## Search found 41 matches

Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:32 am UTC
Topic: 1583: "NASA Press Conference"
Replies: 43
Views: 10461

### Re: 1583: "NASA Press Conference"

You can make fire by rubbing two dry sticks together, but not if they are wet. You can also make fire by rubbing two planets together - maybe wet planets get soggy and are hard to light. We should try that first with our own planet, before trying to set fire to a planet that does not belong to us. ...
Fri Sep 11, 2015 6:11 pm UTC
Topic: 1576: "I Could Care Less"
Replies: 310
Views: 49009

### Re: 1576: "I Could Care Less"

Even if the universe were strictly deterministic, in any case we have limited, imperfect knowledge of it, so modal concepts like "maybe" are still fully applicable in an epistemic sense. Ask me a question about a solved higher mathematics problem I'm not familiar with and my answer will b...
Fri Sep 11, 2015 3:29 pm UTC
Topic: 1576: "I Could Care Less"
Replies: 310
Views: 49009

### Re: 1576: "I Could Care Less"

Flumble wrote:Nothing says apparant randomness requires true randomness. Maybe one day we'll even find a deeper, underlying structure that relates two apparently uncorrelated measurements!

Does "maybe" have any meaning in a deterministic universe?
Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:18 am UTC
Topic: 1576: "I Could Care Less"
Replies: 310
Views: 49009

### Re: 1576: "I Could Care Less"

Flumble wrote:I literally couldn't care less. The universe is deterministic, so every point in history the seed of the universe led to the state I'm in now and this state alone, in which I care exactly the amount I can care.

… possibly.
Thu Apr 30, 2015 10:48 pm UTC
Topic: 1518: "Typical Morning Routine"
Replies: 126
Views: 18388

### Re: 1518: "Typical Morning Routine"

It's actually pretty simple: Academic years run September to August. You start the academic year you turn 5, in "Reception" then following years are numbered 1-13, though years 12 and 13 are sometimes also called Lower and Upper Sixth respectively. Depending on where you are and which est...
Fri Apr 17, 2015 4:35 pm UTC
Topic: 1513: "Code Quality"
Replies: 81
Views: 19438

### Re: 1513: "Code Quality"

My first question regarding any bit of code is: does it yield the results you want? If yes, then everything else is just about efficiency. Only Computer Science instructors give credit of code that looks pretty but doesn't work. For anything other than personal scripts you write and run once, that'...
Fri Apr 17, 2015 4:29 pm UTC
Topic: 1505: "Ontological Argument"
Replies: 278
Views: 41477

### Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

9. Nobody is ever going to buy that thing. Give it up already. The traditional scale works fine. I suspect it works fine in precisely the same way that the left-right spectrum division of politics works fine. Sufficiently good when cultural positions are similar enough to collapse down to a one dim...
Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:58 am UTC
Topic: 1505: "Ontological Argument"
Replies: 278
Views: 41477

### Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Pfhorrest wrote:The version that I've heard is simply "I only believe in one less deity than you do" or something to that effect.

It's three less deities if the God you don't believe in is Arian rather than Trinitarian.
Wed Apr 15, 2015 5:26 pm UTC
Topic: 1512:"Horoscopes"
Replies: 43
Views: 9078

### Re: 1512:"Horoscopes"

orthogon wrote:Actually, babies born in the southern hemisphere are the same except that their belly buttons twist the other way.

Actually, thats a common misconception.
Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:17 am UTC
Topic: 1505: "Ontological Argument"
Replies: 278
Views: 41477

### Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

I don't have a God in my head, but I do have a Thor, since he has a beard and two goats, and everything's better with goats. Does this imply anything about the ontology of my universe?
Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:11 pm UTC
Topic: 1505: "Ontological Argument"
Replies: 278
Views: 41477

### Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Pfhorrest wrote:… things we don't want to be able to prove, like necessary donuts...

Speak for yourself.
Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:50 pm UTC
Topic: 1505: "Ontological Argument"
Replies: 278
Views: 41477

### Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Of course Descartes (who I believe did understand the uniqueness problem in the ontological argument, but then waved his hands at it) didn't even manage to sort out ontology for himself. "I think therefore I am" doesn't work because the 'I' that is me isn't necessarily the same 'I' which i...
Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:04 pm UTC
Topic: 1505: "Ontological Argument"
Replies: 278
Views: 41477

### Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Where do the ignostics fit into that?
Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:14 pm UTC
Topic: 1505: "Ontological Argument"
Replies: 278
Views: 41477

### Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

So for here you'd have those who are sure there is a God and those that are sure there is not the most likely to evangelise, with the remainder (in common parlance agnostics) the least likely to do so. But a 3x3 grid makes the most sense to me also. I must admit I'd pay money to observe a door-to-d...
Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:59 am UTC
Topic: 1505: "Ontological Argument"
Replies: 278
Views: 41477

### Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

The most important label we can apply to someone who simultaneously believes that a god exists and that that same god does not exist is "irrational". At least in Western Europe the converse of that is fairly common (as in "God does not exist and his name is Fred") due to post-Ch...
Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:28 pm UTC
Topic: 1505: "Ontological Argument"
Replies: 278
Views: 41477

### Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

I just don't like the idea of "educating" people by presenting misinformation. There are some people who use the definitions presented, and many more who do not. Acting as if everyone who calls themself an "atheist" or an "agnostic" means it in that sense is dishonest....
Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:57 pm UTC
Topic: 1505: "Ontological Argument"
Replies: 278
Views: 41477

### Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

It doesn't result in the same wishful thinking. Doing what you've done removes the initial definition and assumes it pertains to any other object. With your substitution, what would actually happen is an inconsistent proof, where if you start with a donut one immediately runs up against Anselm thin...
Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:25 pm UTC
Topic: 1505: "Ontological Argument"
Replies: 278
Views: 41477

### Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

HES wrote:Sure you can. One cat is alive, one dead, and the other is still in the box.

But are we in a multiverse, where some are divinely created and some not, or is the boxed agnostic in a theological superposition?
Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:54 am UTC
Topic: 1505: "Ontological Argument"
Replies: 278
Views: 41477

### Re: 1505: "Ontological Argument"

Am I unusual in drawing a distinction between trying to use logic to prove/disprove the existence of gods, the class versus any particular God, an instance of that class? The second makes sense to me, since I demand a certain self-consistency in my metaphysical beings, but the first is a rather tric...
Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:32 pm UTC
Topic: 1494: “Insurance”
Replies: 81
Views: 17153

### Re: 1494: “Insurance”

I can add my name to the short list of people who have actually been checked on exit. In this case in China, I think at Chengdu. Unfortunately we were travelling as a group on business, and at check-in the agent hadn't been very careful to match up the names to the bags. Never have I been more glad ...
Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:59 am UTC
Topic: 1483: "Quotative Like"
Replies: 83
Views: 14734

### Re: 1483: "Quotative Like"

Andries wrote:So the immortality is in the meme, not its carrier.

And Lamarck gets to beat up Darwin with a big stick.
Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:13 pm UTC
Topic: 1473: "Location Sharing"
Replies: 67
Views: 17837

### Re: 1473: "Location Sharing"

I'd love to see what the boilerplate on the "geomomentum obfuscator" feature would read like. "14.3 (b) If you (the user) choose to deny us any knowledge of your current momentum, it will be necessary to subject you to a massive bombardment of photons in order to reduce the variance i...
Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:48 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0108: "Expensive Shoebox"
Replies: 151
Views: 97730

### Re: What-If 0108: "Expensive Shoebox"

Post gold standard does any currency have inherent value? I'd understood anything likely to be transferable was fiat these days.
Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:57 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0108: "Expensive Shoebox"
Replies: 151
Views: 97730

### Re: What-If 0108: "Expensive Shoebox"

The Moomin wrote:All this using cards, and transferring using phones and online accounts makes the money seem unreal.

If other people also agree that this is a problem, would they join me in returning to the barter system and using goats? There are few things in life realer than a goat.
Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:11 am UTC
Topic: 1405: "Meteor"
Replies: 41
Views: 11128

### Re: 1405: "Meteor"

Meteorology is the only occupation other than professional baseball where you can fail 70% of the time and still retain your job. Doctors fail 100% of the time and keep their jobs*. Also politicians, comedians, priests of whichever god(s) actually don't exist… * My chosen metric : It's the doctor's...
Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:43 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0101: "Plastic Dinosaurs"
Replies: 35
Views: 9537

### Re: What-If 0101: Plastic Dinosaurs

Words don't mean what you want them to mean, or even what you think they logically should mean. A word means what the majority of users of that word thinks it means. This can differ depending on context. There are many words that have slightly different meanings in different fields. The question &q...
Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:37 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0101: "Plastic Dinosaurs"
Replies: 35
Views: 9537

### Re: What-If 0101: Plastic Dinosaurs

Is there actually an argument these days, beyond a few people with a very now-centric and mammal-centric view of the Universe?
Mon May 19, 2014 10:26 am UTC
Topic: 1370: "President"
Replies: 68
Views: 17521

### Re: 1370: "President"

Are you looking for a fair and balanced presentation of arguments discussing both the pros and cons of the issue equally? If so, stop reading webcomics. Equal presentation isn't necessarily fair: "Welcome to talking head debate. On one side I have a doctor who says eating large quantities of c...
Mon May 19, 2014 4:25 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0096: "\$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"
Replies: 65
Views: 19147

### Re: What-If 0096: "\$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"

Hmmm... The world population is 7,234,000. About 3,617,000 of them are women. About 1 million oocytes per ovary. About \$10,000 per oocyte. Giving a totoal oocyte-value of 36,170,000,000,000,000, which is only \$36,170 trillion. On the down side, I think these figures are wrong by a factor of 1000. O...
Fri May 16, 2014 1:11 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0096: "\$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"
Replies: 65
Views: 19147

### Re: What-If 0096: "\$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"

Just a heads up: the "world's most famous stamp" is due to be sold at auction in a couple months, and Sotheby's estimates that it could sell for as much as \$20M. I'm intrigued that "world's most famous stamp" is assumed to be a title awarded by philatelists, rather than the publ...
Thu May 15, 2014 6:48 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0096: "\$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"
Replies: 65
Views: 19147

### Re: What-If 0096: "\$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"

I find it hard to believe that the world only has \$77 trillion worth of sellable 'stuff'. Is this 'stuff' only physical 'stuff'? According to the obviously reputable usdebtclock.org , the total US debt is over \$60 trillion dollars. That puts things in perspective... ( Note that this is total debt, ...
Thu May 15, 2014 3:17 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0096: "\$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"
Replies: 65
Views: 19147

### Re: What-If 0096: "\$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"

Are you measuring local gravitational acceleration from the Earth's gravity, or the Sun's, or the Milky Way's, or what? The figure I gave only includes the contribution from the Earth's interaction with the Sun, as it'll be the largest by a long way. The same way that for a 1kg mass of something on...
Thu May 15, 2014 10:29 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0096: "\$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"
Replies: 65
Views: 19147

### Re: What-If 0096: "\$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"

"If the Earth's weight were entirely postage stamps..." As the Earth is in freefall around the sun, it weighs next to nothing*. That's not a lot of postage stamps... If we use the fairly standard definition that "weight" is mass times local gravitational acceleration, then the w...
Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:12 am UTC
Replies: 50
Views: 10951

Those "all"s are going to make refutation difficult, but here's my take: Smart Pills The end of evolution Unless humanity totally replaces sex with repeatedly cloning a single individual, I really don't foresee an end to human evolution, just possibly further changes in the local environm...
Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:38 pm UTC
Topic: 1282: "Monty Hall"
Replies: 251
Views: 37361

### Re: 1282: "Monty Hall"

The only thing I can think of doing is to explain a lot of apparent paradoxes/brainteasers where probability is consistently underestimated. Like the shared birthday problem, or the hair-counting problem, or Monty Hall. Granted, "math is hard" might be one of the possible results, but at ...
Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:50 pm UTC
Replies: 58
Views: 17945

Yeah it seems I underestimated the storm somewhat. It was actually the most significant storm in 6 years (which says more about the scarcity of storms in The Netherlands than about the severity of this storm). So certainly a newsworthy event. Calling it a super storm is still pure sensationalism th...
Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:00 pm UTC
Topic: 1282: "Monty Hall"
Replies: 251
Views: 37361

### Re: 1282: "Monty Hall"

I always assumed a 20% chance of rain was defined as 20% of the surface area of the city being hit by rain. But I've never thought about it too closely before, so I'm curious to research if that's what it actually means. The answer is 'it depends'. In some cases, weather centres are producing a bun...
Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:44 pm UTC
Replies: 58
Views: 17945

The one thing I've never seen explained is why "Mom invents perpetual motion machine" is meant to be better click bait than "physicist invents perpetual motion machine". Not that I'm complaining, since it's a useful element to spam filtering.
Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:09 pm UTC
Topic: 1233: "Relativity"
Replies: 46
Views: 18882

### Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Klear wrote:That's my favourite unit... I especially like the notion of negative Helen - ugliness that will launch 1000 ships in the opposite direction.

Isn't the SI unit the millihelen though?
Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:44 pm UTC