Author Topic: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before  (Read 25073 times)

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Offline rumborak

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #175 on: May 06, 2014, 09:09:52 PM »
What I really like about YIF is that it combines the scientific work of the main guy and others to what they are trying to find out. For example, I really liked in the first episode how they showed the researchers poring over maps to find the most likely spots of fossils. It really gives you the impression that there are guys having put hard work into finding out what they did.
Also, while YIF uses animations and special effects, it only uses them for illustrations. Cosmos often goes into segments that have no educational value but are plain CGI for its own sake. A classic example was when NDT flies to the edge of a black hole. What was shown had neither basis in science, nor did it get anything across other than "we spent a ton of money on this special effect".
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Offline Podaar

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #176 on: May 07, 2014, 09:49:59 AM »
I've got Your Inner Fish queued up on my Kindle so once I'm done with the book I'll probably check out the show. Sounds great from your descriptions!

Offline Chino

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #177 on: May 07, 2014, 12:22:20 PM »
What I really like about YIF is that it combines the scientific work of the main guy and others to what they are trying to find out. For example, I really liked in the first episode how they showed the researchers poring over maps to find the most likely spots of fossils. It really gives you the impression that there are guys having put hard work into finding out what they did.
Also, while YIF uses animations and special effects, it only uses them for illustrations. Cosmos often goes into segments that have no educational value but are plain CGI for its own sake. A classic example was when NDT flies to the edge of a black hole. What was shown had neither basis in science, nor did it get anything across other than "we spent a ton of money on this special effect".

I agree, but NDT ripping the stratum of the Grand Canyon apart was pretty awesome.

Offline orcus116

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #178 on: May 07, 2014, 07:29:28 PM »
I've only seen a few episodes of Cosmos but it doesn't really live up to the billing of the "Planet Earth for space" like the commercials were portraying it.

Offline BlobVanDam

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Offline rumborak

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #180 on: May 15, 2014, 11:03:52 AM »
I've seen that article being sent around, but I gotta be honest, my response is: Show me the road a year later. Show me the road after a few flatbed trucks have gone over it and a nice New England blizzard has taken its toll on it.
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Offline BlobVanDam

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #181 on: May 15, 2014, 11:08:38 AM »
I've seen that article being sent around, but I gotta be honest, my response is: Show me the road a year later. Show me the road after a few flatbed trucks have gone over it and a nice New England blizzard has taken its toll on it.

I have the exact same doubts about how it would go in practice, but in theory I think it's a great idea, and I hope it has a chance to develop to a point where they can overcome any such problems and limitations to make it viable. They're funding the first real world test, so I fully expect there will be issues, but you gotta start somewhere.
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Offline Podaar

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Offline jasc15

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #183 on: May 19, 2014, 02:41:13 PM »
Several months ago I bookmarked an episode of NOVA about absolute zero which I finally watched the other night.  Early in the episode was a story of a 16th century alchemist who was able to cool a large room in a castle during a hot summer.  I was curious as to how he did this.  Well, he blew air over ice...  but he added salt to the ice to "make it colder"...  alright, then...

I was very annoyed by this point.  No mention of where in the hell he got ice in the middle of a hot 16th century summer in the first place, along with the completely incorrect idea that adding salt makes ice colder.  That was the extent of the explanation.  Not good for people not well versed in science who want to learn something.  I thought NOVA had better scientific advisors than this.

Offline Chino

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #184 on: May 19, 2014, 02:47:52 PM »

I was very annoyed by this point.  No mention of where in the hell he got ice in the middle of a hot 16th century summer in the first place, along with the completely incorrect idea that adding salt makes ice colder.  That was the extent of the explanation.  Not good for people not well versed in science who want to learn something.  I thought NOVA had better scientific advisors than this.

No clue where he got the ice (There were areas of the world undergoing a miniature ice age at the time I believe. Perhaps he imported the ice), but the salt thing is kind of valid. I don't recall seeing that episode, so I don't know how they worded it. The addition of salt causes the ice to melt faster, which in turn releases more cool temperature over a shorter period of time, making it seem colder.

Offline rumborak

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #185 on: May 19, 2014, 04:24:51 PM »
I don't know when it started, but in the 19th century they had ships going up the eastern coast of the Americas, shipping up nothing but ice to places like New York. I can imagine this happening in Europe much earlier, especially when there's snow-capped mountains in Iceland and Scandinavia.
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Offline kri

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #186 on: May 19, 2014, 06:43:39 PM »
Yep, ice was both imported from cold places but also saved in huge chunks during the winter for use in summer (probably kept under ground somewhere cool).

Also salt will indeed not make ice colder but since most people in general have no coherent idea of what temperature is, I think it's OK to say that it does for simplicity. There are far worse thing said in popsci.

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Offline Implode

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #187 on: May 20, 2014, 09:54:16 AM »
That was like the episode about history of science and cold, right? Great program.

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Offline rumborak

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #189 on: May 20, 2014, 01:14:10 PM »
Watch a tornado supercell form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoO89cqDgJU
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Offline Implode

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #190 on: May 20, 2014, 02:02:45 PM »
Basehunters have some awesome Tornado videos.

Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #191 on: May 24, 2014, 07:07:24 AM »
Not science more like technology but I didn't know were to post it.

http://www.neowin.net/news/ssd-breakthrough-means-300-speed-boost-60-less-power-usage-even-on-old-drives

Quote
In tests, drives using the technology wrote data 55% less often than drives without and performance increases of up to 300% were noted. This could enable high-end devices to easily reach transfer speeds of 1.5GB/s as current models achieve around 500MB/s typically; 60% less power was also used in the lab tests due to the lack of additional drive writes.

If you are reading this on a computer booting from an SSD and are thinking of splashing out on one of these next-generation models equipped with new NAND chips then perhaps you should wait a moment. The changes made by the team were purely software-based. There is definitely a possibility that existing devices still in support by their manufacturers may get firmware updates in the near future so that they store data in the new manner and  benefit from the increased speed, decreased power consumption and increased expected life of drives equipped with the new NAND controller firmware.
Pretty cool that by downloading just a firmware update your SSD can get much much faster instead of buying a new one.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #192 on: May 26, 2014, 08:19:35 PM »
Firmly in the WTF category:

http://www.iflscience.com/space/ancient-texts-be-sent-moon

There's now effort on the way to send ancient texts to the moon.
My suggestion would be to rather send a book about General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and maybe "The Origin of Species". You know, the stuff that actually showcases our intellectual achievements.
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Offline jasc15

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #193 on: June 04, 2014, 11:40:17 AM »
The kilogram is the only one of the 7 fundamental units of nature that is based on a particular artifact rather than derived from physical principles.  (The meter, for example is defined as the distance traveled by light in a particular period of time, where the second is defined by the time taken for some number of vibrations of a cesium atom.)

The mass of a platinum/iridium ingot in Paris, which is used as the international reference standard, has changed slightly since it was made in the late 1800's.

The avogadro project is making a new reference kilogram from a precision ground silicon sphere.  I guess silicon is more stable than platinum, and won't absorb or lose any mass.  Still, it will be an artifact used to define the kilogram.

For those more knowledgeable in physics than me: what is the difficulty in defining the kilogram by reference to physical principles?

Also: Temperature is one of the seven fundamental units of nature.  Isn't temperature just a measure of kinetic energy, which is just composed of the fundamental units of mass, distance and time?
« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 11:47:08 AM by jasc15 »

Offline rumborak

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #194 on: June 04, 2014, 11:48:06 AM »
I guess silicon is more stable than platinum, and won't absorb or lose any mass.  Still, it will be an artifact used to define the kilogram.
For those more knowledgeable in physics than me: what is the difficulty in defining the kilogram by reference to physical principles?

It's essentially an issue of accuracy. Sure, that round ball of silicon is essentially clunky and difficult to handle, but it is also damn accurate. When you redefine a unit, you want to replace it with something more accurate, and that's what they've been struggling to achieve.

Quote
Also: Temperature is one of the seven fundamental units of nature.  Isn't temperature just a measure of kinetic energy, which is just composed of the fundamental units of mass, distance and time?

Temperature is a bit sucky, because it is a stochastic measure. So, it's not that every atom in your soup has the same kinetic energy; what defines the overall temperature is the average kinetic energy of the atoms. And weird things can happen with that kind of definition, like Negative absolute temperature. "A substance with a negative temperature is not colder than absolute zero, but rather it is hotter than infinite temperature"
« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 11:54:23 AM by rumborak »
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Offline jasc15

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #195 on: June 04, 2014, 12:07:32 PM »
As I watch the video I linked before, it appears that once the spheres are complete they will determine the number of atoms in them will be determined which will redefine Avogadro's number.  Once this is done, the physical spheres won't really be needed anymore since it can be said that X moles of silicon = 1 kg, and the kilogram can be derived from principles rather than artifacts.

http://youtu.be/ZMByI4s-D-Y?t=8m39s
« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 12:13:08 PM by jasc15 »

Offline jasc15

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #196 on: June 04, 2014, 12:12:11 PM »
I understand that temperature is an average value of kinetic energy, but energy is still a composite unit.  I suppose my question one of semantics then.

Offline Ħ

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #197 on: June 04, 2014, 04:38:48 PM »
I understand that temperature is an average value of kinetic energy, but energy is still a composite unit.  I suppose my question one of semantics then.
Right, but the total energy of the system does not imply that the definite and discrete parts of the system have equal energy. (A 100 cal system comprising 100 atoms does not imply each atom has 1 cal, but only that the average amount of energy per atom is 1 cal.)
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Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #198 on: June 05, 2014, 12:40:40 AM »
Lava meets Ravioli:

http://youtu.be/6M-YX-r0Ll4

Something very eerie about watching something getting swallowed slowly.
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Offline TioJorge

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #199 on: June 05, 2014, 12:45:38 AM »
That's so awesome. I friggin' love lava. I wanna bathe in it.


...


New death metal band...


BATHING IN MAGMA ROROROROROROROROROOROROR

Science fact: Lava is the Earth's smile.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2014, 12:51:05 AM by TioJorge »

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Offline Chino

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #200 on: June 05, 2014, 09:37:47 AM »
My girlfriend is pretty cool


Offline TioJorge

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #201 on: June 05, 2014, 09:39:14 AM »
Yeah but she's not Carl Sagan.



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Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #202 on: June 06, 2014, 02:50:20 AM »
Here's a little mystery for y'all:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_QyGANCUJI&feature=youtu.be

Someone mentioned the shark swimming near volcanic activity, sounds pretty reasonable but who knows. Maybe something big in the food chain is lurking around in the deep.
There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing. They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him. And now he's died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard.

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Offline kri

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #203 on: June 06, 2014, 04:55:31 AM »
Ugh, that was horrible.
"There is no doubt the shark was eaten by a super-predator of the deep." Yeah right. I hate those kind of things. Definitely not science.

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Offline Phoenix87x

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #204 on: June 07, 2014, 04:00:52 AM »
So I was thinking about War of the Worlds a little bit, but then reversed it for if humans ever did hypothetically get to other worlds.

So if we ever were to find a planet with breathable atmosphere, wouldn't it be an incredible risk of even attempting to live there, because of micro-organisms.

Any planet we step on could be like the Native americans coming in contact with Smallpox, or even a worse, more alien/dangerous version of a Virus, or bacteria which could potentially wipe out any colonizing party, since there's no natural immunity.

I'm guessing science would be so advanced at that point to rapidly come up with some sort of immunization, but since there's billions of different species of micro-organisms, it would probably take decades of research on that planet to fully immunize a human being to the point where they can actually even survive on the planet.



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Offline jasc15

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #205 on: June 08, 2014, 05:38:00 PM »
I'd be surprised if this hadn't been studied before.  My guess would be if some alien pathogen were biologically compatible with the human body, in the sense that it could infect it, it wouldn't be much unlike the Native Americans' exposure to smallpox.

Offline Phoenix87x

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #206 on: June 08, 2014, 06:12:37 PM »
I'd be surprised if this hadn't been studied before.  My guess would be if some alien pathogen were biologically compatible with the human body, in the sense that it could infect it, it wouldn't be much unlike the Native Americans' exposure to smallpox.

That's actually a very interesting point that I didn't even consider. A alien micro-organism on a new planet might not even be biologically compatible to the point where it could even infect us. Fascinating stuff though.
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Offline Chino

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #207 on: June 09, 2014, 08:18:19 AM »
This was one of the first questions I asked myself when watching Avatar. At one point, we hear the line " find out what these blue monkeys want. We try to give them medicine, education, roads". I always assumed that if we could make medicine for the aliens, we could vaccinate ourselves as needed.

I think in a real world scenario, if the alien bacteria was even able to interact with our biology (or ours theirs), it would come down to whichever organism could evolve immunity the fastest. It truly is a crap shoot. I don't think any test in the lab could prepare us for a completely new ecosystem that evolved in complete isolation from our own.

Offline kri

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #208 on: June 09, 2014, 04:26:51 PM »
My uniformed opinion: I highly doubt that is any issue, just look at how many viruses, bacteria, funghi, .. exist on our planet and how little of those can actually "infect" us. There are so many pathogens limited to just one species. I don't think a completely different biology would be compatible.
A much bigger problem would be surviving in the atmosphere.

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Offline Chino

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Re: The science and nature thread v. We tried this before
« Reply #209 on: June 09, 2014, 04:57:08 PM »
My uniformed opinion: I highly doubt that is any issue, just look at how many viruses, bacteria, funghi, .. exist on our planet and how little of those can actually "infect" us. There are so many pathogens limited to just one species. I don't think a completely different biology would be compatible.
A much bigger problem would be surviving in the atmosphere.

I think he atmosphere would probably be one of the easier challenges. If the celestial body we are dealing with is larger than Earth, I'd expect gravity to be a pretty big deal.