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Everything posted by KipIngram

  1. KipIngram

    agar melting

    At some point you'll need to re-sterilize it. I've done a smidge of yeast culturing for beer brewing. Refrigerators tremendously slow bacterial growth, but they don't fully eliminate them.
  2. No. The photon is its own antiparticle, and the Z is its own antiparticle. But they are different particles (differ in mass, differ in which forces they mediate, etc.) What they have in common is that they are all bosons.
  3. Photons are the quanta of the electromagnetic interaction. Z particles (along with W particles) are quanta of the weak interaction. All three (photons, Z, and W) are bosons, but Z and W have rest mass, whereas photons are "rest massless." Because of this the electromagnetic interaction is long-range, whereas the weak interaction is not. W has charge, but Z doesn't, and is its own anti-particle. That's the extent of my woefully limited knowledge - I'm sure others will add more. But basically they (photons and Z) are both chargeless bosons, but they mediate different forces and W has mass.
  4. Different strokes for different folks. Everyone's different, and I don't judge them one way or the other.
  5. My mom always told me that "slick brain" was a good insulting thing to call someone. I guess since that ties into brain surface area it's somewhat scientific. I don't even know for sure, though, whether that "intelligence is correlated to surface area" thing is even accurate, though.
  6. KipIngram


    It is almost unheard of for me not to tip at all - there has to be a very real, very severe problem that I associate with the waitperson and not with any other part of the operation. That's happened perhaps twice in my life. Someone has to really, REALLY foul up to cause me not to tip. I most commonly vary from "standard" tipping to "premium" tipping. If the waitperson has added to the quality of my meal with a pleasant interaction that leans me toward premium. The most common way to lose premium points is if I pay with cash and the waitperson brings me change in a way that looks like it's designed to force me into a large tip. And yes, I've been guilty on occasion of tipping extra large because of a waitresses attractiveness. Sue me - I'm human.
  7. Right - ultimately if someone chooses dishonesty, there's very little that can be done.
  8. I did an online course with Stanford a few years back on AI. Taught by the guy that leads the Google self-driving car team. By the end of the course, I'd decided it should have been called "Advanced Probabilistic Algorithms." Most of what we studied had to do with taking mountains of data and recognizing algorithmically the important correlations in that mountain. So there was a learning phase, but what came out of that was a tuned algorithm that could process new data of the same type quickly, because now it "knew what to look for." It was mostly applications of Bayesian techniques one way or another. I'd think you could apply the term "adaptive" to any algorithm that "learns" what aspects of data are important and what aspects aren't.
  9. I think the person's potential partners should be fully informed of the situation, and then it's down to mutual consent. So it's even stronger than StringJunky's driving analogy.
  10. Wow, religion really bugs you, doesn't it? I've always found it strange how strongly people react to things that really have nothing to do with them.
  11. Hmmm. I think part of that problem is our polarization - we're "freezing in" large segments of the population to voting on the same side, time after time. Unfortunately, it seems we're frozen in right on the edge oft he knife blade. Yes, exactly. Who watches the watchers, who chooses the choosers, etc. etc. It would be human nature for any elite group thus selected to look for ways to benefit themselves. It would be so much better if we did it like we do it now, except with a population the large majority of which behaved with some semblance of rationality. But maybe that's counter to human nature too.
  12. Ah, yeah - I didn't think of varying voter turnout to accentuate the worst case scenario, but that's a good point. And that is indeed a pretty severe spread. Nice to see that we've never come anywhere close to such a thing. So, I know this is a really hard question to be objective about (to the point of almost being meaningless), but if it had been the other way around - if Trump had one the popular vote but Clinton the electoral vote and the Presidency), would you be thinking about the injustice of the electoral college in any way at this point in time? I do recall back in the Bush / Gore election while all that ruckus was going on after election day, I'd already decided that whoever wound up getting it I was going to consider my President (for the reasons I described above - that it was so close that you couldn't claim either candidate had failed to register a whole lot of public support). As it happened it went my way, but I promise I really did consciously have that thought before the decision was in.
  13. Well, I don't require that my President be smarter than I am, provided he or she is wise enough to surround himself with smart advisors. It's really values and principles that matter more to me. But I'm not just shutting the door on your idea out of hand - if you could really mount the transparency you describe, and the objectivity, then it's not a bad idea. I think in practice it's just really really hard to make sure nothing "behind the scenes" is going on. You'd think with our modern technology we could just eradicate police brutality too, by making police surveilled every second they're on duty, but we haven't been able to do so. I'd love to have every officer on duty required to wear a body cam, and to have that footage made publicly available. I'd love to have cameras in every schoolroom, with the footage publicly available. Hasn't happened yet. I don't really see that public servants have any right to privacy while on duty, but they seem to demand it anyway. I think the problem really begins and ends with us, though - the voters. We already have a nation with excellent institutions of higher learning - we could make excellence of all those sorts a requirement for office if we chose to deploy our votes that way. We're the ones who fall for the con artists, over and over and over again. We're a population that, by and large, doesn't value education for ourselves, so it's not surprising that we don't value it in our political candidates either.
  14. Ok - that's better. It sounded almost like a draft when I read your first spin. The only concern I'd have with it is that you're putting control over the candidate pool in the hands of a select few. Power tends to corrupt, so you'd have to have awfully good public oversight of the whole process (and we aren't terribly good at public oversight these days). I do lament the fact that the Presidency, and political office in general, seems to be more of a popularity contest than anything else these days. I read a bit a couple of weeks ago about The Rock considering going into politics. When asked what he'd start with, he said he figured he might as well start with the Presidency. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. :-| Delta1212: it would be interesting to do an analysis that told us the "worst case possible." Just how big could the popular loss be, and still get someone into office. I agree that the larger that difference is the more of a concern it is, but there would be an upper bound. You just can't be President with just a few percent of the vote. The extreme case wouldn't be very realistic, of course, but I guess you'd give the ultimate winner a margin of 1 vote in enough states to get him the office, and then tote 100% of the remaining states for the other candidate. I haven't done the math, but that feels like it could be pretty substantial.
  15. I don't think it's the thing we need most by a long shot. I think the most fundamental reform we could have would be term limits, or some other way like Phi for All alluded to of removing the "personal gain" that seems to come to all Washington politicians. The way things are now politicians tend to become a "permanently separated class." They live "above" the world they legislate for the rest of us. The whole electoral vs. popular thing is really pretty minor. The popular vote has to be at least very very close in order for the two counts to split. I understand we want to "do elections right," but honestly when you have one candidate pulling, say, 50 million votes and the other pulling 50,500,000 they both really have more or less equal support. It's not like some broken system that lets the guy who only got 10% of the vote somehow win. At that point it's really sort of arbitrary. It's rather like looking at two women, one of whom is a 9 and the other of whom is an 8.9 and trying to claim that the 9 totally outclasses the 8.9. I know when you wind up on the losing side it hurts, but you have to remember that there are "almost as many people" who are happy with the outcome. I'm not saying that makes it "ok"; just that it's not really a major inequity by any quantitative measure. It just happens that the two times it's occurred in my life the guy I voted for came out on top, but that was really just luck.
  16. Yes, I got that - each state wants to maximize its impact on the outcome - unless all states are playing along then it's an automatic "lose" for the ones that split their electors. Regarding the compact, like I said above I'm not enough of a legal scholar to know it would stand up. It seems plausible to me - what business is it of state X's (a state not in the compact) how state Y (a state in the compact) handles its electors? It seems clean on the surface. But the details of law are anything but clean and simple. At any rate, I don't think an amendment has any chance of getting through - all it takes is 13 sparsely populated states to stop it, and I think we'll always have those. So the compact approach looks like the only chance if it's something your in favor of. A good number of states have already agreed to it, but they're mostly the populous states that really lose nothing with the approach. The article I read said that scholars doubt it will get the remaining support it needs.
  17. This is a good point re: the electoral college: As the 2000 election reminded us, the Electoral College does make it possible for a candidate to win the popular vote and still not become president. But that is less a product of the Electoral College and more a product of the way states apportion electors. In every state but Maine and Nebraska, electors are awarded on a winner-take-all basis. So if a candidate wins a state by even a narrow margin, he or she wins all of the state’s electoral votes. The winner-take-all system is not federally mandated; states are free to allocate their electoral votes as they wish. It's a very good point, actually. The college itself isn't really the problem - what a compact of states really should push for is for states to adopt a proportional distribution of their electoral votes. No, I don't really think that every liberal would feel that way any more than I feel that everyone who voted for Trump still supports him. It's just easy to observe the attitude in practice. I think the most thoughtful, calm people on both sides just tend not to be vocal. And I do think both sides tend to do it - I can't remember ever hearing Sean Hannity be critical of a Republican once the primaries were over. It's easy to get disillusioned when the bulk of the rhetoric comes from the fringes.
  18. I guess so. I voted for Trump (as I noted before - I voted against Hillary). For a few weeks after the election I indulged in a hope that perhaps Trump might actually be awestruck by having that level of trust put in him and would decide to knock himself out to be a good President. Those hopes got dashed of course. So my feelings about him have changed a lot. So how many people, really, do continue to find no fault in Trump? Do you really think that everyone who voted for him remains pleased with him, or do you think we're just being shown the vocal / sensational stuff the media wants to show us? I would have to say I'm likely more "right" than "left," but I have plenty of problems with the way the far right would like to run things. Hard to sum it up, really, but a big part of it is how "tight" the right is with big corporations. I do not equate "huge corporate profits" with the economic prosperity of the people of America.
  19. That may very well have been part of the debate, but the things I mentioned were as well. But I'm not going to haggle. I do have a question, though, and it would likely be OT, so you can PM me your answer if you'd like. Can you provide a short list of "liberal positions" that you disagree with or conservative positions that you do agree with? Honestly, it often feels to me like the left has absolutely nothing good to say about anything it's opposed to, and will concede absolutely nothing negative about anything it supports. In other words, the liberal position is perfect. Absolutely, completely, and totally perfect in every way. Very few things in the world are so completely black and white.
  20. I'll just note that a "disproportionate" share is not a dominant share in the current case. Urban areas already wield tremendous influence. I don't really feel like getting drawn into a debate, though - this is just another of those issues where no one ever changes their mind and it goes on and on and on, exhaustively. There's a process for modifying the Constitution, which of course can be blocked by substantially significant minorities of any kind. We have lots of elements in our system to prevent "mob rule," and I for one am glad to have them. If we're going to have disproportionality of any kind I certainly think it should favor minorities rather than majorities. There's also an organization out there trying to get enough states to count to form a compact with one another, via the usual state compact method, where they all agree to vote their electors for whoever wins the national popular vote. I wouldn't swear to you it would prove legal, but I wouldn't swear to you that it would fail to, either - the C. really leaves it entirely up to the states as to how they choose their electors, and that might prove to be a perfectly valid way. I also don't know enough about interstate law to know how binding compacts are, and what's done if they're broken. But any way, the point is that if you'd like to see the President chosen by popular vote you may eventually get your way, though my understanding is that the compact faces a pretty stiff uphill climb to the get the remaining support it needs. As I noted, I think many people are irrational about this. They just see that their party lost twice in their memory because of it, so they want it gone - without regard for whatever reasons it was put their in the first place and whether those reasons are valid or not. Win, win, win - all that matters these days. Destroy the adversary, and stomp them so hard into the dirt that they never even THINK about getting up again. Those are the same reason that free speech and academic freedom and so on were really cool things in the 1960s, but now they're inconvenient, since the same group that fought for those things back then would now like to muzzle the other side. And for something that's happened only three times in 200 years (I don't count 1824 - that one went to the House) the electoral college is surely given a lot of street cred as a big deal. But usually only right after an affected election, when people are more emotional than rational.
  21. And yet the other 20% count too. And are very important. For one thing, they feed the 80%. Anyway, the whole suite of things laid out in the Constitution was an attempt to achieve a reasonable solution to a difficult situation. I think they did at least reasonably well. The solution they came up with might not remain optimum given the way the influence of the federal government has changed over the years, but I don't think it goes without saying that having everything be made proportional is the best answer either; some arrangement at least similar in philosophy strikes me as still making sense. I also think that the electoral college is not something people are really having calm, rational thoughts about right now. Clinton supporters are just royally pissed over it at the moment - they're not thinking about "the big picture." They're just focused on the fact that they wanted to win and didn't, so something should be done. I think it's a much more complex issue than that.
  22. Yes, when they framed the Constitution the sparsely populated states were unwilling to enter into a system in which they'd be totally dominated by the populous states. And the populous states were likewise unwilling to enter into an "every state is equal" arrangement. The Founders didn't really view the federal government as primarily related to citizens; it was fundamentally an arrangement amongst states. Of course, a lot has changed since then and the federal government is now much more important in the life of the average citizen. Having proportional representation in the House and equal representation in the Senate was another thing they worked out for the same "balancing" reason. It's really not quite fair to look at any one of these things and call it unfair - the whole package of arrangements was a thoroughly debated compromise to try to have a system considered fair in an across the board way. It's not unreasonable at all to take the position that changes should be made to one or another part of that package of compromises, but please do keep in mind that if the Presidency was determined by popular vote only you wouldn't even have the same candidates that you'd otherwise have. The parties currently try to field candidates that will win, and the method of election is a factor in that. If we switched to a popular vote system, they'd choose candidates based on that. You'd wind up with urban issues totally dominating the Presidential campaign and mind set. Urbanites would utterly control the Presidential election, and the interests of all other citizens would fall by the wayside. Feel how you wish about it, but I think that wouldn't be a good outcome at all.
  23. I don't think her gender had anything to do with it - I didn't have that sense at any time during the campaign. I think her integrity was just called into question one time too many. I still think she "almost won," in spite of it. But my vote was very precisely a "vote against Hillary," and her being a woman had nothing to with it in my mind at least. Oh, well that could be true. Given how close the election was, it wouldn't have taken very many people who did, in fact, vote against her for gender reasons to tip it. Even though I recognize that it's not the "right" behavior, it's very very hard for me to judge a person terribly harshly for trying to protect their family. Yes, in a perfect world you'd react to such a situation just like you would re: any other bad / criminal behavior. But blood is thick (matrimonial blood too). I consider myself a good, law-abiding person, but I really don't like to think of all the things I might be capable of if my wife or one of my daughters were at stake. If it was their reputation only I wouldn't be as strongly affected as I would if it was their life or liberty, literally, but the effect would still be there. I just don't expect people to be fully objective when it comes to their family. You're right about the double standard her later campaigning showed us, but that sort of double standard behavior is standard fare for politicians these days. You can see it in some people's behavior right here on this forum, and you don't have to look very hard.
  24. It also takes the position that intellect is inherently a "better strength to have" than other strengths. It might be in certain cultural situations, but in others it might be less valuable than some other strength.
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