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Comment From 'Introduction To Psychology', Hilgard, 1953 (Score 1) 530

I found this book in a trashbin. If nothing else, it's got lots of cool black and white photos, some by Weegie. From page 365:

"We can give the following practical definition of intelligence: Intelligence is that which such an intelligence test measures. The statement sounds empty but isn't, for it implies all the careful steps that have gone into the construction of the tests. The tests constructed by different workers all lead to scores with high intercorrelations; therefore they are measuring something in common. What they measure in common defines intelligence."

Comment A new level of evolution (Score 1) 115

Not the catfish, but the killer whales coming up on land to snag prey.

The whales' early ancestors lived in the sea and came up on land. Then they went back to the sea though still air breathers. Now they are starting to go back on land again. Will they evolve new legs or just wriggle along like snakes?

Comment Re:noy really the arrow of time (Score 1) 259

Nobody knows why we had a low-entropy big bang, when a random choice of initial conditions would be overwhelmingly more likely to produce a maximum-entropy one

The explanation that I see is that there might be a 'multiverse', many big bangs, most of which would not produce a universe that could support life. Therefore, we're here because this is the one in a skadzillion that could and did produce life intelligent enough to wonder about this stuff. It's a plausible explanation to me, but that doesn't mean it's correct of course.

I'm still looking for a really good explanation of what the article is about. The 'arrow of time' I'm familiar with, and which has been mentioned in other posts, is the entropic one. There are so many ways for things to get disarrayed as opposed to the extremely few for them to get re-arrayed, that we never see it happen, nevert see things like objects getting hotter than ambient temperature without a source of heat or things randomly assembling themselves into some recognizable order.

Comment Re:gov just destroyed the cloud business (Score 1) 531

Is the 'Huzzah' sarcastic or sincere?

My attitude is that it is unrealistic to think data is secure in the cloud. If this makes people more cautious generally about using the cloud, that's a good thing. Whether or not the government really should have the right to do this or not is a different question. Also, while It may hurt, I doubt that this will destroy the cloud business.

Comment Is the curve of the universe smooth or grainy (Score 1) 529

As I understand it from my layman's reading of science for the layman books and articles (and watching PBS documentaries), the quantum world is grainy. 19th century physicists were looking at black body radiation and it did not behave as though there was a smooth continuum of wave lengths being radiated.

Einstein's theory of space time though, predicts a smooth curvature. I presume quantum gravity does not. So if something could be shown to be truly smooth, that would imply the simulation had to be able to deal with genuine irrational numbers, something a digital simulation could not.

Comment Re:What about the speed of information? (Score 1) 381

Hmm, so people are saying here that the speed of information can't be faster than the speed of light _in a vacuum_ because of results of events happening before the event, in other words paradoxes. I asked about this in a different subject only a few days ago, and, I don't think it's completely resolved.http://http//slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3164219&cid=41554569

I recently saw a Nova documentary on TV, part of the 'Fabric Of the Cosmos' series, the "Illusion Of Time" chapter, hosted by Brian Greene. In one place he talked about an alien living in a far away galaxy seeing events on earth. If he was moving towards earth, he would see our 'future'. There was a hint that the future might, in some sense, already exist.

It does seem to me that people should not be too cavalier about associating the speed of light with the speed of information unless they can define clearly what information is, and how it is linked in some concrete way to the speed of light.

Comment Re:Units Space FTL, but information thru space? (Score 3, Interesting) 173

Something I've been wondering about, but never knew quite where to ask. (Maybe this isn't the place either, but I'll give it a shot.)

i understand (or at least parse the semantic meaning) that the speed of light through space is fixed, and space can expand fasterthan that. Normally, it seems that the speed of information transmission is also tied to the speed of light, mainly I presume, because paradoxes would arise if it weren't. But can information travel across space at an effective speed uninfluenced by the expansion of space without causing paradoxes? Is it possible that information could still reach us even if light could not?

Comment Re:Two bucks says the video is doctored (2 secs?) (Score 1) 86

That was my first thought also. But, following a link in the talkbacks to this http://spaceweather.com/archive.php?view=1&day=11&month=09&year=2012 There is the comment that another astronomer, Dan Peterson (not the one who took the video), said the blast only lasted 1.5 to 2 seconds. This is very different from the famous comet smash of 1993 when the marks on the visible part of Jupiter lasted a long time while Jupiter rotated around.

Comment Re:13 Billion Years! (Score 2) 31

How is it possible that they date the light we see from this messier's star cluster to be about 13 billion years old?

I'm not an astronomer but I read 'science for the layman' type books and watch the documentaries on PBS. I was wondering about the age of these stars as stated in the article compared to the age of the universe myself. But, they aren't saying the light we see is 13 billion years old, anymore than the light we see from the sun is 5 billion years old.

Presumably these stars formed in one of the first galaxies, and they've been around ever since, somehow eventually being captured as a group by the Milky Way.

Comment Re:Degree (Score 1) 190

"I'm sick of that presumption. The point of education SHOULD be to become educated."

I'd say that is only an opinion. The word 'university' comes from a Medieval Latin word that was synonymous with 'guild', and, from very early on, a doctorate was a certificate that allowed one to teach. In other words, you got it as an accreditation needed for a job.

I'm actually pretty sympathetic to the idea of knowledge for knowledge's sake, and the concept wasn't unknown even in the Middle Ages. I seem to recall that in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, there was a scholarly pilgrim who was described as being glad to learn and glad to teach. But, there's always been the commercial side to education as well. It's expensive, and it requires an allocation of resources and the time of the teachers who might otherwise be doing some other productive thing with their education (In the Middle Ages they would be serving their King, or the local Lord, or the Church). It's hard to imagine something like that being maintained without a tangible payback.

Comment Re:Answer in the question (Score 1) 257

Agree about the safety deposit box. Depending on how big a box you have, you can also store DVDs, USB drives, hard drives with information if you want. But whatever is appropriate for paper, put it on paper. No need to worry about incompatible formats or device failures.

If you're really really concerned and feel you can afford it, have copies in 2 different boxes at 2 different locations. This if you live in a place prone to flooding or maybe earthquakes. Maybe even in case for some reason one bank is throwing too much administrative flack at your survivors.

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