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Profile: rmberwin
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User Name: rmberwin
Forum Rank: Advanced Member
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Joined: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Last Visit: Thursday, March 18, 2021 7:36:06 PM
Number of Posts: 120
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: What are your favorite inventions?
Posted: Monday, January 11, 2021 12:29:28 PM
Ash_Lingua wrote:
Accept all of yours except instant noodles.
Plus:
1) washing machines
2) eye glasses
3) vaccines
4) printing press
5) WWW, personal computers/mobile phones and what they enabled - ie, enormous access to communication and information


I concur regarding PC's--should have been on my list.
Topic: What are your favorite inventions?
Posted: Sunday, January 10, 2021 9:28:25 PM
I don't necessarily mean inventions that have contributed to the flourishing of humankind, e.g., antibiotics, but personal favorites.

My top five are:

1) Chopsticks
2) Bicycle
3) Microwave oven
4) Harpsichord
5) Instant noodles (goes with #3)
Topic: How much is a billion?
Posted: Saturday, December 5, 2020 3:56:36 PM
Oscar D. Grouch wrote:
rmberwin wrote:
I knew a man who died of heart failure (as I remember) after drinking water to excess, trying to heal his cancer. He was a brilliant man and an engineer, but also a conspiracy theorist and contrarian.[/b]


There was a Sacramento, CA radio station that held a contest called "Hold your wee for a Wii." The object was to drink as much water as you could without peeing. A woman went home from the contest with a painful headache and then later died.

...for a video game console.

https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/woman_dies_after_holding_wee_for_nintendo_wii_radio_contest/


Yes, I remember that incident.

Perhaps the most counterintuitive fact about numbers is that there are different kinds or levels of infinity (although infinity is not a number in the proper sense). Although the set of rational numbers and the set of irrational numbers are both infinite, the irrationals represent an inconceivably greater set. To illustrate, if one threw a dart at random at the number line, the chance that a rational number, say 3 or 5/4 (1.25), would be selected is zero. Georg Cantor (a tragic figure) developed transfinite set theory in the late 19th cantury.
Topic: How much is a billion?
Posted: Friday, December 4, 2020 3:05:22 PM
Oscar D. Grouch wrote:
rmberwin wrote:
It's a well-known psychological phenomenon that people have trouble grasping numbers or measurements about the very tiny or the very large. If asked how many seconds a 30 year old person has been alive, I wouldn't be surprised to get answers in the multiple billions or trillions. But a 30 year old has been alive less than a billion seconds.

Consider that for every breath a person takes, he or she is taking in some of the same molecules of air that Beethoven breathed out just before he died. This is because there are more molecules of air in one breath than there are breaths of air in the earth's atmosphere. (Credit due to Neil deGrasse Tyson for the explanation.)



That's why people are so easily duped into buying homeopathic "remedies." These are commonly sold at 30C dilution, that's 30 1 to 100 dilutions. The mathematical equivalent is 10^60. That's an incomprehensibly large number.

A mole of water is 18.2 mL or just a little more than a tablespoon. There are 6.022*10^23 water molecules or 18.106*10^23 atoms.

To put 10^60 into perspective consider the case of homeopathic alcohol. According to homeopathy, diluting the alcohol will make it more potent. The following is a an example of a 30C dilution of ethanol. We're all familiar with ethanol. Drinking a pint of whiskey is likely to make most folks falling down drunk, in a black out, passed out, or perhaps choked on your own vomit dead. In contrast a 30C dilution of that very same pint of whiskey is side effect free!

Whiskey is 80 proof. That means it's 40% ethanol (alcohol) by volume. There are thus 189.27 mL of ethanol in that pint of whiskey. Ethanol has a density of 0.779 g/mL and its molecular weight is 46.07 g/mol. As such, there are 147.42 g of ethanol in that pint consisting of 1.923x10^24 molecules. If we do 1:100 dilutions, we find that at 12C there are just 1.93 molecules remaining. At 30C, there are 1.93x10^-36 molecules of ethanol. That's 36 orders of magnitude less than 1. Clearly, a 30C homeopathic dilution contains nothing of the original substance.

So drink 30C whiskey. It's side effect free! You can even drive without fear of getting a DUI! Though you might have to pull over to pee depending on how much you drink and you could get fined for public urination depending on where and when you have to pee, but that's a different story.

Warning, drinking excessive amounts of water is not without risk. It can dilute your blood electrolyte levels which can be fatal. So, even with 30C whiskey (aka H2O) moderation is key!


The old homeopathy joke is about the man who drank a preparation with zero molecules left in solution. He then felt ill and sued for getting an overdose.

I knew a man who died of heart failure (as I remember) after drinking water to excess, trying to heal his cancer. He was a brilliant man and an engineer, but also a conspiracy theorist and contrarian.
Topic: How much is a billion?
Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2020 7:44:59 PM
It's a well-known psychological phenomenon that people have trouble grasping numbers or measurements about the very small or the very large. If asked how many seconds a 30 year old person has been alive, I wouldn't be surprised to get answers in the multiple billions or trillions. But a 30 year old has been alive less than a billion seconds.

Consider that with every breath a person takes, he or she is taking in some of the same molecules of air that Beethoven breathed out just before he died. This is because there are more molecules of air in one breath than there are breaths of air in the earth's atmosphere. (Credit due to Neil deGrasse Tyson for this explanation.)
Topic: Serrano pepper vs. habanero pepper
Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2020 6:37:28 PM
Epiphileon wrote:
Leaping Leptons! habaneros less spicy!? I grew habaneros along with cayenne and jalepenos this year for my salsa garden. I added just two of those hell firebombs to 4 quarts of salsa and it is the hottest I've ever made. I love it but I grew 4 plants and have half a baggie of dried, sliced, habaneros and I figure it's my lifetime's supply as well as my children's and probably grandchildren's as well.


Habanero is rated at about 225,000 scoville heat units (serrano is about 10,000). But some pepper hybrids, for example the ghost pepper, are above one million units. One has to slowly develop a biological tolerance for spicy food. Peppers are not only pleasurable, but contain antioxidants.
Topic: Serrano pepper vs. habanero pepper
Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2020 5:10:41 PM
I can only speak to the food market situation in Los Angeles, but habanero peppers of late seem to be less spicy--less spicy than serranos, which are theoretically between jalapeno and habanero.

After eating a lot of spicy food non-spicy food tastes boring, and I find myself adding peppers to salads, hummus, etc. Haven't yet graduated to ghost pepper though.
Topic: Argument for the existence of God
Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2020 12:15:55 PM
FounDit wrote:
rmberwin wrote:


You believe in God. I have no problem with that. But if your argument for God here is supposed to convince me that God exists, it fails to do so for several reasons.

This is a variation of the "Watchmaker's" argument for the existence of God. In it's simplest form, it says that because the Universe is complicated and complex, there must be a creator. It's similar to saying because we can create a watch, someone must have created the Universe.

In your argument, you posit that God exists because you have conscious awareness, or to reverse that argument, because you have conscious awareness, God exists. That is not logical.

Basing God's existence on your characteristics is a mistake, since the fact that you also can die means God can die, too. You can also choose to be evil. That would also mean that God can be evil. But that violates the idea of a God who is perfect and does no wrong. But if God says killing is wrong, then He kills, how can killing be wrong when we do it, if we are acting as God does?

You ask, "So how is it that the universe should be constituted such that it allows for this apparent "add on" feature of humans, one that seems superfluous in terms of mere survival?"

I would ask what would prevent the Universe from having a creature with this ability? To do so would have to be by design. A Universe of random spontaneity and development would be unlimited in its creations. That no creature ever exists with consciousness, that such a creature is prevented from existing, that would indicate a Creator.


I didn't claim to believe in God. I was simply offering an argument. You wrote, "In your argument, you posit that God exists because you have conscious awareness, or to reverse that argument, because you have conscious awareness, God exists. That is not logical. Basing God's existence on your characteristics is a mistake". But I said that the personhood of God must be accepted a priori (theism vs. deism). This is a delicate point, but all of our knowledge depends on a priori considerations. My argument as originally stated was perhaps muddled. Whether there is a survival value to consciousness or not (whether it is an "add-on" feature) is irrelevant to the point of our ultimately contingent existence as persons. It is the dichotomy between the necessary personhood of God and ourselves as contingent conscious creatures that is astonishing.

I would like to offer an argument for God that I call "proof from the existence of persons". First, let us accept that natural selection is tantamount to a physical law, one which would obtain in any number of hypothetical universes. Second, let us accept that God would only truly be God if he is a person. Now consider the types of life forms that have evolved on earth. Clearly consciousness is not a feature of all of them. Furthermore, organisms can act in intelligent ways without being conscious, for example how honeybees communicate to each other the exact location of a food source. And, I would suggest that something like awareness can occur without consciousness per se, as with the phenomenon of blindsight. But what is the sine qua non of consciousness. It is the "first person perspective". So how is it that the universe should be constituted such that it allows for this apparent "add on" feature of humans, one that seems superfluous in terms of mere survival? (Again, there are various modes of existence and intelligent behavior does not require consciousness.) And most astoundingly, it is precisely this feature that we invest in any relevant conception of God. Therefore, it is the very existence of ourselves as persons that points toward the universe being, as Fred Hoyle remarked, a "put-up job". However, in order for the argument to avoid circularity it needs to be accepted that the personhood of God is an a priori consideration.
Topic: Argument for the existence of God
Posted: Saturday, July 11, 2020 3:30:20 PM
I would like to offer an argument for God that I call "proof from the existence of persons". First, let us accept that natural selection is tantamount to a physical law, one which would obtain in any number of hypothetical universes. Second, let us accept that God would only truly be God if he is a person. Now consider the types of life forms that have evolved on earth. Clearly consciousness is not a feature of all of them. Furthermore, organisms can act in intelligent ways without being conscious, for example how honeybees communicate to each other the exact location of a food source. And, I would suggest that something like awareness can occur without consciousness per se, as with the phenomenon of blindsight. But what is the sine qua non of consciousness. It is the "first person perspective". So how is it that the universe should be constituted such that it allows for this apparent "add on" feature of humans, one that seems superfluous in terms of mere survival? (Again, there are various modes of existence and intelligent behavior does not require consciousness.) And most astoundingly, it is precisely this feature that we invest in any relevant conception of God. Therefore, it is the very existence of ourselves as persons that points toward the universe being, as Fred Hoyle remarked, a "put-up job". However, in order for the argument to avoid circularity it needs to be accepted that the personhood of God is an a priori consideration.
Topic: Reality Exists and Quantum Physics Does Not Disprove That.
Posted: Saturday, July 11, 2020 3:21:47 PM
What you are referring to is known as the "measurement problem". The two main views about it are the classical Copenhagen interpretation, which bothered Einstein, and Hugh Everett's "many worlds" hypothesis.