If we can land a man on the moon....

For the discussion of the sciences. Physics problems, chemistry equations, biology weirdness, it all goes here.

Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates

drewder
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:47 am UTC

If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby drewder » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:30 pm UTC

I'm sure you've heard the phrase "If we can land a man on the moon"... followed by whatever frustration the person is having. Like "If we can land a man on the moon why can't we make car keys that beep when you need to find them." My thought is since 1969 have we had any greater achivements than landing on the moon that should modify the phrase? I personally think the internet is a far greater acomplisment than the moon landing. So I think the phrase should be changed to "If I can get high speed internet at 30,000 feet traveling at 500 mph"...
Thoughts?

User avatar
Kang
Posts: 722
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:30 pm UTC

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby Kang » Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:04 pm UTC

I disagree mostly due to 'a man on the moon' being both a short and easy to understand phrase and also much more precisely defined event. Also in my personal opinion landing on the moon still remains the greatest single achievement.

User avatar
Gigano
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:38 pm UTC
Location: Groningen, The Netherlands

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby Gigano » Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:59 pm UTC

Kang wrote:I disagree mostly due to 'a man on the moon' being both a short and easy to understand phrase and also much more precisely defined event. Also in my personal opinion landing on the moon still remains the greatest single achievement.


I agree, because the moon landings were not only a great feat of scientific ingenuity but also a great and dangerous adventure into the unknown.
Omne ignotum pro magnifico.

User avatar
Minerva
Posts: 947
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:58 pm UTC
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby Minerva » Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:29 pm UTC

To anybody who uses the "We can put a man on the moon, so why can't we do..." phrase, I say this.

- Pick a goal that is (just barely) viable scientifically and technologically.
- Pick a goal that is supported overwhelmingly by all scientists and engineers as being a sensible thing that is actually worth doing.
- Pick a goal that has the fullest bipartisan support of all politicians, at the highest levels, right up to the President.
- Pick a goal where all the public and all the politicians support spending a nearly-unlimited amount of money on it.

(I can't remember what the cost of the Apollo program was, in total, corrected for inflation, something like 200 billion dollars IIRC.)

For example, "Let's build an enormous quantity of solar cells to replace all the country's fossil fuel power stations" fails the let's-do-another-Apollo test, because nuclear energy is far cheaper, more scalable, faster, more technologically mature and proven, and therefore it is not a proposal where all the country's scientists will get behind it as being a scientifically, technologically sensible and valuable goal that is worth doing.
...suffer from the computer disease that anybody who works with computers now knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is you play with them. They are so wonderful. - Richard Feynman

User avatar
Kang
Posts: 722
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:30 pm UTC

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby Kang » Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:49 pm UTC

Minerva wrote:To anybody who uses the "We can put a man on the moon, so why can't we do..." phrase, I say this.

- Pick a goal that is (just barely) viable scientifically and technologically.
- Pick a goal that is supported overwhelmingly by all scientists and engineers as being a sensible thing that is actually worth doing.
- Pick a goal that has the fullest bipartisan support of all politicians, at the highest levels, right up to the President.
- Pick a goal where all the public and all the politicians support spending a nearly-unlimited amount of money on it.

(I can't remember what the cost of the Apollo program was, in total, corrected for inflation, something like 200 billion dollars IIRC.)

For example, "Let's build an enormous quantity of solar cells to replace all the country's fossil fuel power stations" fails the let's-do-another-Apollo test, because nuclear energy is far cheaper, more scalable, faster, more technologically mature and proven, and therefore it is not a proposal where all the country's scientists will get behind it as being a scientifically, technologically sensible and valuable goal that is worth doing.

While I think you are essentially right one might point out that by this procedure the Apollo program would fail the Apollo test since actually many scientists and multiple high-ranking politicians found it to be not worth doing.

User avatar
MHD
Posts: 630
Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:21 pm UTC
Location: Denmark

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby MHD » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:50 pm UTC

"If we can access almost anything from anywhere with internet and whatnot..."
"If we can give a man a new heart..."
"If we can see to the edge of the universe..."
"If we can eradicate the human race many times over by pressing a button..."
EvanED wrote:be aware that when most people say "regular expression" they really mean "something that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike a regular expression"

User avatar
Roĝer
Posts: 445
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:36 pm UTC
Location: Many worlds, but mostly Copenhagen.
Contact:

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby Roĝer » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:34 pm UTC

I like the second one, it's such an awesome achievement. And about the third one, I would use it in contexts such as: we can see 13 billion years into the past, yet I can't find my keys I left here minutes ago!
Ik ben niet koppig, ik heb gewoon gelijk.

User avatar
cpt
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:02 am UTC
Location: Boston/Cambridge

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby cpt » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:34 pm UTC

MHD wrote:"If we can see to the edge of the universe..."


unfortunately, this one should be "If we can see to the edge of the visible universe...", which is a lot less impressive-sounding, due to its tautologery.

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5654
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby Diadem » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:03 pm UTC

cpt wrote:
MHD wrote:"If we can see to the edge of the universe..."


unfortunately, this one should be "If we can see to the edge of the visible universe...", which is a lot less impressive-sounding, due to its tautologery.

Also because it's false.

The term 'visible universe' or 'observable universe' refer to the parts of the universe that can in principle be seen. Those parts from which a hypothetical beam of light would have had time to reach us since the big bang. It doesn't mean we can actually see it. And indeed we can't. Though we get pretty close with the CMBR.
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

User avatar
Tass
Posts: 1909
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:21 pm UTC
Location: Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen.

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby Tass » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:03 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
cpt wrote:
MHD wrote:"If we can see to the edge of the universe..."


unfortunately, this one should be "If we can see to the edge of the visible universe...", which is a lot less impressive-sounding, due to its tautologery.

Also because it's false.

The term 'visible universe' or 'observable universe' refer to the parts of the universe that can in principle be seen. Those parts from which a hypothetical beam of light would have had time to reach us since the big bang. It doesn't mean we can actually see it. And indeed we can't. Though we get pretty close with the CMBR.


"Observable" certainly goes beyond the CMB, but I'd understand "visible" universe as ending with the CMB or maybe even at the last galaxy we can see at optic wavelengths depending on your definition of "visible".

I am not in the field of cosmology though, so if actual use of "visible universe" in the field is interchangeable with "observable universe" then I apologize (and learn something new).

User avatar
MHD
Posts: 630
Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:21 pm UTC
Location: Denmark

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby MHD » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:11 pm UTC

"If we can make a city disappear with quantum mechanics..."
EvanED wrote:be aware that when most people say "regular expression" they really mean "something that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike a regular expression"

User avatar
cpt
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:02 am UTC
Location: Boston/Cambridge

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby cpt » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:01 pm UTC

Tass wrote:
Diadem wrote:
cpt wrote:
MHD wrote:"If we can see to the edge of the universe..."


unfortunately, this one should be "If we can see to the edge of the visible universe...", which is a lot less impressive-sounding, due to its tautologery.

Also because it's false.

The term 'visible universe' or 'observable universe' refer to the parts of the universe that can in principle be seen. Those parts from which a hypothetical beam of light would have had time to reach us since the big bang. It doesn't mean we can actually see it. And indeed we can't. Though we get pretty close with the CMBR.


"Observable" certainly goes beyond the CMB, but I'd understand "visible" universe as ending with the CMB or maybe even at the last galaxy we can see at optic wavelengths depending on your definition of "visible".

I am not in the field of cosmology though, so if actual use of "visible universe" in the field is interchangeable with "observable universe" then I apologize (and learn something new).


I am also not a cosmologist, and indeed meant "visible universe" to mean the universe we can actually see, hence the tautology comment. I apologize for confusion if 'visible universe' and 'observable universe' are synonymous as technical terms.

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5654
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby Diadem » Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:31 am UTC

Tass wrote:
Diadem wrote:
cpt wrote:
MHD wrote:"If we can see to the edge of the universe..."


unfortunately, this one should be "If we can see to the edge of the visible universe...", which is a lot less impressive-sounding, due to its tautologery.

Also because it's false.

The term 'visible universe' or 'observable universe' refer to the parts of the universe that can in principle be seen. Those parts from which a hypothetical beam of light would have had time to reach us since the big bang. It doesn't mean we can actually see it. And indeed we can't. Though we get pretty close with the CMBR.


"Observable" certainly goes beyond the CMB, but I'd understand "visible" universe as ending with the CMB or maybe even at the last galaxy we can see at optic wavelengths depending on your definition of "visible".

I am not in the field of cosmology though, so if actual use of "visible universe" in the field is interchangeable with "observable universe" then I apologize (and learn something new).

I've always understood them to be synomyms. Though wikpedia says "Sometimes a distinction is made between the visible universe, which includes only signals emitted since recombination, and the observable universe, which includes signals since the beginning of the cosmological expansion (the Big Bang in traditional cosmology, the end of the inflationary epoch in modern cosmology)", so I guess your definition is not unheard of.

Being able to see the CMBR though actually is pretty impressive. So being able to see the edge of the visible universe is thus not tautological.
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

User avatar
Xanthir
My HERO!!!
Posts: 5410
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 am UTC
Location: The Googleplex
Contact:

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby Xanthir » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:45 am UTC

drewder wrote:I'm sure you've heard the phrase "If we can land a man on the moon"... followed by whatever frustration the person is having. Like "If we can land a man on the moon why can't we make car keys that beep when you need to find them." My thought is since 1969 have we had any greater achivements than landing on the moon that should modify the phrase? I personally think the internet is a far greater acomplisment than the moon landing. So I think the phrase should be changed to "If I can get high speed internet at 30,000 feet traveling at 500 mph"...
Thoughts?

Around Google's campus, the relevant phrase is "If we can make a robot car...".
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

User avatar
The Scyphozoa
Posts: 2871
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 6:33 pm UTC
Location: Sector 5

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby The Scyphozoa » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:04 am UTC

In the words of Stephen Colbert: "If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we make the ground waist high?"
Image
3rdtry wrote:If there ever is another World War, I hope they at least have the decency to call it "World War 2: Episode One"

doogly wrote:murder is a subset of being mean

User avatar
Djehutynakht
Posts: 1546
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:37 am UTC

Re: If we can land a man on the moon....

Postby Djehutynakht » Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 am UTC

It's more of a shock effect thing.

Internet, extremely impressive. New heart, extremely impressive.

But launching a giant rocket to take a man to another world has a "wow" factor to it.


Return to “Science”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests