Plato’s weekend readings, episode 53

readingsHere it is, our regular Friday diet of suggested readings for the weekend:

The awful state of prisons in the UK. And the US is much worse.

Thoughts on the relationship (or lack thereof) between Foucault and Nietzsche.

“Time is everywhere, except in the equations. So, in short, what the hell?

Is there such a thing as Western civilization? Not really, says Anthony Appiah.

Facebook, echo chambers, and the new media landscape.


Categories: Plato's Suggestions

155 replies

  1. Alan,

    Keep in mind duration, which we might think of as a dimension similar to distance, is still the state of the present as these events form and dissolve. We can make some processes go faster, or slower and compare them with exact precision to other processes, but we are still measuring rates of energy operating in space. Time is a measure, just like temperature. Time is frequency, while temperature an effect of frequency and amplitude. Prior configurations give way to current ones, which are replaced by subsequent ones. The configurations come and go, while the “energy” is “conserved.”


  2. There is an interesting derivation of GR from maximum limit force in the free book Motion Mountain, vol2. Are any of the physicists here familiar with it?


  3. If Schiller is a ‘nut’ he’s subtle one. His free book reads sensibly enough and is not the usual crackpot word salad… but he does act like ‘max force’ was established and it’s not.

    I found another paper that claims to derive ‘max force’ from just special relativity and the equivalence principle. That would seem to be a normal approach. Equivalence is simple and elegant and max force seems arbitrary. Perhaps they can be derived from each other making it a matter of taste.

    My venture into GR before I knew a tensor from an hole in the wall was b based on the Berkeley physios course derivation of electro-magnetism from electrostatics+relativity.

    I consider two infinite parallel planes of equal density moving at equal but opposite velocities. By symmetry there is no gravitational force on a test particle at rest between them. However, if the particle moves in the direction of motion the planes so the motion is no longer equal and opposite,, special relativity predicts a force (the energy density of the planes is no longer equal, if their velocities are not the same). Thus there is a velocity dependent force. It’a another case where a GR effect can be derived w/o using GR as such.

    I think if formulated in a tensor formalism this could be used to derive Einsteins equations. Never tried that though even when I learned about tensors in grad school.It might make a nice GR introduction.


  4. I’m wondering why the Foucault/Nietzsche piece since neither are often discussed here. Plus it is 12 years old. Interesting to see powerblogger Brian Leiter’s dabbling in continentalism, which as Nietzsche authority he is compelled to do.

    As I feel compelled to lay occasional astro-philosophical coincidences at your feet.


    All the major figures born under Libra, the Scales. Anti-humanists, relativists? I’m not trying to push it on you. Also, if one wonders how Arendt managed with Heidegger, it’s interesting to note that she too was a Libra.


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