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Preface to the blog

You are now reading the blog of Jacques Pienaar, postdoctoral researcher at the Universität Wien, Austria; PhD from the University of Queensland, Australia; came 2nd in breaststroke at the high school swimming competition; former member of the “3-Month Warrens” breakdancing crew. I am a scientist both by profession and by nature — I am curious about life and I subject it to all kinds of experiments to see what will happen.

Since we are using science as a metaphor for life, it seems most people are rather terrible scientists, just doing the same experiment over and over and getting the same results. This gives them no new information whatsoever; worse still, many of them are still doing experiments that their parents already did before, and got the same results. Since the results didn’t end up killing them outright, they consider them to be `satisfactory’ and thus have no further curiosity on the matter. As a person educated in the proper method of scientific inquiry, I feel it is my duty to tell you the error of your ways. While this blog is many things — a creative outlet, an exercise in improving my communications skills, an effort to reach out to complete strangers and introduce them to the wonders of the universe – it is, above all, a personal experiment.

This blog is not for everybody, but then again, the only things that are for everybody are love and air, and the rest is a matter of personal taste. Initially I resisted starting this blog because a little voice in my head kept saying: “Jacques, isn’t writing a blog extremely arrogant? Surely it would just be a self-serving exercise in intellectual masturbation? Plus, you might say something really dumb and then you’ll look silly in front of all of your friends and enemies. I can see them now, chuckling derisively behind your back, saying `what a fool that Jacques fellow is! If he’d kept quiet, nobody would know how ignorant he was! Ha ha ha! I certainly won’t be offering him a job, given his drastic misconceptions about the objects of reality in quantum mechanics’.

Well, first of all, what is wrong with intellectual masturbation? Secondly, I dislike that old adage about how it is better to be quiet and be thought a fool then to open your mouth and be proved one, because it is a rather pessimistic sentiment and presupposes that you are a fool. I am an optimist and I believe there is a chance that I might not be a fool. And if I keep my mouth shut, it will take me much longer to discover the truth on this matter. But if I loudly proclaim my ideas, there is a chance somebody smarter than me will pipe up and say `that’s wrong! You are a fool’ and then I can either improve myself as a physicist or quit and do something else. So, in the spirit of being courageous and allowing image and reputation to bow down to truth, here is my blog. I hope you enjoy it.