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Everything posted by Hypercube

  1. I've heard this argument before, and I am very divided on my opinion of it. The conspiracy theorists will say that it was all a ploy by the Bush administration to be able to justify hugely increasing the budget of the military, but while I certainly wouldn't put it past Bush, there's one huge hole in the premise. We're supposed to believe that Al Qaeda, who hates the US, agreed to work WITH the US to bomb buildings in US territory so as to rally support from United States citizens to allow the US to go to war against Al Qaeda? That seems pretty absurd in my opinion; it would be the very definition of shooting yourself in the foot.
  2. No argument from me there; Scientology is an insult to the human race, nevermind an alien race. lol.
  3. Obviously we can't know for sure unless someone actually investigates this, which to the best of my knowledge has never been done, but I'm curious of what everyone's opinion about this is. I'm sure many of you have heard of Stanley Milgram's famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) shock experiment, so I won't bother explaining it, but suffice to say I was absolutely horrified by the results and am quite confident that I would never take it the whole way like the majority of participants did. But after watching a documentary about a reenactment (I can't remember the proper word for when someone repeats an experiment) of the experiment, I thought of an interesting question: Would atheists/unbelievers/agnostics, such as myself perform better on the experiment than religious people/theists would? Personally, my opinion is that they very well might, for two reasons. One, despite what the religious fundamentalists will often say, atheists are not inherently immoral people, and to be honest, I might even go so far as to say that the majority of atheists are probably more inherently moral than are theists, but that's neither here nor there, and I say that merely as a statistic; I'm in no way trying to say that being religious makes you immoral, because I know that that is not the case. The second and more important reason is that atheists are by their very nature, at least in my case and opinion, less deferential to authority figures than are people who believe that they have to obey 'the word of god' in order to be saved. Again, I do not say this to offend anyone, it is just my honest opinion. And what about the Solomon Asch experiment? Would the same also apply in that experiment? I'm interested in hearing what others think of this idea, and again, if I have said anything that anyone finds offensive then I apologize, because I did not intend it to be so.
  4. Not quite, although I did ask a related question about dog breeding and speciation a few weeks ago, I decided to ask this nonsequiter question as a new post rather than just adding onto the previous one. At any rate, I also posted this question to another website and got some interesting responses. What does the term 'species' actually mean to biologists nowadays? Because the inability to produce fertile offspring can't be the only criteria, because dogs and coyotes are different species and yet are capable to interbreeding, as are wolves and coyotes. Is that simply because they have the same number of chromosomes, or is there more to it than that?
  5. Can someone tell me whether my reasoning on this matter is sound. As I understand it, all the various breeds of dog, from Chihuahua to Great Danes, are currently by convention considered to be the same species. Even though it is virtually impossible for certain breeds such as Chihuahuas and Great Danes to interbreed with each other (if the Chihuahua was female it would die, and if it were male it couldn't impregnate the female Great Dane), because both breeds can interbreed with various medium-sized breeds, their genes can still flow back and forth (put very crudely, of course). However, what would happen if all of a sudden every other breed of dog went extinct, and all we were left with were pure-bred Chihuahuas and pure-bred Great Danes? Would the fact that these two populations, at least if left to their own devices with no human intervention, would be reproductively isolated from one another then mean that they would have to be considered to be separate species? Personally I've always felt that by all rights they should be considered different species now simply because they look so different from each other, not only in their fur but also their anatomy and skeletal features. But I know appearance isn't everything in biology.
  6. Okay, could someone please settle this debate. An internet buddy and I were arguing about whether kangaroos are considered to be bipeds. My opinion is that by definition they are, since they move around on two legs. He says that they aren't technically bipeds because they don't move in the same way that humans do. Am I right or is he? Or are we both wrong?
  7. I was debating with my uncle a little while ago, and it eventually culminated in him claiming that science is in many way like a religion (I blatantly disagree with that comparison, by the way), because when a scientific theory becomes widely accepted among the scientific community, it almost becomes scientific dogma, and anyone who proposes a radical new idea is rarely taken seriously because so many scientists will have staked their entire careers on the existing theory. I confess I found this claim to be quite disturbing, because it goes completely counter to everything I believe in about what scientists should do. What does everyone think about this claim? Does it have any truth to it? In at least some cases it seems to be true. I remember back in 2010 when they announced the tentative discovery of GFAJ-1, the bacterium that supposedly incorporated arsenic into its DNA instead of phosphorus, that the scientist who published her findings almost immediately started receiving piles of jeering condescension from many scientists, and ultimately lost most of her credibility in the scientific community. I remember being extremely indignant by the stance that scientists were taking on this discovery. Admittedly, I do believe that she jumped the gun on announcing her discovery, made only worse by NASA blowing it way out of proportion the way they did, but still, she was just doing what scientists do, albeit somewhat prematurely. The exact same thing happened to the scientists who claimed (and they made it clear that is wasn't yet conclusive) to have discovered neutrinos traveling faster than light earlier this year. What should have been treated as potentially one of the most groundbreaking discoveries in the history of physics was instead met with open contempt by a great many scientists even before their experiment could be reproduced. It's one thing to be skeptical, that is after all one of the defining attributes of all good scientists, but to openly go after scientists who propose new ideas like that just seems to go completely against everything I believe about scientists. Does anyone have any opinions and/or rebukes to my argument? If I've missed the point here please let me know.
  8. I'm am skeptical by nature, as are all true scientists. And if that was all you were trying to imply than you shouldn't have used the 'indoctrination squad' card. What else was I supposed to take that to mean?
  9. I don't think they're necessarily wrong, but they certainly aren't anywhere close to being on par with something like evolution.
  10. Okay, I highly resent your veiled insinuation that I am some kind of science denier. How dare you imply that I'm some right-wing freak trying to spread decent! If that is indeed what you were implying then you are an utter moron. If anyone else here has that same impression, then allow me to dispel it here and now, because it is about as untrue as you could possibly get, and I challenge anyone to try and argue the fact!
  11. I've been reading a lot of articles about the whole evolution vs creationism debate (evolution all the way, by the by), and I am continually being forced to grit my teeth in frustration whenever these idiots pull the utterly vapid 'it's just a theory' argument, even though it has been explained more times than I can count that the word 'theory' in a scientific sense refers to a framework of knowledge, observations and experimental evidence that explain various aspects of reality. In other words, if the evolution scientists (I denounce any scientist that outright claims that evolution is a lie) are correct, a scientific theory is for all intents and purposes 'proven', as much as anything can be proven outside of mathematics, to be correct and accurate. That is my working definition to the word theory as well. However, as much as I think the majority of creationists are just being trolls when they pull the 'it's just a theory' argument, I can't help but notice that there are several cases where scientific theories, the most obvious being String theory, M-theory, and loop quantum gravity theory, that do not fit that definition of the word theory, and seem to me to better fit the definition of theory that is a synonym of 'hypothesis', as these 'theories' have virtually no experimental evidence of any kind backing them up (if I'm wrong about that, someone please let me know). In fact I have heard several scientists refer to them as being philosophy, not science. So I'm curious, why is it that they are referred to as scientific theories and not hypotheses? True they have the potential to explain how the universe operates, but until we can build a particle accelerator the size of the solar system, we won't be able to directly test them.
  12. Ever since I heard that our solar system is hypothesized to be surrounded by a massive spherical cloud of trillions of comets extending a good way to our nearest star (if that was exaggerated, let me know), I've been wondering whether or not this Oort Cloud may provide us 'some' protection from gamma ray bursts? My reasoning is simply that the beams of gamma ray bursts are typically, if I'm not mistaken, relatively 'narrow' (using the term 'narrow' loosely, of course), and thus might have 'some' difficulty making it through such a cloud without losing some of its energy striking the comets of the cloud. In other words, could the Oort Cloud help to, for lack of a better term, weaken any potentially life-ending gamma ray bursts that unfortunately are aimed straight for us? I'm just talking in principle here; obviously there would have to be multiple comets in the path of the beam for this to be even remotely helpful, but given the supposed size of the cloud, it seems plausible that it could dampen it somewhat. Anyone have any opinions?
  13. That's exactly what they used. They essentially piled together buckets/tubs of glass items and shattered/grinded them into dust. This process would by definition make them sharp and jagged, albeit extremely small. If I'm not mistaken, silica and glass are not the same thing. Silica is essentially sand, if I'm not mistaken, and while sand is involved in the production of glass, sand itself is not the same as glass.
  14. I agree. Notwithstanding the massive plot hole of why Richard didn't just use the Power of Orden to end the war with the Imperial Order before it even begun in earnest, considering that the three Boxes of Orden were right there in 'his' palace in D'hara for most of the series, the series is one of the best I've ever read. But at any rate, it still seems to me that the glass dust idea could theoretically work if the dust was deployed correctly, although I agree that the sheer number of casualties in the book for such a small amount of glass powder was almost ludicrous.
  15. Actually, you're wrong about the magic part. They specifically stated that magic could not be used to enhance the lethality of or to shape the glass, or to assist in the delivery of the dust to the army, because if they did the Imperial Order's wizards and sorceresses would detect that magic and be able to shield against it. At any rate, I wouldn't think it would require any special tricks. Crushed glass is naturally jagged by definition, regardless of how small the pieces/particles are. And I think that if you got dozens of pieces of glass, regardless of how small they might be, imbedded under your eyelids, you would if nothing else be in incredible pain, and your natural instinct to rub your eyes would only make the damage all the worse. Blindness by even a few such particles seems theoretically plausible to me.
  16. Give me a break! What I did was perfectly safe, barring someone standing directly over the thing or startling someone into a heart attack. It's not like I was making home-made dynamite or something. This is a firework that you can usually buy in the local dollar store, and it is one of the simplest ones there is. In fact, I would say that if anything, I made the firework more safe because I took away it's ability to shoot anything. I might not know all of the physics behind what I'm doing, but I certainly know when what I'm doing is safe or not.
  17. The main damage that is was described the glass dust did was to 'get into their eyes, just as ordinary dust would. It would imbed in the tissue of their eyelids, and then every time they would blink to try and clear it away, they would simply be cutting their eyes even more badly until they were blind.', not verbatim. I know from personal experience how painful fiberglass dust can be if you get it on your skin, and it is certainly light enough to be carried by the wind. I could only imagine what it would be like to get it in your eyes.
  18. I'm currently reading a novel (Sword of Truth - Book 6: Faith of the Fallen, by Terry Goodkind) in which an army utilizes glass dust as a weapon of war against an army vastly larger than theirs. Using only about two buckets worth of powdered glass, they release the dust into the wind at the opposing army, and ultimately it results in the death, blindness, or incapacitation of well over a hundred thousand enemy troops, whether by blinding them (permanently) on the field of battle and having them accidentally kill one another, destroying their lungs and respiratory tract, or causing serious infections therein. I was just wondering whether there was any plausibility to this whatsoever? I have no doubt that if razor sharp microscopic shards of glass dust were flung into somebody's face, it would most likely be extremely serious. But does anyone know if simply releasing the dust into the wind and having it carry it throughout the enemy army would cause any noticeable effect at all outside of the book? Or is it just nonsense?
  19. Maybe, but the tape was FAR from airtight though. And even if it was, the burning sparker powder that the core was immersed in would have melted it long before it actually went bang.
  20. Seeing as it's Victoria Day weekend, I decided to carry out a little experiment with a firework. I've always been fond of amateur pyrotechnics, so I decided to see what would happen if I put the core of a simple 'Air Bomb' firework wrapped in electrical tape, just to make sure it didn't somehow fall apart, into a can with some sparkler powder, and then light it. For any of you who don't know what an 'Air Bomb' is, it's basically a really simple firework where you light the fuse, something shoots out of the end, which a few seconds later makes a loud bang, and that's it. So I figured that more or less the same would happen here. What actually happened, however, I can't really explain. In general, the same thing happened as would have happened if I used the firework the proper way, except for the fact that the bang was much louder than it normally would have been; it sounded like a gun had gone off. Does anyone know why this would be? I mean sparkler powder is not explosive, it simply burns in a manner akin to thermite, so I don't see how that could have contributed. Does anyone have any guesses?
  21. I wasn't implying that I believe that would actually happen. However, I have seen numerous Hollywood movies in which a similar miraculous recovery takes place, so I was just using that as a baseline for my questioning.
  22. I'm not asking whether CPR can save a person's life, I know that it can and does. What I want to know is whether it can actually restart a person's heart all by itself in the same way that a defibrillator can? Like in the movies; person isn't breathing and has no pulse, good samaritan gives them CPR/mouth-to-mouth, and the person suddenly jerks up with a loud gasp as their heart and lungs start working on their own again. Is this scenario possible?
  23. Does anyone know whether Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation and/or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation are really able to bring a person back to life like they are consistently portrayed as being able to do in the movies? Don't misunderstand, I know that both techniques are routinely used to keep someone alive until the ambulance arrives by keeping their blood flowing and oxygenated, but can they actually restart a person's heart and make it beat again on its own? Or is that a complete myth?
  24. Incidentally, does anyone know whether Lithium triteride is a real substance? I mean, obviously the strength ascribed to the metal it in the book is total bunk, as I know perfectly well that the part about the NOVA bomb temporarily containing nine thermonuclear explosions is speculative to the point of absolute lunacy. But does the chemical ion 'triteride' actually exist? I looked it up on Google and it was inconclusive.
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