Recent content by dilletante

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    Rio 2016

    As a point of interest, Olympic gold medals are mostly made of silver -- at least 92.5% by decree. As far as giving away too many medals in swimming, it only looks that way because Michael Phelps is a freak of nature that likely will never happen again. If you ignore his results, the...
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    Does a finite universe require 4 spatial dimensions?

    A 2-dimensional creature living on the surface of a 3-dimensional sphere could conclude he lives in a finite, unbounded universe. Is it necessary for a 3-dimensional creature to assume there is a 4th spatial dimension in order to conclude the universe is finite and unbounded? I have seen a...
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    Likelihood of confirming past life on Mars

    If there was microbial life on Mars in the distant past, would there be any way to conclusively confirm it? Or would any such attempt be reduced to speculation, like the Martian meteor which "possibly" contained evidence?
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    Killing all the lions and tigers...

    Van Gogh's paintings do not seem to have any particular use for humans, either. Not everything has to be useful to be appreciated for its beauty.
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    Universe Splitter

    I stumbled across this app for iPhone which may appeal to those favoring the many-worlds interpretation of QM: I thought it was cool that an app can actually run a quantum experiment each time you use it. I saw mention of it on a Sean Carroll...
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    Another flashlight from spaceship question

    I will certainly do that, and thank you for the explanation. It is much clearer now. Thanks to Phinds as well.
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    Another flashlight from spaceship question

    I appreciate both answers, and agree with Phinds that the guy on the ship doesn't think he is moving. I also agree with the calculations Peter has provided, which explain how things look to the outside observer. I am not sure it explains how things look to the guy on the spaceship, however...
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    Another flashlight from spaceship question

    When a spaceship is moving at 150,000 km/sec and you shine a flashlight forward, both an outside observer and the observer on the ship perceive the beam as traveling at c. I think I understand the reason for that when the light is shined forward, but I am confused in the case where he shines it...
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    Saddest songs you've heard

    A couple of oldies that get to me are: At Seventeen by Janis Ian and Alone Again (Naturally) by Gilbert O'Sullivan
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    The national lottery!

    You can't expect the 8 to show up because it is "due", that is a fallacy at best. It certainly isn't using probability to your advantage. Assuming the game is honest, meaning all balls are weighted the same and have an equal chance of coming up, the 8 has the same chance of coming up that it did...
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    Sentence Structure/Style Question

    "When implemented in conjunction with the previous recommendation, this will allow....."
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    Grammar - not even wrong

    I cringe when I see the word "loose" substituted for "lose", mostly because I see it so often these days. Did you loose your wallet? You exited the casino a looser?
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    Which is the Top 5 Funniest stand-up comedians.

    My favorite is Steven Wright.
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    Could anything artificial survive from the Mesozoic era?

    Well, the alien doesn't get "struck by" the asteroid, because it would be an exceedingly short movie as there would be no evidence left. Maybe that could be the tv version, "The Unluckiest Alien". With lots of commercials for filler. I assume you know that the asteroid which struck the planet...
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    Could anything artificial survive from the Mesozoic era?

    Without getting too specific about plot details, an alien race (or robots) landed on Earth during the Mesozoic with a mission in mind. They were wiped out when the asteroid hit, and 65 million years later a paleontologist digging at the K-T boundary finds something that shouldn't be there...