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General Discussion / Weird stuff with the SGU book on Amazon UK
« Last post by macronencer on Today at 05:33:35 PM »
I've just received the SGU book from Amazon UK, and I'm confused, to say the least.

This is the book I pre-ordered (in April) and received today - and I paid £20.27 for it:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1538760533/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage

But now I see that this one is for sale for £13.29:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Skeptics-Guide-Universe-Really-Increasingly/dp/1473696399/ref=sr_1_1

Amazon usually charge the lowest price if the price changes following a pre-order. I’m now worried that I may have pre-ordered a different version of the book, and not contributed to the sales figures as I would have wanted. I hope my purchase counts. I also see that the book I ordered is now only available from Marketplace sellers (what?)

I’m not all that bothered about paying the extra money and it’s really a moot point because I’ve immediately decided to order another copy for my son anyway so I’ve ordered the cheaper one of course. But I would like an explanation of why I ended up with a different cover, and a reassurance that my copy of the book is the official final version! Are there any differences? Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Thanks!
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Tech Talk / Re: Cryptocurrency
« Last post by John Albert on Today at 05:25:09 PM »
"Brute force cryptography" is not a common technical term. It's just a snarky thing I said.

Though it may have been sarcastic, it was based on a core truth about blockchain's security model, which is predicated upon "reverse-hashing" of the SHA-256 cryptographic hash algorithm.

It's a security model built upon leveraging overwhelming computational power to secure the transaction processing and block writing. It does this by requiring all of its transaction authorities (called "miners" in Bitcoin argot) to brute-force an SHA-256 hash that's been arbitrarily calculated to be very difficult, until one of them achieves a 'collision' (legitimate solution to the hash). At that point, the system considers the node to be authentic and adds its ledger data to the blockchain.

I called it "brute force cryptography" because amassing overwhelming computational power to brute force the hash is the lynchpin of the 'trustless' security model. Without any cryptographic keys issued by a trusted root authority, the decentralized system relies on the overwhelming computational power of the masses as the basis of its security.

That's why it's so wasteful of energy. While Bitcoin may be even more wasteful than necessary to ensure security, the entire model it's based on is necessarily wasteful by design. It is not an elegant solution by any means. It's clunky and wasteful and destructive and probably unsustainable. And that's the system that's used by all the cryptocurrencies out there, as far as I'm aware.

If there are other implementations of blockchain that don't rely on that "brute force" model, I'd like to learn the basic technique of how they're doing it. But if they're relying on some central root authority to issue keys or mediate transactions, then I fail to see the point of using a blockchain in the first place. The whole point of blockchain is to achieve decentralized, distributed functionality while defeating the Byzantine fault problem. If they're claiming it's a new tech breakthrough using blockchain but keeping the details secret as a 'black box,' that's suspicious af.
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First of all, there is no "external world, so there is no such thing as "external reality."  There is just the world, and the reality is that QM makes accurate predictions.  It accurately describes the small-scale world.

I don't know. Take it up with Bohr and Heisenberg

I probably can’t get in touch with Bohr; I‘m uncertain about Heisenberg as well.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Well played, sir.

Thanks!  I was becoming worried that that would go completely unnoticed!
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General Discussion / Re: Open carry...
« Last post by SkeptiQueer on Today at 05:11:16 PM »
To The Latinist:

What might work better...

“Wow, Skeptiqueer! I honestly did not recall any forum member taking such an extreme position.

Thanks for pointing that out, and I stand corrected.”

Or, dig in further, I guess. Your choice.

But I don't think he took an extreme position.  He expressed a personal preference and took a moderate position. That's not the same thing, and it is not right to pretend it is.

exactly, it was also from 2 years ago and I say in the first sentence I don't think it would ever happen. Yet SQ makes it sounds like I'm plotting  to take away every gun ever made it and that this kind of stance common across the forum. If so why go so far back to find a quote? Advocating implies a proactive stance, admitting it will never happen, is not that.

I said people on this forum have advocated that position. I'mnot trying to say it's common to the forum, I'm saying the viewpoint exists. It's probably as common as "child prostitutes should be able to buy their heroin and machinegun with no issues" is.

Whether you think it's likely doesn't have bearing on whether you've voiced support for it publicly. If this were something you didn't support I don't think you would split that same hair. When Jordan Peterson says that Christian patriarchy is the best thing for society, but sadly it's too late and won't happen he's still advocating for that position.

If you have changed or don't think it's good policy, say so. If you do, stop trying to put words in my mouth and stand by what you said instead of putting words in my mouth to do a half-assed denial. You said it and meant it, or you said it and didn't mean it, you changed your mind, whatever. Just pick one instead of trying to weasel around the word "advocating" as if you're embarrassed by what you said.
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General Discussion / Re: Open carry...
« Last post by John Albert on Today at 05:08:04 PM »
This kind of strawmanning is all too common in the national discussion about firearm legislation in the USA.

The NRA has polarized the entire subject to the point of toxicity with media campaigns that promote an all-or-nothing view of the 2A, and insist that anybody who broaches the subject of firearm control laws is secretly plotting to send confiscation squads around to every firearm owner's house.
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Podcast Episodes / Re: Episode #692
« Last post by CarbShark on Today at 04:55:28 PM »
I think what he was implying is that since naturalized citizens must take the citizenship test, there is a higher requirement for knowledge of the government for them. 

Passing tests as a requirement for voting has obvious constitutional problems, and I sincerely doubt Dr Novella thought that.

Did you listen to the podcast? I'll listen to that part again.
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First of all, there is no "external world, so there is no such thing as "external reality."  There is just the world, and the reality is that QM makes accurate predictions.  It accurately describes the small-scale world.

I don't know. Take it up with Bohr and Heisenberg

I probably can’t get in touch with Bohr; I‘m uncertain about Heisenberg as well.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Well played, sir.
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Skepticism / Science Talk / Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Last post by Billzbub on Today at 04:52:26 PM »
Me:  Climate change is real.
Dad: Nope.  Climategate proved that all climate scientists that measure the data faked it.
Me: If you think that, then is there any data that could ever prove to you it is real?
Dad:  Satellite data.
Me: <shows him satellite data>
Dad:  That was on the internet, so it is fake.
Me: <sighs>
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General Discussion / Re: Sealioning
« Last post by John Albert on Today at 04:43:30 PM »
You've misrepresented almost everyone else in this discussion, repeatedly.

Where? Care to show some quotes?


The habit SQ has called you out on a few times, of snipping apart little bits of people's posts to respond to them out of context, also tends to misrepresent what other people have said.

SkeptiQueer is one of the most perfidious debaters on this forum, so I wouldn't go citing him as an authority on honest argumentation. He has a tendency to cram so many dishonest and blatantly false statements into one big Gish-gallop, that it's a chore to address all of them individually. 

So I split up his posts in order to give each individual claim its own space. Otherwise, the conversation would quickly become too tangled to manage and some points would get lost in the shuffle.

On SkeptiQueer's part, he refuses to address the points where I directly call him out on his bullshit (I usually provide citations and direct quotes), so the best he can do is hurl accusations and attack my posting style.

I humbly bequeath you the same offer that I gave to him; if you think I've misrepresented something, please cite what it was and how I got it wrong and I'll be glad to respond. 

But simply throwing around ad hominem attacks and vague accusations is not a good manner of discussion.
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The only thing that was sketchy in the article (granted I only scanned it quickly) was that his day to day knowledge comes from a file on his smart phone that says "First thing – read this".  That seems sketchy to me.  I mean, does he have the same phone now that he had in 2005 when he lost his memory?  If not, how does he know it's his?  How does he know how to unlock/work it?  My mom can't operate her iPhone and she hasn't had more than the usual memory loss for someone her age.  Where is this file located? 


Other than that, the report read fine.  I don't expect much science accuracy from most reporters, so I don't know if the details are really accurate.

It isn't the memory loss itself I'm skeptical/questioning, it's that a root canal directly caused it.
I don't see where that claim was made.  He allegedly suffered this directly after a root canal.  Could be drug related (anesthesia etc.) or could be completely unrelated. 
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