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Everything posted by dstebbins

  1. I've actually noticed a strange correlation between our traits and our hobbies. Most people tend to develop hobbies based around their strengths. It's almost as if evolution has equipped us with an in-born desire to engage in activities that play to our strengths. For example, I am very intelligent. I didn't work hard to get this intelligence, either. When I was a kid, I could sleep in math class, and still pass the class. In fact, the teacher allowed me to sleep in class BECAUSE I was still passing. That's not effort, right there. I was born with my math skills. I can't beat around the bush, here. As inspiring as it may be for a story, to say that I passed math class because I knew shortcuts in the mathematical process, the fact of the matter is ... I just happen to have a brain that makes me good at math. My hobbies compliment this. I enjoy science documentaries. I enjoy video games that make me think\, like strategy, puzzle, and RPG games, rather than the brainless shoot-em-ups like Call of Duty. Similarly, in the movie "The Incredibles," Dash is upset because he can't try out for the school's track and field team. However, the reason he wants to be on track and field, in the first place, is because the super speed that he was born with, out of sheer luck, made him good at it. I've even seen this pattern amongst people who aren't yet aware of their unique skills, which is what makes me think it's an evolutionary trait. For example, Dean Karnazes has a series of unique body traits that make him the perfect. Muscles that are impervious to exercise damage ... extra blood in his veins ... and a variety of other things. http://www.cracked.com/article_19661_6-real-people-with-mind-blowing-mutant-superpowers.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=fanpage&utm_campaign=new+article&wa_ibsrc=fanpage Gee ... it sure is a good thing he just happened to pick a favorite hobby that exposed those body traits of his! Except ... I don't think that's coincidence. Did he pick his own favorite hobby? Or did his body sub-consciously nudge him him in that direction, giving him the desire for that hobby that his body sub-consciously knew it was built for? Now, you might think that makes total sense, and in a way, it does. But it has some horrifying implications about our self-awareness, free will, and independent thought. Indeed, this thread probably deserves to be just as much on the Philosophy board as it does the biology board. Our hobbies make up about 80% of who we are. When describing our personalities to potential friends or potential love interests, our hobbies are the most important thing we discuss. Mutual hobbies are the most important thing we look to when deciding compatibility (either as friends or as love interests). But if our hobbies - or, rather, our desire to pursue a certain course of conduct, thus leading to hobbies - are actually assigned to us, based on what our bodies know we're good at, then our hobbies lose their subjectivity. We become mere androids. The conduct that we THINK we are engaging in of our own "choice" is, in fact, not our choice at all. Rather, just as our desire for sex is an evolutionary trait installed into us in order to keep the species going, our desire for our hobbies is programmed into us, at birth, based on what our skills and bodily traits just happen to be. Sure, we can consciously reject our desires for our hobbies, just as we can consciously supress our desire for sex, so you could make the argument for free will that way. The question is ... who in their right mind would, of their own conscious choice, go out and do so something for fun ... that they don't think is fun!
  2. Are you sure about that? I looked up nonsequitur on merriam-webster.com, and the definition I got was "a statement that is not connected in a logical or clear way to anything said before it." In the examples I gave, there is a logical connection between Events W, X, Y, and Z. Specifically, the connection is ... Mr. Defendant is just trying to delay the case because he's shaking in his boots and knows he's screwed if judgment gets entered. Nonsequitur seems just as inapplicable in this circumstance as "circular reasoning." That name seems to fit, but the phrase "circular reasoning" is usually applied specifically to "peptitio principii" arguments, not any other type where you're arguing and endless loop (such as Catch-22, or this type of circumstance). I do legal briefs for a living. Lawyers send me their cases, and I write the briefs for them. So, whenever an opposing party makes an argument that doesn't make sense, i need to know what to call their bullcrap. Courts care about semantics like that. Besides, if I know the official name, it makes the attorney I'm helping out appear smarter, which increases the odds of those lawyers getting on the judges' good side.
  3. You're missing an important element from my OP. In my initial premise, Event Y negates Event W. In your example, the scheduled BBQ doesn't negate the thunderstorm. Here's another example. Again, I'm using a court case, since that's the only thing I can think of right now (don't ask me why). A lawsuit is filed by Mr. Plaintiff. No evidence is attached to the Complaint, but that's because the Rules of Civil Procedure don't require evidence to be attached to the Complaint, The Complaint is just where you make the accusations, not where you actually prove your claim. This lack of evidence attached is "Event W." So Mr. Defendant gets served with process, and ask the Court to throw the case out without a trial, on the grounds that Mr. Plaintiff hasn't shown any evidence to support his baseless accusations. Granted, he's not SUPPOSED to attach evidence to the Complaint; that's what "discovery" is for. However, a Motion to Dismiss means that the litigation cannot move forward to the "discovery" phase, untilt he judge denies. Even if the denial is academic, and the motion to dismiss is totally frivolous, we still need a judge to actually deny the motion, first. Just as how we need a jury to find a defendant "guilty." Even when the evidence is overwhelming, we still need a jury verdict to rubber-stamp his conviction. So, "Event X," in this example, is Mr. Defendant's attempt to use the lack of evidence as an excuse to not participate in the rest of the litigation. Frustrated by Mr. Defendant's attempts to delay the case, Mr. Plaintiff goes ahead and files a Motion for Summary Judgment, attaching the evidence that Mr. Defendant says was lacking. This is "Event Y." Mr. Defendant, however, complains that he should not have to answer a Motion for Summary Judgment until he has had a full discovery. This is "Event Z." Problem is ... the lack of discovery (Event X) is caused by Event W, and Event W is negated by Event Y! So, Mr. Defendant has no business still engaging in Event X, which means Event Z makes no sense, and thus is based on a logical fallacy. What is that fallacy called? Not Event X. The logical fallacy is from Event Z.
  4. Event W happens. John uses W as an excuse for not doing Event X. Suddenly, Event Y happens, which negates the alleged deficiency from Event W that supposedly exempts John from having to do Event X. However, John argues that he cannot comment on, or respond to, Event Y until he's had time to do Event X, an omission which, as of Event Y, he has no excuse for not doing. Obviously, John is just trying to avoid work. His boss isn't going to buy into that, and the boss is going to fire John's butt. But, what is the official name of this logical fallacy that John is trying (unsuccessfully) to use to avoid work? Here's an example that involves tangible events: A Defendant gets brought into court. He argues that, because the charges against him lack sufficient detail, he shouldn't be required to enter a plea just yet. So, the prosecutor files an amended charge, giving the detail the Defendant complains about (even if it wasn't necessary before, the prosecutor humors the Defendant juist to move the case along). The Defendant argues that, because he hasn't entered his plea yet, adding new charges is premature. Obviously, the Defendant is going to be in for a rude awakening, and the Judge isn't going to be amused with his shenanigans. But, what is that logical fallacy actually CALLED?!
  5. I just read Nineteen Eighty-Four for the first time in over a decade. I got to the part where Winston Smith was being tortured with electricity. This has made me wonder ... is that plausible? Like ... how many kilowatt hours of electricity, per second, would it take to torture somebody? I know the book never says how many volts are being put through Winston's body (it just says the dial goes up to 100, but doesn't specify unit size), but it was enough to make Winston forget why he was counting the fingers, so let's use that as the threshhold. If we assume that electricity costs ten cents per kilowatt hour, how much money would it cost Guantanamo Bay to electro-torture a suspected terrorist to THAT level a solid 12 hours a day (giving him periodic breaks, for psychological torture)?
  6. Some people will draw a horizontal line through their Z's so they don't get confused with the number 2. Indeed, it is very easy for someone who is writing fast to write their Z's and their 2's identically. The only difference between the letter Z and the number 2 is that a 2 is supposed to have a loop at its top, wile a Z is supposed have a sharp zig-zag. So, when you're trying to write fast, some people - simply out of muscle memory - will draw a horizontal line through thier Z so it looks completely different form a two. But for some reason, Z is the only letter like that! There are plenty of other letters that can look like numbers, or even other letters, if you're not careful. It's very, very easy to draw a Y that looks like a 4, an O that looks like a zero, an "n" that looks like a 6, or a lower-case A that looks like a lower-case D (or even a capital O that looks like a Capital D, if you're not careful). Heck, the lower-case P and Q are just backwards forms of each other! So, Z is NOT the only letter that is susceptible to this problem. But it IS the only letter that has such a universally-accepted solution. Why?
  7. If this doesn't have a name, it definitely needs one, since it's a clearly observable facet of human behavior. It's the tendency of older generations to blame new technology for all (or most of) the world's problems. People of today blame the Internet for all types of suicides, con artists, etc. A few years ago, grandparents were blaming violence/obesity/just about anything on video games. In the 50's and 60's, grandparents were blaming that stuff on television. Old people during the time of WWII blaming mass panic on radio (as you can read about in the #3 entry of this article) If an old person hasn't grown up with the technology, it's suddenly the Devil! The world would suddenly convert to a utopia (like it was when they were young) if we just got rid of this technology or that! What's this phenomenon called? It happens often enough - and reliably enough - that I think we can safely say it's part of "human behavior," and thus should be included in sociology studies. Besides, if we had a name for it, we could silence quite a few of these types of people (we'll never silence all of them, but we'd silence quite a few) by simply explaining to them, in a nice, succinct manner "Dude, you're just doing _____________." Kind of like how somebody in a political debate may accuse his opponent of being subject to "confirmation bias," or how they're "arguing a peptitio principii." When you have it nice and succinct like that, you can convert a lot more people than if you recite an entire scholarly article to them.
  8. Ok, now, before anyone blurts out the answer some of you are certainly thinking ... yes, I know that the reason it's blue as opposed to pink (like on Mars) is because of our oceans. That's not what baffles me. I'm wondering why a clear, daytime sky has ANY color at all, other than black. When it's night, we see the stars as just a bunch of white dots scattered across an otherwise black void. The night sky is black ... because that's the color of nothingness. The stars are, absolutely, shining light in all directions. The only problem is ... there's nothing in the deep void of space for those stars' lights to bounce off of (at least, nothing large enough, and close enough, for use to be able to see it; after all, we don't exactly have the best seats in the house). So, why should it be any different during the day? We don't see the stars during the day, not because they aren't there, but because the sun is just so bright that it blocks out all the other stars while it's out. But during the day, there's no solid object for the sun's light to bounce off of, giving us the blue "ceiling" (for lack of a better word). Even astronauts, when they're out in space, look out the window and see what looks like a perpetual night, even when the heat next to the window tells them that they're clearly facing the sun. Because again, nothing to bounce the light off of. And if you're telling me that it's the atmosphere that the sun's light is bouncing off of, well then why isn't it that way even during the night? This random idea just popped into my head for no reason! Can somebody answer it for me?
  9. Well of course. Gambler's fallacy. But, each individual flipping of a coin does, in fact, yield a 50% chance of success. Sure, you can get three failures in a row; you can get three hundred failures in a row! But every coin-flip will always ... ALWAYS ... have a 50% chance of success, since each coin flip is entirely independant of any other coin flip coming before or after it. What StringJunky is saying is that each generation apart the parents are, the likelihood of undesirable recessive genes is reduced by half, per generation (because there are two parents; if there were three parents, each generation apart would be 1/3 as diluted as the last). Sure, it's still a probability, but the odds are more heavily in your favor the more distant you get. The chances of undesirable recessive genes would never go away completely, since the division of a nonzero numerator can never yield a zero quotient (and since it's impossible to have a zero denominator in the first place, we need not worry about that), but it gets smaller and smaller with each division, to the point of being negligible. My question in my OP was ... at what point does the odds of birth deformities become so small that it's practically (emphasis on that word) nonexistent?
  10. There are scientific reasons to avoid incest. Morality and "ew" factor aside, children tend to have deformities if their parents are biologically related to one another. But ... what counts as "biological?" Aren't we all biologically related to some degree? Even if you're not religious and don't believe in the whole "Adam & Eve" thing, it's highly improbable that evolution would just happen to create independent batches of homo sapiens in different spots around the globe. Even if you take religioun out of the equation, we almost certainly started out as a single tribe. So ... how many generations need to seperate the parents, biologically speaking, before it's safe for them to mate? And before anyone starts trolling ... no, I have no particular "reason" for wanting to know this! It's just curiosity!
  11. Fine! That's all fine and good! But ... WHAT IS IT CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLED?!
  12. Surely there has to be an official scientific name for this, though, right? I mean... this is an observable aspect of human behavior. I may have given only a single pop culture example out of a famous book, but that isn't the only time it's happened; it's just the only example I can think of where 99% of people would know the example I'm talking about. Everything has to have a name. That's the "sciencey" way.
  13. I googled that concept, and that's ... not even remotely CLOSE to what I described. What I was able to get abut that the "Conflict Theory of Deviance" concerned economic class warfare, not subconscious behavior triggered by unexpected changes in circumstance.
  14. The phenomenon I'm thinking of is an aspect of human behavior. It's the one where a person doesn't adhere to his expected, practiced rehearsed format when the circumstances behind the event change unexpectedly. Does that make sense? Well, here's an example: In the award-winning book "The Giver," Jonas is expecting to be called to become a legal adult, and subsequently be given his job assignment, immediately after the person with the number "Eleven-Eighteen," since he is "Eleven-Nineteen." He was preparing to walk on-stage in the specific style he had been practicing for months. However, much to his surprise, the person conducting the ceremony skips over him and goes straight to Eleven-Twenty. Only when she finished the ceremony did she finally retrace her steps and head over to Jonas. However, when he walked on-stage, his practiced walking style was totally out the window; because the circumstances had changed in a way he didn't anticipate, his walk was extremely sloppy. I've observed this phenomenon many times before in my own behavior and patterns. When something doesn't go as planned, my exact posture and form take a serious drop in quality, since I was, at that point, quasi-improvising. But, what is this phenomenon called? Does it even have a scientific name?
  15. Well, my OP was concerning an even twhere all denominators WERE x. "If an event has x chance of success, and the event occurs y times." That means that it's the same event each time.
  16. Intuitively, I would like to call this the "Law of Cumulative Probabilities," but I'm not the authority who decides what to call a particular law of mathematics. When an event has "1/x" chance of occurring with a particular "successful" result, and you run the event y times, then the probability of success every time is "1/(x^y)" A good example of this rule of cumulative probabilities being applied in the real world is thus: Suppose there's ten serial killings across the nation. On the 10th killing, a police officer - having heard of the previous nine killings - takes it upon himself to search the customer databases of nearby hotels. He then procures the same records of hotels within 50 miles of each of the previous nine killings, and runs them through a computer to see if there are any matches. Lo and behold, there is a match! Turns out, this guy named Johnny Samuel Rodrigues the Third (I just made that name up, sincet his is a hypothetical example) is known to have rented nine hotel rooms, all within three miles of their corresponding murders, and all nine stays were ended on the dates the autopsies show the murder to have happened. While any one of those, standing by themselves, could be handwaived as coincidence, ten in a row is going to entitle the authorities to a warrant to the man's arrest. Or at the very least, a warrant to take the man's DNA. What is this law of probabilities called?
  17. I want to call it an "introductory clause," but I'm not exactly certain. When I'm describing a cause-and-effect scenario, and I'm doing so in the form of an "if-then" sentence, what's the clause in the sentence called that describes the "if" scenario? Ok, I probably just confused the hell out of you, so here's an example: "If you stick a penny in a light socket, you will get electrocuted." As you can see, I just described a cause-and-effect scenario, using an "if-then" sentence. The "if" or "cause" is sticking a penny in a light socket, and the "then," or the "effect," is electrocution. The "cause" is in bold, and the "effect" is underlined. What is the clause that's in bold called? Is it called an "introductory" clause, a prefatory clause? A wacka wacka clause? Or something else?
  18. Hmmm... let's see, here: Yep, it seems you are correct! Thanks a bunch!
  19. I'm currently thinking of a paradox where a person (usually a biased, agenda-driven witness, especially when testifying in court) essentially makes the following arguments: A (the main claim to be argued) cannot possibly be true because of B (some refutting evidence). B, the opposition argues, is discredited because of C (some flaw in B's evidence). However, the first party says that C cannot possibly be true because A is false, the very thing you're supposed to be arguing. And you're caught in this endless circle. For example, suppose you're sitting on a jury in a police brutality/racial profiling lawsuit. The Police Chief says that his officer could not possibly have used racism in the handling of the arrest (that's "A") because every police officer is trained to not use use racism in the handling of an arrest (which is "B"). When pressed for details, he reveals that the extent of this "training" is attending a six-hour-long class. On cross-examination, the Plaintiff asks how one can be trained (not merely taught, but trained) to do ANYTHING in only six hours. Remember, evidence of this so-called "training" is being used by the Defense to justify their minimal oversight and monitoring of the officer's activities, which means that if officers are left exclusively to their own conscience and morals, things like racial profiling could easily slip past the radar. Prior training - and adequate training at that - is the only thing that could possibly justify such a hands-off policy. However, when asked about how such small amounts of training could possibly be enough, the Chief simply replies "Well, they must have found a way to make it work, because no one on our force commits racial profiling." No doubt, if you were on that jury, you would find in favor of the plaintiff on the issue of municipal liability (Note: For the municipality as a whole to be liable, there has to be a policy or custom within the municipality; otherwise, the plaintiff can only get damages against the individual officer). However, for the purposes of this thread, I'd like to know... what is the NAME of that logical paradox?
  20. In a lot of movies and, more recently, video games, I see people beating the crap out of other people to extract information from them. Their person being interrogated has their spirit broken almost instantly due to how massively painful-looking the torture is, and the information they give is almost always the truth. Take, for example, this scene: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fR42WhYCqU At 0:30, the interrogation begins. A mere eighteen seconds later, at 0:48, he's spilling the beans. Well, maybe that's a result of several minutes worth of off-screen beatdown. But... what's TRULY impressive about this scene is that Joel knew the man was telling the truth, to the point where he didn't see any point in asking the other man to verify the information. But maybe that's a bad example, so let's try another example from that same game: From 0:08 to 0:21, this guy goes from "willing to die to protect the cure for mankind" to "giving the location to a crazy man who wants to damn mankind to an eternal living death" in thirteen secoonds flat. But even more impressively, the guy ended up telling Joel the truth. Why? Couldn't he have just lied and said "she's... in the... basement!" With the last one, I can accept Joel not believing the guy when he said he didn't know any girl, but if the man had chosen to give the wrong location, how would Joel know? I'd like to know... is there any legit science to this? Does pain, if severe enough, have any tendency to block out or in any way impede the human brain's ability to fabricate things?
  21. To be fair, though: There are some conspiracy theories out there that actually DO have some evidenciary backing to them. Take, for example, the theory that many major metropolis cities' mass transit systems were purchased and demolished by auto companies in a malicious attempt to cause more people to need cars. You even see this referenced as a plot point in Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Bold claim, right? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, right? Well, there are public records with the various state Secretaries of State (who, at the state government level, handle mostly administrative things, such as business filings, while the federal Department of State mostly handles diplomatic relations) showing purchases of these mass transit companies by new, upstart companies that were owned by the at-the-time boards of directors for automotive companies... and were shut down mere months after said purchases. How's THAT for proof?
  22. Initially, I called this paradox a "catch-22," but I don't that entirely fits. It's a logical paradox where a person, or a group of people, believe a general rule, but do not believe any one specific instance of the rule occuring. A classic example of this paradox is government corruption. Most people believe that the government is corrupt... http://www.cbsnews.com/news/global-survey-majority-feel-corruption-has-worsened-think-governments-cant-fix-it/ http://www.usnews.com/news/newsgram/articles/2013/07/10/majority-of-americans-say-corruption-has-increased http://www.examiner.com/article/new-poll-most-americans-believe-obama-government-is-corrupt ... and yet, when most people are faced with specific allegations of government corruption and/or conspiracy theories (classic example: the JFK assassination), they tend to be in denial; the few who believe the conspiracy theories are generally seen as paranoid by the general public. What is this logical paradox called? Where you accept a general truth but deny any specific allegations that stem directly from this general truth?
  23. Ok, hypothetical scenario: If I'm in a parked car, and then I step on the gas, traveling the hypotnuse of a 100m x 100m right triangle in 10 seconds, then I'd be traveling a straight distance of 141.42 meters, right? So, if I do so in 10 seconds, then my average speed is 14.14 m/s, right? So, you're saying that my final velocity is 28.28 m/s? So, that would mean that my average acceleration would be 2.83 m/(s^2)? Is that about right? So, what's the d stand for?
  24. I was looking for the equation for acceleration, and I found this webpage: http://www2.franciscan.edu/academic/mathsci/mathscienceintegation/MathScienceIntegation-836.htm However, this equation doens't help me, because in my current situation, I don't know the final velocity. I know the starting velocity was 0 m/s, because the object whose acceleration I'm trying to calculate started in a stationary position. What's the equation for figuring out the acceleration if you begin at rest, and then traverse d meters over the course of t seconds? Obviously, the AVERAGE velocity would be d/t, but how do I calculate the acceleration?
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