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Everything posted by Reaper

  1. I guess this will be the official post your class schedule thread. This only applies to people who are currently in school; high school, college, grad school, etc. Alternatively, if you are a professor or teacher, you can post which classes you are teaching. Anyways, here is mine for this coming semester (In my school, most classes are term based): A-Term: PH2201 Intermediate Mechanics I MA4451 Boundary Value Problems CS1101 Intro to Program and Design B-Term: PH2202 Intermediate Mechanics II PH3401 Quantum Mechanics I CS2102 Object-Orientated Design For next semester (assuming I don't change my mind between now and later): C-Term: PH3402 Quantum Mechanics II PH2651 Intermediate Lab CS3431 Database Systems I D-Term: PH2520 Introduction to Astrophysics PH2510 Atomic Force Microscopy PH2301 Electromagnetic Fields A total of 8 physics classes and 4 "electives", sort of...
  2. If it blew up today, we would have to wait until the year 2650 before we saw it over Earth. Just wondering, what is the amount of radiation from this supernova that would hit us?
  3. Do you have any statistics on how well this book is selling towards the general public at large, rather than just the science-savvy people? Last I checked most around me were far more familiar with Steven Hawking, or even Brian Greene or Kaku, than Lee Smolin.
  4. Ok, fine, the earlier days of mine.
  5. Emphasis mine From the early days.
  6. It was mostly from hearsay. I know it's not the most rigorous of sources, but from what I've heard, the ice age cycle is supposedly still ongoing. The figures I've seen for the occurrence of this future ice age ranges anywhere between the next 3000 to the next 8000 years.... Regardless of what the actual evolution of Earth's climate was supposed to be, it is clear that humans have had a significant impact in the last 10,000 or so years. I'm not to familiar with those papers, do you mind linking to them?
  7. Yes, it's supposed to be cooling right about now, with another ice age coming in the next few thousand years or so. BUT, it is not cooling down, it's warming up. It's warming up because of the large increase in CO2 over the past 150 years.
  8. He was only beat in the first game though. The final result of the 1996 match was 4-2, with Kasparov having 3 wins and 2 draws; he was clearly a superior player. The 1997 match is not quite as clear, as there is the possibility that the IBM team may have cheated. Today's computers are way stronger than Deep Blue though. While Kasparov has only played Blitz games with Deep Fritz, the Hydra-Adams match of 2005 gives insight into what would probably happen if the best human players were to go up against the best machines of today: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2476 Merged post follows: Consecutive posts mergedAnyways, I would have to agree with Pangloss here. 64-bit machines, so I'm told, tend to have better performance than 32 bit machines in general. As for chess programs in general, the focus nowadays tends to rely much more on software rather than hardware. Deep Blue had dedicated chess hardware, which allowed it to calculate upwards of 200 million positions per second. As of right now, brute force calculations still remains the best way of creating programs capable of defeating the best human players. However, modern software utilizes a large registry of opening, middlegame, and endgame databases, which allows it to retain a high level of play even on a PC. For technical details of Deep Blue and modern computer programs, you can refer to this article: http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,1915528,00.asp This one is a good article on how, exactly, chess engines work: http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~tony/ICCA/anatomy.html
  9. I think it's worth mentioning that no one has ever found a mechanism for this expansion over the last 150+ years. It was rejected for that very reason too .
  10. That doesn't really answer my question though. And I tend not to trust predictions revolving around the so-called technological singularity because the whole thing seems too much like a non-sequitur argument in general. Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged That's more along the lines of what I was thinking. The problems that revolve around that one are, of course, how we actually get a machine to "comprehend" something, and more importantly how we can actually tell that it's understanding what it's doing, rather than number crunching. But if the system is more intelligent, I wonder how it would "comprehend" something. Would a smarter machine be able to comprehend something faster, or understand subjects more deeply? Also, most people will claim that someone is smart when they notice that they happen to be either very creative or brilliant, and as such I would suppose that an intelligent machine would exhibit both those traits... I guess it really depends on what type of problems though. Computers can already solve problems that are impossible for humans to calculate, for example weather and climate models. But I don't know of any computers that can prove theorems, or come up with conjectures or theories. But yes, I do think this is a good point; any machine that has greater intelligence should, at minimum, be capable of doing these things at a higher level then that of humans. I will say this though, I'm not so certain that speed is as important a factor.
  11. We can already make computer programs that can pass the Turing Test. The real problem lies in the fact that some people just don't want to admit that it really is a badly designed test. Especially since humans are known to have failed it. This article covers all the basic problems and failures of the test: http://qntm.org/?turing The quote from the article basically sums it up: Of course, we haven't been able to quite answer the question of what, exactly, we mean by humanity.
  12. 4chan is not that bad. At least not once you get to actually know the people there, even in /b/
  13. I'm just going to ask a couple of simple questions here; what, exactly, would it mean for a future computer A.I. to be better than their human counterparts? What would such a system be like? There is much talk about creating such systems (after we figure out how to make it more human-like), and certainly many sci-fi speculations as to what might happen, but they don't really address the epistemological issues directly. Say we did create a system that did indeed surpass us in intellectual and cognitive abilities. What would that be like and how would we know?
  14. Well, an electric field is an intrinsic property of charged particles like protons and electrons. A magnetic field is usually caused by a moving electric field. Neither fields stay confined to the wire, but yes, the magnetic field would be perpendicular to the electric field, as it is in electromagnetic radiation. In short, the electric field is to charged particles what gravity is to objects with mass; it's just a field in which these particles can exert a force on another object. Photons are just discrete packets of energy. They are best described as point-like particles that carry energy. That is all. So, when energy given off or absorbed, or exchanged, a photon is involved in the transmission of that energy. For example, if an electron goes to a state of lower energy, it gives off a photon. Photons do not affect charge at all, as they themselves have no charge. The nucleus is held together by the Strong Force, which is much, much stronger than the electromagnetic force. That is why protons are very close together, despite the fact that they all have the same charge.
  15. Everybody knows that it's pirates that cause global warming (Duh!):
  16. And so the Evil Scientific Establishment has decided to burn the heretic! Oh well, there will be other nutcases....
  17. Who knows? From what I've heard it's something to do with abortion.
  18. Only on the ground though. In the sky, it goes a little bit faster
  19. I don't know if you are still coming back and reading this, but I'll give my suggestion. The main problem, which has already been stated, is causality; to simply allow travel through time would wreak havoc on the known laws of physics (and the rest of the universe). It wouldn't matter if you are just using it as a plot device, or just creating another universe, but you do seem to want to write what is called "hard science fiction". The solutions I can think of are: -Create your own laws of physics: You don't have to exactly alter the current ones, but you can certainly introduce new ones. Say, for example, the particles that are used to power this device have to be in a certain quantum state or something like that to produce the energies necessary for time travel. The problem is that this is, of course, way too speculative. -Don't make it man-made: If you don't make it man-made, but instead either an alien device or a natural wormhole, then you can avoid a lot of the problems of actually designing one without breaking the laws of physics. You can then make the whole plot about how it works, and the properties of the thing, along with anything you might think of. It might seem like a dull plot, but if done right I'm sure you can attract a lot of viewers, even physicists. Of course, both of those suggestions have problems that would make it very difficult to resolve for those who want to make the whole thing plausible. Therefore, by far the best suggestion that I could think of is this one: -Only allow time travel into the future: If you make it so that it is impossible to travel into the past, then it would certainly be possible to come up with a design that could realistically be made, or at least plausible (e.g. have a space ship go really, really fast, or use gravitons). You wouldn't have to alter or introduce any new laws of physics, since the "mechanics" of time are well known via Relativity. You also would be able to cut down on the amount of "exotic materials" that would have to be used to achieve such a feat. There would be no causality problems. You would be able to limit the technobabble. And best of all, by only allowing travel into the future, I'm pretty certain you can come up with some pretty fantastic story plots revolving around the device and the people that use it. Besides which, we already have a pretty good idea on what happened in the past, why not just go forward instead and let your imagination run wild . Well, I hope this helps, good luck with that story of yours! I'll look forward to reading it once it's published...
  20. Quasars are billions of light years away from Earth first of all. And the reason they are receding so quickly is precisely because they are so far away; Hubble's Law states that the further a galaxy is, the faster it is receding away. As to why there are quasars at that distance in the first place? I'm not quite sure about that one, but if I had to guess, it would probably be because the galaxies are quite young, and are thus much more active.
  21. While it is not known as to why there is vastly more matter than antimatter in this universe, some believe that the CP violations in symmetry in the decay of particles might provide a clue.
  22. To the OP: And your point is?
  23. Ah, ok, never mind then. I read very quickly, and sometimes I miss some details... Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged Actually, after my last post I did some more thinking about it and realized that you would see it. A different line of reasoning, but same conclusion nonetheless. On the side note, while it might be inconvenient bright at night, it would be far easier to observe the details on the other side during that time.
  24. That's ultimately what would probably happen. In the book itself, though, it is made from a super-strong alloy known as Scrith, and while strong enough to make super-structures of this kind, even with that they have a hard time maintaining stability of it. Only the inside of the ring is livable, as Sisyphus mentioned, not the backside. So it's not a problem if the backside is not lit. and Well' date=' since the backside is not inhabited, the point is moot. However, I would imagine that there would probably be some freezing near the edges though. Although, since it would be impossible to circulate all the heat on the supercontinents that would likely cover the world, possibly large areas of center would also be very cold too. Yes it does. It would be an incredible risk to put them there while building it, but since the Ringworld is spinning the water would likely just stay on the ring. If the far future humans or some advanced alien civilizations were to have any hope of making Ringworld more Earth-like, you absolutely need oceans. I think the most problematic thing about this is the oceans themselves; unless the oceans were truely gigantic, large portions of Ringworld would be drier than the Atacama Desert. But then, the problem with the oceans would be the size of the oceans themselves; one could only imagine what type of climate such oceans with little circulation would create. Personally, I don't think it would matter what the size of the oceans are, or how many of them there are. Large portions of the Ringworld land masses would probably be arid anyway due to the geometry of the thing. Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged How visible would the arch be though? The "other-side" would be more than 300 million km (about 200 million miles) away. Sure, it's a million miles in width, but at such a large distance it would still appear to be very small. Also, the glare of the star (as it is assumed to be a yellow star like the Sun) would probably make it difficult, if not impossible, to actually see the arches. At least not without the aid of instruments. How so? "Night time" occurs when a big metal sheet happens to cover a particular patch of the ring. There would be no solar eclipse, since the metal sheet is already much larger than the diameter of the sun. It would completely block out the sky. Although, it might be possible to see stars during "twilight hours", as the atmosphere might refract some of the light...
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