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Comment: Re:Science is not about trust (Score 1) 451

by drerwk (#48020661) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans
Always enjoy reading his lectures - thanks. Had the pleasure of hearing a couple as well.
Maybe I was not clear in my statement - the LHC itself is not so much an experiment as a source of high energy collisions - the experiments are the detectors placed in the beam line, and with respect to the detection of the Higgs, there are the two: While they are similar in that they detect collisions and take careful account of the collision products they do so differently. So they are effectively in a position to reproduce each others results as they have done with the detection of the Higgs.

Comment: Re:Science is not about trust (Score 3, Informative) 451

by drerwk (#48019371) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

Science is about reproducible results. Publish the details of your experiment, so I can perform your experiment (and variations on it) myself. Your claim is strengthened if I get the same results you do.

But I don't have a Large Hadron Collider! How am I supposed to reproduce this?

The fact is that many experiments are expensive to reproduce and will not be; and there are scientists who do poor work either intentionally or due to institutional reasons. The desire to do great science is only part of the motivation of a scientist; the desire to feed one's family can influence anyone thinking, as can the desire for fame, or other desires.
Addressing the LHC argument - The LHC requires thousands of scientists, the results will be examined to see if they match previous results at the appropriate energies, and it is worth noting that the LHC has detectors ATLAS and CMS which effectively check each others results regarding detection of the Higgs. And there are other detectors looking for new physics, that are not presently worth the cost of double coverage.

I suspect that there are backwaters of science, where someone may find gain in having published many papers, and have low risk of being caught because the value of the results is such that they will not be replicated; but when you cheat like Jan Hendrik Schön with results that would be quite valuable then you can expect work attempting to extend the experiment to be done, and when it fails the original work will be re-checked.

Comment: Re:Hmmm ... (Score 2) 356

by drerwk (#47984975) Attached to: Physicist Claims Black Holes Mathematically Don't Exist
Read the conclusion where the author directly addresses your concerns. But, I will also point out that at the stage of collapse the authors are talking about the star more closely resembles a neutron star rather than a hydrogen fusing star. Because a neutron star is supported by Pauli exclusion, it seems to me that the density may well be close to constant through out a majority of the star.

Comment: Re: Alright smart guy (Score 1) 504

by drerwk (#47963789) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?
I use safari too - which is what is failing to load all kinds of things - I'm going to give tenfourfox a try. I mostly like to have a 'puter that the two year old can tear the keys off of and I don't get stressed out. But it would also be nice if the browser worked well enough for the seven year old to run his blog.

Comment: Re:Just do it. (Score 2) 234

by drerwk (#47939077) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?
To add to the Galaxy Zoo suggestion:
Have a look at this book: "Statistics, data mining and machine learning in astronomy"
I have my BS in Physics, but I write software. I think it would be pretty hard at 10 hours a week to pick up the math of most of the advanced topics - even mechanics. But, learning statistics and data mining and having public access to data like the Sloan Survey would put you in the position to make real discoveries as an amateur. And, a modicum of competence in statistics and data mining may give you some good options for paying gigs.

Comment: Re:Thermodynamic equilibrium is not required (Score 1) 211

by drerwk (#47874911) Attached to: Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

There's this "Sun" bombarding the planet with energy, constantly.

Then take the two-body system given by the Earth and the Sun as the closed system.

If it was a closed system the Earth would have cooked by now coming to equilibrium with the Sun - fortunately we have the cold bath of the rest of the universe to which most of the Sun's energy flows, as well as some heat from the night side of the Earth - so it is not a closed system.

Comment: Re:mini-explosion? (Score 1) 74

by drerwk (#47852039) Attached to: How Astrophysicists Hope To Turn the Entire Moon Into a Cosmic Ray Detector
You might enjoy reading for an introduction. But to answer your question, the incoming cosmic rays usually (always?) begin interacting in the upper atmosphere, I don't know the cross sections particularly well, but it is possible that only very rarely do they make it to the ground. What we detect down here is the cascade of particles - like an avalanche - initiated in the upper atmosphere. The resultant cascade can affect detectors across hundreds of square kms.

Comment: Re:Nerd Blackface (Score 1) 442

by drerwk (#47641627) Attached to: Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

Do you really think that an IRL Sheldon without script immunity would be able to do the same? The TV Sheldon also seems to be a pretty crap physicist, given to conspiracy theories, junk science, and an inability to distinguish between fiction and reality.

I was an undergrad Physics major at Caltech. Other than the crap physicist qualifier, I knew professors in the department who were given to conspiracy theories, junk science, and an inability to distinguish between fiction and reality, though not all in a single individual.

Comment: Re:"and designed to fly near transonic speed" (Score 1) 44

by drerwk (#47593219) Attached to: Perlan II Project Aims To Fly a Glider To the Edge of Space
The lift produced by a wing is partly a function of the rate of air mass that passes over the wing. Keeping density constant an increase in velocity will increase lift. If the density of the air decreases, as it does with altitude, then one must increase velocity to get the same air mass to pass over the wing and generate the same lift. At the altitude they will be flying, they may well have to fly near the speed of sound to get enough air over the wing to provide sufficient lift. The higher they go, the higher their stall speed so they end up flying in a decreasing envelope between speed of sound and stall. The typical airspeed indicator is a static ram pressure transducer, which is also dependent on the mass of air impinging on it, so it will indicate 'normal' stall and flying speed even though the plane is going much faster.

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken