[转载]Scientist: Four golden lessons


Steven Weinberg*

When I received my undergraduate degree — about a hundred years ago — the physics literature seemed to me a vast, unexplored ocean, every part of which I had to chart before beginning any research of my own. How could I do anything without knowing everything that had already been done? Fortunately, in my first year of graduate school, I had the good luck to fall into the hands of senior physicists who insisted, over my anxious objections, that I must start doing research, and pick up what I needed to know as I went along. It was sink or swim. To my surprise, I found that this works. I managed to get a quick PhD — though when I got it I knew almost nothing about physics. But I did learn one big thing: that no one knows everything, and you don’t have to.

Another lesson to be learned, to continue using my oceanographic metaphor, is that while you are swimming and not sinking you should aim for rough water. When I was teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the late 1960s, a student told me that he wanted to go into general relativity rather than the area I was working on, elementary particle physics, because the principles of the former were well known, while the latter seemed like a mess to him. It struck me that he had just given a perfectly good reason for doing the opposite. Particle physics was an area where creative work could still be done. It really was a mess in the 1960s, but since that time the work of many theoretical and experimental physicists has been able to sort it out, and put everything (well, almost everything) together in a beautiful theory known as the standard model. My advice is to go for the messes — that’s where the action is.

My third piece of advice is probably the hardest to take. It is to forgive yourself for wasting time. Students are only asked to solve problems that their professors (unless unusually cruel) know to be solvable. In addition, it doesn’t matter if the problems are scientifically important — they have to be solved to pass the course. But in the real world, it’s very hard to know which problems are important, and you never know whether at a given moment in history a problem is solvable. At the beginning of the twentieth century, several leading physicists, including Lorentz and Abraham, were trying to work out a theory of the electron. This was partly in order to understand why all attempts to detect effects of Earth’s motion through the ether had failed. We now know that they were working on the wrong problem. At that time, no one could have developed a successful theory of the electron, because quantum mechanics had not yet been discovered. It took the genius of Albert Einstein in 1905 to realize that the right problem on which to work was the effect of motion on measurements of space and time. This led him to the special theory of relativity. As you will never be sure which are the right problems to work on, most of the time that you spend in the laboratory or at your desk will be wasted. If you want to be creative, then you will have to get used to spending most of your time not being creative, to being becalmed on the ocean of scientific knowledge.

Finally, learn something about the history of science, or at a minimum the history of your own branch of science. The least important reason for this is that the history may actually be of some use to you in your own scientific work. For instance, now and then scientists are hampered by believing one of the over-simplified models of science that have been proposed by philosophers from Francis Bacon to Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper. The best antidote to the philosophy of science is a knowledge of the history of science.

More importantly, the history of science can make your work seem more worthwhile to you. As a scientist, you’re probably not going to get rich. Your friends and relatives probably won’t understand what you’re doing. And if you work in a field like elementary particle physics, you won’t even have the satisfaction of doing something that is immediately useful. But you can get great satisfaction by recognizing that your work in science is a part of history.

Look back 100 years, to 1903. How important is it now who was Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1903, or President of the United States? What stands out as really important is that at McGill University, Ernest Rutherford and Frederick Soddy were working out the nature of radioactivity. This work (of course!) had practical applications, but much more important were its cultural implications. The understanding of radioactivity allowed physicists to explain how the Sun and Earth’s cores could still be hot after millions of years. In this way, it removed the last scientific objection to what many geologists and paleontologists thought was the great age of the Earth and the Sun. After this, Christians and Jews either had to give up belief in the literal truth of the Bible or resign themselves to intellectual irrelevance. This was just one step in a sequence of steps from Galileo through Newton and Darwin to the present that, time after time, has weakened the hold of religious dogmatism. Reading any newspaper nowadays is enough to show you that this work is not yet complete. But it is civilizing work, of which scientists are able to feel proud.

*Department of Physics, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas 78712, USA. This essay is based on a commencement talk given by the author at the Science Convocation at McGill University in June 2003.










你好意思一把年纪了还吃爸妈的么。你有touch nano shuffle iPhone macbook,是你挣的么?




















古人说:”信心(FAITH)可以移山。” 又说:”只要工夫深,生铁磨成绣花针。”你不信吗?当拿破仑的军队征服普鲁士,占据柏林的时候,有一位教授叫做费希特(FICHTE)的,天天在讲堂劝他的国人要有信心,要信仰他们的民族是有世界的特殊使命的,是必定要复兴的。费希特死的时候,谁也不能预料德意志统一帝国何时可以实现。然而不满五十年,新的统一的德意志帝国居然实现了。



这三个问题在表面上似乎都和救国大事业没有多大关系。然而从第一个问题的证明,巴斯德定出做醋酿酒的新法,使全国的酒醋业每年减除极大的损失。从第二个问题的证明巴斯德教全国的蚕丝业怎样选种防病,教全国的畜牧农家怎样防止牛羊瘟疫,又教全世界怎样注重消毒以减少外科手术的死亡率。从第三个问题的证明,巴斯德发明了牲畜的脾热瘟的疗治药苗,每年替法国农家减除了二千万法朗的大损失;又发明了疯狗咬毒的治疗法,救济了无数的生命。所以英国的科学家赫胥黎(HUXLEY)在皇家学会里称颂巴斯德的功绩道:”法国给了德国五十万万法朗的赔款,巴斯德先生一个人研究 科学的成就足够还清这一笔赔款了。” 巴斯德对于科学有绝大的信心,所以他在国家蒙奇辱大难的时候,终不肯抛弃他的显微镜与试验室。他绝不想他有显微镜底下能偿还五十万万法朗的赔款,然而在他看不见想不到的时候,他已收获了科学救国的奇迹了。



Whoo-ah!Al Pacino在《闻香识女人》中的经典台词

     Mr. Simms, you are 
  a cover-up artist… 

  and you are a liar. 
  But not a snitch ! 
  Excuse me ? 
  No, I don’t 
  think I will. 
  – Mr. Slade. 
  - This is such a crock of shit ! 
  Please watch your language, 
  Mr. Slade. 

  You are in the Baird school, 
  not a barracks. 

  Mr. Simms, I will give you one 
  final opportunity to speak up. 

  Mr. Simms 
  doesn’t want it. 
  He doesn’t need 
  to be labeled… 
  "still worthy of 
  being a Baird man." 
  What the hell 
  is that ? 
  What is your motto here ? 
  "Boys, inform on your 
  classmates, save your hide; 
  anything short of that, 
  we’re gonna burn you at the stake" ? 
  Well, gentlemen, 
  when the shit hits the fan, 
  some guys run… 
  and some guys stay. 
  Here’s Charlie facin’ the fire, 
  and there’s George… 
  hidin’ in 
  big daddy’s pocket. 
  And what are you doin’ ? 
  You’re gonna 
  reward George… 
  and destroy Charlie. 
  -Are you finished, Mr. Slade ? 
  -No, I’m just gettin’ warmed up. 
  I don’t know who 
  went to this place. 
  William Howard Taft, 
  William Jennings Bryant, 
  William Tell, whoever. 
  Their spirit is dead, 
  if they ever had one. 
  It’s gone. 
  You’re buildin’ 
  a rat ship here, 
  a vessel for 
  seagoin’ snitches. 
  And if you think you’re 
  preparin’ these minnows for manhood, 
  you better think again, 
  because I say you are 
  killin’ the very spirit… 
  this institution 
  proclaims it instills. 
  What a sham. 
  What kind of a show 
  are you guys puttin’ on here today ? 
  I mean, the only class 
  in this act is sittin’ next to me. 
  I’m here to tell you 
  this boy’s soul is intact. 
  It’s non-negotiable. 
  You know how I know ? 
  Someone here, and I’m not gonna say who, 
  offered to buy it. 
  - Only Charlie here wasn’t sellin’. 
  – Sir, you’re out of order. 
  I show you out of order. 
  You don’t know what 
  out of order is, Mr. Trask. 
  I’d show you, 
  but I’m too old, 
  I’m too tired, 
  too fuckin’ blind. 
  If I were the man I was 
  five years ago, I’d take… 
  a flamethrower 
  to this place ! 
  Out of order ? Who the hell 
  you think you’re talkin’ to ? 
  I’ve been around, 
  you know ? 
  There was a time 
  I could see. 
  And I have seen. 
  Boys like these, 
  younger than these, 
  their arms torn out, 
  their legs ripped off. 
  But there is nothin’ 
  like the sight… 
  of an amputated spirit. 
  There is 
  no prosthetic for that. 
  You think you’re merely sendin’ 
  this splendid foot soldier… 
  back home to Oregon with 
  his tail between his legs, 
  but I say you are… 
  executin’ his soul ! 
  And why ? 
  Because he’s not 
  a Baird man. 
  Baird men. 
  You hurt this boy, 
  you’re gonna be Baird bums, 
  the lot of you. 
  And, Harry, Jimmy, 
  Trent, wherever 

Something about the age of Chinese women's gymnastics athletes

before the article(editorial):中国体操队称网上信息出错,没精力去管!

The original link:http://strydehax.blogspot.com/2008/08/hack-olympics.html  more updates on this site:http://strydehax.blogspot.com/2008/08/olympic-hacking-part-ii-lets-go-for.html   貌似这个blog上就这两篇文章,汗~

There’s been some widely publicized controversy regarding the competition age of the Chinese women’s gymnastics team recently. Rather than be too CNN, I decided to take a page from my friend Johnny and investigate on my own. I have an Internet connection, that means I should be able to verify the age of the gymnasts in question with primary state-issued documents and find out for myself if someone’s cheating, right? Right. Let’s go to work.

First, the rules.


  1. Gymnasts must be 16 to compete. This means they must be born in 1992 or earlier.
  2. Only publicly available, primary, linkable information can be used.


Who are we talking about?

Let’s take a look at He Kexin (何可欣). Her Chinese issued passport lists her birthday as 01/01/1992, 16 years old and old enough to compete. However, allegations cited on her Wikipedia page put her birthday as 01/01/1994, fourteen years old and not eligible for competition. Which is the truth? Let’s find out.

Let’s ask Google!

First, we’ll search all Chinese web sites for Excel spreadsheets containing He Kexin’s name and the word 1994. (site:cn 何可欣 filetype:xls 1994). This seems like a pretty good search. Try it yourself! Here’s what Google gives us back, one measly hit:

Wow, an Excel spreadsheet hosted on an official Chinese government web site (http://www.sport.gov.cn/files/jts/reg2006/zctc.xls) that contains the official birthday for He Kexin, awesome! Unfortunately, when you click on it, it’s been removed.

That’s strange. Fortunately, we can click on "View as HTML" in the Google cache and see it. However, even though the Google search results indicate that He Kexin is listed in the spreadsheet, when you view Google’s cached version, her name no longer appears.

What a strange software bug!?!? Oh well, I guess we should give up. Right?

What if we don’t give up easy though?

What about Baidu? Baidu is a Chinese language search engine with its own cache and search index. It’s different than google. So what if we run the same search on Baidu? Here’s the Baidu results, as of today, for the same search string: (site:cn 何可欣 filetype:xls 1994). For those who don’t speak Search Engine, that’s all Excel spreadsheets in China that contain He Kexin’s name and the string 1994. So, here’s Baidu:



Interesting. Baidu lists TWO spreadsheets at sport.gov.cn with Kexin’s name. Not surprisingly, the new one discovered by Baidu has been been deleted as well:


But what about the Baidu cache? If you click on the "HTML" link next to these XLS documents on Baidu (do it yourself!) you can access a cached copy of the document. This means that it was fully available… until recently. So, does Baidu’s copies of these documents have anything to say about Ms. Kexin?

In the Baidu cache, which apparently has not been hit with the scrub brush (yet), two spreadsheets published by the Chinese government on sport.gov.cn both list He Kexin’s birthday as 01-01-1994, making her 14 years old. For as long as these links work, you can access the documents directly, either using the directions and screenshots above, or these links: cache1 cache2


How official are these documents? Pretty dang official – they were issued by the General Administration of Sport of China.

Much of the coverage regarding Kexin’s age has only mentioned "allegations" of fraud, and the IOC has ignored the matter completely. I believe that these primary documents, issued by the Chinese state, directly available from China by clicking on the links above rise to a level of evidence higher than "allegation". The following points bear mentioning:

  1. Google’s cached copy of the spreadsheet does not contain Kexin’s age record, and Baidu’s does. This does not necessarily imply that Google allowed its data to be rewritten by Chinese censors, but the possibility does present itself.
  2. From the minute I pressed the publish button on this blog, the clock is ticking until Kexin’s true age is wiped out of the Baidu cache forever. It is up to you, the folks reading this blog, to take your own screenshots and notarize them by publishing them. If you put a link in the comments section, I’ll post it.

In closing, I’d like to point out that this is not an anti-China post; far from it. While I may disagree with the effort the Chinese government is making to conceal this young woman’s age, I have the utmost respect for the Chinese people, and I believe that united they will be able to make state sponsored censorship a thing of the past.