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Author Topic:   Counter-Intuitive Science
Dr Adequate
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Joined: 07-20-2006
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Message 1 of 182 (599512)
01-08-2011 11:29 AM


Much of science is counter-intuitive. One could talk here about relativity or quantum theory, but there are examples that are easier to grasp and equally counter-intuitive at first glance. For example, the world being round. (I can still recall my own incredulity when my mother told me about that one.) Or the fact that large stars burn through their fuel faster than small ones.

What are your favorite examples?


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Admin
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Message 2 of 182 (599606)
01-09-2011 8:50 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Counter-Intuitive Science thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
slevesque
Member (Idle past 2749 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 3 of 182 (599634)
01-09-2011 2:57 PM


a red flame is less energetic then a blue flame. (Or infrared is less energetic then ultraviolet)

Although it's not counter-intuitive per se, but it is since in our cultures we represent red as hot, heat, fire and blue as cold, ice etc.


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cavediver
Member (Idle past 1752 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 4 of 182 (599639)
01-09-2011 3:25 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by slevesque
01-09-2011 2:57 PM


a red flame is less energetic then a blue flame.

Definitely, and even more so in the case of stars - I mean, how hot can a blue star honestly look?


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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 86 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 5 of 182 (599678)
01-09-2011 6:47 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dr Adequate
01-08-2011 11:29 AM


Dr Adequate writes:

What are your favorite examples?

that it is entirely possible to make a vehicle that travels directly downwind, powered only by the wind, and goes faster than the wind.


אָרַח

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RAZD
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Message 6 of 182 (599685)
01-09-2011 7:38 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by arachnophilia
01-09-2011 6:47 PM


or one that can travel directly upwind, powered by wind.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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Panda
Member (Idle past 1821 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 7 of 182 (599693)
01-09-2011 8:39 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dr Adequate
01-08-2011 11:29 AM


Not sure if it is counter-intuitive per se, but Archimedes' Screw:

I don't why, but it sets off a false-positive on my bullshit meter.
It all 'seems wrong'.

Edited by Panda, : typo


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CosmicChimp
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Posts: 306
From: Muenchen Bayern Deutschland
Joined: 06-15-2007


Message 8 of 182 (599694)
01-09-2011 8:46 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dr Adequate
01-08-2011 11:29 AM


There are so many, especially the ones I saw as a kid. Anything from Prof. Julius Sumner Miller had me enthralled. But from my teenage years comes the enduring and possibly my favourite example. Prof. Carl Sagan in Cosmos explains the fourth spatial dimension. I should forget it, I can scarcely grasp the premises even now decades later.

And also from university days, that a lungfish has physically much more DNA than a human.


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jar
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Posts: 30935
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 9 of 182 (599695)
01-09-2011 8:50 PM


That ice floats.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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Larni
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Posts: 3976
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 10 of 182 (599730)
01-10-2011 10:42 AM


That heavy things fall to earth the same speed as lighter things.
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jar
Member
Posts: 30935
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 11 of 182 (599733)
01-10-2011 10:48 AM


That summer and winter are not related to how close the earth is to the sun.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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Tanypteryx
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Posts: 2061
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 8.7


Message 12 of 182 (599735)
01-10-2011 10:58 AM


That there are no green stars even though there is green light in their spectrum.


Tactimatically speaking, the molecubes are out of alignment. -- S.Valley

What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

You can't build a Time Machine without Weird Optics -- S. Valley


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Panda
Member (Idle past 1821 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 13 of 182 (599736)
01-10-2011 11:03 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by jar
01-10-2011 10:48 AM


jar writes:

That summer and winter are not related to how close the earth is to the sun.


On a similar vein: the phases of the moon not being caused by the Earth.
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Iblis
Member (Idle past 2004 days)
Posts: 663
Joined: 11-17-2005


Message 14 of 182 (599739)
01-10-2011 11:07 AM


That water expands when freezing (that home-made slurpees explode rather than implode)
  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 182 (599740)
01-10-2011 11:08 AM


That I exist.


Check out Apollo's Temple!
Ignorance is temporary; you should be able to overcome it. - nwr

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