Recent Posts

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10
1
General Discussion / Re: US 100-dollar bills
« Last post by Soldier of FORTRAN on Today at 01:55:32 AM »
When I worked in a gas station in a poor working-class area, I'd see hundreds all the time.  I always assumed it was from check cashing places.  Lots of people can't get bank accounts. 
2
General Discussion / Re: US 100-dollar bills
« Last post by arthwollipot on Today at 01:36:00 AM »
Big Pineapples are a lot more convenient.
No-one? That's disappointing.
3
I'm satisfied that you know a little bit, but you really haven't demonstrated any understanding. You neglected to explain the mechanism by which it works, which is really the part that would have demonstrated understanding.

...

The difference is that I wouldn't go around telling people I understand QM.
I think the problem here is that we are using different definitions of the word understand. Your definition requires knowledge of mathematics before it can be applied. Mine doesn't. You're essentially invalidating my argument by means of definition. :)
4
Tech Talk / Re: Cryptocurrency
« Last post by arthwollipot on Today at 01:23:53 AM »
The question is: Is it a dip, or is it a collapse?
Technology doesn't go away. It can't. The blockchain genie is out of the bottle - it'll be around forever. Individual currencies may devalue, and occasionally some will be wrapped up (Dogecoin), but now that they've been invented, blockchain cryptocurrencies will always be with us.

I noticed this afternoon that there was a small rally of the value of Bitcoin, BCash and Ethereum, which are the only ones I'm watching right now. I should start paying attention to Litecoin though.

Tech dies all the time(8 track, betamax, floppy disk, FORTRAN...), claiming block chains will be around forever is silly. Something will definitely replace it and people are already working on it.
We don't use videotape any more, but we still use devices that record broadcast video for later viewing. The idea is still around, and even if Bitcoin disappears, there will still be something like it that serves a similar function.
5
If you think you understand quantum mechanics, then please explain, in layman's terms, what quantum chromodynamics is, what function it performs, and the underlying mechanisms by which it works.
Sure. Quantum chromodynamics describes the strong nuclear force, and it is what holds quarks together to make protons and neutrons. Like the other forces, it works by exchanging force-carrying particles called gluons. It's called "chromodynamics" because gluons come in three different "colours" which are not actually colours as we know them, but it's a convenient way of referring to the differences between them. Which colours are exchanged determines how and in what combinations quarks stick together, which in turn determines what kind of particle they form.

That was from memory - I didn't look it up. Now, are you satisfied that I do actually know a little bit, or do you have some other challenge to set me? Schroedinger's Cat, perhaps? The two-slit experiment?

I'm satisfied that you know a little bit, but you really haven't demonstrated any understanding. You neglected to explain the mechanism by which it works, which is really the part that would have demonstrated understanding.


I didn't really say that the math itself is all that difficult or esoteric, only that it's beyond my own personal knowledge.

As it is mine. But we both have some understanding about what QM is and what its conclusions are.

The difference is that I wouldn't go around telling people I understand QM.
6
I didn't really say that the math itself is all that difficult or esoteric, only that it's beyond my own personal knowledge.
As it is mine. But we both have some understanding about what QM is and what its conclusions are.
7
I believe that Feynman meant exactly what he said. Nobody really understands QM. We make observations, take measurements and postulate theories as to why things appear to operate the way they do, but at the end of the day its nature is only predictable to within ranges of probabilities.
Having read Feynman's actual words on the subject, what he was referring to was the fact that at the time he was writing it, no-one really knew how or why the conclusions of QM related to the real world. We knew it was accurate. We knew it described the real universe, because we've tested it experimentally. But to a certain extent physicists were essentially following a recipe book. You put in some numbers at one end, perform the calculations, and get a number (actually a probability) out the other end. It worked, but no-one really knew how or why it worked.

(ETA: As Belgarath already pointed out)

Of course, scientists have done a lot of work in the field in the fifty years since Feynman said that. He said it when QM was about half as old as it is now.
8
As Richard Feynman famously said, "I think I can safely say that nobody except arthwollipot understands quantum mechanics."
Lol, yeah. Someone also once said that the more you understand it, the less you understand it.

What I mean is that I understand some things about the conclusions that scientists have come to about the way the universe works. Again, I'm not saying that I could get a job in the field. But nor am I completely ignorant, unlike the OP.
9
irst off, I never said that "mathematics is 'hard' and therefore science is too so oh I'll never be able to understand it so I won't even bother trying." That's a ridiculous strawman argument.
That's right. You didn't say that. I said that, and I said it as a part of my argument, not as a rebuttal to yours.

There is a popular conception that mathematics is hard. If you don't realise that, then you obviously live on a different planet from the one I live on. Kids are reluctant to study maths because it's hard and it's boring, and they can't see what application it has to their lives. The application of course is science, which means that once kids realise that most science is mathematics, they get discouraged from studying it formally. But as it turns out, it's possible to know quite a lot about science - how it works and how scientists come to the conclusions they do, as well as a few things about those conclusions - without knowing the underlying mathematics behind it. If it's impossible to know science without knowing mathematics, then I'm afraid you just put Neil Degrasse Tyson out of a job by eliminating the entire field of science communication and wrapping it all up into maths teaching.

You seem to think that having memorized a collection of very specific little factoids about quantum mechanics means that you have an understanding of the field of particle physics. I'm saying that demonstrates a pretty obvious case of Dunning-Kruger.
Yeah, I can see why you might think that. But in my case I recognise that I don't have that underlying mathematics, and therefore my ability to perform calculations in the field is nonexistent, which is something that I have already acknowledged. Furthermore, in my lifetime I have done just a touch more than "memorise a collection of very specific little factoids". Just a touch. Thirty years of interest in a subject will do that to a person. Want to take a look at my small library of science books? Actually they're scattered all over the place (some of them not even in this house), so I can't get a good photo.

Turns out one of my favourite science books is Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe, which contains an excellent non-mathematical description of quantum mechanics, with endnotes "for the mathematically inclined". It won the 2000 Royal Society Prize for Science Books, so you know it's not some trashy hack piece. I recommend it.

If you think you understand quantum mechanics, then please explain, in layman's terms, what quantum chromodynamics is, what function it performs, and the underlying mechanisms by which it works.
Sure. Quantum chromodynamics describes the strong nuclear force, and it is what holds quarks together to make protons and neutrons. Like the other forces, it works by exchanging force-carrying particles called gluons. It's called "chromodynamics" because gluons come in three different "colours" which are not actually colours as we know them, but it's a convenient way of referring to the differences between them. Which colours are exchanged determines how and in what combinations quarks stick together, which in turn determines what kind of particle they form.

That was from memory - I didn't look it up. Now, are you satisfied that I do actually know a little bit, or do you have some other challenge to set me? Schroedinger's Cat, perhaps? The two-slit experiment?
10
Tech Talk / Re: Cryptocurrency
« Last post by Soldier of FORTRAN on Today at 12:23:05 AM »
There's significant and substantial push-back, including within congress.  The hooks are in too deep.  Legal weed's inevitable.  All he can do is hamper OUR legalization process. 

In the meantime, I'm getting bonkers returns from Canadian weed so ehEH, Jeff Sessions.  EH.  They're even making in-roads into US and European markets.
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10