much of science is straightforward, logical, almost rote. It's easy to ask questions; toddlers do it. It's not too hard to hire grad student lab assistants to execute experiments. It's relatively easy for an analyst or statistician to look at a pile of observations from an experiment and draw conclusions.

There's just one really hard step, the middle step: coming up with testable hypotheses. By testable, we mean, we can design an experiment that is actually possible to execute, that will tell us if the hypothesis is true or not, hopefully leading toward answering the original question. Testable hypotheses are, I've heard, where string theory falls flat. We have lots of theories, lots of hypotheses, and billions of dollars to build supercolliders, but we are surprisingly short of things we are able to test for, in order to make the next leap forward.

Systems design 2: What we hope we know by apenwarr favicon