No wonder the general public is confused about science; it appears that some scientists don’t get it very well either:
Thorne quickly realised that the model generated by Nolan’s team is as scientifically accurate as it gets. Forget artistic licence; this is what black holes actually look like. “This is our observational data,” Thorne explained. “That’s the way nature behaves. Period.”
No, you credentialed fool. You don’t get “observational data” from meditating on renderings of your mathematical model; you get observational data from observing the natural phenomenon under study.
As Professor Kirke once said, “‘I wonder what they do teach them at these schools…”
Before I forget, I should plug A Fire upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge. I’ve heard of Vinge before (as the author of The Coming Technological Singularity), but this is the first time I’ve read his fiction.
AFutD is good. Not much spiritual depth, but some moral dilemmas for our protagonists that I’d rather not deal with in Real Life™. Some very though-provoking ideas about technology pushed to the nth degree. And really alien aliens, not just humans with funny makeup. I enjoyed meeting the wolfpack Tines and the naturally sessile (before cybernetic enhancement) Skroderiders. I’m also highly impressed at Vinge’s ability to set up a galaxy-menacing threat whose ultimate outcome could still depend on the actions of our human and alien protagonists.