0273: "Electromagnetic Spectrum"

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Pathway
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0273: "Electromagnetic Spectrum"

Postby Pathway » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:02 am UTC

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http://xkcd.com/c273.html
Alt text: "Sometimes I try to picture what everything would look like if the whole spectrum were compressed into the visible spectrum. Also sometimes I try to picture your sister naked."

Ha! The Aether! I remember that, good riddance. It was so 1.0...

The Ballmer thing makes a lot of sense. In fact, this is like another "Map of the Internet" thing.

(Which might explain why the image for the comic was originally the Map of the Internet, before xkcd changed it.)
Last edited by Pathway on Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:10 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby bippy » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:09 am UTC

Oh man, what a wondeful comic! Love it. One of the funniest so far.

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Postby Phil » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:10 am UTC

Ha! Gravity! So that's where it comes from!

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Postby The LuigiManiac » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:11 am UTC

Sulawesi snuck in again!

EDIT:Also, loving "visible dark".


EDIT2: And "OTHER ENTERTAINING GREEK PREFIXES LIKE PETA- AND EXA- AND ZAPPA-"
Last edited by The LuigiManiac on Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:15 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
Spoiler:
THE CAKE IS A 3.141592653589...!

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Berge
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Postby Berge » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:13 am UTC

I'll start the obligatory call for a poster.
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Postby cmacis » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:15 am UTC

Nooooo, my last poster hasn't been shipped yet. I won't have the wall space or the budget soon.

This has replaced lojban as my windows wallpaper. I also moved a lot of icons to my documents to make room to see it.

EDIT (to avoid double posting) You hear that high pitched noise in "empty" rooms as well? Creepy.
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Postby Ren » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:17 am UTC

I'm loving the radio stations: "The Fox," "The Badger," "The Frightened Squirrel."

And slinky waves! We played with slinky waves in grade eleven physics. It was fun.
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Postby The LuigiManiac » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:19 am UTC

cmacis wrote:This has replaced lojban as my windows wallpaper. I also moved a lot of icons to my documents to make room to see it.

Well, I would imagine that to be a good thing. Who needs clutter?

I do...

cmacis wrote:EDIT (to avoid double posting) You hear that high pitched noise in "empty" rooms as well? Creepy.


Doesn't everyone?

EDIT: Just understood the "kosher radio" thing. I honestly have no idea what I'd ever do without bacon.
Last edited by The LuigiManiac on Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:23 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Spoiler:
THE CAKE IS A 3.141592653589...!

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Berge
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Postby Berge » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:20 am UTC

Just noticed depends and tampax.

This comic is the product of a mind so twisted it is actually sprained.TM
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Postby bippy » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:21 am UTC

Berge wrote:I'll start the obligatory call for a poster.


I'd buy one in a minute.

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Postby briguyd » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:25 am UTC

I second (third? (fourth?)) the demand for a poster. Funniest comic in a while, and that's saying a lot. There's just so much stuff there, I couldn't stop laughing. (Now after I get a poster, I'm going to replace the one in my classroom with it).

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Gravitational waves

Postby duetosymmetry » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:25 am UTC

Gravitational waves are not electromagnetic. Perhaps it is supposed to be a joke, but 1) I don't understand the joke 2) some people might actually think that gravitational radiation is electromagnetic.
I propose that gravitational radiation be moved to the 'other types of waves' section.

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Postby skeptical scientist » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:25 am UTC

So, what's the source of Randall's Sulawesi obsession? Has it appeared anywhere besides this and the online communities map? It is a rather funnily shaped island.
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Re: Gravitational waves

Postby SpitValve » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:29 am UTC

duetosymmetry wrote:Gravitational waves are not electromagnetic. Perhaps it is supposed to be a joke, but 1) I don't understand the joke 2) some people might actually think that gravitational radiation is electromagnetic.
I propose that gravitational radiation be moved to the 'other types of waves' section.


ahh, but gravity waves (e.g. water waves) are caused by electromagnetic interactions between particles :)

And also gravity.

But mostly it's a joke because it doesn't make the least bit of sense for gravitational waves to be a small frequency range of electromagnetic radiation.

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Postby Berge » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:37 am UTC

I always used to wonder about something like that when I was younger. I knew that everything had a gravitational effect on everything else, but if you could instantly teleport one object (say a planet) from one point to another, how quickly would everything else in the universe be affected by its new relative position?

And as usual, I realized later that Einstein got there first with "Spooky action at a distance."

It seems as though if gravity propogated as part of the electromagnetic spectrum at the speed of light, the universe would be fundamentally (more) screwy.


Also I wouldn't worry about someone taking gravity waves on the chart seriously. If they cant' figure out its a joke from the context (Potato!) then they probably wont be looking at it anyway.

Edit - Every time I look at this I see some new hilarity. Ham Radio, then Kosher radio. I'm going to put this on the wall for sure...but I'd much rather have a nice official poster rather than something from my lackluster printer.
Last edited by Berge on Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:43 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby BlochWave » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:38 am UTC

It looks like {oh crap I forgot his name} has the same problem I do drawing straight lines. It's like some people can just WHOOSH and it's perfect but if I try to whoosh it people lose eyes

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Postby Maseiken » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:42 am UTC

w00t, octarine!
"GRRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOWR!!!!"
(Translation: "Objection!")

Maseiken had the ball at the top of the key...

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Postby BlochWave » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:46 am UTC

I don't get the "Q" line

I just flipped through ye olde E&M textbook(yes it bothered me that much that I didn't get something physicsy on one of these comics)and the only thing going by Q I found was in reference to materials and wave propagation through them, plus the values for Q are silly(so I figure that's the joke but if I don't know what Q is I don't get it!)

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Postby missmathemagic » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:47 am UTC

Cell Phone Cancer Rays? <3

I'll go introduce myself now...
Last edited by missmathemagic on Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:48 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Twasbrillig » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:49 am UTC

Q is definitely nothing. Possibly an obscure reference to the Bond movies?

With all his make-believe physics and the like.

Anywho, yeah.
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Postby Berge » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:49 am UTC

Where do hyperintelligent shades of the color blue fall on this chart?
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Postby space_raptor » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:51 am UTC

I would buy this poster before the Internet ones. This one is way cooler.
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Postby robzy » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:54 am UTC

Berge wrote:I'll start the obligatory call for a poster.

Plus five minus one.

Rob.

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Postby Myself » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:57 am UTC

Ahh, the elusive "FHF" band, between SHF and EHF. Too bad I'd lose my license if I said, on the air, what it stands for! Or maybe it's "fantastically" high frequency...

So is there a way for us to paypal a few bucks and get the ultra-high-res scan suitable for large format printing? ;)

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Postby duetosymmetry » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:59 am UTC

Berge wrote:I always used to wonder about something like that when I was younger. I knew that everything had a gravitational effect on everything else, but if you could instantly teleport one object (say a planet) from one point to another, how quickly would everything else in the universe be affected by its new relative position?

And as usual, I realized later that Einstein got there first with "Spooky action at a distance."

It seems as though if gravity propogated as part of the electromagnetic spectrum at the speed of light, the universe would be fundamentally (more) screwy.


Gravity does indeed propogate at the speed of light. That's what general relativity is all about.
It's kind of crazy to think about how we arrived at the conclusion that gravitational effects are local field disturbances which then propogate at the speed of light. We started out thinking of the universe as some fixed flat background, and noted that light travels at a finite speed; and that the equations which describe the propagation of light are invariant under the Lorentz transform.
Einstein then suggested with special relativity that this Lorentz invariance is actually a fundamental property of spacetime.
Next, Einstein put forth general relativity, noting that since the gravitational 'charge' is mass, which is the same mass as in F=ma, gravity can always locally be coordinate-transformed away, since it acts the same way on all masses (the 'charge-to-mass ratio' for gravity is the same for everything). Lorentz invariance came along into general relativity since, in an accelerated reference frame where gravity has been coordinate transformed away, physics needs to reduce to physics without gravity; which was special relativity.
So general relativity has these totally local second order non-linear partial differential equations ... and they enforce gravitational effects propogating at the speed of light.

And this all came from light on a flat background being describe by equations which are lorentz invariant.
And GR just happens to go on to enforce light propogating at the speed of light in curved spacetime by just imposing that it's massless!

flat spacetime physics -> finite speed of light -> lorentz invariance -> special relativity -> general relativity -> finite speed of gravity and finite speed of light!

Amazing.

Edit: I of course forgot to comment upon the other things I quoted, since I got carried away. 'Spooky action at a distance' is usually used to intend to deride quantum mechanics. Gravity has no action at a distance. The equations of GR are completely local.
And of course gravity propogates at a finite speed, and the universe is as screwy as we see it. The universe, I think, would be much screwier if gravity acted instantaneously.

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Postby arbivark » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:10 am UTC

romance,sarcasm, math, and language - in one comic.
i haven't gone back to see if they all do.

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Postby evanmccaleb » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:14 am UTC

Haha. I'm loving the VHF UHF and FHF radio bands.

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Postby mh » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:18 am UTC

I see, the potato is REALLY important.
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Postby liza » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:20 am UTC

Berge wrote:Where do hyperintelligent shades of the color blue fall on this chart?


You win.

You know, I've been saying shouting car commericals had their own spectrum of waves for years now. Actually, I haven't, but I wish I had.

I especially love the entire line 'Q'. Though could someone tell me what the third to last number is? I can't read it.

Other fabulous parts: "Censored under PATRIOT act." and "Sinister Google Projects". I knew they were up to something.

Potato.

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Postby oria » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:37 am UTC

cmacis wrote:This has replaced lojban as my windows wallpaper. I also moved a lot of icons to my documents to make room to see it.


How come I've never thought about that before??
*goes plaster screen with xkcd-ness*

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Postby toysbfun » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:49 am UTC

Some people have postulated electrogravitic waves for a Grand Unification Theory. I don't have the background in physics to disprove them and the physicists that possess such a background have more important things to do than disprove every crackpot.

Bonus weird thought: centuries from now, someone proves the existence of electrogravitic waves and they fall under the frequency in this comic.

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Postby epee1221 » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:50 am UTC

Excellent variety here, though it looks like the VHF/UHF sections should also have the "Ham Radio" label.

Is this going to be available in poster form any time soon? I'm going to have a room to decorate....

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Postby Strilanc » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:51 am UTC

I was expecting to see everything but visible light labeled "cancer," cause that's the pop science way!
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Postby GusPatsy » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:55 am UTC

Whoo! Heat Vision and Jack! http://youtube.com/watch?v=6lWgXDOAJ5s

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Postby Herman » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:59 am UTC

My favorite was the SETI and "alien" frequency bands so close together but not touching. Poignant, nerdy, and hilarious -- thy name is xkcd. Poster demand n + 1.

Edit: I take that back. My favorite part was the random numbers on the bottom. In, apparently, units of square gallons per coulomb. It just makes sense.
Last edited by Herman on Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:01 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Trooth » Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:01 am UTC

For a second, I thought I read "Jack Bauer's heat vision" rather than Jack Black. I think Jack Bauer's better.

Also what's up with that high-pitched noise in empty rooms?
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Postby BlochWave » Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:05 am UTC

AC hum! Sometimes at least

I didn't notice the SETI and alien frequencies thing 'till it was pointed out. If it hadn't had to be mentioned I'd probably still be laughing

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Postby OneLess » Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:06 am UTC

Somnia wrote:I especially love the entire line 'Q'. Though could someone tell me what the third to last number is? I can't read it.

Looks like 5*10^58, though it could be to the 50th?

I loved that scale though, especially the "gallons-squared over coulombs" units :lol:

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Postby SpitValve » Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:09 am UTC

BlochWave wrote:AC hum! Sometimes at least


Isn't that only 60Hz (or 50Hz in the US)? That's a pretty low-pitched hum. (A couple of octaves below middle C. ish.).

It could just be your ears ringing. That or vibrations in the pipes?

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Postby Tangent » Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:15 am UTC

Yay! e^π - π is back!


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