Science is magic that works*.

Sorta via Neil Stevens (I read xkcd religiously myself):

…Yeah. My favorite crazy phenomenon was the 100 mpg carburetor/cars that ran on water/’gas pill’ that the auto/oil companies supposedly suppressed, back in the day. ‘Back in the day’ being the 1970s, when the US Army would have paid any sum that you might have wanted for a truck with four to five times the range of the ones that they were using.

Note, I did not say ‘tank.’  I said ‘truck.’

Moe Lane

*I forget who said that first.


  • Ric Locke says:

    I don’t know either, though it’s suspiciously close to A. C. Clarke’s “indistinguishable from magic”.

    It’s wrong anyway. “Science” is a procedure:

    1) Try it and see / Go and find out (as appropriate for the case)
    2) Take notes
    3) Tell everybody
    4) Show your work.

    Things that work are engineering.


    • Moe_Lane says:

      I’m not sure if I agree with that checklist. I think it’s more like:

      1). See something.
      2). Come up with a reason why it is the way that it is.
      3). Do your damnedest to prove yourself wrong.
      …then start up with ‘Take notes…’ and go on from there.

  • Skip says:

    Nah, science today is more like:

    1. Scour the journals to see what’s currently being published, and (even more important) what gets goverment grants.

    2. Come up with something to test that’s close to things already published, but just sufficiently different.

    3. Apply for and get goverment graft.

    4. Test idea, and ensure that results are close enough to what’s been done before to make sure they’re publishable.

    5. Write up and publish. Repeat as necessary.

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