Author Topic: Episode #682  (Read 3032 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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Episode #682
« on: August 04, 2018, 09:40:01 AM »
Interview with Robert Kurson, author of Rocket Men; What’s the Word: Stylometry; News Items: Terraforming Mars, Shifty Eyes, Scutoid; Who’s That Noisy; Science or Fiction
Steven Novella
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Online bachfiend

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Re: Episode #682
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2018, 07:48:55 PM »
Damn... yet another book to read.  The story about Apollo 8 sounds fascinating.  The only thing that sprang to mind when the interview started was the iconic photograph ‘Earthrise.’

The great tit gets a mention in Carl Zimmer’s recent very good book ‘She Has Her Mother’s Laugh’ in the chapter ‘the teachable ape.’  Great tits (as well as bees) are capable of learning (and being taught) to do physical tasks they don’t naturally do in the wild.  The birds can be taught to open a box to get at food by either opening a blue-coloured door or a red one, and whichever one is taught is passed onto other birds in the flock. 
Gebt ihr ihr ihr Buch zurück?

Offline mabell_yah

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Re: Episode #682
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2018, 01:22:13 AM »
I'm with Cara on the Mars thing. Exploration and even tourism is one thing, but colonization is a whole different thing. Mars is simply too different from Earth to be terraformed in any practical way. I'd like to see independent space colonies like the ones in Interplanetary. Anyone remember the L5 society? A space colony could be spun up to 1G with an ideal atmosphere. Solar panels could power a protective magnetic field (or park it in the shadow of an asteroid). There are plenty of off-planet sources for any resource you could want, including water. Creating self-sustaining space colonies would drive tech that could be used to make the Earth more habitable.

Offline lucek

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Re: Episode #682
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2018, 07:07:15 AM »
On the terraforming mars topic. With current technology it is possible. With current technology it is also possible to become a type ii civilisation and build a new planet. The question is feasibility not possibility.
You have the power, but. . .
Power is just energy over time and. . .
Energy is just the ability to do work.

Offline DevoutCatalyst

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Re: Episode #682
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2018, 07:25:38 AM »
Does Donald Trump not make eye contact? Do shy people lack empathy? Do people with autism not learn to make eye contact when taught?

Offline wallet55

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Re: Episode #682
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2018, 01:36:40 PM »
Interview with Robert Kurson, author of Rocket Men; What’s the Word: Stylometry; News Items: Terraforming Mars, Shifty Eyes, Scutoid; Who’s That Noisy; Science or Fiction

Another SGU, another book tip. (just finished "What is Real?") In some ways I remember Apollo 8 better than Apollo 11. I was following the space program with all the fascination a young teen nerd could muster, and I remember being caught by surprise that they were going to the moon. I thought I knew what was going on.... Unlike the early Mercury flights, I was old enough and informed enough to be amazed and worried. I had just done my first "research paper" in school on the plan to go to the moon, and I knew how incredibly far from low earth orbit it was. (I still have that paper with a to scale foldout of the earth and moon and the distance between them.) I also remember the black and white look at the entire earth on live television, (the idea of live television from space blew me away)and I knew that when they got back with the film it was going to be spectacular. My memory of the Genesis reading is less clear, though I still think it was not quite the best match...the moon just looked too barren and lifeless.

This was added to my audible wish list before the podcast was over!
Humankind cannot stand very much reality.   T. S. Eliot

Offline JohnM

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Re: Episode #682
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2018, 05:02:26 PM »
I'm with Cara on the Mars thing. Exploration and even tourism is one thing, but colonization is a whole different thing. Mars is simply too different from Earth to be terraformed in any practical way. I'd like to see independent space colonies like the ones in Interplanetary. Anyone remember the L5 society? A space colony could be spun up to 1G with an ideal atmosphere. Solar panels could power a protective magnetic field (or park it in the shadow of an asteroid). There are plenty of off-planet sources for any resource you could want, including water. Creating self-sustaining space colonies would drive tech that could be used to make the Earth more habitable.

Same, have said many time on here before that when it comes to space exploration the rogues (minus Cara) take their skeptic hats off. It becomes an intrinsic infallible good that can't be questioned. Even Steve whose response was: Why not? It's another planet for us. Europeans had a similar attitude to Africa..

Offline God Bomb

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Re: Episode #682
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2018, 07:21:07 PM »
Please lets not compare this to Africa, I honestly don't know how you can even make that comparison with any seriousness.  The word "colonization" has negative connotations because of the indigenous populations that were already present.  Mars is a completely unrelated topic, unless you value the rights of dust and regolith.  Which brings back some memories of the excellent "red mars" trilogy, in the series a group of colonists arrived to set up a permanent settlement, and some immediately start terraforming efforts with varying degrees of success, but another faction sabotage their efforts as they want the planet to remain red presumably forever, maybe so it can be studied or for other misanthropic reasons.

For those saying they agree with Cara because it's impractical, I'm not even sure that's what she was saying.  I got the impression she just had no desire to see any colonization on mars (or maybe anywhere).  To some of us that's baffling, hence the response "why not?"  Some people are surprised by this lack of expansionist drive, but not everyone has the desire to see a human diaspora. 
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Offline PabloHoney

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Re: Episode #682
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2018, 09:28:16 PM »
Meanwhile, I'm just hoping we can keep our own goddamn planet habitable!

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #682
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2018, 11:52:15 PM »
Cara is normally pretty good with etymology, but this time I don't think she went far enough. Scutoid derives from scutum, the Latin word for "shield". I believe the shield-shaped part of the bug carapace is also named for the same source, as are other animal parts that are vaguely shield-shaped.
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Offline Epicurus

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Re: Episode #682
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2018, 12:15:00 PM »
It was a very quick comment during science or fiction but I would have to disagree with Cara.  Apes appear to be monkeys.

Offline skeptonomicon

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Re: Episode #682
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2018, 01:08:58 PM »
I read the pyramid study and was not impressed (which is why I guessed wrong on the FoF).
The study shows the effects of the pyramid with the chambers in the model, but the chambers are very small (11m) compared to the wavelengths studied(200-600m). When a structure is very small compared to the wavelength, it has a diminishingly small effect and can be ignored in the analysis, a fact well known by anyone who studies EM theory. This leads me to think that either the authors are publishing outside of their field, or they included it to build up the pseudo science around the pyramids.
It is also worth noting that they did not publish results with and without the chambers, which would have highlighted how little effect the chambers had on the results.
The conclusions of the report seemed basically to say that a pyramid shape altered the EM fields, causing a concentration in some areas and a diminishing in other areas. This would be true of any shape, a cube, a sphere, a trapezoid, or a 1974 Chevy Nova. I am not sure what the purpose of the study was, but it was not science.

Online The Latinist

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Re: Episode #682
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2018, 04:13:50 PM »
It was a very quick comment during science or fiction but I would have to disagree with Cara.  Apes appear to be monkeys.

No, apes are not classified as monkeys. Apes are the members of the clade hominoidea, except that in the popular, non-scientific context the term ape usually excludes members of the genus homo, and therefore is not monophyletic.  Monkeys are a paraphyletic group including members of the family Cercopithecidae (the old world monkeys) and the superfamily Ceboidea (the new world monkeys).  While all are primates and simians, not all are monkeys.

Generally one can distinguish monkeys from apes in that monkeys have tails while apes do not.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #682
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2018, 07:50:23 PM »
It was a very quick comment during science or fiction but I would have to disagree with Cara.  Apes appear to be monkeys.

All monkeys are apes, but not all apes are monkeys.
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Offline Epicurus

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Re: Episode #682
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2018, 08:08:04 PM »
It was a very quick comment during science or fiction but I would have to disagree with Cara.  Apes appear to be monkeys.

No, apes are not classified as monkeys. Apes are the members of the clade hominoidea, except that in the popular, non-scientific context the term ape usually excludes members of the genus homo, and therefore is not monophyletic.  Monkeys are a paraphyletic group including members of the family Cercopithecidae (the old world monkeys) and the superfamily Ceboidea (the new world monkeys).  While all are primates and simians, not all are monkeys.

Generally one can distinguish monkeys from apes in that monkeys have tails while apes do not.

Paraphyletic and polyphyletic groups don't make since with cladistics. Apes are monkeys and so are we.

 

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