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Everything posted by TheVat

  1. So AI can now compose dull poetry. That said, the line discussions and debates that never end seems uncannily accurate! 😀
  2. I would say more on the philosophic approach to mortality, but Seth has covered much of it quite well. I would add only that modern medicine has been a string of remarkable breakthroughs in treating conditions that either result in early mortality, or lives of suffering and reduced capacity/mobility. (it would be good to see these breakthroughs distributed more evenly throughout the human population - that would require a breakthrough in politics, I'm sure) For example, I am grateful for advances in nutrition and wellness routines that result in me suffering far less from the familial curse of joint problems than previous generations. In spite of the high noise-to-signal ratio of the Web, we have a society with access to far more information on how to stay reasonably vital and fit well into old age. Advances in holistic health have been nothing short of astonishing. (a quick thank you to those who worked out the anti-inflammatory powers of algae oil) Also advances in the replacement of failed joints, limbs, anatomical structures in the ears and eyes, and most of the internal organs. Surgery can now do amazing reconstructions on the most grievous facial disfigurements, and we are not that far from a fully functional artificial eye. People can run and do gymnastics with prosthetic limbs. Thanks to advances in blood pressure regulation, fewer people have their lives cut short by stroke and the average age for a first stroke has been pushed back a decade or more. These are all game-changers that have radically altered the experience of middle and old age for billions of people. And also the lives of young daredevils who get out there and shatter their bones and tear up internal organs on a regular basis. The most important task for a civilized planet would be to extend the fruits of these breakthroughs to the 2-3 billion people who were not fortunate enough to emerge from the right wombs and have access to modern healthcare. (this would also help reduce population growth, because people who are confident their children will live to adulthood tend to have fewer children - it's what population biologists call the demographic shift)
  3. Interesting chat, which prompted a couple thoughts: One, an ET race that coldly calculates and affirms a high value on annihilating an entire planet of sentient beings...strikes me as very likely to be the sort of race that bombs itself back to the Amish farm level of civilization well before they make it into interstellar space. It's hard for me to see a fairly united planetary civilization evolving that would lack an ethical reluctance towards mass murder. I would think such an amoral perspective would lead more towards a planet of small balkanized states too busy feuding to be able to allocate sufficient resources to starfaring. As for "malevolence," I guess this depends on how one defines that term. Some might argue that a race that could justify such abhorrent acts as wiping out an entire sentient race, on a mathematical algorithm, would have a rather profound malevolence "baked in" to their character. And again, it's hard to see this character being one suited for longterm survival of an advanced civilization. My sense is that they would always be skating over very thin ice above a Hobbesian nightmare. (this is one reason I found the Klingons a rather improbable spacefaring race in the Star Trek franchise)
  4. Like @studiot I've had a couple bloopers. One, as it happened, was me utterly misreading the phrasing of some innocuous post of his and reacting contentiously and stupidly. I wanted to deep six my post, but didn't even edit a correction in time. It was fortunate that someone else, @StringJunky maybe, alertly pointed out the misunderstanding. Blessed are the cheesemakers.
  5. Good question. I don't know why we should assume B is male. Or that, another possibility, B could not be a female of reproductive age who had a child on her own using artificial insemination or IVF. As for deceased, my mother is still my mother though she is deceased. I hope the linguistic basis for this is clear: mother is a term that defines a relationship, even if it was in the past.
  6. I don't see what can be determined about his bias solely from him being paid consulting fees (which is a common procedure when experts are brought in). Someone who offered to do it for free could also have an agenda. Arriving at conclusions like misidentification could result from the data that was available to him, and not necessarily personal bias. I will have to, as you suggest... ...before I would have any chance of discerning any special zeal on Menzel's part to debunk everything. What would be the best primary source to view all the reports? Re Dark Forest, I have doubts about that whole evaluation of probability, but maybe will address that in another thread (seems like we had one here in that topic, in the past year). As you note, the conquering or wiping out of a planetary civilization would be an enormous undertaking.
  7. 🤣 Admit I'm a little curious where there are all these forums that don't have time windows on editing or deleting. That would be a real gift to trolls.
  8. Not that the DC sightings aren't anomalous, but inversion layers do distort ordinary celestial objects. I think "people were fooled by optical aberrations" is always a pretty strong hypothesis. (the meteor hypothesis, however, seemed weaker/ It was pulled from Scotland? Seriously, I recognize that people who are doing PR are not usually impartial and expert scientific analysts. It's worth noting that an astronomer at Harvard, Don Menzel, supported the inversion hypothesis. I respect his opinion more. And that fifties radar lacked digital filters and were prone to produce bogies from thermal inversion, birds, balloons, etc. When digital filters came in, radar reports of UFOs plummeted. Haha! One of my favorite Gary Larson drawings. I haven't followed UFO reports much in recent years, so am a little curious if data collection has improved on recent incidents.
  9. I toss in jokes - the joy ride reference was more to popular tales of aliens playing cat and mouse with pilots, zooming around, etc and not to genuine reports of puzzling sightings. Those I do not ridicule and continue to take an interest in. Sorry if my jesting came across as ridicule. I actually spent some time in my youth researching various cases and learning some atmospheric science along the way. Ignore the dumb joke - I have a real interest in scientific anomalies and some of them can legitimately freak people out. Whatever they are, we benefit by turning on them every tool of science possible.
  10. My analogies were not so clear or good, I'll admit. My point could be made just with the crop circles, like this: most cases have been demonstrated to be hoaxes. There is a small number where hoax wasn't proved. But this doesn't lead to "we shouldn't dismiss a possible alien origin to a few of them." We don't need to prove the negation (nor can we) to dismiss the alien theory. We just need the very robust sample we have and the very strong Inebriated Rural Men With Abundant Free Time theory. Same with the fairies. Most of the fairy sightings and photos were proven to be hoaxes, but not all. Should we then be "open" to fairies? Maybe you are saying we should? (FWIW, I am more open to the fairy hypothesis than I am to interstellar joyrides...🙂)
  11. I lived in a college town for a few years where the sports team was called the Beavers. At that time, their main adversary team had some fans with a bumper sticker that read: Buck the Feavers. @swansont IIRC, your profile or something you posted mentions the town I refer to. We may have passed through at different times.
  12. I'm not saying human apparitions are spirits of the deceased, I'm saying we cannot explain them and so they shouldn't be dismissed... I'm not saying tiny lights moving through the woods are fairies, I'm saying we cannot explain them and so they shouldn't be dismissed... I'm not saying humanoid reptilians that drain blood from goats are chupacabra, I'm saying we cannot explain them and so they shouldn't be dismissed... I'm not saying mysterious hieroglyphs carved in crop fields are messages from aliens, I'm saying we cannot explain them and so they shouldn't be dismissed... (Suggesting how this approach can impair one's sense of the most probable hypothesis)
  13. I don't think one can rule out the third possibility of flaws in photo emulsion. Lens flaws would be repeated in many images, but it's quite possible for one spot in a long strip of film emulsion to be flawed. And such flaws could have a lenticular shape that looks remarkably like a physical object. That Costa Rica photo from the national geographic institute of CR survey in the 1970s, the one that looks like a hubcap or a pot lid, could just be a spot on the film. Consider this: out of a thousand film flaws, 995 might be so obviously film flaws that they are tossed and we never hear of them. So the five whose tonal variations and symmetry randomly happen to give a freakish resemblance to a flying saucer are the only ones brought to someone's attention. IOW, weird anomalies are self-selecting. (Want to thank my spouse, who has some expertise on old film processing, restoring, digitizing, for her helpful input on this)
  14. I'd also suggest that citing one expert, Bruce Maccabee, as ruling out small objects, begs the question of how other photo analysis experts would interpret the pics. If this is like global warming, there could be thousands of experts, a vast majority, who would offer compelling reasons to reject Maccabee's analysis. I have no way to tell if Maccabee is a fringey guy on a similar footing with the GW is Myth crew. (plenty of them have PhDs, too, and serve as shining examples that credentials do not guarantee an unbiased and competent data analysis) I'm also unpersuaded of anything by sketchy reports of things falling off unidentified craft. There was a case near Omaha, when I lived in that area, of some sort of molten material dripping from a UFO that hovered near a reservoir. When recovered and analyzed, it was indistinguishable from terrestrial foundry slag. A case where both Ockham's razor and Sagan's Law seemed applicable.
  15. I hear you on the dismissal out of hand, but my impression is that most investigators are simply evaluating evidence and sensibly applying Sagan's Law. They aren't asserting a negative, just saying burden of proof isn't met. I remain open minded, including to alternative hypotheses to the ET one, but like the old Jewish saying goes, your mind can't be so open your brain falls out on the floor. The eternal question with evidence is what is it evidence of. Especially when it's produced as evidence of something that millions of people really deeply want to believe. Desire is a big fat ol' mind-clouder.
  16. Unless the NaCl is on some peanuts. This was a drink in the southern US, to drop some peanuts into a coke, the salt washes off the peanuts right away and it fizzes intensely for a bit. Wait a few minutes and drink, has a delicious nutty flavor and less carbonation "burn." Our family lived for about six years on the northern edge of the region where this was popular. Be sure it's classic Coke and the peanuts are salty. (This does NOT work with diet colas, and is probably an abomination) Why is this in inorganic chemistry?
  17. I wouldn't think interior dirt has much effect on connections, just the thermal effect Studiot described. Dirt where jacks are inserted might be more the problem.
  18. James Bond Cola, stirred not shaken.
  19. Sugar accelerates various degenerative diseases and the aging process, so usually the option with least sugar is the best. What you want is food with a lower glycemic index - you can google charts that show glycemic index for most foods. (Figs or bananas for example are better than refined sugar sweets, as they have more fiber to slow absorption in the gut) And watch out for empty calories with bad side effects, like this.... https://www.cnn.com/videos/media/2022/12/02/cocaine-bear-trailer-moos-cprog-orig-bdk.cnn
  20. This is just some background reading on what some foreign policy experts are saying we should be thinking about, in terms of a possible escalation to war with either China or Russia. About a ten minute read. Among other things, it gets into what scenarios are likely if the US actually decided to give military support (direct action) to Taiwan, and how few living Americans have real experience of a world war and the levels of sacrifice and suffering it would involve. https://archive.ph/2022.12.02-155532/https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/02/opinion/america-world-war-iii.html (PW free screenshot)
  21. It was the subtitle of the book, Three Men in a Boat, that exchemist was telling us about finding the French edition. It means To Say Nothing of the Dog. Three men, and Jerome added one fictitious dog. And yes, it's also a separate title for a Connie Willis novel, which naturally references the Jerome book. A funny time travel story, and one where a character journeys back to the precise year of the river journey detailed in 3MiaB.
  22. A dire rien du chien. Would be fun to reread - I recall it seemed surprisingly fresh for something written in the late 1800s, and that the dog was fictional. Regarding what we retain of foreign languages, I'm sometimes amused/puzzled by what comes back to me from high school German. (French I seem to remember more consistently, probably due to Francophone friends and then speaking quite a bit with my daughter). Es tut mir leid, ich habe meinen Kopf an die Decke geschlagen! I could swear that was a line of dialog in one lesson but now wonder if the memory can be trusted.
  23. I tend to agree, re Time Reborn, on the questionable need for a full length book. In fact, I skipped the large first part of the book which is a review of the history of physics, and dipped into the second part, which explains why he believes earlier theories are somewhat wrong. I.e. the need he sees to reestablish time as fundamental (and probably space as non-fundamental)(contra Einstein). Smolin's idea, shape dynamics, is how to do that. I confess I haven't followed up in the decade since he wrote it on reactions from peers. I suspect TTWP might cover a fair portion of what I read in TR.
  24. Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami. (started it, then dropped it, about fifteen years ago, finally came back and really got into it this time) I've read Smolin's Time Reborn with great interest. Do the titles you list make good companion reads to that?
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