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Comment Re:History repeats itself (Score 3, Informative) 387

| Higgs was ridiculed for good 50 years.This is no different.

It's completely different. The scalar "Higgs/6 other authors" field was never ridiculed.

Higgs field was an essential part of an extraordinarily empirically successful theory and was generally accepted as 'probably real' by the 1970's, but was difficult to find experimentally.

Comment Re:My thoughts... (Score 1) 387

> And the mathematics behind these things is very primitive and simple, there is no elegance.

> But string theory is different. Although it has not been a success phenomenologically, it has led to many beautiful results in mathematics and field theory,

That is judging physics approaches by how fun are the mathematics they induce. Which is exactly the attitude which is being criticized.

As far as 'primitive and simple'----a primitive and simple phenomenological theory which gets the core behavior right and predicts O(0) and O(1) and maybe even O(2) effects is a fantastic and insightful triumph in most areas of physics!

If string theory is clever mathematics, let mathemeticians do it, and judge it their own way. In practice, as there is a roughly zero-sum competition for theoretical physics funding, I submit that string theory approaches have taken up far too much attention compared to so many other areas of potential study, most of which have not yet demonstrated themselves to be, over 40 years of intense study, fiercely repellent to experimental implication.

> These other "quantum gravity" approaches that Smolin champions are completely disconnected from any kind of real physics

Other than quantum mechanics and gravitation?

Comment Re:The Ultimate Computer (Score 1) 441

> Because I'd use that massive wealth to provide people with bread and circuses and invest the rest to developing promising new technologies,

And you'd be outcompeted & defeated by the other trillionaires from SPECTRE who don't bother wasting their resources at disposal on that sort of wussy stuff but on dominating people like you.

Comment Re:This Summary Is FUD (Score 1) 116

| Someone left a bug in the contract, and because this is a programmed contract, not a written one, no one could enforce the "spirit" of the contract over the exact (erroneous) content of the contract.

A perfect instantiation of a naive (is there any other kind?) libertarian's dream and everybody else's nightmare.

http://www.startrek.com/database_article/landru

Comment Re:Federal Reserve (Score 1) 116

| The "Federal" Reserve is a *private* bank whose purpose is entirely self-serving.

It's not a private bank. Its creation and operations are detailed in U.S. Federal Code, its top management is chosen and confirmed by elected government officials, it regulates private banks with force of law, and its profits are turned over to the U.S. Treasury. It does not have the same motives and behavior as a private bank. Intentionally, the Fed is not a direct part of the political cabinet departments and is more of an independent agency, similar to NASA, CIA and EPA, and not similar to Treasury, whose chief serves at the discretion of the President and is a member of the cabinet.

The Fed does, as part of its very nature, interact heavily with private banks.

The US or Fed do not pay interest on Federal Reserve notes. The U.S. does pay interest on Treasury bills, notes and bonds.

The FDIC is an agency which is created by Congress, the same way as the Federal Reserve. The FDIC's protection of depositors is guaranteed by law, but the Federal Reserve's bailout of institutions is discretionary.

Comment Re:So they're going to release Hillary news when? (Score 1) 160

| The President has a lot more resources to pay off a blackmail than a former SoS.

Actually, not true in this case.

The President has influence and authority, but authority which is mediated through legal processes, paper trail, and agencies with their own independent power. Maybe Obama could convince somehow the CIA to pay off some blackmail from their stash of unmarked bills used to pay overseas informants, but then, CIA would have tremendous blackmail potential over Obama.

The Clintons have hundreds of millions of dollars as their personal, owned, wealth. Call up a banker somewhere, and it's done.

Comment Re:Math Doesn't Add Up (Score 1) 144

Well, there are liquid hydrocarbon fueled racing cars which are far less than 90% efficient which have significantly more than 2,000 HP. They dissipate energy into hot exhaust and a radiator.

The truck proposed by the company has a radiator and liquid coolant, and the power is being outputted over 6 wheels, so between 3 to 6 electric motors.

Given that conventional over the road diesel trucks have about 500 HP, it seems quite unlikely that 2,000 HP would be used for any more than a small fraction of the time. And surely the competent engine management control would detect overheating in motors/coolant/battery pack/electronics and limit output if necessary.

Comment photosynthesis takes it out only temporarily (Score 1) 418


Plants grow and remove CO2 from the atmosphere, but then they die, and when they decay the CO2 goes back in.

Back in geological time when the coal was being made from plants, bacteria and fungi had not yet evolved the ability to break down certain tough parts of the plants, and therefore dead plants built up and up and up and over geological time were compressed and ended up underground. Today, these are known as coal mines.

Since then, these microbes do have the ability to break down and decay the dead plants fully, the CO2 will never ever leave the atmosphere in the long run.

To reduce CO2 climatically, it has to go somewhere which is entirely out of the biosphere and stay there. For instance, coal is excellent carbon sequestration.

In 100 years, the uncontrolled mining and burning of coal will be regarded like civilization today sees slavery: a revoltingly immoral abomination, and yet once was legal, accepted and a major commercial activity. Except that the ill consequences of past evil people would continue to hurt them indefinitely.

Comment Part of the paper seems like nonsense (Score 4, Interesting) 532

It looks like nonsense because it treats photons as if they were Newtonian particles and with ignorance of Maxwell's equations and relativity.

Start with section 2. It treats photons as particles with some momentum m*v. I mean, what? That's just wrong. Photons are relativistic p = E/c and quantum mechanical, E = 2\pi hbar f.

I mean take a look at this:

"Normally, of course, photons are not supposed to have inertial mass in this way,
but here this is assumed. It is not clear what the size of this mass is, but it is
clear for example that light inside a mirrored box produces a kind of inertial mass
for the box. "

So in orthodox physics, photons are not supposed to have inertial mass, but also in orthodox physics light makes inertial mass and it's clear that it's so.

The second statement, about light inside a mirrored box, is so because of relativity and the assertion of the equivalence principle. Electromagnetic fields are part of the stress energy tensor (following Maxwell) which feeds into the source term of general relativity. So yes, there is some sort of inertial contribution, but in fact it can be computed pretty exactly, and it's extraordinarily tiny, and really mostly related to the energy density of the EM field.

So relativity sometimes, but not other times? WTF?

And if the non-standard theory that inertia comes from matter interacting with Unruh radiation, how exactly does that work with photons? Photons don't interact with photons. Zero cross section until the point that they are so energetic they can pop out electron/positron pairs from the vacuum, which is so far not an experimentally accessible regime.

Presumably the idea is that the Unruh radiation inside the cavity is quantized in a particular way different from free space, but wouldn't that mean that inertia of (presumably charged) particles inside that cavity would be altered? But he was talking about the non-sensical 'inertial mass' of the photons themselves. WTF?

I don't mind non-standard theories and their exploration at all, but it's necessary to be clear which standard axioms are being rejected and which others are preserved, and follow that consistently. I just saw very unclear physics.

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