation slightly and started selling it as a new patented drug, Nexium. What the drug company did not want was for consumers to stay with Prilosec, essentially identical to the new drug, once the old drug came off patent and the price collapsed. This strategy worked. Nexium costs $2,000 for a year’s supply. This is scandalous in a number of ways. First, Nexium is little different from Prilosec, which can be purchased for $13.50 for a month’s supply. The difference is, one version is patented and the other is not. But even worse, acid blockers like Prilosec and Nexium incorrectly treat most people’s stomach problems, including heartburn and GERD, by turning off acid production. While it seems counterintuitive, recent studies suggest that the problem for most stomach sufferers is not too much stomach acid, but too little. Other maladies—bloating, belching, constipation, indigestion, and even thinning hair or breaking fingernails in women—may also be the result of too little acid. So antacids may actually be making the problem worse. If antacids and acid blockers are a cause rather than a cure for stomach problems, this would rank as one of the major medical errors of history.
    - From The Little Purple Pill Problem, The Alliance For Natural Health.

Chapter 17

  1. Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher’s stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base metals into the noble metals gold or silver, as well as an elixir of life conferring youth and longevity. Western alchemy is recognized as a protoscience that contributed to the development of modern chemistry and medicine. Alchemists developed a framework of theory, terminology, experimental process and basic laboratory techniques that are still recognizable today. But alchemy differs from modern science in the inclusion of Hermetic principles and practices related to mythology, magic, religion, and spirituality.

Chapter 18

  1. Bisphenol A (BPA) is an organic compound belonging to the group of diphenylmethane derivatives and bisphenols. BPA is used to make certain plastics and epoxy resins; it has been in commercial use since 1957. BPA-based plastic is clear and tough, and is used to make a variety of common consumer goods (such as baby and water bottles, sports equipment, and CDs and DVDs) and for industrial purposes, like lining water pipes. Epoxy resins containing BPA are used as coatings on the inside of many food and beverage cans. It is also used in making thermal paper such as that used in sales receipts. BPA exhibits hormone-like properties that raise concern about its suitability in consumer products and food containers. Since 2008, several governments have questioned its safety, which prompted some retailers to withdraw polycarbonate products. A 2010 report from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned of possible hazards to fetuses, infants, and young children. In September 2010, Canada became the first country to declare BPA a toxic substance. The European Union, Canada, and recently the United States have banned BPA use in baby bottles.
  2. A Lilian date is the number of days since the beginning of the Gregorian Calendar on October 15, 1582, regarded as Lilian date 1. It is named for Aloysius Lilius who devised the Gregorian Calendar. It was invented by Bruce G. Ohms of IBM in 1986.

Chapter 19

  1. “I am fond of using the example of a wink as a form of massive data compression in human-to-human communication between intimate friends. In effect, this is one bit transmitted through the ether that could require at least 100,000 bits to explain to a third person. At that compression ratio we could transmit more than ten channels of NTSC television over a 300-baud modem.”
    - Nicolas Negroponte, Wired Magazine, Issue 1.03, July, 1993

Chapter 20

  1. Orthoptera is an order of insects with paurometabolous or incomplete metamorphosis, including the grasshoppers, crickets, cave crickets, Jerusalem crickets, katydids, weta, lubber, Acrida, and locusts. Many insects in this order produce sound (known as a “stridulation”) by rubbing their wings against each other or their legs, the wings or legs containing rows of corrugated bumps.
  2. The flehmen response is a behavior whereby an animal curls back its upper lips exposing its front teeth, inhales with the nostrils usually closed and then often holds this position for several seconds. It may be performed over a site or substance of particular interest to the animal (e.g., urine or feces) or may be performed with the neck stretched and the head held high in the air. Flehmen is performed by a wide range of mammals including ungulates and felids. The behavior facilitates the transfer of pheromones and other scents into the vomeronasal organ located above the roof of the mouth via a duct which exits just behind the front teeth of the animal.
  3. Decomposition in air is roughly twice as fast as it is underwater, and about four times as fast as underground. A living person has almost the same density as water, which is why dead bodies sink initially. Then the bacterial decomposition of sugars and proteins in the tissues begins, mainly coliforms, Clostridium, Psedomonas and Proteus species. The bacteria excrete gases carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide which inflate some body parts, mainly the face, abdomen and male genitals, and which eventually causes the body to float. Bodies usually remain underwater for between one and two weeks, although this varies widely and some bodies never come up at all.
  4. A Van de Graaff generator is an electrostatic generator which uses a moving belt to accumulate very high amounts of electrical potential on a hollow metal globe on the top of the stand. It was invented by American physicist Robert J. Van de Graaff in 1929. The potential difference achieved in modern Van de Graaff generators can reach five megavolts. A tabletop version can produce on the order of 100,000 volts and can store enough energy to produce a visible spark.
  5. In using the term “Tweedles,” Alex has been insulting the men with a double-entendre. In particle physics, preons are “point-like” particles, conceived to be subcomponents of quarks and leptons. The word was coined by Jogesh Pati and Abdus Salam in 1974. Interest in preon models peaked in the 1980s but has slowed as the Standard Model of particle physics continues to describe the physics mostly successfully, and no direct experimental evidence for lepton and quark compositeness has been found. A number of physicists have attempted to develop a theory of “pre-quarks” (from which the name preon derives) in an effort to justify theoretically the many parts of the Standard Model that are known only through experimental data. Other names which have been used for these proposed fundamental particles (or particles intermediate between the most fundamental particles and those observed in the Standard Model) include prequarks, subquarks, maons, alphons, quinks, rishons, tweedles, helons, haplons, Y-particles, and primons. Preon is the leading name in the physics community. Alex prefers tweedle.

Chapter 21

  1. Deep time is the concept of geologic time. John McPhee discussed “deep time” at length in his 1981 book, Basin and Range, parts of which originally appeared in The New Yorker magazine. One of the metaphors McPhee used in explaining the concept of deep time was cited in Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle by Gould: “Consider the Earth’s history as the old measure of the English yard, the distance from the King’s nose to the tip of his outstretched hand. One stroke of a nail file on his middle finger erases human history.”
  2. An indiction is a period of time equal to fifteen years.
  3. Giardia is a genus of anaerobic flagellated protozoan parasites of the phylum Retortamonada in the supergroup “Excavata” that colonize and reproduce in the small intestines of several vertebrates, causing giardiasis. Giardia is distributed worldwide in lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. It is even found in high quality water sources with no municipal wastewater discharges. All surface waters probably contain Giardia, and as a result it is no longer safe to drink from natural water sources in most parts of the world without first treating the water by boiling, or though the addition of purifying agents such as iodine.
  4. Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae. The mass of hyphae is sometimes called shiro, especially within the fairy ring fungi. Fungal colonies composed of mycelium are found in and on soil and many other substrates.
  5. Vitiligo is a condition in which white patches develop on the skin. Any location on the body can be affected and most people with vitiligo have white patches on many areas of the body.
  6. From Christian Schubart’s Ideen zu einer Aesthetik der Tonkunst (1806) Humorism, or humoralism, is a now discredited theory of the makeup and workings of the human body, adopted by Ancient Greek and Roman physicians and philosophers, positing that an excess or deficiency of any of four distinct bodily fluids known as humors in a person directly influences their temperament and health. From Hippocrates onward, the humoral theory was adopted by Greek, Roman and Persian physicians, and became the most commonly held view of the human body among European physicians until the advent of modern medical research in the nineteenth century. The four humors of Hippocratic medicine are black bile (Gk. melan chole), yellow bile (Gk. chole), phlegm (Gk. phlegma), and blood (Gk. haima), and each corresponds to one of the traditional four temperaments. A humor is also referred to as a cambium (pl. cambia or cambiums).
  7. Dissociatives are a class of hallucinogen, which distort perceptions of sight and sound and produce feelings of detachment - dissociation - from the environment and self. This is done through reducing or blocking signals to the conscious mind from other parts of the brain. Although many kinds of drugs are capable of such action, dissociatives are unique in that they do so in such a way that they produce hallucinogenic effects, which may include sensory deprivation, dissociation, hallucinations, and dream-like states or trances. Some, which are non-selective in action and affect the dopamine and/or opioid systems, may be capable of inducing euphoria.
  8. Chimpanzees use a distinctive “pant-hoot” call when arriving into a group.
  9. Cooperative mate guarding by males is unusual in mammals and birds, largely because fertilizations are non-shareable. Chimpanzees live in fission-fusion communities that have cores of philopatric males who cooperate in inter-group aggression and in defending access to the females in their community. Male contest mating competition is restrained within communities, but single high-ranking males sometimes try to mate guard estrous females.
    - “Coalitionary Mate Guarding by Male Chimpanzees at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda,” Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, October 1998, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 43-55.

Chapter 22

  1. The reptilian complex, also known as the R-complex or “reptilian brain” was the name MacLean gave to the basal ganglia, structures derived from the floor of the forebrain during development. The term derives from the fact that comparative neuroanatomists once believed that the forebrains of reptiles and birds were dominated by these structures. MacLean proposed that the reptilian complex was responsible for species-typical instinctual behaviors involved in aggression, dominance, territoriality, and ritual displays.

Chapter 23

  1. Most Christian denominations profess the Nicene Creed, which affirms the “resurrection of the dead”; most English versions of the Nicene Creed in current use include the phrase: “We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.” Both “resurrection of the dead” and “world to come” are phrases found in Christian Bibles.
  2. Resurrection, c.1300, originally the name of a Church festival commemorating Christ’s rising from death, from Anglo-French resurrectiun, Old French resurrection “the Resurrection of Christ” (12c.) and directly from Church Latin resurrectionem (nominative resurrectio) “a rising again from the dead,” noun of action from past participle stem of Latin resurgere “rise again, appear again” (see resurgent). Replaced Old English æriste.
  3. “Results[…]indicate subjects hold a general bias on all of the traits measured by the semantic differential items:  the wealthy church member was seen as being a better person, both secularly and spiritually, than the poorer  counterpart. These findings are consistent with previous research in two primary ways. First, individuals with conservative political outlooks ( note that this sample was overwhelmingly Republican) tend to attribute wealth in others to personal characteristics and abilities rather than  to external variables such as luck or societal determinants (see Furnham, 1983). Second, current results underscore the statements of previous researchers who assert that individualism is the predominant explanation for wealth and poverty in America (Feagin, 1975; Free & Cantril, 1967; Huber & Form, 1973; Kluegel & Smith, 1986; Smith, 1985). Within a religious framework, individualism appears to take the form of a belief which asserts that people are personally  responsible for their prosperity and position in life via their obedience to God; that is, obedience to  God’s laws brings about prosperous circumstances, and disobedience are all aspects of pious behavior which are considered to be under one’s control. Accordingly, each of these variables (except disobedience)   was rated higher for the wealthy vignette, suggesting that in some theistically-oriented belief systems, wealth and prosperity are seen as evidence of one’s history of behaving in a virtuous, observant, upright fashion.”
  4. Roger Bacon O.F.M. (c. 1214–1294) was an English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empirical methods. He is sometimes credited, mainly starting in the nineteenth century, as one of the earliest European advocates of the modern scientific method inspired by Aristotle and later Arabic scholars, such as those of Muslim scientist Alhazen.
  5. Several authors have written that J.B.S. Haldane (1892–1964) said that the discovery of a fossil rabbit in Precambrian rocks would be enough to destroy his belief in evolution. However, these references date from the 1990s or later. In 1996 Michael J. Benton cited the 1993 edition of Mark Ridley’s book Evolution, Richard Dawkins wrote in 2005 that Haldane was responding to a challenge by a “Popperian zealot.” In 2004 Richa Arora wrote that the story was told by John Maynard Smith (1920–2004) in a television program. John Maynard Smith attributed the phrase to Haldane in a conversation with Paul Harvey in the early 1970s.
  6. In the late nineteenth century, luminiferous aether, ther or ether, meaning light-bearing aether, was the postulated medium for the propagation of light. Following the negative outcome of aether-drift experiments like the Michelson–Morley experiment, the concept of aether as a mechanical medium having a state of motion lost adherents. It has been replaced in modern physics by the theory of relativity and quantum theory.
  7. The miasma theory (also called the miasmatic theory) held that diseases such as cholera, chlamydia, or the Black Death were caused by a miasma, a noxious form of “bad air,” also known as “night air.” The theory held that the origin of epidemics was due to a miasma, emanating from rotting organic matter. The miasma theory was accepted from ancient times in Europe, India, and China. The theory was eventually displaced in the nineteenth century by the discovery of germs and the germ theory of disease.
  8. “The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.”
    - Carl Sagan, Cosmos
  9. A phage is a virus that is parasitic in bacteria; it uses the bacterium’s machinery and energy to produce more phage until the bacterium is destroyed and phage is released to invade surrounding bacteria.
  10. Eli Lilly and Company is an American global pharmaceutical company with headquarters located in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the United States. The company also has offices in Puerto Rico and 17 other countries. Their products are sold in approximately 125 countries. The company was founded in 1876 by Col. Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical chemist and veteran of the American Civil War, after whom the company was named. Lilly was the first company to mass-produce penicillin, the Salk polio vaccine, and insulin, including one of the first pharmaceutical companies to produce human insulin using recombinant DNA.
  11. Ignatia amara is a homeopathic remedy derived from the seeds of the St. Ignatius bean, Strychnos ignatii, a tree found in the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia. It is used as a homeopathic remedy because of its effects on the nervous system. Commonly called “homeopathic Prozac,” ignatia is often used in treating grief stages. Ignatia was commonly used in the 1800s but has not been studied in modern scientific trials. Although there is little scientific evidence regarding the medicinal use of ignatia, it was added to Materia Medica (book of written descriptions of homeopathic medicines) in the early 1800s. Chinese doctors have used ignatia for emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety. Folk healers also used ignatia to treat headaches, sore throats, coughs, and menstrual problems. Ignatia is not widely used because it contains strychnine, which can be fatal to humans.
  12. Ayahuasca, also commonly called yagé, is a psychedelic brew of various plant infusions prepared with the Banisteriopsis caapi vine. The brew was first described academically in the early 1950s by Harvard ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes, who found it employed for divinatory and healing purposes by the native peoples of Amazonian Peru. People who have consumed ayahuasca report having spiritual revelations regarding their purpose on Earth, the true nature of the universe, as well as deep insight into how to be the best person they possibly can. This is viewed by many as a spiritual awakening and what is often described as a rebirth. In addition it is often reported that individuals can gain access to higher spiritual dimensions and make contact with various spiritual or extra dimensional beings who can act as guides or healers. It is nearly always said that people experience profound positive changes in their life subsequent to consuming ayahuasca, and it is often viewed as one of the most effective tools of enlightenment. Vomiting can follow ayahuasca ingestion; this purging is considered by many shamans and experienced users of ayahuasca to be an essential part of the experience as it represents the release of negative energy and emotions built up over the course of one’s life.
  13. The Secret Life of Plants (1973) is a book by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. The book documents controversial experiments that reveal unusual phenomena regarding plants such as plant sentience, discovered through experimentation. It goes on to discuss philosophies and progressive farming methods based on these findings.
  14. Chapter 23:  Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger disorder (AD) or simply Asperger’s, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical (peculiar, odd) use of language are frequently reported.

Chapter 24

  1. Curvilinear perspective is a graphical projection used to draw 3D objects on 2D surfaces. It was formally codified in 1968 by the artists and art historians André Barre and Albert Flocon in the book La Perspective curviligne, which was translated into English in 1987 as Curvilinear Perspective:  From Visual Space to the Constructed Image and published by the University of California Press.
  2. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review. Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans. Maslow used the terms Physiological, Safety, Belongingness and Love, Esteem, Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence needs to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization at the top.
  3. In modern numerological terminology, arithmancy is a form of divination based on assigning numerical value to a word or phrase by means of a simplified version of ancient Greek isopsephy or Hebrew/Aramaic gematria, as adapted to the Latin alphabet. Arithmancy is associated with the Chaldeans, Platonists, Pythagoreans, and the Kabbalah. The term arithmancy is derived from two Greek words – arithmos (meaning number) and manteia (meaning divination). Arithmancy is thus the study of divination through numbers.
  4. In machine learning and natural language processing, a topic model is a type of statistical model for discovering the abstract “topics” that occur in a collection of documents. Intuitively, given that a document is about a particular topic, one would expect particular words to appear in the document more or less frequently:  “dog” and “bone” will appear more often in documents about dogs, “cat” and “meow” will appear in documents about cats, and “the” and “is” will appear equally in both. A document typically concerns multiple topics in different proportions; thus, in a document that is 10% about cats and 90% about dogs, there would probably be about nine times more dog words than cat words. A topic model captures this intuition in a mathematical framework, which allows examining a set of documents and discovering, based on the statistics of the words in each, what the topics might be and what each document’s balance of topics is.
  5. Factor analysis is a statistical method used to describe variability among observed, correlated variables in terms of a potentially lower number of unobserved variables called factors. For example, it is possible that variations in four observed variables mainly reflect the variations in two unobserved variables. Factor analysis searches for such joint variations in response to unobserved latent variables. The observed variables are modeled as linear combinations of the potential factors, plus “error” terms. The information gained about the interdependencies between observed variables can be used later to reduce the set of variables in a dataset. Computationally, this technique is equivalent to low rank approximation of the matrix of observed variables. Factor analysis originated in psychometrics, and is used in behavioral sciences, social sciences, marketing, product management, operations research, and other applied sciences that deal with large quantities of data.
  6. Heuristics refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery that give a solution which is not guaranteed to be optimal. Where the exhaustive search is impractical, heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution via mental shortcuts to ease the cognitive load of making a decision.

Chapter 25

  1. The word ‘banjo’ in binary is b:01100010 a:01100001 n:01101110 j:01101010 o:01101111.

Chapter 26

  1. William Lamar “Billy” Beane III (born March 29, 1962) is an American former professional baseball player and current front office executive. He is the general manager and minority owner of the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball. Because of his team’s success despite its low payroll, Beane was the subject of author Michael Lewis’s 2003 best-selling book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. The book discusses Beane’s methods as the GM of the Athletics and how he, along with Harvard-educated statistician Paul DePodesta, used sabermetric principles to run his team in a cost-effective way. According to the book, this allowed him to be successful despite his financial constraints. The book and Beane’s methods have influenced the way many think about the game of baseball, including other teams and players.
  2. Most Mercedes S-Class models are built at the Daimler AG plant in Sindelfingen, Germany and at the Mercedes-Benz-Valdez plant in Santiago Tianguistenco, Mexico. Founded by Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft in 1915, the Sindelfingen plant also produced the model 600 “Grosser Mercedes” and past generations of the S-Class.
  3. Three biovars of Y. pestis were originally thought to correspond to one of the historical pandemics of bubonic plague. Biovar Antiqua is thought to correspond to the Plague of Justinian; it is not known whether this biovar also corresponds to earlier or smaller epidemics of bubonic plague, or whether these were even truly bubonic plague. Biovar Mediaevalis was formerly thought to correspond to the Black Death, while Biovar Orientalis was thought to correspond to the Third Pandemic and the majority of modern outbreaks of plague. However, calculations of Y pestis’s evolutionary age, found using the number of synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in conjunction with molecular clock rates, date the emergence of the biovars prior to any of the historical epidemics due to the length of time needed to accumulate such mutations. Additional evidence against this hypothesis includes the fact that Mediaevalis is likely too young to have produced the Black Death due to its recent divergence from Orientalis.
  4. The Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 is a mid-engined sports car, designed and developed by the Volkswagen Group and manufactured in Molsheim, France by Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. The Super Sport version of the Veyron is the fastest street-legal production car in the world, with a top speed of 431\km/h (268\mph). It was named Car of the Decade (2000–2009) by the BBC television programme Top Gear. The standard Bugatti Veyron also won Top Gear’s Best Car Driven All Year award in 2005.

Chapter 27

  1. In physics, Planck units are physical units of measurement defined exclusively in terms of five universal physical constants (the gravitational constant, the reduced Planck constant, the speed of light in a vacuum, the Coulomb constant, and the Boltzmann constant) in such a manner that these five physical constants take on the numerical value of one when expressed in terms of these units. Planck units have profound significance for theoretical physics since they elegantly simplify several recurring algebraic expressions of physical law by nondimensionalization. They are particularly relevant in research on unified theories such as quantum gravity. Originally proposed in 1899 by German physicist Max Planck, these units are also known as natural units because the origin of their definition comes only from properties of the fundamental physical theories and not from interchangeable experimental parameters. Planck units are only one system of natural units among other systems, but are considered unique in that these units are not based on properties of any prototype object or particle (that would be arbitrarily chosen), but rather on properties of free space alone. Planck units are sometimes called “God’s units” since Planck units are free of anthropocentric arbitrariness. Some physicists argue that communication with extraterrestrial intelligence would have to employ such a system of units in order to be understood. Unlike the meter and second, which exist as fundamental units for historical reasons, the Planck length and Planck time are conceptually linked at a fundamental physical level.
  2. In geometry, the tesseract, also called an eight-cell or regular octachoron or cubic prism, is the four-dimensional analog of the cube; the tesseract is to the cube as the cube is to the square. Just as the surface of the cube consists of six square faces, the hypersurface of the tesseract consists of eight cubical cells. The tesseract is one of the six convex regular 4-polytopes. A generalization of the cube to dimensions greater than three is called a “hypercube”, “n-cube” or “measure polytope.” The tesseract is the four-dimensional hypercube, or 4-cube. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word tesseract was coined and first used in 1888 by Charles Howard Hinton in his book A New Era of Thought, from the Greek (“four rays”), referring to the four lines from each vertex to other vertices.

Chapter 29

  1. In number theory, a semiperfect number or pseudoperfect number is a natural number n that is equal to the sum of all or some of its proper divisors. A semiperfect number that is equal to the sum of all its proper divisors is a perfect number.
  2. A triangular number or triangle number counts the objects that can form an equilateral triangle. A square triangular number (or triangular square number) is a number which is both a triangular number and a perfect square. There are an infinite number of square triangular numbers; the first few are 0, 1, 36, 1225, and 41616.
  3. The International System of Units defines seven units of measure as a basic set from which all other SI units are derived. The SI base units and their physical quantities are: the meter for length, the kilogram for mass, the second for time, the ampere for electric current, the kelvin for temperature, the candela for luminous intensity, and the mole for the amount of substance.
  4. “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information” is one of the most highly cited papers in psychology. It was published in 1956 by the cognitive psychologist George A. Miller of Princeton University’s Department of Psychology in Psychological Review. It is often interpreted to argue that the number of objects an average human can hold in working memory is seven, plus or minus two. This is frequently referred to as Miller’s Law.
  5. The four ‘scientific’ arts – music, arithmetic, geometry and astronomy (or astrology) – were known from the time of Boethius onwards as the Quadrivium; while after the ninth century the remaining three arts of the ‘humanities’ – grammar, rhetoric and logic - were classed as well as the Trivium. It was in that two-fold form that the seven liberal arts were studied in the medieval Western university. During the Middle Ages, logic gradually came to take predominance over the other parts of the Trivium. In the Renaissance, the Italian humanists and their Northern counterparts, despite in many respects continuing the traditions of the Middle Ages, reversed that process. Re-christening the old Trivium with a new and more ambitious name: Studia humanitatis, and also increasing its scope, they downplayed logic as opposed to the traditional Latin grammar and rhetoric, and added to them history, Greek, and moral philosophy (ethics), with a new emphasis on poetry as well. The educational curriculum of humanism spread throughout Europe during the sixteenth century and became the educational foundation for the schooling of European elites, the functionaries of political administration, the clergy of the various legally recognized churches, and the learned professions of law and medicine. The ideal of a liberal arts, or humanistic education grounded in classical languages and literature, persisted until the middle of the twentieth century.
  6. In geometry, a point reflection or inversion in a point (or inversion through a point, or central inversion) is a type of isometry of Euclidean space. An object that is invariant under a point reflection is said to possess point symmetry; if it is invariant under point reflection through its center, it is said to possess central symmetry or to be centrally symmetric.
  7. In coordination chemistry, a ligand is an ion or molecule (functional group) that binds to a central metal atom to form a coordination complex.

Chapter 30

  1. The phrase “not even wrong” describes any argument that purports to be scientific but fails at some fundamental level, usually in that it contains a terminal logical fallacy or it cannot be falsified by experiment (i.e. tested with the possibility of being rejected), or cannot be used to make predictions about the natural world. The phrase is generally attributed to theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who was known for his colorful objections to incorrect or sloppy thinking. Rudolf Peierls documents an instance in which “a friend showed Pauli the paper of a young physicist which he suspected was not of great value but on which he wanted Pauli’s views. Pauli remarked sadly, ‘It is not even wrong’.”
  2. The origins of the meter go back to at least the eighteenth century. At that time, there were two competing approaches to the definition of a standard unit of length. Some suggested defining the meter as the length of a pendulum having a half-period of one second; others suggested defining the meter as one ten-millionth of the length of the Earth’s meridian along a quadrant (one fourth the circumference of the Earth). In 1791, soon after the French Revolution, the French Academy of Sciences chose the meridian definition over the pendulum definition because the force of gravity varies slightly over the surface of the Earth, affecting the period of the pendulum. Thus, the meter was intended to equal 10-7 or one ten-millionth of the length of the meridian through Paris from pole to the equator. However, the first prototype was short by 0.2 millimeters because researchers miscalculated the flattening of the Earth due to its rotation. Still this length became the standard. In 1889, a new international prototype was made of an alloy of platinum with 10 percent iridium, to within 0.0001, that was to be measured at the melting point of ice. In 1927, the meter was more precisely defined as the distance, at 0, between the axes of the two central lines marked on the bar of platinum-iridium kept at the BIPM, and declared Prototype of the meter by the 1st CGPM, this bar being subject to standard atmospheric pressure and supported on two cylinders of at least one centimeter diameter, symmetrically placed in the same horizontal plane at a distance of 571 mm from each other. The 1889 definition of the meter, based upon the artifact international prototype of platinum-iridium, was replaced by the CGPM in 1960 using a definition based upon a wavelength of krypton-86 radiation. This definition was adopted in order to reduce the uncertainty with which the meter may be realized. In turn, to further reduce the uncertainty, in 1983 the CGPM replaced this latter definition by the following definition:  The meter is the length of the path traveled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299 792 458 of a second.
  3. The Fermi paradox (or Fermi’s paradox) is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilization and humanity’s lack of contact with, or evidence for, such civilizations.

Chapter 31

  1. There have been many attempts to find a scientific explanation for the Pythia’s inspiration. However, most commonly, these refer to an observation made by Plutarch, who presided as high priest at Delphi for several years, who stated that her oracular powers appeared to be associated with vapors from the Kerna spring waters that flowed under the temple. It has often been suggested that these vapors may have been hallucinogenic gases.
  2. A cylinder of radius one hundred meters by length six hundred meters has a lateral surface area of 376,991 square meters.
  3. A fathom (abbreviation: ftm) = six feet or 1.8288 meters, is a unit of length in the old imperial and the U.S. customary systems, used especially for measuring the depth of water. There are two yards (six feet) in an imperial fathom. Originally based on the distance between a man’s outstretched arms, the size of a fathom has varied slightly depending on whether it was defined as a thousandth of an (Admiralty) nautical mile or as a multiple of the imperial yard. Formerly, the term was used for any of several units of length varying around five to five and one half feet. The name derives from the Old English word f屆岡m, corresponding to the old Frisian word “fadem” meaning embracing arms or a pair of outstretched arms.
  4. By weight, the average human adult male is approximately 65% water. However, there can be considerable variation in body water percentage based on a number of factors like age, health, weight, and gender. In a large study of adults of all ages and both sexes, the adult human body averaged ~65% water. However, this varied substantially by age, sex, and adiposity (amount of fat in body composition). The figure for water fraction by weight in this sample was found to be 48 6% for females and 58 8% water for males. The body water constitutes as much as 73% of the body weight of a newborn infant, whereas some obese people are as little as 45% water by weight. These figures are statistical averages.
  5. Modern humans (Homo sapiens or Homo sapiens sapiens) are the only extant members of the hominin clade, a branch of great apes characterized by erect posture and bipedal locomotion; manual dexterity and increased tool use; and a general trend toward larger, more complex brains and societies. Early hominids, such as the australopithecines whose brains and anatomy are in many ways more similar to non-human apes, are less often thought of or referred to as “human” than hominids of the genus Homo, some of whom used fire, occupied much of Eurasia, and gave rise to anatomically modern Homo sapiens in Africa about 200,000 years ago where they began to exhibit evidence of behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago and migrated out in successive waves to occupy all but the smallest, driest, and coldest lands.
  6. The human scale calculations used by the Croupier assume a lifespan of seventy years (22,768 days, or 546,432 hours).
  7. The Neolithic Age began at approximately 10,000 BC.
  8. The Phanerozoic is the current geologic eon in the geologic timescale, and the one during which abundant animal life has existed. It covers roughly 542 million years (541.0 ▽ 1.0) and goes back to the period when diverse hard-shelled animals first appeared. Its name derives from the Ancient Greek words meaning visible life, since it was once believed that life began in the Cambrian, the first period of this eon.

Chapter 32

  1.  (Mass of Uranus) / (Mass of the Earth’s Moon) = 1,182, or about three orders or magnitude.
  2. “The idea of parallel universes in quantum mechanics has been around since 1957. In the well-known ‘Many-Worlds Interpretation,’ each universe branches into a bunch of new universes every time a quantum measurement is made. All possibilities are therefore realized – in some universes the dinosaur-killing asteroid missed Earth. In others, Australia was colonized by the Portuguese…The beauty of our approach is that if there is just one world our theory reduces to Newtonian mechanics, while if there is a gigantic number of worlds it reproduces quantum mechanics. In between it predicts something new that is neither Newton’s theory nor quantum theory. We also believe that, in providing a new mental picture of quantum effects, it will be useful in planning experiments to test and exploit quantum phenomena… It’s not part of our theory, but the idea of [human] interactions with other universes is no longer pure fantasy.” -  Professor Howard Wiseman, a physicist at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, speaking about his “Many Interacting Worlds” (MIW) theory published in the journal Physical Review X, along with collaborators Dr. Michael Hall, also of Griffith University, and University of California, Davis mathematician Dr. Dirk-Andre Deckert.
  3. At this scale, the relative sizes of the planets are as follows: Mercury: 0.07 centimeters, Venus: 0.18 centimeters, Earth: 0.19 centimeters, Mars: 0.10 centimeters, Jupiter: 2.00 centimeters, Saturn: 1.70 centimeters, Uranus: 0.74 centimeters, Neptune: 0.72 centimeters.
  4. Hypervelocity is very high velocity, approximately over 3,000 meters per second (6,700\mph, 11,000\km/h, 10,000\ft/s, or Mach 8.8). In particular, hypervelocity is velocity so high that the strength of materials upon impact is very small compared to inertial stresses. Thus, even metals behave like fluids under hypervelocity impact. Extreme hypervelocity results in vaporization of the impactor and target. For structural metals, hypervelocity is generally considered to be over 2,500\m/s (5,600\mph, 9,000\km/h, 8,200\ft/s, or Mach 7.3). Meteorite craters are also examples of hypervelocity impacts.
  5. Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about six billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles, 40.5 AU), as part of the Family Portrait series of images of the Solar System. In the photograph, Earth’s apparent size is less than a pixel; the planet appears as a tiny dot against the vastness of space, among bands of sunlight scattered by the camera’s optics. Voyager 1, which had completed its primary mission and was leaving the Solar System, was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and take a photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space, at the request of astronomer and author Carl Sagan.

Chapter 33

  1. A second of arc (arcsecond, arcsec) is 1⁄60 of an arc minute, 1⁄3,600 of a degree, 1⁄1,296,000 of a circle, and 休⁄648,000 (about 1⁄206,265) of a radian. This is approximately the angle subtended by a U.S. dime coin at a distance of four kilometers (about 2.5\miles).
  2. The average radius of the Earth is 3956.55 miles.
  3. About 6,600 satellites have been launched. The latest estimates are that 3,600 remain in orbit. Of those, about 1,000 are operational; the rest have lived out their useful lives and are part of the space debris. Approximately five hundred operational satellites are in low-Earth orbit, fifty are in medium-Earth orbit (at 20,000\kilometers), the rest are in geostationary orbit (at 36,000\kilometers). Most satellites have a lifespan of just five to ten years. As a result, more than half of all active satellites have been launched since 2008. Only thirty-three active satellites were launched before 1995, and 395—about one third—from 1995 to 2005.
  4. A geostationary orbit, geostationary Earth orbit or geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO) is a circular orbit 35,786 kilometers (22,236\miles) above the Earth’s equator and following the direction of the Earth’s rotation. An object in such an orbit has an orbital period equal to the Earth’s rotational period (one sidereal day), and thus appears motionless, at a fixed position in the sky, to ground observers. Communications satellites and weather satellites are often placed in geostationary orbits, so that the satellite antennas which communicate with them do not have to rotate to track them, but can be pointed permanently at the position in the sky where they stay. Using this characteristic, ocean color satellites with visible sensors (e.g. the Geostationary Ocean Color Imager (GOCI)) can also be operated in geostationary orbit in order to monitor sensitive changes of ocean environments.
  5. In physics, a unified field theory (UFT), occasionally referred to as a uniform field theory, is a type of field theory that allows all that is usually thought of as fundamental forces and elementary particles to be written in terms of a single field. There is no accepted unified field theory, and thus it remains an open line of research. The term was coined by Einstein, who attempted to unify the general theory of relativity with electromagnetism. The “theory of everything” and Grand Unified Theory are closely related to unified field theory, but differ by not requiring the basis of nature to be fields, and often by attempting to explain physical constants of nature.
  6. In physics, the graviton is a hypothetical elementary particle that mediates the force of gravitation in the framework of quantum field theory. If it exists, the graviton is expected to be massless (because the gravitational force appears to have unlimited range)
  7. Unbihexium has an atomic number of 126. The heaviest naturally-occurring element in the crust of the Earth is Uranium, which has an atomic number 92.
  8. In nuclear physics, the island of stability is a set of predicted, but as-yet undiscovered, heavier isotopes of transuranium elements which are theorized to be much more stable than some of those closer in atomic number to uranium. Specifically, they are expected to have radioactive decay half-lives of minutes or days, with some optimists expecting half-lives of millions of years. Klaus Blaum, the Director at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany, expects the island of stability to occur in the region near 300Ubn.
  9. Naturally occurring oxygen is composed of three stable isotopes, 16O, 17O, and 18O, with 16O being the most abundant (99.762% natural abundance); thus oxygen (O) has a standard atomic weight of 15.9994(3). Known oxygen isotopes range in mass number from twelve to twenty-four.
  10. The fundamental interactions, also known as fundamental forces or interactive forces, are the interactions in physical systems that appear not to be reducible to more basic interactions. There are four conventionally accepted fundamental interactions—gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear—each understood as the dynamics of a field. The gravitational force is modeled as a continuous classical field. Each of the other three is modeled as a discrete quantum field, and exhibits a measurable unit or elementary particle.