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Comment: The true Liberal Arts are mostly math (Score 1) 389

by Pfhorrest (#47924307) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

The original Liberal Arts (a term which literally means, more idiomatically translated from ars liberalis, "skills [needed] of free men") were, funny enough, mostly things that we would consider branches of mathematics today, and thus STEM fields.

First there was the "trivium" (from whence our word "trivial", because these skills were considered so basic and elementary):
- Grammar
- Logic (now considered a branch of mathematics)
- Rhetoric

But then there was the "quadrivium" which followed that:
- Arithmetic (obviously a branch of mathematics)
- Geometry (obviously a branch of mathematics)
- "Music"
- "Astronomy"

The last two are the most interesting ones, because "music" was not about playing instruments or singing, it was essentially harmonics, the study of "number in time"; and likewise, "astronomy" was not about the actual particulars of celestial bodies, but was essentially dynamics, the study of "number in space and time". These complemented geometry as the study of "number in space" and arithmetic as "number in itself".

In short, the quadrivium, which was over half of the original Liberal Arts, was entirely things we'd now consider mathematics; and a third of the remaining portion in the trivium, logic, would also be considered mathematics today. Five sevenths or over 71% of the Liberal Arts were all math subjects.

These were all intended to prepare one for the study of philosophy, which at that time encompassed what would become the natural sciences of today. (In the middle ages philosophy was in turn considered to be essentially in a support role to theology, but of course you'd get that kind of attitude in the continent-wide theocracy that was old Christendom.)

The Liberal Arts were to teach people how to communicate their thoughts coherently, rigorously, and persuasively, and to be able to think quantitatively about things in themselves and also their relations in space and time, all of that for the purpose of conducting the kind of broad and deep critical thinking about of the world we live necessary to live life as a free individual and to preserve the freedom of one's society.

Dismissing all of that for "science lol stem envy much" is the start of the road to serfdom.

Comment: Re: Mecial Cannabis companies (Score 1) 275

by Pfhorrest (#47877495) Attached to: California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

I would think, if the stuff kept flying off the shelf like that (even is only due to one customer), you would just stock more of it and then sell more of it. Stock enough to let her buy all she wants and still have enough left over for everyone else who wants to buy it to get theirs too.

Comment: Re:Some help, please... (Score 1) 226

Reference frame is irrelevant to this question. If you, in whatever reference frame, measure travel distance as 80 mile and speed as 80mph, you will measure travel time as 1 hour. Others in other reference frames may measure different travel times, but they will also measure correspondingly different distances and speeds; and whatever they measure as 80 miles will still take what they measure as 1 hour to traverse at what they measure as 80mph.

Comment: Re:That's not how science works (Score 1) 141

by Pfhorrest (#47772161) Attached to: Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun

Etymologically, to prove means to test. Hence phrases like "proving grounds" and, more tellingly, "the exception that proves the rule" -- an apparent exception, an anomaly, which puts the rule to the test.

So a well-tested theory is "proven" in an etymologically sound way, just a way that doesn't mean "demonstrated to be true with absolute certainty".

Comment: Re:Argument by Assertion (Score 2) 141

by Pfhorrest (#47770885) Attached to: Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun

To be completely accurate, the sun doesn't produce any energy, it converts energy from one form (rest mass) to another form (electromagnetic radiation), increasing entropy in the process in keeping with the second law. That conversion process itself requires an input of energy (though one less than the energy output by said process) to initialize and sustain, and that energy is in turn supplied, in the form of kinetic energy, by conversion from yet another form (gravitational potential energy) spontaneously, precisely because of the second law of thermodynamics.

At one time in the history of science, it was thought that all of the energy of the sun was converted more or less directly from gravitational potential energy: a cloud of hydrogen collapses under gravity, converting its potential energy into kinetic energy, rendered macroscopically as temperature, causing the ball of collapsing gas to glow incandescently. The problem was that that process can't last for very long, so the sun (and consequently the whole solar system) would have to be pretty young, relatively (still massively old on a human scale) if that's what's making the sun glow. When we discovered that the Earth itself, and space rocks, are much older than the sun would have to be according to that theory, it required that something else be powering the sun on a longer scale. The introduction of nuclear fusion to the model solved that problem, and nowadays almost nobody even remembers that we once thought the sun was just, in effect, gravity-powered.

Comment: Re:say it again (Score 1) 239

by Alsee (#47744635) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

No "fact checking" will ever be allowed on many subjects, such as "Auschwitz", where even total myths are allowed to remain as though they were "facts". References are only made to other myth-supporting documents to support the articles. Anything that fails to support the myth is deleted.

You will instantly and consistently get shut down on Wikipedia.

The reason for that is that you are a Truth Crusader. It doesn't matter if you are Right or Wrong. Wikipedia shuts down Truth Crusaders on EITHER sides of any issue by simply declaring that Wikipedia is not a place to debate, or resolve, matters of Truth. Wikipedia pages are not filled with "Truth", Wikipedia content accurately reflects the content of "Verifiable Reliable Sources". If "Reliable Sources" consistently state something which happens to be false then Wikipedia is going to ACCURATELY report that that is what Reliable Sources say.

(Some might comment on the contradiction of "Reliable Sources" which contain false information. The world is an imperfect place, and no one can expect perfection in anything. The definition of "Reliable Source" is a set of criteria that establish a broad class of sources as reasonably reliable in general, independent of the fallibility of any particular source on a particular thing. So yes, a Reliable Source can be wrong, and Wikipedia will accurately reflect that wrong information up until the point when other Reliable Sources correct that information.)

If you want to wage a Truth Crusade exposing the "myths about Auschwitz", then Wikipedia is not the place to do it. Wikipedia does not and will not lead on that subject, nor will it lead on any other subject. Wikipedia follows. Wikipedia follows Reliable Sources. If and when you convince Reliable Sources to expose myths about Auschwitz, Wikipedia will gladly update to accurately report what those Reliable Sources say.


Comment: Re:make credibility a metric (Score 1) 239

by Alsee (#47744335) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

Make credibility a visible metric assignable by the deletionists or anyone else. Articles don't need to be deleted for lack of credibility. It works the same here on SlashDot with scores. Give users the choice of seeing only highly-credible articles if they want.

That sounded like an interesting idea.... for about 30 seconds.
Then I realized that it wouldn't solve anything, it wouldn't improve anything. It would just make things worse. Much worse. People would just start waging war over credibility. When it comes to notability, simple, you dig up three reliable sources on a subject and BAM, YOU WIN! Fight over. Inviting fights over credibility would be a never ending flamefest disaster.


Comment: Re:It's not arrogance if... (Score 2) 262

by Pfhorrest (#47652427) Attached to: Silicon Valley Doesn't Have an Attitude Problem, OK?

Except that another place, even another comparable place, would now cost a lot more than $249,999 more than what he paid for his current place.

So if he wants to move to a different but comparable house in a different but comparably priced location, he has to lose a whole lot of money in the process. Meanwhile, people moving frequently to slightly more valuable places continuously over the time he's lived in this one place don't lose anything.

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra