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Everything posted by lemur

  1. I was wondering whether it would be possible to generalize about a relationship between gravity and atmospheric pressure in any gravity-well. I was trying to think of the parameters that would affect atmospheric pressure and came up with basically just the amount of heat driving the molecules and the amount of gravity compressing them. I also wondered if gravity helps determine pressure by how fast particles accelerate in free-fall, or if this is negligible because of their small mass. I wondered if there is maybe a layer of atmosphere in any gas-giant that corresponds with pressure at sea-level, and whether this would also correspond gravitationally due to the particular altitude. E.g. might there be an altitude/layer of Jupiter's atmosphere where pressure is 1 atmosphere and gravity is 1G? Also, does the chemical composition (i.e. type/mass of particles) of the atmospheric make a difference?
  2. Maybe, but conversation doesn't involve risk of pregnancy or STD. I suppose it could put you at more risk to converse with someone who has a cough or flu though, but not as much as having sex with someone with an STD.
  3. This may be true, but to know it, each of these things has to have been observed empirically, including the lens, cornea, nerves, hormones, synapses, etc etc. Then, all the processes of interaction among them has to be theorized, tested, etc. to form a systems-model. But I don't think it's useful or wise to regard the synthetic level as more fundamental than the direct empirical level. You jump very quickly to the synthetic-analytical level. Yes, theoretical knowledge can help you neutralize your observations. You might revise your observation from "dancing a jig" to moving in an erratic pattern. Nevertheless, my point is that you base factual observations on the presumption of empirical reference, not abstractions, generalizations, or patterns. Fine, but we can also try to observe that framework in terms of facts, including direct observation of our own thoughts. My big point is that when you observe a thought, it would be a fact. If you would observe a thought-pattern, what you would really be observing was a thought regarding other (past) thoughts. So mainly I'm concerned with differentiating between direct observation and synthetic 'observation,' which does not generate facts but extrapolations, imo. No one "plainly sees" the Earth's roundness. I believe that Galileo used a pendulum to track changes in its direction and used the data to extrapolate support for the idea that the Earth was moving. Why would you want to confound directly observable facts with theoretical knowledge unless you were trying to endow theoretical knowledge with extra efficacy in everyday beliefs? Why should people believe that the Earth is spinning and revolving around the sun instead of just understanding it as a well-grounded theory? What facts does it alter, specifically? That's great. I'm for that. I'm for theorizing and comparing how facts relate to each other in different theoretical frameworks. I still think, however, that it is worth distinguishing direct empiricism from theoretical-contextualism or whatever you want to call it. In other words, it helps to understand the relationship between facts as they appear in discourse and their (implied) empirical basis for observation. So, for example, when you claim that it is a fact that the planets revolve around the sun, you should be aware that no observer has ever been in a position outside the solar system necessary to observe this. So this is not really a fact but an extrapolation from general ideas about the way gravity causes massive bodies to interact. That is different from looking at a tree and observing that the leaves are farther from the ground than the trunk. That is a direct observation.
  4. I would guess it is more fear of what the social consequences might be if they actually succeeded academically that cause black students to do worse. I.e. If you suspect that you'll be treated with disdain if you test into "higher" classes, you might just conform to work-levels that keep you safe. Also, if you know that (some of) your friends might call you a sell-out or tell you that you think you're superior if you try to "climb the ladder" or "play the game," that might be another reason to avoid testing exceptionally. Some people, regardless of race but probably more having to do with class, just don't like math or other academic knowledge. They just focus on doing what they have to do to get money and, of course, this approach doesn't get you too far when the amount of knowledge and analytical skill you have to demonstrate are too tedious to do half-heartedly. Maybe Obama is inspirational because he combines a certain amount of the "keep it real" attitude of black culture with white-cultural political ideology and rhetorical styles. He does seem to create the impression that white and black cultural styles are not as opposed as they are often made out to seem, imo.
  5. That's not the kind of stability I'm talking about. I'm talking about the relative integrity of the electron shielding of the nucleus. I was under the impression that in sub-plasma phases, atoms behave more or less like basketballs where the electrons determine the relative volume and pressure of the ball. I thought that becoming plasma (in the high gravity/pressure/temperature of fusion, e.g. in a star) the electron shielding gives way and the nuclei interact at a closer proximity and with more interaction between the attractive and repulsive forces between the protons & neutrons themselves. I can't remember the source that gave me this impression, though, so maybe I misunderstood. I was thinking more in terms of a particle/object gradually spiraling into the BH in a way that it would have time to accelerate to near-C. In that case, there would be an orbital path at some area of the gravitational field where both light and matter would orbit at almost C, no? This is assuming that matter wouldn't simply convert into radiation from the high levels of energy it would attain by accelerating close to C. This is just my impression, though, on the basis that particles have to approach infinite energy to accelerate close to C. It seems like if gravity was causing them to keep accelerating at such high velocities, they would start losing mass/inertia by converting it into massless radiation. That doesn't seem logical to you?
  6. You seem to be confounding two different issues. One is the reliability of observations; and you're right, observers can be mistaken in what they observe. The second is the notion that the validity of a general theory can be truer than a pattern derived from a few observations. From my perspective, neither the theory nor the pattern is "factual." The only factuality possible, imo, is the factuality of individual observations. Once you move to pattern-extrapolation or theory-forming, you've transcended the level of observable facts and entered into the abstract realm of interpreting those facts. Now, as far as observation of facts requiring theory, that may be true insofar as you have to know what you are interpreting in what you see. Nevertheless, the theory involved in observing a fact still requires some operationalization of something observable on the basis of sensory information. You can directly observe a paperclip accelerate toward a magnet, or toward the ground, but you cannot directly observe a magnetic field or gravity. Both are extrapolated from factual observations, not themselves (direct) factual observations. Magnetism or gravity may be a valid explanation for observed facts, or force/fields of magnetism or gravitation could be operationalized as the observable push or pull on an object and thereby observed as facts. However, I don't think a species is a fact but rather an observed pattern among observed facts of individual organisms. I.e. species is not directly observable in an organism except by reference to other observations in other situations.
  7. That's what I would have thought before post #14. So you don't think that the interdynamics of electrons and their nuclei stabilize the atoms in a way that destabilizes in the plasma state? My impression was that stable atoms are stable because their volume is much greater than the nuclei. I thought the high-energy interactions in plasma was due to the nuclei coming into closer proximity and being able to move more fluidly than when the electrons are intact. All I meant by matter becoming more "light-like" is that the trajectory of a photon through a given gravitational field results in less deviation from straight-line motion than for particles/objects with mass. So, as the speed of the particle increases, its trajectory approaches the straightness of a photon and, likewise, when light is emitted closer to black-hole levels of gravity, it can curve at levels closer to that of particles of matter. So is there not convergence between the gravitational responses of matter and light as gravity and/or velocity increases?
  8. I'm not talking so much about whether a given fact is reliable or not. My point is that a fact is directly observable data, i.e. something that can be witnessed directly. Observed patterns, extrapolations, laws, etc. may be based on facts and correctly explain and predict facts, but does that make them facts themselves? I don't think it does. F=MA is not an observed fact, for example, it is an observed and tested generalization regarding numerous factual data observed in different situations. Something doesn't have to be a fact to be perfectly true. I just think it is useful to distinguish between directly observable facts and other forms of (true) knowledge that is not a description of direct observation.
  9. For many people, cars ARE brothels on wheels! My point about the sexual repression was that if people were liberated enough sexually to take responsibility for their desires and activities, they would just negotiate sex sober. There would be no need for the whole song and dance of going out to a club, dinner, movie, having drinks, etc. There would be a type of red-light district for casual sex where no money would change hands. People would just go there when they were in the mood and negotiate what they want and how and do it right out in the open. Without cultural repression, having sex in this way would be neither particularly exciting, illicit, illegal, or risque'. It's all the repression and control surrounding sex that causes people to be selective about who, how, what, where, when, etc. including the need to dress, act, look, and smell special for the occasion. All this frill surrounding sex, as well as the taboos and regulations, causes sex to make people very nervous. They are nervous to ask and nervous to say yes when they want it. Then when someone shows up with a date rape drug, it becomes popular because the hurdle of explicit consent can be short-circuited. I think you should do more research into the psychological consequences for people who use this drug, either as assailants or victims. I have, for example, heard about someone who woke up the next day after a fraternity party not being able to remember what happened but being aware from the state of her body that she had had sex. What do you think would go through your mind if that happened to you? Would you see a doctor to be tested for STDs? Would you wonder every time you saw a guy from that fraternity whether it was him or whether he knew about it? Or would you just brush it off as par for the course? As "paying your dues?" What about guys who participate in such sexual encounters because their buddies convince them that everyone does it and it's no big deal? What happens when those guys later start to give serious consideration to the illegality and moral/ethical gravity of rape? What happens when those guys become fathers with daughters and they have to worry about someone doing that to his daughter knowing that he did it to women when he was her age?
  10. If there was any sexual liberation coming from this drug, wouldn't users be coming forth to claim that they were not raped/manipulated into sex but that they did it completely voluntarily? If anything, sexual repression is responsible for the use of the drug in the first place, not its banning.
  11. I think "fact" should be reserved for direct observations. Theories explain observed facts, imo. To call a theory factual because it explains facts seems redundant to me because the issue isn't whether the theory explains the facts or not but what the implications of explaining them in this way or that are. Theories should not be compared, imo, in terms of relative veracity. Instead they should be compared in terms of how the differ from one another and how they approach the observed facts they explain. When patterns are observed among observed facts, the generalizations about such patterns should be referred to not as facts but as "observed patterns," imo.
  12. If the mass of a bound system is less than that of the free constituents, then how could fission result in a net gain of mass AND gain of energy? Also, does this mean that matter is not ultimately reducible to pure energy? Are these particles truly elementary?
  13. And this convergence makes me wonder about possible further ramifications. In this solar system, for example, there is a very marked distinction between the behavior of matter w/ inertia and that of light/radiation. As a solar system approaches the mass/gravitation of a black hole, however, I am guessing that distinction becomes less. Stars themselves, whose gravity is sufficiently large to render matter into a plasma phase, probably give some indication of what it means for matter to approach pure energy. If I'm correct, the plasma phase of matter itself involves a collapse of the distinction between heavy particles (protons & neutrons) and electrons. I.e. we are accustomed to electron shielding of atomic nuclei and other electron-energy phenomena at our level of gravitational intensity, which causes the nuclei to function only as anchors for the orbiting and free electrons to act as energy-carriers. However, when unshielded the larger particles seem to begin acting as their own energy-carriers while all the energy that is potential in the electron-shielded state is transformed into pure energy (i.e. radiation). I would also guess that looking at increasingly massive stars would reveal ever larger proton/neutron configurations behaving as lighter energy-carrying particles. It's as though the higher gravity gets, the less distinct matter gets from pure energy. Is it coincidence that the effects of gravity on light/energy vs. matter in terms of trajectories through spacetime also become more similar as gravity and/or speed increases? Could pure energy/radiation itself be a phase of matter? I.e. radiation is to plasma what gas is to liquid? This also makes me wonder if radiation/light could go through condensation-type phase changes when subject to the gravity levels of a black hole. The core issue in all this, to me, involves energy density as a function of gravitation because pure energy is ultimately the capacity to radiate in the straightest line possible at the highest speed possible, which translates into the least dense energy-expression. The more light curves, the smaller total volume its energy takes up, so it could be said to be densifying with higher gravity, no? I'm guess this means that in a black hole, matter and energy have converged into an undifferentiated primordial-type substance that doesn't exhibit differentiation in terms of how we normally think of light and matter behaving in different ways and interacting with each other in terms of inertia and momentum. Is it possible that there could be a third state of matter-energy that transcends the common distinction/differentiation between the two?
  14. Do you enjoy savoring the subtleties of it when it's you experiencing someone else's vengeance?
  15. No, it's just a way to vaguely estimate trends in social patterns; or an alternative to other kinds of morality for people in search of something else. Well if NO ONE would steal, then how would anyone ever experience theft? If the number of thefts decreased by half, you would generally only have half the risk of having something stolen. Another way to put it is that you'd only have something stolen half as often. So when you do steal, it increases the chances you will have something stolen from you sooner, no? Plus, if other people know that you were victimized by theft, it makes stealing seem that much more normal to them, which could make it easier to make the choice to do it for someone deliberating about whether to or not. When something happens to you that you've never done before, it is interesting to think in terms of karma from past lives. Obviously people are born into situations that influence what will happen to them in life, but what makes a person deserve to be born into one situation and not another? If you believe in reincarnation, there may be some reason for it.
  16. I don't think an experiment to measure anything is necessary, unless current knowledge and formulas are flawed. What would interest me is to know how much a particle at a certain velocity changes course through a certain trajectory of a gravity-well and how to compare that with light on the same trajectory. After all, how do you measure how much light is bending due to gravity? I mean, no matter how much it may bend it always make the object you see appear to have a straight line path between you and the source. It's not strange. It's just a fact. But it is noteworthy that whether a particle gets trapped in a gravity-well is a function of its mass and its energy/velocity verses gravity. If the sun was much hotter, for example, I think all water could boil off the Earth's surface and float away with the solar wind. On the other hand, if Earth was more massive and/or more compact a higher energy atmosphere would still fail to eject as many gases beyond the gravity well. Similarly, I would guess there are nearly black-hole density neutron stars that bend light quite a bit before the light gets through and moves on. I also think that higher frequencies of light bend less than lower ones with less energy, but I may be remembering that wrong. It would seem that any given gravity-well has a certain ratio between the energy-level of a particle or object and the velocity needed to achieve a closed orbit (circular or elliptical). So, for example, a black hole requires massless photons traveling at the speed of light to achieve closed orbit at a certain proximity. A slightly less dense neutron star might only be able to sustain a certain masses of particles in its orbit, depending on what happens to those and other particles as they approach the near-C speeds required to sustain orbit. I'm guess that at some point close to the speed of light, particles of matter get converted completely into light/radiation, but someone with more expertise should confirm or reject that since I don't know much about how particles breakdown in accelerators, etc.
  17. I thought karma was Hindu, but it doesn't really matter. You don't even have to use the word karma; I just find it easier to use a familiar word than explain the concept completely from scratch. Karma can be thought of in terms of past and future lives due to reincarnation, but it can also be applied to events within a single human lifetime. The idea of karma actually makes the morality of good and bad somewhat irrelevant because it simply says that what you do to others will be done to you. So instead of moralizing about what is good and evil, you can just count on it happening to you if you do it to someone else. People do often fall into moral discussions of what causes "worse karma" than something else, but those discussions are easily resolved by saying, "whether good or bad, if you do it to someone else it will be done to you." I was talking with someone about euthanasia the other day and they were talking about the mercy of it and that there may be good karma incurred from it, etc. but it's just as simple as "if you euthanize someone to save them from their suffering, someone will euthanize you to save you from yours at some point." That way you can simply decide for yourself how you would/will feel about someone euthanizing you, under what conditions, etc. instead of reasoning about it in abstract terms. I'm not suggesting you should believe in karma; just explaining the logic and why it is somewhat plausible. If you're an anti-ideologue please spare me all the reasons against it; I'm well aware of those and I'm not a fanatic trying to demonstrate the physical reality of karma as a type of sub-atomic particle or something.
  18. Sure, people can evolve into critical thinking about politics, but part of that evolution is learning to reflect on their own and others' approaches to media and other forms of authority. As long as they sleep in emotionality and reward-based social conformity, they're going to keep reproducing the thing that democracy is supposed to counteract.
  19. what intrigues me is the relationship between various things in motion and the spacetime curvature of gravity. For example, why does light bend a certain amount due to gravity while an object with mass moving along the same trajectory will veer more and even fall into the gravity well? According to Newtonianism (and maybe other approaches as well), all objects are supposed to fall at the same rate in the same gravity regardless of mass. Yet, as particles get lighter, they become more likely to escape gravity wells with lower amounts of energy/momentum. So a water molecule can evaporate off the moon, whereas Earth's gravity is too strong for that to happen to water, although it could happen to helium on Earth. Black holes, then, supposedly have enough gravity to capture and contain light, the way Earth captures and contains heavier molecules with mass. But does matter and light fall into a black hole along the same path? I'm not sure why this question of when the curvature of spacetime is the same or closer to the same for light and matter, but it seems key to me for some reason. For example, in relatively straight paths through spacetime, matter and light easily follow the same path. But as spacetime becomes more curved entering a gravity well, the paths taken by the light and the matter will diverge more, correct, although both will still curve to some extent. Anyway, I know it sounds strange that this interests me but I'm not sure why, but somehow it seems key to the relationship between energy and matter.
  20. Does the mass of a particle ultimately caused by the energetic relations of its components or some inherent mass in those components or a combination of the two? Sometimes I think all particles consist of counterbalancing fields resulting from infinite levels of sub-particle/processes. Other times I wonder if there's not some particles that are ultimately irreducible to underlying energy-relations. Is this a pointless issue or do you think that all particles will ultimately be explained in terms of interacting energy fields? Or are they already and I just don't get the theory (i.e. string theory, etc.)?
  21. Actually, using violence as a deterrence for violence creates a cycle of fear leading to attack of the threat associated with the fear. Terrorism thus consists of the cycle of the two mutually invigorating forces or expressions: 1) fear 2) violence against a perceived threat. When I learned about Ghandi's claim about non-violence that one has to be in a position to commit violence to resist it, I just happened to come across news photos of Osama Bin Ladin sitting cross-legged with a peaceful look on his face and a machine-gun resting in his lap. I also saw photos of GW Bush in military gear standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier, a more powerful weapon than a machine-gun but his demeanor was similar to Bin Ladin's, i.e. peaceful and securely in control of the violent machine at his disposal. Now, compare that to the general popular attitude toward both these men, which was overflowing with fear, anger, and calls to violence. So, imo, what the war on terror was really about was recognizing that cycles of fear and violence had intensified and expanded for many people during the 1990s and that the tensions had to be de-escalated by making people responsible for their power so that they would learn to control it more calmly. Obviously people had the power to commit acts of terrorism and launch a global campaign to intimidate people against committing terrorism. What was lacking was the ability to control and resist these two opposing types of power - and I think the war on terror has accomplished that to some extent, although I don't know what an alternative would be that you could compare it to and thereby measure relative success or failure. Ultimately, I think the fact is that everything that occurred as part of the war on terror occurred as a response to earlier events, so the war on terror was not just a choice about how to respond to terrorism, but it was almost a natural effect of that terrorism itself. Power breeds more power, but it also breeds resistance and the war on terror seemed to involve many different stages of expansionary power breeding resistance. Was it a success? Everyone who survived won to some extent, no? Although everyone who survived also lost to some degree as well.
  22. I tend to believe in the law of karma, where everything that people do to others will eventually happen to them. Think this can provide a certain feeling of revenge, i.e. "they'll get theirs." But it also deters you from actively plotting revenge because you realize that harm and vengeance are a continuous loop, meaning the thing you're retaliating for is probably something you did to someone else in some way in the past and you were just experiencing the effect of your own past-actions. So you can retaliate but karma says that by doing so you are putting the series of events into effect that will eventually bring your revenge back to you at someone else's hands. Of course, many people hate the idea of karma because they prefer the idea that they can do things in their life that they can get away with never happening to them, but if you think about it that doesn't make sense because every action you take is part of a larger vocabulary of human possibilities. So when you reach into the grab-bag of possible human actions, you are basically setting a precedent that increases the likelihood of that action happening more in general in the future. As a result it becomes more likely that you will experience that action from another angle at a future moment. Probably some types of action go extinct because they fall out of use completely while others rise in popularity and become more common to experience as both actor and acted-upon. If revenge or certain methods of revenge grow in popularity, it is likely that people will be more often punished with revenge in their everyday lives - and likewise many of these people will be angered by it to the point of seeking revenge for revenge. Life could end up a lot like Looney Toons.
  23. Dare I call this kind of politics, "post-modern?" The reason I say this is because I think (modernized) ideals of democratic discourse have eroded with the evolution of mass media techniques of seducing people into holding certain views or thinking about an issue in a certain way instead of explicitly reasoning a point of view and expressing full responsibility for what one believes and why. Comedy can be really anti-democratic because it's so much fun to laugh and people don't want to be the target of laughter/ridicule. So politically-oriented comedians can satirize certain views and viewers with weaker egos will latch on to the point of view that the comedian is implying not to be ridiculous and avoid giving serious thought to the ridiculed point of view out of fear that they might be ridiculed for taking an unpopular, unrealistic, or otherwise vulnerable position. So the driving interest in choosing political views for many media watchers, I think, is the desire for social approval and respect along with the fear of being criticized for taking an unpopular/marginal pov. Of course, the media steers people into certain prescribed marginal views too by labeling some views and unpopular/marginal and nevertheless having popular people express them in ways that make independent political positioning seem sexy or valid. Ironically, it doesn't really matter which media-promoted position viewers embrace, there usually seems to be a strong element of emotion and social validation involved. This is not to say that no one who watches the media ever reasons in a really independent way and discusses what they come up with without self-censoring to appease social judgment. I just think the media provides many avenues for escaping negative social judgment by engaging in popular discursive styles like humor or vague but buzzing political views. As a result, you'll hear people express cookie-cutter statements about their political views regularly; i.e. something they heard in the media that is intelligent yet quip-ish. Then when you ask them to explain why they think what they do, or bring up a reason to re-consider their position in new light, they get irritated because they don't really have any active reasoning that goes along with their position. They just felt like it made sense in the context they heard it and so they say it to others to gain social validation as being politically involved.
  24. There's a current disconnect between two opposing economic philosophies. One says that the economy needs to grow to include everyone for them to survive and the other says that people need to be able to survive without the economy. These opposing economic viewpoints also tend to dichotomize on issues like religion, military purpose, etc. If neither side bothers to understand the other, what hope is there for democratic cooperation? Btw, I was referring to the implication of the wingnuts book that republicans are simply insane and therefore problematic and impossible to cooperate with.
  25. The problem with the low iq defense in modern criminal justice is that attorneys would council their clients to fail an iq exam as part of a defense "strategy." That ruins the legitimacy of the defense for people who really don't understand what was wrong with what they did.
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