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Thread: We are witnessing a new scientific 'Golden Age'

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskan_sol View Post
    I'm just an arm chair, discovery channel scientist type of guy. No credentials or Phd's here. But its hard to ignore the massive flood of big discoveries going on right now in just about every field of science.

    And now that the Internet is very close to completely wiring up and connecting the planet, I can only see this accelerating.

    Hold on to your hats boys and girls, its going to be a wild ride
    I'm not going to judge that until I see practical applications. Yes, computers are accelerating at a fast rate, but what good is that going to do us right now? People just have more entertainment, but no time to enjoy it. I'd say the mid 20th century was the fastest acceleration with science. You had the atomic bomb, jets, nuclear power and science, lasers, a lot of progress in medicine, first computers, space race, etc. I actually think progress has been at about its slowest pace for the past 200 years. Hopefully that just means a lot of basic science is taking place now and we will see practical application soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Panzerkampfwagen View Post
    Wow.......... so we don't know more because you're paying more for a product?
    What's the point in knowing more if there is no use for it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldjar07 View Post
    Bull(*)(*)(*)(*), how come people are paying more in real money for gas and energy than they were 20 years ago then? Maybe there is some exciting stuff being researched, but I think things have really slowed down since the cold war. Most of the stuff being researched hasn't seen practical application, either. The only way I'd agree with your statement is if cold fusion turns out to be real or something else that is similar.
    We may be paying more in real money for gas and energy than we were 20 yrs ago, but we are paying about the same as we did 30 yrs ago......

    We are creating a lot of scientific knowledge, and our technology is increasing rapidly. I have a smart phone (Iphone 4). With that phone, I can access a world of information in about 5 seconds. I can access the card catalog of the library of congress while I'm walking in the park. It has a GPS built into it that allows me to determine my location on the globe within about 20 feet. I'm overwhelmed at how much our society has changed technologically in my 46 yrs of life.
    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    --C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock, p. 292.

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    Quote Originally Posted by perdidochas View Post
    We may be paying more in real money for gas and energy than we were 20 yrs ago, but we are paying about the same as we did 30 yrs ago......

    We are creating a lot of scientific knowledge, and our technology is increasing rapidly. I have a smart phone (Iphone 4). With that phone, I can access a world of information in about 5 seconds. I can access the card catalog of the library of congress while I'm walking in the park. It has a GPS built into it that allows me to determine my location on the globe within about 20 feet. I'm overwhelmed at how much our society has changed technologically in my 46 yrs of life.
    Exactly what I just said in that entertainment and communications may be progressing rapidly. You could spend your time with your phone actually learning something and make a more efficient energy source, etc. But how many people actually do that? Instead people spend all of their time on message boards or Facebook. So, these phones are probably impeding progress rather than helping it. Energy makes the price for EVERYTHING cheaper. I don't call paying more in real terms for energy progress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldjar07 View Post
    Exactly what I just said in that entertainment and communications may be progressing rapidly. You could spend your time with your phone actually learning something and make a more efficient energy source, etc. But how many people actually do that? Instead people spend all of their time on message boards or Facebook. So, these phones are probably impeding progress rather than helping it. Energy makes the price for EVERYTHING cheaper. I don't call paying more in real terms for energy progress.
    Are we paying more in real terms for energy?

    In terms of gasoline, we are paying more primarily due to supply and demand, as our supplies get lower and demand increases, prices rise. Has nothing to do with scientific progress, but economics.
    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    --C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock, p. 292.

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    Quote Originally Posted by perdidochas View Post
    Are we paying more in real terms for energy?

    In terms of gasoline, we are paying more primarily due to supply and demand, as our supplies get lower and demand increases, prices rise. Has nothing to do with scientific progress, but economics.
    It has everything to do with scientific progress. If we had a better energy source, supplies would be a lot higher and energy would be a lot cheaper. Economics is almost solely determined by scientific progress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldjar07 View Post
    It has everything to do with scientific progress. If we had a better energy source, supplies would be a lot higher and energy would be a lot cheaper. Economics is almost solely determined by scientific progress.
    Oil used to be alot easier to get out of the ground. We have to keep advancing technology just to keep up with the decline in oil supply. No amount of knowledge is going to cause oil to spring into existance. True, we could and should be using other forms of energy, but that's not going to happen until economics dictate that we have to. SOOOO, paying more for gas is actually a good sign. It means we will have to use something else soon, and you can then start to see that advancement which has been going on but has not yet been put into practice.
    Don't blame me - I voted for Kodos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskan_sol View Post
    I'm just an arm chair, discovery channel scientist type of guy. No credentials or Phd's here. But its hard to ignore the massive flood of big discoveries going on right now in just about every field of science.
    Yes. The technological singularity proposal seems closer than ever. There's some potentially revolutionary technologies in computing that are going to hit in the relatively near future. This will have trickle-down effects in the rest of the sciences, greatly expanding the pace of new research.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldjar07 View Post
    I'm not going to judge that until I see practical applications. Yes, computers are accelerating at a fast rate, but what good is that going to do us right now?
    So-called "big data" is changing the way the world looks at... just about everything. Computing is moving from a set of technologies that serve as tools to a set of technologies that serve as intelligence enhancement. Up until now, computers have mainly just enabled human thinkers to perform work more quickly; this latest wave of computing technologies will enhance the user's ability to think about problems. It's a fundamental change of perspective. Large data sets are becoming increasingly less difficult to work with, expanding the scope of research dramatically.

    People just have more entertainment, but no time to enjoy it. I'd say the mid 20th century was the fastest acceleration with science.
    Not even close. The 21st century has so far definitely been a scientific golden age. The pace of new developments and research is dramatically higher today than it was in, say, the 1980s, which was itself much faster than the 1940s. To use the futurist concept, we are quickly approaching a technological singularity. The next wave of technologies will be oriented in the direction of improving human intelligence and decision-making--the core foundation of a push towards posthuman intelligence (though I think it is very likely that it would be an organizational sort of intelligence, not some all-knowing AI sort of situation).

    You had the atomic bomb, jets, nuclear power and science, lasers, a lot of progress in medicine, first computers, space race, etc.
    We've had more medical progress in the last 10 years than in the fifty years before it. Medicine today is radically different from medicine fifty years ago, to say nothing of a century ago. Stem cells and genetic therapy have completely changed the game. No one fifty years ago would have even thought of attempting something like a skin gun, or actually growing new body parts to replace damaged organs... as we can do today for an increasingly wide array of organs.

    Certainly, there were a great many megaprojects in the 20th century... but today that has been replaced by a more quiet and distributed sort of research. Rather than focusing immense effort into a handful of projects, we as a society devote far more resources to ubiquitous research. Revolutionary technologies are pretty commonplace these days. Radical concepts that would have been science fiction in the 1990s are reality today--especially in medicine, computing, and material science.

    I actually think progress has been at about its slowest pace for the past 200 years. Hopefully that just means a lot of basic science is taking place now and we will see practical application soon.
    No way. This is definitely a scientific high point. It may not be directed at huge national megaprojects, but it's certainly far more ubiquitous and effective today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldjar07 View Post
    Exactly what I just said in that entertainment and communications may be progressing rapidly. You could spend your time with your phone actually learning something and make a more efficient energy source, etc. But how many people actually do that? Instead people spend all of their time on message boards or Facebook.
    Turns out that people work better when they enjoy what they do and have copious free time. Productivity peaks at roughly 35 work-hours a week.

    So, these phones are probably impeding progress rather than helping it.
    Not even remotely true.

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