I love this tea. I used to drink it quite often when I’ve been traveling in Thailand. The sugar gives you a kick and it feels almost like after coffee. Almost. Mr T. is in Portugal, I watch his instagram every day and I miss him and traveling. Backpack on my backs, comfy shoes and clothes, sun on my face and no plan. I made a longer travel twice. Once for almost a year with Mr T. in Asia, the second time 6 months in South America just by myself. I have an amazing memories from both. But there’s something special in travelling alone. You find yourself in different situations, meet different people, discover yourself. Hopefully I’ll make it again sometime soon.
Boy with prosthetic legs befriends dolphin with prosthetic tail
8-year-old Cieran Kelso lost both of his legs at 13 months old and had difficulty swimming until his father helped him get prosthetic flippers.
That’s nice to hear.
so a couple of weeks ago i uploaded a comic about a hijabi superhero. i received a pretty fantastic response so i’ve tried to develop it a little further.
so here’s part two - this time featuring FEMEN, my all-time favorite white feminists whose specialty is talking over muslim women.
PS. her name is Qahera.
The above images depict the scope of study in science.
Science today, is the crème de la crème of human knowledge and the center of our tech-savy culture. It is the quintessential ‘double edged sword’; it can be used for achieving the sheer amazing or the macabre destruction of everything. With science in our hands, mankind has ambled to the greatest of heights and also the lowest of low.
But at heart, it is all pure. There is nothing else that can be more euphoric, exalting, exasperating, head breaking, heartwarming and overawing all at the same time. The goal of science is quite audacious—if not a little chutzpah. It’s nothing less than to understand it all: atoms, cells, life, death, the universe and beyond.
It is by nature, a very human endeavor; an extension of our curiosity. Great minds have dedicated all to this most prodigious of human undertaking. The far reaches of the universe and the befuddling land of the tiny, all are in grasp when we delve into science. So, what exactly is this science?
The etymology of the word science stems from the Latin word scientia, meaning knowledge. And during the early ages, it was exactly that; any form of knowledge was called science. Be it about the natural world or about abstract mathematics, all of this was called to science.
Then during 17th and 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment and the Renaissance, people started to rediscovery ancient Greek texts, and Newton came up with his classic laws. It was a time of revelation; the pillars of modern science such as Newtonian physics, thermodynamics were all established during this time.
It was also during this time that the meaning of science got closer to what used to be called ‘natural philosophy’, namely the study of natural phenomenon. This is modern science; it includes physics, chemistry and biology as broad categories.
Modern science is built on the strict ideals of empiricism, falsification and the scientific method.
Science and Its Products
We have been talking so much about science; yet, we have not formally defined it. ‘Science is the means of organizing and pursing knowledge, through testable predictions.'
Notice that I said that it is the means of pursing the knowledge; the knowledge itself is not science, rather they are products of it. The manner if obtaining knowledge is judged as scientific or not; not the knowledge itself.
Science is more than just facts. It is an ideology; a way of thinking. In science, nature is considered not to be capricious. Nature is governed by laws, and those laws are universal and completely understandable by probing it, i.e., doing experiments. Thus, experiments form the very veritable substratum of science. All knowledge is a posteriori, i.e., only experiments can confirm a hypothesis. This ideology is called empiricism.
The means of carrying out an experiment—so central to science—is by using the scientific method. It is the pièce de résistance of any endeavor in science. It consists of a series of steps as described below:
- Observation: This requires observing the natural phenomenon and recording data.
- Pose a question: If such data cannot be expounded by current theory, a question should be posed as to why this is so? Do we need a new theory?
- Hypothesis: An appropriate answer should be formulated for the above question. It would be sort of like a hunch or a guess that you have.
- Make some predictions: This is the important bit. After formulating the above hypothesis, some testable predictions should be made. These are extensions of the hypothesis; the extrapolation of your hypothesis to other situations. Science is based on empiricism and falsification, where a hypothesis should be able to make predication that can be easily tested to ascertain the hypothesis.
- Experimentation: These predictions are now tested.
- Results: The results of the experiment are taken and checked to see if the predictions match the results. If they don’t, we need to start all over again and come up with another hypothesis.
- Theory: If a hypothesis has passed all this, it is accepted into the general scientific community, and is called a theory. A theory accurately explains the phenomenon in question, and it is generally accepted as ‘true’.
The word ‘theory’ in science does not mean the same as it does in common parlance. In common language, it generally means something that is not proven. But as far as science is concerned, a theory is an accepted explanation for a phenomenon; it is proven to be right to the best of our knowledge.
The hallmark of a good hypothesis is its ability to produce large amounts of testable predictions (which should come true of course!). The process of obtaining scientific knowledge from testable experiments is called the scientific inquiry. It is very important for a hypothesis to produce some viable statements and predictions, which can then be tested.
Keep in mind that even if a hypothesis becomes a theory, it can still be rejected later if new experiments and evidence refute it. And this brings us to the next section.
Best Fit Theory
Due to the nature of science, no theory can be perfect. There is no permanent or absolute truth. Falsification demands that even if one trifle shred of evidence is found that contradicts a theory, it should be rejected. In that sense, no theory is the absolute and dogmatic truth, and that is why scientists call a good theory a ‘best fit’ one, i.e., the one that best explains the body of evidence discovered currently.
It may happen that some new technologies and new evidence may contradict a well-established theory in the future, and in that case it will have to be removed from the textbooks (or at least altered).
Take the example of Newtonian Mechanics. For over two centuries it was unchallenged and accepted as true. But, in the 20th century, new evidence, taken with more precise instruments, found it deviating from the experimental data. So it had to be rejected, since new evidence was found that contradicted Newton’s theory, and modern mechanics—most notably by Einstein, Bohr, Planck, and others—was developed.
But again, this does not show that all scientifically accepted theories are intrinsically unstable or untrue. If a theory is accepted into science, it is scientifically true and, it can be used to explain a multitude of phenomena. But, those same rules of science that give credibility for a hypothesis to become theory, also give the freedom to undermine it if new research and evidence does not corroborate with it.
Some people cannot get their heads around this concept. So, let us make an analogy. Science is almost like a democracy, where the people of the scientific community are citizens of this democracy. These citizens vote for the leader who will best adapt to the needs and situation of the country at that time; in the same way, scientists favour or ‘vote’ a theory that best suites the evidence. So for this particular time period, that person who was elected is called the ruler. Akin to this is when we call our theory as the ‘truth’.
Now if the situation in the democracy were to change to a state in which the incumbent ruler would be unable to rule decisively, he would then be replaced. Taking the analogy forward, a theory would be ‘replaced’ if it is found that it cannot cope with some new evidence found.
In short, one can say that a theory is a ‘scientific’ truth, but not the ‘absolute’ truth.
We can conclude therefore, that science is an ongoing process; it is never ‘finished’. New questions are always being formulated, and new answers are being thought of for whilom questions.
Science in Our Genes
Science is the most human of activities; our DNA is endowed with it. All of us have a restive passion for discovery. Nature has always intrigued us; it truly piques our curiosity, and stokes our fervor for discovery.
Also, science is a very democratic endeavor; no theory is allowed to exist if it doesn’t deserve to. It is egalitarian, in the sense that any theory can replace another if it has sufficient evidence (remember our earlier example?). Through the principle of falsification described above, no theory can claim to be the permanent truth. This stops science from being a dogmatic creed, and prevents it from receding into the abyss of pseudo-science. This maintains the consistency of our knowledge.
We do science, not because we can make new technologies but, because we can satisfy our insatiable curiosity and zest for learning. The search for answers and the meaning among it all veritably is the most powerful drive of humanity and the foremost of human expression. We were built for undertaking science, and it would be a sin if were not to oblige to this calling.