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the asinine cretin

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Posts posted by the asinine cretin

  1. This just occurred to me, but is there any kind of phenomena that would make Mars' moons move in closer to their planet?


    Also, what would happen if we tried to terraform our own moon? Would it loose it's beneficial properties that it has now for Earth?


    For the time being, while a planet is being terraformed, are domed cities on it's surface a valid option? On our moon and Mars it could be possible, obviously not on Venus.


    That's a good thought. I don't know about Deimos off the top of my head but I know that Phobos is slowly decelerating due to tidal forces and will impact Mars at some point in the future. I think I'd remember if this were to happen in human-relevant time scales. I'd guess a scale of at least millions of years. I'd look it up but I hear thunder and have to power down this machine... damn it.

  2. We use 'em at my place of employment.


    The application that they generally find themselves in....


    - Temporary. IE, the test rig is only going to be in operation for a few days before being torn down.

    - Extreme noise/vibration. As in, your ear drums would literally rupture if you were in the room.

    - Hot. Ambient temperatures in the region of 100-120 F.

    - Lots o' power available. Need 100 amp 480 VAC service? No problem.


    And through all that you need to keep some electronics cool. Peltier coolers are cheap and easy to throw into a box. They handle harsh environments. We don't care too much about efficiency. What's not to like?


    Your job sounds pretty sweet. +1.

  3. I always got told the moon was very important and when it drifts away it will cause a wobble, guess you can't believe everything your told

    If this is in response to my post you've gotten the wrong impression. The moon is very important and the range of obliquity variations would surely be much greater if Earth were moonless. I wasn't denying this, but pointing out that at last year's AAS meeting a paper was presented which significantly lowered the range of probable variation from previous modelling. My basic thought is that this new range, coupled with the time scales involved, don't pose a "show stopping" obstacle for terraforming.



    Perhaps confusingly dovetailed together with that bit of info (although a distinct topic) was the idea that if we assume that a civilization has the capability of terraforming Mars on millennial or centennial time scales, then they presumably have the ability to adapt and cope with the 175,000 year Martian precession cycle.



    P.S. I am sorry that I was unable to find the AAS paper mentioned. While I've yet to watch it (hopefully today) I can safely say that the above SETI talk covers what was in the AAS presentation.

  4. Not at all, obviously we don't know to much about the wobble but without our moon the earth would wobble, if mars' moons aren't big enough or close enough to counteract the wobble then that could be the cause


    Mars is easily millions of times more massive than both its moons combined. I think there is no way that their influence could attenuate the planet's obliquity like our moon does. Even in the case of a moonless Earth, we're talking about cycles that occur over tens of thousands of years. Presumably a civilization with terraforming capabilities could adapt over those timescales. I just did a quick Google search and the precession cycle on Mars is 175,000 Earth years. Another thing is that there is research that contradicts the claim that without our moon the Earth's axial tilt would vary to a much greater magnitude. I recall posting a paper last year (I think not on this forum, however) which studied the question and found it to not matter so much. I'll find it later.


    I'm thinking it was something from the AAS meeting last year. One moment.


    I found the SETI talk version. (Incidentally, SETI has I think my favorite channel on youtube.)



  5. Based on what you've said, if I had to make a bet right now, I'd totally bet in your favor. You've got this.


    ETA: Sorry I don't have any real advice. I'd encourage you to go for your dreams though. You're good enough.

  6. I can hear Feynman in the back of my mind at times, particularly when things are getting tough, whispering "juice, juice." I've got to have my daily orange juice.
  7. It's DirectX 11 now and Shader Model 5.0 using HLSL, so nothing has really changed. 3D Gaming engines with integrated game editors have been publicly available since the late 90's, commercially available since the early 90's, and pretty much since the advent of DirectX.


    I am personally a fan of the Source Engine. I would have dug deeper into Cry but they hadn't made their newest engine publicly accessible when I had last looked--this has changed. I don't see having a built in asset editor, aside from world map editor, as being beneficial. XSI is an amazing product and most game engines will not release anything even remotely as competent.


    I will probably have the opportunity to Co-Op with EA Blackbox, EA Burnaby, or Vivendi's Radical while I am completing my bachelors degree. I already have a game design diploma from VFS and a previous portfolio, which I should update. I am rather curious what sort of feedback the OP was looking for?


    Wow, thanks for posting. You're clearly much more into it than I ever was. I had Frank Luna's book, a book from some place called The Game Institute, some AI books, and the DirectX SDK. Other than that I was just making shit up as I went. Funny that I reinvented the wheel on the world editor side instead of researching what was out there. But of course I was only in it for fun, and perhaps such an exercise was my idea of fun.

    I give you props and I must say that I wish that I had your education and experience. laugh.gif These days I write pretty tedious medical software that leaves relatively little room for creativity and all that. Congrats on those opportunities!


    Thanks again for the info.



  8. Elaborate as you feel need be, sir.




    I apologize if I seemed dismissive. I thought you were trying to disagree with me and I didn't want to drift off topic after recent complaints about the expanding scope ofthe thread.


    No problem at all. I apologize for hasty posts and lack of clarity. I'm thinking of stepping out for a while as there are about 20 pages in this thread that I've not read and the things I'd like to say, while relevant to the topic, represent a slightly different discussion than that which seems to be taking place at the moment. Cheers!

  9. I said *supernatural* religious claims to avoid the response you just gave. "Jesus existed" is not a supernatural claim.

    That actually doesn't matter at all to what I was saying. You've clearly not understood me.


    I did *not* say that falsifiability is the only distinction. I did *not* say that falsifiability is what makes beliefs rational or irrational.

    I didn't mean to say that such is your view and I'm glad to hear that it isn't. In my mind you've had the benefit of the doubt. No need to be defensive.


    We are off topic.

    I don't agree. But fine.


    Shall I actually take the time to further clarify where I'm coming from or will you just reply with a series of pithy complaints and then declare the conversion void?



    the asinine cretin,


    Read the Maarten Boudry piece. Seems a thourough argument against supernatural things being approachable by science.

    But the definition of supernatural excludes supernatural things from nature in the first place (as is pointed out in the essay.)

    Which leads me to the interesting thought, in reference to this thread, that if God is a proxy for nature, as I have been arguing, and scientists will accept only natural explanations, then ANYBODY not believing in nature, as having both the first and last word, would indeed be broken. But since both scientists and religious people have nothing but complete faith in nature, then EVERYBODY who believes in nature, is not broken.


    Regards, TAR2


    I don't know how you got that reading exactly. The reason I posted it is that it elucidates a view I share on the subject of intrinsic methodological naturalism.


    Consider the first paragraph of the conclusion.


    "In this paper, we reviewed five arguments in favour of the conception of MN [methodological naturalism] as an intrinsic property of science (IMN), and we found them all wanting: the argument from the definition of science, the argument from lawful regularity, the science stopper argument, the argument from procedural necessity, and the testability argument. Instead, we defended MN as a provisory and empirically grounded commitment of scientists to naturalistic causes and explanations, which is in principle revocable by overwhelming and unmistakable empirical evidence (PMN). Evolutionary scientists are on firmer ground if they discard supernatural explanations on purely evidential grounds, and not by philosophical fiat."



    Rather than glean favorite quotes I'd just suggest rereading it. It is not an "argument against supernatural things being approachable by science." It's more interesting than that, in my opinion.


    Regards, sir.

  10. What my imaginary creationist friend is saying:


    No, breeding is just microevolution. Nobody denies that. But you'll never see a dog turn into a non-dog. Darwinism claims that man came from a microbe. That's a faith-based position as we've never observed kinds becoming different kinds. What else ya got?


    it IS evolution.


    The only bit that makes it stand out is that the selection pressures do not come from the environment but from humans.

    Humans are an intelligent designer. Therefore, as far as we know evolution can't happen without an intervening intelligence. I don't share your "faith" in random chance. Zing!


    P.S. Giving me the -1 isn't going to justify your RELIGION! Admit that you believe in Darwinism because you happened to be born in a country that indoctrinates its youth in this RELIGION! There are other interpretations. The fossils say NOOOO!!

  11. !

    Moderator Note

    Focus on the topic at hand. If you're right, back it up. If you aren't, attacking someone rather than their critique is not acceptable. Neither is substituting your standard of civility for the board's.


    Being corrected on matters of technical accuracy is precisely what one should expect to happen here. Making it personal is unacceptable.


    I don't agree with your assessment (cynically restating what I've already said or alluded to as though a new insight is correction? --I call it obnoxious) and I find your use of the mod tags in sharing your feelings to be worthy of contempt. Am I supposed to be threatened? Fortunately I have a life outside of this website.




    Okay, in honor of Wil Wheaton and in the name of Sybok, I hereby swallow my pride and renounce my uncivilized behavior on this thread. I'd like to thank you, swansont, for your fraternal correction, and I do so from the depths of my heart.

    D H, I must commend you for suffering my foolish behavior and I resolve to treat you with the utmost respect from here on out. I'd also like to thank you for your insightful commentary on my own imbecilic posts; I very much appreciate your time.


    Best wishes, and God bless.

  12. the asinine cretin,


    I didn't read your "falsifiability" link, yet, perhaps I might learn something when I do.


    My mom (the departed mathematician, somewhat eccentric, strong believer in Christ, I often use as proxy for "believer",) would tell us (my sister, cousins, friends or whoever was present) her understanding of the fishes and loaves story. Jesus fed the multitude by pronouncing the several loaves and fishes that were apparently all they had, would be enough, and as these were passed around, the morsels and privately hidden peices of cheese and bread and berries or whatever, appeared from beneath the robes of those who had hidden such, for their own use, and were shared, and everybody ate.


    There is no magic or psuedoscience involved in such a miracle. No fishes or loaves needed to magically multiply. No rules of the universe needed to be violated. Only "Christian brotherhood" and "Jesus' Love" are required for the miracle to occur.


    Regards, TAR2

    Thank you. Fair enough. I suppose there is a spectrum of credulity among religious believers, but I think it's fair to say that in general there are doctrines that must be believed in a fideistic manner. Some Christians draw the line at some of the miracle and seek to contrive natural explanations, some perhaps at the Virgin Birth, some are naturalists when it comes to everything but the Resurrection. Most of the Christians I've known accepted just about everything except perhaps the more fantastic fables of the Old Testament. Finally, I know that there are people who describe themselves as Christians who reject even the Resurrection (Bishop Spong?), but these seem to me to be a fringe minority and I don't really know what to make of them. As Saint Paul said, "if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain." In other words, what's the point?


    To elaborate where I was coming from, there are many perfectly rational beliefs that are not scientific claims and that are not falsifiable.


    Dammit. I'm not done but I've got to go.


    I don't quite remember where I was going with this. I guess just that basic logic is sufficient to challenge or refute religious claims - and generally preferable. In my experience, the place for the philosophy of science discussion is in evaluating specific claims that can be addressed scientifically. Often paranormal claims are of this kind, while religious/theological claims seem often by nature to dodge that sphere of knowledge. Did Jesus rise from the dead? This is not necessarily falsifiable claim. It's a one-time historical event, which doesn't mean that it didn't happen. But might it be reasonable? We have the tools of historians and biblical scholars to put to use at least. Apologists/theologians have spilled a lot of ink arguing that it is plausible and that there are good reasons for entertaining it as a fact -- thereby being open the Holy Spirit and receiving the encounter with Christ, the gift of faith, and so on.


    Meh, whatever. Never mind.

  13. That's right.


    My point is that religious claims are of the same general kind as those made by psychics, UFO abductees, astrologers, etc. Supernatural religious claims are similar to the claims of pseudoscience because they are both unfalsifiable. Not only is that an essential reason they are similar, it is the most important and the least refutable reason they are different from scientific claims.


    To elaborate where I was coming from, there are many perfectly rational beliefs that are not scientific claims and that are not falsifiable.


    (Tangential, but I'm not as enthusiastic about naive falsificationism as I was when first reading Popper. For elaboration I would mention that I think Susan Haack has some interesting things to say in this lecture:



    As an example, the consensus among scholars that Jesus of Nazareth actually existed is a reasonable view that is not "scientific." Similarly, believing that Mohammed actually existed is perfectly rational, while believing that he flew on a magic donkey is not, and the reasons for this distinction are not mere falsifiability. While it's an important aspect of scientific methodology, and knowledge in general, to insist that falsifiability is what makes beliefs rational or irrational may warrant the scientism epithet.

    As an example (and in spite of "proofs" for the existence of God and the hyperbole of some apologists), Catholic doctrine does not assert that the existence of God is demonstrable in some scientific sense, but rather that there is sufficient reason for believing that there is a God. I think this is closer to the sense in which there is sufficient reason to hold that Julius Caesar actually existed, or that Paul of Tarsus existed, and not in the sense in which a scientific hypothesis is tested. (This sufficient reason then opens the door of the heart and mind to faith, which is a supernatural virtue and considered a gift of God, rather than something that can or should be completely justified on rational grounds. Within this framework is the necessity for, and validity of revelation.)

    Thus, I don't think that the demarcation problem, and the claim that something is "pseudoscience," is always applicable to religious claims. Is the important point with respect to the miracle of the loaves and the fishes that affirming it is "pseudoscience," or the more basic fact that believing in a miraculous event based on alleged testimony far removed from the actual events, and in a genre of literature unconcerned with historical fact, is not rational?


    Dammit. I'm not done but I've got to go.

  14. Here's what my imaginary creationist might say.


    1. The algorithm that settles on S H A K E S P E A R E over many iterations of random character selection assumes a teleology. For us that teleology is explained by the Intelligent Designer and you've just illustrated the plainly evident signature of that Designer. You're blinded by Naturalism, Darwinism, and Atheist religion and therefore your darkened intellect refuses to see it.


    2. Laboratory experiments show that natural selection has fitness costs and that Darwinism alone cannot account for fitness and new information. Therefore, we hypothesize that an Intelligent Designer is in some sense operating in nature to bring about a purposeful, and directed evolution of life - of course with humans at the top ready to know, love, and serve Him in this world in order to be happy with him in the next.


    Give up your faith in Random Chance and apprehend the presence of the Intelligent Designer. The Bible is true.

  15. No, it doesn't. You can't just substitute one energy source for another and leave everything else unchanged. You most certainly can't use something that generates so much heat that it can vaporize itself and leave everything else unchanged. And you absolutely cannot use something that is as astoundingly deadly as polonium 210 and leave everything else unchanged. Everything needs to be redesigned. The fuel needs to be diluted and encapsulated to keep it from vaporizing itself. The highly dangerous fuel mandates even stronger safety measures than are used for RTGs or the to-be-flown ASRG. The much larger heat output requires thermal rejection well beyond just dumping the heat to the spacecraft structure. The very short half life means the system would be of very limited use.

    Of course. But the fact that we developed Po-210 RTGs in the late '50s makes me inclined to think you're exaggerating.


    Wikipedia mentions the half-life as the primary reason why Pu-238 was favored. And again, holy crap, no kidding the short half life means it's of limited use. Did I ever suggest otherwise? I thought I made that point pretty clear on multiple occasions.


    But really, my scenario was completely speculative and evolved to assume extensive space infrastructure. It's just a "what if" scenario so don't worry about it.

    Oh, and the more general point was not that Po-210 is a panacea, but that alternative isotopes may be worthwhile for particular applications. I picked Polonium as an example because I knew RTGs had been built using this element and BECAUSE of its short half-life; although there are nearly 30 radioisotopes considered to be candidates for RTG tech.


    Tough. My habitual naysaying is mild compared to what happens in a real peer review. The standard line for those proposing new ideas is to "check your egos in at the door."

    This isn't a peer-reviewed journal it's an internet forum. Don't be a dick or I'm telling Wil Wheaton. Also, if you're going to be so condescending and presume to "peer-review" someone's speculative internet comments at least read what they fuckin' write and do more than restate things they've already said.



    Try 120 rather than 30 SAFE-400s. Read your own source. A SAFE-400 produces 400 kW of thermal power but only 100 kW of electrical power. Another point: That 1200 kg is the mass of the reactor. It does not include the mass of the thermal radiators, and 120 of those generators will require a lot of thermal radiators. Once again, read the source that you provided.

    I've already made that point. I guess I won't fault you for not picking up on it. I've had a tendency in this thread to start reading a doc, post about it, finish reading it, and then edit my post and append comments.


    I side with Zubrin on the idea of using VASIMR to get to Mars. It's a hoax on the scale of Solyndra.

    That may be. I hope not. If you have evidence for this claim I'd be interested in seeing it.

  16. I am not a scientist of evolution, psychology, and/or anthropology. Just an internet rando/ignoramus.


    My understanding:


    1. Evolution by natural selection is not "random," and I suppose in the case of our ancestors the capacity to reason was a survival advantage. Hunting, tracking, cataloging useful plants and materials, making tools, planning for the future, et cetera. I think there also may have been a feedback with increased social complexity driving greater cognitive ability which in turn drives greater social complexity (hopefully I'm not bastardizing the idea; I recall reading about such things anyway).


    2. The scientific method and being logical are not innate but require training and discipline (I think these are more cultural artifacts than products of biological evolution). Our psychology has evolved with a great many flaws from this point of view and science was invented partly to mitigate human irrationality.


    Being off-the-cuff here, I suppose I see the emergence of scientific methodology as analogous to the emergence of a physical toolkit.


    But since you were hoping for educated opinion I'll just shut my yap. Cheers.

  17. Interesting post, Enthalpy.


    But I do agree no lightweight strong reactor exists, which is a condition for strong acceleration hence short trip.

    What do you think of the SAFE-400 reactor?


    Anyway, I'm no supporter of Mars Direct. Pre-placing a descent-ascent module and a return craft in Martian orbit is a safer option, as it can offer redundancy and needs no trip at Mars' surface to some hopefully working equipment. Chemical propulsion allows a short stay there (2 weeks around opposition) if aerobraking at Mars and Earth - or less interesting, a shorter trip and the usual long stay. It involves passing nearer to the Sun than Earth is.

    What do you think of Mars Semi-Direct, and other mission architectures inspired by Mars Direct?


    Sorry, moderators here don't want links to my descriptions in an other forum, which Google doesn't list neither.

    I'd love more information on the first thing you mentioned; namely, hydrogen + sunlight propulsion. How would that work and how did you arrive at the Isp numbers? Thanks


    It might then take 30 of the SAFE-400 reactors to achieve 12 MW.

    The SAFE-400 operates at 100 kWe and 400 kWt, therefore, it would take 120 reactors. Sorry, self.

  18. Telling 80 or 90 percent of the population that you simply don't believe their experience of god because it is crazy doesn't illustrate why a belief in god is broken.

    I wasn't speaking of simple belief in God. My sentiment was that belief in the fantastic stories of religious traditions is not within the realm of rational discourse. I will say that the leap from an altered state/religious experience to "therefore, my favorite religious text is true," is obviously not valid. I suspect even people who believe that they experience a divine being in their lives can see that. I think the gist is that people aren't particularly reasonable and that cognitive bias reigns.


    The problem with your reaction is that religious people don't agree that only one of the claims is empirical. People will say, "yes, I know God. I experienced God." That degrades instantly into your opinion versus the religious person's opinion regarding the reality of the religious person's vision of Jesus. That's an argument you can't win.

    If a person can see that their pet supernatural/paranormal claims are of the same general kind as those made by psychics, UFO abductees, and people of other religions often with contradictory religious experience, they may face the fact that purely subjective data and a hopelessly self-referential worldview do not constitute a means of honestly understanding reality. There are mountains of reasons for seriously doubting each of the world religions. There are also many reasons for doubting the supernatural character of religious experience. This is in some ways acknowledged by some religious traditions. For example, some writings advise paying no attention to apparitions and other "extraordinary phenomena" because they may be demonic or self deceptions. Given what we now know about hallucinations, self-deception, the ease with which the mind can generate feelings such as awe, a presence, and the like, one would be irrational not to doubt even the most vivid supernatural "experiences" that could not be objectively verified in some way, which seems to be all of them. But sure, there aren't many who have the self-honesty and intellectual integrity to genuinely explore the undesirable possibilities.


    P.S. I say this as one partial to the possibility of the supernatural.


    P.P.S. I've just gotta give a shout out to bdwilson1000's video intro to the

  19. In that case I don't think you even need to get into the demarcation problem. One is a substantiated, if provisional, claim based on empirical data (i.e., the inference of the approximate number of baryons in the observable universe), the other is hardly different, epistemologically, from belief in the events documented in Gulliver's Travels. These things don't even enter the realm of rational discourse to begin with. Mohammed talks to beings from outer space (or some shit - whatever they think heaven is) and rides on a magic flying donkey? These are claims that some would want us to take seriously, and they'll dog on scientific insight to advance this petty cause? I can only laugh and cry.


    Oh, and not only are people supposed to take this seriously and believe, but this (the angel thing anyway) is the basis of one of the most prominent cultural phenomena in the world - namely, Islam. The Book of Mormon was magically received and written down, or translated; the Bible was "inspired" in some sense that even professional theologians have a hard time actually defining much less substantiating. (It seems to me that inspiration is basically a thought-terminating cliche among intelligent Christians and merely a superstition among fundamentalists.) And the like. Magical holy books in the 21st century? Societies dominated by the teachings of these ancient tales? How does this make any sense at all? Even if these books didn't reek of their human origins, what the heck? Who can explain this to me?


    Edit to add: Insofar as this is snide, I apologize. I'm not trying to be a dick. (Maybe it comes naturally.)

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