I'm sure you're going to get a lot of comments to this effect, but your friend is correct about physics. Mathematics is the language of physics - trying to learn it without the mathematics is like only being able to read a poor translation. You may still find something insightful or interesting in this translation, though, despite it lacking the elegance of the original. Depending on what level of mathematical sophistication you're looking to wade into, my personal opinion is that Susskind's The Theoretical Minimum is the best introduction to physics for the seriously interested amateur. They're available as lectures, but the first three courses are also available as books now, and they're what I recommend to everyone who is interested in physics on more than a cursory level.

Just wanted to say I love these digest posts--I don't know how much work it is to dig up songs and substacks and books, but I love the recommendations!

Glad you highlighted Maurer's substack. I read a few entires and was positively delighted. Like I said, I've fallen out of love with Last Week Tonight over the past year-plus. His show got captured by the same woke elite smugness as every other outlet, sadly.

The Maurer recommendation was mine and I'm happy his substack is getting attention from it. Feels like being into a band that you know is gonna hit it big. (If we pretend we're still in an era where bands could hit it big.)

Speaking as a physicist, your friend was wrong about physics. Adding math makes it more precise and verifiable, but I think it was Schrödinger who stated that, if you couldn't explain what you were doing to a child, you didn't understand it yourself.

Susskind is too much, if you don't already have familiarity with the topics covered on a non-mathematical level. Learning about physics means going over the same areas again and again, each time at a deeper level, starting in grade school. Algebra gets added in high school, calculus in college, and it goes on from there - group theory, differential geometry... Professional physics is a long course. Don't worry about the gaps, we all have them.

The history of physics is fascinating. Try Bruce J. Hunt, The Maxwellians.

If you haven't read Carlo Rovelli, Seven Brief Lessons On Physics, start there.

Nobody understands quantum mechanics yet. Most authors describe entanglement incorrectly - they oversimplify. An accurate description is pretty tedious, unfortunately. If you want the straight skinny, find a copy of J. S. Bell's Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics: Collected Papers on Quantum Philosophy and browse it to see if you can handle it. It's ok to skim over the math and go for the philosophy. He has a chapter on special relativity, with an entertaining section about how a group of physicists at CERN couldn't agree on the solution to a seemingly simple problem.

The YouTube series from PBS Space Time is both accurate and entertaining.

"One of the things great writing reveals to us is just how little those demographic factors actually do to define us"

So true, and this made me nostalgic for the type of conversations that used to be more common, where you talk about how weird a book is, and then briefly take a break to talk about the author's personal life and go "oh, interesting, I never would have guessed the author was West Indian," and so on.

I'm trying to figure out your attitude towards the Beinart quote, in particular "liberals must be anti-utopian". Is that something you agree with? If so, does it apply to everybody on the left, or just the narrow subclass that you (pejoratively) call "liberals"?

Physics without math is like a rainbow without color.

## Digest, 8/21/2021: Goines Tale

I'm sure you're going to get a lot of comments to this effect, but your friend is correct about physics. Mathematics is the language of physics - trying to learn it without the mathematics is like only being able to read a poor translation. You may still find something insightful or interesting in this translation, though, despite it lacking the elegance of the original. Depending on what level of mathematical sophistication you're looking to wade into, my personal opinion is that Susskind's The Theoretical Minimum is the best introduction to physics for the seriously interested amateur. They're available as lectures, but the first three courses are also available as books now, and they're what I recommend to everyone who is interested in physics on more than a cursory level.

Just wanted to say I love these digest posts--I don't know how much work it is to dig up songs and substacks and books, but I love the recommendations!

Have a good weekend! Are you too counting the days until fall? If being Mr. Autumn Man is wrong, I don't want to be right:

https://www.theonion.com/mr-autumn-man-walking-down-street-with-cup-of-coffee-1819574012

Great to see High on Fire get some love!

Glad you highlighted Maurer's substack. I read a few entires and was positively delighted. Like I said, I've fallen out of love with Last Week Tonight over the past year-plus. His show got captured by the same woke elite smugness as every other outlet, sadly.

You should write the SFW post because I'm not gonna listen to the podcast.

The Maurer recommendation was mine and I'm happy his substack is getting attention from it. Feels like being into a band that you know is gonna hit it big. (If we pretend we're still in an era where bands could hit it big.)

Speaking as a physicist, your friend was wrong about physics. Adding math makes it more precise and verifiable, but I think it was Schrödinger who stated that, if you couldn't explain what you were doing to a child, you didn't understand it yourself.

Susskind is too much, if you don't already have familiarity with the topics covered on a non-mathematical level. Learning about physics means going over the same areas again and again, each time at a deeper level, starting in grade school. Algebra gets added in high school, calculus in college, and it goes on from there - group theory, differential geometry... Professional physics is a long course. Don't worry about the gaps, we all have them.

The history of physics is fascinating. Try Bruce J. Hunt, The Maxwellians.

If you haven't read Carlo Rovelli, Seven Brief Lessons On Physics, start there.

Nobody understands quantum mechanics yet. Most authors describe entanglement incorrectly - they oversimplify. An accurate description is pretty tedious, unfortunately. If you want the straight skinny, find a copy of J. S. Bell's Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics: Collected Papers on Quantum Philosophy and browse it to see if you can handle it. It's ok to skim over the math and go for the philosophy. He has a chapter on special relativity, with an entertaining section about how a group of physicists at CERN couldn't agree on the solution to a seemingly simple problem.

The YouTube series from PBS Space Time is both accurate and entertaining.

"One of the things great writing reveals to us is just how little those demographic factors actually do to define us"

So true, and this made me nostalgic for the type of conversations that used to be more common, where you talk about how weird a book is, and then briefly take a break to talk about the author's personal life and go "oh, interesting, I never would have guessed the author was West Indian," and so on.

Is your Facebook page gone for good?

I'm trying to figure out your attitude towards the Beinart quote, in particular "liberals must be anti-utopian". Is that something you agree with? If so, does it apply to everybody on the left, or just the narrow subclass that you (pejoratively) call "liberals"?

Physics without math is like a rainbow without color.