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Greg H.

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Posts posted by Greg H.

  1. How to test GR for the layman.


    Program your GPS for a destination you've never been to - preferably one far from your home.

    Go to that destination using only the directions from your GPS.


    Expected result: You arrive at your destination (within the margin of error for your GPS).


    Since this works literally thousands of times per day in the US alone, I don't really think we need any more proof at the non-scientific level.

  2. Wait long enough.

    Erosion will flatten the mountains and fill in the sub-sea valleys and the water will spread over what's left.

    This might take a while- probably longer than the expected life-time of the sun.

    If seismic activity continued, it might take longer than you think. I wonder how long it would take for the earth to become geologically dead?

  3. But if someone else used the program they might consider it a bug, so which one of us is correct?


    Strictly speaking neither value is mathematically correct, though obviously one will be more accurate than the other.

    You will hear the phrase "working as designed" crop up a lot, especially in very large applications. If the program is correctly executing the steps in its code, then it is without bugs. The design that led to that code may be wrong as hell, but that's not the code's fault.



    Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. -- Douglas Adams


    It's a bit tongue in cheek, but it really is apt. Trying to find a given object at the distances astronomers think this Planet X lies requires diligence and not a little bit of luck. Even if you have the math to infer the existence of such an object, finding it still isn't an easy thing to do.

  5. There is no "perfect wing". What is a functional design now may offer a disadvantage due to changes in the environment. Consider, for example, the British peppered moth, and their varying coloration. What works well in one environment may not work as well, and may in fact become a disadvantage if the environment changes drastically enough. This is why evolution is often described as chasing not perfection, but "good enough". Anything that offers an advantage is retained, and anything that does not is lost (or at best, minimized in the population).


    Also, note, that there are evolutionary neutral mutations - eye color in humans, for example. Although there is some discussion that, for example, people with blue eyes have an advantage in night vision, while people with brown eyes have better UV protection, due to more melanin in the Iris, the differences are small enough that they may actually be genetically neutral in terms of survival (since so many of them have survived in the population).


    I only use emoticons a couple times a year, so I'll forgive that you missed my sarcasm.


    This seems like the old irreducible complexity argument that's been debunked for a long time, but continues to be used by many creationists. Apparently "throwing random bags of chemicals into the cells" and ending up with a fertilization process is wrong just because if you wave your hands broadly enough, it makes things automatically physically impossible.

    That's what I was thinking while I was reading it.

  7. There are other legal implications involved. For example, I work for a bank. Some of our employees carry iPhones for work,issued by the company. These phones are used to access private systems within the company that contain bank records, customer information, etc. Providing a universal back door into iPhones compromises all the security of any system that phone can connect to.

  8. It's trickery of some sort. There's something he's not showing - the first rule of any video - if what they're showing you appears to violate the laws of physics, there's something you're not seeing. (Or it's a cartoon).

  9. Rey's raw talent with the Force (as well as her other abilities) dove tail nicely with my theory about her being Luke's daughter. Whether that turns out be correct or not, only time (and two more movies) will tell.


    As for Fin, stormtroopers are not known for their advanced tactics. it's mostly overwhelm them with sheer numbers - I mean, in most of the movies they can't even hit what they shoot at. In the end, he does stand up to Kylo Ren, with a weapon that he's totally unfamiliar with - so like the Cowardly Lion, he eventually finds his courage.


    As for Kylo himself, he's Anakin all over again. Teenage angst with unlimited power - not terribly new, but I'm willing to reserve judgement until I see the next movie, at least. As far as his wearing a mask, I think he does that more in tribute to his grandfather, than out of any necessity. As for the Sith having scars, not all of them did. Dooku was clean, as far as I remember, until he died.

  10. Realistically, large scale orbital facilities like this aren't going to become wide spread until orbital manufacturing using materials gathered from space becomes a thing. That significantly lowers the cost because you don't have to spend all that energy climbing up out of the Earth's gravity well for the structural pieces - you just ship up the electronics and specialized equipment, and build the heavy bits in situ.

  11. In programming, minified code often uses indexed variables, but it makes it nearly impossible for a human to follow the code and debug issues. Minified code is often generated as a way to save space, especially in javascript, however.


    The standard in our shop is to use camel case for anything that isn't a constant, and all upper case for constants. So you would have:


    DAYS_PER_WEEK and currentDayOfTheWeek for example.

  12. In theory, yes. In practicality, no, though it's strictly an engineering problem in terms of how much power you need and the size of the capacitor banks, etc it takes to construct it.


    Although in that case, you really don't need a bullet. A nail or an iron ball would also work acceptably well.

  13. Also this is on a highly irrelevant, almost completely tangential side not but how many bodies do you have to have before it counts as "murder"?

    Murder is a legal definition. One body is enough for it to be considered murder, but just because you kill someone doesn't make it murder in the legal sense.


    On the other part of your topic, there is a distinction between the utility of the research results and condoning the method in which those results were obtained. Many early anatomists were also grave robbers - it was the only way they could get the cadavers they needed to study. So while we don't necessarily condone stealing buried bodies, it's hard to say we'll ignore all the lessons we learned from them.

  14. It depends on whether the collisions are elastic or inelastic - in other words, are you making the assumption that the cars crumple and deform as they really would in a collision or does 100% of the kinetic energy go to moving the target vehicle. One case is relatively simple. The other is not.

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