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Author Topic:   Recent Debates in your Area of Study
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 36 (385399)
02-15-2007 1:28 PM


Hello wise forum folks,
I am set to do an agrument paper for class, and I am still unable to think of an argument that hasn't been worked over too much, and that will interest me. Because my connections with the world of recent news on certain subjects are lacking, I come to you.
In your area of study, or work, or interests in general, what do you see are the leading debates currently taking place? I'm said to avoid "hot-button" issues or things based on moral/belief values.
Any help in choosing a topic would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Jon
Edited by AdminPD, : Title Typo

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by NosyNed, posted 02-15-2007 1:34 PM Jon has replied
 Message 5 by kuresu, posted 02-15-2007 2:06 PM Jon has not replied
 Message 12 by nator, posted 02-15-2007 9:35 PM Jon has not replied
 Message 15 by BMG, posted 02-16-2007 2:40 AM Jon has not replied
 Message 16 by Taz, posted 02-16-2007 2:52 AM Jon has not replied

NosyNed
Member
Posts: 9007
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 2 of 36 (385401)
02-15-2007 1:34 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jon
02-15-2007 1:28 PM


Cosmology Wars
This might be too much for your purposes but there is lots on the current war in physics over string theory. Is it or is it not a useful path to explore?
The reading I've done makes it clear that there is room for a real argument from both sides. That is what makes it fun!
If I think of more I'll add them.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Jon, posted 02-15-2007 1:28 PM Jon has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Jon, posted 02-15-2007 1:51 PM NosyNed has replied

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 36 (385405)
02-15-2007 1:51 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by NosyNed
02-15-2007 1:34 PM


Re: Cosmology Wars
That's sounds like a really cool topic! Is there any specific aspect of String theory that I could focus into with a 5 pages paper or so?
THANKS!
Jon

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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NosyNed
Member
Posts: 9007
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 4 of 36 (385406)
02-15-2007 2:01 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Jon
02-15-2007 1:51 PM


Re: Cosmology Wars
You are mistaking me for someone who knows something.
Try looking here for a start:
Page not found | WIRED
The basic problem is experimental evidence to tie the math to the real world. That seems to be the core argument of the contrarians.
On the otherside it seems that string theory does, from first principles, give results that do correspond to what exists.
You can use this as a jumping off place for why empirical data is an absolute must in settling anything about the universe.

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kuresu
Member (Idle past 2629 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 5 of 36 (385407)
02-15-2007 2:06 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jon
02-15-2007 1:28 PM


Should the EU let in Turkey, among others (forgot the names of the countries)?
not a hot-button issue over here, really.
Should Japan build nukes? (not as hot-button as it was before DPRK's agreement to dismantle its production of nukes)

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Heathen
Member (Idle past 1399 days)
Posts: 1067
From: Brizzle
Joined: 09-20-2005


Message 6 of 36 (385408)
02-15-2007 2:14 PM


I guess this is totally irrelevant, But in my industry the main topic at the moment is Composite vs Metallic Aircraft structure,
which is lighter/stronger/recyclable/repairable
The indusry seems to think composites is the way to go. I disagree.
Apologies for the distraction,
please carry on...

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Jon, posted 02-15-2007 2:27 PM Heathen has not replied
 Message 10 by RAZD, posted 02-15-2007 9:28 PM Heathen has replied

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 36 (385411)
02-15-2007 2:27 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Heathen
02-15-2007 2:14 PM


No distraction at all, in fact, I'd much appreciate it if you would elaborate
Thanks,
Jon

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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 36 (385414)
02-15-2007 2:55 PM


I guess I should say that I did have an idea in mind. My topic was going to be the Sphinx age debate. The only problem with that, is that I feel it has perhaps died off and no longer is as recent.
I made a post about it
http://EvC Forum: Geology and the Great Sphinx -->EvC Forum: Geology and the Great Sphinx
Anyone into archaeology could probably tell me more on whether this would be a good topic to go into. The real problem I might have is finding a way to bring it into a new perspective (part of the requirement), as opposed to just restating old arguments.
Thanks,
Jon

Replies to this message:
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Son Goku
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 36 (385415)
02-15-2007 3:19 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Jon
02-15-2007 1:51 PM


Re: Cosmology Wars
There are four camps to the String issue, if you want to hear. Two of them Pro-String and two of them Anti-String. I'll characterise them by a title, but that doesn't mean all who fall under the title agree.
Pro camps first.
Camp 1: String Theorists themselves and other High Energy theorists:
String Theory is currently our most successful attempt to construct a theory which combines the principles of Quantum Mechanics with the principles of General Relativity. As such it should be encouraged, even though direct experimental results have not yet been produced.
Camp 2: Mathematicians:
Even if String Theory is useless as a theory of physics, String Theorists have advanced mathematics in new, unexpected ways, so let it keep going. Even if it fails to work, it'll have advanced mathematics which can later be used by mathematicians and other physical theories in the future.
Anti-Camps next.
Camp 3: Popperian Sceptics:
String Theory doesn't make any predictions we can check in an experiment. It isn't well defined enough as a physical theory to state anything explicitly which can be checked.
Camp 4: Practical/Experimental Sceptics:
String Theory tries to combine Quantum Mechanics with General Relativity. The Energy Scales where the two theories come together is far to high to ever be reached by human beings. We'd need Particle Accelerators that stretch from here to Alpha Centauri to test the theory. It doesn't matter what the Popperian Sceptics say, even if String Theory does make predictions eventually, we won't be able to test it.

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RAZD
Member (Idle past 1521 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 10 of 36 (385531)
02-15-2007 9:28 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Heathen
02-15-2007 2:14 PM


which is lighter/stronger/recyclable/repairable
I would think the bigger issue would be prevention of catastrophic failure. Aluminum and some composites (carbon fiber?) are prone to catastrophic fatigue failures that are hard to detect before they happen. Steel and some of the more plastic composites can be designed around the fatigue limits.
Catastrophic failure also has impacts on design - some designs can tend to be self correcting in loss of control situations.
I'd hate to be on a plane that becomes a creationist parody ...

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we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAAmericanOZen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.

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RAZD
Member (Idle past 1521 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 11 of 36 (385533)
02-15-2007 9:32 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Son Goku
02-15-2007 3:19 PM


Re: Cosmology Wars
I thought the detection of gravity waves would disprove string theory -- or was that only 'brane theory cosmology?
(Not that we can detect gravity waves yet ... )

Join the effort to unravel AIDS/HIV, unfold Proteomes, fight Cancer,
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we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAAmericanOZen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.

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nator
Member (Idle past 2286 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 12 of 36 (385534)
02-15-2007 9:35 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jon
02-15-2007 1:28 PM


In my field, important current discussions are:
food safety and the limited power of the FDA
the definition of "organic"
buying local vs buying from far away
the fate of the small family farm in the fact of agribusiness
the revival of the local farmer's market

This message is a reply to:
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Heathen
Member (Idle past 1399 days)
Posts: 1067
From: Brizzle
Joined: 09-20-2005


Message 13 of 36 (385538)
02-15-2007 10:08 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by RAZD
02-15-2007 9:28 PM


razd writes:
prone to catastrophic fatigue failures
To all intents and purposes Composites (at least the lay-ups used in aerospace) does not suffer from fatigue on anywhere near the scale that metal does. It is a major selling point. Crack growth is retarded by the many plies in differing directions.
Composite material is a lot stiffer though, so it does attract a lot of load.
With metallics Fatigue is a major part of design, and is some components can be critical. But clever design (large radii, gradual changes in cross section) can minimise the effects.
every aircraft component has a 'fatigue life' after which it must undergo rigorous inspections for defects.
Material treatments such as annealing, and shot peening (Building in compression) can also increase the fatigue life.
(I'm more of a static stress guy than a fatigue guy though)
detectability of damage is an issue though, you could drop a wrench on a composite lay up and se no visable damage, but somewhere in the ply lay-up you may have caused a delamination or discontinuity. (there are techniques, but they are costly and time consuming)
razd writes:
Catastrophic failure also has impacts on design
Well... yes obviously, we design to yield strength most of the time. But we also use failsafe design principles where appropriate.
also, every load we use ahas a 1.5 factor applied to it, on top of conservative analysis techniques.
A big concern with composites is repairability. With aluminium, if you get a ding or hole, you can cut out the bad metal and bolt on a repair. with composites, you may have 40 or 50 plies, in differing directions, sometimes differing materials. As this material is not Isotropic (i.e. does not have the same material properties in all directions) it is hard to maintain continuity of strength with a 'patch'.
Also, If a composite aircraft crashes, you're gonna get a lot of 'dust' From the breaking composite material. So any survivor is likely to get a lungful, as is any resue worker, and possibly any nearby residents.
Edited by Creavolution, : No reason given.
Edited by Creavolution, : No reason given.

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Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 3714 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 14 of 36 (385548)
02-16-2007 2:23 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Jon
02-15-2007 2:55 PM


There's the trees-down/ground-up debate about bird evolution.
Not my field, but my avatar has an interest in it.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Jon, posted 02-15-2007 2:55 PM Jon has not replied

BMG
Member (Idle past 325 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 15 of 36 (385549)
02-16-2007 2:40 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jon
02-15-2007 1:28 PM


Hi Jon.
The issue of possibly doing away with the electoral college might be a worthy avenue.
Or how about GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms)?

This message is a reply to:
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