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About dstebbins

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  1. Ok, so that provides exactly ONE utility for it. Does that really justify it being worth a whopping $1,290 per troy ounce?
  2. Fair enough. But that doesn't answer the question of why gold, nowadays, is so valuable that it's actually more valuable than the fiat currency we actually use except in the largest denominations, even though it no longer serves as the foundation for our paper money. That doesn't mean gold has a utility to it. Gold plating is just decoration. It's just like jewelry; gold is used for decoration like that because it is seen as valuable, not the other way around. The use of gold as decoration does not give it value; it's a result of people seeing it as valuable.
  3. I provided a source showing that gold is currently worth about $1,290 per troy ounce. So shut up.
  4. In the 1970s, the USA switched to a fiat currency system. Today's U.S. dollar isn't backed by anything. So why is gold still valuable? The current price of gold is about $1,290 per troy ounce, according to this source: http://www.apmex.com/spotprices/gold-price Gold is so valuable that, unless you're dealing exclusively in $100 or $50 bills, the equivalent value in paper money would actually weight MORE than the equivalent value in gold! Each U.S. banknote weights 1 gram, and there are approximately 31.105 grams in a troy ounce, so if you were dealing in denominations of $20 or less, it would take at least 65 banknotes (or twice the weight of a troy ounce) to come out to $1,290. Bear in mind ... the only reason gold was used as currency for 99% of human history is because it wasn't useful for a whole lot else! That's why people stopped dealing in salt. Salt had universal value since it was used to preserve food before the invention of refrigerators (which is why the modern phrase "worth his salt" is often used interchangeably with "worth its weight in gold"), but that presented a conundrum for many people; do I rub the salt on some meat, and then I don't have the salt to spend on anything else anymore, or do I spend the salt on something else I need, and then I can't use it to preserve my food? To solve that conundrum, humanity switched to a currency that doesn't serve any other practical purpose, and they chose gold to fill that role. But nowadays, gold is right back to having no practical use! So why is gold so valuable? In the Fallout series of video games, people use bottlecaps as currency, but that's because a majority of people don't have much faith in the existing government's fiat currency. That doesn't apply here in the real world. I refuse to accept that people just have no faith in the U.S. government to back the value of their dollar. So what gives? Why is gold still so valuable?
  5. No, numbers have been around since the Big Bang. The only thing that's recent is applying names to those quantities (e.g. "five" for English or "cinco" in Spanish). A computer can recognize a quantity, and it couldn't care less what sounds the humans are making with their mouths to represent those quantities. Quantities ... numbers ... mathematics ... the laws of physics ... those things have always existed long before humans assigned words to them, and they'll continue to exist for all eternity, even after humans go extinct.
  6. About 30,000 years. What's your point?
  7. Well, while cars might be a recent invention, people have always navigated, even if they did so on foot, wagon, or horseback. So navigation has been around as long as organisms have. While I don't know what the ancient cultures (e.g. Egypt & Mesopotamia) called their days of the week or their months of the year, I'm pretty sure they had some kind of names for them, rather than assigning numbers. How long have numbers systems been around? At least as long as Mesopotamia. They used a 60-digit numbers system, in contrast with the 10-digit numbers system we use today. That's why we have 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour.
  8. I recently came across a theory from neurologists that the human brain is basically a computer. Basically, the techniques currently used by computer scientists to develop pattern-recognition artificial intelligence like on the game show contestant computer "Watson" just happen to be the same structure that evolution naturally gravitated towards when making the human brain. But something still bugs me. If our brains are just computers, shouldn't we naturally favor numbers in our everyday lives? And yes, sometimes we do prefer numbers ... when it's easy. For example, when we're trying to tell time, we usually assign a time based on a certain number of minutes and hours, and whether it's AM or PM. We also use a number to state what year it is because its easier to do that than to try and assign a unique name to each year. But if we're just computers, shouldn't we favor numbers in many more aspects of our daily lives? For example, continuing the example of dates & times, we prefer to assign names to our days of the week and our months. We don't go to school/work on Days 2-6 of the week; we go to school & work on Monday through Friday. We are not currently in "Month #3;" we are currently in "March." This is in stark contrast to computers, which are only saying things like "March" and "Tuesday" because it is translated the numbers for our convenience. Every day, it adds +1 to the "day counter," until it reaches 7, and then loops back to 1, and then spits out whatever word it is told to spit out corresponding to that day. On Day 4, if you tell the computer to translate it as "Banana," rather than "Wednesday," it will do so without a second thought. Then there's the art of navigation. GPS navigation tools prefer to use post office-esque numbers. Even the people working the post office will prefer the use of their numerical addresses. However, that's because they're servicing the whole city, in a systematic manner. For everyday people, we usually prefer to navigate based on "turn left when I reach the yellow house with the blue slanted roof." When navigating based on landmarks, we usually group them according to shape, size, and color. These traits can usually be precisely quantified if we try hard enough. The size can be measured in meters across three dimensions; the shape can be measured by how many degrees the angles are; the color corresponds to a particular wavelength/frequency combination on the electromagnetic spectrum. Yes, those traits can be quantified, but we almost never do. We aren't thinking about any of that when we're driving! Keeping track of how fast we're going is all the numbers we tend to care about when we're navigating! This is in stark contrast with GPS technology, which prefers the use of numbers, calculating exactly how many feet we've traveled forward and at what lattitude-longitude coordinates you should make either a +90 degree or -90 degree turn, and simply tells us to turn left or right at designated spots. Again, it's being translated (or, in this case, simplified) for our benefit, whereas we tend to think of them in non-quantitative terms in the first instance. So if our brains are just computers, shouldn't our brains naturally function like computers?
  9. I'm having the strangest problem with my kitchen sink ... one that seems to defy the laws of physics! My pipes are clogged. Normally, I can take the pipes apart by unscrewing them and simply scooping out the crud in the pipes with a spoon. But this time, the clog seems to be so far down that I can't reach it. I've tried liquid clog remover, but that doesn't work. But here's the weirdest part: If I put water in my sink, it will take about 10 minutes to go down the drain. That's slow, but at least it gets the job done. But when I took the pipes apart to attempt (in vein) to scoop out the crud, I noticed that the water in the bottom pipe (the only pipe I can't unscrew) just doesn't want to go down. At all. I can leave it there overnight, and the water in the bottom pipe is still there! Now that's the part I don't get! If the clog is so strong that the water doesn't drain at all, then how can the top water still drain? If anything, shouldn't the weight of the top water press down on the bottom water and push it through? After all, that's how water towers work! http://mentalfloss.com/article/64577/how-do-water-towers-work But the water in the top pipe still drains ... slowly, but still drains ... while the bottom pipe is totally clogged! If anything, shouldn't it be the other way around?! The top water still has to go through the bottom pipe, and if there's a veeeeery small opening in the clog, then shouldn't the bottom water also slowly seep down too? Or is this just magical flying water? I'm about to call my landlord for help. But this is weird! Does anyone have an explanation as to how this could possibly be happening?
  10. No, that's when you hold someone to a different standard than you hold yourself, and/or when you try to criticize someone of having a flaw that you have yourself without realizing that you have it (like in the Bible verse Matthew 7:5 "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye"). Like a father holding a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other telling his kid not to drink and smoke. The fallacy I'm thinking of is when the father, met with an accusation that he's an alcoholic, decides he's going to prove you wrong by getting royally plastered. I'm not talking about drinking out of depression over being met with this accusation; I'm talking about drinking alcohol with the specific purpose of refuting the accusation that he's a drunkard.
  11. I'm currently thinking of a fallacy where a person - usually angered by an accusation they believe is false - attempt to retaliate against their accuser by engaging in the very acts which prove the accusations true. To fit this criteria, the accused person cannot merely act in a dishonorable way. Rather, he must engage in the very specific actions which landed this accusation in the first place. For example, suppose a man is accused of being violent. Enraged at this accusation, he then proceeds to beat the crap out of his accuser until that accuser withdraws his statement. Alternatively, suppose a man who believes he is being persecuted by corrupt government goes to a local government office who specializes in providing vocational rehabilitation. They fear he might be impossible to work with due to his "delusional" beliefs of persecution, and so they refuse him any aid, effectively giving him even more ammunition. Or how about this example? One that's actually happening in the real world! http://thefreethoughtproject.com/judicial-retaliation-news-publisher/ This judge is met with accusations of corruption. She believes these accusations to be false and completely libelous. So, she reacts by ... shutting down freedom of the press! Or how about this story, which is almost identical, except replace "freedom of the press" with "freedom of speech?" http://www.wnd.com/2015/07/protest-judicial-corruption-go-to-jail/ You could also suggest that those who support the death penalty are guilty of this fallacy. "Wait a minute ... you're saying we should teach people not to kill by ... killing?" Of all the variations of this logical fallacy, there's always an extra, unspoken bit of irony about these fallacies: The people subject to them (the accused, not the accusers who are victimized by the fallacy) usually don't even realize that they're engaging in this fallacy! I mean ... newspapers can't be allowed to say just whatever they want about anybody they want! Libel has always been illegal! The First Amendment was never intended to be absolute, right? So, it only makes sense that the reporter should be punished, if indeed he were pulling these accusations entirely out of his butt, right? So, what is this fallacy called? Where you A) attempt to refute accusations B) by engaging in the very conduct that proves these accusations true, and C) often (though not necessarily) don't even realize the fallacious nature of their logic your until it's spelled out for you.
  12. I'm taking a summer class right now. It's English Composition II, and I just today got an assignment to do a 900-1000 word explication on the poem "Conversation" by Florence Anthony (pen name: AI). Here is an exact copy of the poem that appears in my textbook: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/42541 However, I should point out that, in my textbook, there is a double-space between the lines "and just by accident," and "so inconsequential you barely notice it," suggesting that there are two stanzas. This is important because noticing the stanza breaks is important to my explication. This is the only stanza break in the textbook. We aren't going to class on Friday, and it's due on Monday. This means that I won't have an opportunity to ask my instructor for advice. Besides, she has previously refused to advise me on previous homework assignments, saying that it would be "unfair" to the other students. So, I was hoping you guys could take a look at the explication I've drafted, and see if you could offer any suggestions for improvements. I am only including the Title and Body, so I don't give away personal information. Just trust me when I say that I'll have all the names, dates, etc. when I turn it in. Please be general in your suggestions. If you made specific corrections, and I took them, then I'd be plagiarizing your work. It is imperative that you let me do the elbow grease on this assignment and only offer me basic tips. Quite frankly, the only reason I'm asking is because ... I'm not certain if I even understand the difference between "explication" and "analysis." I might be giving an analysis and not knowing it. Explication Body.doc
  13. Back in grade school, I remember learning about some property substances have that requires a certain amount of kinetic energy to increase that object's temperature by a certain number of degrees. For example, a tire iron that's been baking in the sun all day will probably be too hot to pick up with your bear hands. However, an object that has rubber or wood as a handle (such as a shovel) can still be picked up, even though it's been absorbing just as much sunlight as the tire iron. This is because iron has a much smaller _____________________ than wood does: It takes a less kinetic energy to increase iron's temperature than wood. What is this property called? Can someone fill in the blank for me, and also provide me the equation for how I can calculate this quality?
  14. Well, couldn't the same be said about soldiers in the army? Most of them accept war as a necessary evil if they want to protect the nation, but they still get PTSD from killing. PTSD is rooted in the sub-conscious. Telling your conscious self that it has to be done doesn't help.
  15. Do they really need to speak openly about it? Therapists are trained to notice the symptoms of anxiety and trauma. Criminals can often hide evidence and feign ignorance, but unlike criminals, trauma patients are rarely A) aware of their disorder, B) want to hide it, C) know the signs, and D) are good enough at acting that they can supress traumatic outbursts without even so much as an eyebrow twitch. Therapists are really good at giving verbal and visual stimuli to patients in order to involuntarily and subconsciously trigger symptoms in suffering patients. It's a lot harder for you to hide evidence of trauma from a doctor than it is to hide evidence of murder from cops.