[LINK] The black hole image came thanks to student Katie Bouman, half a tonne of hard drives and a big coincidence - Science News - ABC News
dlochrin at key.net.au
Fri Apr 12 11:24:25 AEST 2019
On Friday, 12 April 2019 10:04:54 AEST Roger Clarke wrote:
> There's been a vast amount of data gathered, which has then been subjected to a massive amount of manipulation, based on models that are based on a series of assumptions, in order to come up with a consolidated set of data that's thought to represent a reality 'a long, long time ago in a galaxy far away', which has then been rendered by graphic artists in order to provide images that reflect longstanding traditions of what light-shows in space ought to look like.
And that's exactly how we build an image of the world right in front of us. Photons strike cells on the retina which cause electro-chemical pulses to propagate along nerve fibres to the brain, and the pulse frequency is directly related to the intensity of stimulation. (Different aspects of the image, such as colour, outline & depth are processed in different areas of the brain too.) The same goes for our other senses. The brain then constructs a perceived representation of the world, with blue sky, green grass, and red fire-engines out of nothing more than a lot of electro-chemical activity and its current neural state.
Purely as a thought experiment and on the basis of what we know now, this could all be reproduced in silicon. If you then asked an electrical engineer whether that device had perceptions they'd say no, it's just a lot of hardware which generates heat.
So how does our perceived world relate to "reality"?
The answer is that we have no idea. There are no absolutes. We have to start with what our human condition.
If our image of a black hole is derived from "a vast amount of data gathered, which has then been subjected to a massive amount of manipulation, based on models that are based on a series of assumptions, in order to come up with a consolidated set of data that's thought to represent a reality" then that's perfectly consistent with the human condition.
> Vast resources are wasted pursuing the alice-in-wonderland sub-atomic-particle game. (Encounter error-factor, postulate another backward-spinning entity with negative weight and both positive and negative charge depending on whether the cat is dead, alive or both, etc. Wait until media have forgotten the last round. Do it again. Ad infinitum).
> Now we're wasting vast resources on vastly backwards-looking examinations of background noise, pretending that we'll get to see what the Big Bang looked like. Or not, as the case may be.
I can't agree!! Where would our curiosity & imagination be without General Relativity and a search for black holes? In any case General Relativity and immunotherapies for cancer come from the same intellectual tradition - we don't get one without the other.
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