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Everything posted by Severian

  1. Right now I am typing this on my iPad, and I have SFN as an icon on my home screen. Many sites include an icon, which the iPad picks up and uses for the icon on the home screen, but if this is not present then it just takes a screenshot for the icon. Unfortunately SFN doesn't have an icon and the screenshot isn't very distinctive so it is quite hard to find on the cluttered screen. Could you please add the following to your header: <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="iphone_icon_57x57.png" /> where the png is obviously the icon (57 by 57 pixels), to keep us iPad users happy? Thanks. If you need more info, look at http://www.ofzenandcomputing.com/zanswers/3012
  2. I liked them too, but haven't managed to read A feast for Crows yet. This is mainly because there was such a long time gap between the books that I have forgotten what happened. On a related note, did you see that HBO are making a miniseries version of A Song of Fire and Ice under the title The Game of Thrones?
  3. Hmmm... I am not sure what you misunderstood. I mean that I have no problem with gay men being in a communal shower, at say the gym. This must happen all the time without me knowing. I would also have no problem with having mixed gender communal nudity. This doesn't really happen with showers in my country since women have separate changing/showering areas. But it wouldn't bother me. In fact, when in Europe, I sometimes share a communal sauna with completely naked women, and have no embarrassment or discomfort. I would have an issue with either case though, if the activity was not happening in a public space. For example, if I had a sauna at home (I don't), I think I would be uncomfortable sharing it with a naked gay friend or a naked woman (other than my wife). I have no logical reasoning as to why this would make me uncomfortable, but I think it would.
  4. I don't actually like the story, or the book itself, very much. But the quality of the writing is just unbelievably good. If all writers could write so well, reading would be paradise.
  5. I wouldn't have any problem being in a communal shower with a gay guy. I also wouldn't have a problem being in a communal shower with a girl. Being in a private one with either would be an issue for me though (unless the girl was my wife obviously).
  6. I think the public like revolutions. If we find something unexpected, I think they will be happy. I would worry more about what would happen if we had either of the following scenarios: 1. No Higgs boson, but the WW scattering cross section turns over and we can't find a reason. (This is obviously very exciting for physicists but convincing the public it is might be difficult.) 2. We find the SM Higgs boson and nothing else. Critics of future research would say "Physics is done".
  7. 4.1 and 4.2 Yes 4.3 It really depends on the circumstances, but I would probably give up the seat.
  8. I think if "no signs of Higgs are observed" everyone will get very excited because our theory will break down. The SM without a Higgs boson would violate unitarity, and this would be visible in WW scattering, causing the cross-section to rise too fast with energy. Since it obviously can't really violate unitarity (we can't have probabilities greater than one) there would need to be a mechanism to slow down the rise (the Higgs boson previously took this role). One possibility would be W-bosons that feel the strong interaction at higher energies, which would be quite revolutionary. I disagree. It is very phenomenological. We even have indirect evidence for the Higgs boson, since it should contribute to the scattering of other particles by being present in loops. Indeed we find that the SM without the Higgs boson is a poor fit compared to the SM with the Higgs boson, and this even allows us to place limits on the Higgs mass that I mentioned in an earlier post.
  9. I think that is a fair comment. Progress is very slow, especially when you need to reach such high energies. But I think you can see from the Higgs mass limits that we are now homing in on exciting stuff.
  10. You may as well use the same argument to "prove" that Hamlet is being played by an alien species on stage right now, somewhere out there in the universe. After all, the chemical reactions that created Hamlet can happen anywhere, and we already have evidence of one Hamlet being produced. So it stands to reason that in that huge huge universe, there must be another Hamlet somewhere.
  11. There is no evidence for either one. 0=0 last time I checked, so the amount of evidence is the same. The 'evidence' that you describe is circumstantial at best. ...and please try to spell my name correctly.
  12. There is no problem with renormalization, but there is an issue of naturalness, often called the hierarchy problem. The divergence behaves like the cut-off squared, and although the divergence can still be subtracted off as usual, it means that the bare mass has to be fine-tuned to get the physical mass right. Solving this is one of the principle motivations for supersymmetry,
  13. If this were true, scientists building colliders would not be the only thing you would have to worry about. Any barrier can be tunnelled through with a non-zero probability. So the universe would have a very small but non-zero chance of just disintegrating from one moment to the next.
  14. The top quark is always free, because it decays before it can become confined in a hadron.
  15. This was to be expected, since our electroweak precision tests were already indicate that it should be lighter. Without the LEP constraint, the precision tests tell us the Higgs mass would have to be 80+30-23GeV. With the LEP constraint this changes to 119+14-4GeV. (Note that these are the figures not including the new data.) So the new exclusion is not surprising (though it is interesting and worthwhile).
  16. I agree that ignorance of the law is no excuse. But this statement is used to help determine guilt, not sentencing. If you break a law, you are guilty of breaking that law, irrespective of your knowledge. This seems obvious to me. However, I would expect ignorance of a law (if it is reasonable) to be taken into account for sentencing.
  17. 1.1) I would not switch the train towards the one person. I am not responsible for killing the five, since the responsibility lies entirely with the mad philosopher. But if I switch the tracks then I am responsible, since the one guy would otherwise live without my actions. 1.2) No. I let the five die and the fat man live. Again, I am not responsible for their deaths, but I would be responsible for the fat man's death if I push him. 1.3) Same answer and reasoning as 1.2 1.4) This is exactly the same as 1.1 1.5) Switch to the right track. The rick track person has informed me that he would be willing to do this (this probably depends on the tone of the previous conversation though, since people often say things they don't mean). 1.6) Answer as 1.1 1.7) Of course he shouldn't!
  18. This is true for big issues too, not just small ones. For example, I am fairly sure that evolution occurs (not necessarily 100% according to Darwin, but pretty close) even though I haven't personally sifted through all the evidence. I sounds like a reasonably believable idea and I trust the scientists that have done the analysis. Even in my job (I am a professional particle physicist) I do this. I trust the results in published papers assuming the peer review process would have caught any mistakes, but I don't have any direct evidence that they are correct. I trust data given to me by the experiments, without asking them to prove to me that this is the correct data and has been gathered in an unbiased way. On some level it is always essential to trust. We can adopt a rigorous "show me the evidence" approach when the conclusions we would otherwise reach are something that we don't instinctively believe (or something we need to be really sure about for reasons of safety or integrity) but when it comes to most things, this is just impractical.
  19. I agree with you, but I think you need to be careful to distinguish between immorality and legality. The victimless crimes very often (with some exceptions) shouldn't be illegal, but that doesn't stop them being immoral.
  20. The position of women in my religion? ...on their knees. (I have been trying to resist posting that for weeks. But every time I see this thread, it just pops into my head.)
  21. C'mon guys, this is a science forum. Let's have less of the off topic discussion about genetics and evolution, and get back to discussing God.
  22. I am often surprised that people who say that they are atheists because there is "no evidence for a God", often believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life.
  23. All my morals are absolutes. If I think something is wrong, then it is wrong, period. I may still do it, but it is still wrong. Of course, one has to be very careful how to define a particular moral. Or in other words, if your morality is not absolute, you have not defined it very well.
  24. I honestly have no recollection of even writing my comments on the first page of this thread.
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