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Thread: Would anyone be interested in starting an open source physics book?

  1. #1
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    Would anyone be interested in starting an open source physics book?

    I was thinking of using Wiki to start an open source book.
    I originally thought of doing something different with the book but a physics book may be pretty cool.

    Basically it would be wiki so anyone can add pages or chapters

    It would be a group project.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommac View Post
    I was thinking of using Wiki to start an open source book.
    I originally thought of doing something different with the book but a physics book may be pretty cool.

    Basically it would be wiki so anyone can add pages or chapters

    It would be a group project.
    Sounds like disaster. Wiki has enough trouble with that as it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Sounds like disaster. Wiki has enough trouble with that as it is.
    Well the key would be the editor or editing team. So there would be sections with approved content, it can only move into that state if fully approved.

    I think that there is room for open source in the field of education.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tommac View Post
    Well the key would be the editor or editing team. So there would be sections with approved content, it can only move into that state if fully approved.

    I think that there is room for open source in the field of education.
    The problem with open source is that most folks don't know how to progress through learning.

    Learning must be done in steps. You cannot just hop through it or take it piecemeal and haphazardly and expect to really learn anything.

    That's why we go through grades and 12 years of public school and then 4 or more of college (USA).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommac View Post
    I was thinking of using Wiki to start an open source book.
    Have you seen the WikiProject Physics page?

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    yeah but I am talking about a book

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    Quote Originally Posted by tommac View Post
    yeah but I am talking about a book
    A real book? How would we add pages?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1 View Post
    A real book? How would we add pages?
    Glue and binding of course.

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    I meant, to add pages to your book, in Neverland.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1 View Post
    I meant, to add pages to your book, in Neverland.
    Now you just had to go and get complicated...

    Mail me the pages and I'll glue them in my book

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    Quote Originally Posted by tommac View Post
    yeah but I am talking about a book
    Then would something more along the lines of the Physics Bookshelf on Wikipedia's lesser known cousin Wikibooks be more along the lines of what you are thinking?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grashtel View Post
    Then would something more along the lines of the Physics Bookshelf on Wikipedia's lesser known cousin Wikibooks be more along the lines of what you are thinking?
    One of the first books listed there is the Physics Study Guide. Looks nice, but we still have the problem with glue...

  13. #13
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    Wikibooks is the first think I thought of. The second one is called something like Wiki University--textbooks online in wiki form. There might already be a physics project in one or both of those.

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    Well, there's always Eric Weisstein's World of Physics. But, again, there's that glue thing.

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    OK ... so I guess the idea was already implemented.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tommac View Post
    I was thinking of using Wiki to start an open source book.
    I originally thought of doing something different with the book but a physics book may be pretty cool.

    Basically it would be wiki so anyone can add pages or chapters

    It would be a group project.
    Wikipedia is already chock full of outstanding info in all areas of physics. Rather than duplicating the literally hundreds of thousands of hours that went into those articles, perhaps it would be better to pick topics about which you're a subject matter expert and help make them better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post
    Wikipedia is already chock full of outstanding info in all areas of physics. Rather than duplicating the literally hundreds of thousands of hours that went into those articles, perhaps it would be better to pick topics about which you're a subject matter expert and help make them better.
    Yes but they are articles. I am talking about a book.

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    A man goes into a restaurant and asks to buy a meal. He is shown the menu. "There are no meals on this menu", he complains, "there are only parts of meals. I come into a restaurant to be professionally catered for, but then they ask me, who has no expertise at all in this area, to design my own meal. I'll go to a boarding house canteen instead, where they just put a meal on the table in front of me, and I can eat without exercising my brain at all."

    The internet is to books as restaurants are to boarding house canteens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Viehoff View Post
    The internet is to books as restaurants are to boarding house canteens.
    Since some restaurants don't serve ala carte, I'm going to take it a step further.

    The internet is to books as a farm (with a well-stocked kitchen, the evening meal on the table, hay for the horses, and slop for the pigs) is to a boarding house canteen.

  20. #20
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    Well in your analogy sometimes a really good restaurant will have a Prix Fixe menu. The thing is that sometimes it makes more sense to have something explained to you, rather than reading an encylopedia.

    A book builds up the blocks for you ... it is a journey of enlightenment. An encylopidia is a good tool to use if you know exactly what you are looking for.

    But it really doesnt give you a starting place and can lead you down many paths that may not be relevant to what you are interested in.





    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Viehoff View Post
    A man goes into a restaurant and asks to buy a meal. He is shown the menu. "There are no meals on this menu", he complains, "there are only parts of meals. I come into a restaurant to be professionally catered for, but then they ask me, who has no expertise at all in this area, to design my own meal. I'll go to a boarding house canteen instead, where they just put a meal on the table in front of me, and I can eat without exercising my brain at all."

    The internet is to books as restaurants are to boarding house canteens.

  21. #21
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    If you have a certain interest, there is your starting point.

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    but it is not lead ... so you can waste lots of time if you really dont understand at least a little bit of the subject. I am not saying that wikipedia is bad but stuff written in the classical book form still has its place in the world. Like going to a good restaurant. Maybe if you really know about food and about what you like ( Most people dont know what they like ) then ordering ala cart is for you ... but maybe you want to let a chef pick out your meal and the wine pairing that goes along with it ...

  23. #23
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    but stuff written in the classical book form still has its place in the world.
    So why worry about an open-source book? Why not just read the many excellent physics text books that have already been written?

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    Then Tommac the answer is before you.. the book is already there... feel free to contribute... but, be warned you may be excluded from Wiki by the team of Wiki editorial staff. Or write your own book. Subject by subject. You could do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Viehoff View Post
    The internet is to books as restaurants are to boarding house canteens.
    Tommac, Wikipedia is a collection of articles, with the same look and feel as printed enclopedias, but with three features not available in a printed book:

    1. Electronically searchable

    2. Hot links to key words, related articles, external links, online references, etc.

    3. Over time, as subject matter experts continue to contribute, it just keeps getting better and better.

    No printed book can do that, and if you Wiki one up, you're just creating another Wikipedia, duplicating (very poorly, I might add) what thousands of subject matter experts have already done.

  26. #26
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    Uggg ... look at a text book. I would argue that if one wanted to learn calculus they are better off using a calculus text book than they would be searching wiki.

    Lets say you wanted to learn about anything ... there are books out there where someone has already searched wiki and summed up the information went through it to make sure that the things you are learing are stacked one upon another ...

    That being said I think wikibooks is going in that direction ....




    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post
    Tommac, Wikipedia is a collection of articles, with the same look and feel as printed enclopedias, but with three features not available in a printed book:

    1. Electronically searchable

    2. Hot links to key words, related articles, external links, online references, etc.

    3. Over time, as subject matter experts continue to contribute, it just keeps getting better and better.

    No printed book can do that, and if you Wiki one up, you're just creating another Wikipedia, duplicating (very poorly, I might add) what thousands of subject matter experts have already done.

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    Would anyone want to write a science fiction book? We could use wiki and everyone can start adding stuff to it ... a group of people will edit and either accept or reject new additions to the book.

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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by tommac View Post
    Would anyone want to write a science fiction book? We could use wiki and everyone can start adding stuff to it ... a group of people will edit and either accept or reject new additions to the book.
    Well that would then be a compilation of ATM ideas and it would require the skilled resources of a knowledgeable mainstream to ensure non fictional physics was not unduly compromised in the compilation.

    Names, dates, places changed to protect the innocent. If any real scientist ever got caught it would be a laugh, hopefully. I think it is called onion.

    So how would you market such a thing? Could you ensure the readers wouldn't simply flood regular forums causing massive science friction?

  29. #29
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    I dont know ...

    But this is the thought ...

    Start a wiki ( I have one up and running already ) :

    Then come up with a starting story line and a quick overview of the story to start with.

    Then break out each of the chapters into its own wiki page.

    The story could change or branch off ( you could have two competing endings for example ). You can have a discussion are where people talk about the characters and argue about things like how space really expands.

    When it gets to about 200 pages ... start to edit.


    You would copy all of this work into an admin section also where the current accepted version lives.




    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Noonan View Post
    Well that would then be a compilation of ATM ideas and it would require the skilled resources of a knowledgeable mainstream to ensure non fictional physics was not unduly compromised in the compilation.

    Names, dates, places changed to protect the innocent. If any real scientist ever got caught it would be a laugh, hopefully. I think it is called onion.

    So how would you market such a thing? Could you ensure the readers wouldn't simply flood regular forums causing massive science friction?

  30. #30
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    Been done too . http://storymash.com/

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