One aim of this web site is an "Adventure Cave" exploration
game. Perhaps you remember: It was a game on the early CP/M computers.
There, you start with a description: a hilly terrain, a narrow road, a
small building... You type in the direction you want to go, and a
new description appears. Soon you find yourself in a gigantic cave,
full of wondrous surprises, secret rooms and routes, full of hazards
and evil ogres and capricious characters out to hinder or help. Your
task is to find as many of the cave's secrets as you can, to build up a
map of the cave and its routes … and to find the Golden Plover Egg!
The beginnings of such an Adventure game is embedded in this site. We present puzzles. There are hidden clues—and they are hidden in diverse ways. The puzzles also have hidden answers. There is a Platinum Plover Egg lurking in an unexpected corner of our site. Elsewhere, the three Cyclops of Greek mythology can be found staring at you. Innocent looking pictures have occult (that simply means "hidden") significance. And, "though this be madness, yet there is method in't."
This "Knowledge for Use" Web site expresses many points of view that are not widely shared. We believe that they should be because they are not "merely personal opinion" but rather are logical imperatives. What we want, or want not, to believe is irrelevant. Just like the belief that playing the state lottery is a perhaps remote but still reasonable way to get rich rather than a virtually certain way to lose money. (Bob Park--of American Physical Society's "What's New" email newsletter--suggests that "would-be players just send us their dollar. The odds of winning are exactly the same to within eight significant figures.")
Very few of my physics students understood statistical significance, even after my best efforts to show them why it is so important. Newton's three-centuries old insights about the motions of objects, insights that underlie much of today's science and virtually all of my course, were equally opaque. (And a few decades later, when one of my students was a fellow juror on a case that was based on Newton's laws of motion, neither that student nor nine of the ten other jurors saw the logical imperatives that should have decided the case. The decision went ten to two against both Newton and logic.)
Science educators have recently recognized the opacity of science to most learners and have found ways to help people "see." Traditional teaching and learning only rarely works, a fact that was always obvious to the perceptive. It is essential that we become mentally engaged at levels that stretch our mental abilities. We must do heavy duty weight lifting for the mind. (And now, those physics teachers who are following these prescriptions are finding their classes achieving understanding at levels never before seen.)
This Knowledge for Use Web site follows that prescription. The hunt for the Platinum Plover Egg is also a hunt for the Aluminium Plover Egg, the Titanium Plover Egg, the Diamond Plover Egg, and a whole web of other hidden and partially hidden treasures, "answers," clues, hints, and insights that come only when we ponder to the point of stretching our minds. (But we must stretch in ways that work. Follow the fable in PDX—below—and discover some intriguing possibilities for route finding through this unknown territory.)
. . . And so, we are now constructing a more conventional path to much the same useful science. It's called "Explore the Physicists' Domain, X--the unknown."
At explorepdx.com you will find very little that's hidden. But much, we believe that's useful. Please help us make these "obvious" things more and more useful to more and more people.
November 22, 2001
This the starting point for understanding the science
of the past several centuries.