Profile for *i


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Arthur C. Clarke in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #12
Clarke was a visionary for his time. I enjoyed his works greatly and he will be missed.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Nothing's gonna change my world... in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #34
quote:
Originally written by Diprosopus:

It isn't against human nature to conserve; humans are simply confused. Have we forgotten that we actually have to pay bills for our electricity? Saving money seems like a more than reasonable thing to expect people to do.
The problem is where the costs are abstract, indefinite, small in the short term, or a long way off. Take the issue of smoking. The costs of smoking are well established, yet people still do it. Why? Because the costs are far off (several decades) and do not necessarily happen (you are at a higher risk). Cutting class in school is another. The costs are abstract, you get less knowledge that may or may not hurt you in the long run when you advance to college, grad school, get a job, etc.

Environmentalism is one of these. Any individual driving a car more than he or she needs to, leaving a light bulb on, or not recycling, does not cause a huge cost to society or the individual. Sure, your fuel/electricity bill may go up by a few dollars a month, but most people will just absorb it because it is typically small in the short term. However, all of these miniscule things add up over millions of people over many decades do the harms become apparent.

Humans only tend to conserve when it directly and will most likely impact their lifestyle in the immediate or near future. Thinking in the long term or statistically is not something people are generally good at. Unfortunately, environmental protection is just this. Any solutions we expect to work must be within the parameters of reasonable human behavior.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Nothing's gonna change my world... in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #30
quote:
Originally written by BigHungryJoe:

And as a general plea; please, please, please start thinking in terms of energy conservation, rather than expansion: that is the one thing, I believe, that I have ever heard groups of scientists agree on as good for the situation.
Double post to deal with two disparate topics...

Conservation is a good thing, but is not going to solve the problem. While all well and good, it is counter to human nature. Jevons paradox illustrates that as efficiency rises, consumption increases as well. This is not good, but it is what it is.

By all means, develop more efficient appliances and teach conservation habits, but it is naive to think we can, or should, turn back energy growth. We can, at best, minimize waste energy and slow growth because of it.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Nothing's gonna change my world... in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #29
quote:
Originally written by Excalibur:

quote:
So let us suppose that the disposal of nuclear waste might lead to a localized increase of 50-100 mrem/year at some point millennia into the future (assuming no reprocessing and a lot of things go wrong), is it something we should concern ourselves with, considering the disadvantages of the alternatives?
Fortunately the numbers aren't nearly as high. Someone who works regularly at a distance of ten to fifteen feet from a reactor still receives three times as much radiation from the sun.

I was more referring to the 15 mrem limit of Yucca Mountain which I find a bit excessive when that would still be significantly less than other areas of natural background.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Nothing's gonna change my world... in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #25
I don't think anyone is saying that radiation cannot be dangerous if mishandled and that we should be careless with it. However, as far as toxicity goes, there are plenty of everyday household things that are far more dangerous.

To put things in perspective, the US average for radiation exposure is about 300 mrem/year. Some areas are lower, some significantly higher (in excess of 5-10 rem/year). From looking at cancer rates throughout the world, what we find is no detectable increase with increasing radiation at these low doses. If there is anything, it is swamped out by the noise of everything else.

So let us suppose that the disposal of nuclear waste might lead to a localized increase of 50-100 mrem/year at some point millennia into the future (assuming no reprocessing and a lot of things go wrong), is it something we should concern ourselves with, considering the disadvantages of the alternatives?

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Nothing's gonna change my world... in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #18
Nuclear power really does not produce that much waste. The total volume would fit in a football stadium up to the goal posts. In reality, the fuel is only 2% burned. We still have 98% of the energy content left to use. What is even better, the waste that is deadly for 10,000s of years are actinides which is actual fuel. If you separate out the fission products, these are only really hazardous for a few 100 years. Some might say this is too long, but this is well within our ability to dispose of.

The disposal, for the most part, has been solved technologically. Right now it is economically disfavorable for two economic reasons: (1) abundance of cheap uranium for at least the next several decades, and (2) coal is not required to dispose of, or even pay for, all of its hazardous byproducts unlike nuclear which pays for all of it.

As for proliferation, the technology to enrich uranium is really the concern and opening that up is ill advised. Just providing low enriched fuel for a Light Water Reactor is not really a risk. While it does make plutonium, the grade produced in power reactor designs is not very effective for weapons.

Nuclear weapons and not having them is more a matter of political will these days and not so much the technology. They are difficult to design and fabricate and very expensive to maintain. The real challenge will be to create political climates where people have no incentive to have them. Nuclear power really has little effect these days. The two really are separate.

The ironic thing about Three Mile Island is that no one was hurt and negligible radiation was released, yet everyone remembers it. How many people know about Bhopal? This one incident hurt many times more than nuclear power ever has. Chernobyl was an inherently flawed design that cannot be built here in the US or anywhere else that is sane. The simple fact is no one in the public has ever been killed by commercial nuclear power in the US.

This bias stems from an irrational and exaggerated fear of radiation compared to other things that are far more hazardous.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
SimCity: the greatest evil? in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #13
Stalin was communist in rhetoric alone. His power to the "people" was code for "people he favored" i.e. an oligarchy.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Bobby Fischer in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #8
Emulating his playing style is one thing, but duplicating his playing ability is quite another. It is true, you can train a computer to play a formidable game of chess, but it does not think like a human can. So I would not put too much stock in beating a computer trained to play like Bobby Fischer. :P

Bobby Fischer, while a great chess player, was also an eccentric, paranoid jerk full of vitriol for any group he hated at the time. Some of his comments against Jews would make Mein Kampf look like mild criticism. So while should admire his ability to play chess like few others, his personal life is far less admirable.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Locking in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #194
Evolutionary or natural selection algorithms are an exciting and well established field used in engineering. It is defined in terms of age-dependent branching and Markov processes from probability and stochastic process theory.

I'm doubt the evolution of life here on Earth has ever been modeled with any accuracy or will anytime soon. The problem, as you state, is getting all of the environmental factors and how they impact survivability/fitness factors. Unlike complexity, these things are fairly well defined, although very difficult to calculate in practice. The other issue is sheer computation power. Modeling something that big would probably use more than the world's computing resources.

[ Saturday, January 12, 2008 21:01: Message edited by: *i ]

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Locking in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #162
"*i (what do people call you?), all principles and laws need not be quantified (right-hand-rule for magnetic fields; rotary direction of a whirlpool; the Pauli Principle; Le Chatelier’s Principle; The Principle of Least Motion). Some of these cannot be quantified and all of them are expressed perfectly well verbally."

Right-Hand-Rule is a convention and rotary direction of a whirlpool can be mathematically described with vectors. So yes, directions are well defined mathematically.

As for Pauli: It is a natural consequence from the eigenfunctions of the Schrodinger equations. Fermions and Bosons are rigorously defined by their half and whole integer spin and as such lead to the mathematics of Fermi-Dirac or Bose-Einstein statistics.

Le Chatleier's principle has a mathematical description of equilibria and a lot of work goes on with it in economics. So yes, this and Lenz's Law can be described by equations.

The principle of least action is formulated through the minimization of the action integral in variational calculus. So yes, the path of least resistance and least motion are all backed up with mathematics and quantifiable.

"When I think of information, I think of it how I described it before – the size of the smallest algorithm you’d need to generate an arrangement. This it totally unnecessary to get the point though. If you insist I’m pretty sure I put a link to calculate information on the first or second page of the regulation-complexity thread because you made this same argument. Calculate all you please, but both of my complexity arguments are qualitative. If you can’t deal with that, I don’t know what else to tell you. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree."

You haven't answered the question of why qualitative arguments on complexity should matter. All of the things you mentioned before do indeed have a quantitative and calculable nature to them as well as a verbal one. I suspect you had only been exposed to the latter, but the other is indeed there.

Your refusal to quantify stems from the fact that you can't. So here is the question: what meter do we use to measure if something is irreducibly complex? What objective criteria can we use to determine this? Are organized and aperiodic sufficient? Because people have provided counter examples to your arguments.

"By the way, I don’t think I made claims about the scientific community. That’s why your argument is not well received by me. I’m actually quite skeptical of the scientific communities claims, as I am with all claims until they make sense to me. The scientific community is not infallible."

You made claims that the scientific community sees specified complexity as a legitimate term and only can quote one individual. You can be skeptical of experts if you like, but like it or not, they have a pretty good track records. While science is not perfect or infallible, it gets it right 99% of the time. What you have to accept is that you are NOT an expert in this matter, and neither am I. Does that make either one of us right or wrong? No. However, not being an expert, you should not take so much stock in your own intuition because such things lead to erroneous results.

So again, I ask you the original question you continue to dodge: Does quantum mechanics makes sense to you? Yes or no. Does it make sense to you? Yes or no.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Locking in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #132
Stillness:

You argued irreducible complexity which is inherently tied to the arguments made with regards to information theory, whether you specifically made them or not. As part of these arguments about how gene mutation destroys more information than it creates and how structures are have "too much" "specified complexity" to have evolved on their own. That's the short of it, although proponents are so shifty and loose you can probably find quotes to recast the argument very differently.

You can argue popularity in the scientific community when it shows consensus. You want to claim that a term has meaning in the scientific community. I claim it does not really. One measure of this is to look at how prevalent it is. My conclusion using this and the non-quantifiability is that the term is entirely worthless.

My point is exactly that you MUST quantify specified complexity. If you are going to argue irreducible complexity, that things cannot have evolved on their own to reach a certain degree of specified complexity, we need to be able to measure it. If you don't want to try to do this, then don't make the argument. Heck, at very least tell us why you don't have to quantify it and it is still a valid argument based on mathematics rather than just gut feelings.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Locking in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #92
"I see your point, *i. It does have meaning though. The genetic code is aperiodic and nonrandom."

I really don't think you see my point. I go to tell you why using quotes in scientific arguments is not really relevant in this case, yet you go ahead and post anyway and then you do not even refute the core of my arguments.

The issue with this is as follows:

1) The term specified complexity has no meaning beyond something very subjective and non-quantifiable. Just about everyone within information theory says this.
2) Your arguments against evolution stem from the assertion that specified complexity cannot increase through "non-intelligent biological processes". This is based on a mathematical premise.
3) However, no one has yet come up with a way to quantify specified complexity in any rigorous sense: how much does a plant cell have relative to an animal cell?
4) To say that things cannot increase, one has to be able to give a relative measure of one object to another.
5) Therefore, the arguments you have asserted are total junk.

You cannot have it both ways here. Simultaneously claiming math backs up your assertions while admitting the important "quantity" is inherently subjective and unquantifiable just does not work. One excludes the other. Sure, attach "meaning" to specified complexity based on one individual without the wide support of the scientific community. However, do not try and use the mathematical arguments surrounding them to try and back up your cause. They are fallacious.

Until you can quantify (for example) how much complexity a daisy and a carrot have in a rigorous and meaningful way, your argument will continue to remain without substance.

[ Wednesday, January 09, 2008 16:46: Message edited by: *i ]

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Locking in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #74
Stillness: So what if a term was coined by someone who studies evolution? I'm sure you could find ideas that Einstein came up with in his later life regarding the unification of the laws of physics are total junk too. You can't use quotes in a scientific argument as you would in, say, history. The scientific consensus is that this term is essentially meaningless as it has no rigorous, quantitative definition.

Arguments from authority are okay in scientific matters if a vast majority of the scientific community agrees with you. That does not necessarily make it right, but it makes one very confident in the validity of the claim. It means that the ideas have thus far passed the rigorous vetting process of the scientific method.

What people who do know a lot about information theory say is that the ideas of Dembski, et al. (the primary scientific proponent of ID) are a bunch of mathematical jargon used to reach fallacious conclusions. These proponents create another term "complexity" and try to relate it to information. No credible relation is presented because the term itself is so loosely defined.

The point of my questions asking you to quantify complexity go to the heart of the matter: no one can. It's a completely worthless concept until someone can calculate the complexity of the eye versus the heart. Therefore, any arguments based on it are also meaningless at this point.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Locking in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #63
The point is that nobody fully understands quantum mechanics. We have mathematics and equations that are correct. We can make accurate predictions of position densities and the such, but there are still fundamental holes in our understanding. What does it mean to measure or collapse a wave function, etc.

Fact is there is nothing we fully understand. Only believing things that you fully understand means you believe in nothing except for things you think you fully understand. Because there is no objective criteria to evaluate truth in this, there is no point in arguing.

I don't think we should rehash all of the complexity/information arguments. All I will say is that I was disappointed you could not devise a way to measure complexity in an objective fashion. What is more complex: a cat or a horse? The immune system or the eye? What value of complexity do you assign to each and how does one objectively arrive at said value?

I know it when I see it might work for legal matters in things like profanity and what constitutes sexual harassment, but it science, it does not fly.

[ Tuesday, January 08, 2008 22:51: Message edited by: *i ]

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Locking in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #52
So do you accept quantum mechanics or not?

Consider the hypothesis that humans just magically appeared at some time or times in the past and just so happened to share a genetic commonality with other primates. The theory of evolution says nothing about this hypothesis. It neither supports nor denies it.

What evolution does do is that it gives a bunch of mechanisms that can be observed time and again in the fossil record. Predictions can be made and verified with new things in the fossil record, increasing the confidence in our mechanisms.

All science says is this is the only set of mechanisms that have simultaneously been reverified time and again and could explain the question of how humans came to be. All other mechanisms that have been proposed have been unable to meet the first part. The problem with the above hypothesis lies in that we don't ever observe these sudden appearances and there is not anything in the fossil record to say it. Does not make it untrue, just makes it unscientific.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Locking in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #50
"I accept nothing - spiritual, scientific, or otherwise - unless it makes complete sense to me…especially when it has such strong implications as to our very nature and that of our world."

Stillness, do you accept quantum mechanics? If so, do you completely understand it. If you claim you do, I say prove it. :P

Also, there is no such thing as "General Evolution" as you describe. First of all, abiogenesis is something different of altogether. Second of all, evolution is a process that describes how living organisms change over long periods of time. How human life came about (history of life) is an inference from evolution supported by the fossil record. The two are not the same thing.

[ Tuesday, January 08, 2008 20:30: Message edited by: *i ]

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
What is .sit? in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #5
I'm a sucker for .tar.gz, but that's just my UNIX talking. Yes, I do make those on my Mac quite regularly. :P

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
What is .sit? in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #1
It's an older Mac format, popular in the late 90s. I suggest Stuffit.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Avernum in General
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #6
No Starman, but I can block your ability to post on this message board.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00

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