Search found 1058 matches

by tomandlu
Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:20 pm UTC
Forum: Fictional Science
Topic: Yet another FTL question...
Replies: 16
Views: 1427

Re: Yet another FTL question...

Okay, and in all honesty, although I believe in the principle that FTL breaks causality, I never get it. So, given my original specification, how would I, for instance, arrange to give myself the combination of a safe when the only record of the combination was inside the safe? When you receive the...
by tomandlu
Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:53 pm UTC
Forum: Movies and TV Shows
Topic: The End of the F***ing World
Replies: 7
Views: 570

Re: The End of the F***ing World

Yeah - started watching it on the recommendation of my daughter. I find the faux-nihilism a bit relentless, but it's great fun.
by tomandlu
Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:51 pm UTC
Forum: Fictional Science
Topic: Yet another FTL question...
Replies: 16
Views: 1427

Re: Yet another FTL question...

Okay, and in all honesty, although I believe in the principle that FTL breaks causality, I never get it.

So, given my original specification, how would I, for instance, arrange to give myself the combination of a safe when the only record of the combination was inside the safe?
by tomandlu
Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:04 pm UTC
Forum: Books
Topic: I'd like to know the name of this book/short story/comic
Replies: 645
Views: 221063

Re: I'd like to know the name of this book/short story/comic

I'm sure I've asked this before, but I'm damned if I can find it... A short SF story, where a man in the US wilderness stumbles across an alien machine that's collecting living samples. It pursues the man, and when he's finally caught after a long chase, he's released as the exercise has put him bel...
by tomandlu
Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:55 pm UTC
Forum: Movies and TV Shows
Topic: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Replies: 188
Views: 6706

Re: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Shrug. I loved it, but I accept that some of the criticisms are valid. All I can really say is that all I ask of my fantasy media is that I don't spot the plot holes at the time I'm watching it, and it passed that one. I sort-of liked TFA, but I haven't had such a buzz watching a SW film in a long t...
by tomandlu
Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:40 pm UTC
Forum: Fictional Science
Topic: Yet another FTL question...
Replies: 16
Views: 1427

Yet another FTL question...

If you could teleport instantly to any point in the universe, but didn't have any magical way to change your relative momentum, which you'd still have to handle conventionally, could you still potentially break causality?
by tomandlu
Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:07 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Quantum Question
Replies: 55
Views: 3023

Re: Quantum Question

Tchebu wrote:New perspectives on it, definitely, but not a full-blown overhaul like the transition from classical to quantum mechanics was.


Well, yes. I certainly don't dispute the strong possibility - after all the blind men really could have been dealing with a snake, a fan, and a tree-trunk...
by tomandlu
Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:05 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Odd sunlight reflections off glass windows
Replies: 11
Views: 1165

Re: Odd sunlight reflections off glass windows

Variations in air pressure could cause fairly uniform distortion for multiple windows... Do you think that the differences in temperature between the outside and inside could cause the differences in pressure? I was referring to a pressure difference between the atmospheric pressure (on both sides ...
by tomandlu
Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:31 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Odd sunlight reflections off glass windows
Replies: 11
Views: 1165

Re: Odd sunlight reflections off glass windows

Variations in air pressure could cause fairly uniform distortion for multiple windows... Do you think that the differences in temperature between the outside and inside could cause the differences in pressure? I don't think it's much affected by temperature differentials - at least it isn't limited...
by tomandlu
Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:02 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Quantum Question
Replies: 55
Views: 3023

Re: Quantum Question

Grand unification (or lack thereof), black-holes and information, gravity, dark matter None of those are problems with the conceptual foundations of quantum mechanics. Grand unification and dark matter are both problems of finding specific quantum mechanical models that have these features and conf...
by tomandlu
Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:08 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Network on a trusting planet
Replies: 5
Views: 805

Re: Network on a trusting planet

As others have said, better off in the SF-science forum, but what the hell. I work in health IT, and we need to provide hospitals with the ability to import data from other hospitals, as well as allowing patients to access their own data*. For the former, the obstacle is not so much security as comp...
by tomandlu
Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:27 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Is this logical statement true or false?
Replies: 9
Views: 1589

Re: Is this logical statement true or false?

"All absolute statements are false" is false, because if it's true it's false, but if it's false then at least one absolute statement is true, but it need not be this one, so you avoid the "This sentence is false" paradox. I'm not sure "including this one" affects the ...
by tomandlu
Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:23 pm UTC
Forum: Movies and TV Shows
Topic: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Replies: 188
Views: 6706

Re: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

I loved it, and it's been over 30 years since I said that about a SW film. Space Leia was dumb in the way that it was staged, but didn't bother me otherwise. The Monaco planet was largely a waste of space and time, but compared to the lows of I-III, it was Citizen Kane. Aside from that, I have a...
by tomandlu
Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:03 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Is this logical statement true or false?
Replies: 9
Views: 1589

Is this logical statement true or false?

"All absolute statements are wrong, including this one." This was prompted by listening to radio presenter, after a panel had made their forecasts for next year, who something like "the only thing I can guarantee is that all those predictions will be wrong." I thought he should h...
by tomandlu
Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:57 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Odd sunlight reflections off glass windows
Replies: 11
Views: 1165

Re: Odd sunlight reflections off glass windows

Yeah, that'll be a reflection off some sort of concave object. The name for an image like this is a caustic (more info at the link) Yeah, I used to mess around with Povray and photons, so I'm familiar with the general phenomena. It's the specificity of this that's surprising me. The distortion seem...
by tomandlu
Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:11 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Quantum Question
Replies: 55
Views: 3023

Re: Quantum Question

What problems do you have with QM? Well, they're not my problems... ;) Grand unification (or lack thereof), black-holes and information, gravity, dark matter - all the things that, one way or another, indicate that our conceptual model is very incomplete. My reasonable (imho) gut-instinct is that t...
by tomandlu
Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:10 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Quantum Question
Replies: 55
Views: 3023

Re: Quantum Question

yes, but I'm working, and they're not novel observations so you can probably find a good explanation of their faults more quickly than I could write one. I found two criticisms, both from several years ago. One was based around a cover that had been co-opted by the creationist movement, but, seriou...
by tomandlu
Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:01 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Odd sunlight reflections off glass windows
Replies: 11
Views: 1165

Re: Odd sunlight reflections off glass windows

If it is this effect, it would only be visible on surfaces at a range of distances determined by the focal length of the reflector. Too close, and you'd see a less distorted rectangle. Too far, and the image would be too large and faint to see. It's not uncommon for me to see distorted reflections ...
by tomandlu
Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:39 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Quantum Question
Replies: 55
Views: 3023

Re: Quantum Question

doogly wrote:De Broglie / Bohm is particularly rubbish
New Scientist, generally rubbish


Can you justify either of those statements?
by tomandlu
Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:36 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Odd sunlight reflections off glass windows
Replies: 11
Views: 1165

Re: Odd sunlight reflections off glass windows

Perhaps the window panes are slightly concave? Flat rectangular edges and a depressed center might cause an effect like that. I assume it's something like that, but either all glass is like that (and I've just never had the opportunity to see it before), or there's something very odd about our stre...
by tomandlu
Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:02 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Quantum Question
Replies: 55
Views: 3023

Re: Quantum Question

It might be worth mentioning that there are alternatives to 'classical' QM. De Broglie and Bohm, and their work on the pilot-wave model, are worth reading up on. There's a decent article on this in the 8 April 2017 issue of New Scientist, as well as the wikipedia articles below. https://en.wikipedia...
by tomandlu
Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:05 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Odd sunlight reflections off glass windows
Replies: 11
Views: 1165

Odd sunlight reflections off glass windows

The attached picture shows the patterns created by sunlight being reflected off of windows behind the camera onto the walls of some flats that are being built on vacant land at the end of our garden. What am I seeing? I'm only showing a couple of the reflections here, but our house is part of a terr...
by tomandlu
Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:21 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: The Argument from Contingency
Replies: 43
Views: 5984

Re: The Argument from Contingency

Grr. Argh. Just to add a recommended read to those who don't think philosophy has much of interest to say. My son gave me Russell's "The Problems of Philosophy" from 1912 to take on holiday. It's a fairly straight-forward (and short) but intriguing read. Adding the wikipedia entry, as it h...
by tomandlu
Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:51 am UTC
Forum: Fictional Science
Topic: What if there was a Zombie Apocalypse?
Replies: 23
Views: 2808

Re: What if there was a Zombie Apocalypse?

I believe some modeling was done on 'classic' slow zombies, and the results were pretty much the same for any highly-infectious deadly disease - if you catch the outbreak quickly enough, containment is relatively easy; if you don't, you're fucked. I think this might be the study(ies) I'm thinking of...
by tomandlu
Mon May 22, 2017 4:42 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Why haven't any animals evolved wheels?
Replies: 22
Views: 4228

Re: Why haven't any animals evolved wheels?

It's around the Late Devonian that Tetrapoda arise out of the various body-plans that got experimented with throughout the likes of the Cambrian Explosion. And once the workability (or sheer luck) of that bodyplan was proven and more complexities (like joint-geometries., though pentadactylity was a...
by tomandlu
Mon May 22, 2017 1:49 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Why haven't any animals evolved wheels?
Replies: 22
Views: 4228

Re: Why haven't any animals evolved wheels?

HES wrote:Why go to all the effort of growing an extra pair of limbs when you can just learn to stand on two legs instead?


Speed.
by tomandlu
Mon May 22, 2017 12:28 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Why haven't any animals evolved wheels?
Replies: 22
Views: 4228

Re: Why haven't any animals evolved wheels?

Sorry to tack this onto the end of this thread, but it seems a similar enough question to warrant it. Why have no large land animals ever evolved a more centaur-like body layout? i.e. 4 or more 'legs' and two 'arms'? I mean, if you look at, say, big cats hunting, the ability to claw at your prey wit...
by tomandlu
Sat May 20, 2017 9:09 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 16561

Re: Free Will

Sorry if I was unnecessarily snippy. I'm finding the tone of this thread somewhat hard to track with. I don't think there's a tone - more of a speculative meandering, and I've rather confused things by diverting a thread on free will into a general discussion on consciousness, so apologies for that...
by tomandlu
Sat May 20, 2017 4:39 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 16561

Re: Free Will

I don't think it's fair to say it's a bad test on the basis that it's testing for something so unlikely. A test with 99.9% specificity and sensitivity seems like it would be a pretty good test, even if we used it to test something with such low prior probability that most positive results are still...
by tomandlu
Fri May 19, 2017 10:07 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 16561

Re: Free Will

If the Turing Test can neither prove that something is a person when it passes nor that something isn't a person when it fails, then it's not a great test. And I would be skeptical that the evidence is "very strong." Alexa can have a conversation on a wide range of topics, but Alexa is no...
by tomandlu
Fri May 19, 2017 9:57 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 16561

Re: Free Will

Because it's not true. Even granting the religious aspects, those only enter in "the next world". We can thus preserve our smugness while remaining humble. Jose Oh, I don't know. Prior to the NT, there was no afterlife that one might look forward to, and God was forever rubbing our nose i...
by tomandlu
Fri May 19, 2017 8:18 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 16561

Re: Free Will

However, had we evolved as the second most intellectual creatures on earth, perhaps as pets to some higher life form, and thus already used to the idea that we aren't the only ones that can {whatever}, this question might not even come up. Jose OT, but worth pointing out that mankind has spent an i...
by tomandlu
Fri May 19, 2017 11:22 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 16561

Re: Free Will

Latest thoughts and musings: ⋅ The Turing test cannot distinguish between a conscious AI and a p-Zombie ⋅ However, there is a very good case to make that a genuine p-Zombie would be harder to create than an actual AI Moving on, I'm wondering if some of the debate is bogged down b...
by tomandlu
Thu May 18, 2017 4:21 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 16561

Re: Free Will

Is anyone else here of the opinion that clearly von Neumann is at least of the same level, and that Fermi is only arguably a step back if you're a disagreeable jackass? Or is it just me? I wouldn't take that as a comment on their abilities or even their contribution; more on general awareness of th...
by tomandlu
Thu May 18, 2017 3:35 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 16561

Re: Free Will

doogly wrote:I like this post here, and the parts about Turing's moral heroism give me goosebumps. This is greatness.
http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=63


Thanks for that - an excellent read. I have to admit, I laughed out loud at the "Jews cheat" anecdote.
by tomandlu
Thu May 18, 2017 2:23 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 16561

Re: Free Will

So, you think a genuine consciousness arises? And not just something that behaves identically to a conscious mind but might have no self-awareness? Well, I certainly do. And what do you mean "behaves identically but is different"? That's rubbish. Is it? I thought it was one of the classic...
by tomandlu
Thu May 18, 2017 1:46 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 16561

Re: Free Will

The Chinese Room is the dumbest shit. Of course that room is conscious. If you think "Things that perform computations aren't real, like me, I'm real, I'm the best and most authentic," you need to not choose examples that beg the question so egregiously and transparently, and you need to ...
by tomandlu
Wed May 17, 2017 10:38 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 16561

Re: Free Will

Sure, it may not be possible to reliably transfer a particular consciousness from one thing (brain, computer, whatever) to another. But that says nothing about whether consciousness is purely physical or whether it could happen on a computer, and thus doesn't really say anything about free will. I ...
by tomandlu
Wed May 17, 2017 5:30 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 16561

Re: Free Will

Mandelbrot was probably a bad choice - I'm more thinking along the lines of "extremely sensitive to initial conditions".

e.g. we can model weather systems, but we can't model our weather system, and there is no inherent contradiction in that.
by tomandlu
Wed May 17, 2017 4:32 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 16561

Re: Free Will

doogly wrote:Why wouldn't that be conceivable?


I find it conceivable that one might be able to transfer the sensation of pain, but not the person's reaction, their conscious response. By all means disagree; I'm not sure I agree with myself either...

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