Serious problem of mental masturbation

Hi,
just to clear things up, yes mental masturbation is serious concept that actually exists though when I heard about it first I thought that it is just some joke or what.

Today I want to talk about YouTube, Khan Academy and what mental masturbation means.


This topic is kind of connected to procrastination  and multitasking and I already wrote about those in previous episodes of “serious problems”.

While procrastination is simply avoiding some work that you know you are supposed to do and multitasking is doing more stuff at the same time (which decreases your overall performance) mental masturbation is doing intelectuall things that could seem on the first hand quite good but are actually either preventing you from doing real action IRL or making you think that you are just at your top productive.


Now let me give an example.

The way I understand this concept is in watching educational YouTube videos. There are literary thousands of them, so you can spent a lot of time like that. Try to watch some video (best more) and after few days try to recall what was their content. SciShow is for example great channel for this experiment.

They release daily videos about science. Each is something like 4 minutes long and there are over 700 of them. Mental masturbation would be if I watched 10 of them and then did not remember a single thing but still thought that I was being productive by watching educational content (this is quite intuitive, if I watch so much at the same time without thinking about it I can not remember it). Actually, most people would probably agree with me and said something like “Yo man! You are doing some serious work on internet.”

Now the pitfall is of course that it is just wasted time and you do not even know it. You could say that you remember something and that is fine but you want to remember the whole video because maybe it was some high quality stuff but you just skimmed through thinking that “yeah this is great”.

The way I first noticed this was when I watched videos and then talked about them during family dinner. Sometimes I contemplated that I do not know mere minutes after it finished what it was about, though the false great feeling was still there.

This applies to lot and lot of stuff, reading too of course. I mentioned Khan Academy in the beginning. KA is a huge project that has lot of nice educational content. Like it or not, content needs to be tested and proper testing system in Khan Academy is basicly only in math sections. The other subjects you can use just as a tool for mental masturbation.

Derek Müller from Veritasium is pretty good in his physics videos. He discusses this issue in this one:


So how can you stop mental masturbation?

  1. Start taking notes from what you read, videos you watch, people you talk with
  2. Talk with someone who is interested in the topic or she/he saw the video too.
  3. Play it/read it it more times. Repetition of the best stuff is going to make you remember it whether you like it or not.

The last advice might seem like a waste of time but as it happens it does not need to be.

Dragallur

Optics: 7) So is it wave?

Hi,
in last post I was talking about the experiment that proved that light is wave, it is creating interference in the double slit experiment instead of two lines which one would assume if it was behaving as a particle. (You can imagine bullets instead of particles).

double-slit-bullets

If light was behaving as particle


So I found out that the particle part of light is bit more complicated so I wont try to explain it so much in the PRO sense but rather in few words, if you are more interested check out this page: 1)

With this theory that light is just a wave there were finally find some problems.

If you would very accurately measure light on some spot and this light would be dimmer and dimmer, you should get dimmer and dimmer picture. But at one point there were just dots!

ccd-spot

As the light is getting dimmer, with very good camera you can see that some pixels get much more energy than other.

As you might understand this was quite confusing. Wave should not make pattern like this.

Soon it was found out that when you measure brightness you can find bumps that should not be there if light would be wave, rather it should be quite uniform.

Finally what was concluded from this is that light behaves both as wave and particle, the attribute is called particle-wave duality.


What was also found at this time (something like beginning of 20th century) is that light comes in quantas. This has very interesting effect. If you would walk away from candle and would be able to distinquish individual photons at one point the candle would not shine less and less because at one point there will be only one quantum coming to you and quantum is not divisible so it would start to disappear more and more often but it would always shine. More detail here:

It was also found that not only photon but also other subatomical particles behave like waves and particles. In 20th century it was tested with electrons and sure! They also made this interference pattern on detector.

Dragallur

PS: This is my 200th post!

 

 

 

 

 

Spooky action at a distance

Hi,
maybe you have already heard it.

spukhafte Fernwirkung” or “spooky action at a distance” – Albert Einstein

what is it? Are we able to transmit information faster than light using it?


Spooky action at a distance or also quantum entanglement. This is very famous phenomenon which seems to allow information to travel faster than light, luckily not, otherwise we would have to throw all our physical theories to trash (or maybe it would benefit, who knows).

Particles have spin as I have shown countless times in posts about standard model or about particles and so on. They have also other properties which has to do with quantum entanglement.

What experiments shown was that when independently measure two photons for example the results about their attributes are correlated. This is indeed spooky because it does not matter how far away those particles are but always the result will somewhat be similar.

This cartoon helps explain the idea of "entangled particles."

The picture above from NASA page well explains how this works. The people there are detectors called superconducting nanowire single photon detectors which are cooled to be superconductive and when photon hits the wire it changes the resistance in the wire to some higher value so you can record the event.

Why does not this break the rules of speed of light? Because there is actually no data transmitted. You can not use it to communicate since the results are random anyway. And when you know your result you also know the result anywhere in the Universe, that does not matter because it was random.

I will just repeat: you need pair of entangled particles, for example laser beam can create photons that when they go through crystal and they split, they become entangled, measuring one particle will influence the other.

Einstein thought that this is because the particles contain what is called “hidden information”. That when they are created at one point in the crystal from the laser beam for example, that they make their “secret plans” on how their spin will work out when they are measured, which would not need any faster than light travel. In this video, Derek Müller shows the experiment of Bell that shows that there is no “hidden information” and how the measurements work, because what you can do is to measure the spin of particle in various angles which changes the probability of the particle to have that kind of spin.

Dragallur