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Fallen Heroes

22.01.11

 

 

"For Fra MicheleBerti of Calci (d. 1389) unjust persecution was not so clear-cut.He therefore had to earn the community’s goodwill, a feat he accomplished through his steadfast conviction and his comportment during the execution of his sentence. Michele Berti was a member of the Spiritual Franciscans, or fraticelli as they were called in Italy. This group had been declared heretical by Pope John XXII in 1317 for maintaining that the Franciscans should possess nothing, either individually or in common, and could only have de facto use of property. The bishop of Florence, Antonio Bindi, imprisoned Michele Berti for purportedly preaching that people should read the Gospels themselves to discover the truth, rather than listen to clerics.He was ultimately condemned to death as an unrepentant heretic.

The anonymous account of these events describes the friar’s walk through the streets of Florence to the site of his immolation and in so doing presents the process through which the community became convinced that Michele Berti was a saint.The chronicler, anticipating this conclusion, tells the reader that when Michele Berti ‘was striding along with his head bowed, saying the office, he truly seemed like one of the martyrs’.

If the author was convinced of Michele’s holiness, the populace was not — at least not yet. As he was led to the place of execution the Florentines gathered in the streets and hung out of their windows, calling out to the condemned man. They shouted out to him that he did not want to die, trying to persuade him to tell the authorities whatever they wanted to hear in order to spare his life.

He rebuffed them, claiming that he wanted to die for Christ, and for the truth. The community tested him, calling out that he did not believe in God, that he had a devil on his back ‘pulling’ him,and that he should repent for his error. The friar responded that he did believe in God and the Virgin Mary and the holy Church,that God protected him against demons, and that, ‘on the contrary [what I believe] is the orthodox faith, in fact it is the truth to which every Christian is bound’.Michele Berti’s demeanour and resoluteness impressed the observers. The spatial progression to the site of his execution corresponded with a shift in public opinion. By the time he reached one of the gates of the city, instead of the jeers and questions he had received earlier, ‘one of the faithful began to call outto him, saying, ‘‘stand firm, martyr of Christ, for soon you will receive the crown [of martyrdom]’’ ’.When the officials asked him one last time, ‘What is this thing for which you want to die?’the friar responded with the same sense of purpose he had shownthroughout his incarceration: ‘This is a truth that resides in me, to which I cannot bear witness (non se ne puo` dare testimonio) if I do not die’. As his body was set ablaze Florence ignited into an uproar."

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Lost for words

08.01.11

 

daqui

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uau...

04.11.10

 

Daqui

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"Powers of Ten" Charles and Ray Eames

08.10.10

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Ó meu Deus...

07.10.10

 

Por incrivel que pareça, foi a explicação do gesto técnico que me deixou mais comovido.

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Just wow!

04.09.10

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O futuro que nos faz hoje

29.08.10

 

Just last year, physicist John Howell and his team from the University of Rochester reported success. In the Rochester setup, laser light was measured and then shunted through a beam splitter. Part of the beam passed right through the mechanism, and part bounced off a mirror that moved ever so slightly, due to a motor to which it was attached. The team used weak measurements to detect the deflection of the reflected laser light and thus to determine how much the motorized mirror had moved.

That is the straightforward part. Searching for backward causality required looking at the impact of the final measurement and adding the time twist. In the Rochester experiment, after the laser beams left the mirrors, they passed through one of two gates, where they could be measured again—or not. If the experimenters chose not to carry out that final measurement, then the deflected angles measured in the intermediate phase were boringly tiny. But if they performed the final, postselection step, the results were dramatically different. When the physicists chose to record the laser light emerging from one of the gates, then the light traversing that route, alone, ended up with deflection angles amplified by a factor of more than 100 in the intermediate measurement step. Somehow the later decision appeared to affect the outcome of the weak, intermediate measurements, even though they were made at an earlier time.

This amazing result confirmed a similar finding reported a year earlier by physicists Onur Hosten and Paul Kwiat at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They had achieved an even larger laser amplification, by a factor of 10,000, when using weak measurements to detect a shift in a beam of polarized light moving between air and glass.

For Aharonov, who has been pushing the idea of backward causality for four decades, the experimental vindication might seem like a time to pop champagne corks, but that is not his style. “I wasn’t surprised; it was what I expected,” he says.

(...)

Tollaksen sums up this confounding argument with one of his favorite quotes, from the ancient Jewish sage Rabbi Akiva: “All is foreseen; but freedom of choice is given.” Or as Tollaksen puts it, “I can have my cake and eat it too.” He laughs.

(...)

Is feedback from the future guiding the development of life, the universe, and, well, everything? Paul Davies at Arizona State University in Tempe and his colleagues are investigating whether the universe has a destiny—and if so, whether there is a way to detect its eerie influence.

Cosmologists have long been puzzled about why the conditions of our universe—for example, its rate of expansion—provide the ideal breeding ground for galaxies, stars, and planets. If you rolled the dice to create a universe, odds are that you would not get one as handily conducive to life as ours is. Even if you could take life for granted, it’s not clear that 14 billion years is enough time for it to evolve by chance. But if the final state of the universe is set and is reaching back in time to influence the early universe, it could amplify the chances of life’s emergence.

With Alonso Botero at the University of the Andes in Colombia, Davies has used mathematical modeling to show that bookending the universe with particular initial and final states affects the types of particles created in between. “We’ve done this for a simplified, one-dimensional universe, and now we plan to move up to three dimensions,” Davies says. He and Botero are also searching for signatures that the final state of the universe could retroactively leave on the relic radiation of the Big Bang, which could be picked up by the Planck satellite launched last year.

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uau...

10.07.10

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Álcool ao microscópio

23.06.10

 

Isto é Whisky Escocês.

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"Through a glass darkly"

18.06.10

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