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Comment: Re:Certanty of answers (Score 1) 455

by Khashishi (#46824835) Attached to: The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

There's nothing wrong with the uncertainty calculation. It just needs to be understood as a lower bound to our true uncertainty. There are some really speculative ideas, like Linde's chaotic inflation, in which the age of the universe is much greater. I suppose the age could be smaller in case of variable speed of light theories. The chance of these alternative theories being correct is small, but I don't think it is something that we can quantify mathematically using a normal distribution of errors.

Comment: Re:Certanty of answers (Score 2) 455

by Khashishi (#46820523) Attached to: The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

No. That's not a correct interpretation of the uncertainty at all. The uncertainty is based on measurements based on certain assumptions. The assumptions can still be totally wrong. We can accurately measure the expansion of space and use our models to project the expansion backwards to a starting point. Since the measurements are accurate, we can accurately estimate the age of the universe, assuming the models are correct. Our actual uncertainty is larger.

I would say that we are pretty damn certain about the main points of the generic big bang theory, but things get a lot more shaky when you add in inflation. The so-called pillars of inflation are garbage, but there is some pretty good evidence for inflation in the form of cosmic microwave background anisotropy measurements and models of large scale structure formation. I'm agnostic about inflation, since it's just too weird and ad hoc, but it seems to have a lot of support by the experts.

Comment: Re:RK-9000 is banned in Illinois. (Score 1) 432

by Khashishi (#46744589) Attached to: UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

Hmm, interesting story, but how likely is it that a keyboard would ever get repaired, with or without the legislation? We live in a throw-away society, and really only a tiny fraction of people know how to solder, let alone are willing to put effort into soldering something that could be replaced for $5. There are definitely pros and cons to every law. Do the pros outweigh the cons when you factor in actual human behavior?

You can not get anything worthwhile done without raising a sweat. -- The First Law Of Thermodynamics

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