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Comment Division Has A Meaning (Score 1) 1067

Your code that does division probably does that because division has a meaning, and you need that meaning. Trust me and everyone else here who knows math: the meaning you want does not include the case where you are dividing by zero. Dividing by zero is nonsensical in code and in life. So what went wrong with your program to get a zero into the denominator? That's the issue in your program. Is there a place where you can check user inputs to make sure they aren't insane? Is there a place where you're calculating what is supposed to be a very small number but sometimes it rounds down too low and makes your number zero by accident? Put the check there. Are you measuring or counting something that can legitimately be zero? I bet the division scenario doesn't apply in that case. Check for zero and do what does make sense. Fix your program.


Comment As A Follower (Score 1) 292

As a follower, how will I know how to vote? I only vote for the apparent winner, because I don't want to waste my vote, and because I trust that everyone else puts thought into their votes so I don't have to. Without the polls to tell me who the winner is supposed to be, how will I decide?


Comment Hide Your Insults: "ULA - King of Space Travel" (Score 1) 78

In order for our proposed name to stick, we need to pick one that is both obviously insulting when viewed by those who agree with us and also seemingly-acceptable and even positive-sounding when viewed by those who love ULA.

My proposals are:
* Gold Standard
* Spruce
* Exorbital (Exorbitant + Orbital)

You all have got to be able to do better than that. Come on, float your own names...


Comment Re:Electric Universe (Score 2, Funny) 236

Thank you for the link, AC.

I saw two errors so egregious in the first three pages that I can dismiss that paper immediately. First the authors claimed that stellar gasses need to be sufficiently ionized that magnetic field lines could be frozen in them. This represents a fundamental misunderstanding of electromagnetism. These people could not possibly give fair treatment to an electromagnetic theory with such a basic misunderstanding. Second, they claim that obviously stars are not affected by the magnetic fields, and therefore they can falsify the opposing claim by demonstrating that gasses and stars move together. The plasma universe theories require a corresponding adjustment to our understanding of the stars themselves as strong electrically charged objects themselves, but more importantly the modeling of the flow of current is the key to understanding the electromagnetic forces acting on the gasses and stars.

Those folks took down a straw man.


Comment Certainty in Science (Score 5, Insightful) 236

It really bothers me to see quotes like this one: "There is more dark matter in the Universe than visible matter, but it is extremely elusive."

That's so matter of fact, and leaves no room for the possibility that the theory of dark matter is wrong. I feel that the certainty level around our understanding of this topic is low enough that it isn't fair to competing theories to say things like that as if they are observed fact. In fact, we've never detected dark matter. We infer its existence from a number of things that don't add up gravitationally without it, indicating we're missing something. Dark matter that interacts gravitationally allows us to model a universe that adds up, if only this invisible stuff were distributed just so.

This article shows yet another data point indicating that dark matter may not exist, because of how it continues to not react with stuff, just as it would if it weren't there at all. I don't mean to say that it's 100% wrong, but I think it's unfair to say with 100% certainty that it's true either. Shouldn't we as scientists be more careful with our words, and say that dark matter is BELIEVED to make up more of the universe than does visible matter, based on our current leading theories? I think being careful with what we know and how well we know it is important to maintaining trust with the public and with each-other.


Comment Electric Universe (Score 1, Troll) 236

The answer to what they're missing: Electric charge and currents.

The electric universe folks explain that galactic rotation rates do not require dark matter to make sense. The electric current through the galaxy adds forces on the charged stars and gasses that adds up to explain the observed motions. This article sheds more light on the problems with the dark matter theories. It's time to more strongly consider the possibility that dark matter isn't the answer.


Comment I'm Still Rooting for AMD (Score 5, Interesting) 345

I was so proud of them when they kicked IA64's ass with their amd64 architecture, beating Intel at their own game by choosing to be x86-compatible when even Intel didn't go that way. Then I was sad when amd64 started getting called x64, since it stripped AMD of the credit they deserved. Go AMD! A world without strong competition for Intel would be very bad for consumers.

Comment Re:Don't Be So Cock-Sure You Know The Answer (Score 3, Interesting) 269

Thank you for sharing your perspective like a gentleman. I respect that.

I think the core of our disagreement is with your expectation that all the things explained by LCDM must be explained by other theories. I believe it's perfectly fine for the answer to be that some things aren't connected. If we no longer assume we know the age of the universe, then predictions of element ratios no longer need to agree with observations of CMB, which may be totally disconnected from galaxy supercluster clumpiness. If red shift is seen to have some cause other than just expansion, then no unified theory has to predict how the universe got from a near-singularity to the observed state. Once you take a fixed finite timeline out of the picture, there can be different causes for different phenomena.

(Last post from me on this thread.)

Comment Re:Don't Be So Cock-Sure You Know The Answer (Score 1) 269

Reread my title, BorisTheSpider. I'm clearly talking to people like you. Your message showed exactly the unarguable hubris I'm talking about.

As for your challenges, if I'm allowed to make stuff up whenever I want to make my theory fit the model, I can do at least as well as the Lambda CDM. But then it'd be no better either. I don't want to make up dark energy when it calculations don't add up. I don't want to make up dark matter when my motions don't add up. I don't want to invent a cosmological constant that causes accelerating expansion because the timeline doesn't add up without it.

I do not assume that the universe must be expanding in the "expanding space" sense. I do not assume large scale electric charge imbalances are impossible. I do not assume dark matter exists. I do not assume that the universe must have had an identifiable beginning. I do not assume that it must fit with any religion's idea of "the moment of creation." I honestly believe that most scientists believe in the Big Bang as a religious litmus test akin to "do you believe in science?"

I do make a lot of assumptions, but when I take out the assumption of a Big Bang, I find that a lot of things don't necessarily follow supported by their own weight. And anyone who justifies one piece of the puzzle by saying it fits into the Lambda CDM, is I believe falling victim to circular logic. I remain unconvinced that Lambda CDM (or any previous Big Bang formulation) is anything more than an attempt to put a random formula together that ties together a number of different unfounded assumptions so they look like they reinforce each other.

You assume it's more than that, and I appreciate that you are working to validate aspects of the theory. Here's what I'd like you to ask yourself, even if you still think I'm an idiot: When you find something that disagrees with the theory, you try to figure out what variable needs to be tweaked to improve the agreement, but is there a point where you would ever consider reexamining the questions of the assumptions? Why haven't we reached that point yet?


Comment Don't Be So Cock-Sure You Know The Answer (Score 0, Troll) 269

Wow, these guys are way too certain of themselves. And this isn't direct evidence of anything except polarization. Anything beyond that, be it gravitational waves or what that says about the first moments after the Big Bang, are indirect.

Science is a process of discovery, and we need to be open to alternatives that are not disproven. The expansion of the universe is a great example of this. Everybody "knows" that the universe is expanding and that this indicates a Big Bang is the most likely origin story. But technically, all we have observed is that there is a correlation between distance and red shift, assuming that absorption spectra are constant over space/time and light doesn't chance frequency in travel. We have not actually observed that distant galaxies are actually moving away from us. We literally have no direct evidence that the universe is expanding. It's a theory. Not proven fact.

To put a more fine point on it, we know (can demonstrate experimentally) that relative motion is _a_ cause of red-shift, and we observe red-shift. We have not, in fact, observed this relative motion on scales large enough to demonstrate universal expansion. This is an indirect measurement believed to be reliable, but not proven. We can only observe relative motion on very close things via parallax, and we've found that some things are coming towards us, so relative motion locally is not dominated by expansion. We rely on the theory. It could be wrong.

A viable alternate theory is that light gives up some energy while traveling extremely long distances, which shows up as red-shift. Where does the energy go? It could be the source of energy for the CMBR. It could go somewhere else. In any case, as a theory, it explains the red-shift just as well as expansion. Another viable alternate theory is that the absorption/emission spectra of atoms differs with space/time. Perhaps atoms farther away or longer ago created and absorbed light at lower frequencies, this making older light appear red-shifted by current frequency comparisons. This theory is even harder to test, but just as good at explaining the observations.

As a scientist, remember the difference between theory and proof.


Comment Alternate Title (Score 1) 1431

Alternate title: "Man Shot To Death After Striking Retired Police Officer In Dark Room"

When you put it that way, it's not ridiculous. Probably wouldn't have received national attention either. Yes, the fight started over texting, but it was finished when one of them hit the other. Violence in public is risky. You never know how the other guy plans to defend himself. Don't be an asshole and hit strangers, and you won't get shot by the tiny percentage who carry guns.


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