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  1. #61
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    A really good way I found to introduce yourself to something is to go on Wiki and start reading a main article. Then start clicking linked words, even if you are somewhat familiar with it. This way you get an idea for the vocabulary of the subject you're looking into and related subjects. You can get a very basic understanding of a lot of things that way and then you have a good jumping-off point for further investigation.

    Used book stores are wonderful for text books and stuff. The one near me has a free section for stuff they can't sell (older text books that have many new editions). And generally you should be able to find used versions of current books that are cheaper.

    Then there's free ebooks. Google has an academic section. I think project Gutenberg has some science and math stuff.

    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    Do you know why eggs cook slower at higher altitudes?

    To know the answer, you need to know what temperature really is. Temperature is actually the measure of average kinetic energy of a body of molecule(s).

    When you boil an egg, heat escapes from the water because the water molecules with the most kinetic energy vaporizes into steam and bubbles up from below the boiling water or evaporates from the surface. When heat escapes from a body of liquid, the liquid cools due to this escape of heat because heating creates instability. (This is why boiling is a cooling process, which is the process by which steam (high kinetic energy) escapes the body of boiling water to maintain the thermo-equilibrium of a system.)

    Water can only vaporize underwater if the steam pressure is enough to sustain the pressure of the water, otherwise the bubble will collapse and so it will not form.

    The second factor is the surface pressure, or the atmospheric pressure of the air surrounding the surface of the boiling water. The higher this atmospheric pressure, the harder it is for steam to escape. If steam cannot escape, the heat will be further bottled up in the boiling pot until it reaches an energy level that allows it to escape.

    At high altitudes, there is very little pressure because of less molecules present in the air. So heat or average kinetic energy of molecules escapes quicker because the energetic molecules turn into steam and escape easily. This causes the water to boil at below 100 degree celsius, because boiling is the escape of steam. When steam or heat escapes easier, it causes a longer cooking time for the egg because of less energy to cook the egg.

    Vice versa, down here close to earth, we have higher atmospheric pressure, so the boiling temperature is higher, because we need to generate more heat, through conduction, convection or radiation to increase the average kinetic energy of the molecules so it can push against the atmospheric pressure and escape. Once the energy of the water molecules under water is great enough, the room between these jostling molecules increase, creates a bubble less dense than water, at which point it will vaporize and turn into steam and evaporate off the surface.

    Also, this means that you can put a cup of water at room temperature in a vacuum, it will boil and freeze at the same time, until of course it reaches absolute zero. Here is a video of this happening:

    On another note, I have read something quite fascinating in Michio Kaku's book Hyperspace:

    Heat up an ice cube, it melts into water.

    Heat up water, it turns into steam.

    Heat up steam enough, the water molecules break down to hydrogen and oxygen.

    Heat up hydrogen and oxygen past 3000 K (Kelvin), we get ionized gas or plasma, which is the state when the nucleus of an atom is separated from its electron.

    Heat up ionized gas or plasma to 1 billion K, and the nuclei of hydrogen and oxygen disintegrate into neutrons and protons, similar to the interior of a neutron star.

    Heat up neutrons and protons to 10 trillion K and they turn into disassociated quarks and leptons, or electrons and neutrinos.

    Heat the previous gas to 1 quadrillion K, the electromagnetic force and the weak force become united.

    Heat it up to 10^28 K, the electroweak force (electromagnetism plus the weak force) combines with the strong force.

    Heat it up to 10^32K gravity unites with all of the forces. Ten-dimensional superstrings appear and we have gases of superstrings. Space-time distorts in this unstable energy. A rip in the fabric of space may cause a wormhole to appear.

    Now the reason why we are not experiencing a ten-dimensional reality is because it is highly unstable and it collapses down to a 6 dimensional universe and a 4 dimensional universe. The process of boiling represents this instability of high energy, because if you put energy into water, it begins to boil, and boiling is a cooling process because the liquid is trying to bring itself back to a stable form. This is the same way how the ten dimensional universe theoretically collapsed into the 6 dimensional universe and the 4 dimensional universe. We currently experience the 4 dimensional universe, the three spatial dimensions and the one dimension of time. However, there is concern even our 4 dimensional universe and the 6 dimensional universe (which we cannot see) might be unstable and would collapse itself. This would be disastrous for life, because if our dimension collapses further, it means a bubble will expand somewhere in our universe at the speed of light, and within this bubble the laws of physics are completely different.

    Now, you just have to reverse this process (cool it) to appreciate the instant of creation or the big bang. The big bang is caused by this unstable energy. The only addition is the formation of cosmological entities and life:

    3 Billion years after the big bang, the first quasars appear; 5 billion years, the first galaxies; 10 to 15 billion years, the first solar system; then few billion years after that, we get life.

    Michio Kaku Remarks:

    "It is almost incomprehensible that we, as intelligent apes on the third planet of a minor star in a minor galaxy, would be able to construct the history of our universe..."

    If you are interested, Michio Kaku also has a book called Physics of the Impossible and another one of his newer books called Physics of the Future, where he goes around and interviews the masterminds working on the technologies of our future. I would recommend it since he breaks them down for the popular reader, so it is quite easy to understand.

    I believe, for whatever reason, it is our sole duty to preserve life itself. But there is concern that we might not make it due to whatever disasters, whether natural or artificial. This might be the same reason why we don't detect super-intelligent aliens, which is because they killed themselves off years ago or did not have the technology to overcome natural disasters (just like how dinosaurs couldn't save themselves, although it is understandable since they are most likely not intelligent beings). We might not make it either. Of course, if something, such as our end or the end of life itself, doesn't come for a long time, humanity tends to procrastinate it.



    Lastly, for those who don't believe in teleportation, telepathy or invisibility (consider that stealth aircrafts are already somewhat, not perfectly, invisible to radar or radio waves), or for those looking for more things scientific:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...portation.html

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0811092450.htm

    http://bigthink.com/ideas/38206

    Last edited by Vay; November 2nd, 2011 at 12:19 AM.
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    Stephen Colbert Interviews Neil deGrasse Tyson at Montclair Kimberley Academy



    And here's the io9 article that goes with it:

    http://io9.com/5863123/must-watch-an...tyson?autoplay

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    Banned book
    The golden book of chemistry

    http://www.freeinfosociety.com/media/pdf/2671.pdf

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    Often what is out of the common is usually a guide rather than a hindrance. In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backward. That is a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy one, but people do not practice it much. In the everyday affairs of life it is more useful to reason forward, and so the other comes to be neglected. Most people, if you describe a train of events to them, will tell you what the results would be. They can put those events together in their minds, and argue from them that something will come to pass. There are a few people, however, who, if you told them a result, would be able to evolve from their own inner consciousness what the steps were which led up to that result. This power is what I mean when I talk of reasoning backward, or analytically.

    It is a mistake to confound strangeness with mystery. The most commonplace crime is often the most mysterious, because it presents no new or special features from which deductions may be drawn.

    Never guess. It is a shocking habit – destructive to the logical faculty. Observe the small facts upon which large inferences may depend.

    It should be your business to know things. To train yourself to see what others overlook.

    Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon logic rather than upon crime that you should dwell.

    It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognize, out of a number of facts, which are incidental and which vital. Otherwise your energy and attention must be dissipated instead of being concentrated.

    Make it a point of never having any prejudices, and of following docilely wherever a fact may lead you.

    In an investigation, always look for a possible alternative, and provide against it. It is the first rule of criminal investigations.

    The features given to man are means by which he shall express his emotions, and you can read a man’s train of thought from his features, especially his eyes.

    Education never ends. It is a series of lessons with the greatest for the last.

    Do not agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from the truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers.

    -Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    And then God said, "Let us make man in our likeness and our image. Let us make him ridiculously hard to draw so that poor artists everywhere will have to spend 10,000+ hours failing repeatedly before they can begin to capture the form and likeness onto a two-dimensional surface." And there was man. And it was good. And artists everywhere lost their minds.
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    The $25 computer

    It's a tiny motherboard/components combo with comparable graphical power of an Xbox. It can play blu-rays in full 1080p. Boots from an SD card. Has wireless and ethernet capabilities. Has a USB hub.

    Plus they're wanting to go open source, do a "buy-one, donate-one" program, and it's meant to be a learning tool for kids.



    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    http://arxiv.org/abs/1203.3433

    Another neutrino experiment results in particles traveling at the speed of light, not faster than.

    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    i never got that neutrino stuff, i thought if you had mass and went close to the speed of light you got more and more massive until you weighed as much as a star and fell into a black hole, or time stopped for you and the universe ended in an eyeblink, like in Tau Zero...


    anyway on another topic, science nuts check out Graphyne, its like Graphene only better, using a rectangular symtery, so all kinds of cool shapes are possible. plus it has its own free (effectively massless) electrons so you dont need to dope it.. plus a million other amazing things, hyper strong, etc etc.. its the new steel and everything will be made of it soon

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    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    yep.
    theres loads of cool new matter configurations being simmed.

    i particularly liked the speculative idea of building structures from nucleons, like rods and other shapes. the phsycist guy reckoned such femtotech could be dropped into the sun and be fine, and be a billion times as strong as graphene, stuff like that. was cool.

    i think the its a bit of a shame neutrinos only travelled at or below C.

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    Ohaeri is offline Cranky? Yep, that's me. Level 5 Gladiator: Myrmillo
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    I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned already:

    http://lesswrong.com/ (start with http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Sequences and work your way through to get a really good grounding in the foundations of rationality and critical thinking )

    The best part is that someone from Less Wrong has an AMAZING, FANTASTIC Harry Potter fanfiction that will BLOW YOUR MIND AND MAKE YOU CRAP KITTENS. For reals.

    Seriously, though, it has over 16,000 reviews on fanfiction.net, several fan translations, its own TVTropes page, etc. and is a wonderful alternate take on the series. At least give it a shot if you love Harry Potter, especially if you love rationality. http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/...of_Rationality

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    Possible new planet/asteroid mining company

    http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/27776/

    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    Quote Originally Posted by s.ketch View Post
    Possible new planet/asteroid mining company

    http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/27776/
    From the article:

    That sounds like asteroid mining. Because what else is there in space that we need here on earth? Certainly not a livable climate or a replacement for our dwindling supplies of oil.
    Actually, if they can get to Titan, they'll have access to whole lakes of hydrocarbons. :-)

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    The presentation should broadcast here at 1:30pm EDT:

    http://www.spacevidcast.com/live/



    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    Martian dust devils, seen by Spirit and Opportunity.


    Curiosity hasnít captured any yet, but has sensed one.

    http://phys.org/news/2012-11-devils-...ity-rover.html

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  24. #78
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    dpaint is offline Registered User Level 16 Gladiator: Spartacus' Retiarii
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    My favorite quote from Neil Degrasse Tyson:

    God is an ever-shrinking pocket of scientific ignorance

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    hes so cool.

    hey look one of those other videos says you can get a free audiobook book of Surely Youre Joking Mr Feynman at Audible. I cant recommend that enough its like the ramblings of your favourite supergenius uncle, its wicked!

    Last edited by Velocity Kendall; December 1st, 2012 at 06:40 PM.
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    VK: I'm a huge Feynman fan. By which I mean not so much his scientific work, of which I don't understand a word, as his colourful life. Someone (can't remember who) once said that Feynman acted as if the entire universe was an immensely fun game set up specially for him. In the process of playing the game, he got involved in all manner of fun things and learned the weirdest skills, from drawing (at which he became better than many a modern artist) to playing bongo drums (which I don't know much about but judged from videos of him playing his drums that I have seen on YouTube, he was at just about professional level.)

    He had incredible tenacity: when he set himself the task of mastering something, he would simply pick away at it until he mastered it. His only failure is said to be his attempt to learn to play "Flight of the bumble bee" on the piano. He did not care much for classical music, and never had a piano lesson in his life, but decided that he would to play that one piece, but apparently he eventually gave up.

    Here's one of his drawings:

    Name:  Richard Feynman portrait of a woman2.jpg
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    Perhaps not exactly concept art, but he only started drawing as an adult and as far as I know had no actual talent for it. He just wanted to learn how, so he learned. That was his attitude with everything.

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    great post! ah man im so pleased youre a fan! I feel the same, I dont even have calculus so quantum colour dynamics is perhaps a little beyond me, but I just love his stories, and most especially his dislike of jargon, of people trying to seem clever by using long words.
    i figure if one of the most brilliant minds of all time can explain himself with short words, then so can i. where i live in Cambridge, there are a lot of very smart people, and i love chatting to them in pubs, and they all know Feynman and speak fondly of him like hes an old friend. Thats pretty special.
    i love how he was totally unafraid to dive headfirst into new things, investigating everything from ant chemical trails to the terrifying phenomenon of tickling the dragons tail (calculating how much uranium you can store in close proximity before it goes critical)
    i also love how he's such a trickster and takes such joy in messing with people, but then admits it later to make his friend laugh; like the story where he amazes everyone by opening the big safe at los alamos, basically by doing the mechanical equivalent of typing in Admin, password. And never tells them how he did it! haha what a dude!
    hes definitely one of my favourite people and i really really wish I couldve said hello to him and shook his hand.

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    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post
    i never got that neutrino stuff, i thought if you had mass and went close to the speed of light you got more and more massive until you weighed as much as a star and fell into a black hole, or time stopped for you and the universe ended in an eyeblink, like in Tau Zero...
    If you were in rocketship, racing toward the speed of light, your rest mass or invariant mass wouldn’t increase but your relativistic mass (inertial mass) would, and so would the energy requirement to accelerate you toward the speed of light. It would take an infinite amount of energy to propel you at c. That ain’t happ’nin. Increasing relativistic mass or inertial mass doesn’t mean increasing matter also. For you and your ship to collapse into a black hole would require accruing enough matter (from somewhere) to generate enough gravity (or to be squeezed at your current mass/matter by some incredible force) to pull/push that matter in past the Schwartzchild radius (event horizon) to start the black hole collapse of no return.

    Hey! Who turned the lights out? I think I just fell into a black hole.

    Last edited by bill618; December 2nd, 2012 at 07:50 AM.
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    ah i think i getcha.

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    http://vimeo.com/33933151

    http://www.insaturnsrings.com/

    These guys are piecing together NASA photos to make an IMAX scale fly-by. It got picked up for distribution in theaters.

    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    Photos I took a few days ago. I took some friends to Tswaing Crater, north of Pretoria. It's about 220 000 years old, and one of the few well-preserved impact craters on earth.

    View over the crater, from the rim:

    Name:  Tswaing 1.JPG
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    It's about a kilometre in diameter, and was blasted out by a chunk of rock some 50 metres in diameter.

    There used to be a salt mine there, so it got a bit vandalized because the miners made some cuts into the crater wall to pump out salt water and for vehicles and so on. Nowadays the hiking route goes up one of the old roads, and on the side of the cut one can see granite deformed by the impact:

    Name:  Tswaing 9.JPG
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    The area around the crater is as flat as a table:

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    There had been people living in the area from 150 000 years ago, and if you are lucky you can find stone tools there. I did find a flake struck off a rock, but it had apparently been discarded without being further worked. Perhaps the tool maker was even a direct ancestor. :-)

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    I did my first astrophotography shoot Thursday night/Friday morning during the Geminid meteor shower. I don't have very wide lenses so out of 400 pictures I only have two actual photos of meteors, and this was the best one. It was taken with a Nikon D80. I didn't record the stats. I was really surprised that it picks up some pretty faint objects. However there are some hot pixels in there.

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    This one features Jupiter and Pleides.

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    This is Orion and you can see Orion's Nebula, which is an easy find with good binoculars and it would appear as a little smudge on a very clear and very dark night.

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    I took this Friday evening, it's the space station. If you go to NASA's site you can sign up for flyover information. It's visible with the naked eye.

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    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    s.ketch: Pretty cool stuff. I am also an enthusiastic sky watcher. When I was a kid I wanted to be an astronomer, but I am way too dumb for it, I fear. :-) Carl Sagan was nevertheless one of my first great heroes (and in fact remains so to this day).

    I think I have seen the space station on occasion. Can't be absolutely sure, but I guessed it must be the space station simply because it was much brighter than any other satellite.

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