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  1. Dear All, I am going to take a hiatus from the forum from today. As some of you might know, the natural sciences are not my only area of interest; in particular, I am committed to a form of spiritual practice as well, and have been living in a Buddhist monastery as a lay person for the past few years. I have made the decision to deepen this practice further by ordaining as a monk in the Theravadin Thai Forest tradition, and for various logistical and monastic-political reasons this should ideally happen at a traditional training monastery in Thailand. So tomorrow I will be departing for Thailand to seek ordination there. I think it doesn’t need pointing out that forest monks generally don’t spend a lot of time on Internet forums, so chances are that I will only get to check in here very occasionally, if at all. That being said, there are a lot of question marks and uncertainties, particular in terms of immigration formalities, so it is possible that I need to come back here to Europe in a few weeks once my initial entry permit runs out, and make alternative arrangements from here (meaning I’ll have to find another place to ordain). I will only know once I get to the monastery and start dealing with the local immigration authorities (I see frustration and nightmares on the horizon!), but I’m willing to take that risk. I have been debating whether it is useful to present my reasons for going this path - you have seen me here being on about physics and equations all the time, so this might appear strange to some of you. But I’ve decided not to, because when it comes down to it, I can’t really present a convincing rational argument - this decision simply didn’t come about as the result of reason. I will say only that I’ve seen and understood enough in the spiritual practice that I have already done in the last few years, to know that this is the right path for me. The argument is a phenomenological one, not the result of rationality, so it cannot be easily conveyed in a written post. Spirituality ultimately expresses itself in the kind of person you become by engaging in it, and that’s not something you can fake or wear as a mask. You also cannot reason yourself into the monastic life - that is far too weak a basis for anyone to be at peace with that form of life, never even mind to be able to derive any benefit from it. It needs to be a true conviction that arises somewhere deep within, and that cannot be verbally communicated to others. I will add here that for me there has never been any contradiction between scientific endeavours, spiritual practice, and philosophical enquiry. Not only is there no contradiction, for me these are just aspects of the same underlying motivation to better understand the human condition; hence, if engaged with in the right way, they are complementary and inform each other. I have always felt strongly that it is necessary to achieve some kind of synthesis of these three things for us as a species to make any kind of real long-term progress, since each one in isolation can be misused for harmful and even destructive purposes, as history has sadly shown us all too often. So anyway, thank you everyone for sharing in these discussions, and I hope I have been able to make some kind of contribution - no matter how small - to this forum. In case I’m not back here for a while, I wish all of you the very best, and hopefully we’ll cross paths again. Keep my account open, just in case
    12 points
  2. I was reading through Mordred's long standing thread on space and I came across some posts from Mike in the early part. Members may wish to know that Mike passed away earlier this month after a long standing degenerative illness (not covid). Mike was an interesting character, an artist with a degree in Physics and the founder of a successful manufacturing business before retirement to Cornwall. His artistic (dreamy) side gave him an unusual and sometimes frustrating perspective on Physics, especially later in life when we knew him. But he was a genuine character and sometimes offered suprising insights as well.
    8 points
  3. Well, since Markus has expressed his desire to join a Monastery, I think that definitely answers the OP question. But, some words to Markus... ( no offence meant, just trying to lighten the mood ) A young monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to helping the other monks in copying the old laws of the church by hand. He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. So, the new monk goes to the head monk to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up! In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies. The head monk, says, “You make a good point, my son.” He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held in a locked vault. Hours go by and nobody sees the head monk. The young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him. He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing. “We missed the R! We missed the R! We missed the R!” “Father!” cries the young monk. “What’s wrong?” The head monk with tears in his eyes replies, “The word is CELEBRATE!"
    7 points
  4. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic there have been key findings that have altered our understanding or required responses to this disease. For example, the realization that pre- or asymptomatic persons might be infectious has required a different approach to masking and social distancing. While we have several threads discussing the pandemic, I feel that recent developments justify a new topic, especially as it could be used to clarify potential misunderstandings. With the delta variant (B.1.617.2) gaining dominance we are seeing yet another change that requires us to re-think the trajectory of the pandemic. First of all, the transmission rate of this variant is much higher than estimates for the original strain. The CDC has compared it to chicken pox, which has a basic reproduction number (R0) of >10. What does it mean? First of all, this might indicate that vaccine-based herd immunity is entirely out of the picture. With a R0 of 10 you would need to have a total protection of >92% of the population. Since the effectiveness of the best vaccines against the delta variant are a bit lower than 90%, it means that even with no vaccine hesitation and even if we could vaccinate children with it, we won't hit the required target for herd immunity. This has been assumed to happen for a while now, and might be the least surprising bit of news. However, there are a few recent findings that have prompted changes in messaging, for example with regard to masking. The key issue here are the finding that folks with breakthrough infections have similar viral loads as unvaccinated folks. What does it mean? Fundamentally there some vaccinated folks that get infected with SARS-CoV-2. That in itself is not surprising. Historically, breakthrough infections happen for most vaccinations at low frequencies. Most of the time the focus is on illness, i.e. symptomatic manifestations of infections. However, as mentioned, the possibility of asymptomatic spread has changed that. The fact that vaccinated folks still have high titers means that folks with breakthrough infections could infect others and especially unvaccinated folks are at risk of becoming seriously ill. Vaccinated folks, for the most part do not seem to develop serious symptoms anymore, but it means that vaccinated folks could unwittingly infect and endanger un-or undervaccinated folks. This has prompted a reversal in the masking recommendation. Moreover, it has made many infectious disease experts nervous as in many countries mask mandates are being lifted. Unknowns: There are still many open questions. For example, in the US, the delta variant is causing more illness in younger folks, including children. It is not clear whether this is really a property of the virus, or just because younger folks tend not to be vaccinated. It is not certain whether the vaccine effectively protect from long-haul COVID symptoms. The rate of breakthrough infections is unclear, we know the lower end of the estimate based on detected cases, but since folks without symptoms typically do not get tested, we do not know exact numbers. Even in a highly vaccinated community it is possible that there is a large enough reservoir to allow new variants to develop. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7031e2.htm?s_cid=mm7031e2_w https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.07.31.21261387v1 Discussion points: As a whole it means that we are heading into new territory during fall and winter. The big question is whether the current vaccination rates are good enough to prevent mass hospitalization or will easing of restrictions make folks forget that the disease is still there and cause a new surge. Vaccine hesitancy will add fuel to this potential fire. The communication in many countries/states/provinces have been confusing to say the least and quite a few folks I have talked to seem under the impression that there is little danger left, despite the fact that even in highly vaccinated countries, especially younger folks are barely hitting 50% of full vaccinations. Moreover, most folks in the world are still unvaccinated, meaning that we will need to prepare for more variants. Everyone is being sick and tired of the situation, yet undoubtedly the world has changed yet again (and will continue to do so). A big decision at some point is to establish how many deaths we are comfortable with. With regard to flue, for example, the number is surprisingly high across countries and by any estimate, COVID-19 is going to eclipse it, unless very high vaccination rates are maintained, which is notoriously difficult. Edit Aug, 19, 2021: A new preprint has come out indicating that with the Delta variant Pfizer might only be 42% effective at preventing infections (not disease!) and Moderna was about 76%. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.06.21261707v1 This seem to highlight that behavioral prevention is still going to be important.
    6 points
  5. I’m on the autism spectrum myself. The problem here is that we can’t isolate a specific sensory stimulus at the exclusion of everything else. So in this particular example, the stimuli coming from eye contact and his spoken words are both present, and both equally prominent simultaneously, which makes it difficult to focus on the actual content of either one of them. Averting eye contact simply makes it easier to focus on the person’s speech, so a lot of autistics will do this unconsciously and automatically. A better example would be a room full of people all talking to each other; it is very hard for me to just focus on what the person in front of me is saying, since I am forced to equally register all the other conversations in the room at the same time. There is no functioning filter there to limit and focus sensory stimuli - which is why we get sensory overload in certain stimuli-rich environments. Note that this is a matter of degree - different environments affect different autistic people in different ways and degrees.
    6 points
  6. There are several parallel issues here. One is that wealth acquired by the ultra wealthy tends to get put into tax shelters and nebulous investments so it grows (but remains outside the system), whereas that same money in the hands of the less fortunate goes IMMEDIATELY into the community around them. They spend it on groceries and vehicle repairs and school clothes for kids and paying the electricity bill so it’s not dark in their apartment anymore at night and their kids can read. The providers of those goods and services in that community where this money is being spent ALSO spend the money once received for THEIR groceries and THEIR service needs and on THEIR kids. Dollar for dollar / unit for unit… the money in the hands of the less fortunate does more net good than money in the hands of the already fortunate. Yes, spending from the wealthy also creates jobs and injects money back into the system, but very little relative to money used in “trickle up” stimulation packages. Also, a bit of extra money in the hands of someone who already has a bunch of it doesn’t tend to change their behavior or encourage extra spending. Getting $1,000 tax break when you’re sitting on $50M isn’t going to suddenly result in them finally making a call to a plumber or the purchasing a new dishwasher… but for the person living paycheck to paycheck that money literally changes lives, gets spent and injected back into the system quickly, and results in lasting reductions in poverty and suffering. When you’re living at the margins, every dollar counts. It also costs a lot to be poor. When the washing machine breaks, you can’t afford a new one but you can afford to pump quarters into the machine at the laundromat… but that ends up being more expensive on net. When the car breaks down, you don’t get to work on time and you get fired. The rich, however, have tax protected ways of growing their wealth and can afford tax attorneys to hide it. Paying more tax has more impact on their ego than on their lived experience. The anger at the rich is out of hand, though. We need better policies and enforcement mechanisms, not more hate and vitriol directed at those doing better than us. Sadly, the anger is probably in large part intentionally being amplified by the very people on the receiving end. If they can keep everyone mad and focused on the wrong things, then the status quo remains stable and no progress or change gets made. Like most issues in economics, we make a huge mistake by treating it as a moral failure when at its core it’s a policy failure. Fixing the policy is just super hard because the people with the power to change the laws tend to be the same ones benefiting the most from them… and also because focusing on wonky policy details is hard for a public who’s often just trying to survive through to tomorrow and who’d much prefer throwing stones and being distracted with us/them tribalism. Perhaps this thread could try focusing on wonky policy details instead of distractions like yachts and steel boats… or not.
    5 points
  7. Yes @joigus, I lurk in the shadows and follow proceedings here whenever I get the opportunity At present I live in the jungles of Thailand, having recently been ordained as a monk, and do not have access to anything other than an old mobile phone with spotty and slow internet access, so I’m not really in a position to participate in discussions. It’s just too slow and painful to type this way. I will return once I get access to better infrastructure - perhaps some time next year. Satellites in orbit are in free fall - place an accelerometer into them, and it will show exactly zero at all times. No proper acceleration -> no force acting on them. And yet they don’t fly off into space, but remain gravitationally bound into their elliptical orbits. Clocks in them are also dilated wrt to far-away reference clocks, which is also a gravitational effect. Thus, no force, but still gravity. Newtonian forces are simply bookkeeping devices, and as such they often work well - but only in the right context. Their nature is descriptive, but not ontological. They are not very physical either, given that they are assumed to act instantaneously across arbitrary distances. The strong, weak, and EM interactions aren’t ‘forces’ in that sense at all, since they work in very different ways. They are only sometimes called ‘forces’ by convention, for historical reasons. They ultimately arise through the breaking of symmetries, with the particles involved being irreducible representations of symmetry groups. Finally, it should be noted that physics makes models, that’s what it sets out to do - and as such it is always descriptive rather than ontologically irreducible. So, asking whether gravity “really is” A or B, or whether A or B are “true” is fairly meaningless, since both A and B are descriptions of reality, but not reality itself. Like maps of a territory. The correct question is thus whether models A and/or B are useful in describing gravity, and in what ways and under what circumstances they are useful. So - Newtonian gravity is sometimes useful, but GR is more generally useful, as it gives more accurate predictions for a larger domain. So for now the best answer to “what is gravity” that we have is a purely descriptive one: it’s geodesic deviation, and thus a geometric property of space time. To put it flippantly, it’s the failure of events to be causally related in a trivial manner. Future advancements may upend this picture in the high-energy domain, perhaps radically. We’ll see. I’m sorry I can’t contribute much at the moment, but I’ll leave you with the above thoughts. I could have written much more, but it’s too much of a pain on a small mobile phone screen.
    5 points
  8. I watch MMA. Some women in the sport have raised concerns about transgender athletes, which is how it came to my attention. Some in the medical have put forward scientific reasons to legitimise this concern, others refute these reasons, and that debate continues within the medical community (links have been provided in the course of this thread). To have these concerns just brushed away as ridiculous, and to equate them with resistance against gay marriage is unhelpful at best. It's the sort of rhetoric that pushes people toward Trump and Brexit, as it exacerbates the us vs them attitude that precludes nuanced debate - the nuance here being that having concerns about transgender athletes does not automatically make you transphobic (although it's likely true that all transphobes oppose all trans athletes and will leverage legitimate concerns to muddy the waters). It may turn out that these concerns are unfounded, but i would hope, on a science forum of all places, that the concerns were addressed rather than being dismissed simply ridiculous. It is patronising.
    5 points
  9. 5 points
  10. Nobody here gives a shit what you believe, Jay Tony. This is a topic where facts both exist and matter. https://www.statista.com/topics/5920/minimum-wage-in-the-united-states/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/03/03/15-minimum-wage-black-hispanic-women/
    5 points
  11. We can all agree that violence on either side is wrong and should be avoided. What we seemingly cannot agree upon is why so many feel the need to engage in whataboutism and mention a protest in favor of following our laws done in Portland with an insurrection on our democracy itself trying to dismantle our laws in Washington DC. Whether intentionally or not, this suggests an equivalence between the events which is false and which only distracts us from dealing with each separately, appropriately, and in accordance with our laws. Person A: Climate change is a major problem. Person B: What about covid?! That’s a problem, too. Me: Both are. They’re not equivalent. They’re not mutually exclusive. We must deal with both at once. Walk and chew bubble gum. Simply replace climate and covid with DC and Portland. This isn’t exactly rocket science.
    5 points
  12. While this thread is closed and (I think) being the only person who identifies as female in this thread, I just wanted to provide a little food for thought. Of all the women in my life with whom I am close to, I can't think of a single one who hasn't been sexually assaulted or raped by a man at some point in her life. I cannot say the same about the men I know wrt to false accusations. Anecdotal I know, but something to think about.
    5 points
  13. 5 points
  14. I'm gonna go on a slight rant that may pertains to the subject matter more or less. I'm sorry but this pisses me of. Where do you come off on pissing over the hard work of others who take the time out of their day to assist you with your "ground breaking" ideas. If it is so ground breaking then you should want to have it taken apart so that it can become more viable. If your idea is so "special" then prove it, if you think that ya got something amazing then bring it to the table. If you wanna sit on it then sit on it. 9 times out of 10 the idea is either some strange mix of religious nonsense or some fanciful delusions of people who cant understand what an atom is let alone time travel. I remember seeing this earlier but I will bring it here. A box cannot be thought out of if you do not even understand what the box is or its contents. If ya hate it then come up with your own system, but I'm gonna promise ya that your not gonna achieve it in your life time. It took hundreds of thousands of years of dedicated and amazing people to get to the point where we are today in terms of our technology and our scientific achievements. Got a little of track there but I keep seeing this on this website. These are human beings who are helping you, you should honored that these knowledge wizards even share a miniscule of there knowledge with you. Now I am unsure about this "scheme" you have mentioned and whether or not it has happend to you personally. If it has happend to you personally then I am sorry, however that does not mean it is happening here. Meet the people, re-read what they write, and learn something new. This is a science forum, it is just to share SCIENCE related ideas. Or to just hang with other fellow science enthusiasts. Your warning makes sense in terms of having some story/writing related idea or even a business related idea where people are searching to make a quick buck, however this is where knowledge is shared freely for the betterment of mankind. ok, that's all my three cents.
    5 points
  15. 5 points
  16. When you arrive at point C, you will see the same light coming from both stars as someone who never moved from point C; Light that left both stars 5 yrs ago. You see both stars as they were 5 yrs ago.
    5 points
  17. Three of those images imply too much power in the wrong place. The other is a horse.
    5 points
  18. Whoa! Remind me to visit your house some day, sounds like the place to be... I must admit I am baffled by this - you are a philosopher yourself, so surely you must see the issue with this? When you probe a sample of matter on atomic scales, what are you really going to find? Will you find ‘atoms’? Of course not. What you will find are ensembles of electrons, protons and neutrons, in various configurations, plus an abundance of vacuum. That is all. What we call ‘atom’ is a convenient convention to give a short name to such quantum mechanical ensembles, largely for historical - not scientific - reasons. They are real, but only in a conventional sense; ontologically there is no such thing. No experiment will ever detect the ‘atom-ness’ of an atom, because the only thing there is on that scale are electrons and nuclei. But it gets worse. If we decide to crank up the energy and probe said protons and neutrons, we find that they themselves are also ensembles of more fundamental particles, being quarks and gluons. So on subatomic scales, there’s no such thing as protons and neutrons either, they are convenient conventions too, but don’t exist as independent entities in and of themselves. So what about quarks and electrons? Surely they are ‘real’? When you try and take a closer look at them, they turn out to be pretty slippery bastards - try to confine them into smaller and smaller areas, and they move about more and more wildly. Try to measure their momenta, and suddenly you can’t pin them down any more. Send them through a double slit, and they behave like waves; try to measure their spin vector, and each time you laboriously determine one component, the other two get erased! It’s like trying to nail jelly to the wall. So to our dismay, even the very notion of ‘particle’ turns out to be just a convenient tool. Even such a seemingly innocuous concept as ‘number of particles in a given volume’ turns out to depend on who’s counting them! There’s not really such a thing in reality - there might be something there, but it’s nothing like our intuitive notion of a particle, unless you zoom out far enough so that quantum effects become negligible. So what are we left with? The most basic elements of reality we currently know of - and this is almost certainly not the deepest level - are quantum fields. So we don’t have a universe with 10^120 particles with independent existence - all we have is one spacetime with 37 (depending on how exactly you count) quantum fields. That is all. You don’t have any more independent existence than does that flock of birds, since both are just complicated ensembles of the same 37 quantum fields (according to current knowledge). On those scales you are not different from those birds, and on other scales you are not the same. There’s no contradiction - both are correct. You take what is found on human scales to be absolutely real only because that happens to be the scale your sensory apparatus is able to probe. And that’s my central point - if you probe reality on human scales, then you and me and the birds are ‘real’. If you probe it on molecular scales, then atoms are ‘real’. If you probe it on atomic scales, then ‘subatomic particles’ are real...and at the bottom, what is real are quantum fields, according to current knowledge. Hence, there is no one reality - what is real depends on the scale of the instrument that probes reality. It is scale-dependent. This is called contextuality. You will never find a ‘bird’ if you use the LHC to look - even if you look in the same region of spacetime. And when you look at subatomic constituents, then sometimes you’ll find waves, sometimes various quantum objects, depending on how you set up the probe. Mostly, you’ll find nothing at all. I will for now forgo any mention of counterfactual definiteness and the empirical violation of Bell’s Theorem, which puts further nails into the coffin of ‘reality’. Or what might happen if you look still deeper, beyond quantum fields. Or you could go the other way - what happens if a hypothetical very large organism (~10 billions of light years in size) tries to build a machine to observe my cat? Because the speed of light is so slow on such scales, metric expansion would rip this life form apart long before he could become conscious of the outcome of that measurement. My cat could never become part of his reality. So what is real depends on how you probe! That is why both ‘bird’ and ‘37 quantum fields’ are equally valid realities, but in different contexts and on different scales. Neither one is more ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ than the other, but both are contextual and scale-dependent conventions. They are both real enough and useful, but only in their own contexts. I will leave it at this for now. Personally I think the rabbit hole is much deeper than this still - I happen to think that reality doesn’t just depend on how you look, but also on who’s looking. But I won’t get into this here.
    4 points
  19. OK...this is Don Lincoln here. My name was invoked and a little bird came and suggested I pop in. I have not read all of the chat above. Regarding gravity and belief. First, belief is a non-scientific word....or at least it has lots of really ridiculous connotations. When a scientist says that they believe in a theory, they're just being sloppy. (And I include me in that. But language is language and we do the best we can.) "Belief" to a scientist simply means in this context, that the theory is consistent with all relevant known data and we can take it as an approximation of the truth. Now, on gravity. It's very clear that Einstein's formulation is more accurate than Newton's or, for that matter, any other suggested theory of gravity. It's also eminently clear that general relativity fails at small sizes and very high gravitational fields. For that, we will need a theory of quantum gravity. Some ideas have been put forward, but none have been validated in any way, meaning to all intents and purposes, we have no believable theory of quantum gravity. However, given the established validity of general relativity, it follows that that when quantum gravity is evaluated for gravitational fields not strong enough to manifest their quantum behavior, that the predictions will be effectively identical to general relativity. From that, we can infer that the bending of spacetime will be valid in quantum formulations as well, although there may be additional explanatory insights. Accordingly, I feel quite comfortable in saying that I believe in general relativity in the realm in which it is applicable. Similarly, I believe in Newtonian gravity in the realm in which it is applicable. After all, we shot the New Horizon probe to Pluto - traveling billions of miles, passing by several planets, and NASA hit a target 10 km in size. Newton works. Einstein works. Well, until they don't. That's all of science. Theories work as long as they work. One other piddly point. Our current understanding of gravity is qualitatively different from the other known forces. Sure. Some of you have been discussing the meaning of the word force. Classically, it means something that has the potential to cause an object's velocity to change according to some reference frame. At the quantum level, it has a somewhat different meaning. There it means that the phenomenon can effect some sort of change, be it changing velocity or causing particle decay. The fact that the word has a nuanced meaning depending on the size scale at which it is being evaluated implies that the word is fuzzy and anybody trying to nail it down, will fail. This brings up a more important point is that the mapping of words onto scientific concepts is a dangerous endeavor. It is highly unlikely that any word can be mapped into a concept so well that it is impossible to find an exception. There will aways likely be a qualification of some sort. Accordingly, don't hold onto words very hard. They will fail you. Instead, understand the more nuanced scientific principle for which the word is nothing more than an imperfect and ultimately inaccurate placeholder. For the person who complained about the videos being at a commercial site. Well, I've worked for over three decades learning this stuff. I spent half a year writing the lectures, which comprise 12 hours of clearly-explained advanced science. I spent a week filming the project and many hours ensuring that the quality of the video and audio product was high. And someone has the temerity to suggest that I and the production company shouldn't be compensated for that effort? It's like whining that someone won't come and paint your house. Go ahead - enroll in the streaming service - you will have access to an astonishing amount of knowledge and expertise, translated in such a way that non-experts can understand a portion of the more complex ideas. BTW I was a solid presence at SPCF for a long time, but I will not be a regular here. I have just contracted my 5th or 6th book and that will take enough time that active involvement here is simply not in the cards. Cheers....
    4 points
  20. I'm really sorry to you all, I only watched half the video. Here is the link: In the end he tells that all this is fake and he has been hiding his tesla coil under the table. Really sorry for wasting your time. Sorry @studiot @Intoscience and @iNow
    4 points
  21. INow, Your out of context quotes seem not to address my actual points or examples. I could suggest reading my post again, bearing in mind that I'm trying to describe how actual sports fans approach issues of fair competition, but I can't tell if you're really open to that. As regards "I reject your premise that allowing transgendered females to compete in sports as female is unfair. " this was not my premise. Indeed, prior posts of mine pointed out that some sports are finesse-based to where body mass, fast-twitch muscle and aerobic capacity don't much matter. Some sports are about endurance, where size may even be a slight detriment. But one can't simply duck the issues in sports where those physiological factors do matter, and paste smiley-faced stickers of acceptance without looking at evidence. I am probably somewhere to the left of Bernie Sanders on some issues, and it may turn out trans females can play fairly in almost all sports, but that doesn't mean I can join in any cancellation of real questions and concerns people have about the physical disparity issues. My offered scenario may prove to be a bogeyman, but it's the right of anyone, especially people with daughters in sports, to voice their concerns without being belittled or vilified. Asking questions is where good science comes from, and I always have to put science before politics. Always.
    4 points
  22. I'm 61 years old and was born in Liverpool, England. As a child (perhaps 8 or 9) my mother saw an ad in a magazine to buy a set of children's encyclopedias, with this deal we got all the books at once and simply paid the small monthly fee until paid off, we were poor so this was not trivial. I was actually unwell the day these books arrived, I was lying under a blanket on a couch near our coal fire when she walked in and announced this purchase and carried in these two large heavy boxes, dumped them by the couch and left me to read, this was a life changing event for me and led to my interest in all matters technical and scientific. The books were these: Now long lost I still have very fond memories of sitting around our house on a quiet sunny day or winter evening, deeply immersed in these books. There was a structure that included history, religion, science, art and so on, also a fun section "Things to make and do" which also leaned in a science direction. Later as an adult I stumbled upon a complete set of these and bought them (52 weekly magazines stored in two binders): These were published in the 1930s, shortly before WW2 and would have been extremely interesting to me as a child, I still peruse these from time to time. The point of this post is to ask whether others here initially learned about science in this way and what do you think of todays options, do children still read books like this? are there magazines published like these? I have absolutely no idea how my learning experience would have gone had I had access to the web as we do today, I work in technology and use the internet heavily so I'm aware of its nature, I kind of think that it would not be as rich an experience as it was back then but this is inevitably subjective.
    4 points
  23. His comment is uninformed. There is nothing in the spike protein mRNA that makes it vastly more stable, and the instability of mRNA is well known. It is fairly common to use surrogates for these type of studies. Even if it was much more stable, we would be looking at a couple more days at best, which, unless you are talking about mayflies rarely falls under the moniker of long-term effects. I just quickly calculated the total detectable lipid concentration, which dropped by that amount. So yes, it is cumulative for all organs. Again, it is based on how we generally metabolize lipids. As we are not getting continuous injections, what happens is that the total amount of lipids gets distributed and eventually eliminated. We also know which organs conduct much of the lipid metabolism so I am not sure why at this point we should all pretend not to understand how lipid metabolism works. Again, I think the basic thing that you and the twitter post seem to misunderstand is how compounds, including lipids get metabolized and eliminated. I am sure that if you look at ADME profiles, you will find something for those LNPs. Moreover, the post seems to be confused about how elimination studies are done. If you want to understand how it is eliminated from the body you would go and measure generally blood and liver values as well as identify those compound in waste (i.e. urine and feces). And guess what, that is what they did and how they estimate elimination rates (some other routine methods involve simple blood plasma analyses. Quickly screening lit has indicate that terminal terminal half life for ALC-0315 and ALC-0159 were ~3 and 8 days, respectively. It is not a hypothesis, it is how the liver works. It is how we metabolize things. What you propose is that for some reasons LNPs changes how our organs work. If the liver would simply accumulate harmful substances we would be all dead. A steady state also does not see-saw. If the compound was delivered at a steady rate the concentration would remain steady and then decline slowly as the compound is being eliminated. However drugs can be released in bursts or re-distributed unevenly (e.g. the compound can be released from other organs back into the bloodstream). The main source in this case is leakage from the injection site into the bloodstream. Again, not a hypothesis, there is huge body of literature out there showing how liposomes, LNPs and similar compounds pass through our body, get eliminated and/or can get modified to control said elimination. We should not assume that science collectively forgot how basic animal physiology works just because a random guy on twitter doesn't. Again, there are plenty of studies looking at mRNA as well as LNP degradation and metabolization, as well as basic liver functions. And I want to recall that one of the biggest challenges mRNA vaccines faced are the fact that those were eliminated too quickly to reliably create an immune response. Similarly, early LNPS were cleared too rapidly which added to the issue. Thus, much of the work surrounded stabilization of mRNA in vivo. So suddenly assuming that it is somehow very stable just goes against all the basic biochemistry we understand regarding those molecules. In addition, the whole molecule is not terribly stable outside of the body, either, which is why they require storage at low temps. I am not sure why you want to discuss tweets from a person who clearly has no expertise on that matter. Although it does not fall strictly into my area of expertise either, it is easy to see that the author of the tweet has not found it necessary to educate themselves on the subject matter before taking it to the social media (and yes, the irony is not entirely lost on me, considering my postings here). Take Gregoriadis and Neerjun (https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1432-1033.1974.tb03681.x) which is one of the early papers looking how one could control uptake and elimination. There are tons of advances to control elimination rate, tissue specificity and overall stability in the lit, with detail that goes far beyond my knowledge. So any argument that argues that something mysterious is happening here, is likely based on ignorance. So what I think you propose is that for some reasons the main organs for lipid metabolization (and subsequent elimination) will only be active for the first two days or so, then all residual LNPS would magically bypass these organs and mechanism, accumulate in ovaries and stay there forever? So instead on measuring well known excretion routes we should instead focus on something that a random twitter guy does not understand? I would advise you look for some reliable sources. I am not sure whether the person has an agenda or is just badly misinformed, but either way I would urge you to find someone better to follow as neither of us is going to learn anything by feeding trolls.
    4 points
  24. ! Moderator Note This is NOT the philosophy section. If you can't help, don't post.
    4 points
  25. It's not just that China as a whole controls the vast majority of the mining. It's also that the top four Chinese mining pools control over 60% of the bitcoin hashrate, and have done so ever since I started tracking it several years ago. https://btc.com/stats/pool Basically, the conditions for a so-called 51% attack already exist and have always existed. These mining pools can wake up any morning they like and steal everyone's bitcoin. The only reason it hasn't happened yet is that they haven't done it. Not because they can't. ps -- Just to clarify what a 51% attack is, the idea is that the bitcoin protocol works by consensus. If most miners verify a block, the the block is good. If a bad actor inserts a bad block (containing, say, a transaction to transfer a thousand of your bitcoins to me), the majority of legitimate miners will reject that block and the bad transaction will fail. Now if bad actors take over more than half of the hashrate, they can collude to verify bad blocks and verify fraudulent transactions. Satoshi's original idea was that mining would be done by millions of individuals running PCs in their spare bedrooms, making collusion difficult and control of more than half of the network by bad actors, impossible. What Satoshi did not foresee was the processor arms race in which individuals with PCs have no hope of competing with huge miners who own highly specialized mining rigs. Only the big players can mine bitcoin now, and this has led to centralization. Remember that the entire mythos of bitcoin is that there is no central control. Well as it's turned out in real life, bitcoin is highly centralized after all, and collusion among bad actors is a real possibility. Finally I should mention that mining pools are associations of many independent miners, and it's not clear what kind of centralized control the operators of a pool have over their individual miner participants. So things are not quite as dire as I'm describing, but far more dire than you'd know if you only listened to the claims that bitcoin is decentralized. The publicly available hashrate distribution statistics bear that out.
    4 points
  26. Although I have a certain interest in science, and have even done my own research, my job is an artist. I decided that art is a great way for me to convey an idea and give something to think about. This is my oil and acrylic paintings Antigravity girl Space conquerors Spaceship Earth Rocket people Rocket fish Elon Musk spaceman city Flying saucer principle Dark city Darkest night Robots bar UFO contact
    4 points
  27. A marketable skill for sure in the looming post-crash economy.
    4 points
  28. Happy St Patrick's Day!!!
    4 points
  29. If you expose frozen chips to air, more moisture will condense on the chips from it. Every ml of water condensed from the air adds 1g to the chips.. The chips, after baking, lose moisture, which concentrates the calories, so if you now weigh 100g of baked chips there are more calories.
    4 points
  30. I think the helicopter is below the "true horizon" in those videos (represented by the lake surface), and hills behind it make the visible horizon higher. The simplest explanation is the video producers fabricated the shot because they didn't have the footage that they wanted to illustrate the narrative. That's pervasive in modern media, and only increasing. They add, remove, combine, edit, recolor, enhance, and create the shots they want if they don't have them. They basically assemble the story they want to tell, from pieces of the story they shot. Scenes are not always in the right order or even in context, and here you have proof that they're edited. Discovery Channel shows like this aren't video evidence of scientific experiments conducted by scientists, they're science-themed entertainment. Another common thing you'll see is footage of insects, or stop-motion of plants growing, and you'll hear loud, clear chewing noises, or the "sound of plants growing", but most of the time it's just a separate sound track added in post exactly like they would do for movie sound effects. Everything is edited and processed and repackaged these days. The raw footage would be boring and dry and not fit the exciting action film percussion soundtrack. I imagine that editing is such a common practice that the producers might not have even considered that people would treat it as scientific evidence. I think the "target circle" was added in post as well. I don't think you looked very closely, they're not just the same birds, they're the same pixels frame after frame. You can see it in OP's images. They're the same shot, and one is edited. That's not something I'd expect to see on Discovery. But maybe they could blow something up when they're talking about the laser, and say "Now that's what I call doing science!"
    4 points
  31. Because you couldn't be farther off the mark. That's not what bases are about. I and others have been telling you until we're blue in the mouth. You're using the oldest trick of the game, which is non-sequitur. It's as if someone tells you, "Mountains arise from mechanical tensions and thermal processes in the Earth's interior" and you say, "Then why are elephants winged creatures?" 1st) Elephants are not winged creatures (a false premise embedded in a question is called a sophism) 2nd) The question does not follow from the previous statement at all (that's called a non-sequitur) If you think for a moment most users here don't see right away what you're trying to do, you're quite wrong. You're not discussing in good faith. It's not about disagreement. It's about you not being intellectually honest. You're free to keep playing your game for as long as you want, but you're just calling for action from the mods and very justified annoyance from other users. Have a good day.
    4 points
  32. This isn’t a “make up any stupid thing you want” forum or “argue in bad faith” forum. It’s a science forum. This site also attracts many highly intelligent people. Some individuals feel intimidated and insecure in these environments because it shines a bright burning light on their own flaws and limitations so leave. I look at it like this... if I want to get good at tennis, I could play against a bunch of kindergartners and feel really good about all the winning I’m doing, or I could play against the best in the world getting my ass kicked every time and come away a FAR better player than when I started.
    4 points
  33. Hillary called Trump to concede on the same night as their election and their race was FAR closer than this one with Biden. Barrack Obama invited Trump to the WH a day or 2 later and made his entire team available to the incoming Trump admin to maximize their chances of quick success. Essentially every democratic leader and person with a national profile acknowledged Trumps win and congratulated him on his victory both privately and publicly. Nothing anywhere even remotely close to this has ever once happened before since George Washington as our very first president ever transitioned power to John Addams. Let’s not pretend for even one second that this is somehow a both sides issue.
    4 points
  34. You assume too much. Shi'a and Sunni Muslims disagree about 'the roots': Who are the rightful heirs of Mohammed, and whether Al Bukhari was right about him and his doings, and probably many more things. I'm sure you know much more about it than most of us here do. It's a 'sources' problem (both about the authenticity of books and/or translations, and about the line of authority) very much like what was for Christians several hundred years ago in Europe between the many Protestant offshoots, and Catholics, and Jews. That led to unimaginable bloodshed between Christians and Jews. We know. Actually, we know much better than you guys do. We've killed each other, we've hated each other for so many more years. Most of us seem to have taken home the lesson. You, unfortunately, haven't. That's a very big part of the problem, guys. A part of your community seems unable to take home some lessons from your brethren religions that are much older than yours. Jewish and Christians being at each other's throats for centuries. You're still obsessed with a couple of lines in a several-centuries-old book. That's, allow me to say, pathetic. Both in the most ludicrous sense, and in the most tragic one. Take a look at Mandaeans, Yasidis, etc., and how they've become victims of unspeakable violence in recent years in the Middle East, just because they follow the rituals that their ancestors did. Probably with the same amount of doubt that you do yours. But also take a look at how some Muslims brothers die at the hands of each other because of a difference of opinion. And ask yourself: Is the interpretation of some lines on an ancient book worth the suffering that we see in the world? The suffering of a child is not worth ten thousand lines of a holy book.
    4 points
  35. Salute to 2020 Ice Cream Flavour:
    4 points
  36. Translated by me from https://www.socomic.gr/en/2018/01/kourafelkithra-socrates/
    4 points
  37. This is quite ridiculous ... If you have a ruler ( a one dimensional line with numbers on it ) all you need is one number to specify any position on it. If you have a sheet of graph paper ( 2 dimensional numbered grid lines ) you need two numbers to specify any position on it. It is a simple mental jump to imagine a height above that sheet of graph paper with the same grid lines. That is the third dimension, and you now need three numbers to specify a location in that space above the sheet of graph paper. And should you want to assign variables to a specified location, you can call them x, y, and z. Dimensions are simply the directions you can move in a given space. Back and forth, side to side, and up down for 3 dimensional space.
    4 points
  38. That's the problem with Religions ( aside from political commentary ) and reminds me of an Emo Philips joke Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over. ( reading it back to myself, it does seem much funnier in an Emo Philips voice )
    4 points
  39. Oh, I thought this thread was literally about 'playing with yourself' ...
    4 points
  40. When someone tells me they’re a Christian, I ask: Classic Jesus, or Republican Jesus?
    4 points
  41. I suggest some research, even Wiki, of the Greece-Turkey tensions and conflicts, especially the Cyprus situation. It has briefly turned 'hot' a few times, but it is exactly because both are members of NATO ( Turkey is NOT EU ) that pressure could be brought to bear and hostilities stopped ( but tensions remain ). Similarly if Canada were attacked, the UK is duty bound ( NATO treaty ) to come to our aid, along with the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the rest of the 30 odd member states, including Poland, Hungry, Greece, Turkey and all of the former Yugoslav states. And no, Hungary was not part of NATO in 56, but of the Warsaw Pact. Australia and New Zealand, on the other hand, belong to SEATO, to which the US and UK were also signatories, but it hasn't been as successful' as NATO; it doesn't have its own headquarters/command and member states like French Indochina and Pakistan have dissolved or left. I would stress that NATO ( and to a much lesser extent SEATO ) is the military alliance since shortly after WW2, while the EU grew out of economic ( strictly ) European alliances that were formed during the 50s, and which C DeGaulle tried desperately to keep the UK out of ( until the 70s IIR ). It is NATO that has contributed to the peace; an attack on any member state is an attack on all of them. You don't think it was the EU that stopped Russian expansion of the Warsaw Pact ( more accurately Warsaw Occupied Possessions ) westward, do you ? The UK, as an independent state, will continue its downward spiral to irrelevance ( along with the other former European Great Powers ) in the face of competition from other resource rich states, like Russia, China, India, Brazil, and the North America block. A United Europe, though, has clout, power, and can't be pushed around by anyone. The UK could have remained a part of SOMETHING, instead you guys voted to become irrelevant, and go begging to others for trade deals. I can't wait until Prometheus has an opportunity to vote on re-joining the EU; hopefully the rest of you come to your senses in sooner than 20 years.
    4 points
  42. Perhaps you’re right. I do find it interesting how through the years though, almost no matter the issue, you seem to find ways of placing all ownership and the entirety of responsibility for outcomes solely at the feet of Democrats.
    4 points
  43. Volcanic lightning is hard to beat. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanic_lightning Calbuco, The Awakening.” ... Calbuco Volcano is located in the lakes region south of Santiago, Chile’s capital city and is one of the 10 most dangerous volcanoes in the country. After more than 40 years of inactivity, the day April 23 the volcano erupts, spewing more than 200 million tons of ash https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/photos/national-geographic-photo-contest-2015/image-gallery/a2afa2087ecd4f4d62475d231b129e31
    4 points
  44. I'll try a logical explanation with more detail without referring to math of specific laws of physics this time: Let's say two hypothetical devices are working perpetually* as a unit without external energy source. Perpetual motion device A feeds energy (1) into device B and then device B feeds energy (2) to device A. Since no external energy is added and operation is perpetual there is no internal energy wasted; efficiency is 100%. Device A runs from the energy provided by B and B runs from the energy provided by A. Hence, over time, A must supply B with the same amount of energy that A would require to operate in isolation. And B must provide A with the same amount of energy B would require to run in isolation. So the result is that the only way the device A and B could work as a 100% efficiency perpetual motion device together is if they could do so in isolation. A and B are perpetual devices on their own or the device (A+B) is not a perpetual device. In other words you can not build a perpetual motion device unless you have a set of perpetual motion devices. This does of course not alter the fact that perpetual motion machines is not possible. It is just a way of showing how OPs setup is not working in a general case. (I answered from phone earlier and was unable to use an image. This is pretty much same as @Janus but I had started drawing already so posting probably does not harm.) *) Not possible! Only used to setup the explanation.
    4 points
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