Category Archives: Videos
Tuesday 21st May, 5:30pm, Arts 1 room 315
We watch a Lawrence Krauss talk/documentary
Physicist Lawrence Krauss considers that the information recoverable by any civilization over the entire history of our universe is finite in an ever-expanding universe.
On the Tuesday 9th October we didn’t have a guest speaker planned, so we watched a David Attenborough documentary and then discussed issues of population growth and the earth’s resources.
New Zealand at CERN and the Discovery of a new Particle: The shock of the “New”
Dr David Krofcheck from the department of physics will be joining us to talk about the discovery of the Higgs boson, what it means for particle physics, and life at CERN. David is a member of the CMS collaboration (one of the two major experiments being conducted at the LHC), so he knows first hand what goes on at CERN.
The Physics world was rocked by the July announcement of the discovery of a new particle that possesses characteristics of the long hypothesized Higgs boson. The Higgs boson is the physical manifestation of the Higgs field which is predicted to generate masses of all fundamental particles. The shock of initial observations is that the discovered particle may have properties that point towards “new physics”. We will follow the 50 year path of discovery and look at up-to-date arguments about the nature of the new particle. New Zealand is one of 39 nations forming the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) Collaoration at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland.
EDIT: This talk can be viewed here:
We got through a lot in February, starting with our first guest speaker of the year and ending at the beginning of clubs week, where we had a busy RSS stall every day.
Matthew Flannagan, a Christian philosopher, ethicist and theologian (and popular blogger) joined us to talk about Divine Command Theory (DCT), a topic in ethics and the philosophy of religion. Matt spoke gave a talk defending DCT, especially explaining why he thinks the Euthyphro objection is not all it’s cracked up to be. The video for the talk is online if you missed it or want to watch it again. We had a two hour long meeting, most of it involving discussion with the audience, many of us objecting to DCT.
In the next week of February we had another guest speaker – this time a returning speaker, Matthew Dentith from the philosophy department. Matthew is in the final stages of completing his PhD on conspiracy theories, a topic he spoke about at RSS last year. This time he talked about appeals to authority – when they’re valid and when they’re not.
On the 18th we discussed the future of the internet, after watching a video on the subject by Kevin Kelly at TED talks. Some of his themes for the future of the web were personalization and a smarter (semantic) web. We also talked about other aspects like the role of the internet in politics.
At our 4th meeting of the month we discussed Facebook, the social networking website that started from a Harvard dorm room and became one of the biggest websites and social phenomenons of the decade (and even had a movie made about it). We touched on various issues including privacy and its role in politics. If you’d like to read more about Facebook’s history, I recommend the book The Facebook Effect.
On Monday 28 Feb we set up our RSS stall. With a gazebo, table and chairs provided by various RSS members, and a shiny new banner (our first club asset, paid for by donations from members) we looked pretty organized. We signed up at least 50 people on the first day and took in lots of guesses for our jelly bean jar fundraiser. We gave out fliers to interested people, which were designed a week earlier by some enthusiastic RSS members.
That evening we had our first meeting of the semester in iSpace of the Kate Edger IC, with a surprisingly big turnout of over 30 people, easily a record for the club. Natasha gave a talk and showed videos relating to interpersonal attraction, touching on subjects such as the role of smell, voice and personality. Here’s one of the videos we watched, from The Science of Attraction presented by Derren Brown.
We also had a couple of administrative meetings with the newly formed committee of twelve. We’ll continue to have these throughout the year as RSS grows and develops.
Videos of meetings from October are now on our YouTube channel. We now have videos of 7 meetings available online – of guest academics and RSS members giving talks (the Robert Nola one includes a fair bit of interaction with members too).
Robert Nola on Karl Popper and science
Ben on neuroscience and will
Sam on death and burial traditions
We can also upload videos of any length now, as you can see with Sam’s talk (50 mins – normally there’s a 15 minute cap). I’m not sure what we’ve done to earn this, but it will save some time using software to cut the videos up into parts.
We should have plenty more videos coming online next year as we get back into things. We’re going to have our first meeting next week (starting 10th January). You can let us know when you’re available here so that we can schedule the meetings to allow the most people to come.
Today RSSers met for a social gathering. The formal topic being: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if you held his wife and kids hostage?
The answer to this question has not been precisely defined, although an estimate of the distance he can chuck two pieces, based on the technical diagram below, is 57.69 cm
I hope you realise that I actually worked that out based on the scale provided and an average of the parabolic trajectories of the two bits of wood. You can check.
Anyway, we watched some videos of Derren Brown doing some awesome mind tricks. Although, there were sceptics among us, they are still some pretty cool tricks/funny videos. View the evidence yourself:
Have a great day, reasonable people!!!
Don’t forget we are meeting with the Islamic Society this Friday at 3pm (location tbc).