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Offline maff

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« on: 23/06/2007 22:24:45 »
I've been studying the evolution of science especially physics for a very, very long time. In my study I have formed severel conclusions which are very important.
I'll cut this essay a little short to avoid boredom. Around 1650 AD there was a huge increase in Scientific studies. This increase was mainly a result of the English civil war and Oliver Cromwell's reform of the education system. The increase of knowledge and understanding gathered pace into the industrial revolution and this revolution transformed modern man. Issac Newton's findings from many years before were a major influence in modern engineering techniques and helped tremendously to evolve man from the medieaval period and still are used today. Those laws that Newton introduced are probably the biggest plus to mans development ever. Since Newton there have been many contributions from many clever people which makes the world what it is today.
Einstein was one of those contributions and his theory indirectly led to a massive change to how society is presented today.
I'm not forgetting Faraday, Bell, Pasteur etc I'm just going through this as quick as possible.
Anyway it seems to me that Newton and Einstein are always considered as very important so I'll go with the flow.
The capitalist system after the second world war seems to have fulfilled it's requirements as far as being a massive influence on the rest of the world. Since the dropping of the atom bomb and the development of the hydrogen bomb nothing of major importance has come out of the scientific world that will be a major influence in our future.
Plenty of minor inventions such as microwave ovens and the microchip have presented themselves to us but nothing major.
I asked myself why is this so? Why after the A bomb has nothing appeared, no new forms of propulsion, fuel or anything life changing?
Then it came to me, the people that control the world don't want it, they want to keep the wealth and the power where it lies right now. How do they do this you may ask yourself?
here is an example:- A few years ago a guy invented a battery that was so revolutionary it outlasted conventional batteries by an estimated ten times. The guy who invented it sold out to a major battery manufacturer and this company burried the blue print and scrapped the idea because it would have ruined the battery industry which is fair play.
But what if a guy comes along and takes that scrapped adea then improves it 200%?
Capitalism is buying out inventions and shelving them to sustain it's own control of the world. How many more inventions has capitalism shelved from which advancements could be made?
This behaviour puts a screen up from which this world cannot evolve.
 
..maff
« Last Edit: 24/06/2007 18:24:03 by maff »


 

Offline Soul Surfer

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« Reply #1 on: 23/06/2007 23:55:03 »
We live in a largely electromagnetic world in which all the forces are electromagnetic.  Maxwell and planck basically described all the physical laws that apply to this world.  The rest is technology.  OK the complexity of electronics is still growing quickly but we will reach limits.  Nuclear forces energy and weapons are just a small exception that proves the rule.  I do not agree with your "conspiricy theories" regarding good ideas.  If a good idea works someone will develop it and make money from it.

The areas of physics where the laws are not fully understood is so far outside the normal universe and even well outside the range of thermonuclear weapons that thesae areas are very unlikely to have any useful applications.  so if you want to find something helpful to the plight of man use conventional technologgy and simple quantum mechanics because it is very unlikely that high energy physics is going to help
 

lyner

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« Reply #2 on: 23/06/2007 23:55:23 »
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Why after the A bomb has nothing appeared, no new forms of propulsion, fuel or anything life changing?
What? Nothing?
How about nuclear fusion, the transistor, the modern computer, the internet, TV, DNA sequencing, the Hubble telescope, cancer cures, need I go on?
If travel hasn't changed significantly since  the 1940s I'm a monkey's uncle.
 

Offline maff

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« Reply #3 on: 24/06/2007 00:19:26 »
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Why after the A bomb has nothing appeared, no new forms of propulsion, fuel or anything life changing?
What? Nothing?
How about nuclear fusion, the transistor, the modern computer, the internet, TV, DNA sequencing, the Hubble telescope, cancer cures, need I go on?
If travel hasn't changed significantly since  the 1940s I'm a monkey's uncle.
The transister is merely an advancement of the old valve system in a smaller form and then made smaller by the Integrated circuit. There is no cure for cancer only drugs that put it into remission. Computers have been around since the second world war, they helped crack the German Inigma machine, they were in valve form rather than transister or microchip form. Nuclear fusion only appears in a fission fusion bomb which is a 1950's invention mentioned as an hydrogen bomb. Fusion has never been acheived as a power source on earth. Internet is only a commmunication tool which we have always had between us one way or another. TV is another communication device from the 50's and DNA was discovered during the war.
Where's the new stuff my friend or Uncle Monkey.
 

Offline Cut Chemist

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« Reply #4 on: 24/06/2007 05:38:09 »
Since the 1950's the world has shifted from an industrial age into a digital age and then into an information age.  Man did not stop thinking after the atomic bomb.  He merely changed what he was thinking about. 

"Necessity is the mother of invention." 
                    Victor Hugo, "History of Crime"

The atomic bomb was built in drastic times, when we had a need for an undeniable force (some new form of energy.)  We have used that technology to build nuclear reactors, but the costs greatly outweigh the benefits.  Since then we haven't had the need for alternative energy sources.  Our oil reserves have been very high and the cost of electricity and gasoline have been relatively low.  It wasn't until recently (since the 1990's) that we have had a need for alternative energy sources.  Our existing energy sources for example ...batteries, internal combustion engines, coal/ oil/ nuclear powered electrical plants ... have been made incredibly more efficient (and we can thank capitalism for that.)  Since we didn't have a power shortage we didn't need to invent new forms of power. 


What did we need??


We needed food - So we invented new pesticides, new fertilizers, introduced cloning and genetic engineering

We needed shelter - We have invented skyscrapers that withstand earthquakes, built islands in Dubai, and greatly improved the strength and reduced the costs of modern building materials.   

We needed to be able to communicate with one another.  As sophiecentaur stated the breakthroughs in the communications industry have been outstanding for example...  Cell phones, Broadband, the Internet, Digital Media, micro chips, satellite imaging, GPS.  We can have communication with our car, home, and office 24 hours a day.

We needed to get from place to place.  The modern transportation industry has been designing major bridges, tunnels and railways that no one thought possible... such as the English Channel.  Modern Aviation has made it able to fly anywhere in the world.  And of course if you believe in the space program ... we have been into space and walked on the moon. 

We also needed to keep ourselves and our loved ones alive.  Recent advances in the health fields have been tremendous, some recent advances include... heart, lung and liver transplants, MRI's, CT scans, laparoscopic surgery, remote surgery, laser eye surgery, and the advancement of the pharmaceutical industry in general.  Just because we can't "cure cancer" doesn't mean there haven't been any breakthroughs.  Think of all of the diseases/conditions that we can now cure /treat.


As Soul Surfer said
Quote
Maxwell and planck basically described all the physical laws that apply to this world.  The rest is technology. 

But we have had major advances in technology that have changed the world as we know it and have had major influences on our future.



By the way I think you have capitalism completely backwards...

All of the inventions you mentioned that were made before the 1950's, were produced because of capitalism.  Either individual companies or the government funded those inventors/ scientists to make their breakthroughs.  


Quote
A few years ago a guy invented a battery that was so revolutionary it outlasted conventional batteries by an estimated ten times. The guy who invented it sold out to a major battery manufacturer and this company burried the blue print and scrapped the idea because it would have ruined the battery industry which is fair play.



Recently, Laptops have grown to be so fast, and so small that the main drawback for most laptops is the runtime of the battery.  As of now, batteries have been made as small and efficient as they can possibly be made.  There are only so many elements in the periodic table, and scientists have tried them all.   

But ... if for some reason an everyday Joe did invent a battery that was all of a sudden 10 times more efficient than existing batteries ... The battery companies would buy the invention for the sole purpose of marketing it.  They would not put it on shelf and hide it.  That's not how capitalism works.

The only way an idea like you have posed above could possibly work is if the industry in question is a monopoly.  Most capitalistic governments have deemed monopolies illegal, and have imposed regulations to prevent them.  (However, the oil industry seems to have its own agenda, but that's another discussion.)

You talk about capitalism as if it were some big bad entity (like "the man.")  In actuality, there are tens if not hundreds of battery companies.  If one of these companies got there hands on the blueprints for a new super battery they wouldn't hide it.  They would patent it and put the others battery companies out of business.  In a capitalistic society there is no reason to stockpile good ideas.  If other people have the same idea and use it first then patent rights would allow them to sell it and not you.  Which could put you out of business.


I have a feeling more ideas/inventions get vetoed by governments because of safety or environmental issues. 



But ...as far as breakthroughs in physics or pure scientific breakthroughs, perhaps we have exhausted all of the economical possibilities for the time being.  Universities have super computers working around the clock trying to answer these seemingly unanswerable questions.  Some believe the answers lie in the cosmos, but will they be relevant here on earth??? 

« Last Edit: 24/06/2007 06:36:24 by Cut Chemist »
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #5 on: 24/06/2007 14:15:05 »
Let's face it Maff, if you don't think that the transistor is different from a valve or that the internet is not quite the same as the second world war vintage computers then it's probably not worth telling you that some cancers are now curable and that our understanding of biology has been revolutionised since the 60s.
Oh, and while I'm as proud of my British status as the next guy, I can't help thinking that saying "This increase was mainly a result of the English civil war and Oliver Cromwell's reform of the education system." is a crass insult to the rest of the 17th centuary world.
 

Offline eric l

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« Reply #6 on: 24/06/2007 14:31:52 »
Apart from that, it takes a couple of generations to know which inventors/inventions are really important to "the progress of mankind."  Even Newton was laughed at in his own days.  There was a play in the London theatres about "universal levity" quoting largely from Newton's work.
And the atom bomb may be more spectacular than nuclear energy, but it is surely not more important.
The great danger for scientists and researchers is that, due to the importance of the stock market, companies in general tend to go for short term profit rather than for visionary projects.  And much (most ?) of the research funding is in the hands of private companies.
 

Offline maff

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« Reply #7 on: 24/06/2007 18:25:07 »
Ok I've edited out my comments about Professor Hawking they were unfounded.
 

another_someone

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« Reply #8 on: 25/06/2007 02:03:31 »
Are you not confusing technology (which covers inventions) with basic science.

Most technology is a long way off from basic science, and the guys (like Einstein) who do most of the basic science are not directly involved in the issues regarding technology.

In fact, while you may claim how revolutionary the work on the atom bomb was, it too place about 40 years after Einstein undertook most of the theoretical work that would enable it to happen, and over a decade after Rutherford first split the atom (in the context of the atom bomb, all of Einstein's theoretical work was meaningless until applied to the results of Rutherford's experiments).

Thus, to argue that basic science undertaken since WWII has not resulted in practical technologies, apart from being a false assertion (just look at lasers and masers), even if it were true, would not actually be that exceptional.

Yes, there are times when new developments are suppressed (modern patent law makes developing technologies a minefield); but this usually applies to incremental technological development, where there are strong established interests in the field, and lots of developers all chasing after the same goals, and all trying to accumulate their own intellectual property base that might undermine a competitor from trying to achieve an advantage against them.  What this does not normally prevent is someone developing something so revolutionary that it has nobody else yet working in the field, and where established companies have not tried to establish their own turn in that area (this was apparent in such products as Dyson's work on his vacuum cleaner, where the problem was not other people tried to stop him, but that nobody was willing to take him seriously, so why would they stop someone they could not conceive of as being a threat).

What Cut Chemist has said about monopolies is valid, but with the exception that intellectual property rights are in fact monopoly rights.  The other thing to bear in mind is that over time, capitalist systems do tend to converge towards near monopoly conditions (if you look at the start of the computer age, there were at least half a dozen different processors, and quite a few software companies of equal size in the market; now we only have two major producers of microprocessors, and one clearly dominant commercial software provider - and what is true of the computer industry is true of the natural tendency of all industries as the mature - competition only really exists in the 'wild west' conditions that exist in the early years of a new industry sector).
 

lyner

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« Reply #9 on: 25/06/2007 10:05:06 »
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  Even Newton was laughed at in his own days.
As was Groucho Marx, and he knew a thing or two.
 

Offline JazzRoc

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« Reply #10 on: 25/06/2007 12:33:30 »
The main difficulty with innovation is cultural.

Our culture is run by a classics-and religion-based elite, which hates and fears science for multitudinous reasons. Of course you'll find lip-service to science, but that is all it is.

In such an environment the most commonsensical things (like transporting freight via canals and railroads, insisting on housing equipped to high standards of heating and ventilation, fiscal freedom throughout life for the individual receiving healthcare and education, transparency to age, race, and gender) are avoided until they become unavoidable.

The only possible way forward is to eject every politician who does not prioritize the removal of religion and the establishment of science as the PRIMARY means of advancing our children's education.

Otherwise it'll be more of the same, until.......
 

another_someone

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« Reply #11 on: 25/06/2007 15:50:52 »
The main difficulty with innovation is cultural.

Our culture is run by a classics-and religion-based elite, which hates and fears science for multitudinous reasons. Of course you'll find lip-service to science, but that is all it is.

In such an environment the most commonsensical things (like transporting freight via canals and railroads, insisting on housing equipped to high standards of heating and ventilation, fiscal freedom throughout life for the individual receiving healthcare and education, transparency to age, race, and gender) are avoided until they become unavoidable.

The only possible way forward is to eject every politician who does not prioritize the removal of religion and the establishment of science as the PRIMARY means of advancing our children's education.

Otherwise it'll be more of the same, until.......

Science and innovation are two very different things.

Science may in some cases create the means for innovation, but not even always that - innovation can come from many sources (the financial markets are constantly innovating new instruments that can be used either to hedge against risks, or create new opportunities for risk - but this has nothing to do with science, although the mathematics behind some of the instruments can sometimes be as complex as that behind any science).

It is human nature to be conservative (nothing to do with religion, although religion takes advantage of the tendency).  We all like to innovate, but we like to do so against a fairly constant and predictable background, lest the rapid changes in the environment in which we are working overtake our own innovations and make those innovations redundant.  So, yes, we like to innovate, but find other people's innovations inherently a potential threat (excepting where they are predictable, and can be factored into our own calculations of the future environment we shall be working in).

I don't see either the removal of religion, or the emphasis upon science, will of itself remove the conservative nature of the human condition.

If one wants a clear indication of where this conservatism actually is promoted by many scientists themselves, it is in environmentalism and conservation.  The notion that somehow the future environment of the planet should be made to remain much the same as the immediate past environment of the planet is inherent conservatism that has nothing to do with religion (at least not the established religious structures, although one might regard environmentalism itself to be a form of religion), but it is clearly a manifestation of the same natural conservatism that fears change, that fears a future that is different from the past.
 

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