Search found 946 matches

by mfb
Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:14 pm UTC
Forum: XKCD Meetups
Topic: Anybody in Germany?
Replies: 14
Views: 4984

Re: Anybody in Germany?

svenman wrote:Maybe 25 if we allow Austrian Bundesländer as well...
Someone tried that. It didn't end well.
by mfb
Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:52 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Science-based what-if questions
Replies: 413
Views: 35748

Re: Science-based what-if questions

Change in latitude: from 53.98 to 32.61°N 464.0846 m/s to 464.7603 m/s, 107.687 to 108.001 MJ / m 3 , a change of 3.41 * 10 3 J per m 3 . I don't know what exactly you calculate here, but the change in rotational velocity doesn't matter - it is taken into account by the sea level already which is a...
by mfb
Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:07 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1862: "Particle Properties"
Replies: 35
Views: 2690

Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Envelope Generator wrote:Colliders are instantly more fun if you think of particles as having hit points. (Are mass and hit points the same thing?)
What about hit points proportional to lifetime?
Stable particles have 0 hit points, and the engine knows to treat them differently.
by mfb
Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:05 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Very, very, very SLOW meteoroids.
Replies: 15
Views: 4698

Re: Very, very, very SLOW meteoroids.

I get why satellites would flair into existence (coming out of earth's shadow) That can happen, but it is not what you typically see. The satellite is in sunlight all the time. They are quite dim objects, but Iridium satellites (and a few others) have large flat areas that produce very collimated r...
by mfb
Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:53 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Telescope amplification with laser medium?
Replies: 18
Views: 2417

Re: Telescope amplification with laser medium?

To come back to actual physics: We have detectors that can detect ~80% of the incoming photons over a large wavelength range. It is hard to beat that. Laser-like light amplification would limit you to a very narrow wavelength range, and you would sometimes get photons from spontaneous transitions - ...
by mfb
Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:36 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1857: Emoji Movie
Replies: 48
Views: 5456

Re: 1857: Emoji Movie

One more thing regarding my "Ümläüt" joke: the "äü" combination flies in the face of German orthography rules and is pretty much unpronouncable within German phonetics. It is possible if you treat it as two separate vowels: "Üm-lä-üt". It sounds like a very strange acc...
by mfb
Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:23 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1857: Emoji Movie
Replies: 48
Views: 5456

Re: 1857: Emoji Movie

I really like the pun.

svenman wrote:Fun fact: the German word "Umlaut" does not contain a single umlaut.
And "eszett" or "scharfes S" as names for ß don't contain ß either.
by mfb
Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:43 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1849: "Decades"
Replies: 89
Views: 7652

Re: 1849: "Decades"

Several decades had their big cultural shift in the middle of them, around the "5" year. 1945 featured the end of World War II 1955 saw the birth of the "Rock 'n Roll" era 1965 was about when the '60s transitioned from the fairly tame early '60s to the wild late '60s; it started...
by mfb
Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:03 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1849: "Decades"
Replies: 89
Views: 7652

Re: 1849: "Decades"

And while we are at it, can we all stop using 'K' in the date. Ok back in Y2K and, at a pinch, 2k4 for 2004, but some are using 2K17 for 2017. You aren't saving any characters. It isn't shorthand. Stop doing it. But it's easier to chisel. You have no curves for the "K" (rather than use &q...
by mfb
Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:46 pm UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future
Replies: 1548
Views: 212444

Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Splitting will be challenging. This post looks like the start of the recent discussion, but the following page has many rocket-related posts and some mixed posts before we got nearly 100% Starcraft and Chess bots and finally AI in general. A third gravitational wave event - they get more frequent wi...
by mfb
Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:02 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: What would happen if $-1 bills were minted?
Replies: 20
Views: 3290

Re: What would happen if $-1 bills were minted?

Imagine a world where anyone can create a dollar from nothing, but doing so causes a number associated with oneself to become $1 more negative, and this number can be observed by looking at the person, and any dollar created this way indicates what this number was when the person created the dollar...
by mfb
Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:54 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1849: "Decades"
Replies: 89
Views: 7652

Re: 1849: "Decades"

DanAxtell wrote:I'm really posting to celebrate Comic number 432. The next perfect square will be in approximately 87/3 weeks.
And the next prime square will be in about 120 weeks, about September 2019 assuming the schedule doesn't change. Still in this decade.

1849 is 12321 in base 6.
by mfb
Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:31 am UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future
Replies: 1548
Views: 212444

Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Just as you can't beat a Dice in "Rock Paper Scissors" (Rock on 1/2, Paper on 3/4, Scissors on 5/6), you can't beat an AI that has discovered the "equilibrium" point of any game of incomplete information. You can at best tie the AI's randomization strategy (ie: Defined as a win ...
by mfb
Tue May 30, 2017 4:38 pm UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future
Replies: 1548
Views: 212444

Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

The AI prefers a high chance to win with a small margin over more risky moves that could lead to a larger margin. If the AI wins with half a point, that does not mean the game was close. Looks like the old chart needs updating: https://www.xkcd.com/1002/ We are nearly done. Starcraft is the only gam...
by mfb
Mon May 29, 2017 4:06 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: properties of a certain game
Replies: 2
Views: 1362

Re: properties of a certain game

An interesting game. Research first, conclusions towards the end. The game is perfectly symmetric, I'll consider most things from the view of player 1 but of course it applies to both players. I'll call x_0 "attacking potential", x_1 "income" and a_0 "attacking strength"...
by mfb
Mon May 29, 2017 2:27 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Superconducting CPU?
Replies: 66
Views: 5898

Re: Superconducting CPU?

Current transistors need some amount of energy to switch. It is part of the design, replacing them by superconductors would not work. During the switching process, it can also happen that there is a short circuit (for a very short time), that would draw even more power with superconductors (although...
by mfb
Mon May 29, 2017 1:33 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: What would happen if $-1 bills were minted?
Replies: 20
Views: 3290

Re: What would happen if $-1 bills were minted?

Some types of waste have an effective negative value, but only if throwing it away randomly is forbidden. Printing dollar values on it would be odd, however.
by mfb
Mon May 29, 2017 1:20 pm UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future
Replies: 1548
Views: 212444

Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

LaserGuy wrote:AlphaGo, a Google-developed Go playing program, clobbered reigning world champion 2-0 in a best of three Go series.
Now 3:0, and AlphaGo also won 1:0 against a team of 5 human players playing together.
Humans are no challenge any more.
by mfb
Sun May 28, 2017 3:02 pm UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future
Replies: 1548
Views: 212444

Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Kiwis can fly (almost!) into orbit... Getting to space is quite good for the first flight of a company. Pfft, anyone can go straight up. How much delta v did it have? How close did it get to going 7.8 km/s? We only have the information from the company, but apparently the first stage worked as desi...
by mfb
Fri May 26, 2017 2:49 am UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future
Replies: 1548
Views: 212444

Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Kiwis can fly (almost!) into orbit... Getting to space is quite good for the first flight of a company. I don't see how the network could generate reasonable names just based on existing names. It can infer associations like "green is this region in RGB space", but it has no way to come u...
by mfb
Mon May 08, 2017 3:04 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1834: "Lunch Order"
Replies: 37
Views: 5813

Re: 1834: "Lunch Order"

"What did they order?" "Toast Hawaii".
by mfb
Thu May 04, 2017 2:29 am UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future
Replies: 1548
Views: 212444

Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Oh sure, if you do the same with the Visna virus (randomly picked Wikipedia page about a related virus) you don't make big headlines with it. But a cure for HIV would be much more interesting than a cure for the Visna virus.
by mfb
Wed May 03, 2017 1:58 am UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future
Replies: 1548
Views: 212444

Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

It is an approach to cure HIV. Approaches to use it against various cancer types exist as well. It can be used against various genetic diseases like sickle-cell disease. It could be used to eradicate Malaria. CRISPR/Cas9 is not just a random drug targeting some disease. It is an incredibly powerful ...
by mfb
Tue May 02, 2017 8:50 pm UTC
Forum: Forum Games
Topic: Double Post
Replies: 81741
Views: 2973374

Re: Double Post

It does find your reply to my post.
But not my posts from weeks ago apparently.
by mfb
Tue May 02, 2017 8:48 pm UTC
Forum: Forum Games
Topic: Double Post
Replies: 81741
Views: 2973374

Re: Double Post

Making one post every 10 seconds (the maximum possible posting rate for a nonmoderator), with 65000 posts to go... that's 650 000 seconds, AKA 11 000 minutes, AKA 180 hours, AKA 7.5 days. That... is a lot of posts. Think you can keep that posting rate up for a full week without sleep? And without g...
by mfb
Tue May 02, 2017 8:39 pm UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future
Replies: 1548
Views: 212444

Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Accelerate a negative mass from rest using a force F. It accelerates against the force (that is the point of negative masses), based on F=dE/dx it loses energy. It gains momentum (sign doesn't matter here) as p=γmv. If you consider E 2 =p 2 c 2 + m 2 c 4 , the right hand side increases. In order to ...
by mfb
Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:10 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Storing Nuclear Waste on the Moon
Replies: 57
Views: 7789

Re: Storing Nuclear Waste on the Moon

I trust a system that can land slowly more than a container designed to impact the ocean at high speed. I prefer underground storages. But they are not without alternative. Edit: a technicality. Burn-up for nuclear plants is given relative to thermal power, not electric power. 50 gwd/ton is about 20...
by mfb
Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:02 pm UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future
Replies: 1548
Views: 212444

Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

How often does the electric airplane has to recharge if it is used as taxi, and how long does that take? *edit* Interesting side note: We know anti-matter has positive gravitational mass. We assume it also has positive inertial mass. We have no reason to think it doesn't, but as far as I know we've ...
by mfb
Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:40 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Storing Nuclear Waste on the Moon
Replies: 57
Views: 7789

Re: Storing Nuclear Waste on the Moon

No. Thousands of rocket launches show that. Those thousands of launches haven't all been successful, though. And a failure with nuclear waste is rather more significant than a typical failure, even if we include minor things like failure to reach quite the target orbit. A rocket failure does not im...
by mfb
Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:15 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Science-based what-if questions
Replies: 413
Views: 35748

Re: Science-based what-if questions

You can certainly build something house-like out of gold, but not with the wall thickness conventional houses have. It would be more like a massive block of gold with some interior volume taken out.
by mfb
Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:49 pm UTC
Forum: Forum Games
Topic: Double Post
Replies: 81741
Views: 2973374

Re: Double Post

It is still afternoon.

Starting small.
by mfb
Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:44 pm UTC
Forum: Forum Games
Topic: Double Post
Replies: 81741
Views: 2973374

Re: Double Post

Afternoon.
by mfb
Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:39 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Storing Nuclear Waste on the Moon
Replies: 57
Views: 7789

Re: Storing Nuclear Waste on the Moon

Ooh, one whole data point to show that launching waste into space might be safe! I'm impressed! No. Thousands of rocket launches show that. We can just learn most about the risks from the most dangerous situations - like the Falcon 9 rocket explosion. It could also explode on the launch pad. Launch...
by mfb
Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:36 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Does the geographical distribution of the northern and southern hemispheres affect the rotation of the Earth?
Replies: 8
Views: 1639

Re: Does the geographical distribution of the northern and southern hemispheres affect the rotation of the Earth?

If you take some surface layer of the northern hemisphere and distribute it over the southern hemisphere, all you do is shift the equator a bit relative to the continent outlines. You don't change the fact that Earth is a rotating sphere. The core is now slightly off-center, it will shift a bit afte...
by mfb
Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:32 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Storing Nuclear Waste on the Moon
Replies: 57
Views: 7789

Re: Storing Nuclear Waste on the Moon

So you present the worst case scenario for waste leaking in a mine, but what about the worst case scenario of launching the waste into orbit? Like the launch vehicle exploding and spreading radiation over some otherwise populated area. Or the thing crashing into some watershed or other populated ar...
by mfb
Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:17 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Futurama Puzzle Game
Replies: 5
Views: 2058

Re: Futurama Puzzle Game

Thanks for the input both of you. I could also do it by working backward from the end to ensure a solvable position and just add two (correctly sorted) people who have no swaps available. That would be sufficient to ensure that the setup could have been reached without having to actually find a sol...
by mfb
Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:18 pm UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: Coding: Fleeting Thoughts
Replies: 9740
Views: 1551721

Re: Coding: Fleeting Thoughts

:hy: If the two instances of x are different values, then changing the order of the operations doesn't necessarily help. You can still get large rounding errors, or even NaN/other stuff if they are too close to zero. A different number format? Finding the mathematical cause of the cancellation and u...
by mfb
Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:00 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Is terraforming Uranus and Neptune possible?
Replies: 22
Views: 3524

Re: Is terraforming Uranus and Neptune possible?

Removing the gas might need the Sun's output of a year, but fusing the hydrogen in it produces orders of magnitude more, and the core could be interesting for resources if the inner planets are not sufficient any more. Who knows that an advanced type-2 civilization wants? Cold and dark is probably n...
by mfb
Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:46 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Futurama Puzzle Game
Replies: 5
Views: 2058

Re: Futurama Puzzle Game

That is an interesting question. Of course, in the episode the problem was fixed by adding two people who hadn't swapped yet, which adds enough available swaps to always make it solvable. That could be an approach. Make some random arrangement using only N-2 people, then find a solution using all N...
by mfb
Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:33 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Storing Nuclear Waste on the Moon
Replies: 57
Views: 7789

Re: Storing Nuclear Waste on the Moon

Even if we completely ignore the historical decays and suddenly stop all coal power plants, we'll get the radioactivity of all nuclear accidents together from coal in 40 years. I completely agree on the health-and-safety merits of nuclear power relative to coal, but this statistic feels slightly di...

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