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Sadly if I type into Google "Scientists are" Google tries to auto-complete my query and the top 5 queries Google provides are:


Scientists are









My five are slightly different than the results Phil Plait gets, but just as depressing.

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I like this. Actually I think the dogmatic stance taken by some branches of science in the face of overwhelming skepticism have justly but very sadly brought institutionalised science into disrepute.


Thought I'd have a go at some others so...


Programmers are...



tiny gods


easily scared


Businessmen are...



drinking my blood


Prostitutes are...



people too

the best



Politicians are...



like diapers


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  • 1 month later...

Oh I do like Maths - and especially how this type of Maths seems to actually work in producing real results in Physics!


I have to say I thought shifting terms in infinite series is a BIG no no in maths, but as I'm not a mathematician I'll leave it to the experts to argue it out!

Good Math, Bad Math, doesn't like it - I wonder what he thinks of the physics results - VinnieK, if your about what are your thoughts? I know you get very angry at physicists using maths they have no real understanding of. Also what do you think of
using Riemann and Euler - surely these are proper mathematicians!
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If physicists don't understand Maths, what hope have Psychologists?




To be honest the psychology seems a bit ropey too. Self-report data needs backing up with empirical data of some sort.


Also most of psychology views behaviours on a continuum - introvert to extrovert etc. and also these traits are influented by external factors. To then suggest that whether you flourish or flounder is determined by one criteria measured to 5 decimal places seems unlikely.

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That the physicists in the video are touting it as 'amazing' is an example of some pretty faulty reasoning at best, or publicity seeking at worst.


If you watch the video, the key element of their 'proof' is that they assign the value 1/2 to the series 1+0+1+0+1+0+... Now, this involves two things:


  • assuming that the sum actually exists
  • assigning an arbitrary, if useful, value to that sum.

The heart of the mistake is that once you add an arbitrary value to a sum, you're no longer adding things together in the conventional sense- you're performing a different operation so while the 'sum' of natural numbers may be 1/12 under this operation, that is in no way saying the same thing as adding all the natural numbers together gives you that answer.


Such techniques will be useful in some areas of mathematics and physics, less so in others, but what has to be remembered is that what they're describing is one way of approaching divergent infinite series, and not a universal truth about addition.


Edited to delete unnecessary harshness and add:


The worst thing about it is that it depends on people not having a full knowledge of what's being discussed in order for them to get their 'wow factor', whilst at the same time pretending to be informing people about something.

Edited by VinnieK
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If physicists don't understand Maths


To be fair, a lot of physicists, etc. don't need to really understand maths - in most instances being proficient in just using the mathematics that's already been developed for them and knowing what they can apply and when will do just fine.


When problems do crop up, it's usually more because someone either:

  • doesn't know when applying this or that bit of mathematics is valid; and/or
  • they confuse proficiency and procedural knowledge with understanding, and start making wacky claims because their overconfidence is blinding them to the dodginess of their reasoning.
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Amazing photos from Italy


3 times a house-sized boulder has come down the mountainside.


The first time coming to rest in the vineyard just below a farm house.


The second time destroying a barn and coming to rest not 50 feet from the first.


And the third time ...


Well all I can say is that is a very lucky farm house!

Edited by Chinahand
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I think what is been said

is really interesting.



There is a lot of anger, sarcasm and irony in the talk and I feel that can hinder understanding a little bit - though it is pretty understandable why the anger is there.


Sex and gender are hugely complex topics and most of us are pretty oblivious to it.


I think it is good to think about your preconceptions every now and then.


... wonders how, and if, people will comment. Let's try and keep the sniggering to a minimum, hey!

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