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Everything posted by Marqq

  1. Aether Theories I'm using that because it was a serious theory for a while, and it actually supports the possibility of wormholes. I know you're writing fiction, so you've got enough creative license to chose which theory holds true in your fictional world. Apparently, though, aether theory has been disproven, but again, that shouldn't really matter for you.
  2. It is total hollywood BS to think that time can be traveled through in such a way that you'd meet yourself, if at all. The atomic clock situation is this: At point A, 2 atomic clocks (T1 & T2) are synchronized. T1 is put on a flight around the world, returning to point A. T1 and T2 times are compared, but it is found that T1 has fallen behind very slightly. The results matched the prediction made using SR or some relativity component, which predicts how much movement and gravity affect time dilation. While it could be said that T1 is currently ahead of our timeline, because it should match T2, and from the perspective of T1, this is true, from an objective observer's perspective, it is only said that less time has passed for T1. There are tons of threads on here that at least touch on time travel, so I'd suggest at least skimming those, although you may find that arguments supporting the possibility are quickly dismissed.
  3. If that's the direction you want to go, you've actually given me an idea. I'm not sure how an increase in gravity in an area could form a wormhole there, because gravity compresses, and wormholes necessarily stretch an object over a great distance. In keeping with the æther idea, though, I see a way: Æther moving toward matter is the cause for gravity (HUGE speculation), and so æther is thick around gravitational foci. Conversely, as the æther is pulled through space by high gravity foci, certain areas become thinner, forming the opposite of black holes: wormholes. These would likely be very short-lived while maintaining a smooth, if extreme, gradient of æther thickness throughout. If a way could be devised to pull æther (say, at the sides of a ship or 'jump' facilitating device), a vessel could be made to stretch its way through space using a maintained moving wormhole-like construct. This is so gonna get moved to speculations... but that's really where it belongs.
  4. That was md65536 being NICE... just FYI. Taking a flight doesn't 'move you forward through time.' In fact, you experience a slight bit more time dilation (a slowing of your subatomic processes, comparable to aging more slowly). No different movement through the 'fourth dimension' is experienced, you just don't get to get as much done because the light in your atoms has to go a little bit farther to cover the distance they moved. You never differentiate, your body remains a funny mish-mosh of various molecular states without ever dividing. You either misunderstood the article, or it was bogus... I'm not an expert by a long shot, but I do know better than to get cocky on this forum. Try using a direct quote, citing the source, so the experts here can explain or tell you that you're reading fiction.
  5. I can't answer how physicists would really say wormholes work, but I can give a speculative answer that I believe would fit your needs (IIRC you're a fiction writer): Wormholes could function in a reality where there is a background æther that forms the fabric upon which reality is a waveform. If this æther is essentially the space between all things material, it bends and warps all the time, but no notice is taken because waveform particles travel at a speed relative to the amount of æther through which it must travel. I think this is the idea upon which 'slipstream' concepts are based. Anyway, if an area is extremely thin with æther, movement across that area is much faster than if it were thick with it (I'm avoiding the term 'density' because that implies the æther is formed of particles...that's speculation for you to do). Now, if the shape of a tunnel were to become extremely thin with æther, particles could pass very quickly from one end to another, or for that matter, across the length of it. Another assumption required for this is that the thickness (tough to avoid that d-word) changes on a smooth gradient at the edges and the ends of the 'wormhole.' I can't say for sure what could cause the formation, movement, or dissolution of a wormhole, since material things are made up of the æther, and thus can't do much to affect it outside of rearranging themselves. Maybe it could be some kind of emergent waveform that's just much bigger than other particles, idk....anyway, there's an idea for you. Hope it helps.
  6. Marqq

    Tutoring a Twit

    Well, just in case anyone was wondering how this turned out, here goes: I took imatfaal's advice to work for free while advising her to get a tutor assigned through her school, so that she could see the difference between her expectations and the responsibilities of a professional tutor. Meanwhile, Holly received some harsh criticism from a classmate on a forum post, and when I pointed out the valid points in the criticism, she flew off the handle. I've been kicked out of her house and written off as a friend for my 'lack of faith' in her abilities. I still wrote a short instruction on how to break down words, sentences, and essays into more manageable chunks, for her to work on with her new personal tutor (she found another friend), along with the technical instructions her new tutor would need to help her navigate the online classroom. I've washed my hands of the situation, and I believe I've done what is necessary in terms of ensuring that I'm not contributing to or encouraging fraud in her education. Thank you, everyone, for your advice and support.
  7. Marqq

    Tutoring a Twit

    Thank you! Showing her how to read it, setting them to the task of rewriting one-- excellent ideas. I've been working with the philosophy of choosing battles--picking one aspect to work on at a time--but I've been choosing the wrong aspect (course content and browser/WP navigation) due to time constraints. But we all go through the process of breaking down and grouping the concepts of complex sentences/paragraphs/essays into more workable schemata. It could be I've been avoiding teaching that process because she's got so much to learn in regards to it (my low achievement motivation). She's developed some strange habits parsing what she's reading; She'll try to read at a speaking pace and often spouts gibberish that only matches the first sounds of words in the sentence. That's the gap that needs filling--first priority! Again, thank you for making that clear to me. I used the word 'twit' mostly for the wordplay, but in my hierarchy of cognitive assessments, it's generous. I don't mean it with any condescending judgmental connotation, as I tend to judge my acquaintances based on their overall good will rather than intellect (it's just easier that way). I must admit, though, it felt good to type it out just to vent some latent frustration toward the difficulty her cognitive failings have brought me. I justified the phrasing further by reasoning that it would get me more responses...sorry. Isn't that what Mike's for?
  8. Marqq

    Tutoring a Twit

    Two of my roommates recently enrolled in an online degree program to grant them a BS in Special Education. They're both computer illiterate, so I was asked to help guide and teach them in the technological aspect of attaining their degrees. The two students are engaged. I believe the first, Mike, to be of near-average intelligence, and with enough motivation, capable of absorbing and applying the course material. I also believe, however, that Mike is only committing to this endeavor for the sake of aiding his fiancée while feigning a common interest (to strengthen their relationship). My second student, Holly, is at least moderately mentally challenged. She cannot read on her own, has a very low retention rate with verbal and visual presentation of material, and shows great difficulty grasping concepts. I helped get Holly through their first course, an introductory course to online learning, by doing a lot (perhaps too much) of her proofreading, and a few times led her to the answers being elicited. I had reasoned that at least the proofreading was acceptable, because spelling, grammar and organization of ideas were not part of the course material. Their current course is in information literacy, wherein they'll learn to write a research paper on a subject of their choice. Research, unfortunately, calls for a great amount of reading, and the sources they'll learn to cite contain vocabulary and syntax that I've found to be too complex for Holly, and pushing the envelope for Mike (again, he's not challenged, but his reading comprehension is around the mid-high school level). I realize I could go through every possible source for them, rewriting it all at a level more appropriate for their abilities, but that is certainly beyond the scope of a tutor, isn't it? I've been paid $120 for my work on their first course, which required my attention for approximately 8 hrs/wk for 7 weeks. This included making guided note-taking sheets for the readings, reading aloud to her, proofreading and concept discussion. I feel that I've certainly fulfilled any duty called for at the amount of pay I've received, even as a family friend. I enjoy the proofreading, as it's a compulsion of mine to eradicate any and all language errors within a reasonable proximity, and I'd be happy to help by discussing topics one or two hours per week for free. But, the note-taking sheets (which are necessary; spotting relevance is an elusive skill, apparently) and reading aloud/rewriting research articles is just obscenely far more than I had agreed to. Holly wants to teach special needs children in kindergarten through third grade, but I believe this goal is beyond her abilities. I believe a person capable of teaching slow children needs to have compassion for the affliction, but not personal experience. Rather, I'd recommend a person with higher-than-average intelligence and a background in abnormal psychology, in addition to the patience of a saint. Is it ethically irresponsible to continue to encourage Holly to reach beyond my measure of her abilities? (am I setting her up for a fall?) Or am I just being lazy and selfish because of the amount of work and lack of pay? Just on a side note, in order to receive financial aid and be accepted to a college, a student is required to show that they can benefit from the material. I don't know what she did to prove herself, except the fact that she is a high school graduate. If a person can't read at a high school level (she's not dyslexic, btw), how do they get a diploma?? Doesn't that certificate stand for anything? Education in this country really needs to change back to a system that measures a person's abilities instead of measuring effort alone. No Child Left Behind....oi...rant for a different thread....
  9. Does Hank? Or are you asking for a way to rationalize that value? Until the influence of others becomes significant to Hank as an extrinsic influence, that value is not rational. You're assuming that morality exists apart from consequence (as though it were arbitrary). Even in duty ethics, one's obligations exist to place the burden of fault. Virtue ethics falls into similar consequentialism because each virtue can only rationally be identified by its effect. I only went into acting based on predicted outcomes to point out the often-forgotten effect of the precedence set. In my example of murder being committed as execution, the precedence of righteous murder was a dangerous distinction, because others who justify it later might not be so rational. If murder is right sometimes, and people know it through precedence, it becomes an easier thing to rationalize. The 'psychic' comment was intended to further discourage actions that are considered wrong, even in extenuating circumstances where the action seems justified. Breaking a basic ethical rule always risks unpredictable consequences. I was actually assuming Hank was not an empathic entity. Is Hank a rational sociopath looking for a reason for morality/empathic considerations or is Hank really a human living in a structured society with values instilled in him arbitrarily by heredity and environmental stimuli? Rationality + Social Environs(with emotional beings that tend toward reacting to pain/loss in kind against the source of pain/loss) + a Collective General Understanding of Values = Empathy as a necessary consideration and mechanism to avoid pain/loss through retaliation (In humans and many other life forms, this has become genetically prevalent as a survival mechanism--de Waal 2008) This is assuming Hank dislikes pain/loss. Duty ethics is just egotistical utilitarianism. Deontologists say, "I am obliged to ____," because they want to be seen (by themselves and others) to be someone who acts responsibly, i.e., has integrity. The drive for integrity is an effect of social and internal pressure that is culturally instilled. Suppose you were the only living entity on earth; do you suppose you'd ever feel the drive toward or against any act, save for your own personal consequence? "♪If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.♫" There will always be both internal and external influences that will cause you either pleasure or pain, unless you're dead (presumably). It's apparent that the desire for pleasure, or the lack of pain, could be removed, but then what would be the point to anything? Pleasure and pain are our intrinsic reasons for everything, and the basis of rationality, morality/ethics, empathy and survival. They're the only two things that actually drive us.
  10. I touch on the origin of ethics here (continuing in following posts), and the thread is worth at least skimming... To 'rationally justify' an action requires the prediction of an outcome, which is pretty tricky for non-psychics. We generally have to assume the most likely outcome, while also being prepared for less likely ones. Because this process is so imperfect, we're forced to generate rules of behavior which we define as 'right and wrong'. These rules come from a statistical evaluation of the outcomes from a certain action. Take murder-- people are frightened they might be next, and tend towards preemptive counteraction. Now, this counteraction may itself be murder of the original murderer. This could be viewed as a perpetual cycle, but the 2nd murder is viewed as justified, because it both prevents the initial murderer from murdering again, and also sets a precedent that unjustified murderers will be murdered, serving to prevent future unjustified murders among all who are informed of the now-dubbed execution. People will still fear being executed, but they understand how to avoid it. Hank can rationally justify actions so long as he can both cope with uncertainty and predict generalized outcomes of a type of action. He needn't weigh his values against those of others, but rather he must weigh his intrinsic reward from an action against all possible reactions with regard to probability while accounting for the effect of the precedent that action sets. If he takes all the gray pebbles and throws them at people while they're sleeping, earning himself the sadistic thrills of sneaking and pestering, he'll have to accept the possibilities of retaliation, should he be caught, and of any guilt, should anyone be hurt badly, and of getting pelted with green pebbles in his sleep by some creative copycat pebble-pitcher.
  11. Ethically speaking, there are several problems that must be resolved. I'll try to cover them in order of significance. You already assume the sentience of the xeno-mate, otherwise, that would be number one. I'm assuming you're asking about a non-platonic relationship without regard to emotional attachment. 1. Offspring/Genetic compatibility-- What about the children??! It should first be determined whether impregnation is possible. If so, the impact of heritage on the offspring should be thoughtfully considered, i.e. deformities, social disadvantages and psychological effects. If a child could be born (or hatched, possibly?) with significant enough misfortune, it could be asked that a commitment be made to use contraception and, in extreme cases, to abort upon conception. If conception is not possible, this is not an issue except possibly with religious fanatics. 2. Safety-- Safety 2nd!! Is it safe for both parties? Aside from possible physical harm in the case of excessive passion, which could be considered forgivable, permanent disfigurement (from *ahem* size issues) and communication of disease are issues to consider. There's always the possibility that the pair (or set) in question will break up, and seek further relations with others. Disfigurement could limit one's choices significantly, and foreign diseases invading any population could be devastating. The risk of death, whether through illness, injury, outrage or as a reaction to spawning or pregnancy is a major consideration. 3. Social Upsets-- OMG, Traxlitashonda, did you hear Syjheôliqua is dating an EARTHLING?? No way! They can't even pronounce krggñkhoulrhêiakßa, let alone find it! LOL... What effect will the act or relationship have on the peoples of its participants? It cannot be assumed that the event will remain secret and undiscovered, because the effects will be felt regardless of how minor the risk. Questions to consider are: Will this spur significant violence or distrust between the peoples? If one or both parties are important influences amongst their kind, as is likely in a case of first sexual contact, how would knowledge of it affect their careers/roles/offices? Could it become enough of a trend to cause the species to merge into a 3rd new species of half-breeds (not necessarily a bad thing)? 4. ♥♥♥Love&Lust♂♂♂-- Is it really what you both desire, enough to overcome or justify any previously mentioned disadvantage? Impulsive sex can be a great thing, but impulses tend to be unconcerned with practicality. Serious consideration should be given to the #s 1, 2 and 3, then weighed thoughtfully against the parties' collective desire. Against #1, is it worth killing for (abortion)? Against #2, is it worth dying for? Against #3, is it worth causing a war?
  12. Glad to see you're getting so much support, but I'm not seeing much of an answer to your question:"why is my existence so upsetting to people?" People prefer their company to be as similar to themselves as possible. This is not to say we want to hang out with clones of ourselves, imprinted with our own memories, which is getting frighteningly close to possible, but white people tend to be more comfortable around whites, christians with christians, executives with executives, and so on. But it's not just about the comfort level, it's about their own sense of belonging. We tend to desire a place where we fit in, it's part of maintaining a healthy psyche. Having that place where others better understand us, where we don't have to explain the things so many are clueless about, allows us to relax mentally and physically, so we can devote our resources to more interesting topics than introducing unfamiliar identity concepts to people whose identity concepts we're also trying to grasp. We're all just happier on familiar turf, so to speak. Now, I'm sure you've noticed how differently people behave in different circumstances. You could say you're a different person at home than you are at work, or on the bus, or around your family or a particular group of friends. Your changing sense of identity and the perceived expectations of you can drastically affect your behavior, as can be seen in studies of mob mentality and other sociology studies. I would bet (and I'm poor, so that's saying a lot) that you've seen far fewer violent incidents during private interactions than those in semi-public. Those incidents are exaggerations, for the most part, of what you'd experience in private situations, in an attempt to live up the violent party's perceived expectations. In other words, they were just trying to do what they believed their friends (or other observers) expected of someone who is labelled as they are. In one case you mentioned, their belief was confirmed by the slap-on-the-wrist 'warning' response to their behavior. This works in the short-term, too, to immediately escalate what may have been a minor incident, as others join in with similar negative behavior. This is the work of the same pressure you were feeling when you had your breasts reduced-- the fear of ostracism driving you to conform. This fear of ostracism is often called 'insecurity', and extends well beyond the fleeting moments of a particular situation. It's the sort of thing around which a person might shape their primary identity, as a mechanism to latch on to the familiar social environment they understand. That connection is what we threaten by existing. And it's not even that we exist, it's that they feel a certain reaction is expected of them in order to keep that connection. Over time, as they integrate this expectation into their identity, they begin to actually hate. They sit back, unthinkingly, and let the world turn them into monsters, because they feel it's the only way to belong. As to where the bias against LGBTs began in society, before it became ingrained in our cultures, I refer you to this article: The Psychology of Prejudice (small PDF) It explains more deeply how minor differences from 'the norm' become unacceptable and the target of ridicule. It's really not usually as simple as a closet-case acting out.
  13. First, I wonder exactly what you mean by 'Philosophy', because I get the impression you mean something much more specific than this unbelievably broad term that is nearly synonymous with 'reason'. Sorry to put the definition there, as though you didn't know what you were asking, but I want to make it clear that philosophy is a way to understand problems using a 'critical, generally systematic approach' that relies on rational argumentation. Essentially, knowledge of philosophy is merely knowledge of argumentation. If you want to make a claim against or in addition to accepted beliefs, you must argue your claim logically. Philosophy is the origin of the scientific method because every experiment is itself a logical argument. You've got your question, whose answer will be the conclusion: "Is light a particle or a wave?" Your hypothesis, which you expect to be the conclusion: "umm...a particle?" Then you devise a test that can logically prove or disprove your hypothesis: 2-slit experiment (axiom: that light will behave comparably to previously observed particles or waves--inductive reasoning) That method and the results are then recorded, forming premises: "Oh, look, an interference pattern. Wait, now it's not an interference pattern." From which you deduce a conclusion: "Well...both, I suppose..." In other words: Premise1(If L acts like P, L is P. If L acts like W, L is W.) Premise2(L acts like P and W) Conclusion(L is both P and W) All philosophy does is tell us to test it with logic. And what did you call it in school when you had to do homework? It's just doing the same thing over and over again to satisfy someone, isn't it? No. The practice is essential. Take mathematics-- each method you learn must be practiced, because you're not born knowing the rules. Reasoning, or philosophy, takes many examples just like math problems and teaches you how to manipulate them with various methods. Inductive and deductive reasoning are for working with much broader and ambiguous concepts than simple precise numbers (no offense, mathematicians). If A, then B. If B, then C. Hence, if A, C. Philosophy teaches us to reduce large concepts into such easy-to-understand statements as these, which allows us to remove our personal bias and judge the argument objectively. Philosophy also gives us a list of common mistakes that may lead us to a wrong conclusion; Learning to recognize such mistakes as red herrings, straw-men, ad hominem, slippery-slope and appeals to emotion is perhaps the most useful advantage given to us by philosophy.
  14. I never once refuted the articles, only that they said what you took from them. The correlation/causation with schizophrenia is bogus because all the test subjects were previously schizophrenic. This is not a 'link to schizophrenia/psychosis', but a study of the effects of THC (etc.) on people with schizophrenia. Is that clearer for you? That's quite a strong word, 'permanently'. Even more so when the three cited studies admit (in the abstracts) that testing was done on 'early abstinent' users of the drug. Are you a journalist? I ask because they, too, are able to read between the lines on the other side of the page from a from a work of fiction that just happens to be saying something that you want to say. Once again, not refuting the studies in the slightest; I'm not qualified to judge any more than the abstract (summary), but I won't add anything that's not being said. Instead, my bias has kept me from investigating and questioning the other half of the health argument in the disputed post. I do certainly appreciate that you tried to offer both pros and cons of the health effects of marijuana usage. I apologize that I could offer no 'proof of my position' beyond the anecdotal; My position, "I can't confirm or deny the usefulness of marijuana as an antidepressant..., but I can VERY definitely say it's safer than celexa and effexor...", doesn't call for much support, though. You also said in your original post that proponents of legalization 'gloss over' those negative health effects, but I say investigate them. Read what the officials say instead of the supposed meaning reported by someone with an agenda. The health effect argument is moot, because the OP asks whether it should be legalized, not whether it's a silent killer or healthier than vitamin C. It's not extremely dangerous, and worse things are legal (tobacco and alcohol, along with prescription drugs, K2, and salvia). The real question is this: Does a government have the right to criminalize pot? Considering that most laws must prevent one citizen from causing harm/loss to another citizen, or prevent that citizen causing death to itself (argument for another thread!), I do not believe control of trivial drugs to be the responsibility of any government.
  15. 1) Causality is a valid concept. 2) Our observable universe is approximately 14 billion years old, and began with the Big Bang. 3) The Big Bang caused itself. No, see #1 3) God created himself, then the Big Bang. No, #1 again 3) Something outside our observable universe caused the Big Bang. C) There is more to our universe than is observable; Big stuff happens there, and seems to stay there. Why can't we subscribe to an infinite regress of causes? And what's this?! I'll be looking it up, but a direct explanation would be greatly appreciated! (I mean, if the decay happens only in a certain circumstance, wouldn't that place the cause somewhere near the circumstance? Not to mention, without cause and effect, well...decision-making gets kinda...tricky.)
  16. I read a few of your links, and I have to say: The suggested correlation to schizophrenia is bogus. Those were all studies about how pot aggravates schizophrenia symptoms. All I learned is not to pass to the schizo. You pointed to confirmed long-term mental deficiencies caused by marijuana use with your next 3 links. Those studies, however, were short studies done on heavy users who had abstained from use (supposedly) for less than a month, and the 3rd was only a study comparing the effects of 13mg vs. 17mg usage on the day of use. Badly mislabeling your studies here, guy. After reading your first six links, I skipped the ones about nut cancer, as I figured they'd hold about as much water. I have heard of studies that show a correlation (not a causation, if you didn't know) between long-term marijuana use and depression. Here, I can only quote the nurses and a doctor in a psych ward where I was vacationing, but even nut-jobs like myself know that correlation doesn't necessitate cause. People in deserts love water, don't they? I can't confirm or deny the usefulness of marijuana as an antidepressant, except in the short term (confirm!!!), but I can VERY definitely say it's safer than celexa and effexor, the two with which I've been unsuccessfully treated. Side effects of legal drugs are so often worse than that which they treat... Sure, marijuana does leave you functioning at slightly diminished capacity for a period relative to the regularity with which you use it (ranging from the next few hours for 1-time use to 1 or 2 months for daily use), but the difference is so minor it takes biased observers to point it out.
  17. My argument is for determinism. In saying, "the sum of our causal past is logically followed by our choice, and structured in our decision-making mental process," I'm saying our will is not free from causality, and our decision-making is entirely illusory. In reading imfataal's link, I saw that some philosophers redefined free will as what could more accurately be called 'will', nullifying the initial question. This is a cop-out. PeterJ's quote of Schrödinger has an issue, as well, in its second premise: "Yet I know, by incontrovertible direct experience, that I am directing its motions..." Direct personal experience has been shown through Plato's Cave Allegory and solipsism to be quite controvertible. Direct personal experience is mere perception, and our senses, even our internal interpretation of thought, does not present any absolute truth beyond that of the existence of the perception. Though this does not remove all certainty from Schrödinger's second premise, it weakens it considerably, namely by removal of the word 'incontrovertible'. That we participate in the process does not necessarily remove it from causal constraints. ydoaPs said it quite well:
  18. Behavior modification does not at all require ethical consideration. When a child touches a hot coffee cup, for example, the child experiences pain. Pain is an evolved tool to discourage actions damaging oneself. The child's behavior from that point is altered by the memory of that pain. This could not be said to be an ethical decision by any stretch. Ethical decisions involve only the choices we make that affect other living things, or more believably, other people. If one person causes another person pain or loss, the natural reaction is retaliation (especially in children). From this point, the birth of the golden rule, ethics evolves. Doing 'wrong' means only that doing things that produce personally unwanted results. This would seem to allow anything, ethically, so long as consequences to the self can be avoided, but then, that's always a gamble, so doing 'right' is the smarter and more survivable choice. And we do choose, but that is only to say that the sum of our causal past is logically followed by our choice, and structured in our decision-making mental process. Not really, no. The only use I've found in this understanding is the ability to forgive things that would otherwise be unforgivable. The knowledge that each person is really nothing more than the result of past influence makes it more difficult to be judgmental of a person as a whole.
  19. Free will is a ruse to imply that each entity is ethically responsible for its actions. It allows us to enforce ethical rules and have social contracts, as doing so is greatly hindered by an understanding of determinism; We can't hold fire responsible when it burns us, it has no choice. Truly, we also cannot hold terrorists responsible for their actions until we imagine that their 'free will' was to act as they did. Contrary to FrankQuietly's post, this does not destroy our 'beautiful ethics', but rather shows it as its true form: behavior modification. Punishment for wrongdoing is not done because the wrongdoer deserves it, but to alter the behavior of those in the future who would do wrong (including the original wrongdoer). In essence, the fiction of free will is in place to make behavior modification easier to understand for the masses, as well as to instill the sense of responsibility for one's own actions. Rather, that's why we should allow it to stay in place. A man/woman is no more responsible for poking a bear than the bear is for its..er...reaction, but that predictable reaction and many like it are the basis of ethics, not the notion of personal responsibility stemming from the survival tool that is the belief in free will. Strangely, both ways of thinking about it lead to very similar ethical rules. A note on the possibility of free will: What would it be anyway? If it is not the effect of some group of past causes, it is completely random, and thus not a decision-making tool to flaunt (unless you're the DM this weekend). Even on the off-chance that 'free wills' are spontaneously created everywhere and only persist within qualified minds, offering some random mix of its own subjective rights and wrongs, wouldn't it then be just a random seed, entered early in the equation of our life-long trains of thought? And if so, what randomness has ever been observed to exist; could each free will be a digit of pi? If it were random, wouldn't we be a lot more confused? I realize this sounds like I'm saying, "Well, I just can't comprehend it, so it must not be so," but we're slowly proving that everything is predictable, that all effects follow a cause. Free will is a leftover concept of early philosophers living in a very poorly-explained world. Essentially, the notion of free will is a byproduct of mysticism and storytellers whose proof of existence is no more than previous note. Humans may tend to latch onto it to feel special, or validate the assumption of consciousness, or just so they can act like they understand the world to their satisfaction, but those reasons aren't valid in cold, logical analysis. I suppose I'd suggest that free will be redefined as a thing that is predetermined (which is not to say chosen, by some higher being or whatnot) and acts in accordance with causality. It's just a function of a brain, using processes developed over time to interpret and make choices. Oh, and about the 'imaginary choices', it's not like they don't really exist, they have an effect expressed in the time it takes to consider them (if one chooses to do so). It's like at a crosswalk, in that moment when the sign changes from "WALK" to "DON'T WALK"; If you just stop and consider your options for too long, they both become imaginary and you become street pizza. Exercise your will, don't worry about how free it is, and remember that everything is 100% predictable, only not to you due, among other things, to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.
  20. Before some special relativity guys ruin this simple question: YES! You are correct. Classically speaking, your understanding that the speed of the object's reflected image relative to the object could be approximated as 2v (with less accuracy as the object's speed approaches c) is perfectly sound. Though I already qualified the hell out of that last sentence, I should also include that this only counts for movements directly toward or away from the reflection, lateral movement, obviously, would not stack.
  21. 'Tis a noble pipe-dream (perpetual motion), but this convo made me wonder: In an MRI, how, if at all, is all that magnetic energy reclaimed? Is there a system like that for wind generators, returning the current to the electric company, or is it all stored in a battery within the machine, or perhaps it's just dumped down a ground line? And to be more on topic: Does not any magnet, electric or otherwise, continually lose energy anyway in the form of the light (or non-light?)..well, EM radiation that it produces? I'm not sure how different the rate would be, as it always only produces the radiation, and the radiation itself is responsible for any effect beyond that. I'd love a link that explains this process... Finally, the closest I think we'll get to perpetual motion/unlimited energy: Thermal energy!!! Every molecule in the universe is in constant motion...some would call it perpetual. This fact is so persistent, it's widely considered impossible to reach absolute zero. Just find a way to charge your magnets with heat energy alone, and you'll have enough energy to last until the next ice age (which you brought on...incidentally).
  22. I had forgotten about that stipulation about taking whatever door was indicated, as uncool's riddle answer gave an indication of the death door. My intention was this: 1. 3 guards: 1 lies, 1 doesn't lie, 1 may or may not lie 2. 2 death doors, 1 good door 3. You can ask 1 guard to indicate up to two doors that match the properties you provide, and choose your door from the information provided. From this framework, uncool's answer still works, upon review, though it's more complex than necessary. My simple 7-word query was this: Yup! And some folks say spoken language isn't as precise as math...there are just tons more functions which are too often misunderstood!
  23. Marqq

    David Starkey

    I just think it should be pointed out that 'acting black' and 'acting white' are idioms from the very culture he's describing. I won't go into the various meanings, as that does get offensive. The point is, even gangstas (omg, spellcheck allowed that!) say, "White folks is turnin' black yo," or, "You perty white fo a black dude homes". (please forgive the ebonics...hurts just to type it...) They use it, so he's just using their own terminology to describe that group. Where do you think the term 'Nazi' came from? Was it a slur used to offend the wannabe aryan dipshits? No. It's just a shortening of the term they used to describe themselves: Nazionelle Sozialisten. (Not sure if we shortened it or if they did) Here, though, we get a special situation: The gangstas get to be offended because someone mentioned race. I don't really get this...and ya, it's a topic for another thread entirely, but hey--it ain't the N word, so get over it (am I right?). This seems to be a cultural defense mechanism, and I believe it truly merits sociological study. The gangsta culture survives now only because it can't be mentioned that it came from the darker parts of american society. Can we start teaching basic reasoning (including recognition of rhetoric) to elementary kids now? PLEASE?!
  24. Humans have empathy, most 'lower' animals do not. Empathy is the ability to view the world from another's point of view. There are a great many other facets of human thought that are very well-defined that add to our mental separation from 'lower' animals. I'll grant you that we still act on feelings a great majority of the time, along with following our conditioned response schemata, tending to conform to social expectations and essentially running through all situations without conscious thought (like animals). Overcoming these animalistic tendencies, though, is mostly accomplished during our progression through the stages of moral development. (Be sure to at least skim the link.) Very few non-human animals make it even as far as the conventional reasoning level, so their mechanisms for thought are a far cry from being 'the same, but to a lesser degree'.
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