0793: "Physicists"

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CBrachyrhynchos
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby CBrachyrhynchos » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:19 pm UTC

RockoTDF wrote:
Retsam wrote:Well, Computer Science is sort of on the line, depending on where you are in the subject. If you're just a programmer, then I'd probably lump that more in with engineering than anything else, though that depends on the program even. Math is fairly consistently needed, but any branch of science can be used in programming. (Video games are pretty dependent on physics engines, which obviously involve physics)


Where in computer science do they test hypotheses and record empirical data?

Game programmers do *use* a lot of physics, but I would never call them physicists because of it.


Not a computer scientist or programmer, but this strikes me as confusing the two.

The theories of computer science are pen-and-paper descriptions about how elaborate Turing, quantum, and biochemical computers should behave. These theories are tested by building models that implement them, such as programs or proof-of-concept hardware. The fact that these models can do useful things like game physics or run a operating system on lossy NAND media is just gravy.

Danny_Salinger
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Danny_Salinger » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:12 pm UTC

Töz-R wrote:If we're discussing soft vs. hard science here, I would just like to say that

Real science is known by being useful

If not, well, it's an amusing thread anyway


So what are we gonna do with that there Higgs boson again?

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demadaha
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby demadaha » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:14 pm UTC

aurumelectrum13 wrote:It didn't hold my attention either, so no worries there. And since we're on the topic, could you perhaps explain whether the ghost of Hamlet's father is good or not in the context of Shakespeare's time as well as your personal viewpoint, backed with textual evidence as well as previous critical works, and, further, explain why Hamlet is so particularly distraught at his mother's marriage?


Keep in mind that the deconstruction is inextricable from not only the text, but the self.

Sorry, I felt it was necessary.
Warning: Post may contain lame, overused reference.
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SuperfluousFluteMusic
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby SuperfluousFluteMusic » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:30 pm UTC

Editer wrote:Image


This is just painful. This completely fails to understand how math relates to other subjects. It also excludes some relevant subjects. That is not to mention that it completely ignores the history of these subjects, which is a good way to learn about their actual nature. That history includes findings past and present as well as the philosophy at various points of the history of the subject, including before the subject was scientific (if it ever became scientific or could).

I would respond to the people on the front page touting their tendency to bash other subjects, but they are admittedly flaming and seemingly not totally serious.

Nitrogen
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Nitrogen » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:50 am UTC

Haha this is so true. The funniest thing is that as a physicist, I know it works, and I am proud to say that I do this on a regular basis.

cavedeamon
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby cavedeamon » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:49 am UTC

Your trying to predict the behavior of Windows (c) Operating System? Just Model it as a Unix OS and add secondary terms to account for Bad Programming. Why does Microsoft need a whole man page anyway?
or on the other side of things
Your trying to predict the behavior of Linux/Unix Operating Systems? Just Model it as a DOS and add secondary terms to account for multi-processing and X Server. Why does Bell Labs need a whole chm file anyway?


This comic can whole true for computer science. "your trying to predict the behavior of <system>? Just Model it in <favorite programing language/ or fortran> and account for time required for computers to reach a level to be able to process that model. Why does <your field> need so many dedicated specialists anyway?

When broken down to its basics computers apply to Every other field out there. ie: calculators and modeling for the math and physics. Image mapping and processing for you artsy people. Liberal arts, you just get spell check. :twisted:

JamesGecko
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby JamesGecko » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:57 am UTC

Glaug-Eldare wrote:
otac0n wrote:Am I the only one that is bothered by the fact that Randal didn't close his tags?


Those aren't HTML tags. They're blanks to be filled in with whatever the physicist is talking about.


Fixed.

Image

Nobody writes valid XHTML.

Arariel
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Arariel » Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:43 am UTC

If neo-Austrians rejects empirical evidence, doesn't that mean neo-Austrian economics is not a science?

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SirMustapha
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:53 am UTC

demadaha wrote:Keep in mind that the deconstruction is inextricable from not only the text, but the self.

Sorry, I felt it was necessary.


And, like, what's the deal with airplane food?

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Pfhorrest
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:29 am UTC

Danny_Salinger wrote:
Töz-R wrote:If we're discussing soft vs. hard science here, I would just like to say that

Real science is known by being useful

If not, well, it's an amusing thread anyway


So what are we gonna do with that there Higgs boson again?


Two girls at the same time, man!

Two girls at the same time.
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SuperfluousFluteMusic
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby SuperfluousFluteMusic » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:38 am UTC

Arariel wrote:If neo-Austrians rejects empirical evidence, doesn't that mean neo-Austrian economics is not a science?


It is clearly not. I don't think they would deny that, though. They would claim economics is not the domain of science. Just in case that is meant to detract from economics, I would just like to point out something you may be familiar with: http://www.timecube.com/. It does not detract from Physics. Of course, Time Cube is far more out there than Austrian economics, but I could not think of a better example. It is applicable in being unscientific anyway.

Nitrogen wrote:Haha this is so true. The funniest thing is that as a physicist, I know it works, and I am proud to say that I do this on a regular basis.


It really does not. Physicists also cross over into other fields, and have not suddenly reproduced all results in social science. Only ignorance of the field you are trying to reproduce can honestly allow you to believe you are accurate.

Superisis
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Superisis » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:53 am UTC

The main division imo in Economics is between those who subscribe to Utopian Economics and those who believe in Reality Based Economics. Both of these camps exist in Classical, Keynesian, Neo-Classical, Austrian, Marxist and other forms of economics. Though perhaps not always in equal amounts.

Cal Engime
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Cal Engime » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:58 am UTC

Morituri wrote:
Cal Engime wrote:As far as the usefulness of economics without empiricism, Austrian economic theory apparently makes it possible to build a time machine and explain the financial crisis and the Great Depression before they happen. But call yourself an Austrian and you're non-mainstream, a crank, not a real scientist.
So empiricism doesn't matter, except when it does? Most of what you've said is "we don't have to listen to your objections" stuff, which is crankery by definition, not because of what you call yourself.


I'm not citing the crashes as confirmation of Austrian business cycle theory; it can be found true or false on its logical merits. I'm citing the predictions as examples of how non-mathematical theories not derived from empirical evidence can be used to interpret current events and history. Indeed, without theory, history is a meaningless jumble of data open to any arbitrary interpretation.

I'm not saying that there's no room for objections, just that objections to a theory should be that the premises are untrue or the deductions are invalid. Beyond that point, what possible objection could there be? When you make a prediction based on sound theory, it comes true, even if you don't observe it because of changing conditions that you can't control for—for example, you expect sales of chicken to rise because the price falls 5%, and then sales fall 20% because of mass adoption of vegetarianism. We cannot turn back the clock and see exactly what would have happened to sales if the price had remained constant, but we can deduce from the law of demand that they would in fact have been lower.

Of course, it's easy to overestimate the significance of the epistemological position that history is worthless. I think the biggest problem among young economists who identify with the Austrian school is that they take it history is actually worthless. They think that Ludwig von Mises spun out all of his economic theories from a few axioms, and that they can make important advances that way too, that they are going to put on a Rush album, have a glass of wine, and commence a voyage through strange seas of thought from which they will emerge the next Hayek. Reality is that if Mises had not observed the effects of monetary and fiscal policy while he was working for the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, immersed in the factual details and economic policy specifics of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he would have been groping in the dark when he formed his theories. Once the theories were formed, though, he didn't need to write, "but this is just a hypothesis; we would need to have a central bank depress the short-term interest rate by expanding the supply of money and credit and see what happens to be sure." He was sure his theories were true without any reference to past experience, and there was no possibility that they would be falsified by future experience.

Morituri wrote:But, honest question: since xkcd is a celebration of the cultures that grew up around empirical disciplines, and Austians' defining feature is a rejection of empiricism, what brings you to this thread in the first place?


I dunno. The fact that I read xkcd three times a week? I Kant believe you think I'm some sort of radical rationalist arguing that our senses cannot be relied upon and pure reason is the only source of knowledge. I just happen to be prepared to take sides in the holy wars waged by 19th Century German economists.

Arariel wrote:If neo-Austrians rejects empirical evidence, doesn't that mean neo-Austrian economics is not a science?


I think it would be better to say that from this perspective, there are definitions of science which exclude economics. Wikipedia says that science is "any systematic knowledge that is capable of resulting in a correct prediction". Wikipedia equates predictive power with falsifiability, but while economic theory can make useful predictions (like "you don't want to buy houses or stock in investment banks"), the idea of an outcome inconsistent with theory is inconceivable. It doesn't make a difference to the usefulness of economics whether you call it science, though. If science requires empirical evidence, then mathematics is not a science. Do you care?

Schumi
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Schumi » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:48 pm UTC

Arariel wrote:If neo-Austrians rejects empirical evidence, doesn't that mean neo-Austrian economics is not a science?

It's still better than Greek economics.

Glaug-Eldare
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Glaug-Eldare » Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:24 pm UTC

JamesGecko wrote:
Glaug-Eldare wrote:
otac0n wrote:Am I the only one that is bothered by the fact that Randal didn't close his tags?


Those aren't HTML tags. They're blanks to be filled in with whatever the physicist is talking about.


Fixed.

Image

Nobody writes valid XHTML.


uh...i don't get the joke. is it funny because you said 'fixed' when you only made it worse, or is there some kind of IT bunny joke i'm not getting here?

(yes, i realize the slashes are on the wrong side)

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BioTube
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby BioTube » Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:47 pm UTC

The slashes are right, for self-closing XHTML tags(which mainly correspond to unclosed HTML tags); of course, the real issue is why you have XHTML weenies claiming it's wrong when I'm pretty sure the <insert text here> deal predates SGML.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

Glaug-Eldare
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Glaug-Eldare » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:16 pm UTC

BioTube wrote:The slashes are right, for self-closing XHTML tags(which mainly correspond to unclosed HTML tags); of course, the real issue is why you have XHTML weenies claiming it's wrong when I'm pretty sure the <insert text here> deal predates SGML.


<insert text here> probably predates his promiscuous grandmother, for god's sake. why does xhtml even have to get involved? did he expect us to run off to wikipedia like good little dweebs as soon as he mentioned it so we could pretend we knew about it all along? forgive my raving, but this place is ridiculous

user42
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby user42 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:54 pm UTC

imantodes wrote:
user42 wrote:I many not personally find the soft sciences as interesting, but I wouldn't seriously argue that they could be completely absorbed into physics. My only peeve with them would be their tendency to hold onto disproven theories and by 'hold onto', I mean continue to talk about them. No physics text book includes a chapter on the Ether and why people don't use that model any more. As an experimentalist turned teacher (well, once I finish my masters anyway), I can't tell you how sick I am of hearing about Piaget. He wasn't remotely scientific in his research and other researches with better data have contradicted him. Why are we still talking about his ideas?


You've never heard of Newton, then?


Yes I have, but I've never read about his views on alchemy in a physics text book.

And just to head off the comment I see coming, the bits that are in physics text books were not proven incorrect by general relativity, only incomplete. They describe a subset of the systems that general relativity can describe. Science is supposed to keep the ideas, or parts of ideas, that work and throw the failed ones away. If a physics text book included all the ideas that ended up being wrong it would be the size of an encyclopaedia.

gnunesjr
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby gnunesjr » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:38 pm UTC

As a physicist, I really, really, really need a signed print of this comic to hang on my wall! (Might as well let visitors know what they're in for!)

Glaug-Eldare
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Glaug-Eldare » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:25 pm UTC

gnunesjr wrote:As a physicist, I really, really, really need a signed print of this comic to hang on my wall! (Might as well let visitors know what they're in for!)


Just get a "BEWARE OF DOUCHEBAG" sign

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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby JamesGecko » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:01 pm UTC

Glaug-Eldare wrote:
BioTube wrote:The slashes are right, for self-closing XHTML tags(which mainly correspond to unclosed HTML tags); of course, the real issue is why you have XHTML weenies claiming it's wrong when I'm pretty sure the <insert text here> deal predates SGML.


<insert text here> probably predates his promiscuous grandmother, for god's sake. why does xhtml even have to get involved? did he expect us to run off to wikipedia like good little dweebs as soon as he mentioned it so we could pretend we knew about it all along? forgive my raving, but this place is ridiculous


Someone making a nerdy reference in the forum of a webcomic which frequently celebrates of nerd jokes and culture? Say it ain't so! ^_^

SuperfluousFluteMusic
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby SuperfluousFluteMusic » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:18 am UTC

user42 wrote:Yes I have, but I've never read about his views on alchemy in a physics text book.

And just to head off the comment I see coming, the bits that are in physics text books were not proven incorrect by general relativity, only incomplete. They describe a subset of the systems that general relativity can describe. Science is supposed to keep the ideas, or parts of ideas, that work and throw the failed ones away. If a physics text book included all the ideas that ended up being wrong it would be the size of an encyclopaedia.


I don't entirely remember Piaget. I never read that much about him. I remember reading that he studied his own children and some other cases. If I recall, some of the specifics of his theory ended up being wrong. I think you are underrating Piaget, though. He did use mathematical models, and some aspects of his theory were correct. I do remember getting the impression that he was not that scientific, however. I forget exactly why. I think it was the convenience sample case studies.

I basically agree with you, though. However, I just think it is important to note that alchemy did not disappear in 50 years. Also, there is a tremendous amount of highly scientific research in psychology. The unscientific portions have just not completely disappeared. They will, eventually. I suppose you were not in disagreement with that, though. I still just thought it was important to expound it.

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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby BioTube » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:58 am UTC

JamesGecko wrote:
Glaug-Eldare wrote:
BioTube wrote:The slashes are right, for self-closing XHTML tags(which mainly correspond to unclosed HTML tags); of course, the real issue is why you have XHTML weenies claiming it's wrong when I'm pretty sure the <insert text here> deal predates SGML.


<insert text here> probably predates his promiscuous grandmother, for god's sake. why does xhtml even have to get involved? did he expect us to run off to wikipedia like good little dweebs as soon as he mentioned it so we could pretend we knew about it all along? forgive my raving, but this place is ridiculous


Someone making a nerdy reference in the forum of a webcomic which frequently celebrates of nerd jokes and culture? Say it ain't so! ^_^
But it's an incorrect reference. This isn't dweehate, but full on NERDRAGE.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

Glaug-Eldare
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Glaug-Eldare » Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:02 am UTC

BioTube wrote:
JamesGecko wrote:
Glaug-Eldare wrote:
BioTube wrote:The slashes are right, for self-closing XHTML tags(which mainly correspond to unclosed HTML tags); of course, the real issue is why you have XHTML weenies claiming it's wrong when I'm pretty sure the <insert text here> deal predates SGML.


<insert text here> probably predates his promiscuous grandmother, for god's sake. why does xhtml even have to get involved? did he expect us to run off to wikipedia like good little dweebs as soon as he mentioned it so we could pretend we knew about it all along? forgive my raving, but this place is ridiculous


Someone making a nerdy reference in the forum of a webcomic which frequently celebrates of nerd jokes and culture? Say it ain't so! ^_^
But it's an incorrect reference. This isn't dweehate, but full on NERDRAGE.


may god keep and bless you

Arariel
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Arariel » Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:25 am UTC

SuperfluousFluteMusic wrote:
Arariel wrote:If neo-Austrians rejects empirical evidence, doesn't that mean neo-Austrian economics is not a science?


It is clearly not. I don't think they would deny that, though. They would claim economics is not the domain of science. Just in case that is meant to detract from economics, I would just like to point out something you may be familiar with: http://www.timecube.com/. It does not detract from Physics. Of course, Time Cube is far more out there than Austrian economics, but I could not think of a better example. It is applicable in being unscientific anyway.


Yes, I wasn't exactly saying economics as an entire field was not scientific (though it says something about the field when it gets lumped in as a history credit along with psych at my school). So it'd be to economics as ID is to biology?

Cal Engime wrote:
Arariel wrote:If neo-Austrians rejects empirical evidence, doesn't that mean neo-Austrian economics is not a science?


I think it would be better to say that from this perspective, there are definitions of science which exclude economics. Wikipedia says that science is "any systematic knowledge that is capable of resulting in a correct prediction". Wikipedia equates predictive power with falsifiability, but while economic theory can make useful predictions (like "you don't want to buy houses or stock in investment banks"), the idea of an outcome inconsistent with theory is inconceivable. It doesn't make a difference to the usefulness of economics whether you call it science, though. If science requires empirical evidence, then mathematics is not a science. Do you care?


From Wikipedia:

For a theory to qualify as scientific, it is expected to be:

  • Consistent
  • Parsimonious (sparing in its proposed entities or explanations, see Occam's Razor)
  • Useful (describes and explains observed phenomena, and can be used predictively) Someone else mentioned something about the Higgs Boson's lack of usefulness, and I'd like to use this to point out that science has a different definition of useful.
  • Empirically testable and falsifiable (see Falsifiability)
  • Based on multiple observations, often in the form of controlled, repeated experiments I guess for something like economics, that'd be a bit difficult to do, but observations should still work.
  • Correctable and dynamic (modified in the light of observations that do not support it)
  • Progressive (refines previous theories)
  • Provisional or tentative (is open to experimental checking, and does not assert certainty)


Ones that I'm sure that the Austrian School don't match are in bold.
Last edited by Arariel on Sat Sep 18, 2010 5:19 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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BioTube
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby BioTube » Sat Sep 18, 2010 7:01 pm UTC

Well, ABCT has been used to explain why the Great Depression lasted until after FDR took a dirt nap(since military spending doesn't contribute to the economy, counting it's really cheating) while no depression before it lasted more than five years(a perfect example would be the Panic of 1921, which was worse yet lasted two years at the outside), while Keynsianism is incapable of explaining why the electronics industry still exists(to the best of my knowledge, it's a perfect refutation of the deflationary spiral).
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby SuperfluousFluteMusic » Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:19 am UTC

BioTube wrote:Well, ABCT has been used to explain why the Great Depression lasted until after FDR took a dirt nap(since military spending doesn't contribute to the economy, counting it's really cheating) while no depression before it lasted more than five years(a perfect example would be the Panic of 1921, which was worse yet lasted two years at the outside), while Keynsianism is incapable of explaining why the electronics industry still exists(to the best of my knowledge, it's a perfect refutation of the deflationary spiral).


Funding industry with unprecedented amounts of money contributes nothing to the economy, even if it does, because it is "cheating." Also, the 1815-21 depression. Don't forget to compare recession lengths after FDR and before (or before central banking and after, even). Recessions are shorter. Most recessions before were twice as long. The "Great Recession" has been going on just over 2 and a half years. Numerous recessions of approximately 2 years or more occurred before. The Panic of 1921 was more deflationary, but involved a lesser decrease in GDP and stock markets. There were a number of similarly deep recessions as well, including ones that were rather long (though not 11 years long). Also, "Keynesian economics" is a straw man of all economic viewpoints Austrian economics disagrees with. Many economists who are not Austrian consider Keynesian economics debunked by stagflation. The electronics industry is an irrelevant example. The raw materials (such as transistors) become cheaper, so electronics devices with greater amounts (for which there is always a demand) of them are sold. Prices decreased somewhat, but that simply expanded production because they became more accessible.

Cal Engime
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Cal Engime » Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:36 am UTC

Hey guys, can we not get into spurious historical arguments in the middle of my Methodenstreit? Thanks.

Azshade
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Azshade » Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:20 pm UTC

I thought rule one of any comercial enterprise is "don't insult your customer." Now that atheists, antropologists and phycisists (and probably sociologists) have all gone by the way side, how much longer until randall starts attacking computer scientists and then is left in the dark.

Alone.
Friendless.
With only himself to insult.

Almost makes you feel bad for the guy. But stuff him I'm an atheist. :D

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Ephemeron
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Ephemeron » Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:02 pm UTC

You want to predict the behavior of words? Just model them as numbers, and then add some secondary terms to account for punctuation. So why does literature need a whole journal anyway?

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BioTube
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby BioTube » Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:53 pm UTC

SuperfluousFluteMusic wrote:Funding industry with unprecedented amounts of money contributes nothing to the economy, even if it does, because it is "cheating."
Money is nothing - the massive amount of resources squandered on blowing Europe back to the stone age are what's actually important. No matter how much money you have, you can't make anything without the needed raw materials.
Also, the 1815-21 depression.
Wikipedia mentions a second panic in 1819, with the "panic" of 1815 being described more akin to stagnation.
Don't forget to compare recession lengths after FDR and before (or before central banking and after, even). Recessions are shorter. Most recessions before were twice as long.
There were no recessions before FDR - "recession" was nothing more than whitewashing a depression to avoid the connotations of another Great Depression.
The "Great Recession" has been going on just over 2 and a half years. Numerous recessions of approximately 2 years or more occurred before.
Except most depressions don't compare to the one we're in - the current state response most closely matches the Great Depression, which doesn't bode well.
The Panic of 1921 was more deflationary, but involved a lesser decrease in GDP and stock markets. There were a number of similarly deep recessions as well, including ones that were rather long (though not 11 years long).
1921's depression was also over almost as soon as it began(with Hoover's interventionism notably restrained); without specifics, I can't comment on the other depressions you're talking about.
Also, "Keynesian economics" is a straw man of all economic viewpoints Austrian economics disagrees with. Many economists who are not Austrian consider Keynesian economics debunked by stagflation.
Tell that to Krugman.
The electronics industry is an irrelevant example. The raw materials (such as transistors) become cheaper, so electronics devices with greater amounts (for which there is always a demand) of them are sold. Prices decreased somewhat, but that simply expanded production because they became more accessible.
My point was that the deflationary spiral would predict that continually falling prices would cause buyers to postpone purchases, causing prices to fall more, etc in complete and utter defiance of how human beings actually think.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Edrees » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:56 am UTC

I'm an engineer and I used to be like this when I was younger. After 3-4 years of work experience in the real world, and travelling to a few countries around hte world, you find that many subjects, fields of study, and concepts are real and are all pretty important.

Not important as physics of course, but closer than I used to think ;) For example you think those dudes whose entire job is to sign people up for health care are useless and doesn't take much skill knowledge, until you spend a couple of weeks trying to figure out what health care provider and plan to use, and you realize you have no freakin clue which is best. In order to analyse something created by humans (imperfect beings) you need something that is human - you can't model everything because some things are made chaotic.

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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby ijuin » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:48 am UTC

BioTube wrote:My point was that the deflationary spiral would predict that continually falling prices would cause buyers to postpone purchases, causing prices to fall more, etc in complete and utter defiance of how human beings actually think.


Models that predict that a buyer will postpone a purchase for any great amount of time are most often ones that do not account for the utility value of having a resource sooner rather than later. For example, if capital investment A costs X dollars, but is expected to generate Y dollars of value per month, then the price of A would have to fall below X-Y dollars to be worth waiting a month for the price to fall. Or a more personal example: is it worth it for you to buy the newest iPod model for $250 and get it now, or wait several months until you can get it for $200?

edbdqt
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby edbdqt » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:19 pm UTC

You want to predict the behavior of housewives? Just model them as working girls, and then add some secondary terms to account for the fact they sit around the house all day and watch Oprah. So why do ladies' homes need a whole journal anyway?

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BioTube
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby BioTube » Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:15 am UTC

ijuin wrote:Models that predict that a buyer will postpone a purchase for any great amount of time are most often ones that do not account for the utility value of having a resource sooner rather than later. For example, if capital investment A costs X dollars, but is expected to generate Y dollars of value per month, then the price of A would have to fall below X-Y dollars to be worth waiting a month for the price to fall. Or a more personal example: is it worth it for you to buy the newest iPod model for $250 and get it now, or wait several months until you can get it for $200?
I'd rather get the cheapest model that had enough space - shouldn't be more than $50(I've only got a little over a day's worth of music); it really all depends on how high your time preference is(if you see loans as the market's way of leveling out time preference, then it makes sense that a central bank setting interest rates could only screw things up).
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby SuperfluousFluteMusic » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:24 am UTC

BioTube wrote:Money is nothing - the massive amount of resources squandered on blowing Europe back to the stone age are what's actually important. No matter how much money you have, you can't make anything without the needed raw materials.


Seemingly, you can. I don't see why would we should entirely forgo plausibility and some confirmation in lieu of contradictory evidence, either.

Wikipedia mentions a second panic in 1819, with the "panic" of 1815 being described more akin to stagnation.


Stagnation can be equivalent to loss when the population is growing, but I don't know if that was the case then. Discounting a 5 year long depression (later in that century) that was rather deep is arbitrary, though.

There were no recessions before FDR - "recession" was nothing more than whitewashing a depression to avoid the connotations of another Great Depression.


Regardless of whether or not something is called a recession of a depression, they were still longer and more frequent before monetary policy (or FDR). We have longer cycles of boom, and shorter busts. That said, improperly regulated monetary policy is dangerous. I can't find a list of different recessions and their depth. I found one that compared 5 recessions including the 1920 recession, though. It was deeper, but by only about 7% or 8% than the ones that came before it (which were 30% or so, if I recall). I'm going to look through my history to find this again. I do not know for sure about depth of latter century recessions, though that would be important.

Clearly, the current recession is bad monetary policy. Good monetary policy does exist though, and it includes the stimulus and bailouts that prevented this from being the second Great Depression. The question is whether the inherent fallacies of government that lead to imperfect monetary policy means monetary policy at all is beneficial or not.

Except most depressions don't compare to the one we're in - the current state response most closely matches the Great Depression, which doesn't bode well.


If state response is actually harmful, which was the issue of contention in the first place.

[quote[1921's depression was also over almost as soon as it began(with Hoover's interventionism notably restrained); without specifics, I can't comment on the other depressions you're talking about.[/quote]

Hoover intervened in both cases. His attempts to fix the Great Depression failed, though.

Tell that to Krugman.


I wish I could tell that to Krugman. He has an ego like Texas though, so I doubt he would listen anyway.

My point was that the deflationary spiral would predict that continually falling prices would cause buyers to postpone purchases, causing prices to fall more, etc in complete and utter defiance of how human beings actually think.


Ok, that is probably true. I agree that economists who focus on "rational" humans are wrong. It's clearly wrong even from lay understanding, but beyond that the brain and behavioral research refutes it as well. I also see how the idea of the deflationary spiral is not in conjunction with that.

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Re: 0793: "Physicists"

Postby JoalHeagney » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:43 am UTC

I used to think a bit like the physicist in the comic.
Then I discovered solvent and incidental catalysis effects when doing my honours in Organic Chemistry. "What do you mean adding salt to the solution will make this two-molecule reaction more favourable than the one-molecule reaction?" "You're telling me that this water-sensitive reaction WON'T work unless there is just a little bit of water to catalyse the initial reaction? That's not in the literature!!!!"

Then I discovered chaos theory. "sob"
Then I became a high school teacher and had to teach students "aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh"

When you come down to it, very little in the universe acts in a simple enough manner for physics to be applicable. But when it does, whoa boy. :D

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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby KShrike » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:29 pm UTC

jwwells wrote:beergeek: My mentor was an ex-physicist biologist. Some physicists do make good biologists. Many are awful at it.

Physicists who do bad biology say, "It's so simple! Look, model it so." These do not understand the concept of 'unknown unknowns.' What if, for example, your insects normally behave predictably, but release an alarm pheromone when handled clumsily - for example, by a theoretical physicist?

Physicists who do good biology say, "It's so messy! Is there any way we can control for as much of that messiness as possible? How do we pry apart this noise to get at the underlying rules?" They bring their disdain for vague claims to the field, and back up their claims with data. They aren't airy anti-biologists, but intense, experiment-driven pragmatists.

Of course, a person who thinks that the ability to mentally calculate path integrals is the mark of a Real Scientist is probably not going to care if their ideas stand up to experiment. If your model fails, that just proves that biologists are bad experimenters, am I right?

Biologists can do this, too, as can anyone. Ask a sufficiently arrogant person about a field they are disdainful of, and you'll be exposed to a kaleidoscope of willful ignorance - a full-spectrum light show of blazing fail.


My AP biology teacher quite a few years back was a physicist. Lets just say that he was.... not very good at Biology. I'll give him a good amount of respect for his physics knowledge, though.
On 10/10/10, My Little Pony started to appeal to adult males. Ya rly!
Forget the /b/ memes, and go watch the show and see what I mean. After all, the /b/ memes exist because the show itself is so cleverly written. Check it out!

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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby charonme » Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:22 pm UTC

Arariel wrote:Ones that I'm sure that the Austrian School don't match are in bold.
(link to whole post) Seems to be correct. And what about math?


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