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Comment: Re:Anyone else feel small in the presence of natur (Score 1) 70

by Peristarkawan (#42947243) Attached to: New Whale Species Unearthed In California Highway Dig
Terms like "Invisible Sky Daddy" are not meant to insult and degrade. They are meant to highlight the irrationality of such beliefs in the hope that the otherwise rational individuals who hold them might reassess their beliefs and ultimately reject them.

Comment: Re:True (Score 1) 530

by Peristarkawan (#42351791) Attached to: IQ 'a Myth,' Study Says
Speaking as somebody who was also "bored" in high school, I have come to realize in adulthood that "bored" is just a way of saying "unmotivated" without accepting any personal responsibility. If you want a good education, you need to take charge of it yourself; it's as simple as that.

Comment: Re:Congress Sucks (Score 1) 858

by Peristarkawan (#42195191) Attached to: Congressional Committee Casts a Harsh Eye On Vaccination Science
Read that Wikipedia paragraph again. It's weirdly phrased, but what it's saying is that in the clinical trials the drug didn't work when used as an adjuvant treatment. As a primary treatment, which is how it appears to have been prescribed in the Telegraph article, Avastin is an approved drug with supporting clinical evidence.

Comment: Re:I've given up (Score 1) 605

by Peristarkawan (#42133095) Attached to: Seas Rising Faster Than Projected

I'm not sure what exactly you think we have that is going to kill every living thing on earth. Weaponized biological agents are engineered to infect humans. The majority of species are immune to them, just as we humans tend to be immune to diseases that infect trees or fish. These are also things that have been around for ages without destroying the biosphere. We modern humans didn't create anthrax; we merely engineered some more lethal strains of it. Besides which, many such agents are themselves biotic in nature. Even if anthrax somehow managed to kill off every other species on the planet, there would still be life on earth in the form of anthrax.

As for the world's nuclear arsenal, many weapons would probably decay over time rather than spontaneously detonate. If detonations did occur, the effects would be highly localized. Even if these resulted in thousands of years of local contamination, that is still an extremely short time on the biological scale, and the rest of the world would be minimally affected.

A nuclear war would be another story, but even then the bombs would be focused on the human population centers, not spread evenly across the globe. Nobody is likely to target Antarctica or the ocean floor for nuclear destruction. A nuclear war would cause severe global climate change, and this would lead to mass extinction, but life has survived plenty of mass extinctions before, and it would survive again were this to happen.

Comment: Re:Of course (Score 1) 684

by Peristarkawan (#26654469) Attached to: Miscalculation Invalidates LHC Safety Assurances

Is a stable micro black hole even dangerous? The numbers I've seen show a black hole like this would behave more or less like a neutrino. Maybe hitting an atom every few thousand or million years. The sun will enter its red giant stage, destroy Earth, and shrink down to a white dwarf before the black hole gains any significant mass. I don't think we will care much at that point.

It sounds like one stable micro black hole would not be dangerous. From the estimates I've heard, the LHC could produce as many as 1 black hole per second. I'm not clear on what proportion of its time the LHC would actually be running, but suppose that over the course of its lifetime, it spends 1 full year colliding particles.

One stable micro black hole might be safe. What about 30,000,000 of them?

Comment: Re:Is Everybody Insane??? (Score 1) 684

by Peristarkawan (#26650251) Attached to: Miscalculation Invalidates LHC Safety Assurances

What makes it a black hole isn't the absolute strength of its gravity. It's the fact that it's compressed, which means that you can get much, MUCH closer to its center of mass. Remember, the force of gravity is inversely proportional to the square of distance, and that makes the force skyrocket as you get closer and closer.

Conceptually, take your lead ball and place a particle at the surface, say a centimeter away from its center of mass. The gravitational force on the particle is negligible. Now collapse the lead ball into a black hole - its radius is now something like 10^-30 meters. While the particle is still a centimeter away, the force it experiences remains unchanged - but move it to the surface (the event horizon) once again, and it is now 10^28 times closer than it was before. The gravitational force on it increases by a factor of 10^56!

As an aside, a stellar mass black hole isn't the size of an atomic nucleus. It's about 30 km in radius, or about the size of Rhode Island.

Comment: Re:Is Everybody Insane??? (Score 1) 684

by Peristarkawan (#26650079) Attached to: Miscalculation Invalidates LHC Safety Assurances
You're correct in that the effect of gravity from the black hole itself would be negligible from any measurable distance. However, anything coming into contact with the event horizon would be absorbed into the black hole, whether it was sucked in by gravity or not. So the way I see it being dangerous is this:
  1. Black hole forms, has enough mass to prevent instant evaporation.
  2. Being by far the densest object on the planet, the black hole quickly sinks to the center of the earth.
  3. The immense pressures at the earth's core ensure that the black hole gets plenty of fuel, in the form of liquid rock.
  4. As the earth's core is consumed by the black hole, the rest of the earth collapses around it, until eventually the entire planet is consumed.

So ironically, the earth would actually be destroyed by its own gravity, not that of the black hole.

Comment: Re:Just one more reason to enact the FairTax (Score 1) 152

by Peristarkawan (#15089524) Attached to: IRS Leaves Taxpayer Data Largely Unprotected

Okay, firstly, a 23% sales tax isn't going to add $6 to the price of a $5 item, so it should be immediately obvious that your numbers are off. The actual final prices will be $5 * (1 + .06 + .23) = $6.45 and $6 * (1 + .06 + .23) = $7.74.

Secondly, assume for the moment your figures were correct. Then Wal-Mart does have the advantage, because what is important is the difference between the percentages, which grows, and not the fact that both percentages increased by the same factor. However, since the percentages actually decrease by the same factor, the difference shrinks, and Wal-Mart in fact appears to be losing advantage under FairTax.

"Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit!" -- Looney Tunes, "What's Opera Doc?" (1957, Chuck Jones)

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