Search found 1072 matches

by tomandlu
Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:46 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Weighted coin question and probability
Replies: 10
Views: 1909

Re: Weighted coin question and probability

What am I missing here? It will happen 1 in 32 times (1 in 64 if you pre-specify heads rather than just sitting down and immediately throwing 6 of a kind in a row). Isn't it then just a question of whether that probability makes you suspicious or not? It would probably make me wary if I was gambling...
by tomandlu
Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:29 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Mass of pea-sized bit of white dwarf
Replies: 2
Views: 789

Mass of pea-sized bit of white dwarf

Anyone feel like checking that my maths is (approximately) correct? Mass of sun = 2*10 30 kg Radius of sun = 695,500 km Radius of sun as white dwarf = 6,378 km Radius of X = 0.5 cm Therefore Mass of X-sized bit of white dwarf = 0.96 kg I dunno - I was expecting a more impressive number at the end th...
by tomandlu
Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:53 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: The Double Slit Experiment
Replies: 7
Views: 1757

Re: The Double Slit Experiment

But where's the part of the experiment where they watch the chicken hitting the gate?
by tomandlu
Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:28 pm UTC
Forum: Books
Topic: Neal Stephenson: Where to start?
Replies: 33
Views: 40478

Re: Neal Stephenson: Where to start?

I feel like Stephenson botches the endings a bit Doesn't he sort of 'fess up to this at the end of Cryptonomicon? iirc the lead character is just sort of sitting on a rock while (avoiding spoilers) something fairly interesting is going on and mutters something about endings being boring... or somet...
by tomandlu
Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:23 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Laplace's Demon?
Replies: 6
Views: 3066

Re: Laplace's Demon?

Now, this idea is discredited due to thermodynamics, chaos theory and quantum mechanics, because mainly of increasing entropy and the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. BTW, and I could be wrong, but I think chaos theory is a red-herring in this case. It makes the problem worse, but the problem stil...
by tomandlu
Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:27 am UTC
Forum: Books
Topic: Recommend a book
Replies: 469
Views: 221335

Re: Recommend a book

"Soon I Will be Invincible" by Austin Grossman ‎I was building another science, my science, wild science, robots and lasers and disembodied brains. A science that buzzed and glowed; it wanted to do things. It could get up and walk, fly, fight, sprout garish glowing creations in the remotes...
by tomandlu
Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:12 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: gee force
Replies: 6
Views: 836

Re: gee force

Many, many thanks - pretty much what I thought, but I was worried that the thinner/weaker support structures might offset the gain (i.e. small creatures develop support structures that are just good enough for 1g).

I'd forgotten about ants - also I guess that's why elephants don't jump ;)
by tomandlu
Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:17 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: gee force
Replies: 6
Views: 836

gee force

Hi,

All else being equal, is a small creature less or more likely to be adversely affected by g-force than a large creature? (I assume the former, but waddaiknow?)
by tomandlu
Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:55 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0890: "Etymology"
Replies: 170
Views: 25257

Re: 0890: Etymology

Strangely enough, and in a slightly different context, I hit this exact problem the other day in something I'm working on... it's not always easy. For instance, I wouldn't use 'falcon' or even 'bird', although I'm happy with 'plant' and 'animal', etc.
by tomandlu
Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:21 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0881: "Probability"
Replies: 326
Views: 98656

Re: 0881: "Probability"

Randall, probably teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here, but Stephen Gould's article on cancer and survival stats, the median is not the message, is worth a read... of course, it would have helped if he hadn't gone and died...

http://www.cancerguide.org/median_not_msg.html
by tomandlu
Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:26 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Powered Orbits and Gravity
Replies: 13
Views: 2990

Re: Powered Orbits and Gravity

Soralin wrote:You don't even have to apply the thrust straight down, which could allow you to do some more unusual things, like have a geosynchronous orbit that's always directly over a point that's not on the equator.


Ooh - a shiny.

And, once again, tnx all...
by tomandlu
Sun Feb 27, 2011 7:54 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Powered Orbits and Gravity
Replies: 13
Views: 2990

Powered Orbits and Gravity

Hi, I'm trying to figure out whether an artificial satellite in a powered orbit would have any gravity on board or not. E.g. a satellite that's orbiting too low for its speed, but is kept from falling to earth by a downwards thrust. Would the occupants be in free fall or not? I'm thinking not, and t...
by tomandlu
Sun Feb 27, 2011 7:49 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Transformers
Replies: 10
Views: 1256

Re: Transformers

big boss wrote:This is off topic, but was I the only one who clicked on this thread hoping for a discussion on how Transformers (as in the robots) work...


Actually, when I saw it, I thought "this is probably the only place on the internets where that won't be a conversation about giant robots..."
by tomandlu
Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:19 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: sphere - know distance and width, find angle
Replies: 8
Views: 667

Re: sphere - know distance and width, find angle

Got it - many thanks (although I think the distance/width are mixed up in the last post). I now get (and either let this be right or shoot me now): Radius Distance Degrees Approx Degrees Better 1,080 240,000 0.54 0.52 1 1 60.00 53.13 44,423 365,000,000 0.01 0.01 44,423 2,000,000 2.67 2.54
by tomandlu
Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:56 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: sphere - know distance and width, find angle
Replies: 8
Views: 667

Re: sphere - know distance and width, find angle

Well, I was either getting it right, and am now wrong, or visa-versa... (by 50% afaict) Here's what I get using in Excel =DEGREES(ATAN( 1,080 /(2* 240,000 ))*2) = 0.257830573 i.e the moon, radius 1080 miles and 240000 miles from earth has a viewing angle of .25 degrees? Seems a bit small... (that's ...
by tomandlu
Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:33 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: sphere - know distance and width, find angle
Replies: 8
Views: 667

sphere - know distance and width, find angle

Sorry, this is a really dumb question, but I'm old and my sight is dim, I remember the road warrior, but trig is kind of a blur. If a planet is x miles away, and its radius is r miles, am I correct that the viewing angle of the planet is Degrees(tan(r/x))*2 ? (i.e. the angle between your eye and the...
by tomandlu
Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:33 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: LaTeX and other markup!
Replies: 30
Views: 18260

Re: LaTeX and other markup!

gmalivuk wrote:Probably you're still using the old subsilver forum skin, which doesn't have support for jsMath. There are greasemonkey scripts you can use for that, or you can switch to one of the prosilver ones.


Thanks - that fixed it.
by tomandlu
Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:05 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: How to effectively give a presentation on evolution
Replies: 36
Views: 4665

Re: How to effectively give a presentation on evolution

My classes and instructors there are a breath of fresh air, so I was *shocked* to see a sign on campus yesterday about a lecture reconciling evolution and creation. Le sigh....I feel your pain. Is that necessarily a bad thing? (and I write as an emotional atheist with logical agnostic tendencies). ...
by tomandlu
Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:59 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: LaTeX and other markup!
Replies: 30
Views: 18260

Re: LaTeX and other markup!

This doesn't seem to work for me - can someone clarify what I'm doing wrong - e.g.

Here's some imath: [imath]e = m*c^2[/imath], and I don't get the squared superscript I'd expect, just '^' as entered...
by tomandlu
Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:59 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: How to effectively give a presentation on evolution
Replies: 36
Views: 4665

Re: How to effectively give a presentation on evolution

A couple of thoughts/ideas: ⋅ Talk about deep time (as it relates to evolution - to establish the scale which evolution has to work in) ⋅ Talk about one of Gould's examples (e.g. the panda's thumb) ⋅ Talk about how a theory mustn't just explain an observable phenomena, ...
by tomandlu
Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:45 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Does potential energy have mass?
Replies: 78
Views: 14039

Re: Does potential energy have mass?

Consider that you know all mass has an associated energy. Therefore, this mass holds potential energy by virtue of being mass. Therefore, potential energy does result in mass! Yes - I just found the idea of a spring having more mass depending on its state counter-intuitive although logically consis...
by tomandlu
Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:07 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Does potential energy have mass?
Replies: 78
Views: 14039

Does potential energy have mass?

I have been told in the past that all energy has an associated mass (as per [imath]M = E/C^2[/imath]). Does this apply to potential energy? Does a charged battery have more mass than an uncharged battery? Does a compressed spring have more mass than the uncompressed spring?

Curious minds want to know...
by tomandlu
Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:54 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Could you eat an alien?
Replies: 38
Views: 2492

Re: Could you eat an alien?

Just like to say thanks - very helpful all of you (and pretty much confirms what I thought/hoped)
by tomandlu
Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:08 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Could you eat an alien?
Replies: 38
Views: 2492

Re: Could you eat an alien?

Yes. If they're using carbon, whatever they store energy in will look a lot like carbohydrates. They'll be full of moisture, most likely, and we could use that, too. The rest is too vague to speculate on. Yes, I'd agree re carbs and vits - I'm just unsure whether protein requires a more complex int...
by tomandlu
Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:56 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Could you eat an alien?
Replies: 38
Views: 2492

Re: Could you eat an alien?

Sorry - I meant aliens in general, rather than Alien.

i.e. could you expect something that evolved completely separately from us to have edible, nutritious protein, or is the nutritional content very dependant on similar genes.
by tomandlu
Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:45 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Could you eat an alien?
Replies: 38
Views: 2492

Re: Could you eat an alien?

thoughtfully wrote:Yes.


Yes what?


(and if you say "yes, sir!" I shall have to hunt you down and shoot you like a dog*)


* in a non-threatening, non-blood libel way of course ;)
by tomandlu
Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:37 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Could you eat an alien?
Replies: 38
Views: 2492

Could you eat an alien?

Basically, as per subject... My understanding is that, chromosome counts aside, all life on earth uses the same basic o/s so to speak, but there's no reason to think life on other planets would use the same system. Given that, and assuming we're talking carbon-based life, would alien protein be nutr...
by tomandlu
Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:20 am UTC
Forum: Site/Forum issues
Topic: Site Broken in Google Chrome
Replies: 21
Views: 11098

Site Broken in Google Chrome

For some reason, Chrome can't find the CSS. It's not the IE alternative CSS file that's throwing it - I can't even load the CSS file using its URL. I'm pretty sure this is a recent problem - I've not noticed a problem with XKCD until about two days ago, and I've been using Chrome for a while (and vi...
by tomandlu
Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:50 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Yet another stupid question about pi
Replies: 15
Views: 2219

Re: Yet another stupid question about pi

Wow. Many thanks. Lots of nice new info (for me). And I find I'm smart enough to sort-of understand what's being said (even if I'm dumb enough not to know it already).
by tomandlu
Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:30 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Yet another stupid question about pi
Replies: 15
Views: 2219

Yet another stupid question about pi

Does pi go on for ever irrespective of what base you use? How about 1/3 ?

Basically, I suck at non-base 10 floating point numbers...
by tomandlu
Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:04 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0319: "Engineering Hubris"
Replies: 85
Views: 21578

Say what you will about the quality of their products, but you'll have to acknowledge this: ACME delivers. I bet they could even deliver to Mordor. Indeed - the UK Guardian newspaper ran a feature on fictional products and whether they would succeed in the real world (with branding PR company Cake ...
by tomandlu
Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:29 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0319: "Engineering Hubris"
Replies: 85
Views: 21578

Has anyone else read the animal man comic which the Coyote is in? There is some weird comicworld-in-the-comic where the Coyote costantly has to die in painful ways to repent for the sins of that world. then he goes to god/the cartoonist and pleads to him and some stuff happens. Indeed - I came to t...

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