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Comment: Wait, these are for real? (Score 1, Interesting) 59

by tulcod (#47920901) Attached to: Astronomers Find Star-Within-a-Star, 40 Years After First Theorized

IANAA, but this sounds like an extremely unstable setup. What am I take make of this?

- Is the research reliable?

- How can such a thing be stable? Is there any particular process that keeps one star inside the other?

- What even /is/ such a body? If you were to travel from the outside to the midpoint of the body, would you encounter two barriers of destructing heat, with some emptiness (I'd like to say "vacuum" but of course space is not exactly a vacuum) in between?
Or is it actually just something entirely unlike what you would imagine when someone says "star within a star"?

Comment: Classic Khan pseudoscience (Score 0) 243

by tulcod (#47736877) Attached to: It's Dumb To Tell Kids They're Smart

Your brain doesn't "grow" when you exercise it. It develops.

And to dispel another myth: your brain cells die and divide like in any other organ. But "growth" is definitely the wrong word here.

These kinds of mistakes are why you don't use Khan academy, and the old-fashioned sources are just more precise.

But congratulations on figuring out yet another key to life, allowing you to tell other people exactly how to live theirs - after all, that's really the only purpose of science, isn't it?

Comment: Re:Poorly Designed Roadways Addressed By This (Score 5, Insightful) 243

by tulcod (#47191147) Attached to: New Car Can Lean Into Curves, Literally

Less sensation of control loss is not a good thing. If the road was built badly (ie. opposite banking) then the driver should be aware of that, instead of thinking that he has control while in fact he doesn't.

This technology is a gimmick not unlike the pneumatics famous from the 80s (?) cars.

Comment: Times sure are changing (Score 5, Interesting) 147

by tulcod (#47061237) Attached to: Efforts To Turn Elephants Into Woolly Mammoths Are Already Underway

When Intel buys or invents some kind of a new chip process, everyone applauds. When engineers use 3D printing to save a crippled boy's life, everyone celebrates technology. Stick an arduino in a tumor and people scream in ecstasy.

But when the item of cloning comes in the news, suddenly people back away and ask what it's all good for. Because us humans are not allowed to mess with that.

Come on people. We invested thousands of years trying to understand the tricks of physics and evolution. We have now got to a stage where we can apply these tricks ourselves and see what we can make of the world.

Will it turn out for the better? Absolutely nobody knows. But telling scientists not to mess with this takes us back to the middle ages, where scientific incentives were influenced heavily by religious and cultural beliefs.

Let us show ourselves that we no longer need that. This is the time to end that society of religion and culture. Messing with life, and bringing back the extinct, those are exactly the kind of things that go against all rules of religion that we have adhered to for the past x thousands years. Humans are the new god on planet earth (and beyond?).

Comment: Re:Offtopic: on the speed of electricity (Score 1) 137

by tulcod (#47032735) Attached to: Grace Hopper, UNIVAC, and the First Programming Language

I have always thought of the travel of electricity as the flow of the electromagnetic waves.

Then how does DC electricity "travel" from your phone charger to your phone? (again, there are no electromagnetic waves, even though there may be fields. a wave is a changing field.)

Comment: Re:Offtopic: on the speed of electricity (Score 1) 137

by tulcod (#47032723) Attached to: Grace Hopper, UNIVAC, and the First Programming Language

How do you think electrons repel each other?

Electromagnetic fields, which do not "travel" in any reasonable sense.

The speed of light thing is actually more complicated if you involve relativity and quantum field theory and stuff, which is why I used the word "roughly" to protect myself exactly from people who pretend to know physics. If I had said "exactly at the speed of light", some theoretical physicist would have made some remark about this or that field theory or standard model solution or whatever kind of physics that I don't quite understand.

Comment: Offtopic: on the speed of electricity (Score 1) 137

by tulcod (#47032119) Attached to: Grace Hopper, UNIVAC, and the First Programming Language

a short length of wire [...] sized to represent the distance electricity would travel in a nanosecond.

You cannot see such a piece of wire. Electrons drift at a speed in the order of 0.0002m/s, giving you a wire length in the order of 10^-13 meters.

Electromagnetic waves "travel" roughly at the speed of light. But when someone talks about the travel of electricity, the thing that people think about is the flow of electrons, not the electromagnetic waves.

Comment: Protests are a display of effort (Score 3, Insightful) 76

by tulcod (#46736033) Attached to: Can Web-Based Protests Be a Force for Change?

One thing that definitely plays a role in this discussion is that in big street protests, a lot of people have to come out of their house and basically waste their day for this one cause. This in itself shows how strongly they feel about certain issues.

This is much more difficult in the case of internet protests: we all know how little facebook likes mean.

If you want to make web-based protests work, you will somehow have to incorporate an element of effort, which - since the only tissue we have online is that of information - is going to have to have some intellectual ingredient. Indeed, the many discussions we are having on this very website can be seen as minor protests.

Comment: Re:What does it mean to divest? (Score 1) 214

Harvard has a sick amount of money, and they *can* afford to miss some of it. If they "lose" money by not investing in oil, they will still be able to fund many students' tuition fees (because Harvard is not /just/ a school for the rich, although arguably you need to be in higher income classes to be admitted in the first place).

If Harvard "loses" money or otherwise does not have the budget they projected, nothing changes.

Bringing computers into the home won't change either one, but may revitalize the corner saloon.