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Da Vinci Days 2006
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More puzzles
(Da Vinci Days 2000 - 2005)
Illusions and deceptions
Limits of human perceptions
Other animals who know better
and quite a bit more
(Explore Portland Community)

Explore some routes to better understanding of math and science.  Look for ways to make the science that was learned useful.  Check out what physics education research has been doing.

Much of the pioneering education research has been carried out by the Physics Education Group (PEG) at the University of Washington, Seattle.  PEG

on this site

Newton's Laws:
The Route to Magic Thru Math

The Route to Magic Thru Math

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Science is not what it seems at first glance 

“We can, and we must, do better,” says Dr. Seuss.

In one large study, all the science textbooks examined failed to reach “a level that we could call ‘scientifically accurate.’”  Decades earlier, all the science textbooks submitted to the California State Curriculum Committee were “universally lousy.”  Among hundreds of students who passed the course, 95% believed the opposite of one of Newton’s laws of motion to be true.

We can do better, say the many researchers who have sought solutions to the puzzle of misunderstandings of elementary science.  Heavy-duty mental weight lifting is part of the answer.

Math and science break out of bonds evolution has tied us with when it limited our perceptions and mental skills to certain human limits.  We can stretch those limits.  We are beginning to learn how.  The more we stretch, the better.

"failed to reach a level..."
Study led by John Hubisz  MORE

"Universally lousy"
Richard Feynman's reading assignment that turned him into a "volcano."

Trying to do better.
(Knowledge for Use web site)


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Philosophers have important things to say. 

Slip-ups of logic are common: we need to seek logical consistency. 

The words we choose must be understood: they must have real-world meanings that all agree upon. 

The real-world objects referred to must have material substance: mere wishes and wispy fictions must not be accepted as real. 

Conclusions must be testable: scientific procedures must be applied because they are the best we have found — by far! 

“Ethical” must refer to the welfare of self and others: harm must be avoided. 

Expanding the knowledge and understanding which is at the edges of human comprehension is a community project. 

Follow those guidelines, and our new knowledge and understanding will make us more successful in our interactions with the world.  Don't follow them and we invite disasters. 

Besides, this kind of learning is fun, satisfying, healthy, and productive. 


"Physics underlies all phenomena, therefore physics can explain everything."  Claims sufficiency on the basis of necessity.  New Age view

Energy in science is very different from energy in common usage.

Telekenisis, precognition, magical pyramids, astrology, perpetual motion, . . .
Pseudoscience grows from human imagination that remains pure idea and no substance.

The advances of science are in the real world and can affect it; the advances of pseudoscience are in the dream world and don't do anything verifiable in the real world. Relevance & Irrelevance

When we do those things that work in the real world we must consider all the effects they have, including those on others (people, creatures, etc).  Ignoring the effects on others is unethical oversimplification.

Expanding human knowledge is more difficult than an isolated person can know.  It takes a community to correct errors and invent and evaluate the groundbreaking new ideas.

This is a brief synopsis of a few of the points in an article by Mario Bunge in Skeptical Inquirer:
Mario Bunge, “The Philosophy behind Pseudoscience,” Skeptical Inquirer, July/Aug, 2006. Mario Bunge is a leading philosopher of science who addresses logic, semantics, ontology, epistemology, ethics, and sociology.
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How can we reveal the misunderstandings of science?

How can we reveal oversimplifications and the effect they have on our decisions?

How can we reveal the effects of attending to irrelevancies while ignoring what’s relevant?

How can we reveal failures to recognize and apply mathematical techniques that solve the problems we are trying to solve?

How can we reveal the consequences of using one-dimensional reasoning when the multidimensional is needed to solve the problems?

How can we reveal the dangers of the ‘”centrisms”: ego-, ethno-, anthropo-, etc.?

How can we reveal those “undeniables”?

These are some of the questions currently being examined on

Everyone’s contribution is welcome,.  From the index page, go to “Da Vinci Days.”


Look Again!

Oversimplification(Herpes simpletonisus)
Overlooked Science

Measure your shadow, not the temperature


How does science help you?
The value of inventors & toll takers

Anthropcentric? Envy the bird brain:
Nature's Invisible Canvas

Why is green different from orange?


Who are we and what are we up to?