1119: "Undoing"

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Pi is exactly three » Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:28 am UTC

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Daggoth » Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:48 am UTC

You dont need to link to, AND quote from wikipedia, one is enough

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby ijuin » Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:55 am UTC

stephen431 wrote:
Jamaican Castle wrote:
W3ird_N3rd wrote:Fortunately, it is physically impossible for things to blow up for absolutely no reason.


You must not be married.

..or have young children.

The presence of young children meddling with it constitutes a reason.

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby JustEric » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:55 am UTC

ijuin wrote:
stephen431 wrote:
Jamaican Castle wrote:
W3ird_N3rd wrote:Fortunately, it is physically impossible for things to blow up for absolutely no reason.


You must not be married.

..or have young children.

The presence of young children meddling with it constitutes a reason.


You must not be married.

..or have young children.

(If you were or did, you'd have gotten the joke :wink:)

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:48 am UTC

Daggoth wrote:You dont need to link to, AND quote from wikipedia, one is enough


Personally, I appreciate having both a quote of the most pertinent text (so I can pick up the key points when in a hurry) and a link to the source (so I can investigate the context further at my leisure).

Since the post-which-offended was just using Wikipedia to provide definitions of terminology, strictly speaking neither was needed - the use of the unfamiliar terms (correctly spelt) would be enough to allow an interested reader to look them up on Wikipedia, Google, or other reference material of choice.

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Max™ » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:57 pm UTC

Oh, is that about my post?

I just used the quotes from the wiki pages to clarify my statements, and I habitually source quotes if there may be confusion.

It wasn't just terminology, there was a direction question about how pair-production works inside of a supernova.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby JudeMorrigan » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:16 pm UTC

Daggoth wrote:You dont need to link to, AND quote from wikipedia, one is enough

Yeah, I don't agree with this at all either. Sourcing quotes is a *good* thing.

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby exoren22 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:22 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:Re: Driverless cars

All speed limits will be either 35mph or 100mph. 35mph on roads where people may cross. The driverless car would have, assumably, faster reaction time than a human.


The 25mph speed isn't so you can react to kids. It's so if you DON'T react to them, the 25mph won't kill them like the 35mph would.

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby mcdigman » Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:38 pm UTC

Sandor wrote:
Jamaican Castle wrote:Fortunately, it is physically impossible for things to blow up for absolutely no reason.

Except for maybe the universe. As Terry Pratchett put it: "In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded." Although here, "nothing" means absolutely nothing, no space, no time, no anything. So that might not fall under the definition of "things".


This is what I don't like about the whole "heat death of the universe" hypothesis. Out universe is so good at exploding it can make nothing explode for no reason, and yet you expect me to believe that it will eventually run out of things to explode? Our universe is like the Mythbusters: if it runs out of things to explode, it is just going to think to itself "Hmmm... I'm getting kind of bored... Lets blow something up! Wait, theres nothing left to blow up? Oh-thats cool, I'll just explode the nothing again." Who is going to tell it it can't? The laws of physics? It IS the laws of physics.

I think I am going refer to this as the "Pyromaniac Universe" hypothesis from now on.

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Max™ » Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:25 am UTC

mcdigman wrote:
Sandor wrote:
Jamaican Castle wrote:Fortunately, it is physically impossible for things to blow up for absolutely no reason.

Except for maybe the universe. As Terry Pratchett put it: "In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded." Although here, "nothing" means absolutely nothing, no space, no time, no anything. So that might not fall under the definition of "things".


This is what I don't like about the whole "heat death of the universe" hypothesis. Out universe is so good at exploding it can make nothing explode for no reason, and yet you expect me to believe that it will eventually run out of things to explode? Our universe is like the Mythbusters: if it runs out of things to explode, it is just going to think to itself "Hmmm... I'm getting kind of bored... Lets blow something up! Wait, theres nothing left to blow up? Oh-thats cool, I'll just explode the nothing again." Who is going to tell it it can't? The laws of physics? It IS the laws of physics.

I think I am going refer to this as the "Pyromaniac Universe" hypothesis from now on.

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Ekpyrotic scenarios exist which aren't too dissimilar to what you describe actually.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby ijuin » Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:52 am UTC

JustEric wrote:
ijuin wrote:
stephen431 wrote:
Jamaican Castle wrote:
W3ird_N3rd wrote:Fortunately, it is physically impossible for things to blow up for absolutely no reason.


You must not be married.

..or have young children.

The presence of young children meddling with it constitutes a reason.


You must not be married.

..or have young children.

(If you were or did, you'd have gotten the joke :wink:)

I understand that many things have a tendency to blow up, fall apart, catch fire, or what-have-you in the presence of children, and the children's reaction is always some form of "I didn't do anything!" as well as the exact nature of the interaction between child and damage being unknown and possibly unknowable. A child can be near a device, and "not do anything", and the device will fail. Therefore the child's proximity is sufficient cause for the failure.

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Rotherian » Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:54 pm UTC

ijuin wrote:
JustEric wrote:
ijuin wrote:
stephen431 wrote:
Jamaican Castle wrote:
W3ird_N3rd wrote:Fortunately, it is physically impossible for things to blow up for absolutely no reason.


You must not be married.

..or have young children.

The presence of young children meddling with it constitutes a reason.


You must not be married.

..or have young children.

(If you were or did, you'd have gotten the joke :wink:)

I understand that many things have a tendency to blow up, fall apart, catch fire, or what-have-you in the presence of children, and the children's reaction is always some form of "I didn't do anything!" as well as the exact nature of the interaction between child and damage being unknown and possibly unknowable. A child can be near a device, and "not do anything", and the device will fail. Therefore the child's proximity is sufficient cause for the failure.


Sounds like me and spontaneous, nonreplicable-by-anyone-else game bugs.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Crown of Fire » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:57 pm UTC

Rotherian wrote:
Sounds like me and spontaneous, nonreplicable-by-anyone-else game bugs.


I don't know why, but this comment made me think of the "If a tree falls in a forest..." if its a nonreplicable bug, is it really a bug... or just I don't know, a hiccup in the system, hah.

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby dudiobugtron » Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:09 am UTC

At my work, we have computers which a number of different kids use. There is one child whose proximity, as described above, is highly correlated with spontaneous computer malfunction.

Our solution is to reward this child in the (completely random, of course) event that no computers spontaneously malfunction while he is there. The correlation between his presence and spontaneous computer malfunction has decreased dramatically.

PS: Once he gets older, we might need to extend the conditions for the reward to include malfunctions which occur after he has left as well! ;)
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby mcdigman » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:48 am UTC

Max™ wrote:
mcdigman wrote:
Sandor wrote:
Jamaican Castle wrote:Fortunately, it is physically impossible for things to blow up for absolutely no reason.

Except for maybe the universe. As Terry Pratchett put it: "In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded." Although here, "nothing" means absolutely nothing, no space, no time, no anything. So that might not fall under the definition of "things".


This is what I don't like about the whole "heat death of the universe" hypothesis. Out universe is so good at exploding it can make nothing explode for no reason, and yet you expect me to believe that it will eventually run out of things to explode? Our universe is like the Mythbusters: if it runs out of things to explode, it is just going to think to itself "Hmmm... I'm getting kind of bored... Lets blow something up! Wait, theres nothing left to blow up? Oh-thats cool, I'll just explode the nothing again." Who is going to tell it it can't? The laws of physics? It IS the laws of physics.

I think I am going refer to this as the "Pyromaniac Universe" hypothesis from now on.

Spoiler:
Image

Ekpyrotic scenarios exist which aren't too dissimilar to what you describe actually.


Its name literally means "conversion into fire," --- I believe which makes it exactly my theory in concept, except it added a rationale possibly better than "the universe is run by a hyperactive 10 year old". This model allows negative entropy, does it not? Or does it consider it equivalent to a refrigerator in that even though entropy would decrease in one universe it would increase in another?

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby ijuin » Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:16 am UTC

Crown of Fire wrote:
Rotherian wrote:
Sounds like me and spontaneous, nonreplicable-by-anyone-else game bugs.


I don't know why, but this comment made me think of the "If a tree falls in a forest..." if its a nonreplicable bug, is it really a bug... or just I don't know, a hiccup in the system, hah.

If it only happens once, it's an accident. If it happens repeatedly (even if it only happens to you and nobody else ever sees it), then it's a bug.

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Max™ » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:01 am UTC

mcdigman wrote:Its name literally means "conversion into fire," --- I believe which makes it exactly my theory in concept, except it added a rationale possibly better than "the universe is run by a hyperactive 10 year old". This model allows negative entropy, does it not? Or does it consider it equivalent to a refrigerator in that even though entropy would decrease in one universe it would increase in another?

I don't think it goes to negative entropy, the entropy within each universe isn't necessarily tied to the separation of the branes, and the interaction between branes is what would trigger the new low-entropy singular state.


Course you could have something like this Futurama episode: http://theinfosphere.org/The_Late_Philip_J._Fry
Spoiler:
They watch the universe end then there is a bright flash (Fry: did anyone else see that?) and the universe reboots.


That is actually similar to the time travel in the Baxter story Transcendent.
Spoiler:
Humanity reaches a point of scientific development and technological prowess where they can send information "around" the far end of time back to the early universe and change things in the past, as well as simply watching events happen from a far later vantage point.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby aardarf » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:58 pm UTC

So Arstechnica says we could supply the world's energy needs with 300 million turbines:
http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/09/ ... eme-limit/

And wikipedia says the Earth's surface area is 148,940,000 square kilometers:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth

So if we put about 2 turbines per square kilometer across every part of the land we would be set, yes?

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Max™ » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:51 pm UTC

aardarf wrote:So Arstechnica says we could supply the world's energy needs with 300 million turbines:
http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/09/ ... eme-limit/

And wikipedia says the Earth's surface area is 148,940,000 square kilometers:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth

So if we put about 2 turbines per square kilometer across every part of the land we would be set, yes?

Can't help but wonder what that would do to airflow near the surface.

Far fewer solar cell farms with molten salt storage and nuke backups would suffice far better.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Red Hal » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

Or a mixture of wind, wave, tidal, and solar, with compressed air backup to smooth out the lumps.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby J Thomas » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:19 pm UTC

Or -- I hesitate to suggest this, but if the world population was down about 90% we would need a whole lot less energy. Not that I'm suggesting somebody try to reduce it, but we might try making some of our plans in case that happens since it isn't all that unlikely.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby orthogon » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:23 pm UTC

aardarf wrote:So Arstechnica says we could supply the world's energy needs with 300 million turbines:
http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/09/ ... eme-limit/


Looks like an excellent site, but unfortunately as a native speaker of EN-GB I can't take it seriously with a name like that. Is it just me?
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Red Hal » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:46 pm UTC

Hey, at least it's not the ARmy Rumour SErvice.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:00 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Or -- I hesitate to suggest this, but if the world population was down about 90% we would need a whole lot less energy. Not that I'm suggesting somebody try to reduce it, but we might try making some of our plans in case that happens since it isn't all that unlikely.

Depends how energy hungry their replacements are...

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Max™ » Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:16 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Or -- I hesitate to suggest this, but if the world population was down about 90% we would need a whole lot less energy. Not that I'm suggesting somebody try to reduce it, but we might try making some of our plans in case that happens since it isn't all that unlikely.

We could get by fine with larger populations, there is less of an issue of finding replacements for fossil fuels than the issue of them being cheap and possessing developed infrastructure. Combine that with American lifestyles being utterly unsustainable and it seems like we need a lot fewer people, when really we just need to packing our fat asses with so much beef.

It is unlikely for the population to drop to 10%, growth will either level off, continue slowly, accelerate, or drop to zero. Anything capable of wiping out 6 billion people is unlikely to leave survivors.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby mathmannix » Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:27 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:Anything capable of wiping out 6 billion people is unlikely to leave survivors.


Have to disagree with that, I can envision numerous scenarios that wipe out most of the population, but aside from literally blowing up the earth (before we have a good foothold on Mars or wherever), I think it's hard to think of any scenario that will wipe out 100% of humanity. Some people will be immune to a virus or plague; some people will survive indefinitely in caves; people will adapt. To quote Dr. Malcolm, "Life will, ah, find a way."
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby mcdigman » Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:44 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:
Max™ wrote:Anything capable of wiping out 6 billion people is unlikely to leave survivors.


Have to disagree with that, I can envision numerous scenarios that wipe out most of the population, but aside from literally blowing up the earth (before we have a good foothold on Mars or wherever), I think it's hard to think of any scenario that will wipe out 100% of humanity. Some people will be immune to a virus or plague; some people will survive indefinitely in caves; people will adapt. To quote Dr. Malcolm, "Life will, ah, find a way."


Wiping out humanity is not the same thing as wiping out life. Wiping out life on earth is hard. Wiping out humanity could be done with a meteor. I have heard it said that up to this point, despite all our advances, the difference between humans and dinosaurs in terms of ability to survive a global catastrophe is negligible, and will be until we have at least one fully redundant colony somewhere, preferably in a different solar system. Not that we shouldn't set up a colony on Mars: It just isn't adequately redundant.

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Max™ » Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:02 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:
Max™ wrote:Anything capable of wiping out 6 billion people is unlikely to leave survivors.


Have to disagree with that, I can envision numerous scenarios that wipe out most of the population, but aside from literally blowing up the earth (before we have a good foothold on Mars or wherever), I think it's hard to think of any scenario that will wipe out 100% of humanity. Some people will be immune to a virus or plague; some people will survive indefinitely in caves; people will adapt. To quote Dr. Malcolm, "Life will, ah, find a way."

700 million people left alive will suffer from loss of infrastructure, food production, supply chains, power generation, medical aid, and that is before you factor in whatever wiped out the vast majority of humanity.


The only realistic thing I think would be so devastating yet survivable is the end of this interglacial and a return to a full ice age.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby J Thomas » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:36 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:
mathmannix wrote:
Max™ wrote:Anything capable of wiping out 6 billion people is unlikely to leave survivors.


Have to disagree with that, I can envision numerous scenarios that wipe out most of the population, but aside from literally blowing up the earth (before we have a good foothold on Mars or wherever), I think it's hard to think of any scenario that will wipe out 100% of humanity. Some people will be immune to a virus or plague; some people will survive indefinitely in caves; people will adapt. To quote Dr. Malcolm, "Life will, ah, find a way."

700 million people left alive will suffer from loss of infrastructure, food production, supply chains, power generation, medical aid, and that is before you factor in whatever wiped out the vast majority of humanity.

The only realistic thing I think would be so devastating yet survivable is the end of this interglacial and a return to a full ice age.


There are about 300 million people in the USA now. If we knew we were going to lose 270 million people with 2 years warning, and we chose to prepare for the survivors, they could have an Amish lifestyle going just fine within 10 years. There would be some tough times at first. But this land area could support 30 million people with an Amish lifestyle just fine, apart from the startup problems.

I don't know how bad the startup problems would be, since they would vary tremendously with the particular disaster.

Similar for lots of places. Places like Japan might have it very hard. Places like Thailand, not so much. Cambodia has been through it in living memory and they only lost a few million.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby mathmannix » Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:54 pm UTC

mcdigman wrote:
mathmannix wrote:
Max™ wrote:Anything capable of wiping out 6 billion people is unlikely to leave survivors.

Wiping out humanity is not the same thing as wiping out life. Wiping out life on earth is hard. Wiping out humanity could be done with a meteor. I have heard it said that up to this point, despite all our advances, the difference between humans and dinosaurs in terms of ability to survive a global catastrophe is negligible, and will be until we have at least one fully redundant colony somewhere, preferably in a different solar system. Not that we shouldn't set up a colony on Mars: It just isn't adequately redundant.


Even if the extinction of the dinosaurs was triggered by a meteor (and as far as I know, that's still a debate) then it wasn't the moment of impact that killed (most) of the dinosaurs, but the "nuclear winter" afterwards. Humanity could survive a nuclear winter, with or without its technology - although the technology would definitely help a greater percent survive.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Max™ » Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:02 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Max™ wrote:
mathmannix wrote:
Max™ wrote:Anything capable of wiping out 6 billion people is unlikely to leave survivors.


Have to disagree with that, I can envision numerous scenarios that wipe out most of the population, but aside from literally blowing up the earth (before we have a good foothold on Mars or wherever), I think it's hard to think of any scenario that will wipe out 100% of humanity. Some people will be immune to a virus or plague; some people will survive indefinitely in caves; people will adapt. To quote Dr. Malcolm, "Life will, ah, find a way."

700 million people left alive will suffer from loss of infrastructure, food production, supply chains, power generation, medical aid, and that is before you factor in whatever wiped out the vast majority of humanity.

The only realistic thing I think would be so devastating yet survivable is the end of this interglacial and a return to a full ice age.


There are about 300 million people in the USA now. If we knew we were going to lose 270 million people with 2 years warning, and we chose to prepare for the survivors, they could have an Amish lifestyle going just fine within 10 years. There would be some tough times at first. But this land area could support 30 million people with an Amish lifestyle just fine, apart from the startup problems.

I don't know how bad the startup problems would be, since they would vary tremendously with the particular disaster.

Similar for lots of places. Places like Japan might have it very hard. Places like Thailand, not so much. Cambodia has been through it in living memory and they only lost a few million.

Now, to be fair, I was not assuming preparation would be had, just BAM, meteor, or BAM superdeathviruszombopocalypsefuntime.


As for the dinosaurs, there is no debate that a massive bolide struck the Yucatan, we found ash with impact ejecta type materials all around the world with no dinosaur fossils above it, except for birds of course, but there was also an ongoing trap eruption which no doubt exacerbated the situation.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby dudiobugtron » Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:10 am UTC

Max™ wrote:As for the dinosaurs, there is no debate that a massive bolide struck the Yucatan, we found ash with impact ejecta type materials all around the world with no dinosaur fossils above it, except for birds of course, but there was also an ongoing trap eruption which no doubt exacerbated the situation.


So no dinosaurs survived, except for some? ;)
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Max™ » Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:34 am UTC

dudiobugtron wrote:
Max™ wrote:As for the dinosaurs, there is no debate that a massive bolide struck the Yucatan, we found ash with impact ejecta type materials all around the world with no dinosaur fossils above it, except for birds of course, but there was also an ongoing trap eruption which no doubt exacerbated the situation.


So no dinosaurs survived, except for some? ;)

Pretty much just the smaller feathered ones capable of flight, but the vast majority of dinosaurs did not make it.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby mathmannix » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:17 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:
dudiobugtron wrote:
Max™ wrote:As for the dinosaurs, there is no debate that a massive bolide struck the Yucatan, we found ash with impact ejecta type materials all around the world with no dinosaur fossils above it, except for birds of course, but there was also an ongoing trap eruption which no doubt exacerbated the situation.


So no dinosaurs survived, except for some? ;)

Pretty much just the smaller feathered ones capable of flight, but the vast majority of dinosaurs did not make it.


Yes we know there was a meteor that hit the Yucatan, around the same time as most dinosaurs stopped showing up in the fossil record. But why did the bird-dinosaurs survive? Because they were smaller and could fly? Ratites (Ostriches, Kiwis, Emus, Cassosaries, and Rheas) are not descendants of birds/dinosaurs that could fly, so there goes that theory, and of course there were tiny dinosaurs in the Cretaceous, so they probably survived.

Maybe this isn't the best place for this question, but something I've been wondering about... what makes a bird a bird? Mammals are clearly defined specifically as the only creatures that have mammary glands. (You can milk a mammal.) They have other secondary characteristics that are not true for all mammals (live births) or are not exclusive to mammals (warm blooded - like birds, have hair - at least pterosaurs are an exception, right?). Not all birds fly, and not only birds lay eggs of course. Those are seconardy characteristics of birds. Now, traditionally, birds were the warm-blooded animals with feathers, but if T-Rex or Velociraptor were warm-blooded and had feathers, were they birds?
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Max™ » Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:00 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:
Max™ wrote:
dudiobugtron wrote:
Max™ wrote:As for the dinosaurs, there is no debate that a massive bolide struck the Yucatan, we found ash with impact ejecta type materials all around the world with no dinosaur fossils above it, except for birds of course, but there was also an ongoing trap eruption which no doubt exacerbated the situation.


So no dinosaurs survived, except for some? ;)

Pretty much just the smaller feathered ones capable of flight, but the vast majority of dinosaurs did not make it.


Yes we know there was a meteor that hit the Yucatan, around the same time as most dinosaurs stopped showing up in the fossil record. But why did the bird-dinosaurs survive? Because they were smaller and could fly? Ratites (Ostriches, Kiwis, Emus, Cassosaries, and Rheas) are not descendants of birds/dinosaurs that could fly, so there goes that theory, and of course there were tiny dinosaurs in the Cretaceous, so they probably survived.

Maybe this isn't the best place for this question, but something I've been wondering about... what makes a bird a bird? Mammals are clearly defined specifically as the only creatures that have mammary glands. (You can milk a mammal.) They have other secondary characteristics that are not true for all mammals (live births) or are not exclusive to mammals (warm blooded - like birds, have hair - at least pterosaurs are an exception, right?). Not all birds fly, and not only birds lay eggs of course. Those are seconardy characteristics of birds. Now, traditionally, birds were the warm-blooded animals with feathers, but if T-Rex or Velociraptor were warm-blooded and had feathers, were they birds?

No, they were dinosaurs, as are birds, in this case birds being defined as "dinosaurs which didn't get killified by the big rocky doomsmashing", more or less.

Most animals left today descended from ones that ate bugs or carrion, as bugs also ate carrion and decaying plants, there was a lot of them to go around, and naturally the omnivorous and insectivorous species had an advantage in making the transition versus herbivores and carnivores in general.


Besides crocodiles and turtles, of course, but they'll be around until the sun starts dying I imagine, barring total biosphere destruction events.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:08 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:Maybe this isn't the best place for this question, but something I've been wondering about... what makes a bird a bird? Mammals are clearly defined specifically as the only creatures that have mammary glands. (You can milk a mammal.) They have other secondary characteristics that are not true for all mammals (live births) or are not exclusive to mammals (warm blooded - like birds, have hair - at least pterosaurs are an exception, right?). Not all birds fly, and not only birds lay eggs of course. Those are seconardy characteristics of birds. Now, traditionally, birds were the warm-blooded animals with feathers, but if T-Rex or Velociraptor were warm-blooded and had feathers, were they birds?

Wikipedia wrote:Based on fossil and biological evidence, most scientists accept that birds are a specialized subgroup of theropod dinosaurs.[10] More specifically, they are members of Maniraptora, a group of theropods which includes dromaeosaurs and oviraptorids, among others.[11] As scientists have discovered more nonavian theropods closely related to birds, the previously clear distinction between nonbirds and birds has become blurred. Recent discoveries in the Liaoning Province of northeast China, which demonstrate many small theropod dinosaurs had feathers, contribute to this ambiguity.[12]
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby mcdigman » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:23 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:
mcdigman wrote:
mathmannix wrote:
Max™ wrote:Anything capable of wiping out 6 billion people is unlikely to leave survivors.

Wiping out humanity is not the same thing as wiping out life. Wiping out life on earth is hard. Wiping out humanity could be done with a meteor. I have heard it said that up to this point, despite all our advances, the difference between humans and dinosaurs in terms of ability to survive a global catastrophe is negligible, and will be until we have at least one fully redundant colony somewhere, preferably in a different solar system. Not that we shouldn't set up a colony on Mars: It just isn't adequately redundant.


Even if the extinction of the dinosaurs was triggered by a meteor (and as far as I know, that's still a debate) then it wasn't the moment of impact that killed (most) of the dinosaurs, but the "nuclear winter" afterwards. Humanity could survive a nuclear winter, with or without its technology - although the technology would definitely help a greater percent survive.


The question isn't whether humanity could survive a nuclear winter, its whether we would. There would be collapse of infrastructure, famine, maybe contaminated water: we'd probably get in wars over those resources, and with nothing left to loose and nuclear/biological/chemical weapons still around--it could get ugly. Even if everyone didn't die outright due to explosions, the survivors would end up having to subsist on arctic fungi, or something else that didn't mind extreme cold and no sun. The reason this ice age would be harder to survive is that we have already extincted the megafauna that kept us alive with their meat and fur through the last ice age.

Which has to be the best argument for cloning mammoths ever.

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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:37 pm UTC

Mr. President, we cannot allow a mammoth-clone gap!
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Max™ » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:10 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Mr. President, we cannot allow a mammoth-clone gap!

Reminded me of this bit of epicness.
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Re: 1119: "Undoing"

Postby Quicksilver » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:31 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Mr. President, we cannot allow a mammoth-clone gap!
Dr. Strangelove <3


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