Search found 78 matches

by Zake
Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:15 am UTC
Forum: Logic Puzzles
Topic: A Syllogism by Lewis Carroll
Replies: 11
Views: 5494

Re: A Syllogism by Lewis Carroll

Alternately; The syllogism uses of the present tense throughout, when multiple moments of time are in fact being considered considered. Correcting the ambiguity gets the fairly awkward-sounding; All meat that I eat for dinner, at dinnertime, is meat that I buy at the market, in the morning. All meat...
by Zake
Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:58 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Lasers
Replies: 43
Views: 4735

Re: Lasers

"Flying battleships" may not be terribly efficient when its just Earth we're talking about, but if you were going to go and bust up some guys on Mars... you'd want to take a whole lot of supplies, munitions, and friends with you in one big, heavily armored package. Something else you shoul...
by Zake
Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:22 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Bottle Rockets?
Replies: 11
Views: 1332

Re: Bottle Rockets?

Hmm. If you managed to put a subtle extra compartment in the bottle, and filled it with just enough hydrogen or helium... the water-filled bottle would be plenty heavy to sit innocently on the ground, but once is rocketed up into the air and empty it just... floats away. Could be a pretty surreal ef...
by Zake
Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:00 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Futurists: Great ones to look up to?
Replies: 4
Views: 1140

Re: Futurists: Great ones to look up to?

Ray Kurzweil. You can't consider yourself someone concerned with the semi-foreseeable future if you haven't read, and have some positive or negative opinion about, his Singularity idea.
by Zake
Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:31 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Is a programming language actually a language?
Replies: 43
Views: 4690

Re: Is a programming language actually a language?

That sounds more like a distinction between human consciousness/agency and machine unconsciousness/non-agency than natural language and programming (or artificial, to consider a broader set) language (to me), Zake (unless I'm misunderstanding why you consider the statements, "I consider X to b...
by Zake
Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:16 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Hawking radiation?
Replies: 2
Views: 878

Hawking radiation?

(Before you ask- yes , this is inspired by the LHC, but it isn't an "oh noes apocalypse!!1!" post. All the talk about Hawking radiation just made me wonder.) So, as I've seen it explained in various places, the reasoning behind the existence of Hawking radiation is that virtual particle pa...
by Zake
Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:58 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Is a programming language actually a language?
Replies: 43
Views: 4690

Re: Is a programming language actually a language?

I'm no linguist, but I think one useful distinction is that the primary purpose of natural languages is for the transmission of knowledge. This concept simply doesn't apply to computers (yet). Natural languages also include imperative statements (No, don't do that! You'll burn down the AAAAAAAAGGGG...
by Zake
Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:42 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Space Exploration Poll
Replies: 13
Views: 1996

Re: Space Exploration Poll

Hmm. I voted 100- years for the moon, 100-200 for Mars, and ~300 for extra-solar, which seems to be a reasonably popular position. I wonder if thats just the structure of the poll (where everyone thinks, simply enough "moon base < mars base < alpha centauri base") or what. I think it deser...
by Zake
Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:40 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Determinism
Replies: 27
Views: 2279

Re: Determinism

Well, you can make predictions from "within the universe," clearly, but you cannot in all cases make correct predictions. The end point of this discussion is probably something along the lines of the fact that a supercomputer existing within a universe, which at the same time has the capac...
by Zake
Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:01 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Philosophy underpins everything?
Replies: 49
Views: 4593

Re: Philosophy underpins everything?

Much of this thread seems to be discussing the relative merits of philosophy and science, when really this wasn't the point of the original post at all. The "levels of purity" strip aside, to say that philosophy underpins science doesn't mean that philosophy is "better," but rath...
by Zake
Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:42 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Artificial Intelligence
Replies: 186
Views: 22129

Re: Artificial Intelligence

Scanning a "MIND" and transferring it to solid media has already been totally discredited [its called the "quantum computer" issue: and hello, stupids, if you have a computer with enough computing power to "read" a human mind and store it, it'd be intelligent already, ...
by Zake
Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:00 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: The Terrarium AI Experiment
Replies: 4
Views: 1339

Re: The Terrarium AI Experiment

You've unwittingly stumbled upon the field of artificial life. "Terrarium"-like experiments have been done; google or wiki the terms Tierra and Avida for some of the most basic examples. Essentially, these programs create an "environment" (a virtual machine) in which "organi...
by Zake
Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:54 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories
Replies: 435
Views: 78727

Re: Childhood crackpot theories *EPIC THREAD*

I remember, at a sort of eleven-ish age, being really upset by the theory of relativity. What, my idealistic younger self demanded, made the speed of light so special, anyway? There can't just be arbitrary numbers which govern the working of the universe, because there wasn't anything before the uni...
by Zake
Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:38 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Velocity Problem
Replies: 4
Views: 1072

Re: Velocity Problem

Essentially, yes. For example, say that the particle is an atom in a gas, randomly bouncing all around in some container. If someone observes that its at point A on one side of the container (say, a meter-wide container) and at point B on the other side a second later, then its "average velocit...
by Zake
Sat Sep 06, 2008 11:36 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: How do I forge an elite?
Replies: 78
Views: 11299

Re: How do I forge an elite?

People keep discussing physical and mental training regimens of various sorts, with all manner of demands and punishments for failure. They all sound pretty difficult, though perhaps for as long as they continued they would increase the "elite-ness" of the trainees... but, the problem that...
by Zake
Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:18 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0470: "The End Is Not For A While"
Replies: 140
Views: 28026

Re: "The End is Not for a While"

I think we all know what to bring to the next xkcd meetup, now.

Picket an abandoned building with blank signs... political commentary or social angst? You decide.
by Zake
Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:43 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Asteroid mining and other space stuff: how useful, how soon?
Replies: 279
Views: 22437

Re: Asteroid mining and other space stuff: how useful, how soon?

Furthermore, while there are no current technologies in existence to make a rover semi- or fully- autonomous, and large and robust enough to survive decades without repair or refuel, and stocked with enough scientific equipment and tools to do everything that a geologist could, there ARE colonizati...
by Zake
Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:34 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Asteroid mining and other space stuff: how useful, how soon?
Replies: 279
Views: 22437

Re: Asteroid mining and other space stuff: how useful, how soon?

Hey, I'm all about improvements to robotics. I want to see fully automated factories and rovers and the like. I grew up on Star Trek and Wars just like most people here. But you discredit the progress that's been made with rocket technology. Do some searching and come back and tell me that VASIMR =...
by Zake
Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: exoskeltons [like iron man's/MC]
Replies: 23
Views: 3236

Re: exoskeltons [like iron man's/MC]

It all comes down to power, I think. We have robots that can walk around and do stuff at approaching human-level dexterity, so the biggest hurdle to putting a human in such a thing would be to simply make it bigger and stronger. And a big, strong robot needs lots of power. Clearly, the answer is a t...
by Zake
Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:26 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Loss of information in black holes - a thought experiment
Replies: 12
Views: 2145

Re: Loss of information in black holes - a thought experiment

if you had a finite input of electrons, how do you generate an infinite string of protons? Doesn't this violate some conservation theorem? >_> Maybe I'm just stupid :P The concept of a "black box" is a theoretical concept which refers to some "thing" which contains a process whi...
by Zake
Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:59 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Asteroid mining and other space stuff: how useful, how soon?
Replies: 279
Views: 22437

Re: Asteroid mining and other space stuff: how useful, how soon?

This isn't a new argument to the thread, so I urge you to simply read back a ways. Hrm, very well. I presume you refer to the following: I agree that robotics will continue to improve, and likely start being the personification of awesome, but until we can make the transition from fully automated b...
by Zake
Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:43 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Asteroid mining and other space stuff: how useful, how soon?
Replies: 279
Views: 22437

Re: Asteroid mining and other space stuff: how useful, how soon?

...one, that indeed, if scraping together enough of a current to run an electric motor is a challenge on Mars, powering the paraphenalia a human scientist would need would be a Hurculean task To paraphrase a longer argument, a Martian rover cannot fix itself. It is built with a few redundant system...
by Zake
Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:01 am UTC
Forum: Gaming
Topic: DnD: The Rod of Wonder
Replies: 26
Views: 3633

Re: DnD: The Rod of Wonder

Ur, yeah, theres a good point: The six-inch guy should have much less fall damage than a human-sized character on a fall from the same height. Same way mice can fall from a few stories and be okay, and insects don't get hurt from any fall whatsoever. Hmm. Obviously, a six-inch character couldn't do ...
by Zake
Wed Aug 20, 2008 2:53 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Asteroid mining and other space stuff: how useful, how soon?
Replies: 279
Views: 22437

Re: Asteroid mining and other space stuff: how useful, how soon?

We all understand the argument for sending a rover over a human, but the point still remains that a rover is limited by it's tools, which will eventually break, whereas a human can bring many tools and make observations and do things a rover can't, such as take a sample here, then walk 10 ft over a...
by Zake
Wed Aug 20, 2008 2:37 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Loss of information in black holes - a thought experiment
Replies: 12
Views: 2145

Re: Loss of information in black holes - a thought experiment

I think a large part of the question here has to do less with the technicalities of information science and more to do with the meaning of the word "lost." If the black box, instead of this complex encoding algorithm, simply held the sequence of the electrons inside itself for a few hours ...
by Zake
Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:31 pm UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: Water on Mars
Replies: 26
Views: 2840

Re: Water! On Mars!

You know, if Antarctica is so much more habitable than Mars, and closer, and we're all so enthusiastic about colonizing Mars, why hasn't there been any substantial colonization of Antarctica? Aside from that, I think the cool thing about the Phoenix lander is that it showed that, not only is there w...
by Zake
Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:27 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Gene Gun Projects
Replies: 14
Views: 2292

Re: Gene Gun Projects

This ranks somewhere midway on the Irresponsibly Mad Science scale, but I had an idea awhile ago for using a gene gun to create bioluminescent tattoos. Luciferase (isn't that what the firefly stuff is called?) is a reasonably easy-to-buy gene, often used as a biomarker and in highschool science proj...
by Zake
Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:01 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Origins of Intelligence
Replies: 40
Views: 4861

Re: Origins of Intelligence

There's simply not enough evidence, as far as I know, to decide what provided the impetus for the rise of intelligence in humans. Certainly, theres enough possibilities; we have mouths able to produce a widely varied range of sounds and the auditory capacity to recognize them, arms and hands able to...
by Zake
Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:19 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Using the ISS as an interplanetary research platform
Replies: 7
Views: 1504

Re: Using the ISS as an interplanetary research platform

Out of curiosity, what are the vastly important experiments carried out on the ISS these days? I mean, I'd imagine people have grown most broad categories of living things in micro-g already, not much chemistry should be gravity-dependent, and zero-g physics is trivial. And its not pointing telescop...
by Zake
Thu Jul 24, 2008 4:08 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: The future of ubiquitous memory
Replies: 33
Views: 3692

Re: The future of ubiquitous memory

Aside from the theological point of Moore's law and the dystopianity of the person-as-surveillance-device, the question which occurs to me about the original topic is; if said advance comes to pass, what are we going to do with the output? "The Final Cut" aside, the depressing truth is tha...
by Zake
Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:47 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: focused temperature / maxwell's demon
Replies: 9
Views: 1718

Re: focused temperature / maxwell's demon

Yah, of course a sample of atoms all with the same kinetic energy would collide and redistribute their velocities, resulting in a bell curve again. Except for a single particle... or, it occurs to me, when you have multiple particles all moving in the same direction. They have a given kinetic energy...
by Zake
Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:41 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Can a Biologist Fix a Radio?
Replies: 32
Views: 5455

Re: Can a Biologist Fix a Radio?

As I understand it, however (and, as a disclaimer, I am coming at this from the bio side, not the engineering side), a capacitor is, aside from varying degrees of capacitance and whatever, a capacitor; moreover, it will be used to perform the same general function (to capacitate?) in most or all of ...
by Zake
Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:51 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Launching stuff into space with coilguns
Replies: 26
Views: 3023

Re: Launching stuff into space with coilguns

Durandal wrote:Of course, the engineering problems associated with this would be insurmountable. But it would be cool to see a giant sky-scraper type structure that is actually an enormous gun.


Could anything ever be more phallic than that?
by Zake
Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:49 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: How to ship energy from Alpha Centauri
Replies: 39
Views: 3644

Re: How to ship energy from Alpha Centauri

Get a mass accelerator at Alpha Centauri and use it to fire big, magnetic bricks in the direction of Sol at near-light speeds. Then have a receiver floating around Sol which is basically a really long conducting coil "target" anchored by large masses (asteroids or something); catch the cha...
by Zake
Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:29 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Can a Biologist Fix a Radio?
Replies: 32
Views: 5455

Re: Can a Biologist Fix a Radio?

Engineers can do what they do largely because the behavior of electrical components can be predicted by a handful of mathematical equations that can be handily typed out on a TI-83. In contrast, predicting the behavior of an averagely complex protein, in the byzantine context of the cell, is often b...
by Zake
Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:39 am UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: What should be the first C book? And how should one learn C?
Replies: 16
Views: 2928

Re: What should be the first C book? And how should one learn C?

K&R is the only book on C that I've owned, and I've found it to be more than sufficient by itself. For preliminary grounding you can use a more "user-friendly" book (or, ideally, get some more experienced C-ist to show you the ropes), but once you can code beyond a "Hello world!&q...
by Zake
Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:27 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Neural network x^2 equivalent
Replies: 11
Views: 2156

Re: Neural network x^2 equivalent

My knowledge of the formal mathematics of neural networks is shaky at best, but wikipedia tells me that arrangements of NN neurons can be made to function as any logic gate. Put logic gates together in the right configuration and you've got a digital computer, capable of multiplication for however m...
by Zake
Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:20 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0394: "Kilobyte"
Replies: 138
Views: 40674

Re: "Kilobyte" Discussion

Y'know, xkcd exemplifies a strange sort of sophisticated, yet so humble aesthetics. And one element of these aesthetics is that, while all of the text in this table is handwritten, the lines of the table itself are Powerpoint-table sharp. Thats ingenious. Xkcd would simply not be the same typed, or ...
by Zake
Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:04 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0391: "Anti-Mindvirus"
Replies: 377
Views: 82919

Re: "Anti-Mindvirus" Discussion

This is a fascinating thread on several levels. First, theres two types of posters (or, if we're being memetic geeks, 10 types); those who post along the lines of "YAY Randall freed us!" and those who post along the lines of "Randall is WRONG because here are the rules...!!" The ...
by Zake
Sat Feb 16, 2008 4:56 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0384: "The Drake Equation"
Replies: 117
Views: 28009

Re: "The Drake Equation" Discussion

Drake-bashing aside, the alt-text is essentially the relevant point for SETI. We've searched largely for radio frequencies, when even in our own society use of radio communication is declining. Its entirely possible that advanced civilizations simply don't produce that much "waste noise." ...

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