Peter Erwin

Peter Erwin

  • Commented on Do my Homework
    In the 1950-1999 period, tales of the 21st century were everywhere. Where are the equivalent stories of the 22nd century, that should be being told today? They'll be written in the 2050-2099 period? In effect, you're complaining that people aren't...
  • Commented on Test Case
    (Admittedly the UK driving test is a lot stricter than the US one and includes things like parallel parking and making a three-point or n-point turn.) There is no such thing as "the US driving test", since it's up to...
  • Commented on Solarpunk rising, or how to turn boring bureaucratic meetings into creative fodder
    Also just to return the snark, the fact that you think you can accurately predict when a royal flush is going to be drawn is exactly Talebs whole point Because card drawing exists on a normal distribution humans tend to...
  • Commented on Test Case
    ... the maximum penalty for vehicular homicide in Arizona is a mere three years in jail, which would be laughable if it wasn't so enraging. (Rob a bank and shoot a guard: get the death penalty. Run the guard over...
  • Commented on Solarpunk rising, or how to turn boring bureaucratic meetings into creative fodder
    Also, what problem are "white roads" supposed to solve? I'm not very bright, but I do know that re-radiated insolation tends from the visible to the infra-red spectrum irrespective of the visible colour of the surface it lands on. There's...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Not inventing a completely new class of substance unobservable except via its finagle factor pervading the universe (whether it be quintessence, aether or dark matter) is definitely simpler, in at least one sense. Right, because if 20th Century physics has...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Interesting. I note that he favours MOND, which is one model that assumes Einstein's formula breaks down in its limits, just as Newton's did. [Sigh.] Modified Newtonian Dynamics ("MOND") is about postulating a breakdown in Newtonian physics, as the name...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Are you familiar with Lee Smolin's cosmological natural selection model? Because you're getting awfully close to it... (One of the cool thing about it is that Smolin suggested random perturbations of the laws of physics in daughter universes spawned from...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    You simply can't have black holes accreting matter during inflation, for several reasons: 1. There is no normal matter for black holes to accrete during the inflationary epoch. The inflationary model is a period of expansion when the only meaningful...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    I merely noted them in passing, when I saw the papers and other reliable references. I can remember that one was written by a Dr I. Drummond. I'll assume that "I. Drummond" probably refers to this, which is a single...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    how long to go? Oh, about the same length of time until the Flat Earthers triumph......
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    First, why is it not possible that during either Inflation, nor the early expansion, that smaller masses, or perhaps extremely large masses, created in the Bang and following, have become huge black holes, and hoovered up much of the original...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Actually, no, you aren't. There are several alternative theories... Do tell. Which theories (or "theories") do you have in mind? Note that my discussion was not based on "stacks of speculations"; it was based on standard Big Bang Nucleosynthesis calculations,...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    I mean, is there any description of them as made of some not-so-quarks? Well, I was talking about the gravitational behavior of dark matter, in terms of how it affects the formation of galaxies. For that purpose, you don't have...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Millenarianism also shows up in Islamic history....
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    No, because it doesn't interact with photons, like, at all, so no shadow. Photons just pass them by. Yes, exactly. (It may help to consider "dark matter" as "perfectly transparent matter".) Dark matter, on the other hand, is so un-"sticky"...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    You say "dark matter (and energy) should get sucked into a black hole. Given the little I know about them, should they not be repelled by a black hole? Heteromeles (@ 533) has got it right: dark matter is (thought...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    On the other hand, when something goes beyond an event horizon, all that's left of it's ability to interact with this universe is its gravity. There's no other interaction possible. So in the sense of full interaction, we do lose...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Physicists? It's up the flag pole. Fire at will. O-kay... (technically, I'm an astronomer, but since I study supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies, I'll assume I'm somewhat qualified...) "Dark energy" is something that has positive mass-energy but...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    My understanding is that dark energy appears in the gaps between galaxies, not at the edge of the universe. So your black hole idea would require some kind of mapping of boundaries to gaps that I'm not sure would help...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    ... performances of Shakespeare with American accents probably sound closer to the way the audiences of the late 16th century spoke than productions by the RSC. Are you familiar with the attempts to perform Shakespeare using a reconstruction of "Original...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    I'm interested in Lembas. It's an old forest. What are they growing for grain to make those cakes? It's not like most grasses like trees after all, and acorn meal doesn't have gluten. Inquiring minds want to know (but not...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    With the exception of adding a bit of gun camera footage from WW2 dogfights, I'm pretty sure almost all arial combat in films is just a reimagining of the arial scenes from William Wellman's 1927 film Wings and Howard Hughs...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    That whole area should be really, really dry, not super lush and wet. For what it's worth, a few years ago a climate scientist at the University of Bristol (writing as "Radagast the Brown") ran a climate simulation for Middle...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    As long as we define merchantilism and feudalism as subsets of capitalism, I'd say that the Roman Empire was capitalist. That an impressively high density of wrongness packed into a single sentence. (I don't know if you're trolling us, but...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    A minor nitpick: When George Lucas was choreographing the dogfights in "Star Wars", he took his visual references from film of first world war dogfights over the trenches in western Europe. Lucas and the other people involved in the original...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    One could speculate that there is immense selection pressure for creative liars to develop and gain rank among the Alfär. The fact that -- per comments in the book -- high-ranking alfar are not good at detecting lies suggests they...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    I would have to recalculate the probabilities etc., but the scenario is that a gene forms multiple (say, two) alleles, both of which become widespread. There are then speciation events and/or generic drift causing subspecies, conserving the variation. Much later,...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here. FOXP2 is an extremely conserved gene: there aren't multiple alleles within the human species, and the human version differs from the chimpanzee version in only 2 amino acids (and from...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    I can think of it by recalling the old "philogeny recapitulates ontogeny" meme (and why it is wrong). It's "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny", and, yes, it is discredited....
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