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by rmsgrey
Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:39 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1116: "Traffic Lights"
Replies: 171
Views: 45870

Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Sounds like you're going to have trouble whether or not there are roundabouts. Evidently, signs and lights are not solving the problem. You say you want to live. You WILL be more likely to live if some dope doesn't look before pulling into a roundabout in front of you, since you'll be going slower....
by rmsgrey
Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:45 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1114: "Metallurgy"
Replies: 138
Views: 28163

Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

We have some experience with very, very small chunks of matter composed entirely of neutrons - in laboratory conditions, they decay pretty quickly...
by rmsgrey
Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:12 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0014: "Short Answer Section I"
Replies: 86
Views: 45618

Re: What-if 0014: Short answer section.

ElWanderer wrote:
Hal_10000 wrote:One quibble: the Sun will not turn into a black hole unless you add a heck of a lot of mass (like eight solar masses). It's going to end up as a white dwarf.

I thought the Chandrasekhar limit was only 1.4 solar masses...

Yeah, but the collapse starts with a supernova which sheds a lot of mass
by rmsgrey
Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:25 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1113: "Killed In Action"
Replies: 78
Views: 18819

Re: 1113: "Killed In Action"

Although, considering how the runner is in motion relative to the baseman, I'm sure someone might try an approach based on the relativity of simultaneity. Wouldn't work except in very extreme cases - ones where the runner arriving and the ball contacting the runner happen before light can get from ...
by rmsgrey
Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:49 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0681: "Gravity Wells"
Replies: 205
Views: 53202

Re: 0681: "Gravity Wells"

I went to the XKCD store and saw the poster for this comic. So I started looking at the comic again for the first time in years, and saw the text that "If you dropped a few dozen more Jupiters into Jupiter, the pressure would ignite fusion and make it a star." To me, this would be an awes...
by rmsgrey
Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:19 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0013: "Laser Pointer"
Replies: 76
Views: 50943

Re: What-if 0013: Laser Pointer

full moons are even darker than new moons during a total lunar eclipse, thanks to the lack of reflected earthshine I thought the Earthshine-lit moon was fainter than the eclipsed moon. Certainly I had no trouble seeing the latter the last time I saw a total lunar eclipse, while Earthshine is hard t...
by rmsgrey
Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:29 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1114: "Metallurgy"
Replies: 138
Views: 28163

Re: 1114: "Metallurgy"

My understanding is that meteorite iron can be worked into tools rather more easily than lumps of haematite and magnetite, and produces better swords than bronze. Prior to the invention of techniques for extracting iron from its ores, star-metal was the best option available, so early sword-and-sand...
by rmsgrey
Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:11 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1112: "Think Logically"
Replies: 205
Views: 39702

Re: 1112: "Think Logically"

The big thing with Descartes was not that he doubted everything - philosophers had been doing that for at least a couple of thousand years. The thing Descartes pointed out, which had passed by the previous thinkers, was that in order to doubt anything, there must be an entity doing the doubting - th...
by rmsgrey
Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:48 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1113: "Killed In Action"
Replies: 78
Views: 18819

Re: 1113: "Killed In Action"

Red Hal wrote:I'm too old for this shit.


Definitely a cliché, but is it a trope?
by rmsgrey
Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:38 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0013: "Laser Pointer"
Replies: 76
Views: 50943

Re: What-if 0013: Laser Pointer

I am very surprised that no one, not Randall or anyone else, suggested doing this during a total lunar eclipse. Personally, what I would have liked to see is Randall finding the next total lunar eclipse that is visible from all of Eurasia, extrapolate population trends and laser pointer numbers/tec...
by rmsgrey
Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:05 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1113: "Killed In Action"
Replies: 78
Views: 18819

Re: 1113: "Killed In Action"

"We are stupid and pointless. Come here to quote Dr. Who in a pretense of contributing to the literary world." You're talking about a minority of users there. Anyone that actually cares about TV Tropes will put more than just a quote in their edit. Right... random selection: [...] So, in ...
by rmsgrey
Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:44 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1112: "Think Logically"
Replies: 205
Views: 39702

Re: 1112: "Think Logically"

Operationally, the difference between "There is an absolute right and wrong but nobody knows what it is" and "There is no absolute right and wrong" is zilch. If you agree that you might not know the absolute correct morality, while I say that I don't know an absolute correct mor...
by rmsgrey
Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:36 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1112: "Think Logically"
Replies: 205
Views: 39702

Re: 1112: "Think Logically"

Scrabble is ideally a game played between two people Ideal for what purpose? If you're aiming to spend an hour or two of social gaming with a few friends, then two-player Scrabble is less than ideal... Two-player Scrabble does negate the effects of the seating order - you no longer have a third pla...
by rmsgrey
Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:27 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0013: "Laser Pointer"
Replies: 76
Views: 50943

Re: What-if 0013: Laser Pointer

Well, with the last scenario we stepped quite firmly out of the realm of plausibility but it's an interesting bit of speculation. Anyone run the numbers about what part of the sun's energy output are we delivering through those N.I.F. lasers? I'm trying to imagine it on the cosmic scale as we are a...
by rmsgrey
Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:17 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1112: "Think Logically"
Replies: 205
Views: 39702

Re: 1112: "Think Logically"

This strip reminds me of a bit from Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality , in which an alternate universe Harry pontificates on how horribly designed Quidditch is. He has a point about the seeker/snitch aspect breaking the game - unless one team can get a 16-goal lead over the other, the oth...
by rmsgrey
Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:35 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0693: "Children's Fantasy"
Replies: 139
Views: 33207

Re: 0693: "Children's Fantasy"

I remember this one book (in a series) in which an (adult) computer programmer is summoned to a world with magic by a spell that would summon the person fated to save them. IN this world magic is extremely inscrutable and convoluted: Casting a spell will most likely do nothing, and has a high chanc...
by rmsgrey
Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:32 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1112: "Think Logically"
Replies: 205
Views: 39702

Re: 1112: "Think Logically"

You have two major options for adjudicating challenged words in Scrabble - by consensus, and by reference to authority. Consensus has issues when one player knows a lot of words that the others don't - they end up having to guess which words they know will also be acceptable to the rest of the group...
by rmsgrey
Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:37 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0012: "Raindrop"
Replies: 91
Views: 23538

Re: What-if 0012: Raindrop

gmalivuk wrote:I mean, it is a *technically* true statement, it's just that "sufficient velocity" gets pretty damn ridiculous for small objects.


How many photons does it take? Or neutrinos?
by rmsgrey
Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:55 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1112: "Think Logically"
Replies: 205
Views: 39702

Re: 1112: "Think Logically"

Chess is a classic, but by modern game design standards it really is a badly designed game. It's completely full of arbitrary rules specifically for certain aspects of the game, and all of the rules have to just be memorized and executed by the player, with the game not helping the problem in the s...
by rmsgrey
Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:20 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0012: "Raindrop"
Replies: 91
Views: 23538

Re: What-if 0012: Raindrop

But... But... Water is incompressible! That's why we use it to put out singularities! ...and fires. But what if the singularity is on fire? Run. Don't stop running, just run. Why are you asking questions WHY AREN'T YOU RUNNING??? Correct responses to imminent explosions by scale: very small: ignore...
by rmsgrey
Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:14 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1108: "Cautionary Ghost"
Replies: 155
Views: 27743

Re: 1108: "Cautionary Ghost"

Vidor wrote:Or the person who tells us that Mark Twain used this word wrong in 1880 so it's ok to use it wrong in 2012.


<summon_bigger_pedant>

Since you're using the word as an adverb, I hope you meant to say "wrongly" rather than "wrong".

</summon_bigger_pedant>
by rmsgrey
Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:10 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1111: "Premiere"
Replies: 69
Views: 17644

Re: 1111: "Premiere"

Weaning. Notice the Forums link has been missing from the comic for some time... I think that's a limitation of the block. He had to remove the Forums link to put in What If? and hasn't gotten around to putting it back in. The Forums link has come and gone a few times since I've been paying attenti...
by rmsgrey
Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:20 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1111: "Premiere"
Replies: 69
Views: 17644

Re: 1111: "Premiere"

I'm amused by the fact that once the earth is vaporized, units of time measurement like 'year', 'day' or 'hour' will lose any meaning; as if the end of our planet was the end of time as well, just because of our arbitrary choice of time measurement. (so yes, our calendar is linked with the end of t...
by rmsgrey
Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:30 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1111: "Premiere"
Replies: 69
Views: 17644

Re: 1111: "Premiere"

Only 800 million years? It seems like just last century that we had 5 billion years left...
by rmsgrey
Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:43 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-if 0008: "Everybody Jump"
Replies: 155
Views: 47284

Re: What-if 0008: Everybody Jump

" Any two people who meet are unlikely to have a language in common" AS an American, I would have slightly worse then 1 in 7 chance of finding someone who spoke English. Someone who Speaks Mandarin Chinese would have a slightly greater the 1 in 7 chance of finding someone who they can spe...
by rmsgrey
Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:43 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1110:"Click and Drag"
Replies: 595
Views: 661823

Re: 1110:"Click and Drag"

1n36e ("don't go into the tall grass")? Jurassic Park: The Lost World: The Film? Pokemon. The "tall grass" is the first barrier to exploration in the game (once you get out onto the world map) - while in the tall grass, you get attacked by wild Pokemon. Until you get your first ...
by rmsgrey
Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:49 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0012: "Raindrop"
Replies: 91
Views: 23538

Re: What-if 0012: Raindrop

Is it more likely to fall on land or at sea? And what would the effects of a water impact be? One way of thinking about the super-raindrop is as an incredibly low speed meteorite - it's big enough that what it's made of is less important than its momentum, so the first-order effects of the impact ar...
by rmsgrey
Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:34 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1109: "Refrigerator"
Replies: 135
Views: 32735

Re: 1109: "Refrigerator"

I imagine the replicator knows to give a cupful of tea in an appropriate cup for much the same reason that the server at McDonalds knows how much soda to put into a cup - in both cases, there are established defaults that are (more-or-less) sensible. If you want something that isn't covered by the d...
by rmsgrey
Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:32 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-if 0007: "Everybody Out"
Replies: 350
Views: 60007

Re: What-if 0007: Everybody Out

Sagnac allows you to test for rotation without an external reference frame. I'd be astonished if anyone had managed to conduct an experiment that tests for rotation in the absence of the "fixed stars", let alone the rest of the universe... Has anyone done experiments to determine the net ...
by rmsgrey
Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:39 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-if 0007: "Everybody Out"
Replies: 350
Views: 60007

Re: What-if 0007: Everybody Out

In an otherwise empty universe, the inside of a hollow neutronium sphere is at a lower gravitational potential than a point infinitely far away. A flat plain, stretching infinitely far in all horizontal directions, and with uniform density and thickness would produce a linear gravitational potential...
by rmsgrey
Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:45 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-if 0007: "Everybody Out"
Replies: 350
Views: 60007

Re: What-if 0007: Everybody Out

I just want to observe that the existence of the Kerr metric as a solution to GR doesn't mean that absolute rotation is a real thing - it just means that if absolute rotation is a real thing, then space around an isolated rotating body will match the Kerr metric. The Kerr solution starts with the as...
by rmsgrey
Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:55 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0011: "Droppings"
Replies: 68
Views: 29803

Re: What-If 0011: Droppings

See? My point. On occasion, I encounter a number more or less by itself--but more often I don't see "three", but "three crows" or $25.30 in cash, or whatever. Three crows has certain commonalities with three pennies, or three dollar bills, or even three dollars in assorted cash-...
by rmsgrey
Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:06 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-if 0007: "Everybody Out"
Replies: 350
Views: 60007

Re: What-if 0007: Everybody Out

Try it this way -- if you want to communicate with somebody who might be using a different time, you send them a message. "This is my reference time -- mark -- now. This is what I think my velocity is relative to you -- <numbers>." Unless I know when "mark" was in my time, knowi...
by rmsgrey
Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:52 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-if 0007: "Everybody Out"
Replies: 350
Views: 60007

Re: What-if 0007: Everybody Out

As soon as they were diverted, they have both experienced an acceleration (lateral to the direction of motion). That depends on your point of view. Gravity isn't really a force - it's an illusion brought about by our misjudging what straight lines actually are in the warped space-time we inhabit. A...
by rmsgrey
Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:27 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-if 0007: "Everybody Out"
Replies: 350
Views: 60007

Re: What-if 0007: Everybody Out

As soon as they were diverted, they have both experienced an acceleration (lateral to the direction of motion). That depends on your point of view. Gravity isn't really a force - it's an illusion brought about by our misjudging what straight lines actually are in the warped space-time we inhabit. A...
by rmsgrey
Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:04 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1098: "Star Ratings"
Replies: 77
Views: 17821

Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

How about this? For everyone who submits a rating (on Amazon, Ebay, wherever), they have to first rate several specific things, that everyone has to rate, as a sort of control group. For example, Star Wars Episode IV ***** Star Wars Episode I **--- Raiders ***** Crystal Skull *---- Please feel free...
by rmsgrey
Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:28 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1107: "Sports Cheat Sheet"
Replies: 178
Views: 33629

Re: 1107: "Sports Cheat Sheet"

The non-US part doesn't really work well for quite a number of countries. In Japan, it's far more likely to be baseball or sumo year-round. And the game with the round ball and the kicking isn't called "football" or "futbol" there. It's called "sakka". It's also called...
by rmsgrey
Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:18 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0011: "Droppings"
Replies: 68
Views: 29803

Re: What-If 0011: Droppings

Surprised at his bit about unit conversions. Mostly because it's factually incorrect, and I tend to like him for being right on these things. :( "miles per gallon" is lazy notation we accept in speech. If you want to use it in math, you need to recognize it's "miles traveled per gall...
by rmsgrey
Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:25 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-if 0007: "Everybody Out"
Replies: 350
Views: 60007

Re: What-if 0007: Everybody Out

Max™ wrote:Like I said, asking if anyone is able to confirm your results which appear to violate an experimentally unfalsified pillar of modern science is the same as "we know this is wrong, what happened?"

The emphasis is a little different
by rmsgrey
Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:44 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1107: "Sports Cheat Sheet"
Replies: 178
Views: 33629

Re: 1107: "Sports Cheat Sheet"

This comic is either (a) pretty insulting to the billion or so people who don't give a monkey's about football but treat certain cricketers as demigods, by implying they either don't exist, or the author knows they exist and doesn't care. I'm pretty sure that saying that people aren't a majority is...

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