1.30.2006

M-Theory and Falsifiability

You know, the arrogance of theorists like Edward Witten and Joseph Polchinski is astounding to me at times. I realize that the petty fiefdoms of academia require you to defend your turf in order to secure publishing and funding, but the tone of their claims recently has gone beyond the measure for me.

It's like, dude, M-Theory hasn't even produced any falsifiable results yet, but you want to put it forward as the leading candidate for the Theory of Everything? I mean, what about non-perturbative canonical quantum gravity, or b-quark interactions?

Look, if your theoretical model isn't fine-tuned enough to yield predictive datum, that's fine, feel free to publish it, but let's not get all messiah complex just yet, Ok? You're not the Savior of Physics. At best, you're a minor prophet.

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1.29.2006

Schönberg and Tonality

God, my head is killing me. I had way too much to drink last night, and my mind is still a bit fuzzy around the edges.

B and I got into a huge argument last night after dinner. She kept insisting that Schönberg's Chamber Symphony #2 represented a collapse of his tonal series exploration, and a return to the romantic sensibilities of his earlier writing. She thinks that he was turning his back on the experiment of the early 20th Century.

Which is just insane. I mean, Schönberg's entire trajectory was a movement away from convention. If anything, the #2 means that his audience had finally come to accept the contrapuntal density and harmonic exploration of his middle period, and that any further departure necessitated a ironic reuse of the staid materials of a previous era. It wasn't a defeat for innovation, it was the first truly post-modern use of irony in thematic development. The thing being self aware, and being a parody of itself while being the thing.

God, she's such an idiot sometimes.


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