Author Topic: Episode #150  (Read 16607 times)

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Offline Hanes

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #30 on: June 08, 2008, 07:23:00 PM »
lol, are we up to five now, or is it six?  :P

Offline Hazzel

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #31 on: June 08, 2008, 07:30:36 PM »
Regarding the "God" references - Isaacson was just presenting Einstein's views, not his own. It wasn't a debate about those views, but rather a discussion of what Einstein's views were.

yeah ok, I know, but he did say it once for himself though. Also, of course he should have a better understanding than me of what Einstein believed or not, of course, but my understanding beforehand was that he did not believe in a god (at all), that he was "religious" in a sense of amazement of the order of the universe, not religious in the sense of a creator. Anyway,  I did enjoy the interview nonetheless, my last post came out a little strong on that point I think  :-[

Febo- don't you always agree with hanes? :D
« Last Edit: June 08, 2008, 07:32:47 PM by Hazzel »
"a little knowledge is a dangerous thing,
but it's not one half as bad as a lot of ignorence".
- Granny Weatherwax

Stupid brilliant Philip Pullman and his stupidly brilliant yet complicated series.

Offline nkirby

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #32 on: June 08, 2008, 09:40:00 PM »
There is a documentary on cold fusion from BBC's Horizon.  It explains pretty well the controversy and the scientific issues with the past debunked claims.

Offline DoctorAtlantis

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2008, 12:19:36 AM »
Look, those of us who haven't drank the creationist coolaid know what he ment by "good lord." 

All I know is that every time he said it - because of the way he said it - I couldn't help but think of that saying "Don't let the door hit you where the good lord split you."  It really disrupted my listening. :)

Offline Redfox

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #34 on: June 09, 2008, 02:36:38 AM »
They're cultural flotsam (or is it jetsam?)

Is that a "Little Mermaid" joke?
If it says TATACACATATCCTCGT, then you'll probably wish that you didn't know.

Offline skidoo

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #35 on: June 09, 2008, 02:50:44 AM »
They're cultural flotsam (or is it jetsam?)

Is that a "Little Mermaid" joke?

Neither DC, Disney, nor Andersen. Rather, a "joke" from the universe of the fifth factorial prime.

Offline kem

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #36 on: June 09, 2008, 03:33:04 AM »
Einstien's letter was read in its entirety on The Guardain Science Weekly a couple of weeks ago (extremely well, I thought and at L700,000+ it should have been). 

I think the content allows me to rest assured that the great man used god only in the sense of laws of the universe and his occasional use of the word god was always entirely metaphorical.  What got my knickers in a twist, however, was Issacson's ommission fo the most influential scientist of them all in his list. 
"Americans will always do the right thing-after they have exhausted all the alternatives."

Winston Churchill

Offline kem

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #37 on: June 09, 2008, 03:44:36 AM »
I was pleased to hear Rebecca echo my thoughts on the long lived golfers and socioeconomic status.  Crikey dick, if walking around a golf course a couple of times a month gets you an extra four years, what do those of us who continue bike racing and  ski touring into our dotage get to look forward to???

I did note with some perverse satisfaction that SN sounded a lot like his nemisis Andy Weil (that's wyel, not weel) talking about how benefical excersise is in old age. 
"Americans will always do the right thing-after they have exhausted all the alternatives."

Winston Churchill

Offline Steven Novella

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #38 on: June 09, 2008, 08:07:56 AM »
The evidence is pretty convincing that exercise in old age is critical to maintaining health.

Weil is crafty - he mixes in real medicine enough to seem legitimate (remember, his niche is "integrative" medicine - mixing real medicine with nonsense.)  I have even read him debunk some forms of CAM nonsense - the occasional minor product or claim, nothing big.
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Offline DoctorAtlantis

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #39 on: June 09, 2008, 09:54:04 AM »
All this talk of Einstein and nobody brought up his red-neck past?


Offline Oh_Really

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #40 on: June 09, 2008, 10:08:18 AM »
Space-based Solar Power -- you gotta love it

I'm glad the subject of on space-based solar power was brought up, although its feasibility was dismissed too quickly. The assessment mentioned by the National Security Space Office from October of last year was just the latest -- but it gives a good overview.

http://www.acq.osd.mil/nsso/solar/SBSPInterimAssesment0.1.pdf

Most such studies have come to similar conclusions.  Space-based solar power has real potential.  The issues are engineering and economic -- no new scientific breakthroughs need be assumed.  Yes, it's a huge program requiring investment and commitment on the order of the original space program.  The difference is that this program has the potential to help address some very big problems -- like ending the dependence on fossil fuels for energy.

I think if Steve and the Rogues looked at this a little closer they would realize this is a very appealing project -- especially to those geeky enough to look to science and technology to solve problems.

A couple of their objections:

Bob said, "Another big problem that I see is that this technology is changing so fast that by the time you get it up there we've got something that's 20 times more efficient."

If Bob is talking about solar cells, they're already in the 20 - 30% efficiency range so a 20-fold increase in efficiency isn't possible.  If he's talking about the overall efficiency of a system that has to be launched into space and then beam down collected power, then the best way to work our way up the efficiency ladder is to build a demonstration project as the assessment suggests.

Steve suggested that repair and maintenance would be a problem, and he's right.  But it's the best kind of problem -- the kind where we challenge and fund scientists and engineers.  Where the answers may require improvements in robotics, material sciences or big advances in the productivity of men and women in space.

The last possibility mentioned is maybe the most exciting.  If space-based solar power is proven attractive and cost-effective, then there will be an economic incentive to create colonies of workers in space to maintain this infrastructure.  It is not a big leap from there to the use of Near Earth Orbiting asteroids and other materials to do the actual manufacturing of the solar power satellites.  That activity would require even bigger space colonies  :)

Offline seaotter

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #41 on: June 09, 2008, 10:17:30 AM »
Shouldn't we just carpet Arizona with solar panels first. I heard a podcast on the scientific American site that suggested something like 50,000 square miles and 500 billion dollars. With a trillion in Iraq so far that looks cheap to me.
"There is no use trying," said Alice; "one can't believe impossible things." Lewis Carroll

Offline johnny red

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #42 on: June 09, 2008, 10:26:45 AM »
I agree with the rogues that Good Morning America is not a news show but is really infotainment.  I often watch GMA and they spend a good amount of their time promoting ABC shows (Dancing with the Stars, Desperate Housewives) or their concert program.  There really is no tough journalism on the show.  Diane Sawyer is a terrible interviewer and throws mostly softballs.  I think part of the problem is that journalist, especially tv journalists, are afraid to upset their guests (especially celebrities and politicans) because they may not come back on the show and hence ratings may fall. 

BTW, the medical correspondent for GMA has said on the show that the anti-vaccination crowd is wrong.  I guess they didn't have him on with Jenny McCarthy & Jim Carrey because they were afraid of upsetting them.

Also who the hell would take medical advice from a woman known for this ad:




Offline Oh_Really

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #43 on: June 09, 2008, 10:27:52 AM »
Solar Panel Ring Around the Earth

I believe Steve was arguing against a straw man when he used the size of the 1 Km wide band in geosynchronous orbit.  (I hope I'm using the right logical fallacy term) The math he used for the equation wasn't the problem.  The real problem was that no one suggested that such a band was needed.  The band was just used to illustrate how much energy is available to be captured.  Since the amount of energy passing through that band in one year is about equal to all known petroleum reserves on the planet, we would only need such a power source if our energy consumption was equal to the entire planet's reserves per annum.  And in that case we should probably be concentrating on conservation... ;)

Offline kem

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Re: Episode #150
« Reply #44 on: June 09, 2008, 02:18:10 PM »



So did Charles Darwin.  Her name was Emma Wedgewood.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2008, 11:39:14 PM by kem »
"Americans will always do the right thing-after they have exhausted all the alternatives."

Winston Churchill