Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Drama of Andromeda

Some may criticize our articles which point out that textbooks could be considered an endangered species.

Some may consider that to be unfair criticism.

For example, articles here and here indicate that textbooks are no different than products designed with planned obsolescence in them, even though that is not how textbooks are designed.

While it is an unintended event that textbooks become extinct in one sense, science does 'intend' that knowledge become obsolete in another sense; because discovery is an insatiable force that tends to lead to the obsolescence of current 'knowledge'.

The intent of these Dredd Blog articles is to show that science is not always fixed information, but instead it is also constantly changing information.

I am reminded of that each time I watch a documentary on PBS after having read a scientific paper which has updated the science which now makes the documentary obsolete. Sigh, I can't keep up.

We also like to point out that science does not always belong to the few.

In that regard a student has done some work that has led to the discovery that the Andromeda Galaxy is 5 times larger than scientists previously had estimated:
The researchers picked out Andromeda's faint halo stars using a technique developed by Karoline Gilbert, a UCSC graduate student, which distinguishes the halo stars from the more numerous foreground stars in our Milky Way.
(Space, italics added). Good work Karoline. Her work led to analysis which helped all of us understand Andromeda better:
Paul Hodge, an expert on the Andromeda galaxy from Washington University who was not involved in the study, said the new finding paints a very different picture of our galactic neighbor than was available only a few years ago.

"It's a new galaxy," Hodge said. "The outer parts of this galaxy are finally being revealed and its turning out to be much more interesting and beautiful than [we] could have imagined."
(ibid). So keep on with your research all you students and professors who read Dredd Blog.

One never knows what may be discovered next to give new meaning to 'constant'.

UPDATE: I ran across another article over at Space which fits here:
Scientists have found two large leaks in Earth's magnetosphere, the region around our planet that shields us from severe solar storms.

The leaks are defying many of scientists' previous ideas on how the interaction between Earth's magnetosphere and solar wind occurs: The leaks are in an unexpected location, let in solar particles in faster than expected and the whole interaction works in a manner that is completely the opposite of what scientists had thought.
(Space, emphasis added). Clearly the textbooks will have to be thrown out to the extent that they are now "completely the opposite" of current reality.

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