Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Belial » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:12 pm UTC

Have you ever heard of freedom of speech?


Have you ever heard of "private venue"?

Your freedom of speech means nothing here. Check yourself.

This is not an invitation to argument or discussion. Continue this discussion in this thread and get banned.
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Re: Childhood crackpottery

Postby Moo » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:15 pm UTC

This post had objectionable content.



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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby the tree » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:17 pm UTC

userxp wrote:
scikidus wrote:I had so many physics ideas when I was little that I kept a journal. I still have that journal.

21. The only idea in here I've ever actually tried to patent: the Privasphere. Essentially a speaker cancels the sound of your voice beyond a certain point by inverting the sound waves of your voice. One problem: it's nearly impossible.



Ah! I had this idea too. I thought that if you put a microphone directly next to a speaker and invert the sound wave, the speaker would emit "anti-sound" and make the place silent.
I'm sure that this not only already exists, but is a very popular product.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby phlip » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:18 pm UTC


That's sort of the other way around though... it's perfectly possible to eliminate the sound at a certain point, or dampen it over a certain area (like the inside of the headphones)... what scikidus was talking about, if I read it right, was eliminating the sound everywhere outside a certain area (but having nonzero sound within that area), which isn't possible.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby ACU-LP » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:22 pm UTC

The issue with the 'anti-sound' however, is that the noise is still there. And though you can't hear it, its still, if loud enough, damaging your ears.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Red Hal » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:42 pm UTC

ACU-LP, explain to me how that works, please? Surely if the anti-sound has cancelled out the sound so that you hear nothing, it is because there is no longer any sound to hear? It has been many years since my study of Physics at University, so I'm extremely rusty, but as I understand it, when two waveforms cancel out, the result is no waveform.

Of course, the nature of waves being what they are, it would be extremely complicated to cancel out the entire sound everywhere (prevent it from escaping from a set area completely), but I suppose you could make a reasonable approximation using a suitably fast phased array of transducers.
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Re: Childhood crackpottery

Postby Cory D » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:47 pm UTC

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby ACU-LP » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:18 am UTC

Red Hal wrote:ACU-LP, explain to me how that works, please? Surely if the anti-sound has cancelled out the sound so that you hear nothing, it is because there is no longer any sound to hear? It has been many years since my study of Physics at University, so I'm extremely rusty, but as I understand it, when two waveforms cancel out, the result is no waveform.

Of course, the nature of waves being what they are, it would be extremely complicated to cancel out the entire sound everywhere (prevent it from escaping from a set area completely), but I suppose you could make a reasonable approximation using a suitably fast phased array of transducers.
You know, I'm not exactly sure. However, take for example a noisy production facility where you have to wear earmuffs on account of high decibel levels (constantly). When they used the 'anti-sound' thing, when you took off the earmuffs, you couldn't hear the noise anymore, but your ears would still suffer the damage of the high decibel noise.
I actually have no idea how.....just that its happened in practice.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby scikidus » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:33 am UTC

ACU-LP wrote:
Red Hal wrote:ACU-LP, explain to me how that works, please? Surely if the anti-sound has cancelled out the sound so that you hear nothing, it is because there is no longer any sound to hear? It has been many years since my study of Physics at University, so I'm extremely rusty, but as I understand it, when two waveforms cancel out, the result is no waveform.

Of course, the nature of waves being what they are, it would be extremely complicated to cancel out the entire sound everywhere (prevent it from escaping from a set area completely), but I suppose you could make a reasonable approximation using a suitably fast phased array of transducers.
You know, I'm not exactly sure. However, take for example a noisy production facility where you have to wear earmuffs on account of high decibel levels (constantly). When they used the 'anti-sound' thing, when you took off the earmuffs, you couldn't hear the noise anymore, but your ears would still suffer the damage of the high decibel noise.
I actually have no idea how.....just that its happened in practice.

I think I can explain that. Most noise-canceling headphones don't just invert incoming sound. Instead, they use smoothing algorithms: just cancel out certain frequencies, making everything else fade as white noise. It's cheaper to do it that way. However, in a high noise environment, there could be frequencies blasting your ears which you can't hear and the headphones don't cancel. Ergo you lose your hearing.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby genghis007 » Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:01 pm UTC

My cousin has an interesting theory. He's 12 so I guess he just counts for this thread.

He's spent the last year learning about space. He came home one day and started telling us he had a solution for global warming. We humoured him, but as he explained I have to admit it was interesting. The entire world's fearing the rising sea levels yeah? He says if we got rid of the moon, the tides would be reduced by 66.6%. So whilst this isn't a way of stopping it, it is a good way of dealing with the effects if the nations don't want to deal with their greenhouse gasses.

The only problem I can think of is the removal of the moon, but to be honest that's trivial isn't it?
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Charlie! » Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:34 pm UTC

Sure. Screw tidal zones, I'm sure decimating them would have no impact on the web of life.

And currents? Phssh.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby ACU-LP » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:17 am UTC

I have to agree with Charlie here, if you remove the currents, the balance of the entire ocean quite frankly fucks up. We lose the gulf stream, etc.
Not good.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby shadowoftruth » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:31 am UTC

I had a couple of weird theories.

First of all, there was only one negative number in existence and that was 1. Every other number was simply a positive number multiplied by -1 as the - would imply.
I tried to argue with my math teach over it because on a test I said that it was all numbers greater then -1 and the teacher counted it wrong. After explaining my theory she pointed out the obvious flaw with that as -1 would be 1 multiplied by -1 an infinite amount of times :cry:. After that I decided that the new symbol for -1 should be ~1-- :lol:.

Next there was the idea that one-way mirrors would reflect all light so if you made a perfect sphere of a one way mirror it would absorb all light and eventually have so much light inside it that the light would bond together and become an edible ball of light which would give you superpowers :roll:.

(sorry for any crimes against grammar police)

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Josephine » Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:51 am UTC

Haha. Oh, the fun I would have with a lossless one-way mirror.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Tass » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:48 am UTC

nbonaparte1 wrote:Haha. Oh, the fun I would have with a lossless one-way mirror.


Indeed

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Eloth » Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:04 am UTC

It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out why you can't make a lighter than air airship more efficient by filling it with a vacuum rather than Hydrogen or Helium, and it still makes my head hurt thinking about it.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Squid Tamer » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:13 pm UTC

Eloth wrote:It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out why you can't make a lighter than air airship more efficient by filling it with a vacuum rather than Hydrogen or Helium, and it still makes my head hurt thinking about it.


I used to wonder if it would work too. Turns out that it does, but good luck getting enough lift to fly the vacuum chamber. :)

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Josephine » Sat Aug 08, 2009 9:26 am UTC

All you need is a lightweight solid shell. You can pump out the air on the ground.

For some reason, I don't think that would work.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby PM 2Ring » Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:36 pm UTC

nbonaparte1 wrote:All you need is a lightweight solid shell. You can pump out the air on the ground.

For some reason, I don't think that would work.

I think this topic has been discussed in this forum not so long ago. I'm pretty sure Galileo (or it might have been Leonardo) first thought about making a lighter-than-air vessel: a vacuum chamber made from copper, which would collapse of course if you evacuated it sufficiently.

But you might be able to do it with a stronger material, especially if the shell had internal supports. A floating diamond sphere would be nice. :) Another possibility is some type of sealed aerogel structure that was partially evacuated. But if you're going the aerogel route, you might as well "cheat" and put some some lighter-than-air gas in there.

http://www.unitednuclear.com/aerogel.htm
Aerogel is composed of 99.8% air and is chemically similar to ordinary glass. Being the world's lightest known solid, it weighs only three times that of air.

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Re: Childhood crackpottery

Postby BSamuels » Sat Aug 08, 2009 6:31 pm UTC

Moderator wrote:
ACU-LP wrote:
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Don't ever use that word in these contexts again.
Ever.


Have you ever heard of freedom of speech? So don´t ever try to censor me again. Ever.

Had you however written "I don´t like that word, please don´t use it like this", maybe I would have considered it.



LOL talk about misunderstanding of freedom of speech.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Josephine » Sun Aug 09, 2009 6:48 pm UTC

PM 2Ring wrote:
nbonaparte1 wrote:All you need is a lightweight solid shell. You can pump out the air on the ground.

For some reason, I don't think that would work.

I think this topic has been discussed in this forum not so long ago. I'm pretty sure Galileo (or it might have been Leonardo) first thought about making a lighter-than-air vessel: a vacuum chamber made from copper, which would collapse of course if you evacuated it sufficiently.

But you might be able to do it with a stronger material, especially if the shell had internal supports. A floating diamond sphere would be nice. :) Another possibility is some type of sealed aerogel structure that was partially evacuated. But if you're going the aerogel route, you might as well "cheat" and put some some lighter-than-air gas in there.

http://www.unitednuclear.com/aerogel.htm
Aerogel is composed of 99.8% air and is chemically similar to ordinary glass. Being the world's lightest known solid, it weighs only three times that of air.


Aerogel is extremely light, sure. But is it porous?
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Josephine » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:34 am UTC

Okay, well, I don't see why it wouldn't. Helium/hydrogen is lighter than air. One would think that a mass of zero (or close to it) would be even better than helium.

So why doesn't it work?
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby PM 2Ring » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:38 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:
nbonaparte1 wrote:
Aerogel is extremely light, sure. But is it porous?


It is; that's why it's so light. But, as I showed, even removing all the air wouldn't make it lighter than air.

Understood. I wasn't suggesting a solid block of aerogel. I was thinking about some sort of fractal structure (eg, a Menger Sponge, or a tetrahedral/octahedral version thereof), so that it has some internal support. I guess one problem with evacuated aerogel is that it's not very good with compressive loads. OTOH, a block of aerogel can support the weight of a brick.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby phlip » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:45 am UTC

nbonaparte1 wrote:So why doesn't it work?
Because with hydrogen or helium, you can get a large lighter-than-air volume at atmospheric pressure... so the thing you're encasing it in only has to be airtight, and strong enough to support whatever you're trying to lift... it doesn't have to be especially rigid.

Vacuum, on the other hand, is, by definition, significantly less than atmospheric pressure... so you need much more structure to hold the vessel intact, and stop it collapsing in on itself. That structure adds a lot of weight, much more than the buoyancy of the vacuum inside.

As for vacuum-filled aerogel... think about it... if normal air-filled aerogel is about 3 times the density of air, then when you remove all the air, it's still going to be around 2 times the density of air (Say, 3kg of aerogel would take up the same amount of space as 1kg of air... so you'd be able to remove, at most, 1kg of air from it by replacing it with a vacuum... it'd still weigh at least 2kg). And that's assuming that the same thing as above doesn't happen to it what with the air pressure and rigidity and such... I don't know the actual figure for aerogel's strength, but I'd think that vacuum-filled aerogel, under atmospheric pressure, would collapse and implode pretty quickly.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby jroshak » Sat Aug 22, 2009 6:55 pm UTC

In my 9th grade psychology class, I bacame convinced that the human brain was nothing more then many interconnected series of circuits and electric pathways, which could be created (seeing something new), strengthened (remembering) and lost (forgetting). This explained, to me, most of the basic functions of the brain.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby jmorgan3 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:02 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:Since volume is radius cubed and surface area is radius squared, wouldn't a very large shell be easier to build?

You can't just scale everything like that, though. Consider a spherical shell of a balloon as two hemispheres being held together at a circumference of the balloon. The two hemispheres are being pushed together with a force of

F = (Surface area of the largest cross section of the sphere [Pi*R^2]) * (difference in pressure)

The total surface area of material resisting this force is

A = (thickness of shell) * (circumference of sphere [2*Pi*R])

The total stress that the material has to withstand, then, is

S = F/A = (P*Pi*R^2)/(T*2*Pi*R)

Thus, for a given yield stress S, shell thickness must be

T = (P*R)/(S*T*2)

Doubling the size of the balloon increases buoyancy by a factor of 8, also requires increasing the total volume and weight of the shell by 8 (4X from surface area increase, 2X from thickness increase), so no advantage is gained. See here.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Josephine » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:24 am UTC

jroshak wrote:In my 9th grade psychology class, I bacame convinced that the human brain was nothing more then many interconnected series of circuits and electric pathways, which could be created (seeing something new), strengthened (remembering) and lost (forgetting). This explained, to me, most of the basic functions of the brain.


Basically, yeah. It's a little more complicated, but not much.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby jroshak » Sun Aug 23, 2009 5:00 am UTC

He he. I remembered another one. In 6th grade math class, I decided that nothing was truely random. Sure, limited data collection meant that we could never predict everything, but the way a die rolls is based on its position when dropped, its force, its shape, etc. Same with everything from planets to atoms. I found out later that this was called "determinism". Debunked by, among other things, the Uncertainty Principle. I think I was just bored with learning about probability at the time...You can say retrospectivly that the result had a 100% probability, but it dosn't help make predictions without really delicate analysis beyond human senses. So this sort of works for enything larger then a big molocule, but of course everything is made up of things smaller then that...
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby chelseaann » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:39 am UTC

When I was about 6 I used to think that everything solid was made up of tiny, tiny replicas of the larger object. Then I realised that the colours wouldn't work and so I decided each particle was a particular colour based on where it was on the object. I never wondered what determined which parts of the object would be coloured in which colours though.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Talith » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:55 pm UTC

I used to think that the reason clouds move across the sky was because the atmosphere was stationary and the earth was rotating so the clouds would whiz by.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:45 pm UTC

Talith wrote:I used to think that the reason clouds move across the sky was because the atmosphere was stationary and the earth was rotating so the clouds would whiz by.

Iirc, this was one of the main Greek arguments against a rotating Earth--if it was rotating, the air would produce massive winds and the buildings would fall down.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby ACU-LP » Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:08 am UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:
Talith wrote:I used to think that the reason clouds move across the sky was because the atmosphere was stationary and the earth was rotating so the clouds would whiz by.
Iirc, this was one of the main Greek arguments against a rotating Earth--if it was rotating, the air would produce massive winds and the buildings would fall down.
The irony is that is the very thing that would happen if the earth suddenly stopped moving.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Josephine » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:00 am UTC

If the Earth suddenly stopped moving, human civilization would be flattened.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:35 am UTC

nbonaparte1 wrote:If the Earth suddenly stopped moving, human civilization would be flattened.

If it weren't for the fact that the Core had already done something similar, I'd make a joke about unrealistic disaster movies.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Josephine » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:54 am UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:
nbonaparte1 wrote:If the Earth suddenly stopped moving, human civilization would be flattened.

If it weren't for the fact that the Core had already done something similar, I'd make a joke about unrealistic disaster movies.

The sheer fact of that movie's existence is a testament to how much crap people are willing to buy.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Angua » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:57 am UTC

nbonaparte1 wrote:
Sir_Elderberry wrote:
nbonaparte1 wrote:If the Earth suddenly stopped moving, human civilization would be flattened.

If it weren't for the fact that the Core had already done something similar, I'd make a joke about unrealistic disaster movies.

The sheer fact of that movie's existence is a testament to how much crap people are willing to buy.
Well they actually do this in some black and white movie where someone gets given god powers as the gods are betting how long it will take him to destroy stuff. He stops the Earth and everything flies around due to inertia.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:58 am UTC

I think The Core was actually intended as a joke. Apparently they actually build a device out of unobtanium.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Josephine » Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:42 am UTC

I can just imagine the idea for The Core brewing. It could very well be a bet.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Cynical Idealist » Sat Aug 29, 2009 1:44 am UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:I think The Core was actually intended as a joke. Apparently they actually build a device out of unobtanium.

They do, but apparently this was the science staff (which was generally ignored) pulling a joke on the directors.

I only know that there was a science staff because I once read a blog post (and have been unable to find it again) by someone on that staff about how he had to argue to get the window removed from the core-diving vessel. The argument went something like this:
"You can't have a window on something going into the mantle, that's stupid"
"But it's a DIAMOND window."
"Its stupid"
"But it's a DIAMOND window"
"What the hell would you SEE? YOU'RE DRIVING IT THROUGH SOLID ROCK!"

So the people who knew a bit about science did what they could to make it less shitty, and the people perpetrating the movie didn't listen to them often.
The internet removes the two biggest aids in detecting sarcasm:
1)The tone of voice
2)the assumption that the other person is sane
Elvish Pillager wrote:See? All the problems in our society are caused by violent video games, like FarmVille.

polymer
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:14 am UTC

Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby polymer » Sat Aug 29, 2009 6:22 pm UTC

A lot of the childhood ideas presented are actually pretty impressive. Here's one of my favorites, when I was in elementary school they just gave us a lesson on color. Now I found the lesson very odd, since they more or less said the colors emitted by objects were the only colors the objects didn't filter out. They did not however go onto explain the process for that filtering, and I felt that that was the more fundamental truth behind why a rose was red for example. I looked in the elementary school library and found books that only gave that limited explanation of how light works. In a sense I felt they never actually explained much of anything. When thinking about the subject more however I realized that that was all they had the capacity to do, was to give some limited explanation with an understanding that there is a more fundamental reality. This was because no matter how many levels they could continue to explain something there must be another fundamental question behind the things they were explaining. At the time I felt that there must be a fundamental wall or stopping point to reality that simply did what was necessary of it. The fact that this thing could do stuff with no underlying function was to me evidence for the existence of a god.

Of course I also thought we didn't know what colors actually were based on my experience with the elementary school library...


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