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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: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.

Comment: Re:Nerd Blackface (Score 1) 442

by Pfhorrest (#47611551) Attached to: Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

As the kids these days say, "This."

Early Sheldon was a character I really liked, for all the reasons E-Rock pointed out. Other characters had friction with him mostly just because he was an insufferable genius who was always technically correct and looked down on everyone else for not living up to his standards of perfection, and ordinary fallible people find that kind of person hard to get along with because it such a person uncompromisingly highlights their own foibles.

But over the years Sheldon has morphed into a socially retarded asshole -- not just someone who awkwardly doesn't understand how best to interact with other people, but someone who thinks he does and yet is constantly wrong and will never hear anyone who tries to tell him so. He is no longer an insufferable genius who is always technically correct. He is an insufferable idiot who arrogantly insists that he is correct even when he is clearly, blatantly not.

And when a person starts to run roughshod over other people because of their own wrongly self-assessed "superiority", it goes from harmless "shamelessly ability to like himself" to dangerous borderline sociopathy as the AC I'm replying to said.

Comment: Re:When will we... (Score 2) 266

Unless you've found a way to make "police" an adjective, I think you have one too many iterations of it there. Police(n) [whom] police(n) police(v) [in turn] police(v) [other] police(n).

The buffalo sentence in turn has eight, not five (or your six), iterations. Buffalo(NY) buffalo(bison) [whom] Buffalo(NY) buffalo(bison) buffalo(bully) [in turn] buffalo(bully) [other] Buffalo(NY) buffalo(bison).

Comment: Interest is what breaks the free market (Score 1) 570

by Pfhorrest (#47563537) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Interest, and the broader phenomenon of rent (interest is just rent on money), is the thing that breaks a free market and turns it into capitalism.

There would be no cause for forcible redistribution of wealth if only this mechanism by which wealth becomes concentrated was removed.

Without rent and interest, wealth would naturally redistribute from those with more to those with less, as those with more traded their excess capital for the labor of those with less; for what use is that excess if you're just sitting on it, not getting anything for it?

But when you can lend it out, and not only get it all back but more on top of that, and keep repeating that process, then you can spend that extra you get back to buy the labor of those with less than you, without ever losing any capital in the process. Capital becomes a free money machine, if you can charge usury on it (that is, charge for the mere use of it, without actually selling it).

And conversely, those who have to borrow from you, the same working poor whose labor you're buying, get to keep less of the product of their labor because they have to pay you that same little extra that you turn turn around and pay them with. The "free money" you get out of your free money machine is actually money out of their pockets; money that they would otherwise use to buy, rather than merely borrow, the things that they need.

In short, with rent and interest in existence, those with more wealth can perpetually extract labor from those with less wealth without ever losing anything in the process, perpetuating and even exacerbating the wealth gap between them.

While without rent and interest, that wealth gap would naturally close without any forceful intervention just by natural market forces.

Comment: Medical services need total billing clarity (Score 5, Insightful) 570

by Pfhorrest (#47563381) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Even worse, there are sometimes even deceptive statements made about how much you will have to pay, and business arrangements you enter into without even knowing that the other party exists, much less that you're getting their services.

I didn't see a doctor for ten years because I couldn't afford insurance, and when I finally got covered through a decent job and went to get my first general checkup in my adult life, there was a big sign up front saying "ALL CO-PAYS DUE AT TIME OF VISIT". I figured that meant what it said: anything I owed, that was not getting billed to my insurance, was going to be billed to me before I left. When they let me walk out without paying anything, I figured that meant I must not have had a co-pay, which made sense to me as it was just a general physical exam, and a blood draw for some basic general-health lab tests (cholesterol, blood sugar, STDs, etc).

Then I got a bill in the mail a month later. Called and complained, why am I getting billed, didn't my insurance cover this, and THEN they tell me that that bill is for the remainder that's left after what my insurance paid (IOW my copay). I argued about the sign saying all co-pays were due at time of visit and they said... I don't even remember what now, exactly, but something to the extent that that's no excuse and I have to pay the bill. Not knowing what else to do, I did.

A month later I got a different bill for the blood tests, from a different company. I called and complained that I already got a bill for that visit and paid it and even that was unexpected and what the hell is with two different companies trying to collect for the same fucking service. They explained that they are the lab that my doctor sent the blood off to for the tests, and they they bill separately, and that paying my doctor for their service doesn't get me off the hook for the lab service. I had no knowledge that I was even buying services from this lab company: the only entity I interfaced with was my doctor, they hired the fucking lab, let them pay the lab and roll the cost into their bill, I figured. But no, and lab insisted I owed them money, and not knowing what to do, I paid up.

A year later, my second doctor's visit in my adult life, different doctor in a different town as I had since moved. They at least had the decency to say up front how their billing works (without me even asking), and that they will send me a bill for the copay after they process it through my insurance. And they don't do in-house blood draws and send out to a lab, they send you to the lab of your choice with orders for what tests to run. So that's better, much more clear. But the lab itself also has a "ALL CO-PAYS DUE AT TIME OF SERVICES" sign... and this time, they actually billed me at time of services! Awesome. So far, I was liking the medical establishments in this new town a lot better.

Until a month or two later I got a bill from the lab. When I called to complain that I already paid them at the time of services as their sign said, they told me then that that was only an estimated copay, and that after they put the bill through insurance, there was still a balance remaining on my copay, which is what that bill was for. Again, no idea on what grounds to dispute it, so I paid up... but ugh, what the hell

For emergency services where the patient may not have the time or awareness to evaluate the costs and benefits, I can understand you just do the service and bill later. But for a motherfucking general checkup and routine bloodwork? Jesus fucking christ, how can you not just say what it will cost up front and bill before I accept your services?

It's only one step removed from the homeless guy who washes your windows without your consent and then demands you owe him money. "Hey man you need some medical services?" "Yeah uh I guess how much?" "Can't tell you yet now turn your head and cough." "Uh... [cough]" "Aight you cool man, that'll be $100." "WTF no you didn't say it would be that much" "Too late you got the work now you pay the bill man... don't make me go get my collections posse to shake down yo ass, pay up sucka."

Comment: Re:This kind of thing confuses me (Score 1) 214

by Pfhorrest (#47484991) Attached to: Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

Mach's Principle neatly explains why inertial mass and gravitational mass are the same: inertia is a product of the gravitational effects of the rest of the universe.

For illustration, consider the infamous spinning bucket thought experiment:

When you view it from the reference frame of the rest of the universe, the reason why the water in the bucket initially stays put instead of spinning with the bucket, and then presses against the edges of the bucket once friction starts it moving, is inertia.

When you view if from the reference frame of the bucket itself, around which the rest of the universe is spinning, the reason why the water starts spinning, and then presses against the sides of the bucket when friction slows it down, is because the gravity of the rest of the universe is dragging the water's reference frame around with it.

The other line moves faster.