1862: "Particle Properties"

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1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Zinho » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:41 pm UTC

Image
Title Text: Each particle also has a password which allows its properties to be changed, but the cosmic censorship hypothesis suggests we can never observe the password itself—only its secure hash.

Obligatory QNTM link: An Admin Password For The Universe

It's now headcanon for me that Randall's list of particle properties were on Ed's list of "properties I haven't heard of" in the Universe documentation.

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Keyman » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:02 pm UTC

Batting average??? Who Knew??
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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby RCT Bob » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:26 pm UTC

Particle physics is quite long ago for me, I don't remember everything anymore and I only took an introductory course on it. But wasn't there also something with up, down, charm, and beauty and stuff? I recall the naming schemes in particle physics being particularly weird.

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:35 pm UTC

Looking at the Proof scale there...

quoting from a variety of sources --
The maximum alcohol percentage achievable with distillation alone is 96.5% (3.5% H20) . Such a mixture is referred to as an azeotrope (azeotropic = a liquid mixture that is characterized by a constant concentration and constant minimum or maximum boiling point which is lower or higher than any of the components). Further concentration of the ethanol can be achieved by shifting the azeotropic point via vacuum distillation or addition of another substance to the mixture. Often times the compound added is highly toxic such as benzene, therefore absolute alcohol must never be consumed.


So you can have a scale that goes up to 200, but it might as well only go up to about 99.5% or so.
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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby pminva » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:03 pm UTC

Only thing missing is the IBU scale...

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby wumpus » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:05 pm UTC

Zinho wrote:Obligatory QNTM link: An Admin Password For The Universe

It's now headcanon for me that Randall's list of particle properties were on Ed's list of "properties I haven't heard of" in the Universe documentation.


Isn't your link exactly where Stevenson leaves you with "In the Beginning ... was the Command Line"?

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Envelope Generator » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:06 pm UTC

Colliders are instantly more fun if you think of particles as having hit points. (Are mass and hit points the same thing?)
Last edited by Envelope Generator on Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:09 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Locoluis » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:07 pm UTC

I prefer the quantitative (though still subjective...) Scoville scale (for Heat) and the 2-dimensional Pick-a-Mood scale (for Mood).
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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby ivnja » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:29 pm UTC

Keyman wrote:Batting average??? Who Knew??
The stat usually isn't shown as a percent like in the comic but rather a decimal (i.e. batting .328, pronounced "three twenty-eight," rather than 32.8%)...looks like his Sports Knowledge comic holds :P

cellocgw wrote:Looking at the Proof scale there...
Spoiler:
quoting from a variety of sources --
The maximum alcohol percentage achievable with distillation alone is 96.5% (3.5% H20) . Such a mixture is referred to as an azeotrope (azeotropic = a liquid mixture that is characterized by a constant concentration and constant minimum or maximum boiling point which is lower or higher than any of the components). Further concentration of the ethanol can be achieved by shifting the azeotropic point via vacuum distillation or addition of another substance to the mixture. Often times the compound added is highly toxic such as benzene, therefore absolute alcohol must never be consumed.
So you can have a scale that goes up to 200, but it might as well only go up to about 99.5% or so.
Proof is a weird one, since in the US at least it's just defined as double the ABV, so that 99.5% alcohol would be 199 proof. Even in the UK, where the original formulation of proof (which was on a 0-175 scale and did have an arguably useful meaning) was born, they've stopped using it and moved to just ABV; the 200-point US version has always been pretty useless.

That one line in Biz Markie's "Just A Friend" wouldn't have worked nearly as well if he'd had to see if the girl were 50% ABV, though, so there's that.
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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:31 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:Looking at the Proof scale there...

quoting from a variety of sources --
The maximum alcohol percentage achievable with distillation alone is 96.5% (3.5% H20) . Such a mixture is referred to as an azeotrope (azeotropic = a liquid mixture that is characterized by a constant concentration and constant minimum or maximum boiling point which is lower or higher than any of the components). Further concentration of the ethanol can be achieved by shifting the azeotropic point via vacuum distillation or addition of another substance to the mixture. Often times the compound added is highly toxic such as benzene, therefore absolute alcohol must never be consumed.


So you can have a scale that goes up to 200, but it might as well only go up to about 99.5% or so.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_proof

(99.5% ABV = 199 proof, and pure alcohol is 200 proof, by the simpler US system. Assumedly the one Randall is referencing.)

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Zinho » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:53 pm UTC

wumpus wrote:
Zinho wrote:Obligatory QNTM link: An Admin Password For The Universe

It's now headcanon for me that Randall's list of particle properties were on Ed's list of "properties I haven't heard of" in the Universe documentation.


Isn't your link exactly where Stevenson leaves you with "In the Beginning ... was the Command Line"?


I haven't read the novel, and only vaguely remember the essay from a long ago reading; I had to download it again to se what you were talking about. I'll agree that there's definitely an intersection there, where the essay says
Neal Stephenson wrote:universe -G 6.672e-11 -e 1.602e-19 -h 6.626e-34 -protonmass 1.673e-27....


I'd argue that they're going in different directions, with the Stephenson essay focusing on the life of the universe programmer and the QNTM short-story dealing with the lives of the people inhabiting the open-source-managed universe. I can also imagine that Sam (QNTM's author) may have read the Stephenson essay and taken that idea for a spin to create the short story.

Coming full circle, I found this link in the comments while looking to spot author commentary:
http://xkcd.com/10/

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Muswell » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:10 pm UTC

Batting averages that go from 0 - 100%? That's weird.

The civilised world knows that a batting average can be 0 - <insert arbitrarily high number here> in theory or 0 - 99.94 in practice (as birds of the family anatidae will take action to prevent a 100 average; they take statistics very seriously).


If anyone not from the civilised world wishes to understand the above, have fun working out what to google. In the spirit of fair play, I will suggest that you include the word "Bradman".

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Flumble » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:19 pm UTC

It's no fun if you keep including "civilised world": that immediately implies one of those weird british games that's played in only two countries. :roll: (with a bat in this case, because it has a batting average)

I don't know what Randall's problem with entropy is: just like the hit points, it's a scale from 0 to infinity.

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Rombobjörn » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:37 pm UTC

I think Randall just made a novel contribution to string theory with this distinction between bytestrings and charstrings.

Zinho wrote:Coming full circle, I found this link in the comments while looking to spot author commentary:
http://xkcd.com/10/

That in turn makes me think of both Contact by Carl Sagan, and a pair of books by Peter Nilson named Rymdväktaren and Nyaga. (I don't know of any English translations of the latter.)

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Muswell » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:52 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:It's no fun if you keep including "civilised world": that immediately implies one of those weird british games that's played in only two countries. :roll: (with a bat in this case, because it has a batting average)


Well, yeah, but that's still more than baseball... ;)

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby peterdavidcarter » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:58 pm UTC

Why does it feel like 'entropy' is Randal's word for 'stuff I don't understand'?

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:59 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:It's no fun if you keep including "civilised world": that immediately implies one of those weird british games that's played in only two countries. :roll:

Make that from seventeen to nineteen countries, unlike the "World" Series for rounders... :P

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby doogly » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:24 pm UTC

peterdavidcarter wrote:Why does it feel like 'entropy' is Randal's word for 'stuff I don't understand'?

Shannon too.
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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:17 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Flumble wrote:It's no fun if you keep including "civilised world": that immediately implies one of those weird british games that's played in only two countries. :roll:

Make that from seventeen to nineteen countries, unlike the "World" Series for rounders... :P

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:38 pm UTC

RCT Bob wrote:Particle physics is quite long ago for me, I don't remember everything anymore and I only took an introductory course on it. But wasn't there also something with up, down, charm, and beauty and stuff? I recall the naming schemes in particle physics being particularly weird.
It's in there with flavor:
Charm, Strangeness, topness, bottomness, isopin, and cool ranch.
cellocgw wrote:So you can have a scale that goes up to 200, but it might as well only go up to about 99.5% or so.
Actually, since there's no such thing as conservation of volume, it's possible for something to be more than 100% of a mixture by volume.

Since temperature is specified in the definition of alcohol by volume, but not pressure:
If we lower the atmospheric pressure to about 1/15 atm a mixture of ethanol could easily be proof in the tens of thousands.
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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby DennyMo » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:19 pm UTC

ivnja wrote:
Keyman wrote:Batting average??? Who Knew??
The stat usually isn't shown as a percent like in the comic but rather a decimal (i.e. batting .328, pronounced "three twenty-eight," rather than 32.8%)...looks like his Sports Knowledge comic holds :P

To complete the correction, the actual scale should be depicted as:
.000 - 1.000

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby tgape » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:18 am UTC

I see that the alignment system has only one neutral on each axis.

Is this 'neutral - apathetic' (hippies), 'neutral - ignorant' (dunno what this is), 'neutral - activist' (like many druids), 'neutral - zealot' (D&D version of the Powers & Perils Balance faction), 'neutral - confused' (like me), 'neutral - dismissive' (not that it could ever matter), 'neutral - passive-aggressive' (do whatever you want, it'll be wrong and all your fault!), 'neutral - whatever' (like D&D), or something else?

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby azule » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:45 am UTC

You would think that the ghost pepper would be on the right of the three peppers.
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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby da Doctah » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:19 am UTC

The "number of peppers" for heat is situational and depends on marketing whims. Heat WIWAL was measured with a little thermometer on the label, with "taco sauce" at the "medium" level. The Scoville scale (which is inherently logarithmic, based as it is on the ability of an observer to detect heat at various dilutions) is used in more scholarly applications.

Had dinner at an Indian place with a bunch of friends a few years ago. Everyone else was offered heat ratings of mild/medium/hot; when I ordered vindaloo they asked me how hot I wanted it on a scale of one to ten (I chose seven but decided later I should have gone to eight).

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby zjxs » Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:39 am UTC

Of these properties, scientific proof is least attainable.

Fool proof on the other hand is regularly seen.

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby zjxs » Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:40 am UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:
RCT Bob wrote:Particle physics is quite long ago for me, I don't remember everything anymore and I only took an introductory course on it. But wasn't there also something with up, down, charm, and beauty and stuff? I recall the naming schemes in particle physics being particularly weird.
It's in there with flavor:
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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Payton M. » Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:42 pm UTC

It seems, that Randall has some problems in understanding entropy and wants to tell to his readers, that the many definitions he has already seen are incomprehensible or inconsistent.

In the right-hand column, the name of which is "TYPE/SCALE", he talks about the meaning of entropy. The "meaning" of entropy is really not a simple thing. You can not even type this into your favourite search engine and get the answer immediately. Not only do you find so many different equivalents for describing entropy in different sciences (e.g. thermodynamics, particle physics, information theory), but you also find so many bad and outright wrong "definitions" of entropy on the web. So, being confused and irritated is quite a normal reaction here.
But nevertheless, Randall got one thing wrong, because these difficulties have nothing to do with the "TYPE/SCALE"-thing he tries to show in the right-hand column. On the contrary, that's the easy part. For entropy, the scale starts from zero and goes up to a final limit, the value of which is unknown yet. So just draw a line, which is interrupted by some dots, make a mark on the left, saying "0 J/K", and another one at the right end of the line, which says "x J/K" or "Smax J/K". That would be it.

The unit of entropy is J/K, i.e. "Joules per Kelvin", the corresponding physical quantities being energy and temperature.

Now for the "meaning" of entropy (the understanding of which was not necessary to fill in the box): It is correct, that there are many descriptions and exemplifications of entropy in different sciences (not to mention again: there are many wrong definitions spilled out all over the WWW). But this does not mean, that there is no certain essence ("meaning") of entropy, even if no human being could understand it. But think about energy, a concept you might feel is more clear to you: There are so many "forms" of energy in different areas of physics such as kinetic energy, potential energy, electric energy, binding energy etc. which are described by very different formulae. But the essence of energy is totally coherent for the physicist. A student, being introduced to the topic of energy and it's multiple "forms", might well claim: "This already has like 20 different confusiong meanings". So this is nothing special.
E.g. in particle physics, which xkcd 1862 is about, there also seem to exist various types of states to which we can apply a certain entropy, but this is not my professional subject (I've heard about e.g. Kolmogorov-Sinai entropy, topological entropy, single particle entropy etc.)

And if you await a proper description of entropy, I'll give you one: "Entropy is an extensive property. In classical thermodynamics, where it was first discovered, it is a measure of the adiabatic reachability." This might not satisfy you as it sounds somewhat abstract to the non-expert, but this definition is based on the observations which lead to the discovery of entropy by Rudolf Clausius.
If you want to understand it, you would have to read some texts, which require (as compared to the high-school-level) some advanced knowledge of physics and formal thinking.

Our professor at university commented it like this in our first year in thermodynamics:
"What is entropy? God knows it, your professor senses it, and the students will learn to calculate and use it".

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby qvxb » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:12 pm UTC

To sense entropy, compare the picture of a twenty-year-old with a picture of the same person at age 70.

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby mfb » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:07 pm UTC

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.

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Flumble » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:13 am UTC

Payton M. wrote:The unit of entropy is J/K, i.e. "Joules per Kelvin", the corresponding physical quantities being energy and temperature.

It would seem you are the one having difficulty with the various kinds of entropy. :wink: The general shape of entropy is dimensionless -physicists like to multiply it by the boltzmann constant to both have a meaningful use for entropy and to scale the numbers to something more manageable. And its (base-2) logarithm is usually called bits.

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby heuristically_alone » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:56 am UTC

I heard this interesting report once about sone scientists that tried to make a measurement for pain back in the 50s or 60s, and use child birth as their basis for pain. They took volunteer women and while they were in labor and giving birth they would put a flame to their arm or pinch their skin and ask them how the pain compared to the child birth. And would keep increasing the pain they gave until the women couldn't take it anymore. I believe they even had a unit of measurment, but I can't recall what it was.
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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Eshru » Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:34 am UTC

Muswell wrote:(as birds of the family anatidae will take action to prevent a 100 average; they take statistics very seriously).

Relevant: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qwpRHrAh3pk

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Payton M. » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:17 am UTC

qvxb wrote:To sense entropy, compare the picture of a twenty-year-old with a picture of the same person at age 70.


This is not a good example, as a person's body is not a closed system. If you e.g. compare the picture of a baby and the picture of the same person 20 years old, you will see, that the 20 year old is more complex, and entropy has fallen. Whatever you want to use as an example for showing increased entropy must be explained correctly, and only for a closed system and only for the sum of the entropy it is true, that entropy may only remain constant or rise. The second law of thermodynamics does NOT say, that entropy can only rise or remain constant. Otherwise, no frige could work and no life could have been established on earth (and that would be a fine argument for the creationists, wouldn't it).

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Payton M. » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:36 am UTC

Flumble wrote:
Payton M. wrote:The unit of entropy is J/K, i.e. "Joules per Kelvin", the corresponding physical quantities being energy and temperature.

It would seem you are the one having difficulty with the various kinds of entropy. :wink: The general shape of entropy is dimensionless -physicists like to multiply it by the boltzmann constant to both have a meaningful use for entropy and to scale the numbers to something more manageable. And its (base-2) logarithm is usually called bits.


There are many "explanations" or "definitions" of what entropy would be in the different areas of science, and many disputes, whether all of them are sensible. My point is: If there is only one such thing in reality, i.e. one underlying factor, which only looks different in different cases (or areas of science), than the thermodynamic description should be essentially valid for all cases, even if in various areas it might be wise to express it otherwise and use different units. If you use e.g. a dimensionless entropy, then it might have essentially the same meaning, but it is not really the identic quantity. If, on the other hand, the several notions of entropy in different scientific areas are essentially sth different, then they are in fact essentially different quantities and it was unwise to name them all "entropy", only because the thermodynamic entropy has inspired people from other sciences to define sth similar. And then these various "entropies" are only kind of allegories. In either case, as the notion entropy was coined in the scientific area of thermodynamics, this is the correct one, whether the other "kinds" of entropy are fully equivalent (like the different kinds of energy are, and also they may be noted with different units, such as J or kWh) or not.

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby sonar1313 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:23 pm UTC

Muswell wrote:
Flumble wrote:It's no fun if you keep including "civilised world": that immediately implies one of those weird british games that's played in only two countries. :roll: (with a bat in this case, because it has a batting average)


Well, yeah, but that's still more than baseball... ;)


Cuba, the DR, Venezuela, Japan, South Korea, et. al., would take great issue with that peculiar flavor of US-centrism-from-afar.

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Re: 1862: "Particle Properties"

Postby Muswell » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:55 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:
Muswell wrote:
Flumble wrote:It's no fun if you keep including "civilised world": that immediately implies one of those weird british games that's played in only two countries. :roll: (with a bat in this case, because it has a batting average)


Well, yeah, but that's still more than baseball... ;)


Cuba, the DR, Venezuela, Japan, South Korea, et. al., would take great issue with that peculiar flavor of US-centrism-from-afar.


And I imagine Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, South Africa, the West Indies, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland, as well as all the non-Test status cricket nations, would take great issue with the Anglo-centrism-from-afar of the idea of cricket being a British game only played in two countries (a particularly good choice of number given that what is generally referred to as the England cricket team is actually the England & Wales cricket team, so if only two countries played they wouldn't have anyone to play against).


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