In the 10:00 section of class, I suggested that one way we know science is working or theory is sound is when it can tell us what the future holds. Today Ed Yong’s post on jumping spiders and the benefits of blurry vision ends with this statement:
Nagata even created a mathematical model for the spider’s eye to predict how far it would miss its jump under different wavelengths of light. The model’s predictions matched the animal’s actual behaviour.
So there it is: Nagata does some math, the math says: the spider will jump yea-far, and voila! the spider does it.
Maybe we tend to think of “predicting the future” more in terms of catastrophe or romance (“you’ll meet a tall dark stranger . . . “), but the ability to predict even tiny things–how far a spider will jump, how fast an object will accelerate, how much effect a certain chemical will have on a biological system–is seductive, isn’t it? It gives me a little thrill, a little moment of HEY THAT JUST WORKED.
Welcome to the blog for the George Washington University UW20 course “Rhetorical Intersections of Science, Culture, and Media”!
Once you’ve been added to the blog, this is your space to:
- continue class discussions and pursue tangents prevented by the limitations of class time
- raise new ideas and connect class discussions to current science news and events
- develop free writing begun in class and obtain peer feedback
- present writing under development for an essay
- pose questions and interact with your classmates in a format that allows for greater reflection and development of your ideas than in-person.
I hope this will become both a safe and comfortable space for us to share our thoughts and practice expressing ourselves in writing, and a space of thoughtful, intelligent analysis where we exchange ideas and test their merits.