2142: "Dangerous Fields"

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strix99
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2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby strix99 » Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:32 pm UTC

Image

Title Text: Eventually, every epidemiologist becomes another statistic, a dedication to record-keeping which their colleagues sincerely appreciate.

Am I the only one who initially thought he meant being murdered by a group of old people and not old age itself.

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Flumble
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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby Flumble » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:14 pm UTC

If that were a self-report study, math would probably be a lot further to the right with how easy it is to confuse with meth.
Then again, it'd be really hard to do such a study in the first place without a horrible bias.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby pkcommando » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:16 pm UTC

strix99 wrote:Am I the only one who initially thought he meant being murdered by a group of old people and not old age itself.

No, I'm pretty sure your first interpretation is the right one.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby strix99 » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:24 pm UTC

pkcommando wrote:
strix99 wrote:Am I the only one who initially thought he meant being murdered by a group of old people and not old age itself.

No, I'm pretty sure your first interpretation is the right one.


Well good, I was afraid I was suffering from an irrational fear of the elderly. It turns out I have a completely healthy fear of the elderly brutally beating their caregivers to death with canes and walkers.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby dtilque » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:37 pm UTC

I wonder where entomology lies on this spectrum, perhaps near marine biology.... etymology is probably somewhere near mathematics, except for those etymologists who get their subject confused with entomology...
“This world is a strange madhouse. Currently, every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct. Belief in this matter depends on political party affiliation.”
-- Albert Einstein, 12 September 1920

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby PM 2Ring » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:56 pm UTC

strix99 wrote:Well good, I was afraid I was suffering from an irrational fear of the elderly. It turns out I have a completely healthy fear of the elderly brutally beating their caregivers to death with canes and walkers.

See Hell's Grannies.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby ijuin » Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:10 pm UTC

Mathematics can kill you when you dabble in the eldritch geometries of the Great Old Ones.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby Mikeski » Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:18 pm UTC

Was done better back here. With entomology.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:04 pm UTC

So, does Thanatology sit at the far right or at the far left?

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby dtilque » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:32 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:Was done better back here. With entomology.


But that doesn't have Etymology, which I'm going to guess is right underneath Entomology.
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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby New User » Sat Apr 27, 2019 2:54 am UTC

I'd be interested to see actual statistics on how many researchers are killed by the thing they research.

Also, if "become a statistic" is a euphemism for death, I'd like to see where statisticians lie on such a graph.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby ucim » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:38 am UTC

When I saw the title I was thinking of electrical fields, magnetic fields, opium poppy fields...

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby teelo » Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:55 pm UTC

Law should be a bit further to the right given Sir Thomas More.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby Old Bruce » Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:57 pm UTC

ucim wrote:When I saw the title I was thinking of electrical fields, magnetic fields, opium poppy fields...

Jose

In Flanders' fields...

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby krOoze » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:02 pm UTC

Isn't economics as or more dangerous? Immortality is too expensive.

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Astronomy kills +1

Postby Cloudster » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:35 pm UTC

My wife is in charge of the 3.5 meter telescope at Apache Point. Etched into the bottom of the mirror are the initials of an astronomy prof (I believe from U of A) who was killed at Kitt Peak (IIRC) shortly before the APO mirror was cast.

He was running a grad student class at the observatory, and one of the students was on the cat walk in front of the telescope when the telescope began to slew. She was standing in the doorway, and he knew that there was something weird with the design and that when the dome reached a certain position, the door would slam shut violently, and she would be crushed.

The prof jumped and pushed the girl out of the way, saving her life at the cost of his own. I don't know if the APO mirror was the first cast after his death, or the fact that one of the Kitt Peak telescopes is functionally a twin of the APO 3.5, but his initials were cast into the mirror as a memorial. I've seen them, I spend a lot of time there.

On another note about the dangers of observatories, you have the obvious high voltages, heavy objects, heights, liquid nitrogen. They had a bear walk in to the observatory once during a particularly dry summer. There's another story of a person being attacked by a wild turkey. One guy that I know fell in to a low oxygen compartment that they did not know was low oxygen - fortunately someone pulled him out before he suffocated.

For many years the primary mirror on the 3.5 was washed annually by hoisting it out, setting it on hard stands, then inflating a wading pool under the cutout in the center (you would not believe how filthy a telescope mirror gets in a year!). Distilled water and a special detergent was used to clean it. The site manager would stand underneath the mirror while it was being craned in and out of the mirror cell. In his own words, he'd say that if something failed and that mirror fell and broke, he didn't want to live to see it happen.

The reality of such an event is that were the mirror were to fall and be destroyed, it could be the death of the telescope. There's a multi-year waiting list for new mirrors, and to get to the front of that list, you basically have to try to buy that next observatory's mirror, IF they're willing to do that transaction! So you're buying two mirrors, if your funders have the money to do such a move! You're still going to be down for a few years, which means you're going to lose a lot of personnel that are key to your operations, which means loss of institutional knowledge and LOTS of retraining and poor quality science while people are getting back up to speed.

They have since developed a process for cleaning the mirror inside the mirror cell (the base of the telescope).

Here's some photos that I took of the mirror outside of the mirror cell after a cleaning, and of what the inside of a mirror cell looks like: http://waynewestphotography.com/gallery ... 3/start-30

So you could easily move astronomy a couple of steps to the right.

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Re: Astronomy kills

Postby Mikeski » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:32 pm UTC

Cloudster wrote:My wife is in charge of the 3.5 meter telescope at Apache Point. Etched into the bottom of the mirror are the initials of an astronomy prof (I believe from U of A) who was killed at Kitt Peak (IIRC) shortly before the APO mirror was cast.

It's the probability of being "killed by the thing you study", though. Not of being "killed while studying it". So "killed by astronomy" would be the chance of an astronomer being killed by a meteorite impact, or something.

The one in your story was killed by architecture, or maybe by mechanical engineering. The rest of your points were potential dangers from physics, chemistry, and zoology. And, possibly, economics, which you tried to pass.

I think there's a higher chance of a law professor being executed for capital crimes, than an astronomer failing to dodge an incoming meteorite.

(If you want to include second-order effects, and count astronomers killed by melanoma from sun exposure as "killed by astronomy" rather than "killed by oncology", then maybe it moves over a bit. But then economics has to move way to the right...)

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby Cougar Allen » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:10 am UTC

ucim wrote:When I saw the title I was thinking of electrical fields, magnetic fields, opium poppy fields...

Jose

Living is easy with eyes closed ...
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HtUH9z_Oey8

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby da Doctah » Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:17 am UTC

Old Bruce wrote:
ucim wrote:When I saw the title I was thinking of electrical fields, magnetic fields, opium poppy fields...

Jose

In Flanders' fields...


Or Mrs Fields. Them cookies will get you in the end.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby cellocgw » Sun Apr 28, 2019 11:03 am UTC

da Doctah wrote:
Old Bruce wrote:
ucim wrote:When I saw the title I was thinking of electrical fields, magnetic fields, opium poppy fields...

Jose

In Flanders' fields...


Or Mrs Fields. Them cookies will get you in the end.


Death by browser cookies?
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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby RGB-es » Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:26 pm UTC

According to thriller movies, the position of "criminology" should depend on the case being investigated. We need some error bars here.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby herdi42 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:16 pm UTC

Hm, as a chemist, I would like to question the ordering here: I doubt, that chemistry is more dangerous than Meteorology, in terms of the number of people killed per year by the two fields.

That is: if chemistry is counting anthropogenous chemistry and naturally occurring toxins only. If you count the long term degradation of the body by chemical reactions, most of the gerontology value would count as chemistry.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby ijuin » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:01 pm UTC

Better dying through chemistry (tm).

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby leeharveyosmond » Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:38 am UTC

herdi42 wrote:Hm, as a chemist, I would like to question the ordering here: I doubt, that chemistry is more dangerous than Meteorology, in terms of the number of people killed per year by the two fields.


Well we chemists do have some outliers: nerve agent research and manufacturing. But even allowing for lab accidents not involved in chemical warfare, yes lightning and flooding are probably bigger risks to meteorologists.

Anyway: I have this nagging sensation than Randall has done this theme, or one very much like it, some time ago. That’s over two thousand comics to check; anybody got a text index?

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby New User » Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:35 pm UTC

Mikeski already posted it higher in the thread.

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Re: Astronomy kills

Postby FOARP » Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:41 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:
Cloudster wrote:I think there's a higher chance of a law professor being executed for capital crimes, than an astronomer failing to dodge an incoming meteorite.


Reputedly your chance of dying in a meteor collision is roughly the same as your chance of dying in an air-crash, so this is a bit off (or course, air-crashes happen regularly but kill few, whilst catastrophic meteor collisions happen only over a time-scale of tens of millions of years but when they occur they kill nearly everything living, so air crashes are more salient)
Last edited by FOARP on Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:31 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:25 pm UTC

It's a tragic irony that, as medical science advances further and further, gerontology only gets deadlier and deadlier.
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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby ijuin » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:04 pm UTC

Unfortunately, barring the discovery of a method of achieving nigh-immortality, the aggregate death rate per capita will always be exactly 1.00 over a sufficient time span. Gerontology is essentially the “backstop” means of death for those who escape everything else.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:42 pm UTC

dtilque wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Was done better back here. With entomology.


But that doesn't have Etymology, which I'm going to guess is right underneath Entomology.
I would also think it would we way to the right. Etymologists do not maintain sterile labs; it's disgusting; words get everywhere.
herdi42 wrote:Hm, as a chemist, I would like to question the ordering here: I doubt, that chemistry is more dangerous than Meteorology, in terms of the number of people killed per year by the two fields.

That is: if chemistry is counting anthropogenous chemistry and naturally occurring toxins only. If you count the long term degradation of the body by chemical reactions, most of the gerontology value would count as chemistry.
Florine chemistry sounds scary, but I guess a lot of people don't do it.

If we use the British lay definition of "chemistry", if would include pharmacology, which includes a lot of ways to die.
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby Schadrach » Wed May 01, 2019 1:16 pm UTC

Shouldn't Chemistry and Mathematics be on the extreme far right? I mean, ultimately you're going to die because the underlying chemistry that sustains your life processes failed for whatever reason, and since chemistry and physics are described by math, the underlying math behind your nominal cause of death could also be seen as a cause...

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby SuicideJunkie » Wed May 01, 2019 2:14 pm UTC

If you study old age, you're likely to have a cause of death being listed as "old age" aka "natural causes".
If you don't study it, you're almost as likely to die of it, but we don't mention that part.

What you need to do is start a convincing campaign to adjust how coroners work.
Name:
- John Doe
Occupation:
- Student
Cause of Death:
- Major change from Biology to Physics

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Wed May 01, 2019 3:22 pm UTC

Schadrach wrote:Shouldn't Chemistry and Mathematics be on the extreme far right? I mean, ultimately you're going to die because the underlying chemistry that sustains your life processes failed for whatever reason, and since chemistry and physics are described by math, the underlying math behind your nominal cause of death could also be seen as a cause...
Death is not a failure of chemistry, it's chemistry working as intended, but now without one of those non-linear systems messing everything up :)

Math is subjective. We pick one of the infinite systems of mathematics that describes the subject. Saying death is described by math, is basically just saying that death is described.
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby Old Bruce » Wed May 01, 2019 3:48 pm UTC

SuicideJunkie wrote:If you study old age, you're likely to have a cause of death being listed as "old age" aka "natural causes".
If you don't study it, you're almost as likely to die of it, but we don't mention that part.

What you need to do is start a convincing campaign to adjust how coroners work.
Name:
- John Doe
Occupation:
- Student
Cause of Death:
- Major change from Biology to Physics

Shouldn't that be Change of Major...
Or maybe it is a major change of Biology (the study of living things) to Physics (Fourteen tonne weight dropped on him from a great height, or a runaway cement truck smashing into him)

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby SuicideJunkie » Wed May 01, 2019 5:00 pm UTC

https://what-if.xkcd.com/141/ wrote:You wouldn't really die of anything, in the traditional sense. You would just stop being biology and start being physics.

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby Ranbot » Thu May 02, 2019 4:35 pm UTC

So the arrow on the scale indicates it keeps going to the right... I wonder what else could be hidden over there?

herdi42 wrote:Hm, as a chemist, I would like to question the ordering here: I doubt, that chemistry is more dangerous than Meteorology, in terms of the number of people killed per year by the two fields.

That would depend on the timeframe of the data set. Currently chemistry is a relatively safe field, but if you include chemistry-related deaths since the profession began things get ugly. Those pre-industrial [al]chemists ruin the Recordable Incident Rate. :wink:

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Re: 2142: "Dangerous Fields"

Postby Schadrach » Thu May 02, 2019 7:00 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:Death is not a failure of chemistry, it's chemistry working as intended, but now without one of those non-linear systems messing everything up :)

Math is subjective. We pick one of the infinite systems of mathematics that describes the subject. Saying death is described by math, is basically just saying that death is described.


I phrased that poorly, I wasn't suggesting that chemistry itself had failed, but rather that the specific chemical processes that sustain life had failed to continue in their normal homeostatic pattern. I'm arguing that you could describe this as dying due to chemistry, and that functionally all death is due to chemistry (specifically the discontinuation of the chemical processes that maintain life), therefore if you study chemistry the odds that you will die from chemistry is functionally 100%, as all deaths are chemistry. Therefore if you study chemistry but do not die from it, then you have (possibly accidentally) become immortal.

Likewise, because chemistry and physics are described in math, you could argue that all death is math, though that's a bit more abstract to argue. Like arguing someone was killed by cosmic horror if I beat them to death with a copy of the complete works of HP Lovecraft.


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