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  #1576  
Old 05-23-2018, 06:59 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

It's not anything that can be switched on or off per se, and almost-certainly was not originally an adaptation to life in cold environments. (The synapsid ancestors of modern mammals almost-certainly evolved in quite warm environments.) Pretty-much all modern mammals have turbinates that are covered in mucous membranes, which function to regulate the temperature and humidity of air as it enters the respiratory passages. These probably evolved in synapsids (and independently in the dinosaur/bird lineages) to permit higher sustainable metabolic rates.

By moistening air as it enters the respiratory passages, the turbinates allow endotherms to breathe at a faster rate in hot environments without drying out the lungs, and so allow them to maintain high metabolic rates in hot environments and/or during prolonged exertion. A side benefit is that the same system will warm cold air as it enters the respiratory passages, helping prevent potential damage if the animal is breathing very cold air.
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  #1577  
Old 05-25-2018, 02:06 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

I have a thought that has been percolating in my head for a while now as an admitted layman when it comes to science and technological progress and wanted the Lone Ranger's thoughts on this belief. I'll try to be as concise as I can in my explanation.

When Sir Issac Newton came up with his theories on gravity and three laws of motion, future scientists and engineers were able to make practical advantages in technology and scientific research based on his work, in spite of them being an incomplete description of the laws of the universe. When Albert Einstein published his work on general relativity, again, further advancements were made even though his equations break down at the quantum scale.

The discovery of quantum mechanics also brought its own discoveries and we now have engineers taking advantage of the particularities of quantum mechanics in the development of quantum computing.

Unfortunately, for our current science, there is a wall we've hit. Our current theories on general relativity and quantum mechanics are incomplete. From what I've read, the major sticking point is that we have no working theory of quantum gravity. This has led me to a thought which I'll outline now.

Over the last few years I've become increasingly interested in both science, the history of science and the practical engineering and technological breakthroughs that have come about as a result of scientific discovery. Usually, whenever there was a breakthrough in the pure research side of science research, engineering and technological innovation would follow as those discoveries were applied.

This has led me to a realization. Unless we can figure out a working theory of everything, we'll eventually hit a wall in terms of our technological progress. Without a working knowledge of how gravity works on the quantum scale, we'll reach a point in terms our technology and be unable to go any further until further discoveries are made. Is this assessment correct, the Lone Ranger, or do you think I am off?
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  #1578  
Old 05-25-2018, 10:22 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

My question for the Lone Ranger is... What is it? :giggle:

'Wolf-like' creature shot near Montana ranch puzzles experts - BBC News

I love that many people immediately jump to werewolf, direwolf, Chupacabra or even "relative of Bigfoot" (?!) :lol:
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  #1579  
Old 05-25-2018, 10:43 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

In a related note, the coyotes here in the northeast have both wolf and feral dog genes.

No trace of Bigfoot DNA yet.
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  #1580  
Old 05-28-2018, 12:15 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

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Originally Posted by MonCapitan2002 View Post
This has led me to a realization. Unless we can figure out a working theory of everything, we'll eventually hit a wall in terms of our technological progress. Without a working knowledge of how gravity works on the quantum scale, we'll reach a point in terms our technology and be unable to go any further until further discoveries are made.
It is a real concern, especially with some of the pretty versions of string theory requiring energies so high and particles so small that we will need planet, or planet orbit sized colliders to find them.

However the laws of physics are whatever they are no matter what we know. In the same way that Geckos use quantum mechanics to stick to things because quantum mechanics are real and evolution always uses the actual laws of physics, we may end up stuck at a point where we're just throwing ideas at the universe in hopes to see what will stick and there are camps of people who believe it's because X and others because Y but without anyway to tell which one is really right.
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  #1581  
Old 06-04-2018, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Yeah, I have to agree with Ari. One could argue that many of the sciences probably are -- essentially -- "finished" already.

How do I mean that?

Well, are we likely to come up with another theory that revolutionizes our understanding of Biology the way that Evolutionary Theory and the Chromosomal Theory of Inheritance have? Probably not.

Are we likely to come up with another theory that revolutionizes our understanding of Chemistry the way the Atomic Theory (and Quantum Mechanics) has? Probably not.

That doesn't mean that there isn't lots left to be discovered in these fields, of course. But what we're likely to discover in the future is probably just going to be "filling in the gaps," rather than anything truly revolutionary.


In Physics, as Ari points out, we're reaching the point where we're limited by the problem of whether or not it's really possible to test our ideas.



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Originally Posted by slimshady2357 View Post
My question for the Lone Ranger is... What is it? :giggle:

'Wolf-like' creature shot near Montana ranch puzzles experts - BBC News

I love that many people immediately jump to werewolf, direwolf, Chupacabra or even "relative of Bigfoot" (?!) :lol:

Yeah, from the muzzle, tooth, and leg structure, it's definitely a canid. I'm going to say it's almost-certainly an unusually large and shaggy wolf/coyote or wolf/dog hybrid.
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  #1582  
Old 06-04-2018, 11:04 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

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In Physics, as Ari points out, we're reaching the point where we're limited by the problem of whether or not it's really possible to test our ideas.
Da Vinci had that problem.
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  #1583  
Old 06-05-2018, 01:37 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Thinking about this more, there are a couple big questions we still need to answer that will decide just how far we go.

One is if we figure out a theory of everything, can the universe be simulated?
It's not so certain right now if it can or not. Simulation could give us insight into extremely exotic particles and physics that we just can't hope to create in our pocket of spacetime. Like the chemistry of muonic antimatter. Not only do we expect that anti-matter atoms interact and form their own antimatter molecules, but it's possible that things like Muons (a heavier version of the positron) can form up with quarks and create their own period table of elements. But these elements just don't play well with our atoms or area of space.

Another is why quantum waveform collapse seems to produce truly random events. Even with a theory of everything there still exists the question of why some of the tiny particle wave equation interactions produce random results and if these are truly random or if there is an order to them that we just can't see. This gives rise to things like the quantum multiverse but it's a big question if we could detect or interact with that multiverse, if it's even there. (nerding, TV shows love to treat the quantum multiverse as if each character choice creates a new universe when the reality is far more insane. Every interaction which causes a waveform collapse occurs as a probability of a growingly complex but unlikely interaction which produces a mind boggling number of new universes, enough to the point that trying to contemplate the number too hard could turn your head into a blackhole, and these events are happening all the time constantly for all particles in the universe.)

Future science is all in the details. Relativity and quantum mechanics give us the base workings but when a trillion trillion of these things are all interacting at once novel things start to happen that couldn't have been expected if we started with the equation and a piece of paper and started running the numbers.

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  #1584  
Old 06-05-2018, 04:05 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

To add a bit more, to really get into this indepth, and a place where I still struggle, is that you really need to understand the math.

While it's easy to just say that in a handwaving fashion, it's mostly because extra dimensions are mind boggling to visualize yet almost trivial as an array or group of numbers. What I can just barely visualize if I think hard enough or take the right drugs, a 4th spacial dimension that exists outside of the other 3 allowing someone to see all 3 other dimensions at once in the same way that moving outside of the 2d plane above a piece of paper allows you to see inside every bounding region on that paper, moving above the 3d plane allows me to see inside and move 'around' all 3d objects... this visualization just falls apart at 5D and above. Yet when it's all numbers, 3d or 11d is just processing or number manipulation power. In that way understanding waves in an 11 + 1 dimension is really only doable in pure math, let alone if we have multiple time dimensions and any physical representation is just a projection or shadow of the reality and never the whole picture.

I have done some string theory problems as I've both learned more about math and string theory and after spending hours on them I learned jack shit, because while I eventually struggled through the math, without having done it a thousand times and having an intuitive idea of the results, they were just some numbers that while interesting to get to, kinda meant nothing.
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  #1585  
Old 06-05-2018, 06:55 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

If you'll indulge me getting a bit fuzzy here, reading your post made me remember someone saying the important things in science aren't Eureka, but rather, 'that's weird'.

*googles*

Here we go. The Most Exciting Phrase in Science Is Not ‘Eureka!’ But ‘That’s funny …’ – Quote Investigator

How does that tie in to the above, well, I understand I'm extrapolating when I brought Da Vinci into the thrad, I have a hard time getting past the idea of the person out of time confronted with 'magic'. Be it Jean Reno in that otherwise bad movie about the knight brought to present time where he was hollaring 'too fast too fast!' on a freeway doing maybe 40km/h. Or Da Vinci's flying machines. He had the basic idea just from observation but the refinements to make it possible came centuries later. Enlightenment era researchers stumbled across things that didn't have an application for decades or even a century. Most of the things they stumbled across were wrong anyway, despite working mostly within a scientific method. And then there's my mother who swore up and down she would never be able to do the ten digit (up from seven) telephone dialing when they brought that into our area. But she managed somehow.

In short, while we may be into some waters where we have no idea what's coming next or even how to go about investigating it, this is how it's always been.
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  #1586  
Old 06-05-2018, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

One wonders if there will be any more to attain the stature of Newton or Einstein, with their great whopping profundities of perception, or even lesser lights like Boltzmann, Dirac, Boyle, Darwin and so on, or whether there will instead be a legion of relatively anonymous researchers slowly chipping away at all that remains unknown.
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  #1587  
Old 06-05-2018, 05:29 PM
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It could be that with each new set of physical laws that are found, a greater more accurate level of agreement / prediction of the actual universe is found, but that there always remain tantalizing things that can't be fully explained. Scientists will then need to do more experiments and discover new laws to explain the new phenomena. It might be that the laws are like the shells of an onion, but going on for ever - so that eventually scientists might get tired of searching for new laws to explain vanishingly small discrepancies that don't make any difference in 'the real world' (whatever that is).

I don't think it will be like that though, I think there really is a 'theory of everything' waiting to be discovered and when it's found it will be possible to summarize the theory with a handful of succinct equations. I'll put two riders on that.

One is that humans might not be smart enough to ever discover those equations - we would never expect other earth creatures to be smart enough to understand all the physics of the universe, so maybe it's a bit arrogant of us to assume that one day a human will be able to do it.

The other is that even if the laws are discovered, they might not be of much practical use. We already have incredibly accurate predictive laws, such as quantum electrodynamics, that are able to predict the behavior of simple molecules with great precision - but if we try to use the theory to model the behavior of complex molecules, let alone macroscopic systems, then the amount of calculation involved quickly overwhelms even the most powerful of supercomputers. So when we need to model the behavior of complex systems, we have to put aside our best formulas and resort to using the rough-and-ready ones that were discovered sometimes hundreds of years earlier.
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  #1588  
Old 06-06-2018, 12:06 AM
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The other is that even if the laws are discovered, they might not be of much practical use. We already have incredibly accurate predictive laws, such as quantum electrodynamics, that are able to predict the behavior of simple molecules with great precision - but if we try to use the theory to model the behavior of complex molecules, let alone macroscopic systems, then the amount of calculation involved quickly overwhelms even the most powerful of supercomputers. So when we need to model the behavior of complex systems, we have to put aside our best formulas and resort to using the rough-and-ready ones that were discovered sometimes hundreds of years earlier.
That is, I think, the main reason why quantum computers will be revolutionary and that isn't stressed enough. There is the perception that they can crack cryptography and speed up searching but not much else unless new algorithms are discovered. But the obvious thing to use a quantum computer for is simulating quantum systems.

Computational chemistry calculations take up large amounts of supercomputer capacity because of the exponential complexity of the problem. You double the computational capacity and you can simulate only N more atoms in the same amount of time. With quantum computers this will be gone forever. Simulating chemical reactions, protein folding, finding the lattice structure of a room-temperature superconductor, etc.

No more crude approximations, you set up the system in such a way that there will in some sense be a real protein inside that gets pushed around by real water molecules. It may also tell us how to build a better quantum computer. These are problems that we aren't even close to solving even if we have fundamental equations that in principle describe everything except quantum gravity.
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  #1589  
Old 06-06-2018, 03:33 AM
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Or Da Vinci's flying machines. He had the basic idea just from observation but the refinements to make it possible came centuries later. Enlightenment era researchers stumbled across things that didn't have an application for decades or even a century.
Indeed the rarely ever talked about driver of most advancements is material sciences.While Da Vinci had some of the basics wrong, his biggest problem was the materials he had to work with at the time were just not good enough. Take the Wright brothers, they weren't the first ones to fly because they had some secret knowledge of the universe but because they were experts in the materials they were using. Being Bike makers they understood building light weight ridged and flexible machines. When it comes right down to it flight is when your lifting force is greater than gravity but not greater than the strength of your wings and if you want horizontal flight, you need something that can move the whole contraption but still be light. Hence rocks don't fly, but with the right materials something that looks like a rock can, or a long tube with floppy wobbly wings.

So much of our modern world is made out of modern day materials that we take it for granted, and not just carbon fiber or advanced material sciences but things like aluminium and modern steel that are just old every day junk items to us, didn't exist a few hundred years ago. Steel especially is fascinating since humans have been using it for thousands of years, yet modern mass produced steel is so far more advanced it might as well be considered a different material. High quality metals basically led to combustion engines and modern buildings and thousands of things that would have been a one off parlor trick in the past but is a staple today.

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One is that humans might not be smart enough to ever discover those equations - we would never expect other earth creatures to be smart enough to understand all the physics of the universe, so maybe it's a bit arrogant of us to assume that one day a human will be able to do it.
This I find quite interesting, like it's fascinating just how far we've gotten being the only civilization that's ever existed (that we know of). I could easily see at least a few false starts, a few small civilizations of non apes that figured out how to make simple tools and grow crops/food but couldn't grasp higher concepts of math or science.

Of course I say that and it could all just be a trick, since science only ever looks at current nature, all of our laws could just be a simple startup sequence on a universe computer and in a few trillion of our years the real physics will start to kick in as our module is linked to others. Afterall if we can simulate the universe, it brings up the question of whether its a simulation itself.
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  #1590  
Old 06-07-2018, 04:09 PM
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No more crude approximations, you set up the system in such a way that there will in some sense be a real protein inside that gets pushed around by real water molecules.
So quantum computing is in a sense analog computing? I didn't know that. Very neat.
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Old 06-07-2018, 04:10 PM
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Yeah, from the muzzle, tooth, and leg structure, it's definitely a canid. I'm going to say it's almost-certainly an unusually large and shaggy wolf/coyote or wolf/dog hybrid.
I suspect forced perspective to make it look larger, because we have coyotes around here which look an awful lot like it, but at reasonable sizes.
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Old 06-08-2018, 02:53 AM
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No more crude approximations, you set up the system in such a way that there will in some sense be a real protein inside that gets pushed around by real water molecules.
So quantum computing is in a sense analog computing? I didn't know that. Very neat.
It's a weird mixture of digital and analog. The state of the simplest possible unit of a quantum system, a qubit, is described by two complex numbers whose squared absolute values, which represent the probabilities of the two basis states when measuring, add to 1.

So you have something which, when it is measured (in a standard basis), gives exactly one of two possible values. But at the same time, its state can contain a theoretically infinite amount of information (ignoring black holes) that can be processed inside the quantum computer. You could (in principle) do something like bounce a single photon off a CD, using a wide beam, and you would have all of its contents at your disposal to use in a quantum algorithm. I don't quite remember where I got the example with the CD from, it could have been a lecture by Seth Lloyd, I'm not sure.

It's related to the question whether quantum mechanics is deterministic or not. There is no yes-or-no answer, it depends.
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