Thursday, March 1, 2012

youtube for the day/ Werner Von Braun

It's kindof sad really that this video is the next best thing after James Burke's connections(the mechanical universe videos are no longer available on youtube; they used to be; i have them on dvd!).

Anyways, this video gets any number of interesting responces.  You can point out that Werner Von Braun went ot the military before the Nazies took over; that he never wore a Nazy uniform till 1939; that's like five to six years of doing rocketry under the Nazies without being a nazy!  He did so because Hitler was wondering why he wasn't wearing a uniform.  I guess Werner Von Braun considered himself a civilian working for the military; done in countries all over the world today).  I like further the point how people complain about Werner Von Braun building rockets for the German military(soon to be the Nazy military), but, when taken in by the U.S.A, and despite efforts by him to convince the American's to build space rockets for human expansion, he ends up building military rockets for the Americans!  But, as you can see by comments in this youtube, people continue to post that Werner Von Braun was a Nazy and was doing rocketry for Nazy purposes, over and and over again; they just ignore what they don't want to see.  They want to hate him.


I think this writeup is something more that can be said about the politics of science and . . . politics . . . at this time period of human history.

In the beginning of the "Einstein and Eddington" video, Arthur Eddington meets some guy in charge of the library or university. This principle calls Arthur a Quaker. The video seems to try to argue that Arthur Eddington struggled throughout his life to balance religion with science. A look at Mr Eddington's works suggests otherwise. In all my reading of books that talk more about science than actually do science/mathematics, I've never heard of this till now!

I introduce my review of this pretty good "Einstein and Eddington" film because that's as far as I want to criticize all these kinds of hollywoodization of Albert Einstein and Arthur Eddington. The film seems to me to be showing a remarkable nationalism of both the English and Germans! This seems to me to be what really needs to be considered and talked about than all the hollywoodizations throughout the film(some I'm fine with; some I scratch my head over). And, so, I'm not going to write pages and pages about all the historically inaccuracies of the film!(I don't doubt that Mr Eddington was a Quaker; but, I don't think that he took religion all that seriously! Arthur reminds me more of this guy! . I learned of this guys videos through PBS just a few months ago! When watching a few samples of his videos on PBS, he made some remarks that suggests that he knows about sungods. But, he says he's a christian by tradition. So, it seemed to me that he strikes a good balance of being logical and respecting cultural tradition; so, I bought his videos! I think Arthur Eddington was a Quaker by tradition more than anything else! Also, for more on Quakers in England, see James Burkes video on the origins of industrialism in England! He also notes that the wealth to build up England in the 1600s came at the expence of India princes! James Burke is very willing to point out the errors of the ways of all cultures; but also the positives; he also shows that he prefers science and curiosity; i'm a James Burkian in that way! This link goes to James Burke's "The Day the Universe changed" video which says some remarkable things about life in England as a Quaker!

I for some reason cannot ever get the name of the boss of the Library or University that Arthur Eddington is mostly fighting on his side of the national/intellectual divide. I'll call him the Curator. This curator seems to think that Engish people and their science is superior to the rest of the world simply because Isaac Newton was English. This curator also thinks that science is done and figured out; that all that remains to be done is to calculate to more decimal places! This is a known science historian folklore. And, it's true. If you read almost any science history, they mention that late 1800 scientists thought this. Getting back to the Isaac Newton issue; Isaac Newton and Gotfried Liebniz did fight over the priority of the Calculus. This fight was taken up by those who learned their calculus from Newton and those who learned it from Liebniz. This did create a bit of a situation where because Liebniz's notation was superior, English science went into a hundred year dark ages till Maxwell(a Scottish guy; James Burke is an Irishman!) and Caylay ignored the advice of their Newtonian teachers and created much mathematics and physics. This is what happens when people politicize science. This is a hint that science erases cultural bias as well!

I have it in my notes that Albert Einstein has no allegiance to a given country(neither does Grothendieck! Neither do I!). This goes with the point of the movie which I've already stressed is the main point of the movie. Not much more to say.

The movie seems to suggest on the one hand that we should be objective(Einstein not taking to any nationality), but then they want to argue that Albert's theory of Relativity shows a principle of relativity that justifies all cultures viewpoints. With that, I'd like to first quote a passage in Edna Kramer's "The Nature and Growth of Modern Mathematics" . . .

"A troubles look came over the face of Orestes. As he rose to speak, the dignity of the Roman governor seemed to replace the youthfulness of the dandy. "These riddles of 'Who am I?" What am I?"-shall we, here, try to settle them, when they are as old as thought? Never! We shall quibble from now until the end of time, if once we get started. Why not spend these precious hours in which Hypatia shares her wisdon with us, on pure mathematical questions whose abstract nature will prevent quarrels, and whose logical format will be indisputable?" - Edna Kramer "The Nature and Growth of Modern Mathematics" chapter 4, page 62

This quote is fictional. It is part of a short story introduction to Hypatia and Algebra by Edna. I'm thinking that quote is the main point of making this fictional account of the last days of Hypatia before she was skinned to death by a anti-knowledge christian mob(also, this was the last days of the Roman empire; some, including me, mark her death and the burning of the Library of Alexandria during her lifetime as the beginning of the dark ages of Europe). Hypatia's death, as already noted in parentheses, is also bound up with those who don't want to think factualy or logicaly, or consider new ideas. I've gotten this youtube recently, and, I agree. These people who want to say "respect my religion" are like scientist who cry stop criticizing my theory(creationism, ufos, cold fusion, you name it; psuedo science) because you've got this theory empirically confirmed(everything from Kepler, Galileo, Newton to Einstein, all the quantum physics to particle accellerators; you name it!).

Yes, the problems shown between the English(who are doing just as much nationalism as the Nazy Germans; well, this film is actually before them; although, that group of thinkers goes back to some guy who warped the message of Darwin back in the late 1800s; i'm forgetting his name; James Burke mentions this in one his videos as well! I think it's the Day the Universe Changed episode about Darwin's theory of Evolution; episode 7 I do believe!) and the German, and those who want to cry 'please respect my religion' are the same!

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