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Everything posted by Sisyphus

  1. Either way it's just avoiding the real issue. Democrats have been utterly incompetent in holding the administration accountable for lying us into a war, and this is largely just a stupid stunt to try to do that indirectly, and, as usual, the Republicans have easily out-politicked them.
  2. Putting aside the greenhouse effect, human activity still can have a large impact on air quality, which would have serious adverse effects on the environment even if global warming were a total myth. More immediately, though, it has serious adverse effects on us, and our health. I remember seeing studies estimating the economic damage caused by health problems (and thus loss of productivity) from air pollution in different parts of the world. It's much greater than you might think. Greater even than the economic benefits of not regulating industry's air pollution. So they really don't even have that excuse...
  3. "People who care about their IQs are dorks." - Stephen Hawking Now just imagine what he'd say about someone willing to pay hundreds of dollars to cheat on an IQ test and get into a society for people with high IQs. EDIT: Fun questions, though! Apparently I have an astonishly high IQ! Either that, or the patience to figure out every question on an untimed test...
  4. No reason, I guess. But there's plenty of reasons not to buy such a thing (I think Snail covered them pretty well), so if you're making it as a sellable product, then that's a pretty good reason not to.
  5. The short answer is that nobody really has any idea. It's just something that probably has to be there, somehow, for a lack of a better explanation. The universe is apparently expanding at an accelerating rate, nobody knows why, and so they postulate the existence of some gravitationally repulsive force that, they calculate, has to make up more of the universe than everything else put together. It's really just kind of a "placeholder" until we can figure out what's really going on.
  6. http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/program/nmd/ They've certainly been trying, but they've mostly just managed to waste mind-boggling amounts of money so far...
  7. Well, obviously mankind's causing of massive worldwide extinctions is just part of God's intelligent plan to make those species that are still around after we've destroyed ourselves incredibly resilient to rapid climate change and urban habitats.
  8. My notation worked as follows: There are two possibilities for the male in each coupling, NN and Nr, with probabilities of 1/3 and 2/3, respectively. The same with females. Thus, by multiplying probabilities together, you get the probability for each specific mating possibility (e.g., 2/9 of all couplings will be Nr male with NN female). Then I took the probabilites of the offspring of each combination, and multiplied them by the probability of the mating possibility to get the portion of the next generation. For example, 1/2 of Nr/NN offspring will be NN, and 1/2 Nr. Thus, 1/9 of the next generation will be made up of NN from a Nr father and a NN mother. I thereby calculate the probability of every single possibility, and then add together identical results to get the total probability. Mokele, are you sure that's still the case if no double-recessive carrier survives to breed? If so, why am I wrong?
  9. I did it as follows, for the second generation, and equivalent for the third. Male:*******Female:*****Offspring:******Total: 1/3 NN******1/3 NN******1/1 NN********1/9 NN ***********2/3 Nr******1/2 NN********2/18 = 1/9 NN **********************1/2 Nr********2/18 = 1/9 Nr 2/3 Nr******1/3 NN******1/2 NN********2/18 = 1/9 NN **********************1/2 Nr********2/18 = 1/9 Nr ***********2/3 Nr******1/4 NN********4/36 = 1/9 NN **********************1/2 Nr********4/18 = 2/9 Nr **********************1/4 rr********4/36 = 1/9 rr Adding every possibility up, you get 4/9 NN, 4/9 Nr, and 1/9 rr. Sorry about the crazy formatting. I couldn't get it to leave empty space.
  10. Perhaps he's saying that calling someone a "monster" dehumanizes them, thus making it not an immoral act to kill them. The irony being that this is exactly what such people do to others: they don't consider their victims as people, and so have no qualms about doing anything to them. Calling someone a "monster" is just a way of excusing oneself from the responsibility that would come with seeing them as human beings. Also, it's a way of just giving up any hope of trying to understand them, which is extremely dangerous: if you don't have any idea why someone does something, or how they became what they are, you don't have any way of protecting yourself from such people, and you have no way of knowing if you yourself could become what they are. You can say "but I would never do that," but how can you say that if you don't even know why they did it? In wartime, propaganda often tries to portray one's enemies as inhuman and evil, as if they didn't have motivations for their actions, and as if everyone didn't do what they thought was best. (*cough* "axis of evil" *cough*)
  11. Assuming no rr survives to breed, every NN and Nr has the same amount of offspring, the mating is random among NNs and Nrs, no individual mates outside its own generation, and the population is large enough that one individual is a negligible percent of the total (i.e., so if there are evenly divided NNs and Nrs, a given NN is just as likely to mate with a NN as a Nr): first generation: 25% NN (1/3 of breeding population) 50% Nr (2/3 of breeding population) 25% rr second generation: 44.4% NN 44.4% Nr 11.1% rr third generation: 56.2% NN 37.5% Nr 6.2% rr
  12. It seems like computer viruses are about as "alive" as real viruses. Possibly even more so. I don't even know how to begin considering the internet as a single entity, though.
  13. Shouldn't it make a difference how many paddles there are?
  14. Wouldn't you always stay the driest by moving the fastest? Sure, you would obviously get more wet per unit of time, but you would also get to where you're going faster, and presumably be out of the rain. This, of course, is assuming that the limiting factor is not length of rainstorm but distance you have to travel. Again, take the extremes. Moving infinitely fast, you get all of the water that is in the air between you and your destination on you. Standing still, however, you get infinitely wet, since you'll never reach your destination. I guess it depends on the context. If you're stuck outside and have to wait out the rain, stand still or move as slowly as possible. If you're going from one dry place to another, move as quickly as possible. EDIT: That website seems to think I'm wrong about moving as quickly as possible (at least when the rain is not vertical), but it's still definitely a bad idea to move as slowly as possible!
  15. This wouldn't happen to be a homework question, would it?
  16. It's number 2. One mole of something is avogadro's number of molecules of it, and there are two atoms of N per molecule of nitrogen gas. As for the second question, 3.01 x 10^23 is half avogadro's number, meaning that many of something will be half its molecular weight times one gram. So take its molecular weight, divide by two, and the mass is that many grams.
  17. Why would I need any of this if I have a perfectly good Ouija board?
  18. This is a list based on Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, his book about pseudoscience, how it's different from real science, and why it seems to be taking over. I think it's very good, and contains what Mr. Sagan calls his "baloney detection kit," which ought to be applied to all arguments, scientific or not. Looking it over, I found it fun to classify the various threads on these boards into categories of logical fallacy. Anyway, the following are suggested as tools for testing arguments and detecting fallacious or fraudulent arguments: * Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the facts * Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view. * Arguments from authority carry little weight (in science there are no "authorities"). * Spin more than one hypothesis - don't simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy. * Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it's yours. * Quantify, wherever possible. * If there is a chain of argument every link in the chain must work. * "Occam's razor" - if there are two hypothesis that explain the data equally well choose the simpler. * Ask whether the hypothesis can, at least in principle, be falsified (shown to be false by some unambiguous test). In other words, it is testable? Can others duplicate the experiment and get the same result? Additional issues are * Conduct control experiments - especially "double blind" experiments where the person taking measurements is not aware of the test and control subjects. * Check for confounding factors - separate the variables. Common fallacies of logic and rhetoric * Ad hominem - attacking the arguer and not the argument. * Argument from "authority". * Argument from adverse consequences (putting pressure on the decision maker by pointing out dire consequences of an "unfavourable" decision). * Appeal to ignorance (absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence). * Special pleading (typically referring to god's will). * Begging the question (assuming an answer in the way the question is phrased). * Observational selection (counting the hits and forgetting the misses - why people believe in ESP). * Statistics of small numbers (such as drawing conclusions from inadequate sample sizes). * Misunderstanding the nature of statistics (President Eisenhower expressing astonishment and alarm on discovering that fully half of all Americans have below average intelligence!) * Inconsistency (e.g. military expenditures based on worst case scenarios but scientific projections on environmental dangers thriftily ignored because they are not "proved"). * Non sequitur - "it does not follow" - the logic falls down. * Post hoc, ergo propter hoc - "it happened after so it was caused by" - confusion of cause and effect. * Meaningless question ("what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?). * Excluded middle - considering only the two extremes in a range of possibilities (making the "other side" look worse than it really is). * Short-term v. long-term - a subset of excluded middle ("why pursue fundamental science when we have so huge a budget deficit?"). * Slippery slope - a subset of excluded middle - unwarranted extrapolation of the effects (give an inch and they will take a mile). * Confusion of correlation and causation. * Straw man - caricaturing (or stereotyping) a position to make it easier to attack.. * Suppressed evidence or half-truths. * Weasel words - for example, use of euphemisms for war such as "police action" to get around limitations on Presidential powers. "An important art of politicians is to find new names for institutions which under old names have become odious to the public" I know there's already threads about this sort of thing, but this version seems more concise and complete than anything I could find here, so I thought I'd post it.
  19. Because you're looking for change in Y? Since you have a triangle, what you have is a^2 + b^2 = c^2 x^2 + y^2 = 25 y = sqrt(25-x^2) So that's the equation for the height of Y in terms of X. Then take its derivative to get change in Y (in meters) per change in X (in meters). Then, if you know that x is changing at 4/3 m/s at x=3m, multiply by 4/3 to get change in Y at the same moment. Then the change in slope is easy, since it's just change in Y divided by change in X.
  20. That's one way to take "perfectly rigid." You could also take it as infinite elasticity, as I did, just based on the fact that as the rigidity of the objects increase, the time needed to rebound approaches zero and the force exerted approaches infinity, so instantaneous rebound is the "limit" at this impossible situation. But actually trying to figure out what happens at infinity is rather pointless, I think... you're going to have some kind of paradox no matter what.
  21. There are no calories in fiber, since by definition it is undigestible, therefore not providing any energy or nutrients. It just makes everything run a little more smoothly...
  22. In order for momentum to be conserved, they would have to bounce off of each other, and since they are perfectly rigid, this change in velocity takes place in zero time, requiring infinite acceleration, requiring infinite force. Or, rather, such is the limit that the situation approaches as one makes the bodies more and more rigid.
  23. Yes, you could, if you could manipulate the material precisely enough. But you could also create a bacterium, or a tree, or a human, theoretically. It would just be hellishly complicated and probably pointless.
  24. MattC, I don't see how that description makes them any less alive then, say bacteria. I think the real reason they're not classified as alive is because they have no metabolism, and are entirely dormant outside of a host cell. http://serc.carleton.edu/microbelife/yellowstone/viruslive.html
  25. 1) Yes. Radar works in space. But, obviously, its limited by how far away you're looking. Distances in space tend to be very large. 2) No. I think the Cold War pretty much took care of that. 3) Yes, but again, it just depends on how far away.
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