OK, this is serious. What are we going to do about Trump? How are we to effect true reform and the dethroning of this thug. I think a new political party, a progressive splinter Democratic party, is the best strategy. The Resistance, an amorphous movement, has attracted people and media attention, but lacks specifics, lacks strategic direction. Simply being angry about Trump ain’t enough. There are a number of disparate issues and battles that need to be waged: Health care, income inequality and tax reform, women’s rights, LGBT rights, criminal justice reform, global warming, infrastructure, immigration. On each issue it seems the population has been highly polarized. A political party with a broad platform that addresses all these difficult issues and unites people seems to be in order. Democrats and Democratic Party wake up.
Long term, we must restore reason and rationality to the forefront. Central to the demagogue’s success is ignorance: a paucity of critical thinking, a dismissal of “facts”. Bumbastories says that learning more science will help. To this end, here are two book reviews:
1. The Little Book of the Big Bang – A Cosmic Primer
by Craig Hogan, 1988.
This little primer (it really is a small volume) is an ambitious effort by astrophysicist Craig Hogan to introduce us non-physicists to the physics of the Big Bang, the evolution of matter and energy, with a nod to all the forces, fields, physical constants, laws, and even some apparently unlawful I things that comprise our universe. It’s an awful lot to take in. Personally, I kept returning to Hogan’s table of the Scale of Cosmic Structure provided in the opening chapter’s Survey of Space and Time. (See excerpt below). Prof. Hogan quickly proceeds to a Summary of Physics section – which includes a quick take on quantum mechanics. Yikes. He next addresses the Cosmic Expansion, and then describes the Cosmic Background Radiation – which was a fascinating chapter. He covers the Formation of Structure: why matter and energy is distributed as it apparently is in the universe, why matter is composed of atoms and molecules, why the world looks and works as it does. Boldly, Hogan deals with the great cosmological questions that remain unsolved. It’s a noble effort, albeit a bit taxing for some of us. It takes a while to get hold of some of these concepts. But it’s well worth the effort. As I say, I’m still stuck on those opening tables of Cosmic Scales.
The Planck Scale – the scale of elementary, pre-atomic “happenings”: 10 -33 cm.
The Electroweak Scale: the scale of masses of elementary, interacting particles: 10–15 cm.
The Fermi Scale: the scale of behavior of protons and neutrons inside the nucleus: 10-23 cm.
Bohr Scale: the scale of atoms: 10-8 cm.
Molecular Scale: the scale of molecules up to large ones like DNA: 10-8 to 10-5 cm.
YIKES, YIKES, YIKES, YIKES, YIKES, YIKES!
Walking Zero- Discovering the Cosmic Space and Time Along the Prime Meridian by Chet Raymo, 2006
A friendly introduction to basic science, this book is an easy-reading account of science writer Chet Raymo’s 2005 hike along the prime meridian. What amazing English scenery he describes! From the chalky highlands of Peacehaven near Brighton, Raymo hiked north on foot paths along the prime meridian (the 0 degree line) through London, the London Natural History Museum, Cambridge, plus some lovely towns and countryside, up to the observatory at Greenwich – the point from which the entire world (arbitrarily) measures time and longitude. Raymo relates the fascinating history of the mapping of the earth: the amazing accomplishments of the early Greeks, the equally impressive discoveries of the English geologists and paleontologists. He covers Darwin, Hutton, Lyell, and Newton of course.
The history of science is largely the story of our expanding vision. As opposed to the traditional mythologies’ picture of an infantile, self-centered world, modern science, in accordance with the “Copernican principle”, now presents us with a vast, nearly immeasurable universe – of which we are no longer the center! A good part of the world’s population still believes the earth to be the center of the universe. It’s sad. They’re missing out on a more glorious vision. Raymo beautifully presents to us the power of the “scientific method”.
… As I was saying, we all need to learn more science….