Tuesday, November 12, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

The Challenger Disaster: Feynman on TV

On November 16th, Science Channel and Discovery Channel will air "The Challenger Disaster".

Academy Award winner William Hurt will star as Richard Feynman.

We were only shown 31 seconds but my preliminary feeling is that it might be enough to say a rather unexpected thing – that what this actor is missing to really resemble Richard Feynman is playfulness, some charisma (visually, in the behavior, gestures, as well as voice), and showmanship.

But it should be very interesting, anyway. I hope that we, the viewers outside America, will eventually be able to watch it, too.

Via John Preskill

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reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

Ok, thanks for the clarification about what you mean by being useful to people who just search for it, etc.

Regarding the popular-level questions, I think that as (Pratyush, if I'm not wrong) has said, popular-level and basic questions (i.e. low-level questions) should be separated from the high-level ones.

There could be two audiences for the site, one whom are interested in the pop-level questions adn basic stuff, and the other interested in higher-level questions.

Now, wouldn't someone who is interested in basic questions be interested in pop-level too? Ok, not all, some would just want to get answers to their homework questions, but those people should ideally be "off-audience" for the site.

I know however, as someone on a meta-SO thread had said, such a division is just not appropriate on Stack Exchange because (to nicely put it) of much lower traffic figures, which may be very strange for such a large network.

Besides that, Stack Overflow is scary big with almost ten thousand questions a day, so it's hard for most of them (the "1st estate people", as mentioned in some diagram somewhere below) to comprehend having such a small site.

Also, the "appropriate level of "niceness"" rule is devastating for a more academic, high-level, community, where one needs to be frank, and not cover up their statements in niceness.

By the way, I do understand the need for a sort of, "nice" atmosphere, but I don't think that one needs to not be rude to be nice/civil. By rudeness, I do not mean that if you like an answer, you tell the answerer in a comment,

"What a CENSORED! You think we care about your crappy CENSORED answer?! NOPE, your answer is just CENSORED, and nothing more, so -1, you stupid, crappy IDIOT, you CENSORED mad, craphead poophead!!!."

: )

However, I think that niceness and rudeness should come frankly. If you like an answer, thank it and upvote it, and if it is garbage, then attack it and downvote it.

Don't just say "Well, actually, I believe that this good answer has a subtle fault in it." if it is outright crap. Say "It is outright crap, -1." or if it is not so outright, then explain your reasons for you to consider it to be crap, but along with rudenes, if you feel like being rude.

However, both actions (thanking and attacking) are disallowed by SE. Thanking is considered noise, and disallowing it reduces the "fraternity" bet ween users, so attacking is banned to supposedly "increase" the fraternity. But it just doesn't.

Regarding "having a competitor", that's just not the right way to think about it. It is in fact admittedly unlikely that the site will grow very big, maybe even not as big as TP.SE, since we don't have the label of "SE" like TP.SE did.

Also, frankness policies may indeed not be so attractive to many people, so I guess I can understand why a for-profit organisation has niceness polcies.

Then again, the "non-profit" wikipedia/wikmiiedia foundation has the worst niceness policies, openly allowing admins to make any sort of attack, yet, users can't say more than "Hi, I am deeply sorry, but I feel that your article may be a candidate for speedy deletion."

And besdies, saying that the new site is going to be a "competitor" is like saying that Mozilla is a competitor to Microsoft : )

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

And with regards to Maths Overflow, most highly upvoted closed questions there are generally closed actually a significant amount of time after it's asked, mostly because of policy changes (which were approved by the community).

Also, it's significantly less than Physics.SE, where the community's say is negligible. Community-closed questions are much more on Maths Overflow.

reader Dilaton said...


and s I said below an answer of EnergyNumbers, the new site is not meant to be a competitor but a higher-level complement of Physics SE, in the same way as MathOverflow is a higher level complement to Mathematics SE.