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Daniel Waxman

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  1. I was wondering which side of the political isle is more likely to seek out opposing viewpoints, if there is a difference at all. If we asked people who identify as liberals or conservatives how often they visit cnn.com vs. foxnews.com, which group would be more likely to equally visit both?
  2. Being "triggered" is what the kids say these days when someone gets upset, perhaps overly so, when they hear an opposing viewpoint. I was wondering if conservatives or liberals are equally likely to be triggered, or if there is a difference in likelihood. One way of quantitatively gauging which group is more likely triggered is to see look at websites like Reddit, where liberals and conservatives have separate spaces, and we can observe their up-voting and down-voting behavior, i.e. if there are a greater number of highly down-voted comments in subreddits dominated by liberals when compared to subreddits dominated by conservatives then we can conclude that liberals are more likely to be triggered. Is this a good way to quantitatively measure the likelihood of being triggered between each group?
  3. Many academics are overworked and underappreciated. Most people cannot understand their work, and some academics may feel that their wealth and status in society is not commensurate with their usefulness and intelligence. They may yearn for the recognition and admiration which they feel they deserve but have not received. When an opportunity comes along that allows such academics to finally be in the limelight, will they gracefully relinquish that attention when it is no longer necessary, or are they vulnerable to a sort of addiction to attention? In that case, can we fully trust academics to be non-biased?
  4. Most people aren't experts in any particular thing, and if they are then their competence is limited to a specific area. Yet we have a need to make decisions related to many subjects we do not fully understand, and in those cases we often rely upon authoritative people and organizations to guide us in that process. But how can we decide who we should trust? Governments have been malevolent and dishonest in the past, and scientists have gotten things tragically wrong. How should we as laymen decide where to place our faith? Because that's what trusting an authority ultimately is, faith.
  5. That's too bad. Can you think of any ways to force the orientation of molecules without an electric dipole?
  6. The emission of infrared radiation by CO2 molecules is of particular interest to climate scientists. I was wondering if the vector direction of this emission is affected at all by the orientation of the molecule, i.e. is the emission equally likely to be in the direction of the two oxygen atoms or the carbon atom? I was wondering, since if the CO2 molecule is polar, and the vector direction of this emission is affected by the orientation of the molecule, could we place a strong charge on the ground in a remote area to force the CO2 molecules above to re-emit infrared out into space?
  7. Freeze time, and consider two people who are clones. Exact clones, not just in their gross bodily dimensions, but down to the position of every last subatomic particle that constitutes their body. Every molecule, cell, neurotransmitter, ribosome, platelet, etc. is in the exact same relative position in both of these clones. We can say that they are morphologically identical. Now these two clones cannot occupy the same position in space, so when we "press play" and allow time to proceed they will cease to be morphologically identical. Since they occupy different positions in space their bodies interact differently with the surrounding environment, and at the very least their neurotransmitters will be in different relative positions almost instantly. Over time their bodies, and especially their brains will diverge in their structure as they interact with their environments differently. On a side note this allows us to assume that morphological differences in the brain account for differences in behavior between people, without conceding that those differences are genetic in origin. But my main question is related to a thought experiment where we place morphologically identical people into a symmetrical space, so that they continue to be identical in real time. A symmetrical space is one in which there exist at least two positions where we could place morphologically identical people so that their interaction with the surrounding environment would be identical, so that they would continue to be identical. It seems trivial to imagine a void space, and to then place two morphologically identical people face to face with one another. Of course they would suffocate in the vacuum, but they would do so in an identical way. But could we place three morphologically identical people in the void and expect them to remain identical after we "press play"? It seems like we can just have them stand in a ring of three people, and each of them would perceive the same thing; themselves standing in a ring of 3 clones with their two clones on their left and right. In fact it seems like we could make a clone ring of arbitrary size, just put n morphologically identical people in the void and they would all perceive the same thing and continue to be identical. Now if we try to introduce complexity into the environment it becomes difficult or even impossible to maintain morphological equality. The clones will instantly interact with their environments differently since complexity eliminates the possibility of a symmetrical space, and the clones will instantly become distinct. So it seems to be that achieving equality between humans is impossible, even if they are genetically identical?
  8. I think stopping the analysis at the point of recognizing that the threat is ambiguous misses the bigger picture. It has to do with cognitive dissonance and avoiding guilt. There is zero guilt in wanting to avoid a serial killer on the loose. However wanting to avoid our socially awkward cousin may give us feelings of guilt if we try to rationalize it. Is there really anything wrong with him? Can we precisely say what it is that makes him unpleasant? The feeling of being creeped out by him allows us to justify avoiding associating with him without over-analyzing why we don't like him, which might make us feel guilty if we can't really put our finger on why. Creepiness allows us to bypass feelings of guilt over our own potentially irrational dislike of things. Is it irrational to have such a hatred of all spiders? Perhaps, but I don't have to confront it, they're just creepy and that's all there is to it.
  9. Is this true? From what I know Einstein was more interested in understanding quantum mechanics itself than using a set of ad hoc quantum rules to construct models of particles and materials. From https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/07/opinion/sunday/quantum-physics.html: It seems more like Einstein was pushed out of the field rather than making an intentional choice to ignore it.
  10. I think you are being results oriented. If Einstein had been proven correct in UFT we would be extolling his brilliance. Einsteins skepticism and refusal to accept the currently understood physics, Newton's theory of gravitation, is what allowed him to develop the theory of relativity. What is the third step of the scientific method? Hypothesize, which is a fancy word for guess. Brilliant men can make a wrong guess. Even Newton was wrong about his corpuscular theory of light. Does it mean Newton was arrogant? No, his completely wrong corpuscular theory stimulated thought and experiment on the nature of light which eventually proved the theory incorrect and in the process illuminated its true nature, chipping away at the marble just little more.
  11. ar·ro·gant adjective: arrogant 1. having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities. Einstein did not have an exaggerated sense of his importance or abilities. He was very important. He was very good at physics. If you think Einstein was arrogant you are a poor judge of it. For the record fear of arrogance is selfish, both in others and in oneself. If you had a strong moral character you would tolerate the discomfort of feeling inferior without lashing out, and if you believed you were onto something important you would peddle your idea without hesitation since your reputation would be of secondary importance. Prioritizing your reputation and excessively thinking about others' opinion of you is selfish since it interferes with productivity and progress.
  12. It has been used by world class politicians. You are free to use language however you wish. Just don't be surprised when people call out your sexism.
  13. It is not. It may even be the most likely outcome that humanity will die before leaving the solar system. By the way, we like to say peoplekind, not mankind. Hopefully if we ever travel the stars we'll have learned to stop being sexist, we can't even do that right yet.
  14. I was thinking about my personal top four smartest people of all time. In chronological order; Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, Michael Faraday, and Albert Einstein. Unfortunately only one of them had children. Would it be possible to exhume the remains of these geniuses and sequence their DNA so that we could clone them?
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