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Author Topic:   Coffee House Musing
dwise1
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Message 7 of 172 (885605)
04-20-2021 12:43 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AZPaul3
04-18-2021 8:57 PM


Re: Astronomy
And even before CCDs analog astronomy was rarely about looking through the telescope but rather was all about photography.

When it comes to telescopes, why does size matter so much? Telescope size has nothing to do with magnification of the image. So why is getting a bigger telescope such a big deal?

It's all about light collection. Most objects we want to view are not visible to the eye because they are far too faint -- and the more distant they are the fainter they are as per the inverse-square law. Very little of their light reaches us. The larger a telescope is, the more light it can collect, including that very little light from those faint objects.

But even with the largest telescope possible, the astronomer would still not be able to see most of those objects. Which is why they had to resort to astrophotography, exposing that film for hours at a time to collect enough light from those distant faint objects.

Even in everyday life photography has gone digital, so it makes sense that astrophotography would have done the same.


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dwise1
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Posts: 4822
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Member Rating: 6.3


(1)
Message 8 of 172 (885606)
04-20-2021 12:45 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Percy
04-20-2021 9:20 AM


Re: The Larger Picture
Even my coffee cup is programmable and has an app now

So you can drink your coffee only if you have a compatible phone? Eg, if you have an iPhone and an Android coffee cup then your phone will refuse to talk to your coffee cup?


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dwise1
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Posts: 4822
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 6.3


(4)
Message 9 of 172 (885609)
04-20-2021 2:09 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Phat
04-20-2021 11:53 AM


Re: Astronomy
This whole math thing is no replacement for woo.

Rather, woo is sadly a wide spread replacement for actual thought. With math we can analyze what we observe and figure it out. With woo all you can do is either wave your hands a lot or else clamp your hands over your eyes and ears in order to avoid learning anything.

For example, Dawkins' WEASEL program producing a specific sentence (eg, Shakespeare's "Methinks it is like a weasel", my MONKEY uses the alphabet in alphabetical order) by randomly selecting letters to string together. Using single-step selection (ie, creationists' misconception of evolution working by having something complex like a modern animal cell just falling together in a single event) that would be virtually impossible (making a million attempts every second it would take about 195 trillion years to have a one-in-a-million chance of success -- nearly 10,000 times longer than the universe's estimated age of 20 billion years). But Dawkins' WEASEL uses cumulative selection using evolutionary processes such are in wide spread use by life itself, in which small random changes are retained and form the starting point for the next small random change. Dawkins wrote it as a simple BASIC program, started the program and went out for lunch. It had generated the target string before he returned from lunch.

I didn't believe that, so I tested it (BTW, that's not your beloved woo approach). Not having a program listing for his WEASEL, I wrote my own program using his description as my specification (in a page that collected WEASEL programs, my program was described as being the closest to the original) using a compiled language (first Pascal, later ported to C) instead of a slow interpreted language like BASIC. When I ran my program on an XT clone (Norton Factor 2), it generated the target string (the alphabet in alphabetical order) in less than 30 seconds -- modern PCs run about a thousand times faster or more so the program appears to run instantaneously.

I didn't believe that either, so I did the math. It turns out that, while the probability for success for a single small-step attempt is small, when you bundle that with 100 such attempts happening in parallel (just as life itself would do it within a population) then the probability of all of them failing becomes very small -- hence the probability of at least one of them succeeding becomes very high -- and then the probability of all of them failing consistently over many generation becomes vanishingly small -- hence the probability of success within the population becomes a virtual dead certainty. It cannot fail.

My page on that is MONKEY, which links to my mathematical analysis of the probabilities involved, MONKEY PROBABILITIES (MPROBS). Both were originally published on CompuServe in 1990.
"Everybody's got something to hide, except for me and my monkey!" (Lennon and McCartney)

Doing the math shows what actually happens. Depending on woo would have you believing a falsehood and would keep you perpetually in the darkness of ignorance.

 
Another example is Kent Hovind's false claim that if the sun were actually as old as science says it is (about 5 billion (109) years old) then that ancient sun would have been so incredibly large and massive that its incredibly greater gravity would have "sucked the earth in". He bases that on the rate at which the sun "burns its fuel" -- that would be the loss of mass from hydrogen fusing into helium, though I suspect that "Dr" (fake PhD bought from a diploma mill) Hovind (self-proclaimed expert on math and science) doesn't understand how the sun "burns its fuel" and thinks that it's through combustion (eg, he explained that crashing the Galileo probe into Jupiter wouldn't turn it into a star because there's not enough oxygen in the Jovian atmosphere to sustain combustion) which doesn't result in any mass loss anyway (according to my high school chemistry). That rate of mass loss, 5 million tons per second, times 5 billion (5×109) years results in a truly astronomical number of tons lost over that period of time.

Hovind never reveals that number, but rather lets his audience stew in their love of woo as he waves his hands and feeds them outrageous lies -- in jazz dancing, that use of "jazz hands" is intended to distract the audience from seeing how he's messing up his footwork. He even explicitly forbids his audience from ever doing the math or listening to anybody who has done the math.

Why? Because that would dispel the woo and expose his deception. Do the math and find that that rate over that much time would result in a solar mass loss of 7.88923×1023. However, the sun's current mass is about 2500 times greater such that that astronomically large mass loss accounts for a few hundredths of one percent of the sun's total mass. Adding it back in order to arrive at the ancient sun's original mass has virtually no effect on the ancient sun's size or mass. Hovind's hand-waving assessment of the ancient sun "sucking the earth in" is totally false.

My page on that, DWise1: Kent Hovind's Solar Mass Loss Claim, presents different versions of Hovind's solar-mass-loss claim and its refutation. Then the rest of the page gets into a lot of fairly simple solar astrophysics in anticipation of objections that creationists might try to raise.

BTW, I emailed Hovind for information on this claim, mainly asking what his source was or did he come up with it himself (I have found one other use of this claim from more than a decade before Hovind became active). Not only did he try to avoid discussing his claim, but he also tried twice to pick a fight with me over my AOL screenname, DWise1.

That is what happens when one dedicates oneself to woo and against reality.

You don't believe me? Just do the math.

 
ABE:

For fun and edification, here is a film about the sun that I watched in elementary school and learned a lot from. It's Dr. Frank Baxter and a writer (played by Eddie Albert whom I didn't know about at the time) interviewing "Our Mr. Sun":

 


That BS nonsense from Hovind trying twice to pick a fight with me over my screenname, DWise1, led me to include this explanation on my index page:

quote:
Over the years, most especially in on-line "creation/evolution" discussions, creationists have often engaged in personal attacks against me just because of my AOL screen name, "DWise1". In fact, one infamous professional creationist, Kent Hovind, went so far as to twice attempt (via email) to pick a fight with me over my screen name in order to avoid answering a very simple question about one of his claims, namely what his source was. I informed him that the story behind that name is really very mundane and has nothing to do with what he was railing against and I presented it to him.

So then why "DWise1"? Here is the story:


In every multi-user computer system, there are corporate policies for assigning user names. One common one is to append the first letter of the first name to the beginning of the first n letters of the last name (since there's always a limit to the length of the user name), adding numeric digits if the resultant user name has already been assigned. For example, one Dilbert comic depicted a "Brenda Utthead" complaining about the user name they had assigned her.

When I went to work at Hughes Aircraft in 1985, that was their policy, so my user name was "dwise". At the same time, they had bought some of the first Macs, non-networked floppy systems which we used to combine text and graphics in our presentation visuals. To identify my data floppy, I labelled it with my user name, "dwise". Then when I had filled that one and start on a second data diskette, I labeled that one "dwise2" and, for symmetry, I relabelled the first one, "dwise1". Then one day a co-worker read the label of the dwise1 diskette and started to laugh. I didn't get the joke until he told me to read it out loud; up until then I had not realized that it sounded like "The Wise One" and we all had a good laugh over the unintentional pun.

Then when I signed up for AOL several years later, in the middle of the sign-up process I suddenly had to think up a screen name. All I could think of was that accidental pun and so chose "DWise1" as my screen name.


Well, there you have the story. Nothing at all to it. And others have also chosen that name, albeit on other domains, of course -- in each domain there can be only one of any user name.

Edited by dwise1, : to the first paragraph added "With woo all you can do ... "

Edited by dwise1, : Added "It cannot fail."

Edited by dwise1, : ABE


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4822
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 6.3


(1)
Message 15 of 172 (885730)
04-24-2021 9:31 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Percy
04-24-2021 5:49 PM


Re: The Larger Picture
... but they're in the Matrix guarded by my toaster which hasn't let me pass since I tried to use it to warm up a fried egg.

Wow! You still have a Flying Toaster? Those things were so cool!


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dwise1
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Posts: 4822
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 6.3


(1)
Message 17 of 172 (885756)
04-25-2021 3:34 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by ringo
04-25-2021 11:44 AM


Re: The Larger Picture
My dance teacher friend (our relationship is mainly that I assisted her for about 14 years) has an iPhone. As a retired software engineer, Apple software just drives me crazy in how it keeps me from performing the most basic programmer tasks. Even the "Genius Bar" geniuses have told me that the most basic functionality that I need, being able to transfer individual files between my phone and computer (ie, PDFs or photos), was impossible with an iPhone. In addition, photos and videos of my grandsons (all the way across the country in Florida) are unnessecerily complicated because of incompatibilites between Apple and non-Apple devices. A classic example was when I had an AVI file from my camera of a dance routine we had done the week before and tried to display it for the class on a brand-new Mac. That brand-new Mac could not recognize that decade-old AVI file. "Not manufactured here." Well fuck you very much, Apple!

In our two European trips, my friend and I traded our photos afterwards. This second and last time (she died last year on Veterans' Day) she couldn't share her photos because her new iPhone had a proprietary photo format that was incompatible with everybody else. Well fuck you very much, Apple!

My dance teacher friend keeps castigating me for not switching to Apple, but who would ever want to drink that Kool-Aid?


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Replies to this message:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4822
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 6.3


(1)
Message 19 of 172 (885763)
04-25-2021 4:14 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by jar
04-25-2021 3:45 PM


Re: a bite off the Apple
Apple was smart in their marketing, but it screwed a lot of kids up.

Apple donated a lot of Apple computers to schools. Generations of kids and teachers grew up with Apple computers. Every time we see anyone on TV using a computer, it's most likely an Apple computer or iPhone (in European productions, I saw a lot more Windows computer and phones in use). Then those kids went out into the real world economy and had to work with Windows computers because that's the route that business had taken.

So just who the frak would ever want to make their device appear to be a fracking severely impaired Apple device?

How do you edit a text file? How do you do a hex dump of a file? How do you do anything at all meaningful on an Apple device? You can't even right-click on a screen object. Absolutely useless!


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4822
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 6.3


Message 20 of 172 (885777)
04-26-2021 12:17 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by ringo
04-25-2021 11:44 AM


Re: The Larger Picture
My phone is a Samsung, so in a pinch I can use it as an immersion heater to make instant coffee.

I had a TNG tricorder app on my Palm Pilot. One of its built-in scanner settings was for heating up a microwave burrito. Unfortunately, my Palm Pilot didn't have the required hardware upgrades so I was never able to properly test that feature.

For my coffee, I stay old-school and still use my Bialetti Moka Express.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4822
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 6.3


(3)
Message 61 of 172 (887838)
08-23-2021 2:35 AM
Reply to: Message 60 by Tanypteryx
08-23-2021 1:12 AM


Re: Dark Energy does not add any extra "space" to Space in a galaxy.
Perhaps not my place to pipe in, but my take without having followed the whole matter with extreme diligence is a bit different. Most of the discussion as well as pooh-poohing (especially by the religiously-motivated anti-science forces as I have observed in the creationist community) sound as if Dark Matter and Dark Energy were something very definite albeit hypothetical.

I see them as place-holders. Kind of like imaginary numbers, which to my knowledge nobody can really define (ie, just what exactly is the square root of -1 when all real squares can only be positive ... kind of like the negative mass you would get when you surpass the speed of light). Or the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (nearly half a century later, I could be a bit rusty about the actual name) in which you differentiate by taking the limit of Δy over Δx as Δx approaches zero (IOW, you're approaching dividing by zero (T-shirt quote: "Sure, it's all just fun and games until somebody divides by zero.")). In the case of Δx, you solve the problem by finding a way to factor the Δx out of the denominator. In the case of the square root of -1, you just keep track of those imaginary factors in the hopes of either eventually eliminating them or else have them indicate something very interesting and quite useful (eg, from my EE classes over 40 years ago, raising the natural base, e, to an imaginary power generates a sinusoidal waveform -- I've been meaning to get back around to relearning all that this past year-and-a-half).

Then I heard of Einstein having to resort to a factor, Λ, that he couldn't define but which he still needed in order to make the math work out. A place holder for some factor that he didn't know about, but which seemed to play a role (since without it the math would not work out).

That is how I tend to view Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Most of what we observe conforms to our understanding and yet there also things which we observe happening which we cannot account for. We don't know what it is, but we are able to work out the effects that it has. So we assume placeholder factors to account for those effects as we try to figure out what it is.

So whenever I heard any heated objections over whether Dark Matter or Dark Energy is real, I just tune them out since they don't understand the discussion. The effects that we ascribe to Dark Matter and Dark Energy are real. We just don't know what's actually causing those effects. Though at the same time we can do a proper job of describing what those effects are.

Like after Herschel had discovered Uranus through observation, astronomers started plotting its orbit and discovered anomalies in its position. The math for determining its orbit was correct as far as we knew, so either we would have to completely scrap and replace our knowledge of orbital mechanics or ... there was some external force causing those anomalies. On the basis of that latter hypothesis, the position of yet another planet, Neptune, was predicted through calculations and confirmed through astronomical observation. As the anomalies of Neptune's orbit similarly led to the discovery of Pluto.

And isn't that how scientific knowledge advances? We think we have it all figured out but then something doesn't quite fit. So we try to figure out what went wrong and we discover something else. I've heard and developed in my topic, So Just How is ID's Supernatural-based Science Supposed to Work? (SUM. MESSAGES ONLY), that while religion offers "all the answers", the answers of science raise ever more questions which are the driving force and direction of further research; in science, an answer which raises no further questions is perhaps worse than useless (eg, the ID's favored "God of the Gaps" standard answer of "goddidit", which not only answers nothing but also blocks any further research into the matter).

Anyway, just a lay-person's handful of loose change.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4822
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 6.3


Message 144 of 172 (890112)
12-25-2021 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 143 by Tanypteryx
12-25-2021 9:47 AM


Re: JWST Launch Success
The last 23 years of my career as a software engineer I worked at Odetics and then in their Telecom/Zyfer division which they sold off to Frequency Electronics Inc (FEI). Odetics' robot, Odex (see video below), was just a side project. After they made their fortune in data recorders for satellites and space craft, they started to branch out into other fields, including robotics with their Advanced Intelligent Machines Division (which created Odex). I joined the company in 1995 for their Solid-State Recorder (SSR) projects which replaced their mechanical data recorder with solid state technology (very special ICs, some of which were built on sapphire substrates instead of silicon in order to make them more resistant to the radiation out in deep space). As it turned out, while we could reign supreme with mechanical data recorders (due to some very neat tricks by our mechanical engineers that I never learned about), we could not compete in the solid-state recorder market (especially when competitors were gaming the system, but that's another story) ... and the market was looking to solid-state instead of mechanical which took our salesmen completely by surprise, which it shouldn't have.

One of our last big mechanical data recorder projects was the Galileo probe to Jupiter. Despite the complaints, we really pulled their cookies out of the fire.

After the launch, Galileo's high-gain antenna failed to deploy, leaving its low-gain antenna as the only communications channel with the spacecraft. That meant that all that data had to be transmitted at a far lower data rate. In order to support that work-around, our recorder had to do things that it had never been designed to do, such as repeatedly stopping and backing up over and over again. And despite all that, our data recorder came through and returned the data that it had recorded. It had problems towards the end from being made to do things it had never been designed for, but it still succeeded.

 

Funny story. Our break room at Odetics had TVs which would carry the NASA Channel at appropriate times, since much of the company's business was intricately tied in with NASA. As I seem to recall, during the deployment of Galileo's atmospheric probe some kind of parachute was used. In the press conference around that event, a correspondent from a magazine known far more for fashion news than tech asked the question: "What color is that parachute?" The NASA spokesman was literally speechless. I shit thee not, that was literally the question! I swear to God and three other white men! (old Redd Foxx joke that I've been dying to use for nearly half a century).

 
BTW, one of the most popular YEC claims revolves around the fact that the earth's rotation is slowing down. Yes, the earth's rotation is slowing down, but nowhere near at the rate that creationists propose. Their rates are hundreds of times too great because they do not understand leap seconds.

For the last two decades of my professional career, I worked every day with GPS receivers and hence with leap seconds. Please refer to my page, DWISE1'S CREATION / EVOLUTION PAGE: Earth's Rotation is Slowing, for more information.

 

 


We would see Odex everyday in a display case on our way to the cafeteria, but I saw it in action one day when a group of Japanese students visited so they pulled Odex out to play.

In 1992 there was a PBS miniseries, The Machine That Changed the World about the computer. Fascinating. I have the entire series on VHS; I can only hope that I will have a VHS machine handy to play it to my grandsons a decade or more in the future (subject of various works worrying about all our stored data requiring obsolete technology to read it). In their episode on robotics, they pointed out how very problematic a two-legged robot is so they settled on at least six legs, such that three legs would be holding the robot up while the other three were moving to their new positions. Odex did that same thing but with four legs holding the robot in place while the other four were positioning themselves to the new location.

Edited by dwise1, : "and finger pointing"


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4822
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 6.3


(3)
Message 149 of 172 (890322)
01-01-2022 11:40 AM
Reply to: Message 147 by ringo
12-30-2021 11:56 AM


Re: JWST Launch Success
One place I used to work, one of the young women bought a new car.. Somebody asked, "What color is it?"

She answered, "Blue."

Somebody commented, "I hear those are good."

Similarly, in the US military's messing facilities they serve a "fruit juice" beverage which is flavored powder dissolved in water, kind of like Kool-Aid. I encountered it both in the Air Force and the Navy, where it's called "bug juice."

From the NavTermFAQ *:

quote:
Bug juice - A substance similar in appearance to Kool-Aid which is served as a beverage aboard USN ships. Its color has no bearing on its flavor. Largely composed of ascorbic acid. Used extensively as an all-purpose cleaner/stripper for bulkheads, decks, brass fire nozzles, and pipes.

Bug juice comes in a variety of "flavors" which are suggested by color: red, green, yellow, blue, and I forget what else. The running joke is:

Q: "What's your favorite flavor of bug juice?"
A: "Red."

 
Personal war story, I shit thee not. As we were being adjusted to military life in USAF basic military training which seemed to be symbolized by the color green, the standard joke is that we would know that we had been arrived at the state of being fully military when we started to defecate green -- I think that's an old Army meme.

Halfway through basic I contracted measles and spent a few days in the Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) before being transferred to the base hospital. In the ICF, they maintained bug juice dispensers from which we were to drink copiously to fight the fever. They tried to prevent monotony by rotating flavors each day. The first day I drank blue, the second day I drank yellow, and the third day I defecated green. I had arrived!

 


 
* FOOTNOTE:

NavTermFAQ stands for "Naval Terminology FAQ" which is officially named "Naval Slang, Jargon and Terminology FAQ" -- NavTermFAQ.txt is a far more convenient filename to store it under. While primary US Navy, it also includes British naval slang (eg, Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Marines, Royal New Zealand Navy, and militaries of the former British Empire).

It is split into two parts which are linked to through the Haze Gray & Underway's FAQ page. That page contains links to a shipload of military FAQs. Their naming conventions indicate to me that this is a collection of resources from Internet newsgroups, which were the Internet's first discussion forums.

Edited by dwise1, : Provided context by qs'ing ringo

Edited by dwise1, : Minor typo: "where", not "which"


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