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Gödel's Loophole is a "inner contradiction" in the Constitution of the United States which Austrian-German-American logician, mathematician, and analytic philosopher Kurt Gödel claimed to have discovered in 1947. The flaw would have allowed the American democracy to be legally turned into a dictatorship. Gödel told his friend Oskar Morgenstern about the existence of the flaw and Morgenstern told Albert Einstein about it at the time, but Morgenstern, in his recollection of the incident in 1971, never mentioned the exact problem as Gödel saw it. This has led to speculation about the precise nature of what has come to be called "Gödel's Loophole". It has been called "one of the great unsolved problems of constitutional law."
Before Present (BP) years is a time scale used mainly in archaeology, geology and other scientific disciplines to specify when events occurred in the past. Because the "present" time changes, standard practice is to use 1 January 1950 as the commencement date (epoch) of the age scale, reflecting the origin of practical radiocarbon dating in the 1950s. The abbreviation "BP" has been interpreted retrospectively as "Before Physics"; that refers to the time before nuclear weapons testing artificially altered the proportion of the carbon isotopes in the atmosphere, making dating after that time likely to be unreliable.
In a convention that is not always observed, many sources restrict the use of BP dates to those produced with radiocarbon dating; the alternative notation RCYBP is explicitly Radio Carbon Years Before Present.
- "Before Present" | 2018-07-20 | 56 Upvotes 27 Comments
The Mundaneum was an institution which aimed to gather together all the world's knowledge and classify it according to a system developed called the Universal Decimal Classification. It was developed at the turn of the 20th century by Belgian lawyers Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine. The Mundaneum has been identified as a milestone in the history of data collection and management, and (somewhat more tenuously) as a precursor to the Internet.
In the 21st century, the Mundaneum is a non-profit organisation based in Mons, Belgium that runs an exhibition space, website and archive which celebrate the legacy of the original Mundaneum.
Project Babylon was a space gun project commissioned by then Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. It involved building a series of "superguns". The design was based on research from the 1960s Project HARP led by the Canadian artillery expert Gerald Bull. There were most likely four different devices in the program.
The project began in 1988; it was halted in 1990 after Bull was assassinated, and parts of the superguns were seized in transit around Europe. The components that remained in Iraq were destroyed by the United Nations after the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
- "Project Babylon" | 2022-11-24 | 47 Upvotes 30 Comments
The (pan)arthropod head problem is a long-standing zoological dispute concerning the segmental composition of the heads of the various arthropod groups, and how they are evolutionarily related to each other. While the dispute has historically centered on the exact make-up of the insect head, it has been widened to include other living arthropods such as chelicerates, myriapods, crustaceans; and fossil forms, such as the many arthropods known from exceptionally preserved Cambrian faunas. While the topic has classically been based on insect embryology, in recent years a great deal of developmental molecular data has become available. Dozens of more or less distinct solutions to the problem, dating back to at least 1897, have been published, including several in the 2000s.
The arthropod head problem is popularly known as the endless dispute, the title of a famous paper on the subject by Jacob G. Rempel in 1975, referring to its seemingly intractable nature. Although some progress has been made since that time, the precise nature of especially the labrum and the pre-oral region of arthropods remain highly controversial.
- "Arthropod Head Problem" | 2023-05-13 | 60 Upvotes 22 Comments
Gloria Ramirez (January 11, 1963 – February 19, 1994) was a woman from Riverside, California who was dubbed "the Toxic Lady" or "the Toxic Woman" by the media when several hospital workers became ill after exposure to her body and blood. She had been admitted to the emergency department while suffering from late-stage cervical cancer. While treating Ramirez, several hospital workers fainted and others experienced symptoms such as shortness of breath and muscle spasms. Five workers required hospitalization, one of whom remained in an intensive care unit for two weeks.
Shortly after arriving at the hospital, Ramirez died from complications related to cancer. The incident was initially considered to be a case of mass hysteria. An investigation by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory proposed that Ramirez had been self-administering dimethyl sulfoxide as a treatment for pain, which converted into dimethyl sulfate, an extremely poisonous and highly carcinogenic alkylating agent, via a series of chemical reactions in the emergency department. Although this theory has been endorsed by the Riverside Coroner's Office and published in the journal Forensic Science International, it is still a matter of debate in the scientific community.
Bulverism is a term for a rhetorical fallacy that combines circular reasoning with presumption or condescenscion. The method of Bulverism is to "assume that your opponent is wrong, and explain his error." The Bulverist assumes a speaker's argument is invalid or false and then explains why the speaker came to make that mistake, even if the opponents's claim is actually right, attacking the speaker or the speaker's motive. The term Bulverism was coined by C. S. Lewis to poke fun at a very serious error in thinking that, he alleges, recurs often in a variety of religious, political, and philosophical debates.
Similar to Antony Flew's "subject/motive shift", Bulverism is a fallacy of irrelevance. One accuses an argument of being wrong on the basis of the arguer's identity or motive, but these are strictly speaking irrelevant to the argument's validity or truth.
- "Bulverism is to “assume that your opponent is wrong, and explain his error”" | 2020-12-25 | 56 Upvotes 86 Comments
Computational sociology is a branch of sociology that uses computationally intensive methods to analyze and model social phenomena. Using computer simulations, artificial intelligence, complex statistical methods, and analytic approaches like social network analysis, computational sociology develops and tests theories of complex social processes through bottom-up modeling of social interactions.
It involves the understanding of social agents, the interaction among these agents, and the effect of these interactions on the social aggregate. Although the subject matter and methodologies in social science differ from those in natural science or computer science, several of the approaches used in contemporary social simulation originated from fields such as physics and artificial intelligence. Some of the approaches that originated in this field have been imported into the natural sciences, such as measures of network centrality from the fields of social network analysis and network science.
In relevant literature, computational sociology is often related to the study of social complexity. Social complexity concepts such as complex systems, non-linear interconnection among macro and micro process, and emergence, have entered the vocabulary of computational sociology. A practical and well-known example is the construction of a computational model in the form of an "artificial society", by which researchers can analyze the structure of a social system.
- "Computational sociology" | 2017-06-12 | 97 Upvotes 23 Comments
In probability theory, although simple examples illustrate that linear uncorrelatedness of two random variables does not in general imply their independence, it is sometimes mistakenly thought that it does imply that when the two random variables are normally distributed. This article demonstrates that assumption of normal distributions does not have that consequence, although the multivariate normal distribution, including the bivariate normal distribution, does.
To say that the pair of random variables has a bivariate normal distribution means that every linear combination of and for constant (i.e. not random) coefficients and has a univariate normal distribution. In that case, if and are uncorrelated then they are independent. However, it is possible for two random variables and to be so distributed jointly that each one alone is marginally normally distributed, and they are uncorrelated, but they are not independent; examples are given below.
- "Normally distributed and uncorrelated does not imply independent" | 2015-03-11 | 24 Upvotes 9 Comments
The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ or the Zone), also known as Free Capitol Hill, is a self-declared intentional community and commune of around 200 residents, covering about six city blocks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The zone was established on June 8, 2020 after the East Precinct was abandoned by the Seattle Police Department.