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Comment: Re:wat (Score 4, Interesting) 227

by TemperedAlchemist (#47524683) Attached to: Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

Since no one has actually peeked inside of a black hole we really can't tell for certain.

What we do know is that when we do the math on our models what we find are things approaching infinity. Sometimes these are just caused by using the wrong coordinate system, but other times when we change coordinate systems, the singularity still exists.

It's important to note that when speaking about infinity don't fall into the fallacy of treating it as a value. You cannot have an infinite amount of something, but you can have something which has infinite characteristics. Consider Hilbert's Hotel which is an example of the hilarity found when trying to add finite numbers and infinity together. The expression " + 1" is meaningless because you can't add a value to infinity any more than you can add "a + 1".

What's actually happening in Hilbert's Hotel is the addition of aleph numbers with finite numbers, which you can do, but has silly results. Aleph-0 + 1 = Aleph-0. But this just describes the extent of the set, suppose we took a sum and looked at it:

1 + 2 + 3 + ... n + 1 = 2 + 2 + 3 + ... n

And no matter what you try to do with it, that extra one is still hiding in the sum. If you take this new set and subtract it by all of the natural numbers, you should be left with the result of 1. One of the most irritating things is when people say you can do things like you can in Hilbert's Hotel, writing it off like it's some quirk of infinity. But it's not. If you shifted all of the guests over to only even rooms, you would still have the same number of guests and rooms.

2((n) n) = 2 + 4 + 6 + ... 2n

You've effectively just doubled the number of rooms. It's a sleight of hand that breaks the rules. "But!" you may say, "You have infinite many rooms, so of course you have a room at 2n!" If you do think this then you're still caught up thinking about infinity as a literal value. You don't have a room at 2n, your rooms only extend to n, and now half of your guests (which is still an infinite many) don't have rooms, but are left to stand out in an endless hallway.

In essence, one kind of infinity does not necessarily equal another kind. /rant

Comment: Re:No public drug use (Score 1) 474

Sugar is necessary for you to live. It is impossible to survive without it. Something that is necessary to survival cannot meet the criteria for being addictive. Sugar being thrown in to the mix was caused by a very poorly done study by a university that proclaimed sugar was more addictive than cocaine. But the very experiment was setup in such a poor way the university should make a public apology. All the research team managed to show was that rats (that have an exceptional natural resistance to cocaine addiction) preferred tasty Oreos over dehydrated, tasteless food pellets doped with cocaine. They then drew the false conclusion that sugar was more addictive than cocaine. It's quintessential bad science and moreover shows the ignorance of people who cannot be bothered to read and think for themselves.

Caffeine can be quit by the large majority of the population with reasonable effort. While a small part of the population does indeed suffer from legitimate addiction that cannot be overcome, it does not cross the biological threshold necessary to produce a full addiction (and there is one that is crossed by other stimulants, like methamphetamines).

Comment: Re:No public drug use (Score 1) 474

Alcohol no. Tobacco yes. Sugar no. Chocolate (caffeine?) no.

Only one of those have a direct mechanism for addiction. One of the arguments people like to use in favor of legalization is that, "Everything else is addictive too!"

But no, you're wrong, and you should feel wrong. Normal everyday things that stimulates the reward mechanism can be addictive, it's true. But at the same time, you're horribly misinformed about pharmacology and pharmacokinetics. The question is not if something could be addictive, it's whether or not it causes addiction through a direct mechanism. Nicotine, morphine, and cocaine all have direct mechanisms to causing addiction. The internet, video games, delicious foods, and alcohol does not.

So why not caffeine too? The answer lies in just how addiction works. There is a threshold for substances that have a direct action on reward mechanisms, so that many things end up as nonaddictive. And while there are coffee drinkers genuinely addicted to caffeine, they are by far in the minority. Other drugs such as bupropion also have this characteristic.

In the end we must ask the question, "Does the user choose the drug, or does the drug choose for the user?"

This puts us in quite a predicament. If we are to accept that people have a choice in deciding between lighting up their next cigarette in not, then we must also accept that they can choose to quit at any time, and it is merely the fault of their being lazy that prevents this. However, if we assert that they cannot choose to quit because nicotine prevents them from doing so despite reasonable effort, then this means it is not their fault for being lazy, but are being controlled by a chemical.

So why, then, come out in support of selling this dangerous and toxic chemical? While it is your body and what you choose to do with it is none of my concern, others profiting off of the deliberate harm of people which is not of their own free will should be an egregious crime. It is baffling that anyone with a sense of morality promote anything to the contrary.

Comment: Re:Fabricated results (Score 2) 61

by TemperedAlchemist (#47165943) Attached to: Key Researcher Agrees To Retract Disputed Stem Cell Papers

I haven't read the paper nor do I have the expertise to really comment on the technicality of it, but it could be that they knew the method worked, but didn't reproduce it enough for it to be real solid and scientifically valid. And with budget/time constraints it could have gone quite simply as just fabricating data to push it out faster.

The solution of problems is the most characteristic and peculiar sort of voluntary thinking. -- William James

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