Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment: non-story (Score 1) 311

by Khashishi (#48898555) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

Looking at the survey results, it's clear that the question pertaining to DNA was giving in the context of other questions on governmental policies. If I answered the survey, I would have answered based on what I thought the researcher meant by the question, and not the literal text of the question. When I saw the question, I would ask myself, should I be a smartass and answer the question as written, or should I assume the researcher means to ask, "Mandatory labels on foods containing modified or isolated DNA"

Comment: Who's liable when it fails or backfires? (Score 1) 289

by Khashishi (#48893613) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

When making something safer, we can expect more lawsuits, not less, as we might naively expect. It doesn't matter if we can statistically show that a new technology saves lives. If auto manufacturers put this feature into their vehicles, suddenly it is their fault when the feature fails to prevent an accident, or causes causes an accident where one would not have occurred. Previously, the driver would be liable.

Comment: not paradoxes (Score 1) 228

by Khashishi (#48871367) Attached to: The Paradoxes That Threaten To Tear Modern Cosmology Apart

Those aren't paradoxes. So space is created. How is that a paradox? Did someone say space is not allowed to be created?
So energy is created. That violates conservation of energy, but conservation of energy is simply a law that we formulated from experience, and later proved using Noether's theorem by assuming that the laws of physics are time-invariant. Well, it's not valid to extrapolate from our small-scale experiences to the universe, and the laws of physics probably aren't time-invariant at cosmological scales.
Nobody really knows how to calculate the energy of the vacuum, and that's why we have to use renormalization. The 10^120 figure is really a very rough ballpark estimate using dimensional analysis. There's not any solid theory to back it up.

Comment: Re:more simplifications and fewer cats, please (Score 1) 197

by Khashishi (#48637775) Attached to: Quantum Physics Just Got Less Complicated

I think people are moving away from the Copenhagen interpretation to other interpretations such as consistent histories, decoherence, and many worlds. Bohmian interpretation is another option, but I find it inelegant and it doesn't hold too much sway.

Personally, I feel that consistent histories* is the best. In this interpretation, the cat is simply dead or alive. We don't know which until we check, but the cat's state didn't change when we opened the box. Note that whatever is enforcing consistency does not obey causality---the laws of quantum mechanics are essentially symmetric in time (more accurately CPT). In some sense, the future is "prewritten" though we have no way to measure it, and the current state of the universe is required to be consistent with the future state. So if the cat is dead in the future where the box is opened, it's already dead with the box closed.

I prefer the "block universe" depiction of the universe as a stationary 4D object, since it seems to be easiest to reconcile with relativity. Relativity of simultaneity makes no sense if the future isn't already written. We call this 4D universe object a history, and all the events in the history have to be consistent with laws of physics. It makes no difference if you think of the past causing the future or the future causing the past: they are just there and neither is created from the other. In the many worlds interpretation, every possible (e.g. consistent) history exists, but I think one is sufficient.

*I might be mistaken on what consistent histories is. My description is my personal interpretation, which might coincide with the definition of consistent histories.

"This isn't brain surgery; it's just television." - David Letterman