Ants, Engineering, and Epistemology

Scientific American reports: Tiny Robots Mimic Termites’ Ability to Build without a Leader Using sensors coupled with a simple set of rules, the robots worked independently to build structures Termites can create mounds that are hundreds of times their own size, working independently without communication or a leader. Inspired by the creatures, scientists have created […]

Ideological Certainty and Its Discontents: In Praise Of Epistemic Humility

In response to a question about the propriety of protesting the singing of שיר המעלות to “the [well-]known tune of the [Israeli] National Anthem”, Rav Avraham Weinfeld responds that while the practice is indeed deplorable, as the Zionists are, at least in certain respects, worse than the Reformers, as the latter at least nominally retain […]

Mathematical Reasoning and Its Discontents

In the course of preparing the previous post, I encountered this bizarre passage in the commentary to the mishnah of Rav Shimshon b. Avraham (the Rash) of Sens: ובני אדם חכמי המדות אמרו דכל מרובע ב’ קוים במרובע האלכסון שמודדין מדת רחבו ועושין מרובע כמדתו ומודדין מדת ארכו ועושין ריבוע כמדתו ומודדין מדת אלכסון ועושין […]