Search found 2201 matches

by thoughtfully
Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:11 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Sounding the depth of the sea
Replies: 10
Views: 1698

Re: Sounding the depth of the sea

Even if the rope doesn't float, one can pull up the slack after the weight settles on the bottom. There's a bit of a wrinkle if the weight isn't directly below the boat, but there's trigonometry for that. Can't measure the angle? Well that means the horizontal displacement is probably too small to m...
by thoughtfully
Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:41 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Universal timesystem
Replies: 18
Views: 3537

Re: Universal timesystem

If everything plays nice with known physical laws then a universal time system is pointless since it would take so bloody long to reach a neighbouring star system anyway. You're definitely not meeting a friend for coffee, that's for sure. You can barely even communicate with them in any reasonable ...
by thoughtfully
Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:26 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Planets and the properties that affect their composition
Replies: 60
Views: 10051

Re: Planets and the properties that affect their composition

It only concerns life that relies on liquid water. I think ethane has been proposed as a substitute at lower temps. Whether life is rare or common depends on the standard you use. Nobody ever suggested throwing darts at random stars would work very well. It's the overwhelming number of stars that do...
by thoughtfully
Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:01 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Planets and the properties that affect their composition
Replies: 60
Views: 10051

Re: Planets and the properties that affect their composition

've read that the stellar winds are too strong in the "habitable zone" around a red star to maintain an atmosphere, but if your "habitable zone" is someplace cooler, you might be fine. That's true of red giants, but not red dwarfs. However, there are other problems that affect t...
by thoughtfully
Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:23 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Planets and the properties that affect their composition
Replies: 60
Views: 10051

Re: Planets and the properties that affect their composition

One way to mix it up is to twerk the incident radiation. A redder star would have less blue light, so the sky would look greener. I've read that the stellar winds are too strong in the "habitable zone" around a red star to maintain an atmosphere, but if your "habitable zone" is s...
by thoughtfully
Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:12 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Planets and the properties that affect their composition
Replies: 60
Views: 10051

Re: Planets and the properties that affect their composition

Algae are a motley group of plant-like things that aren't necessarily related to each other. EDIT: Polyphyletic, that's the word. The blue-green algae that originally developed photosynthesis are prokaryotes, a sort of bacteria or archaea, and aren't usually considered among the algal groups nowaday...
by thoughtfully
Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:40 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: How long can we (human society) survive global warming?
Replies: 67
Views: 13489

Re: How long can we (human society) survive global warming?

it's not clear to me either, but presumably hydrated rocks have different mechanical properties. I don't think they mean lubrication in the usual sense.
by thoughtfully
Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:21 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: How long can we (human society) survive global warming?
Replies: 67
Views: 13489

Re: How long can we (human society) survive global warming?

It'll happen gradually over billions of years, IIRC. It'll be thoroughly unnoticable to any individuals at any given time. Unless there's something with a life span of millions of years. I suppose there could be abrupt changes in climate patterns, like would occur if the Gulf Stream fizzled out. I d...
by thoughtfully
Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:31 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Planets and the properties that affect their composition
Replies: 60
Views: 10051

Re: Planets and the properties that affect their composition

Some gases are very reactive, and wouldn't remain gases if there's something around to combine with and cause precipitation. Oxygen is a perfect example. Large quantities of free oxygen imply that somethihng pretty funny is going on. Maybe something funny you could build a biosphere/plot on :)
by thoughtfully
Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:28 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Planets and the properties that affect their composition
Replies: 60
Views: 10051

Re: Planets and the properties that affect their composition

True enough, but you need that temperature for a starting point.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_ ... emperature
by thoughtfully
Mon Jan 05, 2015 3:56 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Planets and the properties that affect their composition
Replies: 60
Views: 10051

Re: Planets and the properties that affect their composition

Temperature calculations on the other hand are quite doable. You might find something in the calculations behind the Goldilocks zones around various stars. Then you can find the properties like what oceans would be made of. The temperature in free space at some distance from a star due to that star...
by thoughtfully
Mon Jan 05, 2015 3:23 pm UTC
Forum: General
Topic: Humans and entropy
Replies: 5
Views: 2856

Re: Humans and entropy

Here's a blog post on the topic, with references to more recent work.
http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blo ... g-of-life/
by thoughtfully
Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:38 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: How do flutes work?
Replies: 6
Views: 2364

Re: How do flutes work?

One could argue that the flute has the least amount of mechanical coupling to the vibrating stuff. No reed, the column of air is straight and the metal body is heavier and more rigid.
by thoughtfully
Sat Dec 27, 2014 3:44 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Could you move Earth out of the solar system...
Replies: 3
Views: 1502

Re: Could you move Earth out of the solar system...

Conservation of momentum requires the ejection of momentum bearing stuff, even if it's just photons , to change momentum, which is kinda necessary. You can cheat a little with General Relativity, by changing position without a change in momentum, but I doubt you can escape a gravity well without gai...
by thoughtfully
Fri Dec 26, 2014 3:22 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?
Replies: 42
Views: 10014

Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

gmalivuk wrote:Category errors or not, I must say I'm enjoying the illustrations this thread has gained.

No kidding. The "banana for scale" feature put me in stitches. Category errors are something we've all worked through, in our youth, if we're lucky. Doing it in style is rather more singular!
by thoughtfully
Wed Dec 24, 2014 7:37 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Why Do We Only Season Cast Iron Pans
Replies: 31
Views: 7456

Re: Why Do We Only Season Cast Iron Pans

Having a layer of oil protects the iron from rusting, and the seasoning process makes that protective coating much more durable.

The other materials don't require that maintenance and knowledge to last a long time or be practical during use. I rather doubt they would obtain any benefit at all.
by thoughtfully
Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:28 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Longest night ever, but for which timezone?
Replies: 3
Views: 1934

Re: Longest night ever, but for which timezone?

Find the exact UTC for the solstice, then work out where solar noon/midnight would be.

The US Naval Observatory has some cool software, NOVAS, that you could use to get precise information. Looks like they now come with Python bindings. I had to SWIG my own "back in the day".
by thoughtfully
Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:00 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: A Little Thought About Nomadic Planets
Replies: 13
Views: 4147

Re: A Little Thought About Nomadic Planets

Probably just mass would be enough. I think the expected mass ranges do not overlap. Failing that, watching stuff fall in, as in an accretion disc, would also give it away. Otherwise, probably only by lensing/deflection of light that passes near the star.
by thoughtfully
Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:48 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Schrodinger Cat Disproof (Samuel Jacobs)
Replies: 88
Views: 21294

Re: Schrodinger Cat Disproof (Samuel Jacobs)

One answer is to just point to the body of experimental evidence for QM and say "yeah, I dunno, it's kinda weird, but true, get used to it". That sort of answer makes me think QM is some kind of 'magic' not to be questioned, or understood by mortals. Nothing 'magic' happening here, the ca...
by thoughtfully
Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:55 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Miscellaneous Science Questions
Replies: 2962
Views: 730216

Re: RELATIVITY QUESTIONS! (and other common queries)

Insanely fast protons (relative to the Earth) are observed by cosmic ray observatories on occasion. I don't know what significant fraction of the speed of light you had in mind, but the difference in distance traveled by the record holder in one second vs. a photon or other light speed particle is o...
by thoughtfully
Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:00 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: A new Theory on fundamental physics
Replies: 33
Views: 8360

Re: A new Theory on fundamental physics

A couple of not entirely random links that came to mind. There are also other threads in this forum on similar topics, but the ones I found were all short and unsatisfying. http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2007/06/19/the-alternative-science-respectability-checklist/ http://www.thisamericanli...
by thoughtfully
Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:10 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: A new Theory on fundamental physics
Replies: 33
Views: 8360

Re: A new Theory on fundamental physics

⋅ 2 Whether the theory is right or wrong, I believe there's great insight since with "simple" concept and formulas it aims to explain mechanisms that physics do not explain yet. This is a appealing idea, but what use are simple concepts and formulae that are wrong? What phenomen...
by thoughtfully
Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:56 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: A new Theory on fundamental physics
Replies: 33
Views: 8360

Re: A new Theory on fundamental physics

I propose that the FSM constructed the universe last Thursday, with implanted memories and light coming from faraway galaxies and all, to make it appear as if it's been here for billions of years. Show that my proposal is wrong. Good luck! For any who have not yet been touched by His Noodly Appenda...
by thoughtfully
Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:45 pm UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: Algorithmically generating 3D objects
Replies: 7
Views: 4721

Re: Algorithmically generating 3D objects

Another option along those lines is Visual Python.
by thoughtfully
Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:44 am UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: Algorithmically generating 3D objects
Replies: 7
Views: 4721

Re: Algorithmically generating 3D objects

Maybe you want something like Constructive Solid Geometry. Software like POV Ray, OpenSCAD, or ImplicitCAD might do what you want. I'm sure there are good books and web resources for POV Ray, the others are newer and a bit more niche.
by thoughtfully
Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:41 pm UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: Using Python to read saved “.msg” email file
Replies: 3
Views: 14436

Re: Using Python to read saved “.msg” email file

If it's a Outlook file, you might find some help at the win32 mailing list.
by thoughtfully
Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:12 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Can protons be extracted from an acid solution?
Replies: 26
Views: 5578

Re: Can protons be extracted from an acid solution?

That seems off, if I recall correctly 1 gram of matter/antimatter annihilation causes an explosion of something like 50 megatons. 1L water = 1000g so 1L of anti-water would cause a 50.000 megaton explosion. Are you saying that the protons in 1L of water separated from their electrons contain 8 orde...
by thoughtfully
Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:00 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: G-force
Replies: 16
Views: 4174

Re: G-force

I may be misunderstanding something, but I belive that is only useful as a shock absorber. It's a cushion that allows high acceleration for some finite amount of time, but it doesn't really change the effects of a sustained acceleration.
by thoughtfully
Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:57 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Can protons be extracted from an acid solution?
Replies: 26
Views: 5578

Re: Can protons be extracted from an acid solution?

Maybe he wants them for a bomb. If you can confine half a beaker of protons while filling, you have got most of the job done! I bet my white dwarf matter bomb is bigger, though! Just kidding. Anything like a common garden variety lab beaker full of protons would be fucking scary. Don't mess around w...
by thoughtfully
Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:40 pm UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: Inspiration for programs
Replies: 5
Views: 3847

Re: Inspiration for programs

https://wiki.python.org/moin/ProblemSets Project Euler is very math heavy, but a lot of folk around here like that, maybe you will to. I think there are better ways to exercise programming skills, but having a well defined problem can help a lot, too. Some older threads: http://forums.xkcd.com/viewt...
by thoughtfully
Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:30 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Can protons be extracted from an acid solution?
Replies: 26
Views: 5578

Re: Can protons be extracted from an acid solution?

The nearest you will get to a "beaker full of protons" is a container of Hydrogen, possibly liquid. For something solid at room temperature, paraffin wax is a common method. Concentrating protons is concentrating charged particles, and the Coulomb repulsion is going to make this impractica...
by thoughtfully
Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:06 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: G-force
Replies: 16
Views: 4174

Re: G-force

If we are talking magical powers - I wonder what kind of acceleration would be necessary in your described regime (accelerating all atoms individually) to distort electron orbitals within atoms, to the point of causing damage. Its probably very high, if it is possible at all. This is the trouble. W...
by thoughtfully
Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:35 pm UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: Just what does it actually do when a user disables cookies?
Replies: 25
Views: 10880

Re: Just what does it actually do when a user disables cooki

Frames are very useful, too, but they break the model. Breaking the model isn't necessarily bad, but it is inviting surprises down the line that might not be so pleasant. The web started out as a stateless system. It's very analagous to adding state to a functional programmming language. Yuck! But y...
by thoughtfully
Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:30 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Geology question -- best place for earthquake
Replies: 3
Views: 2629

Re: Geology question -- best place for earthquake

I was going to say the middle of the ocean (with caveat), or Antarctica (away from coasts). Tsunamis happen when sea floor is displaced. There was a big quake in the Indian or Pacific oceans not so long ago that had folks worried but didn't really amount to a lot wavewise, since there wasn't a big d...
by thoughtfully
Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:29 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Red Giant Stars
Replies: 3
Views: 2505

Re: Red Giant Stars

I've always wondered what would happen if the Earth did get swallowed up by the Sun when it becomes a red giant. Its atmosphere and oceans will be long gone, I believe, but the rocky bits are going to be harder: there isn't a ton of heat transfer going on, by conduction or radiatively. I imagine it ...
by thoughtfully
Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:44 pm UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: The "IT DOESN'T WORK!" thread
Replies: 1963
Views: 571756

Re: The "IT DOESN'T WORK!" thread

If you read the documentation carefully, it states that the directory of the input script (i.e."__main__" module) is what is included when searching for modules. This is the current directory if you are using the interactive interpreter (and haven't changed directories), or if you run a py...
by thoughtfully
Sun Oct 05, 2014 6:43 pm UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: The "IT DOESN'T WORK!" thread
Replies: 1963
Views: 571756

Re: The "IT DOESN'T WORK!" thread

*sigh* Just don't understand how python's import system works. Either py2 or py3. So let's say there's a directory structure basedir/ |__ dirA/ |____ file1.py |__ dirB/ |____ file 2.py Can't make it so that can import methods from file1 into file2. Everything gives System Error or Value Error. Have...
by thoughtfully
Tue Sep 23, 2014 1:49 pm UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: Concurrency in C
Replies: 8
Views: 5235

Re: Concurrency in C

by thoughtfully
Sun Sep 14, 2014 12:35 am UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: C++ question about non-integer parts of large doubles
Replies: 7
Views: 4719

Re: C++ question about non-integer parts of large doubles

A bigger floating point type (long double, for instance) might do the job. Might not be portable, and might not actually be larger, so check the compiler docs. You probably have something more subtle going on, though, like not displaying the full precision when you convert the float into a string. A...
by thoughtfully
Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:05 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Schrodinger Cat Disproof (Samuel Jacobs)
Replies: 88
Views: 21294

Re: Schrodinger Cat Disproof (Samuel Jacobs)

As I understand it, in order for Schrodinger's Cat to be valid if actually carried out, the box would have to be so thoroughly isolated that not even so much as the state of a single photon outside the box could be affected by the cat's life or death before opening the box. Setting this up would be...

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