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Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:23 pm UTC
by keithl
ijuin wrote:
Gargravarr wrote:
Klear wrote:
However, toast does not have the ability to right itself.[citation needed]

I thought the Mythbusters proved that toast actually lands on the unbuttered side more often? I guess that's why any attempts to construct this failed - you have to attach the cat to the buttered side.

IIRC, Mythbusters found out that toast usually lands upside down when it falls off a table, but not when you drop it off a roof.
EDIT: link
I think I'll go butter a toast on both sides. In the name of science and breakfast.


Since toast is generally shaped like a flat, semi-rigid slab, when it slides off of (your hand, plate, whatever), its center of mass falls off of the support and begins to descend before the trailing edge of the toast has cleared the thing from which it is falling off. In other words, the trailing edge of the toast gets "caught" on the edge of your hand/plate/whatever. This puts a torque on the toast, causing it to tumble. When falling from a typical height of 50-200 cm (i.e. the kind of height from which we would typically drop it onto the surface that we are standing upon), the toast has enough time to flip over once, so that the side that was formerly facing up will now be facing down. Since we tend to carry the toast butter-side up, this results in the toast landing butter-side down. Dropping the toast from a much greater height (e.g. the roof of a 2-floor building), would allow the toast to flip over more than once, and if it flips over an even number of times, then it will land butter-side up.


I always push dry toast off the table, onto a buttered floor, for maximum repeatability.

I think we are seeing the start of a buttered toast perpetual motion machine.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:26 pm UTC
by keithl
keithl wrote:
ijuin wrote:
Gargravarr wrote:
Klear wrote:
However, toast does not have the ability to right itself.[citation needed]

I thought the Mythbusters proved that toast actually lands on the unbuttered side more often? I guess that's why any attempts to construct this failed - you have to attach the cat to the buttered side.

IIRC, Mythbusters found out that toast usually lands upside down when it falls off a table, but not when you drop it off a roof.
EDIT: link
I think I'll go butter a toast on both sides. In the name of science and breakfast.


Since toast is generally shaped like a flat, semi-rigid slab, when it slides off of (your hand, plate, whatever), its center of mass falls off of the support and begins to descend before the trailing edge of the toast has cleared the thing from which it is falling off. In other words, the trailing edge of the toast gets "caught" on the edge of your hand/plate/whatever. This puts a torque on the toast, causing it to tumble. When falling from a typical height of 50-200 cm (i.e. the kind of height from which we would typically drop it onto the surface that we are standing upon), the toast has enough time to flip over once, so that the side that was formerly facing up will now be facing down. Since we tend to carry the toast butter-side up, this results in the toast landing butter-side down. Dropping the toast from a much greater height (e.g. the roof of a 2-floor building), would allow the toast to flip over more than once, and if it flips over an even number of times, then it will land butter-side up.


I always push dry toast off the table, onto a buttered floor, for maximum repeatability.

I think we are seeing the start of a buttered toast perpetual motion machine.


Though it may grind to a halt when the inner quote box gets too narrow to display the quote graphic.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:45 pm UTC
by rmsgrey
keithl wrote:
keithl wrote:I think we are seeing the start of a buttered toast perpetual motion machine.


Though it may grind to a halt when the inner quote box gets too narrow to display the quote graphic.

Or else break the screen width and create a horizontal scrollbar (which may break other aspects of the page formatting)

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:49 pm UTC
by Gargravarr
keithl wrote:I always push dry toast off the table, onto a buttered floor, for maximum repeatability.

At what frequency does your house flip over?

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:57 pm UTC
by SpringLoaded12
Does anyone else think he's poking fun at you guys?
There were a couple of comics that happened to mention certain controversial issues that led to comic discussion threads dozens of pages long, often getting so sidetracked that they forgot what they were originally arguing about.

I hope you haven't forgotten this.
And in my search for that thread I found this, I don't even know what they're going on about.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:15 pm UTC
by wagner
SpringLoaded12 wrote:Does anyone else think he's poking fun at you guys?
There were a couple of comics that happened to mention certain controversial issues that led to comic discussion threads dozens of pages long, often getting so sidetracked that they forgot what they were originally arguing about.


I don't see any real controversy or argument in this thread. It just looks to be a bunch of people cracking jokes at the expense of those trying to build PMMs.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:18 pm UTC
by Gargravarr
SpringLoaded12 wrote:There were a couple of comics that happened to mention certain controversial issues that led to comic discussion threads dozens of pages long, often getting so sidetracked that they forgot what they were originally arguing about.

Welcome to the Internet.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:23 pm UTC
by webgrunt
...toast doesn't have the ability to right itself


I'm sure many people have thought of this before, but what about gluing two cats together, back-to-back?

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:29 pm UTC
by rcox1
This is a good test of someone who is trying to talk to you about physics, be it an acceptance, teacher, or whatever. If there is a long complicated explanation of type 1 and type 2 perpetual machines, and how the first is impossible but the second is not, and all that handwaving, be very scared.

I had such a surrealistic experience in a group of alleged physics people. It kind of made me fearful for the future.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:08 pm UTC
by Daggoth
am i the only one who noticed the power strip plugged to itself

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:09 pm UTC
by ctdonath
The 1996 Ig Nobel Prize in PHYSICS: Robert Matthews of Aston University, England, for his studies of Murphy's Law, and especially for demonstrating that toast often falls on the buttered side.
REFERENCE: European Journal of Physics Volume 16 Number 4: Tumbling toast, Murphy's Law and the fundamental constants

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:12 pm UTC
by Kinny Fear
Is it just me, or is the second bit a reference to 'Unsustainable (2nd Law)' by Muse? :lol:

Edit: oh wait, it's a reference to I, Robot. Derp. :oops:

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:17 pm UTC
by brenok
Daggoth wrote:am i the only one who noticed the power strip plugged to itself


Probably not
MeisBarry wrote:I would just like to say that I enjoyed the choice of avatar image for the second poster.


(Unless he was refering to the xkcd forum poster... I can't be 100% sure)

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:55 pm UTC
by Varriount
Um, the board referenced in the comic exists... just do a search for "free energy forum"

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:45 pm UTC
by Quizatzhaderac
DavidRoss wrote:The cute (I'll not use "ironic" inappropriately) part is ...
I demand you adhere some hyper technical definition of "cute", or a broad use of "irony", or whatever.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:12 pm UTC
by Editer
SpringLoaded12 wrote:Does anyone else think he's poking fun at you guys?
There were a couple of comics that happened to mention certain controversial issues that led to comic discussion threads dozens of pages long, often getting so sidetracked that they forgot what they were originally arguing about.


This all reminds me of the funniest tweet I've seen in a long time, perhaps ever:

(Would Sonic's Dick Be Blue or Tan Like His Tummy Is) Viewing Discussion Page 307 of 1,108. "Fuck You Reagan actually cared about America--"

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:42 pm UTC
by feldgendler
There is a not-quite-perpetual-but-long-enough experiment that's been running for longer than any existing forum thread:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_Electric_Bell

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:16 am UTC
by Klear
webgrunt wrote:
...toast doesn't have the ability to right itself


I'm sure many people have thought of this before, but what about gluing two cats together, back-to-back?


Doesn't work for the same reason why it's not enough to butter the toast from both sides - to the cat it doesn't matter whose legs it lands on, as long as the connected cats land on their legs. Similarly, the toast wants to land on a side with butter, so if you butter both sides, it will happily fall down on either side.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:20 am UTC
by Game_boy
If the thread it's referring to does not exist (which I assume because no one has been able to find it), then this comic is not funny at all. It's making fun of people that don't exist doing something that didn't happen.

Even Steve Waterman doesn't deny reality as such.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:42 am UTC
by dudiobugtron
Game_boy wrote:If the thread it's referring to does not exist (which I assume because no one has been able to find it), then this comic is not funny at all. It's making fun of people that don't exist doing something that didn't happen.

Even Steve Waterman doesn't deny reality as such.

Actually I understood it to be making fun of people on forums in general. In general, threads like that do exist and posts like that do occur in reality.

Also, the thread does exist, albeit retroactively:
http://freeenergyforum.com/discussion/1 ... odynamics/
(currently only two pages though...)

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:40 am UTC
by Quicksilver
You can tell it's an old thread because of the word "crackpot." That was probably the last time I heard someone use that term.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:36 am UTC
by Harry Voyager
Gargravarr wrote:Personally I like the buttered cat school of perpetual motion.

And this design, probably inspired by all YouTube videos of perpetual machines that have to be pushed by hand.


Clearly the people who developed the buttered cat experiment have never actually seen a real cat in action. The cat will land on its feet, and then roll on its back. Thus, both the cat's rule of orientational flexibility, and Murphy's law of the toast getting ruined in the process will both be satisfied without paradox.

When predicting an effect under contradictory impulses, you must always go to the true root causes of the effect before declaring paradox.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:37 am UTC
by Steve the Pocket
At first glance, the thread in the strip looked more like a Reddit page to me.

orthogon wrote:
asdfzxc wrote:... is akin to literally ...

I like the way you found a formulation that lets you use the word "literally" in a figurative sense with impunity.

The question is, can it be done without making the word syntactically superfluous? (I was going to say "redundant" but that's not quite the right word in this case.)

dudiobugtron wrote:Also, the thread does exist, albeit retroactively:
http://freeenergyforum.com/discussion/1 ... odynamics/
(currently only two pages though...)

Normally I don't approve of Xkcd fans messing with real things to make them more like the strip. This time, though, I wholeheartedly approve.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:15 am UTC
by ***
I got tied up in one of these arguments last week. And then there were links to chem-trail videos. As an aerospace engineering student, I couldnt help myself.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:48 am UTC
by Fire Brns
*** wrote:I got tied up in one of these arguments last week. And then there were links to chem-trail videos. As an aerospace engineering student, I couldnt help myself.

Did you insist that planes had not in fact been invented and chem trails were a hoax to hide the fact that the population control chemicals are being put in the water?

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:55 am UTC
by DavidRoss
feldgendler wrote:There is a not-quite-perpetual-but-long-enough experiment that's been running for longer than any existing forum thread:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_Electric_Bell


That's for the info. I'll definitely have to stop by and see that bell if I go through Oxford. Interesting that a 170 year old pair of batteries in continuous use last longer than the batteries with the bunny and drum.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:16 am UTC
by mishka
We actually live in a perpetual motion machine.

The universe will never stop moving, not even on a quantum scale.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:44 am UTC
by Max™
mishka wrote:We actually live in a perpetual motion machine.

The universe will never stop moving, not even on a quantum scale.

Over a long enough period entropy will increase to a maximum, and time will lose any sort of meaning.
keithl wrote:I always push dry toast off the table, onto a buttered floor, for maximum repeatability.

I think we are seeing the start of a buttered toast perpetual motion machine.

I heart u

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:30 am UTC
by orthogon
mishka wrote:We actually live in a perpetual motion machine.

Does anybody else hear this to the tune of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine?

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:59 pm UTC
by trueger
orthogon wrote:
mishka wrote:We actually live in a perpetual motion machine.

Does anybody else hear this to the tune of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine?


At MIT they sing:

We all live in recursive subroutines
Recursive subroutines
Recursive subroutines

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:28 pm UTC
by addams
Buttered Cats. Funny.
Be nice. Put the butter on its belly.

Really? We can break it?

Recursive Subroutine.
Recursive Subroutine.

keithl wrote:
keithl wrote:
ijuin wrote:
Gargravarr wrote:
Klear wrote:
However, toast does not have the ability to right itself.[citation needed]

I thought the Mythbusters proved that toast actually lands on the unbuttered side more often? I guess that's why any attempts to construct this failed - you have to attach the cat to the buttered side.

IIRC, Mythbusters found out that toast usually lands upside down when it falls off a table, but not when you drop it off a roof.
EDIT: link
I think I'll go butter a toast on both sides. In the name of science and breakfast.


Since toast is generally shaped like a flat, semi-rigid slab, when it slides off of (your hand, plate, whatever), its center of mass falls off of the support and begins to descend before the trailing edge of the toast has cleared the thing from which it is falling off. In other words, the trailing edge of the toast gets "caught" on the edge of your hand/plate/whatever. This puts a torque on the toast, causing it to tumble. When falling from a typical height of 50-200 cm (i.e. the kind of height from which we would typically drop it onto the surface that we are standing upon), the toast has enough time to flip over once, so that the side that was formerly facing up will now be facing down. Since we tend to carry the toast butter-side up, this results in the toast landing butter-side down. Dropping the toast from a much greater height (e.g. the roof of a 2-floor building), would allow the toast to flip over more than once, and if it flips over an even number of times, then it will land butter-side up.


I always push dry toast off the table, onto a buttered floor, for maximum repeatability.

I think we are seeing the start of a buttered toast perpetual motion machine.


Though it may grind to a halt when the inner quote box gets too narrow to display the quote graphic.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:03 pm UTC
by gobux5
To believe, you only need to suspend your current understanding of thermodynamics, like after the Big Bang, when thermodynamics went on holiday and the universe reordered itself...naturally.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:49 pm UTC
by webgiant
San Fran Sam wrote:Ooh! Ooh! Can we argue as to whether Randall used the word "ironically" correctly or not? :twisted:

Its correct usage. "Irony" implies a reversal. Setting out to end the discussion and getting a perpetual discussion is ironic. Of course, one could also argue that trolling on a pseudoscience forum is an attempt to create a perpetual discussion, so it all depends on his original intent.

Its like the song "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette: she set out to write a song about irony, and included no examples of irony, and thus the song "Ironic" is ironic without actually including any examples of irony. Of course, like Randall's possible intent, she may have set out to write a truly ironic song, ironic only in that it contained no examples of irony, in which case Ms. Morissette's efforts were not ironic at all.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:59 pm UTC
by webgiant
slhuang wrote:When I was at MIT, I would get the occasional random message from some very earnest person detailing a perpetual motion machine idea that would REALLY WORK NO REALLY, if someone would just recognize the BRILLIANCE of it (hence email blasting every single @mit.edu address the person could find). It was kind of hilarious.

I took an applied science class last semester, "Generators, Transformers, and Motors", in which the teacher and one of the students were convinced that a solar cell capable of producing enough energy to power a light bulb could be powered by that same light bulb to produce the energy needed to make the light bulb generate enough power in the solar cell to power the light bulb. The teacher was not an unintelligent man, and understood basic principles of electricity and induction, but refused to accept that a solar cell only capable of converting 15% of the light striking it into electricity was not able to power a light bulb producing 100% of the light striking the solar cell in a continuous perpetual motion-like process.

I think this goes to show why most climate-change deniers are in science fields completely unrelated to climate change: you can be an incredibly smart expert in one science field, and still believe pseudoscience about another scientific field.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:18 pm UTC
by Invertin
the best part about a perpetual motion machine is that, say it is possible, and you get one working, somehow bypassing the laws of friction and thermodynamics and science- it still wouldn't be perpetual motion

because eventually you have to turn it off to clean it :P

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:48 pm UTC
by feldgendler
webgiant wrote:Its like the song "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette: she set out to write a song about irony, and included no examples of irony, and thus the song "Ironic" is ironic without actually including any examples of irony. Of course, like Randall's possible intent, she may have set out to write a truly ironic song, ironic only in that it contained no examples of irony, in which case Ms. Morissette's efforts were not ironic at all.


This sentence is ironic.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:38 pm UTC
by Gargravarr
The thread at freeenergyforum.com is a bit disappointing. No resistence at all. Where are all the wild-eyed defenders of crank physics?

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:12 pm UTC
by da Doctah
orthogon wrote:The First Law of Thermodynamics is you don't talk about thermodynamics.
(Somebody had to say it).

Rule Two: NO POOFTERS!
Spoiler:
(Rule Three: Profit.)

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:20 pm UTC
by Dryhad
hicksbw wrote:
Dryhad wrote: ... to maintain an active argument for nine years? ...

An arbitrarily long sequence of unrelated assertions is not an argument.

I used that word because that's the title of the strip. The point is people continue posting in the thread, when in reality they wouldn't. They would start new threads with the same topic.

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:39 am UTC
by Max™
feldgendler wrote:
webgiant wrote:Its like the song "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette: she set out to write a song about irony, and included no examples of irony, and thus the song "Ironic" is ironic without actually including any examples of irony. Of course, like Randall's possible intent, she may have set out to write a truly ironic song, ironic only in that it contained no examples of irony, in which case Ms. Morissette's efforts were not ironic at all.


This sentence is ironic.

This sentence is not ironic, yet the one above it is.