All humans exhibit an intuitive knowledge of geometry no matter their cultural or educational background. A team of researchers has concluded that this ability develops when children become aware that they exist in three dimensional space.
Euclidean geometry makes it possible to describe space using planes, spheres, straight lines, points, etc. Can geometric intuitions emerge in all human beings, even in the absence of geometric training?
To answer this question, a team of cognitive science researchers elaborated two experiments aimed at evaluating geometric performance, whatever the level of education. The first test consisted in answering questions on the abstract properties of straight lines, in particular their infinite character and their parallelism properties. The second test involved completing a triangle by indicating the position of its apex as well as the angle at this apex.
To carry out this study correctly, it was necessary to have participants that had never studied geometry at school, the objective being to compare their ability in these tests with others who had received training in this discipline. The researchers focused their study on Mundurucu Indians, living in an isolated part of the Amazon Basin: 22 adults and 8 children aged between 7 and 13. Some of the participants had never attended school, while others had been to school for several years, but none had received any training in geometry. In order to introduce geometry to the Mundurucu participants, the scientists asked them to imagine two worlds, one flat (plane) and the second round (sphere), on which were dotted villages (corresponding to the points in Euclidean geometry) and paths (straight lines). They then asked them a series of questions illustrated by geometric figures displayed on a computer screen.
Around thirty adults and children from France and the United States, who, unlike the Mundurucu, had studied geometry at school, were also subjected to the same tests.
The result was that the Mundurucu Indians proved to be fully capable of resolving geometric problems, particularly in terms of planar geometry. For example, to the question Can two paths never cross?, a very large majority answered Yes. Their responses to the second test, that of the triangle, highlight the intuitive character of an essential property in planar geometry, namely the fact that the sum of the angles of the apexes of a triangle is constant (equal to 180°).
With the sadness of SETI’s “hibernation” there is some good news.
The Allen array is not the only radio telescope facility that can be used for SETI searches. But it is the best; elsewhere, scientists have to borrow time on other telescopes.
Meanwhile, other SETI projects will continue, such as the SETI Quest Explorer, an application that allows citizen scientist volunteers to look for patterns from existing data that might have been missed by existing algorithms. Through a new partnership with Galaxy Zoo, this project runs in real time, so discoveries can be followed up on immediately.
Founded by 19-year-old philosophy student, Isaac Gerson, this brand new church believes that copying and the sharing of information is the most beautiful thing in the world. To have your information copied is a token of appreciation, say the church, a sure sign that people think you have done something good.
“In our belief, communication is sacred. Communication needs to be respected. It is a direct sin to monitor and eavesdrop on people. Absolute secrecy is holy in the Church of Kopimism.”
The church has its own set of axioms, most of which revolve around free access to knowledge and the sharing of information. They include:
# Reproduction of information is ethically right.
# The flow of information is ethically right.
# Remix Spirit is a sacred kind of copying.
# Copying or remixing information conveyed by another person is an act of respect.
This brief video from the BBC shows how astronomers are able to pick up the sounds emitted by distant stars using NASA’s Kepler space telescope. By analyzing the sound of a star scientists can determine its size and structure. Humans have developed cosmic radar.
Overall most of this disclosure information is not really relevant any more. It’s been widely circulated for years in the “underground”. At this point it smacks of being very similar to the U.K. Ministry of Defence opening their files just so all their time isn’t being taken up by freedom of information requests.
On a slightly more educational streak, here’s an awesome feature-length documentary about crop circles. Enjoy!
Academy Award (R) nominated documentary filmmaker William Gazecki (Waco: “Rules of Engagement”) offers a compelling and provocative look at the mysterious phenomenon of Crop Circles. Full of never-before-seen footage and interviews with leading Crop Circle researchers and scientists, Crop “Circles: Quest For Truth is a fascinating, in-depth exploration of prevailing theories about the origin and nature of Crop Circles and the possible implications for us and Planet Earth. An astonishing experience guaranteed to shift perspectives and alter perceptions of what is real.
What can we learn from space that will advance our global civilization?
In late January of 2011 the Saudi Arabian Investment Authority hosted an event called the Global Competitiveness Forum and asked a panel that very question.
Several notable speakers were invited to discuss their views on the future of human development. These speakers included physicist-futurist Michio Kaku, nuclear physicist and ufologist Stanton Friedman, former UK Ministry of Defense officer Nick Pope, and multidisciplinary visionary Jaques Vallee.
Michio Kaku spoke on the subject of civilization types. Type I: Planetary, Type II: Solar, Type III: Galactic and Type IV: Omni-dimensional (think Doctor Who or Q from Star Trek). As it stands we humans have yet to achieve even Type I civilization. Earth is still mired in Type 0; belligerent divisions of tribal groups whose main energy source comes from burning fossil fuels. Kaku cites the Internet, soccer, English, and the European Union as respective examples of Type I communications, Type I sport, Type I language and a Type I economy. Only by working together as a planetary whole can we advance and garner respect from higher civilization types.
Stanton Friedman discusses his involvement in the development of advanced energy generators and propulsion systems. He believes that if humans can develop smart energy technologies then surely our closest galactic neighbors can do the same…and have. Friedman also has a feature length film called Flying Saucers Are Real that documents all the evidence he has collected in the last 35 years of research.
Nick Pope formerly worked behind the UFO desk at the UK’s Ministry of Defence. In this video he discusses the economic benefits of space tourism and mining. He believes that the search for alien life can have beneficial results for global economies.
Jaques Vallee rounds out the panel by discussing the importance of making capital investments in the search for extraterrestrial life. Vallee elaborates on the correlation between UFOs and current research in ‘weird’ physics.