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Posts posted by md65536

  1. Yes people can still make MASSIVE discoveries alone, and come up with very analytical and complex understandings of what ever it is they're working on.

    Also, some people don't tell their peers everything because people like to steal idea.

    I agree. Another aspect is that often when individuals share their ideas with others, they feel that others don't "get" their ideas. Individuals outside of the mainstream are often unable to express their ideas clearly and understandably. Ideally an individual would work with others to educate their self on how to express the idea scientifically, while also sharing smaller parts of their idea to get help validating or developing the theory (rather than trying to convince others that the entire thing is correct). Instead what happens is the individual feels that their idea is more important than learning about existing stuff, so they focus on it while avoiding learning how it's been done before, AND they feel ostracized by those they shared their ideas with. So they want to work in isolation until they can present their idea in a way that will convincingly prove to others that they're right.


    That has been my experience as a crackpot, at least.


    Not all new and good ideas require difficult math or a thorough understanding of a field, but such ideas are probably exceedingly rare. There is a natural tendency, when working on a new idea, to assume that it's never been thought of and that it's immensely important. So crackpots "appear to regard themselves as persons of unique historical importance". I think it's the same type of belief that a very rare situation applies to oneself, that many lottery players feel.


    I'm starting to feel like Galileo, and this place is the catholic church.

    Out of curiosity, have you calculated your crackpot index? http://math.ucr.edu/...z/crackpot.html


    "35. 40 points for comparing yourself to Galileo, suggesting that a modern-day Inquisition is hard at work on your case, and so on."



    Not that the index is authoritative, or that a high score means anything, but that's a lot of points you racked up right there!


    Sometimes crackpots are right. I find it valuable to try to avoid typical crackpot "mistakes" and other quirks that make it easier for others to not take you seriously. Historically, if the church would execute you for your ideas, you work on them in secret... which nowadays means hiding crackpot behavior.

  2. Since space is infinitely divisible, we can repeat these 'requirements' forever.

    "Forever" is entirely misleading, because it suggests a span of time, when the sum of time it takes to meet the infinite "requirements" is finite.


    It would be like saying that it would take an infinite amount of time to describe this part of the problem, when really you described it in a single sentence.


    But that's just semantics. The real answer to your question is...

    Thus the runner has to reach an infinite number of 'midpoints' in a finite time. This is impossible,

    That's where the argument breaks down. Of course it's possible. There's not even a justification for why it might be considered impossible. With any movement, no matter how small, you would pass through an infinite number of "midpoints". This is related to the concept of there being no smallest positive non-zero number. Any real number can be divided into smaller numbers, just as (as you assumed) any distance can be divided into smaller distances with midpoints.


    The argument would be similar to saying "Any number is infinitely large," -- which is obviously not true -- "because it can be divided into an infinite number of smaller numbers" -- which is true.

  3. Until proven otherwise.. I contend that US Humans are the most intelligent form of life that exist anywhere in the universe. Our Imagination is limitless.

    This cartoon sums up my response: http://xkcd.com/638/



    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. -- Carl Sagan


    Personally, I don't think that humans are anywhere near the maximum on the scale of possible intelligence. But that also isn't evidence of anything. I essentially agree with you, that "until proven otherwise", there's no compelling reason to believe intelligent aliens exist -- or for that matter that they don't. I'd be surprised to find out either way, but I'd be disappointed to hear that we're the best and only representative of intelligent thought in the universe.


  4. I would suggest researching different forms of meditation, especially the more physical ones. I'm too lazy to research it myself, but some ideas include Qi Gong, which has to do with mentally channeling energy through yourself in different ways; there's also those monks or whatever who meditate on body heat and as a test melt blocks of ice with their body heat; there's "energy healing" and the idea of energy points in the body that one can perceive, and stuff like that...


    A word of caution though... the mind is a powerful thing, and it can play tricks on us, and there are a lot of people who let themselves be consumed by some "belief" in one thing or another, which can become harmful if it overcomes one's ability to think rationally. In other words, there are a lot of seemingly crazy people involved in some of these things.


    Meditation itself isn't crazy though... it can be as simple as purposeful use of your mind. A lot of general meditation involves increasing self-awareness and perception of things we don't normally automatically perceive, and stuff like that, which may relate to your technique. Your technique sounds like "Mind over matter". I would suspect that the horizontal and vertical stripe system is something that is mentally conceived, cause I don't know of any anatomical feature that corresponds. That's okay though, because moods are also mental -- mostly mental, at least -- so it doesn't mean your technique is any less real.


    Look up various meditation techniques, and see if anything sounds close. Perhaps you could develop a new self-help kind of mental exercise, if you can explain the technique to people in steps that they can practice.

  5. If we are entering a band with tightly packed galaxies, it would appear as though our known universe was slowing and shrinking. If we were leaving a band of tightly packed galaxies, we would see what we do today. Galaxies speeding away from each other.

    Oh I see. I was way off.


    Does this "leaving of a band" produce fairly uniform expansion in all directions, as we see today? I would expect the expanding and shrinking to be dependent on the shape of the spiral arms, and that the universe would shrink into and expand out of a similar long and narrow shape. If the "front" of our galaxy is heading out of a band and the back closer to the band and being pulled back, that would explain the expansion in forward and back directions, but what causes expansion in a sideways direction?



    Anyway vordhosbn's post (it violates causality) and swansont's post (it doesn't account for what Big Bang Theory and dark matter etc account for) do it for me. If your theory implies no big bang, how would you explain evidence of the big bang theory like CMB etc?




  6. p->q




    If p, then q. Not q, therefore not p.

    The words are right but the correct syllogism is:





    It probably won't confuse anyone but me, but I didn't fully read your words and I was about to argue that you have the scientific method all wrong!


    There isn't a force that's simply pushing galaxies apart faster and faster. It is the fabric of space itself that's expanding faster and faster. I'm only aware of one force in nature that does this to space. That's gravity. Shouldn't we question whether gravity is causing this effect or not? Using the known laws of physics, gravity is the only thing (I know of) that can explain the increasing expansion of the known universe. If it is gravity, that would mean there is something incredibly massive warping the space in the tiny universe that we know. This would further imply that at some point, in our very distant future, our known universe would once again begin to contract. There would be no constant expansion, and therefore, no constant contraction as we move back in time. In other words, there would be no big bang. The universe as we know it, would not just keep getting smaller and smaller as we went further back in time. Our known universe would be like a beach ball riding up and down on the waves in the surf.

    I don't understand your reasoning for why the universe would begin to contract again. Are you familiar with the concept of escape velocity? Basically, if you have 2 masses moving apart at a fast enough speed, their gravitation attraction will slow their speed but not enough to overcome it completely. They may decelerate for eternity but never come to a stop (analogous to an infinite series of positive numbers that has a finite sum). I assume that most people don't get this idea. Does it apply to your reasoning?


    I've thought of the question of whether the universe is open (forever expanding) or closed (eventual big crunch) as a question of whether the Big Bang gave the component masses of the universe an escape velocity. But, with a universe that is expanding at a constant rate, or an accelerating rate, gravitation and escape velocity are not the main mechanism that applies.



    If the universe is expanding and accelerating outward at a fairly constant rate in all directions (Is it? I don't know), then some sort of uniform mass (a spherical "wall" beyond our range of observation) might account for this. Is this basically your idea? Or do I have it wrong? One way to work with this idea is to figure out how the wall may have got there (I can think of an easy way), and then figure where we (and everything we see) would be moving given the explanation of the hidden mass. Ideally you would model it. Is there a way to get the model's behavior to match what we observe today? That's not proof or anything but along the way you might find new paths of clues to follow. Anyway as for your original question (physics to show you're wrong), it's way over my head and maybe too broad.



    Addendum: I don't think this "spherical wall" idea matches what we observe today. If it were true, we should see greater acceleration toward the "near wall", but I think what we see is uniform rate of expansion in all directions. So then we'd need to be in the very center of the mass, and I can't account for that. Is there another way to have a distribution of mass that causes uniform gravitational attraction in all directions without requiring special circumstances for us?

  7. Since it's only approximately a Fibonacci spiral I would guess that the spiral shape is not due to photoshopping (otherwise, why not make it more perfect?).


    In the bottom left corner of the largest box, a Fibonacci spiral would aim straight down and curve to the right rather than continue off to the left.

    Also, all the boxes should be square and none of them are very close.

    Without that, you don't get the proper ratios that make it a Fibonacci spiral. This is just a spiral. It's pretty cool though.

  8. I'm going to go the opposite direction of Stephen Hawking and bet that by the end of this year, we will have a generally accepted theory that unifies relativity and quantum mechanics.


    I will also predict that there will be an explosion of related scientific discoveries over this year and the next few. In previous great years in the history science, there have always been few people working on the cutting edge of science, relative to the number of scientists working today, and the world took a long time to catch up. Today, there are so many brilliant minds who have a hundred years' worth of understanding of modern physics, who are ready for the next level of puzzles that will be unlocked when someone finds the missing piece to the current puzzle. There will be great excitement among scientists, which will attract further attention and excitement towards science in general. Theories related to a unified theory will force us to accept that "Everything we know about the universe from the largest scale to the smallest has changed", and this year will be seen as the end of the modern age of science and the start of the next age, with the very principles and methods of science undergoing an evolutionary transformation.





    This prediction is based on "hope" and wishful thinking, perhaps a bit of delusion, and maybe even a dash of secret information.


    Any takers? I will wager 400 quatloos.



    Edit: Okay I'm changing my bet to say that I was on crack, and on further thought perhaps I agree with Hawking, who expects only "a 'family of interconnected theories' might emerge, with each describing a certain reality under specific conditions."



    Perhaps within a year or two, there will be evidence that various competing models are at the same time correct, and unreconcilable... That the reality of the universe is fundamentally different depending on how you observe it. A sort of complementarity principle for the universe as a whole.


    Would a discovery of something like this count as a ToE? It's kind of an anti-ToE. The pessimist in me now says that whatever is discovered, acceptance and continuation of the work will be as slow today as ever, and science itself will resist a "greatest year in the history of science", preferring to take a gradual, evolutionary pace.



    I guess my new bet is: "Something interesting will happen in 2011. Or perhaps nothing interesting at all will happen this year. One or the other though... I'm 95% sure!"

  9. http://www.smbc-comi...=comics&id=1995


    You can deal with equations. If you understand that gravitational force is proportional to mass and inversely proportional to distance squared, then the equation g = GM/r2 makes sense.

    If the equation doesn't make sense, you probably don't really understand that gravitational force is proportional to mass and inversely proportional to the square of distance.


    If you understand that the gravitation force on an object is the same as the sum of the force on all its constituent parts (or particles), then some equation involving integration should make sense.

    If you don't know integration, or don't understand how to manipulate simple equations, then you may understand something about gravity but may be unable to use that information to figure anything else out.


    To get back to the original topic, perhaps in 2 generations time there will be children's books that explain stuff about which we can only say "We don't really know" today.


    Today, there are many explanations of special relativity that don't use math, but use trains and rockets and light signals etc. These are great for providing a children's or layperson's understanding of the topic, but not a scientific understanding of it. On the original topic of this thread, the point is moot, because there is not yet a broad enough understanding of the topic to provide a children's level understanding of it.



    As a side note, in high school I found it puzzling why gravity should be proportional to 1/r2... why exactly 2? Now I have a (speculative, maybe "not quite science") answer, but it comes in the form of math.



    Also, asking and/or pondering "why" questions can lead to good science (possibly along a long and winding road), however in this case the answers are either speculation or misinformation.

  10. Hawking's time travel is time dilation, where one observer experiences time at a slower rate than others (just as with the twin paradox).



    The Singularity you speak of is a predicted period in technological advancement where artificial intelligence is able to aid in technological innovation. The idea is that since they may be able to "improve themselves", then future iterations of AIs will be able to innovate better and faster, and through iteration will accelerate technological innovation beyond what is humanly possible, very rapidly.


    There is also the concept of a singularity eg. with black holes... a singularity is a mass with infinite density and thus takes up no space (a single point with no size).


    ...because of the intense gravity curving time.

    You keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means.


    Gravity doesn't curve spacetime. Mass does.


    Saying "gravity curves spacetime" or pulls on it or whatever is like saying "Leaning in a car changes the car's direction when going around a corner".


    Mass curves spacetime. Gravity is an effect. Gravity doesn't curve spacetime. Mass does.


    Acceleration (aka change in velocity) around a corner changes the car's direction (aka velocity). The resulting leaning, just like gravitational attraction, is due to inertia. The force felt while leaning involves overcoming inertia to follow the path of the accelerating car. This is similar to the force felt when trying to overcome gravity. Leaning, like gravity, is an effect, not the cause.






    Gravity doesn't curve spacetime. Mass does.


    In summary, Gravity doesn't curve spacetime. Mass does.

  11. How can you call this pure "crackpottery?"

    "Explanations" that are neither backed up with math, nor predict observations that existing theories do not, might be considered crackpottery. This doesn't mean they're wrong. They may be simply incomplete, and not ready to be accepted by others.


    What I was referring to is another aspect of crackpottery seen in this thread, which is a tendency toward sweeping claims that what has been established is wrong. This can be good in moderation, because our existing understanding is always evolving and some of it is wrong. As you've said, claiming that something is wrong without understanding it is bad, and a poor understanding of established science is where most of the bad crackpots seem to fail.




    There's nothing inherently wrong with crackpot science, but crackpots have to follow the same rules as everybody else. As it is, the evidence is stacked in favor of what is already established. Crackpots must speak the language of what has been established to show that it is incorrect. New contending theories must be backed up with math and/or empirical observations, at least as much as the theories they intend to replace.



    What good is a theory that makes no new predictions about what is observable, and also can't be shown to be true or false or even consistent? What can it be used for? At best (as far as I can fathom) it can lead to a testable theory, or it can influence other testable theories. So it may warrant additional work, possibly involving others who also willingly believe that it is worth investing in. If others aren't interested and you don't have the evidence needed to convince them, arguing your side will get you nowhere. Clearly, anyone who agrees with you must be of a similar mindset and easily convinced. Either way, having to strongly argue your case without evidence is probably wasted effort.

  12. Time exists...If it didn't we wouldn't have time dilation etc.

    I think time dilation, and the fact that different observers measure time differently, suggest that time doesn't quite "exist" ("To have actual being; be real") but is rather a fignewton of an observer's perception. One might say it only exists within the context of an observation, or even that it is illusory.



    Time can be separated into several concepts. One is the perception of durations, which I believe is entirely a product of perceptive.

    Another is chronology, or the ordering of events. Ignoring the measurement of durations between events, the chronological ordering of causally related events is absolute. I believe that the ordering of causally connected events (a "causal chronology") is a "real" aspect of the underlying nature of the universe, while the perception of time passing and the rate at which it appears to pass, is not.

  13. Can't you get banned for rudeness or something?

    Considering that you called a member of the staff "arrogant", I'm sure you'll be the first to know.



    My post is off-topic but this thread's a train-wreck! I have to take the side of "proper science" on this argument. I'm a crackpot scientist myself, but I've learned at least 2 things:

    1. It's a waste of time to engage with argumentative crackpots. They typically refuse to acknowledge accepted understanding, so any attempt to help them be better informed will be brushed aside.

    2. Math really is the key to go from idea to theory. An idea may be judged good or bad depending on opinion (the wilder the idea, the better it will seem to some and the worse to others). All of our wild ideas are typically vague, with parts that "make sense" but leave room for interpretation or simply let the details remain clouded in a mental fog. There are so many ways that the details can manifest, that it's unlikely to get them right via a guess based on common sense. So you take an idea, and you express it mathematically, and it lets you determine if your idea makes precise sense (whereas "word salad" can be shown neither true nor false because it's so vague). BUT BETTER YET, if the math doesn't work you can change it and fix it, and make it work, and in doing so that will give you the details needed to let you express the idea in words properly. Either by making the ideas precise, or by changing them completely, a good idea can become a good theory that may look nothing like the original idea. An idea in words may be good or bad, but the same idea in math can be right or wrong, and "good" doesn't always correspond directly with "right".


    An example is Mach's Principle, which "was a guiding factor in Einstein's development of the general theory of relativity," "but because the principle is so vague, many distinct statements can be (and have been) made which would qualify as a Mach principle, and some of these are false." Through words, Mach's principle doesn't tell you much about how the universe works. But Einstein did the math, and the math tells us how the idea works, and tells us so much more and in precise detail, than what Mach's principle says.


    Mach's principle on its own sounds like crackpot science. Yet it is a useful idea. I'm sure that Mach didn't have to fight with Einstein to prove his idea was right, and that if he had tried he wouldn't have been able to.

  14. To me, time is really only a metaphor of "cause and effect".

    My other theory (the boring one) concludes that time is equivalent to distance.


    While working on it I ended up with 2 separate concepts of "present": One is "what we can observe right now" and the other is "what we can affect right now". Considering special relativity and c as the speed limit of information, each of these is "equidistant" from our accepted understanding of "present", in time relative to some given remote location. That is, for a moon that is one light second away, what we can observe is at least 1 second in the past and what we can affect (on the moon) is at least 1 second in the future. (My theory diverges on that explanation, by the way.)


    What I currently figure is that our perception of time can be described completely as something like, "there is a perceived duration between emitting information and receiving information, which is proportional to distance." Or perhaps more interestingly, "there is a perceived duration between cause and effect (or action and observation), that is proportional to distance between the two." I think maybe there is nothing that can be described as "time" which can't be expressed this way???



    Anyway it's hard to describe in English without cyclical definitions and stuff. The theory seems to be perpetually 1 month away from being ready.

  15. We don't have a lot of money here at the Iguess U timology dept, but we did manage to scrape up enough to buy an old delapadated time machine.

    Cool! Do you need to get a Master's degree in Time to use it? Or do they just restrict it to those with Lord degrees?






  16. Loved your fast moving commentary. "WOW", Fantastic! to say the least. Are you perhaps studying something new at the Bellevue Hospital Center in NYC?

    Thank you! It's nice to see someone else as excited about the theory as I am!


    I am unfamiliar with the university of Bellevue but if they have an Advanced Timeology team in their physics department, then I'm sure it would be beneficial to have me speak to someone from there. I've been developing this theory in isolation. It would be nice to finally get some help.

  17. Time consists of energy that oscillates 90 degrees out of phase with spatial energy, in the form of particles called chronotons. These chronotons can be positively charged (representing time that hasn't happened yet, IE. the future) or negatively charged (which is what the past is made up of).


    Positive chronotons react with particles of the present, called immediatons, to create negative chronotons and other particles called effectons. There are immediatons present in all elementary mass particles. The more mass an object has, the more chronotons it needs to react with, which is why larger things are slower. Once positive chronotons are "used up", an object will basically slow to a halt. This explains why the moon has stopped turning some time in the past. However, negative chronotons can be turned back into positive chronotons through Big Bangs and also supernovae. The sun emits positive chronotons at a fairly constant rate, which is why time appears to flow at a fixed rate for all observers.



    I don't really have any evidence other than common sense. I've been working on this theory for awhile now and it seems to work.

  18. Not really. There are other effects such as frame dragging and gravomagnetism. Ignore those and you do indeed get that "mass is attracted to where another gravitational body appears to be at that moment", and you also get a system that is far worse than Newtonian mechanics. Take all of general relativity into account and you get something that is much closer to Newtonian mechanics than that simplest "lag only" gravitational model.

    Are you saying that frame-dragging etc warps space-time differently for gravity vs light? Or that light and gravity waves propagate along different geodesics or at different speeds? If so, that's something I don't understand. If you are not saying that, then I stand by what I said.


    To use a particle metaphor, one might say that photons and gravitons from a point on the gravitational mass arrive at the same time from the same direction (their path is the same geodesic across space-time warped by any number of phenomena). The result is that the gravitational mass "feels" (according to the pull of gravity) at any moment to be exactly where it appears to be at that moment.

  19. [...] red herring [...] straw man [...]

    Perhaps my arguments were unfair. I apologize. I've also realized that speaking of scientists and non-scientists in general based on a few posts, let alone based on all people who post to science forums, is a gross overgeneralization. However I don't want to hijack this thread so I won't argue semantics.


    Back to the original topic... in another thread by the same poster, I basically said in this post in the Speculations forum that the main mystery for me on this topic is how mass/energy in one place can affect the length of measurements at distant locations around it. If that could be explained, then I believe I could piece together a very loose, very speculative explanation of how energy/mass effects (as in "brings into existence") space-time, whose curvature dictates the path of energy (which includes matter), wherein the path of mass energy in an inertial frame manifests as gravitational acceleration.


    I was looking up "frame dragging", and I found this: "Static mass increase is a third effect noted by Einstein in the same paper. The effect is an increase in inertia of a body when other masses are placed nearby."


    Could static mass increase explain space-time curvature? If it explains how the presence of one quantity of energy affects the measurements of another quantity of energy, it would mean (to me at least) the missing piece to the puzzle.


    Unfortunately, I can't quickly find much info on it, and the wikipedia "talk" page says "I'm pretty sure this was shown by Carl Brans in 1962 to be a coordinate effect, and not fundamental." So it's more likely that static mass increase is an effect of space-time curvature, rather than a cause of it. Can anyone speak to this?

  20. This thread i think is a good example of the problem dividing scientists and non-scientists, and the resistance of each to the other.



    Obviously ProcuratorIncendia was wondering HOW mass and spacetime are related, but rather than saying "No one really knows, exactly," you argue semantics and say that the question is not really important.

    If he instead had asked "Why does an apple fall?" you would have answered "gravity" and maybe even explained it. I'm certain no one would say "Well that's not science!"

    I assure you, if you had a simple answer for a causal connection between mass and spacetime, you would think that it is science, and you would think that it is important.


    ydoaPs: "'Why?' is a question regarding the intention of a causal agent with respect to the effect said agent caused." -- I'm sorry but "cause and effect" DOES fall in the realm of science. "Why" can refer to both "what causes the effect" and "what is the predetermined reason for wanting the effect" or whatever. If you had an answer to either, you would give it. Instead, you argue semantics.

    This "That which I do not understand is not important" attitude will hold back science if you all take on that stance.


    ProcuratorIncendia: You say "I don't like equations...Try to not use them.", and "i'm not buying a book". What I'm hearing is "Explain this to me and I don't want to put in any effort."

    You might as well be asking "Explain science to me, without talking about any science."

    Or, "Make me understand, but I don't want to do any thinking."

    Or more to the point, I think you are asking that people simplify the explanation of some scientific aspect for you, rather than making it simple by understanding all of the related science (including math) behind it.

    I'm sorry for this rant and it's nice to see each side indulging the other to a degree, but I think a change in attitude would be helpful.

    Scientists: The simple fact is that not everything can be easily explained because we don't understand everything yet. That is an opportunity, not a problem to brush aside.

    Non-scientists: If you want to understand something that is on or beyond the boundary of mankind's understanding, you must go to that boundary and push it. If you want someone to bring the understanding to you on a platter, you must patiently wait for someone else to figure it out completely for you and write a "for dummies" book*.

    * That's just a joke by the way. Everyone in this thread is obviously well above average intelligence. Thank you.

  21. I have a fairly solid understanding of why the speed of light is a cosmic speed limit,

    but as for the value of c itself, I have no idea.


    Is this value connected in any way with other fundamental constants?

    Are the fundamental constants of the universe pretty much arbitrary? c is based on measurements of time and length, but would it work equally well if it was a different ratio? I don't see why not.


    There are theories involving infinite universes each with different values for the fundamental constants. People ponder questions like "Which would support the formation of galaxies? Which would support life?" and stuff.


    Personally, I would think that if we finally found a Unified Theory of Everything, that all of the fundamental constants could be derived from each other. However, I've seen no evidence that that is true. I've never found a plausible explanation of why the speed of light is the value that it is.







    you can get around this by using units of distance and time so that c=1, which is the sensible thing to do when dealing with light. Eg. instead of m/s, express it in lightyears/year. This defines distance in terms of the speed of light; you could also do the opposite and define a unit of time based on a unit of length. Then to make sense of the value of the speed of light, you would need to find a significant, non-arbitrary unit for either length or time. The Planck length is the only one I can think of, but that itself is based on light. Perhaps this line of reasoning could lead to an explanation, but the only sense I can make of it is that it just comes back to "an arbitrary value."

  22. Whether gravitons or spacetime deformation, presumably you could eventually have the "orbiter" actually catching up to it's own "wake" at some point. My brain hurts just trying to picture that situation. :D

    As gravity waves and light both propagate at a speed of c, you pretty much have that a mass is attracted to where another gravitational body appears to be at that moment.


    I've tried imagining a mass catching up to it's own "wake" and I'm pretty sure that it must involve it traveling at superluminal speeds, which is impossible for good reason.


    I think this idea is similar to something like "Imagine the orbiter catching up to its own delayed image, and seeing multiple copies of itself... can it crash into itself?" The answer is no; all three of the ideas in that sentence are impossible.

  23. I never really figured out the details, but doesn't the left side of the brain control the right side of the body, and vice versa?

    And the left side of the brain is more analytical, while the right side is more creative and junk. I wouldn't doubt that the motor control parts of the brain are quite separate from the thinking/reasoning parts of the brain, but the left-brain motor control stuff might have better connections to the analytical parts of the brain which might make it better for precise control.


    Then left-handedness might indicate something to do with the intrabrainial connections... perhaps a stronger connection between the hemispheres, which overrides the left-brain advantage, or perhaps some deficiency that reduces fine motor control in the left-brain.


    I myself am "mostly righthanded" but have less right-handed fine motor control, and I write with my left hand. I wouldn't doubt that some slight deficiency gave my right hand an abnormal disadvantage, and then years of practice in writing strengthened and honed the left-hand advantage.

  24. Okay I wrote up a perfectly wonderful response along the lines of everyone else and then spotted a source of confusion.


    Yes, an exterior observer would "observe the light reaching the back of the traincar first" as that end moved forward to meet the light signal that is moving backward.


    The situation you describe requires that the LED switch device is causally connected to the "light hitting the sensors" events. This means that the LED switch event must happen long enough after the sensor event, that information from the 2 sensors can travel to the switch. The sensor can't know instantly when a sensor was triggered; this information reaches it at best at the speed of light.


    An example setup might have the LED switch in the middle of the train, connected by wires of the same length to each sensor.


    The hobo (assumed) on the embankment with his perfect observation device "observes" the light hitting the rear of the train quickly, but then observes the signal from the sensor taking longer to reach the switch (as both are moving forward). Meanwhile he sees the light take longer to reach the front sensor (as the front sensor is moving away while the light travels), but then observes the signal from the sensor taking less time to reach the switch.


    Regardless, the sensor/switch setup is "causally connected", and no matter how you calculate it, I guarantee that no observer is going to see the order of any 2 causally connected events to be reversed from what another observer sees.

  25. 1. the inside part of the box (the content) is always smaller than the outside.

    I don't think this is true when relativity comes into play. Specifically I think that the inside of a black hole is "bigger" than the outside.



    But regarding the original question...


    Here are some concepts that I think are interesting when trying to understand infinity:

    - Infinity is not a value (infinity + 1 etc). If you treat it as a value, I think it's possible to say that infinity^2 == infinity. Google "infinite hotel" for seeing how you can expand an infinite value and not change its value. Or whatever.

    - There's a difference between countably infinite and uncountably infinite. The real numbers are uncountable but the rational numbers are countable (to my great surprise when I learned it). When speaking of infinite variability (such as the idea of multiple universes for every possible reality) the pigeonhole principle is also interesting. Example puzzle: If you have an infinite long string of digits that never repeats, will you eventually find any given finite string of digits within it?

    - An infinite number of things does not necessarily need to take up an infinite amount of space. Consider the infinite sum 1/20 + 1/21 + 1/22 + 1/23 + ... = 2. An infinite sum of positive numbers can be finite and in fact quite small. So an infinite number of monkeys could fit in a small room if the first monkey was normal sized and each next monkey was half the size of the previous monkey.


    Ask, or just google, for more info on the concepts. Probably the most fun way to understand infinity is to work through the puzzles and paradoxes involved, and build up not just one universal understanding of "infinity", but a whole set of tools for rationalizing about infinite values or quantities.






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