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MSc in CS @ TU Munich & MIT || B.Sc. in Physics @ Hamburg & Imperial College London || ML Engineer & TPM @ Springbok AI || Github: michaelbornholdt

You think your rational, right? Given all facts and enough time to decide, you can always come up with the correct solution?

Photo by Juan Rumimpunu on Unsplash

Well, really sorry to break it to you, but you are far from being a rational boolean agent! In fact, we humans are really bad at statistical decisions.

In this, and maybe some upcoming posts I will explain some cases where humans don’t act according to simple logic. These flaws can be avoided, once you are aware of them - so listen up! Obviously, the best approach is to test these fallacies on you, the reader:
So, assume the…


tl;dr: Understand things before you have an opinion

In today’s world, there is much discussion about fake news, political extremist views and about a divided society. Unfortunately, I rarely hear anyone discuss why our society is diverging and what can be done to prevent this. So please bear with me while I introduce a psychological issue which is a promising tool for cooling off and understanding the origin of those disagreements that divide people.

Photo by Curology on Unsplash

Picture a flush toilet and ask yourself: How well do you understand how this toilet works? Maybe rate it from 1–7? Are you above the average…


Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

This is all speculation and is solely an intellectual game!, you might say. Well, then sit back and enjoy me wasting my time on irrelevant topics. But maybe, just maybe I can convince you that we have to take this more seriously and consider actions to take?

Tl;dr: We will all die!
This article is largely inspired by Bostrom’s book.

General intelligent minds have been anticipated since the 1940s. But like some other technologies (looking at you, nuclear fusion!), the expected arrival date moves forward as time goes by. …


It’s not often that something so pretty and fascinating has some more beautiful and easy (!) maths and physics behind it. But with rainbows, that definitely the case!

Photo by David Brooke Martin on Unsplash

When Sir Isaac Newton described the colors of the rainbow through the refraction of light, the poet John Keats was horrified. Keats complained (through a poem, of course) that a mathematical explanation robbed these marvels of nature of their magic. I highly disagree with Keats and I am sure you will too!

Refraction


You may have encountered rolling-shutter-effect (RSE) when taking photos of a fast-moving object, like propellers or a car on the highway. Propellers and cars get distorted or straight lines to bend; so what’s going on here?

RSE, photo credit: flickr.com

Most smartphone and digital cameras use so-called Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (CMOS) sensors while many other reflex cameras use CCD pixels (charge-coupled device). I won’t go into any detail on the physical difference between these because in order to understand our RSE we need to look at the light exposure.

With a CCD camera, light exposure is what you would expect it to be: shine some…


Polar lights are one of my favorite phenomena. They are colorful, hard to catch, and still not fully understood! But let’s dive into the science behind them!

We need to start our journey somewhere very hot: the sun. Here convections of charged particles (plasma) in the outer parts of the sun cause strong magnetic fields. Sometimes these fields move outwards creating rings that act like rubber bands that snap, blowing out great amounts of plasma. These events are called solar flares, or when they’re really big: coronal mass ejections. …


This technology sounds and looks like it is more fiction than it is science. “Ion engines” are common in the Star Wars universe on TIE-fighters (Twin Ion Engine), but are they real?

Short answer: Yes!
Long answer: Yeeeeeeeeeeees!

Source: wikimedia.org

The first time ion propulsion was mentioned is as early as 1906. From then it took a long path to the 1970s to actually employ this technology as was done on American and on Soviet satellites. Deep Space 1 was NASA’s first interplanetary mission using ion thrusters in 1998.

So if this technology is real, then why aren’t we seeing anything of…

Michael Bornholdt

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