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Comment Re:Not to be pedantic (Score 1) 173

I hear what you're saying but my point is that the Hubble constant is relative, not absolute. Relative to the observer in a non-absolute location. The expansion is an exponential scalar motion without any center. Even the edge of the observable universe is relative to the observer. So it's fine to talk about the universe expanding, but expanding relative to what? By definition, the size (radius) of the universe is that of only the observable universe - relative to us. Someone way over at the edge (according to us) is likely to see a different observable universe that extends 13 billion light years in all directions from their center of observation, beyond which the expansion rate is > c (again relative to us only), so quite a bit of that is invisible to us and always will be. So the limit of observability is 13 billion light years. Is it a coincidence that the calculated age of the universe (from only observables) is also 13 billion years? Of course not. Neither is the fact that the dimension of the Hubble constant is a frequency that resolves to 1/13 billion years. What is the probability of all those emerging without a common first principle? And what is the likelihood that we would happen to be at the center of the observable universe? About zero, to say nothing of the "total" universe. There is no reason at all to assume that we know the size or age of the "universe" and to throw that into the discussion of the Hubble constant (as many are on this thread) is meaningless.

Submission + - Hiring Smokers – Banned In South Florida City ( 3

Penurious Penguin writes: On October 2, City Commissioners of Delray Beach finalized a policy which prohibits agencies from hiring employees who use tobacco products. Delray Beach isn't alone though; other Florida cities such as Hollywood and Hallandale Beach, require prospective employees to sign affidavits declaring themselves tobacco-free for 12 months prior to the date of application. Throughout the states, both government and businesses are moving to ban tobacco-use beyond working hours. Many medical facilities, e.g. hospitals, have already, or intend to implement similar policy. In some more-aggressive environments referred to as nicotine-free, employee urine-samples can be taken and tested for any presence of nicotine, not excluding that from gum or patches. Employees testing positive can be terminated.

The primary rationale behind these policies has been frugality, citing greater insurance-costs for smokers, and the savings implied by eliminating them from the workforce. In some less aggressive situations, persistent smokers are imposed a "Tobacco User Surcharge" of $20 per paycheck and offered waived co-payments for smoking-cessation drugs.

Efforts to cut expenses and encourage better health seem perfectly normal. Policy prohibiting activities otherwise legal, but unbefitting a workplace environment also seem normal. However, employers or government defining employee's domestic lifestyles is a relatively new concept, especially when nothing illegal is involved. It would be difficult, if not impossible to argue that smoking is without consequences; but is breeching the boundaries of the household inconsequential?

Times do change, and adaptation is often a necessary burden. But have they changed so much that we'd now postpone the Manhattan project for 12 months because Oppenheimer had toked his pipe? Would we confine our vision to the Milky Way or snub the 1373 Cincinnati because Hubble smoked his? Would we shun relativity, or shelve the works of Tolkien because he and C. S. Lewis had done the same? If so, then where will it stop? Will we soon scan employees for signs of excessive sugar, trans-fats and cholesterol? Will we have authenticated and logged aerobics classes? I, for one, welcome answers from our new salubrious overlords.

Comment Re:Not to be pedantic (Score 1) 173

yes. the prevailing conjecture seems to be at odds with a little einsteinian problem: no absolute rest, no absolute velocity. so what is expanding at that rate with respect to what? if they said the 'edge of the observable universe' then it would have meaning, but since there is a limit of observable range due to the fact that beyond a certain distance from the observer (us), a galaxy or quasar would be receding at a cumulative rate greater than the speed of light, and hence, exits the observable universe relative to our vantage point. thus, unless we are at the center of the universe - highly unlikely - then the observable universe is a subset of the total universe. so we really have no way of knowing the actual size of the universe, or whether it's infinite, in which case, saying it's expanding at a certain rate has no meaning at all.

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