Science, More or Less

The Problem Newton Got Wrong
May 26, 2020 – 13:14
Isaac Newton was right about everything from gravity to the calculus, but he didn’t quite get it right on dice and probability.

The Newton-Pepys Problem represents Isaac Newton’s only documented foray into probability. Samuel Pepys sent him a letter asking whether it would be more likely to roll one six in 6 dice, two sixes in 12 dice, or three sixes in 18 dice. In terms of computing the answer, we’ve got it pretty easy in the 21st century, whether we do it the long way, whether we apply binomial distribution, or just run a Monte Carlo simulation. To us, it’s a relatively basic problem in probability.

But Newton had to work it all out himself, and as he did that, he missed a few things. He just… didn’t get it totally right even though his numbers were accurate. The *real* Newton-Pepys Problem is deciding how much that even matters, and the answer gives us insight into the complex relationship between math, numbers, and the realities of human thought.


I’ve begun to think I should put a warning on SciShow videos that they just maybe slightly a little bit might be sometimes more concerned with the patronage of bullies like Bill Gates, and the political correctness speech police, and the anthropogenic climate chaos cult, than objective science reporting. But I’m sure you discerning blog readers are able to suss out any bias of such type for yourselves.


5 Inventions Showing Us the Future of Solar Energy
SciShow – May 24, 2020 – 10:15
When you imagine the energy of the future, solar power is probably in the picture – but in recent years, less than 2% of the world’s electricity has come from solar power. Here are 5 new inventions that are likely to change that. Hosted by: Hank Green

Fighting COVID-19 With… Llamas?!
SciShow – May 25, 2020 – 7:06
Scientists have been researching whether or not antibodies from COVID-19 patients might help those infected with the virus, and one study has found promising results, in a llama. Hosted by: Hank Green

The Plant That Grows Perches for Birds
SciShow – May 26, 2020 – 3:18
The rat’s tail plant, or Babiana ringens earns its name for the distinct stem that grows above its flowers. But what’s the purpose of this odd looking appendage? Hosted by: Michael Aranda

The Cosmic Lasers That Form in Outer Space
SciShow Space – May 26, 2020 – 6:25
Lasers are incredible narrow beams of light we can use to do everything from cutting metal to operating on people’s eyeballs. But even though we came up with the idea on our own, humans didn’t actually make the first lasers. 
Host: Hank Green


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s