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Curiosity




Language.


 

How can we say a thing is like anything else, if we have not before learnt the concept of similar? That is the question asked by Socrates-Plato in Phaedo to get the answer: "it is necessary we knew all these concepts before our birth". The "grammar", for example, seems to be imprinted into us and not the fruit of culture; let us read this passage.

 

«In children at the age of two years there is a quick change from emotive language to syntactical one: this process needs environment inputs but then it is independent from them. However, while learning the mother-tongue, children show surprising behaviors: their language is hyper-correct (there are not irregular forms). They seem to act according to the abstract grammar rule (never learnt because their parents speak a correct language) instead of the examples of the heard-language».


Stefania Consigliere, Dispense - Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, Genova, AA 2001-2002

 

 


The Age of the Universe.

 

The way to calculate the age of the Universe is very easy. If you know the average escape velocity of galaxies located at a certain distance, you have to multiply the reverse ratio by distance: in fact "velocity = space / time" therefore "time = space / velocity". The result is correct only if the following suppositions are true. The first is: there was a time in which all of galaxies were amassed together. The second is: the velocity has been always constant; but it is more probably that velocity is now lower. Well, average escape velocity of galaxies located at 1 Mpc (1 megaparsec is equal to 3,262*10^9 light-years) is considered to be 55 km/s (constant of Hubble) therefore the universe would be 18 milliard years old.


Alessandro Strano

 

 

Seasons.


It is not the distance between the Earth and the Sun which determines seasons, but the inclination of the rotation axis of the Earth and therefore the angle with which sunbeams enter the atmosphere; the quantity of energy arriving at ground will be greater if that angle is near to 90°.

«During its revolution round the Sun the conditions of exposure to sunbeams are different, but equator: this happens because the rotation axis (which during revolution remains always parallel to itself) is inclined [of 23° 27' ] on the plane the Earth moves on. That causes differences of exposure to sunbeams and alternation of seasons».


Gaetano Ferro - Maria Bianchi, Guida alla Ricerca Geografica, II, Milano 1982, 51