“In light of Science”











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The concepts of omniscience can be defined as follows (using

the notation of modal logic):

x is omniscient =def \forall p(p \Rightarrow Kxp)

In words, for total omniscience:

x is omniscient =def For all propositions p: if p (is true), then x knows that p (is true)

For inherent omniscience one interprets Kxp in this and the following as x can know that p is true, so for inherent omniscience this proposition reads:

x is omniscient =def For all propositions p: if p (is true), then x can know that p (is true)

But a critical logical analysis shows that this definition is too naive to be proper, and so it must be qualified as follows:

x is omniscient =def \forall p((p \land \Diamond Kp) \Rightarrow Kxp)

In words:

x is omniscient =def For all propositions p: if p (is true) and p is (logically) knowable, then x knows [/can know] that p (is true)

The latter definition is necessary, because there are logically true but logically unknowable propositions such as “Nobody knows that this sentence is true”:

N = “Nobody knows that N is true”

If N is true, then nobody knows that N is true; and if N is false, then it is not the case that nobody knows that N is true, which means that somebody knows that N is true. And if somebody knows that N is true, then N is true; therefore, N is true in any case. But if N is true in any case, then it is logically true and nobody knows it. What is more, the logically true N is not only not known to be true but also impossibly known to be true, for what is logically true is impossibly false. Sentence N is a logical counter-example to the unqualified definition of “omniscience”, but it does not undermine the qualified one.

There are further logical examples that seem to undermine even this restricted definition, such as the following one (called “The Strengthened Divine Liar”):

B = “God does not believe that B is true”

If B is true, then God (or any other person) does not believe that B is true and thus does not know that B is true. Therefore, if B is true, then there is a truth (viz. “B is true”) which God does not know. And if B is not true (= false), then God falsely believes that B is true. But to believe the falsity that B is true is to believe the truth that B is not true. Therefore, if B is not true, then there is a truth (viz. “B is not true”) which God doesn’t know. So, in any case there is a truth that God does not and cannot know, for knowledge implies true belief.

While sentence N is a non-knower-relative unknowability, B is a knower-relative unknowability, which means that our concept of omniscience apparently needs to be redefined again:

x is omniscient =def \forall p((p \land \Diamond Kxp) \Rightarrow Kxp)

In words:

x is omniscient =def For all propositions p: if p (is true) and p is (logically) knowable to x, then x knows [/can know] that p (is true)’

Omniscience in Buddhist India[edit]

The topic of omniscience has been much debated in various Indian traditions, but no more so than by the Buddhists. After Dharmakirti‘s excursions into the subject of what constitutes a valid cognitionŚāntarakṣita and his student Kamalaśīla thoroughly investigated the subject in the Tattvasamgraha and its commentary the Panjika. The arguments in the text can be broadly grouped into four sections:

  • The refutation that cognitions, either perceived, inferred, or otherwise, can be used to refute omniscience.
  • A demonstration of the possibility of omniscience through apprehending the selfless universal nature of all knowables, by examining what it means to be ignorant and the nature of mind and awareness.
  • A demonstration of the total omniscience where all individual characteristics (svalaksana) are available to the omniscient being.
  • The specific demonstration of Shakyamuni Buddha‘s non-exclusive omniscience.[14]

See also[edit]







2014-Joy Pierce


Physicists Slow Speed of Light


By William J. Cromie

Gazette Staff

Hau will give a lecture on her experiments at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 22, at Room 250, Jefferson Laboratories.


Lene Hau has shed new light on a new form of matter. Photo by MaryAnn Nilsson.

Light, which normally travels the 240,000 miles from the Moon to Earth in less than two seconds, has been slowed to the speed of a minivan in rush-hour traffic — 38 miles an hour.

An entirely new state of matter, first observed four years ago, has made this possible. When atoms become packed super-closely together at super-low temperatures and super-high vacuum, they lose their identity as individual particles and act like a single super- atom with characteristics similar to a laser.

Such an exotic medium can be engineered to slow a light beam 20 million-fold from 186,282 miles a second to a pokey 38 miles an hour.

“In this odd state of matter, light takes on a more human dimension; you can almost touch it,” says Lene Hau, a Harvard University physicist.

Hau led a team of scientists who did this experiment at the Rowland Institute for Science, a private, nonprofit research facility in Cambridge, Mass., endowed by Edwin Land, the inventor of instant photography.

In the future, slowing light could have a number of practical consequences, including the potential to send data, sound, and pictures in less space and with less power. Also, the results obtained by Hau’s experiment might be used to create new types of laser projection systems and night vision cameras with power requirements a million times less than what is presently possible.

But that’s not why Hau, a research scientist at both Harvard and the Rowland Institute, originally set out to do the experiments. “We did them because we are curious about this new state of matter,” she says. “We wanted to understand it, to discover all the things that can be done with it.”

It took Hau and three colleagues several years to make a container of the new matter. Then followed a series of 27-hour-long trial runs to get all the parts and parameters working together.

“So many things have to go right,” Hau comments. “But the results finally exceeded our expectations. It’s fascinating to see a beam of light almost come to a standstill.”

Lene Hau, Zachary Dutton, and Cyrus Behroozi (from left to right) stand by the equipment they used to create the ultra-high vacuum and super-low temperatures with which they slowed down pulses of light. The process also compresses the pulses from 2,500 feet to 0.002 inches in length. Photo by MaryAnn Nilsson.

Members of Hau’s team included Harvard graduate students Zachary Dutton and Cyrus Behroozi. Steve Harris from Stanford University served as a long-distance collaborator.

Making a Super-atomic Cloud

The idea of this new kind of matter was first proposed in 1924 by Albert Einstein and Satyendra Nath Bose, an Indian physicist. According to their theory, atoms crowded close enough in ultra-low temperatures would lock together to form what Hau calls “a single glob of solid matter which can produce waves that behave like radio waves.”

This so-called Bose-Einstein condensate was not actually made until 1995, because the right technological pot to cook it up in did not exist. Vacuums hundreds of trillions of times lower than the pressure of air at Earth’s surface, and temperatures almost a billion times colder that that in interstellar space, are needed to produce the condensate. Temperatures must be lowered to within a few billionths of a degree of absolute zero (minus 459.7 degrees F), where atoms have the least possible energy and all but cease to move around.

Hau and her group started with a beam of sodium atoms injected into a vacuum chamber and moving at speeds of more than a thousand miles an hour. These hot atoms have an orange glow, like sodium highway and street lights.

Laser beams moving at the normal speed of light collide with the atoms. As the atoms absorb particles of light (photons), they slow down. The laser light also orders their random movement so they move in only one direction.

When the atoms are slowed to a modest 100 miles an hour or so, the experimenters load the atoms into what they call “optical molasses,” a web of more laser beams. Each time an atom collides with a photon it is knocked back in the direction from which it came, further slowing it down, or cooling it.

The atoms are now densely packed in a cigar-shaped clump kept floating free of the walls of their container by powerful magnetic fields.

“It’s nifty to look into the chamber and see the clump of cold atoms floating there,” Hau remarks.


In the final stage, known as “evaporative cooling,” atoms still too hot or energetic are kicked out of the magnetic field.

The stage is now set for slowing light. One laser is shot across the width of the cloud of condensate. This controls the speed of a second pulsed laser beam shot along the length of the cloud. The first laser sets up a “quantum interference” such that the moving light beams of the second laser interfere with each other. When everything is set up just right, the light can be slowed by a factor of 20 million.

The process is described in detail in the Feb. 18 issue of the scientific journal Nature. (Warning: Don’t try this at home.)

Relativity and the Internet

Slowing light this way doesn’t violate any principle of physics. Einstein’s theory of relativity places an upper, but not lower, limit on the speed of light.

According to relativity theory, an astronaut traveling at close to the speed of light will not get old as fast as those she leaves behind on Earth. But driving at 38 miles an hour, as everyone knows, will not affect anyone’s rate of aging.

“However, slowing light can certainly help our understanding of the bizarre state of matter of a Bose-Einstein condensate,” Hau points out.

And a system that changes light speed by a factor of 20 million might be used to improve communication. It can be used to greatly reduce noise, which allows all types of information to be transmitted more efficiently. Also, optical switches controlled by low intensity light could cut power requirements a million-fold compared to switches now operating everything from telephone equipment to supercomputers.

But what about the cost and exotic equipment needed for such improvements? “Technologies that push past old limits are always expensive and impractical to begin with; then they become cheaper and more manageable,” Hau says matter-of-factly. She sees the possibility that slow light will lead to “significant advances in communications ten years from now, if we get to work on it right away.”

What will she do next?

Hau sweeps her hand over a roomful of equipment and explains how things are already being set up to slow light speed even more, to one centimeter (less than a half-inch) a second. That’s a leisurely 120 feet an hour.

Hau will give a lecture on her experiments at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 22, at Room 250, Jefferson Laboratories.





Copyright 1999 President and Fellows of Harvard College





                                        ,__…(2014///…ⁿⁿ╤▲╠╩╦╝x○τ…\\\_._,,,)                       ƔåśĦĩɱǺ


  1. “If you wish to rise, stop using the word amen, which comes from amun, the last stage of the sun and means the hidden, it shall remain hidden, or darkness. Truth was twisted by the priests of amun in early dynastic times for the manipulation of the masses and they have continued theyre mass manipulation for thousends of years untill this present day. Words are powerful, use them wisely”
  2. The Capacity for Music: What Is It, and What’s Special About It?
    Ray Jackendoff (Brandeis University) and Fred Lerdahl (Columbia University)
    1. What is the capacity for music?
    Following the approach of Lerdahl and Jackendoff (1983; hereafter GTTM) and Lerdahl
    (2001; hereafter TPS), we take the following question to be basic in exploring the human
    capacity for music:
    Q1 (Musical structure): When a listener hears a piece of music in an idiom with which
    he/she is familiar, what cognitive structures (or mental representations) does he/she
    construct in response to the music?
    These cognitive structures can be called the listener’s understanding of the music – what the
    listener unconsciously constructs in response to the music, beyond hearing it just as a stream of
    Given that a listener familiar with a musical idiom is capable of understanding novel pieces
    of music within that idiom, we can characterize the ability to achieve such understanding in
    terms of a set of principles, or a “musical grammar,” which associates strings of auditory events
    with musical structures. So a second question is:
    Q2 (Musical grammar): For any particular musical idiom MI, what are the unconscious
    principles by which a experienced listeners construct their understanding of pieces of music
    in MI (i.e. what is the musical grammar of MI)?
    Cross-culturally as well as intra-culturally, music takes different forms and idioms. Different
    listeners are familiar (in differing degrees) with different idioms. Familiarity with a particular
    idiom is in part (but only in part) a function of exposure to it, and possibly of explicit training.
    So a third question1
    Q3 (Acquisition of musical grammar): How does a listener acquire the musical grammar
    of MI on the basis of whatever sort of exposure it takes to do so?
    Q3 in turn leads to the question of what cognitive resources make learning possible:
    Q4 (Innate resources for music acquisition): What pre-existing resources in the human
    mind/brain make it possible for the acquisition of musical grammar to take place?
    Our questions Q3-5 parallel the three questions posed by Hauser and McDermott (2003) in their discussion of
    possible evolutionary antecedents of the human musical capacity. However, they do not pose these questions
    in the context of also asking what the “mature state of musical knowledge” is, i.e. our questions Q1-2. Without
    a secure and detailed account of how a competent listener comprehends music, it is difficult to evaluate
    hypotheses about innateness and evolutionary history
  3. The Runic alphabet is also known as Futhark, a name composed from the first six letters of the alphabet, namely futhar, and k. In this way, “Futhark” is analogous to the word “alphabet”, which is from alphaand beta, the first two letters of the Greek alphabet. And why were the letters ordered in such a way. Nobody knows the answer, but it might been some form of mneumonic function that was not preserved.The first Runic inscriptions that have survived to the modern day dated from around 200 CE. The alphabet consists of 24 letters, 18 consonants and 6 vowels, as illustrated in the following chart:

    Note: In the traditional transliteration of Runic inscriptions, the letter j stands for the semivowel /y/, and ystands for the vowel /ü/. The digraph th stands for /θ/, and ng stands for /ŋ/.

    Traditionally, the 24 letters are divided into three groups of eight letters called ættir. In the previous chart, each row is an ætt (the singular of ættir). This means that futharkg, and w belong to the first ætt;hnijæpz, and s belong to the second; and tbemlngd, and o belong to the third. Also, a rune has a position within each ætt, so for example, k would be the 6th rune in the 1st ætt, and t would be the 1st rune in the 3rd ætt.

    What is interesting about these two numbers associated with every rune is that they can be used to write an alternate, “encoded”, version of the rune. An encoded rune consists of a central vertical line, with short horizontal lines left of the vertical line determined by the rune’s ætt number, and short horizontal lines on the right side determined by the rune’s position within its ætt, as illustrated below:

    Some scholars have theorized that this alternate system of representing letters with vertical and horizontal lines has some kind of connection to Ogham, but no solid links have been found yet.

  4. What are we doing when we read aloud?

    Sam Duncan has been listening to what learners say about their experience of reading aloud

    Raise the subject of reading aloud with a group of adult literacy teachers, and it’s likely you’ll be bombarded with war stories, from legends of managers or inspectors banning it, to tales of learners loving or hating it, or accounts of what has gone well or badly. But do we really know what we are doing when we read aloud?

    That we say ‘reading aloud’ more often than we say ‘reading silently’ indicates that reading silently is now seen as the norm, the ‘natural’, and therefore reading aloud is the abnormal, the form that needs justifying. Yet, reading aloud was the norm in most of Europe until more of the population could read than couldn’t (probably about the mid to late 19th century in Britain). Reading became less a communal event and more an individual one, but the communal is still there; adult literacy learners may be more aware of this than others.

    In my research into adult literacy learners’ perceptions of reading (presented at the NRDC International Conference 2008) [1], I interviewed 35 learners, asking them Hogan’s wonderfully phrased question ‘What are we doing when we read?’ [2]. Their responses contain a range of insights into reading, including a strong emphasis on reading aloud. For these learners, reading aloud is two things: it is a method of improving their reading and a type of reading in its own right.

    A method of reading

    They spoke of reading aloud when alone as a way of facilitating the decoding process (their mouths moving to explore the links between symbols, sounds and whole words as both sound and meaning):

    ‘[when] I’m on my own at home, I’d read out loud … So I can understand the words and the sounds as well.’

    ‘It [reading aloud alone] helps you because you see the word and then you try to position your mouth to how the letters are written.’

    They also spoke of reading aloud in groups to get feedback from others (‘others can help or correct you’) and of listening to others read while following the words on the page:

    ‘You know before, when we used to read in class yeah, I used to pretend I was following, but I wasn’t – but now I do follow it! And I notice that it helps me a lot … when someone’s reading it and you’re following it, it helps – if you can’t say that word, don’t know what that word is and someone’s reading it, and then it’s ‘oh yeah,’… That helps a lot, it does.’

    A type of reading

    Yet, these learners also spoke of reading aloud as a type of reading, something we do for particular purposes, such as reading the Bible or the Qur’an:

    ‘It’s better to read it [aloud] because you feel the words; every word you read you feel the word … maybe because this is the Holy Book, maybe that’s why I am putting all of my mind and my heart in it.’

    Others spoke of the bedtime ritual of reading stories to children, and that hearing a story read aloud is important, ‘I like to hear stories … it’s the way, the tone of the voice…’ or that poems should be read aloud and listened to, in order for their meaning to be understood: ‘I like someone reading poems to me, yes poems, I understand when someone else is reading.’ In this way reading aloud is a social act, a life function – a type of reading.

    What strikes me are the connections these learners stress – connections between reading aloud as an important social act and reading aloud as a way to get better at reading, as well as connections between things you do and things others do for you. For these learners, reading aloud, like reading silently, isn’t something we need to debate; it is already part of our lives.

    Sam Duncan is an adult literacy coordinator at the Institute of Education, University of London, and a literacy tutor at City and Islington College


2012-01-01 03.03.04“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”
― Jack London