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Everything posted by exchemist

  1. The answer to that question is all around you. Wind, solar and nuclear already provide a big proportion of electricity generation. Wind and solar are now less costly than fossil fuel generation. Battery fires are very rare, much rarer than with fossil fuelled vehicles, though certainly harder to extinguish.
  2. Hydrogen at present is rather costly and inefficient to produce in a green manner, i.e. by electrolysis. I think we will need it, though, for truck fuel and maybe for planes. For private vehicles, electricity looks like the future. Range is improving all the time, battery technology improves every year (there seems to be a sodium battery technology coming along which should reduce our geopolitically sensitive dependence on lithium) and the charging networks (another key element of infrastructure) are growing, though arguably not fast enough. I intend to buy an electric car next, but at present my 20yr old petrol VW works fine and from what I read, the size of the carbon footprint of manufacturing a new vehicle outweighs the reduction from switching from petrol to electricity. So one should run old cars into the ground before renewing.
  3. Certainly. But the most important infrastructure change I think is rewiring the country. We need to move from a power grid system based on centralised generation to a distributed generation model (solar, wind, storage). We also we need to provide for the charging of electric vehicles, in place of fossil fuel stations, which adds considerable load to the domestic power supply. We also need to make more use of rail where population density makes this feasible, and make better provision for cycling in cities.
  4. Good point about refraction. That occurred to me too, after I had posted, but I wasn't sure how significant it would be, if the laser and the reflectors were all at the same height above the ground.
  5. What I would do is get a large and a smaller polystyrene cup, perhaps from a coffee or cold drink dispenser, wrap the outer surface of the smaller one in aluminium foil (to reduce radiative heat transfer) then wrap that in bubble wrap, and put the whole lot into the bigger cup.
  6. Acc. @geordief's link, an idiot called Washington Irving, in 1828.
  7. Yes, as @KJW says, it is obvious you can't do this on land, because, durrh, the ground is bumpy! That's the sort of typically stupid answer you can get from ChatGPT, if you don't apply your own critical faculties. Even on water it will be hard to do, due to waves, currents, the effect of gusts of wind on whatever floating objects you use, etc. But the longer the distances you choose, the clearer the result will be. You may note that most of the suggestions people have made, including my own about Dover and France, rely on much larger distances than 1km, to make the effect more obvious. But the whole flat Earth thing is unbelievably silly. Sailors in the ancient world were aware the Earth was not flat. Eratosthenes (the Greeks were a seafaring nation) measured its circumference - and got it more or less right - around 200BC, for God's sake!
  8. Well, we've all seen on this forum ample evidence of that. This claim not only seems true, but also both very funny, and a timely puncturing of the bubble of hype surrounding these verbose and fundamentally unintellligent programs. I realise that AI encompasses a far wider scope than LLMs but, as they stand today, LLMs look to me pretty meretricious. It may be that their chief legitimate use is in collating references for the user to determine, for himself, which one are good and which ones are not, i.e. just a superior kind of search engine.
  9. You seem to be a hopeless case. It's hard to credit how stupid it is to quote religious scripture as evidence of the truth of the religion in question. Self-referential or what?
  10. Sheldrake's ideas don't seem to have got any traction (outside the New Age woo community, at least) : Sheldrake's The Sense of Being Stared At explores telepathy, precognition, and the "psychic staring effect." It reported on an experiment Sheldrake conducted where blindfolded subjects guessed whether persons were staring at them or at another target. He reported subjects exhibiting a weak sense of being stared at, but no sense of not being stared at,[87][88] and attributed the results to morphic resonance.[89] He reported a hit rate of 53.1%, describing two subjects as "nearly always right, scoring way above chance levels."[90] Several independent experimenters were unable to find evidence beyond statistical randomness that people could tell they were being stared at, with some saying that there were design flaws in Sheldrake's experiments,[11][26][91] such as using test sequences with "relatively few long runs and many alternations" instead of truly randomised patterns.[92][93] In 2005, Michael Shermer expressed concern over confirmation bias and experimenter bias in the tests, and concluded that Sheldrake's claim was unfalsifiable.[94] From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Sheldrake
  11. Yes the full page "Google vignette" enshittification ads are back, at least on MacBook Safari, after having been successfully turned off by our administrator a few months ago. I'm not yet running AdBlock Plus on my laptop, only on my iPad, where it gets rid of them. I think I'll install it on the Mac as well.
  12. Go to Dover, stand on the beach and look out to sea. You not be able to see France. Climb the cliff and look out to sea and France will be visible. But the whole flat Earth thing is so unbelievably silly that one can only assume people strike this pose for fun. In which case there is zero point in reasoning with them. I would not waste your time.
  13. OK, it will oxidise in time in air. But there should not be significant amounts of air in the coolant system.
  14. It's not "breaking down" exactly, but some components may be used up. Anti-freeze also contains things such as corrosion inhibitors which plate out on surfaces and eventually become used up. It's inevitable in cars that there will be different metals in contact with the coolant which can set up electrochemical corrosion over time. There can also be deposits from corrosion that accumulate in the cooling system and should be flushed out so that you don't get blockages in the radiator, for example. It's cheap and easy to flush out and replace the coolant so hardly a big deal to do.
  15. OK but that’s rather different: what you now seem to be saying is that Dawkins needs a caricature of what religious people believe, in order to be able to disbelieve in that, rather than in what religions actually teach. Actually I’m to a large extent with you on that. My mother, who was a committed and thoughtful Anglican, always found Dawkins rather funny: “like Mr Punch, with a bladder on a stick”, she used to say. I certainly found his original style of critique superficial. He seemed to me to treat religion as providing an alternative account of the physical world, in confrontation with science, instead of recognising that religion is fundamentally about providing people with a guide to help them live their lives. Of course he’s dead right to ridicule creationism, which idiotically does attempt to deny the findings of science, but creationism is a distinctly minority pursuit, theologically (to put it politely). But though I don’t pretend to have followed the evolution of his views in any detail, my impression is that he has softened his tone and become a bit more nuanced in recent years.
  16. What does that mean? Is it that Dawkins is in some way an extreme sceptic, who is always on the hunt for things to disbelieve? Do you have evidence he is like that? Or is it just an attempt at a cheap aphorism? Ciao, love and kisses.
  17. This is self-pitying nonsense. It is not the job of national politics to sort out your love life. If you are motivated you can find time to cultivate a social hobby, perhaps get in shape, at least a bit (sport?), which will improve your mood and make you more attractive - and above all socialise. Most people meet partners through work, social activities or just at the supermarket. Dating agencies may have their place but there'a risk they encourage "meat market" thinking about the opposite sex - which makes you highly unattractive, needless to say. If I think back to how I have met girls in my life (I'm now almost 70), 5 were through work, 4 were through invitations to parties or other social events, one was through the rowing club, another through the sailing club, 2 while travelling. Don't sit at home moping: get out there, talk to people and when you do, show an interest in them.
  18. I think this needs explanation. Why do you think what you term “dislike” of Jews (extending to to discriminatory laws and practices and sometimes physical expulsion) before the c.19th was not racism? Ciao, love and kisses.
  19. This is word salad. There is nothing to respond to here.
  20. Not quite a fair comparison, I suggest. New Zealand isn't your ancestral homeland and the setting for much of your religious scripture. But if antisemitism existed before the c.19th, doesn't that imply that racism existed earlier too? Or do you argue that prejudice against the Jewish religion, customs and traditions did not constitute racism?
  21. OK that's good. There may well be nothing to worry about in your case but it's worth making sure, I reckon.
  22. Yes I think it's the case that racism was certainly elevated to an ideological, moral, pseudoscientific footing in the c.19th. It helped to justify the competitive colonialism of the period. But before that time there seems little doubt people tended to have what we would now see as a racist outlook. After all, the slave trade was predicated on the notion that black Africans could be treated as subhuman. I also think the Four Horsemen of New Atheism indeed tried, for a while, a kind of evangelical promotion of atheism as a replacement for religion. I've even come across a film they produced, designed to inspire awe in the grandeur of nature and to ridicule traditional religion (silly cartoon animation of hell, with little devils with pitchforks). I think the idea was to appeal to that part of human nature that is satisfied by religious feeling, but it was hopelessly cack-handed and crude. This idea was never progressed, thank goodness. But your attempt to connect this to so-called "cancel culture" strikes me as unpersuasive. In universities there have always been controversies over what speakers to invite and protests over it. I remember this from Oxford in the 1970s. The irony is that this term, invented by the far-Right as a stick to beat the Left with, describes a practice that is now used as much by the Right as the Left, for example in the banning of various books from American school libraries. But this is not generally about religion (though some Right wing US school boards ban Romeo and Juliet because there is too much sexual language). I asked you earlier on this thread for examples of religious speakers being "cancelled" and got no response. I've never come across this and doubt it is really a thing.
  23. True, if your school syllabus includes teaching religion, which is however excluded in some countries, e.g. the USA and France. You do not teach religion in science lessons, though. You teach it, if you teach it at all, in classes on religion. Creationism is not basic theology however. It is one of the beliefs of certain Protestant denominations - and possibly some versions of Islam, I think. Ciao, love and kisses.
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