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  1. I think you're taking the analogy a bit too far. The surface of a 4D hypersphere is a 3D surface, not a sphere. That is, if you go far enough in any direction in our 3-dimensional universe, in this scenario, you will circumnavigate the hypersphere and end up back where you started. Because of this, the (hyper)volume contained by the hypersphere will also be 4-dimensional, not 3-dimensional, as in a normal sphere. So it doesn't make much sense to try to think of what stops the hypersphere collapsing, because whatever forces are involved can only ever be explained by physical laws that go beyond our universe. It can't just be assumed that gases (or dark energy, even, as we perceive it) could exist and behave in a way that we are used to within a hypersphere, because they will have to exist in a 4D space - meaning the physical laws governing them could be very different. Remember, this idea is just a way to visualize a possible shape of the universe. It says nothing about WHAT makes it that shape, anymore than we can infer any characteristics about the Earth's interior from only the fact that it is a globe.
  2. Xyph

    reversed visions

    I strongly suspect you imagined it.
  3. Hahahaha, that is obviously not going to work. Even if you did find some hallucinogenic combination (which you're absolutely not going to, just to reiterate) there's no reason to think it would be safer than just taking a drug, especially since you wouldn't know exactly what caused the hallucinogenic effects. There are a surprising amount of legally obtainable hallucinogens if you want to hallucinate that much.
  4. Stars create heavier elements through nuclear fusion.
  5. What do you mean? Slavs have a greater tolerance to alcohol?
  6. That's pretty interesting, if a little weird seeming. I eat chocolate occasionally, but I don't feel addicted to it, or any great desire for it at all, really... I imagine you'd have to eat a lot quite frequently for a craving to build up, but maybe some individuals are just extra-susceptible to whatever specific opiates chocolate might contain.
  7. I think they should have waited a bit longer before attempting a study like this. 24 hours isn't nearly enough time, IMO, to be sure that there are no lingering effects from the drug, and by publishing too early for any long-term effects to be determined they're potentially just providing more fuel for politically biased misinformation campaigns. It wouldn't hurt to exercise more caution when dealing with such polarised issues.
  8. Yeah, fish and other aquatic creatures would probably adapt well to 0g. I think birds would have trouble, though, since they don't spend their whole lives in the air, and even then are accustomed to flying under the influence of a gravitational field.
  9. Experienced users can predict the effects drugs will have on them. Granted, with psychedelics such as LSD the effects can sometimes be very unpredictable, but experience will still make you more able to predict what is coming, handle surprises if they do arise, and prepare things before hand so you're not in a situation which would be likely to induce a bad trip. Issues of impurities in the drug you think you're getting stem from the fact that they're illegal. If alcohol was illegal I expect you'd be a lot more at risk to adverse reactions, like blindness from methanol impurities, than you are when you buy a case of Miller today. Assuming the drug is reasonably pure and the user has used it before with little or no ill effects, and is not taking a drastically increased dose, heart attacks or seizures would be very unlikely. I could be wrong, but I also don't think very many drugs have the potential to be immediately lethal, and that most deaths probably stem from impurities - which, once again, relates back to the fact that they're illegal. Anyway, no-one is forcing anyone to use drugs. It's a personal choice, and when they're used responsibly the risk can be very minimal. Also, I think it should be noted that people are probably less inclined to seek medical help on drugs even if they badly need it because they're aware that what they're doing is illegal - whereas, I'm sure, people are frequently hospitalized for alcohol poisoning, not to mention the plethora of respiratory conditions that can result from nicotine addiction. In a society in which there was less of a relentless and seemingly baseless campaign to demonize drugs, I am sure that drug use (for recreational, scientific, or spiritual purposes) would be far, far safer than it is today.
  10. Obviously there are risks with any mind altering substance, but with proper preparation and careful use they can be significantly reduced. I forget where I read this, but it seems a particularly apt analogy - when someone tries to climb a mountain without preparing properly and falls to their death, no-one blames the mountain.
  11. Xyph


    Maybe because he's genetically healthy? Anyway, widespread genetic engineering will probably be available before the sort of social changes that would allow a system of eugenics to be implemented could ever come about, so I doubt it would be necessary. That said, I don't think it need necessarily be a bad idea. The Nazis have made it a taboo subject, but practiced scientifically and humanely I don't see what would be wrong with it. It's only necessary to look at the sort of families which on average have the most children to see the value a system of eugenics could have. As I understand it, it's already practiced to a very limited extent in the form of genetic counselling, given to couples whose offspring are especially likely to have a serious genetic condition. I see no problem with extending this sort of thing (to include family intellectual history, and the like), especially since the eventual, eugenics-regulated society would likely be populated for the most part with happier people than the society of today.
  12. Xyph

    Coldest life?

    Recently it seems there's been a lot of interest in the upper limit for the existence of extremophilic organisms, but I haven't been able to find very much on the lower limits of temperatures at which life would be feasible. So, what organism at the moment is the record holder for (reasonably comfortable) survival at the extremely low temperatures? I've read -15°, but I'm not sure how up to date this is, as the site also listed 113° as the upper limit for hyperthermophiles, which I know has been recently surpassed. Also, is there any theoretical lower temperature limit for life? Apparently at temperatures above 150° biological proteins should start to break down, making that a reasonable upper limit, but I haven't found anything on a lower limit.
  13. Natural Selection is a law. It occurs, by definition. Anything that is more capable of surviving will be naturally selected over something less capable of surviving. There's really no part of it open to debate.
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