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Christmas 2012

December 25, 2012

I published my first blog article on August 10, 2006. The month of August, 2006, is most notable in science for the demotion of Pluto from planet status. The Tikalon blog, my present forum, has been active since May, 2010.

The first Tikalon blog article, Career Choice, recalled the reasons for my pursuit of physics and not biology. Biology has since elevated itself from its stamp-collecting motif[1] of past ages to something that resembles its physical science cousins more closely; so, I may have chosen differently if starting my career today.

I never thought that I would write so many articles about energy and global warming, but my search for interesting topics exposed me to information outside of a scientist's usually narrow specialty. The more I read, the more I was convinced that technology has created new problems in the course of its solving older ones.

The IEEE Code of Ethics and the APS Guidelines For Professional Conduct concern themselves only with ethics as they relate to the conduct of individuals in those professions, but scientists and engineers should genuinely worry about what technology is doing to the the world itself.

I'm definitely not a Luddite. My sentiments are more akin to those expressed in the HG Wells novel, The Shape of Things to Come, made into the memorable film, Things to Come (1936, William Cameron Menzies, Director).[2-3] Wells has technologists saving a world that was nearly destroyed by politicians.

Tikalon is taking a short holiday break. The next article will be published on Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

Figure captionThe Three Kings, as depicted on the baptismal font of Master Sigraf (ca.1200) at the Grötlingbo church in Gotland.

Grötlingbo is also the name of 10812 Grötlingbo, a main belt asteroid discovered on March 21, 1993.

(Detail of a photo by Wolfgang Sauber, via Wikimedia Commons.)

References:

  1. "All science is either physics or stamp collecting," was one of the more memorable quotations of Ernest Rutherford, who was awarded the 1908 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for showing that radioactivity involved the transmutation of one chemical element to another.
  2. Things to Come (1936, William Cameron Menzies, Director), on the Internet Movie Database.
  3. Things To Come, free download at Archive.org.

Permanent Link to this article

Linked Keywords: Blog; August 10; 2006; August, 2006; science; Pluto; planet; Tikalon blog; May, 2010; Career Choice; physics; biology; stamp-collecting; physical science; renewable energy; energy; global warming; scientist; technology; IEEE Code of Ethics; APS Guidelines For Professional Conduct; engineer; Luddite; HG Wells; The Shape of Things to Come; Things to Come; William Cameron Menzies; technologist; politician; holiday; Biblical Magi; Three Kings; baptismal font; Grötlingbo; Gotland; 10812 Grötlingbo; asteroid belt; main belt; asteroid; Wikimedia Commons; Ernest Rutherford; "All science is either physics or stamp collecting"; Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Things to Come (1936, William Cameron Menzies, Director); Internet Movie Database; Archive.org.

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Thanks to Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing for his favorable review of Secret Codes!

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