public misconceptions

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby kernelpanic » Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:43 pm UTC

Ended wrote:
Whelan wrote:It was actually a misconception I held myself when I started As chemistry. Then I learned about how the most reactive elements generally make the most stable compounds, and now it all makes sense. Despite being somewhat counter-intuitive.

"So drop this stuff into water, right, and it freakin explodes in your face, and breathe this other stuff in and it turns into acid inside your lungs and kills you. But put them together and aha! you have the perfect seasoning for your egg sandwich."

I'm sure someone, somewhere, has used that as a "proof" that salt is bad for you.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby The Scyphozoa » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:28 am UTC

Kurushimi wrote: Even with a completely rational argument there's always that voice whispering in the back of your head saying "what if you're wrong? Is being right worth risking an eternity of suffering?"

Extension of this: Whatever belief you pick STILL probably isn't right because a) religious beliefs have been garbled through the ages b) there are other religions on Earth, what if one of THEM is right? c) actually there are so many possibilities for what is true that even if there are god(s) and a heaven-like thing it's statistically unlikely anybody's beliefs are correct, so a million to one you go to "hell" anyway, assuming there is one.

Nice fun little uplifting ramble there, you're welcome.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby TheChewanater » Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:03 am UTC

Misconception: Bleach contains chlorine, so it retains the chemical properties of chlorine, including medical ones you heard from old people at Friendly's.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby BlackSails » Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:01 am UTC

TheChewanater wrote:Misconception: Bleach contains chlorine, so it retains the chemical properties of chlorine, including medical ones you heard from old people at Friendly's.


Bleach does contain chlorine, just in the form of the hypochlorite ion.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby TheChewanater » Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:14 am UTC

I know that bleach contains chlorine. The misconception was that it retains its chemical properties, including medical ones you heard from old people at Friendly's.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby BlackSails » Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:58 am UTC

Other than killing you, what medical properties does Cl2 have?

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby tastelikecoke » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:52 am UTC

antiseptic?

There's something about Cl2 too, is that the strong smell when you put muriatic (hydrochloric) acid for cleansing floors?

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby PM 2Ring » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:45 pm UTC

The Scyphozoa wrote:
PM 2Ring wrote:Inflicting that sort of crap on small children counts as psychological child abuse in my book.

Richard Dawkins? Is that you?

Er, no. He's an atheist, and I'm not. I don't mind people sharing the positive aspects of religion with kids. What I object to is the hellfire & brimstone crap. And the anti-science fundamentalists.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby TheChewanater » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:31 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:Other than killing you, what medical properties does Cl2 have?

I think were actually talking about a chlorine compound. My points still stands that whatever it is, it isn't the same as bleach just because they both contain chlorine.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby krogoth » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:36 am UTC

Because you bought it from a chemist, it's medicinal. (like liver detox, or Colloidal silver)
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Sizik » Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:22 am UTC

krogoth wrote:Because you bought it from a chemist, it's medicinal. (like liver detox, or Colloidal silver)

It should be noted that in the UK, "chemist" can mean the same as "pharmacist".
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby krogoth » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:38 am UTC

Sizik wrote:
krogoth wrote:Because you bought it from a chemist, it's medicinal. (like liver detox, or Colloidal silver)

It should be noted that in the UK, "chemist" can mean the same as "pharmacist".


I totally agree about the nouns used, we use them both here too. Maybe it is a personal misconception, that the stores would sell things that were only proven to be medically beneficial.

On a completely unrelated note: I'm thinking of releasing a placebo 'drug' called "Cure All*"
Note:*May not cure all

dang Panacea was taken
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Coffee » Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:36 pm UTC

Misconception: that it's the job of scientists to "prove" anything. I was under the impression our job was to disprove things, and that the best one could say of any drug (or other hypothesis for that matter) is that we have failed to disprove it.

Or am I mistaken?
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby mmmcannibalism » Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:20 pm UTC

Coffee wrote:Misconception: that it's the job of scientists to "prove" anything. I was under the impression our job was to disprove things, and that the best one could say of any drug (or other hypothesis for that matter) is that we have failed to disprove it.

Or am I mistaken?


I think your off. While there is definitely some science that amounts to showing stuff isn't true; a decent bit of the pure science(and math) is trying to establish a causal relationship between variables.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Coffee » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:14 pm UTC

But even in those cases isn't the focus is on falsifyable hypotheses?
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Aleifr » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:40 pm UTC

I can't stand how little faith people have in science and scientists. When dealing with such people, in my experience, the only argument they have is that scientists can't possibly know all that (and that can't really be accepted as an argument). For hundreds (or thousands) of years we have developed science, and people spend all their lives learning and doing research, and when they come to a conclusion about something, some people just claim "they can't possibly know that". My mother and grandfather are such people. I wonder how they would like it if I questioned what they do for a living like that.

I think it needs saying here that I'm not actually a scientist myself...yet. ;P
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:44 pm UTC

Coffee wrote:But even in those cases isn't the focus is on falsifyable hypotheses?
Yes, the focus is on that because those make for better scientific hypotheses. But many unfalsifiable hypotheses can in fact be proven: "Bigfoot exists" can be proven by finding Bigfoot, for example.

There are two criteria that sometimes get confused: falsifiability and testability. Something unfalsifiable may make for a bad scientific hypothesis, but it still might say something testable about the universe. "Bigfoot exists" is one example of this, as is "There's a teapot orbiting Jupiter". Untestable claims, on the other hand, can be considered almost meaningless, like "There is an invisible miniature horse that lives in my garage". What can it even *mean* for that to be true?
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Coffee » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:52 pm UTC

Dong ma.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Sizik » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:29 am UTC

krogoth wrote:
Sizik wrote:
krogoth wrote:Because you bought it from a chemist, it's medicinal. (like liver detox, or Colloidal silver)

It should be noted that in the UK, "chemist" can mean the same as "pharmacist".


I totally agree about the nouns used, we use them both here too. Maybe it is a personal misconception, that the stores would sell things that were only proven to be medically beneficial.

On a completely unrelated note: I'm thinking of releasing a placebo 'drug' called "Cure All*"
Note:*May not cure all

dang Panacea was taken


Although I was quoting you, I wasn't technically responding to you. Being an American, "chemist" means exclusively "A scientist specializing in chemistry", not "person you go to to retrieve your prescriptions", which resulted in me being momentarily confused at your post.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby The Scyphozoa » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:11 pm UTC

Yeah, I didn't actually know that until I saw THE. CHEMIST. SKETCH. at which point I kind of inferred it easily.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby krogoth » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:51 am UTC

All good Sizik, I just thought I would clarify.

If you're in Australia and visit 'Chemist Warehouse' you may be disappointed.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Idhan » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:01 am UTC

If you dive deep enough into the ocean (or high enough pressure generally), your body implodes. (Not in the sense of "gas-filled cavities like your sinuses might fill with blood, your eardrum might burst if your Eustachian tubes aren't equalized, etc" but in the sense of "you get squashed like an aluminum can.")

If you go into outer space (or zero pressure generally), your body explodes (Not in the sense of "gas effervesces from your blood causing gas embolisms, you're at risk of pneumothorax if your lungs aren't empty and your throat isn't open, etc,"† but in the sense of... you know.)

†While the odds of surviving vacuum are abysmal in any case, I think it was a pretty bad idea to try to hold your breath as recommended in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent are kicked off of the Vogon ship.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:48 am UTC

Idhan wrote:If you dive deep enough into the ocean (or high enough pressure generally), your body implodes.
Well, in an old-style diving suit where your own pressure was coming from a pump on the surface, you pretty much would be crushed if the pump or tube broke and safety valves failed.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Idhan » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:01 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Idhan wrote:If you dive deep enough into the ocean (or high enough pressure generally), your body implodes.
Well, in an old-style diving suit where your own pressure was coming from a pump on the surface, you pretty much would be crushed if the pump or tube broke and safety valves failed.


True. Although I'm embarrassed to admit one particular incident I was thinking of was an old rule from D&D 3.5 ("Very deep water... deals water pressure damage of 1d6 points per minute for every 100 feet the character is below the surface. A successful Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 for each previous check) means the diver takes no damage in that minute.") and some of its defenders, who basically argued "that's 43 pounds per square inch. That's like three tons of pressure over a square foot of body surface. That's gotta be damagingly high pressure."

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby SlyReaper » Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:34 am UTC

Idhan wrote:If you dive deep enough into the ocean (or high enough pressure generally), your body implodes. (Not in the sense of "gas-filled cavities like your sinuses might fill with blood, your eardrum might burst if your Eustachian tubes aren't equalized, etc" but in the sense of "you get squashed like an aluminum can.")

If you go into outer space (or zero pressure generally), your body explodes (Not in the sense of "gas effervesces from your blood causing gas embolisms, you're at risk of pneumothorax if your lungs aren't empty and your throat isn't open, etc,"† but in the sense of... you know.)

†While the odds of surviving vacuum are abysmal in any case, I think it was a pretty bad idea to try to hold your breath as recommended in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent are kicked off of the Vogon ship.


Possibly related: The Byford Dolphin.

Diver D4 was shot out through the small jammed hatch door opening, and was ripped apart. Subsequent investigation by forensic pathologists determined D4, being exposed to the highest pressure gradient, violently exploded due to the rapid and massive expansion of internal gases. All of his thoracic and abdominal organs, and even his thoracic spine were ejected, as were all of his limbs. Simultaneously, his remains were expelled through the narrow trunk opening left by the jammed chamber door, less than 60 centimeters (24 inches) in diameter. Fragments of his body were found scattered about the rig. One part was even found lying on the rig’s derrick, 10 meters (30 feet) directly above the chambers. His death was most likely instantaneous and painless.


So yeah, pressure gradients can be pretty nasty.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Fume Troll » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:49 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Well, in an old-style diving suit where your own pressure was coming from a pump on the surface, you pretty much would be crushed if the pump or tube broke and safety valves failed.


Like this. Messy.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Chen » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:45 pm UTC

Idhan wrote:True. Although I'm embarrassed to admit one particular incident I was thinking of was an old rule from D&D 3.5 ("Very deep water... deals water pressure damage of 1d6 points per minute for every 100 feet the character is below the surface. A successful Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 for each previous check) means the diver takes no damage in that minute.") and some of its defenders, who basically argued "that's 43 pounds per square inch. That's like three tons of pressure over a square foot of body surface. That's gotta be damagingly high pressure."


Thats a fairly slow death in D&D terms which I think could be somewhat accurate to the amount of damage that occurred due to say various fluids in your body being moved around and such at high pressures.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:48 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:So yeah, pressure gradients can be pretty nasty.
Especially under water. People seem to think space is more dangerous, but that's only a 1atm difference. In the water, you've got 1atm for every 10 meters or so, so it builds up really quickly.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby SlyReaper » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:47 pm UTC

Well space is more dangerous, but not because of pressure differentials.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Velifer » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:47 am UTC

Yeah, it's because you have so much farther you can fall...

Ok, seriously:
Spoiler:
aliens.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby mmmcannibalism » Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:38 am UTC

Velifer wrote:Yeah, it's because you have so much farther you can fall...

Ok, seriously:
Spoiler:
aliens.


That is not the real problem

Spoiler:
in space no one can hear you scream an overdone joke
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Antimony-120 » Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:56 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
Velifer wrote:Yeah, it's because you have so much farther you can fall...

Ok, seriously:
Spoiler:
aliens.


That is not the real problem

Spoiler:
in space no one can hear you scream an overdone joke


No, the problem is that

Spoiler:
Sir Issac Newton is waiting. And SIR ISSAC NEWTON IS THE DEADLIEST SON OF A BITCH IN SPACE RECRUITS!
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Idhan » Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:38 am UTC

Chen wrote:Thats a fairly slow death in D&D terms which I think could be somewhat accurate to the amount of damage that occurred due to say various fluids in your body being moved around and such at high pressures.


Look. NAUI dive tables are pretty conservative about this stuff, but according to the dive table, you can stay at 100 feet below for 22 minutes (25 if you're willing to make a stop at 15 feet below for a few minutes on the way up). The D&D rule says that following NAUI's guidelines for safe diving is about as damaging as being hit by a disintegrate spell by a level 11 wizard. Come on.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby AshOnMyTomatoes » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:23 pm UTC

I have no idea if this thread is even still about public misconceptions, or if this has already been mentioned, but:

How many people, watching the recent World Cup in South Africa, heard someone say "How come they're wearing jackets in Africa?"

Not only could my own mother not understand that it's winter in the Southern Hemisphere, but she couldn't imagine it ever being cold in any portion of the entire African continent.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby tastelikecoke » Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:58 am UTC

Wait what? Why are they wearing jackets?

For me it's the part that I've never experienced winter, and the only thing I would bring in travel is an umbrella.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby tuseroni » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:28 am UTC

Idhan wrote:
Chen wrote:Thats a fairly slow death in D&D terms which I think could be somewhat accurate to the amount of damage that occurred due to say various fluids in your body being moved around and such at high pressures.


Look. NAUI dive tables are pretty conservative about this stuff, but according to the dive table, you can stay at 100 feet below for 22 minutes (25 if you're willing to make a stop at 15 feet below for a few minutes on the way up). The D&D rule says that following NAUI's guidelines for safe diving is about as damaging as being hit by a disintegrate spell by a level 11 wizard. Come on.

yeah but with a dc 15 fort save, even with a crappy fort a dc 15 isnt too hard
also disintegrate from a level 11 wizard deals 22d6 and has no saving throw (except on items...and its for half) 1d6 per 100 feet with a dc15 saving throw (+1 for each throw...since the longer you are under the more likely you are to be damaged) is pretty good on and no where near as damaging as disintegrate.

as for the topic at hand,the idea that genetically modified anything is bad
genetically modified is what i would use to describe every plant or animal on any farm in the world, as well as all pets. because they have all been modified through selective breeding, the corn of today looks NOTHING like corn originally, same for bananas, the chihuahua looks nothing like a wolf...and probably wouldnt breed well with one...
GM plants just make it a bit faster and more direct. i wish people would strike the term "playing god" from their vocabulary.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Ignitus » Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:02 am UTC

Coffee wrote:But even in those cases isn't the focus is on falsifyable hypotheses?


Short Answer
In my opinion the job of a researcher is not to prove or disprove anything, but instead generate interesting questions about his field and develop through repeatable test for answering the question. Finally he must present the findings in a way that helps expand the understanding of his field to others.


Long Discussion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_scientific_method

I would say that your statement is a common misconception as well. This is always hard to discuss because it puts the word science on some pedestal like its a religion of truth. Science is really a vague word it just means a systematic gathering of knowledge. What was considered science at various periods of history would not be considered valid research today. In stead when we use the word we normally are talking about the Scientific Method which is a concrete approach/philosophy on how to solve problems. In short the Scientific method really isn't about "proving" anything its about gathering evidence which supports your claim. Any academic paper worth its weight in peer review will discusses the statistical significance of a finding instead of stating what it proved.

When using this method the practitioner comes up with a question and states a hypothesis. This hypothesis acts as a speculation on what he expects the answer to be. Ten by developing a series of test he aims to provide critics of the work with evidence that either supports or discredits the original hypothesis. Those who accurately follow this method are not bothered by a hypothesis being discredited because the method is not about proving yourself correct, but answering a question about a hypothesis.

What sets the Scientific Method apart from other methods of inquiry is that it dictates a level of do-diligence beyond what is normally required to prove to a single individual that something is factual. This level an intellectual rigor to knew theories that weeds out imaginative, but improbable concepts to the world around us. As evidence towards a theory mounts we loose interest in questioning the validity of the results and instead use the theory to evaluate new hypothesis.

However, we shouldn't forget that sometimes our vantage point prevents us from seeing the entire picture and even though we have a vast amount of evidence that a specific theory is correct it may not be the whole truth and we must be able to accept a theory which is more complete. The best example off the top of my head would be the difference between Classical and Modern mechanics.

And then from the article
Excerpt from the article wrote:Truth and belief

Belief can alter observations; those with a particular belief will often see things as reinforcing their belief, even if to another observer they would appear not to do so. Even researchers admit that the first observation may have been a little imprecise, whereas the second and third were "adjusted to the facts," until tradition, education, and familiarity produce a readiness for new perception.[24]
Eadweard Muybridge's studies of a horse galloping

Needham's Science and Civilization in China uses the 'flying gallop' image as an example of observation:[25] in it, the legs of a galloping horse are depicted as splayed, when the stop-action pictures of a horse's gallop by Eadweard Muybridge show otherwise. In a gallop, at the moment that no hoof is touching the ground, a horse's legs are gathered together and are not splayed. Earlier paintings depict the incorrect flying gallop observation (this is an example of observer bias).

This demonstrates Ludwik Fleck's caution that people observe what they expect to observe, until shown otherwise; our beliefs will affect our observations (and therefore our subsequent actions). The purpose of a scientific method is to test a hypothesis, a proposed explanation about how things are, via repeatable experimental observations which can definitively contradict the hypothesis.


For the experiment to be valid it must have a possible outcome that would support and another outcome that would contradict the hypothesis. Some times its easier to show things through contradiction then it is to show them by construction so often a hypothesis is set up to be false, but to show more concrete concepts like mathematical models you almost always have to show it in a constructive manor which supports the hypothesis (ie the model).

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby GoC » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:56 am UTC

Sabatini wrote:That science (here I mean "science" as far as it relates to (possible) experiment) makes statements about the way things are.

Observation determines how things behave, and so experimental science makes statements about how things behave. Some people object to quantum mechanics for reasons such as "it can't tell us what electrons are," not realizing that humans aren't capable of identifying what electrons are beyond establishing that they belong to equivalence sets of "things that behave this way." The equivalence might not be an "equivalence" in the intuitive sense, but it works for the purposes of science and is all that science can ascertain. Humans don't, as far as I can see, have a better practical definition of what something is than how it behaves, i.e. what its observable properties are: our best identification is characterization. More ontological statements are the subject of philosophy.

THIS! A THOUSAND TIMES THIS! :evil:
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krogoth
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby krogoth » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:41 am UTC

I'm surprised i didn't say this one earlier.

That a brand new 4 meter power cord will start fires if coiled for 3 of the meters of its length. Though this is caused by whatever idiot keeps putting warning labels on them saying not to use it while coiled.
R3sistance - I don't care at all for the ignorance spreading done by many and to the best of my abilities I try to correct this as much as I can, but I know and understand that even I can not be completely honest, truthful and factual all of the time.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby RabbitWho » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:15 am UTC

QI just told me that dust isn't made of skin. I always knew this instinctively, and I'm so glad to hear it.

I also feel instinctively that the whole universe is made up of long sheets which stretch its length and breadth and everything just the bending or squashing of these sheets and light and energy come out of another dimension which you can see into when one of the sheets is thinned out.. So I'm waiting to see that on QI.

A lady on TV just said that this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franks_Casket is like an Anglo-Saxon Rubik's cube. It's a box. She wanted us to see how it was a 3 dimensional square. And she specifically chose the Rubik's cube as the archetypal 3D square.. as opposed to... a "cube". Or she could have said "box". It's a box.


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