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Author Topic: Everybody Loves Science!  (Read 42627 times)

LTK

Everybody Loves Science!
« on: 13 May 2013, 13:59 »

I've realised that my everyday (read: compulsive) internet consumption didn't actually involve a whole lot of science, which is unfortunate considering I'm in the process of a career in it. So I've been looking for more sources to interesting topics in psychology, physics, chemistry, math and the like. So why don't we share?

Vi Hart's youtube channel. A self-proclaimed mathemusician. Put simply, she does narrated doodling about math and music.
Veritasium youtube channel. Natural science videos by a bearded talky head. Just discovered this today. Educational!
PBS Idea Channel on youtube. Asking questions about pop culture, technology and art, and trying to answer them.

http://www.newscientist.com/. Science news for scientists.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/. Science news for everyone. It has too much content for me to consume efficiently, but still worth a mention.

http://www.thecollapsedwavefunction.com/. A blog intended to be informative and humorous.
http://brainsidea.wordpress.com/. Cognitive science blog, especially into language and music.

What are yours?
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #2 on: 13 May 2013, 14:20 »

 CrashCourse. John Green teaches you US History and Hank Green teaches you Chemistry.
 Vsauce. Related with Veritasium; physics, chemistry, astronomy....you name it, they have it.
 
 I'll name these because they're part of Vsauce:
 Vsauce2. More focused on people achievements, mind-blowing discoveries, etc.
 Vsauce3. Focused on "fictional world", internet, games, etc.
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #3 on: 13 May 2013, 14:53 »

Radiolab This is the site and the name of the weekly NPR program. It's so entertaining I didn't think of it immediately as science education.
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LTK

Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #4 on: 18 May 2013, 13:22 »

Vsauce didn't look all that interesting, but Minutephysics does. Just look at this!

Ars Technica also has a science section at http://arstechnica.com/science/. I found this pretty cool: A carnivorous plant has deleted most of its junk DNA.
« Last Edit: 18 May 2013, 13:34 by LTK »
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #5 on: 18 May 2013, 19:20 »

Radiolab This is the site and the name of the weekly NPR program. It's so entertaining I didn't think of it immediately as science education.

Sometimes behave so strangely
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #6 on: 18 May 2013, 19:57 »

sciencenews.org
periodictable.com
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LTK

Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #7 on: 19 May 2013, 08:23 »

The paradox of the proof: about a mathematical proof that no mathematician is able to understand, save for the person who wrote it.

Quote
On MathOverflow, an online math forum, mathematicians around the world began to debate and discuss Mochizuki’s claim. The question which quickly bubbled to the top of the forum, encouraged by the community’s “upvotes,” was simple: “Can someone briefly explain the philosophy behind his work and comment on why it might be expected to shed light on questions like the ABC conjecture?” asked Andy Putman, assistant professor at Rice University. Or, in plainer words: I don’t get it. Does anyone?

The problem, as many mathematicians were discovering when they flocked to Mochizuki’s website, was that the proof was impossible to read. The first paper, entitled “Inter-universal Teichmuller Theory I: Construction of Hodge Theaters,” starts out by stating that the goal is “to establish an arithmetic version of Teichmuller theory for number fields equipped with an elliptic curve…by applying the theory of semi-graphs of anabelioids, Frobenioids, the etale theta function, and log-shells.”

This is not just gibberish to the average layman. It was gibberish to the math community as well.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #8 on: 21 May 2013, 08:43 »

This video about how cats land on their feet (I haven't got around to watching the rest of his videos) http://youtu.be/RtWbpyjJqrU
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #9 on: 21 May 2013, 15:05 »

So, you people know when you suddenly find yourself on Wikipedia, reading about particle physics or theoretical space habitats, at five in the morning..!?

..that happens to me sometimes.
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #10 on: 21 May 2013, 21:42 »

The paradox of the proof: about a mathematical proof that no mathematician is able to understand, save for the person who wrote it.

Quote
On MathOverflow, an online math forum, mathematicians around the world began to debate and discuss Mochizuki’s claim. The question which quickly bubbled to the top of the forum, encouraged by the community’s “upvotes,” was simple: “Can someone briefly explain the philosophy behind his work and comment on why it might be expected to shed light on questions like the ABC conjecture?” asked Andy Putman, assistant professor at Rice University. Or, in plainer words: I don’t get it. Does anyone?

The problem, as many mathematicians were discovering when they flocked to Mochizuki’s website, was that the proof was impossible to read. The first paper, entitled “Inter-universal Teichmuller Theory I: Construction of Hodge Theaters,” starts out by stating that the goal is “to establish an arithmetic version of Teichmuller theory for number fields equipped with an elliptic curve…by applying the theory of semi-graphs of anabelioids, Frobenioids, the etale theta function, and log-shells.”

This is not just gibberish to the average layman. It was gibberish to the math community as well.

It will be decoded.  This happened with Bieberbach's conjecture back in 1984 - the unassuming Louis deBranges, a professor at Purdue (where I was just starting my master's in math) was lauded for solving it... 6 years after he had done so.  No one could read the damned thing, until a team of soviet mathematicians and grad students set out to prove that he had failed to prove the conjecture, as he had claimed. 

They wound up confirming (and cleaning up) his proof.  After which he was lauded throughout the world for solving an intractable problem. 

Oh, and there are only four terms in that "indecipherable" title I didn't recognize; which is better than my first mathematical mentor, who used to tell us, "After 40 years in mathematics, I can walk into the library, pull out a mathematical journal, flip to the table of contents, and have absolutely no idea what 95% of it is about!" 

The point is that math is so freaking specialized that, unless you're one of the two or three people in the world working directly on a particular problem, you're going to have a rough time understanding any of it! 


Note: Just because I recognize a bunch of terms in the title doesn't mean I'd have a snowball's chance in hell of understanding any of it...
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #11 on: 21 May 2013, 21:47 »

I recall a professor at my graduate school who allowed that he could no longer even understand the titles of paper in The Physical Review, so the problem is not specific to mathematics. 
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LTK

Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #12 on: 23 May 2013, 03:12 »

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I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #13 on: 23 May 2013, 03:36 »

I concur.

In particular, I fail to see any practical application opposed to, say, math.
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #14 on: 23 May 2013, 03:47 »

Remember that thing about technology being indistinguishable from magic? 

I think we've hit the "science is indistinguishable from sci-fi" equivalence. 
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #15 on: 23 May 2013, 03:58 »

I think we've hit the "science is indistinguishable from sci-fi" equivalence.
Well, we are talking about String Theory after all...
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LTK

Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #16 on: 25 May 2013, 07:01 »

MinutePhysics is so cool. I knew that the speed of light is the same regardless of at which speed you yourself are moving, but I didn't know how. I also knew that time passes at different rates depending on how fast you're moving relative to other objects, but I didn't know why. Only when I watched this video did I actually connect the two! If you have two observers at different speeds, and they both measure light as moving at the same speed, then what must be different between them is the rate at which time passes.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #17 on: 25 May 2013, 08:14 »

I think we've hit the "science is indistinguishable from sci-fi" equivalence.
Well, we are talking about String Theory after all...

The two are indistringuishable?
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #18 on: 25 May 2013, 09:15 »

I think we've hit the "science is indistinguishable from sci-fi" equivalence.
Well, we are talking about String Theory after all...

The two are indistringuishable?
Knot so!
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LTK

Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #19 on: 25 May 2013, 15:49 »

It's not exclusive to science per se but Memrise.com seems to be useful for learning stuff. Anyone ever heard of it?
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #20 on: 26 May 2013, 00:05 »

Heard a lot of recommendations related to using it for learning a language; never tried it myself.
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #21 on: 26 May 2013, 19:19 »

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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #22 on: 27 May 2013, 03:36 »

I think we've hit the "science is indistinguishable from sci-fi" equivalence.
Well, we are talking about String Theory after all...

The two are indistringuishable?
I've probably told this story here before, but I think it's mostly the 3+ year forum vets who will remember it. Here goes.

My stepmom's father, one James Ricker Wilson, was a nuclear physicist working at LLNL during the Manhattan Project. He discovered the malleability of plutonium. When my sister (then a liberal arts major at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta) came home to visit, she told him the story of how she had witnessed several young male physics majors using explanations of String Theory in order to pick up on girls. Upon hearing this, Grandpa Jim harrumphed and said "Well, at least it's good for something."
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #23 on: 27 May 2013, 17:11 »

...working at LLNL during the Manhattan Project.

My father's father, an engineer for Kellogg (later to merge with Brown & Root to become what's now known as KBR) also worked on that project.  Sworn to secrecy, he never told a soul what he did for it.  But, since he was what's now known as a materials engineer (stress fractures, bearing loads and all that) we think he probably worked on the case designs.  Who knows... I wonder if any of that's ever been declassified enough to find out what he did?  Maybe I should look...

There was a plaque we found in the basement signed by Harry Truman thanking him for his efforts on the project.  My father hung it up after they moved into the house... 60 years later. 
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #24 on: 28 May 2013, 13:38 »

Haha, we found a similar award for Grandpa Jim, but it was cleverly disguised as a summer camp youth achievement diploma. It had to do with Bikini Atoll.
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #25 on: 14 Jun 2013, 12:35 »


The point is that math is so freaking specialized that, unless you're one of the two or three people in the world working directly on a particular problem, you're going to have a rough time understanding any of it! 


A related Spiked Math comic. Actually I somewhat disagree with the two rightmost bars. The mathematicians know better, and the rightmost bar might fit better how undergrads feel (IIRC?) after a course in complex analysis and Galois theory. And after a lifetime of work, a mathematician surely absorbed a few PhDs worth. True, they have forgotten half of the stuff from graduate school...

The author that strip was in grad school at the time of the drawing.
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #26 on: 14 Jun 2013, 14:03 »

Of what I've seen in experimental physics, undergrads know virtually nothing but think they know everything, graduate students know the most about how the experiment works but are convinced they know nothing, and the professor knows everything except the details of how to get the experiment to actually work, and thinks he knows absolutely everything.

edit -- I should note that my description may be biased.  :psyduck:
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Akima

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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #27 on: 14 Jun 2013, 16:27 »

According to The Economist carbon-fibre lift cables are a real thing. YMMV on how exciting mile-high skyscrapers would be*, but even baby steps towards a space-elevator interest me.

*Though if they're technically feasible, I'm certain Pudong will soon have a few. Cue soundtrack by Vangelis. Image spoilered for size:
(click to show/hide)
Incidentally, that big skyscraper in the foreground? There is now a new one, 28% taller, under construction next door, that will beat Guangzhou's Canton Tower for tallest structure in China. At least until the Ping An Tower in Shenzen is completed... Come on Shanghai, get building! You know you owe it to yourself to have the tallest skyscrapers! :laugh:
« Last Edit: 14 Jun 2013, 18:53 by Akima »
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #28 on: 14 Jun 2013, 17:22 »

space elevators would be awesome, but mile-high archology towers are pretty cool too.
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #29 on: 14 Jun 2013, 18:46 »



The Nanopatch, as it's been named, is used as a replacement for the traditional method of administering vaccines—injection with needle and syringe.

Currently a vaccine is injected into muscle tissue where it encounters immune cells, triggering a response. In contrast, the Nanopatch, which has thousands of projections on the skin side, injects the vaccine just under the skin, where Kendall notes, there are more immune cells. This means, he added, that less vaccine is needed to accomplish the same goal which in turn means each dose would cost far less.

One of the major problems with current injectable vaccines is that they are water based, which means they have be kept chilled to prevent spoilage. This can be a major problem for vaccination programs in areas where there is limited refrigeration facilities. Kendall cited recent reports that suggest up to half of the vaccines administered in Africa don't work properly due to refrigeration issues. With the Nanopatch, the vaccine is dry, thus it doesn't have to be kept chilled. Each patch is silicone based and has 20,000 micro-sized projections on its underside that deliver the vaccine—it's smaller than a typical postage stamp. Because the projections are so small, they cannot be felt piercing the skin, making the application of the vaccine completely painless. Thus far, testing of the Nanopatch by the development team has involved administering the flu vaccine to volunteers.

Kendall added that another advantage of the nanopatch is that it requires the use of much less adjuvants—chemicals added to vaccines to provoke a better immune response. Some of these adjuvants have been suspected of causing health problems, and in some cases autism, though no proof has ever been found. Looking ahead, Kendall said he believes the Nanopatch will soon become available for use against malaria infections as well.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-06-nanopatch-syringe-needle-unveiled-tedglobal.html
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LTK

Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #30 on: 15 Jun 2013, 05:18 »


Holy sheeeeeeeiiiiiiiiit

(click to show/hide)
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #31 on: 22 Jun 2013, 10:40 »

Not a valid youtube URL

LTK

Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #32 on: 22 Jun 2013, 11:24 »

NeverWet? Or EverDry?

I'm not sure if they're different products, but Ars Technica did a bunch of tests with EverDry and according to them, the biggest limitation of it is that the stuff is quite toxic. It's not recommended to put on your clothes, because it might get on your skin, neither should you coat your bathroom with it because the fumes are going to accumulate indoors. I wonder if the other one is any different.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #33 on: 14 Jul 2013, 16:02 »

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LTK

Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #34 on: 15 Jul 2013, 13:46 »

Strong evidence indicates T-Rex was a hunter, not a scavenger. They found a fossil of malformed Hadrosaur vertebrae with a T-Rex tooth stuck inside them, indicating the Hadrosaur was bitten by a T-Rex and survived.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

LTK

Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #35 on: 20 Jul 2013, 14:17 »

Via Ars Technica, this study examined how women's self-identities affect their performance on math tests. They had one group of men and women making the test under a fake name, and another making the test under their real name. The women who used a fake name performed better on the math test than those who used their real name, but not the men. The authors say: "These findings suggest that women's impaired math performance is often due to the threat of confirming a negative stereotype as being true of the self."

If I understand that correctly, I think it would generalise to both men and women if they had lower expectations of their performance compared to others. Maybe you could find the same effect with racial stereotyping, both negative and positive.

Also, for your recommended daily intake of mindblowing astrophyical phenomena, I point you to starquakes. STARQUAKES.
« Last Edit: 20 Jul 2013, 16:19 by LTK »
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

Akima

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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #36 on: 20 Jul 2013, 19:16 »

If I understand that correctly, I think it would generalise to both men and women if they had lower expectations of their performance compared to others. Maybe you could find the same effect with racial stereotyping, both negative and positive.
Is it low expectations of their performance by the test takers that this study illuminates? I gathered that the women were supposed to be put off because their high performance in Maths would somehow reflect badly on them. If true, this reflects very poorly on their social environment.
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #37 on: 21 Jul 2013, 01:08 »

When mathematical ignorance is the social norm, then yes, the social environment is to blame. 
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #38 on: 21 Jul 2013, 02:50 »

Oh boy oh boy oh boy! (I just got the original boxed set of DVDs for my birthday.)
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LTK

Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #39 on: 21 Jul 2013, 04:21 »

When mathematical ignorance is the social norm, then yes, the social environment is to blame. 
Shit. It hadn't even occured to me that people might consider having a certain skill a bad thing. That's kind of depressing.

So, when the authors are saying that the women are afraid of confirming a negative stereotype, it's not the stereotype of a woman, but the stereotype of a nerd. Goddamn it, I thought we had at least some progress in moving past that stigma by now.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #40 on: 21 Jul 2013, 05:00 »

When mathematical ignorance is the social norm, then yes, the social environment is to blame. 
Shit. It hadn't even occured to me that people might consider having a certain skill a bad thing. That's kind of depressing.

So, when the authors are saying that the women are afraid of confirming a negative stereotype, it's not the stereotype of a woman, but the stereotype of a nerd. Goddamn it, I thought we had at least some progress in moving past that stigma by now.

It's FAR more than just being seen as a nerd. The fear is that being good in math will make them literally unattractive to boys and doomed to a life of spinsterhood, and has been reinforced by a very large array of societal pressures that includes boys, other girls, media, teachers and even parents. It's one of the most insidious and intractable memes to ever hit modern society, and even when some people agree with the idea that girls are just as good or better at math as boys, they'll still council not showing off as better. Even on college campuses, hearing a woman say "Oh, I'm just not good at math" is no less common than hearing "oh, I had my period last week".
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #41 on: 21 Jul 2013, 07:39 »

I find women who are very good at math extremely attractive. I absolutely suck at math and like it when a partner can compensate for my utter failure in certain fields.
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #42 on: 21 Jul 2013, 08:07 »

It's FAR more than just being seen as a nerd. The fear is that being good in math will make them literally unattractive to boys and doomed to a life of spinsterhood, and has been reinforced by a very large array of societal pressures that includes boys, other girls, media, teachers and even parents. It's one of the most insidious and intractable memes to ever hit modern society, and even when some people agree with the idea that girls are just as good or better at math as boys, they'll still council not showing off as better. Even on college campuses, hearing a woman say "Oh, I'm just not good at math" is no less common than hearing "oh, I had my period last week".
But that doesn't even make any sense! What's so special about math? Is it hard? Is there a stigma against girls being smart, or academically competent?

Urgh. This makes me upset. I'm gonna read about black holes until I don't hate humanity any more.
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #43 on: 21 Jul 2013, 22:29 »

Actually, I was referring to the general societal stigma against mathematical understanding.  If a person's illiterate, they try and hide the fact.  But when someone's innumerate?  They brag about it.  "I never did understand any of that math stuff" is a common attitude, and parents saying "Oh, don't worry about it, I was bad at math too" just makes it socially hereditary in the worst possible way. 


And, of course, it's supposed to be worse for women, the poor dears - so difficult to wrap your head around such ideas when you're a barefoot, pregnant slave to your hormones...
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #44 on: 30 Jul 2013, 06:59 »

With our current possibilities going near speed of light is just as impossible as going faster than it, so why not assume the more practical way, seeing as both are equally impossible right now.

The way I see it, where there is actual matter, it 'displaces', for lack of a better word, the empty space that was previously there. This means that, while the empty space expands, it may push objects further apart, but it doesn't stretch them out, so distances on earth would stay the same. Of course I am no physicist, but this is how I think it works. I imagine it like balls floating in a pool of water. If you pour the water in a bigger pool it consume a wider area, but the balls stay the same size.

I considered that possibility but I've never read anything by an actual physicist that supports that view. Mass does distort the spacetime around it, which is the cause of gravitational force. I don't think it would be accurate to say that where there is mass, there can be no space - partly because atoms are at least 90% empty space - but it's entirely possible that the distortion of spacetime caused by mass is of the same type as the stretching out of spacetime caused by the expansion of the universe. Maybe they even counteract.

Also, I thought that the expansion of the universe would eventually result in all matter being pulled apart precisely because the expansion increases the size of objects along with the size of space, but when I went to confirm that on Wikipedia the article on Heat Death I couldn't find any mention of that being a factor, so I could be wrong.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

snalin

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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #45 on: 30 Jul 2013, 15:39 »

Guys, there is no edge.

As far as I understand it, the universe is getting bigger, yes, but the gravity of galaxies should keep them together. Like...

Take a cup that is narrow at the bottom, but wide at the top. Put some beads (that float) in, and fill it with water. The beads are going to start close to each other, but after a while get farther apart. I think the universe is a bit like that*, with gravity keeping the galaxies (and atoms) together, even though they move further apart. Not quite sure if this is appropriate though.


*I guess the cup would be infinitely thin in the bottom, be infinitely high, be infinitely wide at the top. And have hella dimensions. Metaphor breakdown!
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #46 on: 30 Jul 2013, 15:46 »

"Space," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space, listen..."

-Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #47 on: 30 Jul 2013, 15:49 »

This makes me wonder if entropy is running its course. Has anyone else read the last question?
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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #48 on: 30 Jul 2013, 15:50 »

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Re: Everybody Loves Science!
« Reply #49 on: 30 Jul 2013, 15:55 »

Yup. It's pretty damn good.
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