Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Link Think - Science/Technology

1. Nicholas Carr in New York Times, why with all their foibles and fallibility humans are not, and probably never will be, obsolete.

He notes "We should view computers as our partners, with complementary abilities, not as our replacements. What we’ll lose if we rush to curtail our involvement in difficult work are the versatility and wisdom that set us apart from machines."

2. Nature has released a special May issue discussing the prospects and challenges facing Indian science.

The article India by the Numbers includes a telling and instructive summary of statistics, such as "about 40% of Indian researchers work abroad" -- the highest percentage of brain drain than any other country in the world!

3.  Interesting three-part series of articles in Quanta Magazine on how quantum entanglement leads to space time geometry. It discusses one of the most mysteriously addictive equations I have come across, ER = EPR (sorry Podolsky!).

i. Entangled Wormholes

ii. Network Tapestry

iii. Quantum Geometry

Wired also featured a commentary about this series.

4. Ross Andersen in Aeon magazine has a long piece about current state of cosmology. He gives a detailed account of the recent BICEP2 saga where initial hopes of detection of gravitational waves were, quite literally, shattered to dust. Reading about the entire episode in detail made me think that demanding stringently objective standards of science is not equivalent to assuming that its practitioners are less prone to usual (and frankly, expected!) human prejudices and biases. This is especially true while practicing science in the contemporary times of hyper-hype and hyper-competitiveness. I, for one, would try to be more sympathetic not just to the cause of science but to that of scientists, who put in honest and sincere work with no deliberate intent of scientific misconduct, while struggling to win over all their prejudices and biases with varying success. We need to remind ourselves that scientists are human after all!

5. Singularity hub recently published a report that gives a synopsis of leading quantum computing (QC) efforts in the world right now. It especially highlights superconducting circuit based QC, my field of research.