Search found 124 matches

by polymer
Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:34 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Determinants and an upcoming midterm
Replies: 11
Views: 2153

Re: Determinants and an upcoming midterm

Thanks for the interpretations, I'll take the qualitative understanding of volumes more seriously if the generalization is really that complicated. Thanks for posting a paper discussing the generalization as well, I'm not mature enough mathematically from what I can see at first glance, but it's alw...
by polymer
Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:49 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Determinants and an upcoming midterm
Replies: 11
Views: 2153

Determinants and an upcoming midterm

Hello! In linear algebra determinants were thrown at me last week, and now I'm 90% sure my next midterm is going to largely depend on them. My professor is pretty good, he's good about taking time to explain things that need to be explained. The Textbook is a real hit and miss though, in general it ...
by polymer
Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:41 pm UTC
Forum: General
Topic: Best Valentine gift ever
Replies: 4
Views: 1032

Best Valentine gift ever

Hello I got an amazing valentine whose theme was so appropriate I felt it would be terrible if I didn't post it on the XKCD forums. This happened last year, after a choir practice a girl I liked wanted to show me something. I complied, and we headed over to her house. On her kitchen table were cooki...
by polymer
Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:59 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Current state of math education
Replies: 23
Views: 3264

Re: Current state of math education

The current state of the math education is an interesting subject. Lockhart's lament is one of the better essays I've read on the subject. There's a particular theme in it that I particularly appreciate. The thing about mathematics is that as a subject there generally is a precise answer for any que...
by polymer
Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:04 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Gravity and Energy
Replies: 22
Views: 2420

Re: Gravity and Energy

No, "Einstein" by Walter Isaacson. He was inspired by the fact that electrodynamics is not invariant under galilean transformations, and introduces a characteristic speed. Yes Maxwell's equations implied a constant speed of light no matter how fast one is moving, and Einstein thought that ...
by polymer
Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:43 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: public misconceptions
Replies: 1073
Views: 153322

Re: public misconceptions

That physics only talks about big things...
by polymer
Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:49 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Gravity and Energy
Replies: 22
Views: 2420

Re: Gravity and Energy

Perhaps the biographies I'm reading are flawed, are there books that you would recommend in particular that illustrate how mathematics inspired him to develop special relativity? I've seen the calculus that shows that his idea implies E = MC^2, and I know he explained and examined many ideas regardi...
by polymer
Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:13 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Gravity and Energy
Replies: 22
Views: 2420

Re: Gravity and Energy

Even your source says he was joking. Einstein was quite proficient in math. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Its just an idea unless it has some math behind it, producing testable predictions. I don't really want to debate this matter too much since it's not specific to the op's topic in ...
by polymer
Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:56 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Gravity and Energy
Replies: 22
Views: 2420

Re: Gravity and Energy

It goes along nicely with the increased mass during relativistic speeds. It also explains why photons with no mass are affected by gravity. Please note, it doesn't explain anything unless it has numbers that match up with what is observed; more generally, unless it's making relatively precise predi...
by polymer
Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:32 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Mathematics and intellect
Replies: 85
Views: 9644

Re: Mathematics and intellect

That's very true, there are going to be many aspects about biology that don't follow a fundamental set of rules. My point was, was that most things work the way they do for a reason, and understanding why they work they way they do is probably more important then memorizing their outcome. There are ...
by polymer
Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:38 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Mathematics and intellect
Replies: 85
Views: 9644

Re: Mathematics and intellect

erm.... biology versus anatomy... What do you think anatomy is studying, rocks? Or maybe, oh, *living things*? You know, things with evolutionary and ecological contexts which govern anatomy, and which anatomy can elighten us about? Surgery isnt a kind of science. It's called "making a point&q...
by polymer
Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:01 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: The ideal number.
Replies: 70
Views: 8230

Re: The ideal number.

I think 0 is awfully fun. Any other number can be seen as "big", or "small" as you want since the scale is arbitrary, except zero. It's always just zero no matter how you scale the system...
by polymer
Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:22 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Which is worse?
Replies: 35
Views: 4937

Re: Which is worse?

The point made earlier regarding the developments computer AI could take from philosophy I found really interesting. The point stated earlier that these paradoxes are not problems so much as they are thoughts that can be investigated was also interesting. I personally don't feel comfortable attackin...
by polymer
Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:28 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: What's the difference between Physics and Chemistry?
Replies: 20
Views: 5961

Re: What's the difference between Physics and Chemistry?

Thanks for the contributions to the discussion, I think I'll read a little bit of history of both the subjects to get an idea of what the mindset for chemistry is in contrast to physics. The point regarding computational chemistry being an unnecessary tool in contrast to just doing chemistry makes s...
by polymer
Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:30 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Scientific Method
Replies: 97
Views: 14424

Re: Scientific Method

Actually the scientific method wasn't harped that much to me <_<, the core of what I learned regarding the scientific method was to make testable predictions and then test them. This six step process I'm actually not too familiar with...I do think it's true that high schools don't present the proces...
by polymer
Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:14 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: What's the difference between Physics and Chemistry?
Replies: 20
Views: 5961

Re: What's the difference between Physics and Chemistry?

You could argue there's no hard and fast line between multiple subjects, since they can all cross-over in multiple areas. But since no one can learn even a fraction of one of the major sciences, the distinct differences remain. See except you wouldn't ask a physicist many questions involving biolog...
by polymer
Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:12 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: What's the difference between Physics and Chemistry?
Replies: 20
Views: 5961

What's the difference between Physics and Chemistry?

Physics is often stereotyped as a science that discusses big things, and that chemistry is the science that studies small things. Obviously this isn't true, However I'm not really sure how the two subjects are different, and how they overlap. I have vague ideas but I honestly don't know squat. So I ...
by polymer
Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:34 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0179: "E to the Pi times I"
Replies: 161
Views: 55102

Re: "e to pi times i" Discussion

Sure, but as far as I know, these are generally used as mathematical tools to analyze phenomena that could in principle be described using purely real numbers. For example, wave equations are complex, but only the real part of the result really matters in the end. e^x is just a lot easier to work w...
by polymer
Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:08 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: What is science?
Replies: 19
Views: 1912

Re: What is science?

2 - Reality gets a say. Science, as a method, can have nothing to say about things that nature doesn't have a say about, such as invisible pink unicorns or matters of personal taste. I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to suppose that our understanding of humans will become complete enough to ...
by polymer
Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:58 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: What is science?
Replies: 19
Views: 1912

Re: What is science?

I would argue that science is, more than anything else, about the method. it is the process of collating data from observations and using this to make predictions, which further our perceived knowledge of the world or any process which we believe is non-random. Science (and math) makes predictions ...
by polymer
Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:46 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: What is science?
Replies: 19
Views: 1912

Re: What is science?

Well in my opinion science is not a subject matter that represents a body of "correct" knowledge. Science is more of a process, whose goal is to reconcile and explain experimental evidence. Its capacity to answer questions is limited by our ability compare those questions to experiment, us...
by polymer
Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:22 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: two headed dog - Head transplant, Is this true?
Replies: 4
Views: 1263

two headed dog - Head transplant, Is this true?

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,891156,00.html This article basically states that in the 1950's this surgeon was able to successfully surgically remove a puppies head and forelegs, and then attach it to a dog with a strong enough heart to supply the dog and the attached head with bl...
by polymer
Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:24 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Cloning
Replies: 46
Views: 4434

Re: Cloning

This is an awfully silly thread. Perhaps it would be fruitful to decide what it is we're arguing, and defining the terms we're arguing over? The issue the op introduced, from what I can tell, is whether clones should be treated as equals. His basic argument was that since clones are indistinguishabl...
by polymer
Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:10 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Mathematics and Biology
Replies: 46
Views: 4405

Re: Mathematics and Biology

Thanks for the replies, the consensus I'm getting is that mathematics, although it's a useful tool, is not a prerequisite for all fields of biology. That's good to know, thanks again!
by polymer
Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:25 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Mathematics and Biology
Replies: 46
Views: 4405

Mathematics and Biology

Haldo, I'm currently a freshman at university, and I have friends who are excited about Biology. One of the reasons they are excited about it is because it's a mathless science from their point of view. The language of Biology is certaintly not mathematics, but I would think math is nevertheless sti...
by polymer
Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:54 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Is Pi Infinitely Long?
Replies: 57
Views: 5783

Re: Is Pi Infinitely Long?

Now, there are ways to back up the "10x - x = 3" step from limits... lemmas to prove something like 10 \times \sum_{i=1}^{\infty} 3 \times 10^{-i} = 1 + \sum_{i=1}^{\infty} 3 \times 10^{-i} you can proves lemmas that suggest that 3.33333.... = 1 + 0.3333333? Or did I misunderstand? I thin...
by polymer
Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:00 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Is Pi Infinitely Long?
Replies: 57
Views: 5783

Re: Is Pi Infinitely Long?

[imath]x = 10 + 100 + 1000 + 10000+ ...[/imath]
[imath]10x = 100 + 1000+ 10000 + 100000+...[/imath]

[imath]-9x = 10, x=-10/9[/imath]

Which is obviously absurd. The equation has to be determined as convergent if you're going to make the argument.
by polymer
Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:47 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Is Pi Infinitely Long?
Replies: 57
Views: 5783

Re: Is Pi Infinitely Long?

Do you know calculus? All the proofs I'm familiar with involve some degree of calculus :/ Also if you don't care about being too mathematically rigorous, the point mentioned in the previous post can be demonstrated briefly with algebra x = 0.333333333..... 10x = 3.33333333..... -9x=-3, x=1/3 Again t...
by polymer
Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:15 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: For you Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking fans out there.
Replies: 62
Views: 12196

Re: For you Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking fans out there.

Personally I think the second one is organized better then the first one, also its videos were more varied then the first one. They're both still very good.
by polymer
Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:46 pm UTC
Forum: Computer Science
Topic: Why do programming languages work?
Replies: 15
Views: 2097

Re: Why do programming languages work?

There are of course, a lot of problems that defy solubility simply because it is difficult to state them in a formal way that captures all the detail. Like interacting with other human beings, a task that has thwarted attempts at rational analysis since humans and rational analysis have been around...
by polymer
Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:22 pm UTC
Forum: Computer Science
Topic: Why do programming languages work?
Replies: 15
Views: 2097

Re: Why do programming languages work?

btw I wasn't implying that a properly designed regular expression implementation wouldn't be able to solve all of the problems you throw at it, rather while working with them I realized how difficult it would be to design them in such a way that they would be able to solve most problems that can be ...
by polymer
Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:22 pm UTC
Forum: Computer Science
Topic: Why do programming languages work?
Replies: 15
Views: 2097

Re: Why do programming languages work?

cool, figured it was commonly discussed. Excuse the newbishness and thanks a bunch!
by polymer
Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:53 pm UTC
Forum: Computer Science
Topic: Why do programming languages work?
Replies: 15
Views: 2097

Why do programming languages work?

Something which I've never really appreciated until I tried to use regular expressions was the rich variety of problems that can be solved with programming. The reality of how frustrating regular expressions were to use made me realize that it is possible to have a language that can't solve every pr...
by polymer
Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:45 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: 1g space travel
Replies: 31
Views: 5459

Re: 1g space travel

Goemon wrote:If you mean "please tell me those equations are correct" - then ok. They are.

But of course it's pretty hard to maintain constant acceleration of 1g for an extended period of time for a number of reasons :(


Is it realistically possible though <_<
by polymer
Sat Aug 29, 2009 6:22 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories
Replies: 435
Views: 80748

Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

A lot of the childhood ideas presented are actually pretty impressive. Here's one of my favorites, when I was in elementary school they just gave us a lesson on color. Now I found the lesson very odd, since they more or less said the colors emitted by objects were the only colors the objects didn't ...
by polymer
Sat Aug 29, 2009 1:57 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Relatavistic lever
Replies: 12
Views: 1278

Re: Relatavistic lever

The speeds of propagation are related to the stiffness (rigidity) of the material, and since steel is much stiffer than jello, the speed of sound is also much higher, around 5km/s, or 11000 mph. But as Charlie notes, this is for a compressive wave, and there are shear waves too with a different spe...
by polymer
Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:50 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: CRT hacking
Replies: 17
Views: 2831

Re: CRT hacking

My understanding is that it, quite literally, creates a really dramatic charge between two plates(like you said), and leaves a hole in the plate that's positively charged. The electrons fly off the negatively charged plate towards the positively charged plate, some go through this hole, and that bea...
by polymer
Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:19 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Relatavistic lever
Replies: 12
Views: 1278

Re: Relatavistic lever

Really? That's actually really fun. So rigid bodies fail at modeling things sufficiently large. Does that mean that metals are in a sense very similar to jello? In the sense that pushing on them sends the motion through as waves. Actually is the analogy precise and that sound therfore actually trave...
by polymer
Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:25 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Relatavistic lever
Replies: 12
Views: 1278

Relatavistic lever

To my knowledge a special relativity question of this nature hasn't been asked before(or at least not frequently), in any case it's not covered by the special relativity sticky. Suppose I have two levers attached to beams 3 light seconds long, although there is mass in the beams its ultimately negli...
by polymer
Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:10 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Facepalm TV / Doing It Wrong
Replies: 553
Views: 63940

Re: Facepalm TV

Transformers 2 Somehow reaching the Giza pyramids instantly. If I recall correctly, near the beginning of the movie where Shia Labeouf freaks out and claims Einstein is wrong, I think he references why the Robots are able to do that... Sorry for the bump, but this mad me facepalm so hard when I saw...

Go to advanced search