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Everything posted by Reaper

  1. It's not, because I read that essay several times over. That statement in no way applies to what we are discussing here any way you look at it. And that has already been explained to you, several times on several threads. RNA can act as both an enzyme and store information. Did you even read any of the links provided over the past few months? How about you start by reading a biology textbook. Or if that seems like too much work, read this webpage on Talk Origins: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/ Yes you were, don't try to dodge it. You were using computer terminology to describe what DNA does and can do. I was merely demonstrating that it doesn't work that way. Besides which, this nitpick really is nothing more than a red herring on your part, don't evade the subject. Merged post follows: Consecutive posts mergedFor those of you who actually want to learn something, rather than promote an ideology, here are some more good links on the subject: http://exploringorigins.org/ http://www.pnas.org/content/97/23/12503.full?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=biochemical+cycles&searchid=1119837712082_3423&stored_search=&FIRSTINDEX=0&journalcode=pnas http://www.livescience.com/animals/060609_life_origin.html http://genetics.mgh.harvard.edu/szostakweb/publications/Szostak_pdfs/Hanczyc_and_Szostak_2004_COChemBio.pdf Here is a very good article on the subject for layman: http://student.science.uva.nl/~jckastel/html/abiogenesis.pdf And here is another good article, which details how RNA can be made from simple reactions: http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090513/full/news.2009.471.html The last one is important because it proves once and for all that RNA molecules aren't "too complex" to form by themselves under certain conditions, especially conditions that certainly existed when Earth was young. You need a subscription to read it though.
  2. After having just read Larry Niven's Ringworld (A very good book by the way), it got me thinking about how one might actually go about building and living on one. In the novel, Larry assumes the ring would be about a million miles wide, and 600 hundred million miles in circumference. To keep in all the air, the Ringworld edges are about 1000 miles high. He calculated that it would take about a mass of Jupiter to create such a structure. Not only would there be virtually limitless supplies of energy, but there would also be quite a bit of space. And much sturdier than a Dyson Sphere. Now, assuming those dimensions, how would some alien or future society go about actually planning and building one? As much mass as Jupiter sounds great, but it is also worth noting that most of the mass (> 90%) in the solar system is just hydrogen, so a lot of the material would have to come from somewhere else (One could then question why such a structure would be built, if they could just settle on other star systems?). The second issue is that of gravity; such a structure would probably be very difficult to keep from being torn to shreds by gravitational forces. I know Niven has a computer (and a super-strong alloy) to keep in in check, but unless it is intentionally not a perfect circle, I don't see how one can keep it from falling apart. I also wonder about the habitability of such a structure. While it is said to be about the same distance from it's parent star as the Earth is from the Sun, the fact that the Earth has an active interior, a large moon, liquid water, is rotating, and seasons all contribute as well. A Ringworld wouldn't have any of that, so it would definitely need a way to shield from radiation. It also turns out that the Earth rotates much slower than Ringworld would (about 1000 mph compared to Ringworld's 770 mps, unless you opted for < 1g surface gravity), so I would imagine that weather patterns would not be equivalent to Earth's. Indeed, I don't think that climate patterns would even be the same on such a structure; unless most of the Ringworld was covered with water, I would imagine that large sections of it would be very arid and just simply not habitable. The other thing, then, is if we were to stand on it, what would we see? My book cover has that you can indeed see the "world" curve upwards into the distance, but that is from a considerable altitude. Since the structure is about 600 million miles in circumference, would anyone living on it have a clue as to the world's true nature? It is already difficult enough to see the curvature of the Earth, and it is only 40,000 km in circumference. Also, since it is always facing it's star, and Niven's proposed night cycles are just solid lumps of sheet metal orbiting the Ringworld, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to see the stars. Of course, in Niven's book, most of the societies on Ringworld have largely forgotten the true nature of their world and have reverted to using supernatural explanations for various phenomenon.... So, what do you all think?
  3. I don't think we really know all that much about how planets form around various types of stars to be able to say with certainty. But, there is no reason that the process should be any different than the one that formed our solar system (or other solar systems); after the accretion disk phase, the size and mass of the planets that form at various orbits really depend on the distribution of mass around the stars and not so much it's proximity.
  4. And the price of quote mining is loss of credibility. That statement does not have the meaning you think it does... Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged Why do you think there has to be some "code" involved when the first life forms emerged? It has already been demonstrated, on and on, that the first life forms needn't be that complex, like in this post. All one really needs is a few self-replicating molecules, and then over time protocells and DNA will end up emerging because of Natural Selection. The overall larger point is basically, DNA is NOT A COMPUTER. There is no "code" whatsoever, it does not carry information in the sense that a computer does (whether analog or digital). In short, it's just sequences of nucleotides that formed via the laws of chemistry, physics, and Natural Selection. And its a very crude carrier of information; to give an example, the human brain, which can be legitimately considered to be an "analog device", holds millions of times more information. Hell, I can probably design a mechanical calculator that holds more "information" than DNA...
  5. The following graph might also be helpful too: As one can clearly see, there is a vertical asymptote at v=c, as the kinetic energy of a particle increases.
  6. We know of at least one vaguely Earth-like planet around a red dwarf, perhaps a planet you are already familiar with? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gliese_581_d Furthermore, it has been recently found to be well in it's habitable zone, so there is the potential for life.
  7. Mars is not volcanically active.... =================================== It's not a bad idea, you just have to make sure that the caverns themselves aren't active when you settle in them. As long as you are not on Io, it is probably easy to find such a cavern. The reason that one would want to be on the surface instead, is that settling in a cavern, while it could shield from radiation, it would be very difficult to grow food without a colossal amount of energy. That's why greenhouses are a must. Size of the cavern is also a consideration; you do not want your initial colony to be too cramped.
  8. The antimatter bomb can totally work. All we need is a way to mass produce it cheaply and efficiently, and a way to contain the antimatter. Otherwise, it is probably better if they are dropped from orbit, rather than on the ground...
  9. Not quite. I would have to agree with ajb's statement on this one. The approach to formulating theories in physics or mathematics are indeed a bit different, for the sole reason that many of the physical phenomenon cannot be directly observed or brought into the lab. Indeed, the whole approach is quite different in that physicists start with a conjecture, and then just wait for the experiments to either prove or falsify them. Rather than the other way around. The basic idea is that if the mathematics are consistent with what we observe, then there must be some truth to it, even if it ultimately ends up being just an approximation, or not quite the "full story". This argument has been around since at least the time of Newton, and it is a very powerful one. I don't think even Karl Popper has been able argue against it or debunk it. It is also for this reason that we still use Newton's theories even though Einstein showed him to be wrong, because they are an approximation to truth (whatever that may be....), and are still useful and easier to use. And most of all they are still valid at low velocities. While on the other hand, biology/geology and the social sciences have way too many physical events occurring to make a proper mathematical model, and as such they must rely on experimental evidence. Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged Ok, so there really is something substantial that string theory is doing then. I suppose the main reason I was a bit skeptical was because my only exposure to string theory (other than a couple of field equations) was primarily from pop sci books and other media hype, and I think we all know how reliable their information tends to be. I'm wondering though, if it has helped provide better proofs for known physics and mathematics, has it also come out with any new or deeper underlying physical principles that may be actually experimentally tested in those areas of physics in the near future? I know you listed Maldacena duality as one that could potentially do that, but what about in the other areas that we are familiar with (e.g. statistical physics, etc.). Or are they all just tools to make doing the math easier... Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged Well, strictly speaking it does make predictions. It's just that those predictions require a particle accelerator the size of the solar system to test for them... I suppose I get a little impatient sometimes, especially since most of the information available is not all that reliable. But of course, I think it should be mentioned that it took more than 70 years for Bose-Einstein condensates to be experimentally confirmed, so there is no reason to be discouraged if it has been more than 30+ years and we are still trying to figure out what, exactly, string theory will ultimately end up being.
  10. To add on to this, one also has to wonder whether or not they pay any attention to all the organisms they squash underfoot, or have no problem using pesticides to kill off insects? Or if any of them have any pets, as much of their food is derived from animals. Or if any of them would decide to go without soap (or wear makeup, etc.), as animal fats are often a common product in those items... -------- The list goes on and on, and after a while I have deducted that the only criterion for whether or not an animal has any "rights" is: 1) They're mammals 2) They happen to be "cute". It's kinda hypocritical when you think about it, and is probably the reason why animal rights movements doesn't really gather much support in general.
  11. Just a quick question for those who are knowledgeable in this area: in the 30+ years in it's existence, has string theory actually done anything in terms of furthering our understanding of nature? I mean, there are a bunch of pop-sci books and so-called "documentaries" that all serve to overrate the merits of the theory, claiming that this will lead to the "Theory of Everything", or answering all of those annoying unanswerable questions (e.g. why *insert pseudo-philosophical topic here*?). But, after having read all of those newer books (e.g. Elegant Universe), they don't really say anything different from what Steven Hawking wrote in "A Brief History of Time", and that was written over 20 years ago! His "Universe in a Nutshell" adds a section about Branes and multi-universes, but beyond that there is nothing really new or "cutting edge" in those book. And, as far as I know, they still haven't found a way to actually test the theory. Has there been any real progress at all with string theory, or it's application in anything in particular (Even if only previously unknown mathematical theorems)? If not, is there any other theory that actually seems like it might, you know, do something that pushes our knowledge of the universe further?
  12. Are we still discussing this crackpot theory? Besides which, if you really want to know why it wasn't accepted, or even considered, read up on the history of geology. Even in Darwin's time, the theory was dismissed. The only serious scientific theory that included expansion was the theory of thermal cycles, but that also had the Earth contracting (making the radius pretty much the same for the lifetime of the Earth), and in the end it never really gained a whole lot of support.
  13. 1) Don't know 2) Probably not 3) Technically, it is assumed that the Universe contains everything there could possibly be, but we don't know enough to rule out multiple universes. 4) How the hell are we supposed to know? And what does this have anything to do with the so-called "God Particle", much better known as the Higgs Boson?
  14. Reaper


    All entropy states is that all things go from order to disorder in an isolated system. If the law of conservation of energy were not true, for example, energy was created, we would have some very serious problems... coffee not being room temperature would only be the tip of the iceberg.
  15. Indeed, the first twelve pages didn't turn up anything. I got a better idea, why don't you go look for it, and show where we can download this page. Or, you can show us right off the top of your head some of these glaring contradictions that plague classical electromagnetic theory. If they are as numerous as you claim, then surely they would be easy to find, wouldn't it?
  16. They were not in Egypt though. The earliest known battery, which you might be familiar with, is the Baghdad battery. However, it dates to around 250 B.C.E to 250 C.E., a full 2500 years after the Egyptians built their pyramids. Furthermore, the historical records suggest that they did not even know the underlying principles behind electrical phenomenon.
  17. So, in other words, you don't particularly care about finding the truth, or pursuing knowledge. Point taken. If I recall correctly, the scientific community is known to be so open minded that they have even published an experiment, in a peer reviewed journal, conducted by an 11 year old girl not to long ago. If it is as valid as you claim it to be, why would we discard it? It does not matter to us what your age is, or what your personal beliefs happen to be... The problem with your hypothesis is that magnetism is the result of electric current... Unless, of course, you can show us that this is not the case, but for that you will need mathematics, and some innovative way of deriving the correct units. List all the contradictions then. Chances are they are misconceptions rather than problems with the theories themselves. Read above. The Earth's magnetic field is far weaker than even an ordinary refrigerator magnet. It is extremely unlikely that the Earth's magnetic field could have been used to lift large stones. Furthermore, we already have a pretty good idea of how the pyramids were built using simple tools, without having to invoke extraordinary claims.
  18. Anyone here familiar with Mnemonic devices? They are basically used to reduce the burden on rote memorization, and to make it alot easier in general. Anyways, how many of you here have practical use for them on a daily basis? So far I used them (in particular the Phonetic System) to memorize 500 digits of pi (Don't ask, I was bored one day...). I can send a link to that video if you want. Anybody else have a similar incredible memory feat that they can do using mnemonics?
  19. It's probably nothing to worry about. Most people really only pay attention to the lyrics (or words), rather than the instruments themselves. And I use music to block out noise when I'm working, so I can't be said to listen to it either. Merged post follows: Consecutive posts mergedYou may just be one of those people that doesn't really enjoy music all that much, there's nothing wrong with that in general.
  20. Damn it! I was sooooo close to winning too....
  21. Perhaps wars should be fought this way then? It would certainly reduce casualties to null...
  22. Indeed. Armchair politicians and philosophers are equally hilarious, especially around here...
  23. Interestingly enough, most of the criticism around Amnesty International revolves around the fact that they tend to be pro-U.S. in general; that it, they often are very selective and biased (as in this case it as well too...) and care more about their image rather than genuine human rights. Counterpunch gives a full critique of the organization around its stance in the Palestine-Israeli conflict: http://www.counterpunch.org/rooij10132004.html Just reaffirms my notion that there are no good guys anywhere in this world...
  24. There are other ways, but they can't be used for all situations. Different smokescreens are used for different battlefield tactics. As well, they all can be quite toxic; there is no such thing as a safe smokescreen. For example, the reason we even have white phosphorus is so that they can obscure infrared signatures and other thermal imaging readings, as well as hiding large numbers of troops in general... The reason it burns, is because it is an incendiary weapon. At least white phosphorus does. Red phosphorus doesn't, but its not nearly as quick or effective... ========================================== On the grand scheme of things I find it quite strange that people think that war can be fought "humanely", given that it is basically an oxymoron. In any event, it is impossible to wage war without involving the civilian population simply because they happen to be the most important target of any army (either advancing or defending), especially for guerillas (i.e. the Hamas). Of course, we all could just do away with war all together, but there are groups of people out there who are either unable or unwilling to do that...
  25. Oh, you just know that this law isn't going to work. All that will happen now is that they are going to go to another state in order to get the abortion.... It IS a stupid law to begin with.
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