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Comment: Re:Let's be fair (Score 2) 561

by TeethWhitener (#47323473) Attached to: Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

Disclaimer: I am not an expert in mental/intellectual disorders.

From Wikipedia (and cited to boot!):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IQ#Real-life_accomplishments

The last table in that section states that adults with an IQ of 60 "...can harvest vegetables, repair furniture."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_disability

In early childhood, mild intellectual disability (IQ 50–69) may not be obvious, and may not be identified until children begin school.[7] Even when poor academic performance is recognized, it may take expert assessment to distinguish mild intellectual disability from learning disability or emotional/behavioral disorders. People with mild intellectual disability are capable of learning reading and mathematics skills to approximately the level of a typical child aged nine to twelve.[7] They can learn self-care and practical skills, such as cooking or using the local mass transit system.[7] As individuals with intellectual disability reach adulthood, many learn to live independently and maintain gainful employment.

So not quite a carrot.

Comment: Re:Wormholes + a flat universe (Score 1) 358

by TeethWhitener (#47169225) Attached to: The Disappearing Universe

Please see my response to slashmydots.

Empty space is globally flat, but because gravity is a force with unlimited range no universe with any mass in it is globally flat.

The Friedmann equations assume that the universe is homogeneous, meaning that it has a uniform density. This is a pretty good approximation at length scales on the order of the visible universe. Space containing mass can be flat, as long as the mass is uniformly distributed throughout the universe and its density equals the critical density parameter, which, according to our best observations, seems to be true within experimental error.

At small enough scale every spacetime is locally flat, although that scale may be very small near a black hole. Only at the location of the singularity is it impossible to find a locally flat reference frame.

You're absolutely right. I clarified this in my response to slashmydots. Sorry about the confusion.

Comment: Re:Wormholes + a flat universe (Score 1) 358

by TeethWhitener (#47169147) Attached to: The Disappearing Universe

Ok, I wasn't clear. That's my fault. There are several different length scales at work here. General relativity operates on spaces that are locally Euclidean (technically speaking, Lorentzian) meaning that at each point in the space, there exists a neighborhood in which distance can be described by a Euclidean (technically Minkowski) metric. But this neighborhood is arbitrarily small (this is part of the reason that GR and QM don't get along). We'll call this length scale 1. On a larger scale, say the scale of galaxies, space bends in a way that is described by the stress-energy tensor in the Einstein field equations. We'll call this length scale 2. On an even larger scale, that of the entire universe, as far as we can observe, the density of the universe is within a hair's breadth of the critical density of the universe. This means that the overall curvature of the hypothetical universe, if the density were homogeneous, is almost zero. We'll call this length scale 3.

At length scale 1, the space is Euclidean by definition, and therefore "flat." This is always true in GR independent of everything else.

At length scale 2, the space is curved in a manner which is determined by the matter/energy in that space. This was the length scale that I was referring to when I used "locally" in my first post.

At length scale 3, because the overall curvature is very close to zero, space appears flat to within experimental error. This was the length scale that I meant when I said "globally" in my first post.

I apologize for my lack of clarity before. I agree that "bowling ball on trampoline" is an inadequate description of the theory. But of course, I never said anything about that in my first post, or about space being 2 dimensional.

Comment: Re:Wormholes + a flat universe (Score 5, Interesting) 358

by TeethWhitener (#47163687) Attached to: The Disappearing Universe
Space appears flat on a global scale, but locally, it is highly curved around massive objects, especially around objects like black holes. Nothing we've observed so far strictly prohibits our universe having some sort of locally nontrivial topology like a wormhole. Keep in mind, also, that our observable universe is what appears globally flat. If cosmic inflation is right (and it's looking like it probably is), the actual extent of the universe could easily be 20-30 orders of magnitude larger than what we see, in which case, the universe could be highly curved on those scales and still appear quite flat to the best ability of our observations.

Comment: Re:Even higher! (Score 2) 1040

by TeethWhitener (#47154091) Attached to: Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

I take it you assume this person has no kids. It might surprise you to learn that if you're single and childless and making minimum wage ($7.25/hr at 2000 hrs/year=$14500 yearly income), you aren't part of Romney's 47%. Yep, you pay taxes to the fed, and presumably to the state as well. Here's a story about a woman making $12000/year and paying about $1300 in fed/state/ss/medicare. And that was before the payroll tax break expiration.

So how do you get out of paying taxes if you're making minimum wage? Well, it helps to have kids/be older/have a mortgage. But of course, if that's the case, then the balance sheet you've provided above is wildly obfuscatory, with childcare/medical expenses taking up the bulk of whatever's left after you pay your mortgage.

That's not to mention the fact that you're also assuming that this minimum wage job is a full-time gig. Usually they're part time, and the people holding them work two or more of them, meaning they're spending a decent chunk of money commuting. All this adds up to the most important fact: no savings. The reason that's so damn important is that one little slip-up (car runs over a nail, you slip a disc in your spine, etc.) and all of a sudden, you're running around to high-interest predatory creditors, which isn't exactly a path to financial freedom. That, and since minimum wage jobs are so replaceable, if any emergency happens, you're likely to be unceremoniously fired.

I could go on about how being poor isn't all sunshine and rainbows, but frankly, I think it's kind of ridiculous that I should have to. If it's really as cozy as some people say it is, they certainly have the option of trying it on for size. Hell, it's much easier to become poor than it is to become rich. So why isn't everyone doing it? Because secretly, waaaaay deep down in their heart of hearts, they know it's a shit deal. I think that speaks volumes enough.

Comment: Re:"Science" == "Argumentum ab auctoritate" ?!?!?! (Score 1) 247

by TeethWhitener (#46838323) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Books for a Comp Sci Graduate Student?
IANAL, but as I recall, in the practice of law (at least in the US), you don't add anything new. Unless you're a Supreme Court Justice. A lawyer's job is to piece together relevant laws and cases for precedent to provide a legal framework for whatever argument they're presenting.

Comment: Bring on the armchair scientists (Score 4, Insightful) 558

Here's an exercise: count up how many of the posts above begin with "I'm not a mental health professional, but..." or "I don't have any scientific data to back this up, but..." followed by some theory about how autism is overdiagnosed/not real/etc. It's amazing how people will lambaste (rightfully) a woman--famous for showing her vagina and advertising electronic cigarettes--for claiming without evidence that vaccines cause autism, and yet turn around and promulgate some other ridiculous claim about autism, all while ignoring 1) the clinical evidence that exists, and 2) the interpretation of that evidence by those most qualified to interpret it. Pot, meet kettle.

Comment: Re:I admire their spunk, but... (Score 1) 275

by TeethWhitener (#46591749) Attached to: Operation Wants To Mine 10% of All New Bitcoins
Dude, take like 20 seconds to do some basic research on what you're talking about: https://secure.worldcommunityg... "What's the answer to the protein folding problem?" - "42, now give me my money." "Um, everyone else says it's 38, so no, I won't give you your money." When have you ever done an experiment just once? Also, with regard to hashing, I'm trying to think of another system that's hard to do and easy to verify....Oh wait, like every differential equation known to physics.

Comment: Re:I admire their spunk, but... (Score 4, Interesting) 275

by TeethWhitener (#46591473) Attached to: Operation Wants To Mine 10% of All New Bitcoins
This is the main problem I have with Bitcoin. Here we have a brilliant opportunity to harness computing power to solve a socially or scientifically relevant problem, and instead we waste it on solving random meaningless math problems. In my book, an ideal cryptocurrency would use that computing power to solve a protein folding problem, or a plasma physics problem, or any other number of things. You wouldn't need an artificial upper limit like BTC has, because in generating a new block of currency, you'd actually be creating something of value to society. Riecoin approaches cryptocurrency from this point of view (albeit still with an asymptotic limit on the number of total currency units, and only applied specifically to computations of potential counterexamples to the Riemann Hypothesis), as does IBM's World Community Grid to a certain extent (albeit without the ability to easily and securely transfer the virtual cash generated), but I'd really like to see it take off.

Comment: Re:I agree with Lewis Black (Score 1) 383

It seems like the logical conclusion to this would be to have each avatar exist in its own instance. If a computer can simulate one avatar, it can simulate multiple copies of that avatar. E.g., in the simulation, you could say, "Gee, I haven't seen Alice in a while; I wonder what she's up to," and the computer would simulate Alice (with certain features built in, such as "Alice can actually stand to be around me"). You'd never actually interact with the real Alice. Prima facie, this is a good thing for both you and Alice: you both avoid an undesirable interaction. Creepy? Absolutely. Will it happen? Given that most of us hate uncomfortable situations (hence the word uncomfortable), I don't see how it couldn't.

Comment: Re:Old hat (Score 4, Informative) 70

by TeethWhitener (#37213288) Attached to: Imaging the Molecular Orbitals of Pentacene

The only thing that is new about this article is a slightly different flavor of STM

Now that's just plain wrong. First off, the pentacene molecule imaged by the group at IBM was imaged using atomic force microscopy (AFM), which uses a nanoscale piezoelectric cantilever to measure the force between the tip of the microscope and the substrate. The IBM team realized that picking up a single CO molecule with the tip allowed them to have an atomically sharp tip, thus giving them the drastically increased resolution apparent in that paper. This paper presents an STM method, which uses the current caused by electron tunneling between a tip and substrate (which dies off exponentially with distance between the two). The major breakthrough is this: scientists working in this field have known for quite some time that the electron tunneling was a function of both the starting state (tip state) and the ending state (substrate) of the electron. The problem with this is that the tip state up until now has only been known very vaguely. At the atomic level, the tip of the STM is in general a poorly defined blob of metal. What the researchers in this paper have done is pick up a CO molecule to act as the tip of the probe, just like the researchers on the pentacene paper before. The advantage now is that we can model CO quite well quantum mechanically, so that we have a much better idea of the starting state of the electrons. Of course, there will be some interaction of the CO with the metal in the tip, but nonetheless, this method provides us with a much clearer picture of what the electrons are actually doing when they tunnel from the tip to the substrate below. This is the reason that the researchers were able to get so much more information out of these experiments than previous researchers. /rant

"I've seen the forgeries I've sent out." -- John F. Haugh II (jfh@rpp386.Dallas.TX.US), about forging net news articles

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