Tuesday, January 30, 2007


If Richard Feynman were still alive today, would he have a blog? There's an interesting thought. I bet he would if only for the novelty of it. And I think he would love the chance to explain things to us ordinary folks because as he so often said, if you can't explain something then you really don't understand it yourself.

When I was reading that Science article the other day (see Wanderings), I came across the acronym BOLD for which there was no explanation in the research report. So I googled BOLD and got an instant answer to my query from two young theoretical physicists with a blog! Wrap your mind around that one. They not only have a blog, they talk about physics on their blog. I always imagined theoretical physicists to be these superhuman creatures who spent all their time in an ivory tower somewhere only coming out once in awhile to speak in a strange language filled with funny symbols and Greek letters.

I wonder how long it would have taken me to find an answer to my question at the library. It probably would have taken hours just to locate which section of the library to look in. The acronym was used in a sentence that gave no clue (at least to me) as to what it meant, "comparing the BOLD response associated with baseline..." I found that it stands for "blood-oxygen-level dependent" and is used in MRI scanning. But the guys at Backreaction explain it so much better than I can. (You're right, I don't really understand it still.)

And, to me, that is what is so neat about the Internet these days. There is just an incredible amount of information available instantly. And anybody can put it out there--even a theoretical physicist. I worried at first (back in the 90s) that the information would be unreliable, I mean could you trust these blokes? But there seems to be a built-in correction system to the Internet in the sheer number of entries on the web. If you browse around enough, you can get a pretty good consensus on a topic or at least you are made aware of the controversies.

I spent yesterday dyeing some yarn and will have photos to show you soon.

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