Science!

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Brentai
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Re: Science!

Postby Brentai » Wed Oct 26, 2016 5:39 pm

AND FOUR PENI... wait, did nature just steal my joke?

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Friday
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Re: Science!

Postby Friday » Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:05 am

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Thad
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Re: Science!

Postby Thad » Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:31 am

Patient Zero was not actually Patient Zero, like, in any sense. Not only was he not the first case of HIV in the US, by about a decade, but his designation was actually "Patient O", the letter.

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Brentai
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Re: Science!

Postby Brentai » Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:14 am

Good job following up that particular YouTube preview though.

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Friday
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Re: Science!

Postby Friday » Fri Oct 28, 2016 5:04 am

The best part of that video is hitting "7" on your keyboard.
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Sharkey
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Re: Science!

Postby Sharkey » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:47 pm

Thad wrote:Patient Zero was not actually Patient Zero, like, in any sense. Not only was he not the first case of HIV in the US, by about a decade, but his designation was actually "Patient O", the letter.


Common mistake.
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beatbandito
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Re: Science!

Postby beatbandito » Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:28 pm

That is my go-to whenever there's an alphanumeric string, and I'm almost positive I would have forgotten or never even listened of it wasn't Dr. Venture.
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Mongrel
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Re: Science!

Postby Mongrel » Mon Oct 31, 2016 12:43 am

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Re: Science!

Postby Mongrel » Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:41 am

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Defenestration
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Re: Science!

Postby Defenestration » Sun Nov 20, 2016 8:26 pm

http://www.sciencealert.com/it-s-offici ... -published

tl;dr, NASA's microwave drive works despite not actually propelling anything, and it's been peer reviewed.

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Una salus victis nullam sperare salutem

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Mongrel
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Re: Science!

Postby Mongrel » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:06 pm

[joke about this not being a moment too soon goes here]
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Sharkey
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Re: Science!

Postby Sharkey » Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:44 pm

At risk of outrageous understatement, I'm still skeptical that this is actually doing anything remotely like what we're hoping. It's still a matter of either "we were way, way the fuck off track about how basically everything works" or "It's just pushing off the Earth's magnetosphere or something equally mundane." There are still a lot of variables that need to be isolated before one should jump straight to "I dunno it's pushing against the false vacuum I guess." Also, bear in mind that no matter how it's produced, this is still a minuscule amount of impulse for an awful damned lot of energy, and saying that it could get you to Mars in a month or whatever is based on the assumption that the mechanism is both scalable and has enormous room for optimization. As it is, if you hooked one of these up to, say, Voyager 2's RTG and ran it at full power for the last thirty-eight years, it would have added less than 15% (I forgot to add the mass of the gadget, so even less than that) to its total velocity, and the RTG would be spent before it could add much more. Even if it works the way we hope, better than we hope, at present it's not even competitive with old fashioned slingshots and/or ion engines.

All that said, yeah, it's exciting to think about. Even if, say, it only works within a magnetic field, it could still be useful for RCS and station keeping in orbit around planets that have one. And if it turns out that yeah, it really is pushing against false vacuum or quantum foam or whatever, we're probably thinking way too fucking small. Any meaningful interaction with the false vacuum is just one implementation of a game breaking exploit. Spaceships, yeah, sure. Think just straight up free energy without even having to dick around with fusion. Think artificial singularities, or even locally altering the cosmological constant. On the scale of life-changing human discovery this would be less like splitting the atom and more like discovering fire. Basically "yer a Time Lord, 'Arry."

And then we trigger a false vacuum collapse that'd eventually consume everything within its light cone because of course we fucking would.
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Mongrel
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Re: Science!

Postby Mongrel » Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:21 pm

A couple of my friends had this exchange, which I think sums it up nicely.

<Rylinks> it's still possible that it's some kind of measurement error
<Cannonball_Fun> It's possible that we are going to discover an entirely new source of measurement error, even.
<nemryn> Science marches on!
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Sharkey
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Re: Science!

Postby Sharkey » Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:33 pm

That's a perfect summary. It's way too easy to lose your head over this thing, just because it's so thought provoking. If what we thought were incontrovertible laws turn out to be more like sternly worded suggestions we could do all sorts of ridiculous scifi shit. It's less exciting if the experiment was just flawed in interesting ways, and more likely we'll learn that a small, strong magnetic field inside a large, weak magnetic field is bound to jiggle around a bunch, which we already fucking know.
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Brentai
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Re: Science!

Postby Brentai » Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:37 pm

It works, we don't know why, and knowing that we need to figure out why is more important than the device itself.

patito
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Re: Science!

Postby patito » Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:30 pm

You guys do remember that newton's laws of physics are already not even accurate right. Also I'm pretty sure NASA would have considered magnetic forces as explanations, but hey, it turns out it's probably not that either.

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Thad
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Re: Science!

Postby Thad » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:15 am

patito wrote:You guys do remember that newton's laws of physics are already not even accurate right.


Well, they're special-case, but I wouldn't say they're inaccurate.

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Sharkey
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Re: Science!

Postby Sharkey » Tue Nov 22, 2016 3:27 am

That's kind of an understatement. This wouldn't be a case of having to add some caveats to Newton's laws. It'd be more like finding out Zeus is actually in charge of how electricity works. There are simpler ways to account for a thing that turns around very slowly when you run a lot of juice through it.
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Thad
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Re: Science!

Postby Thad » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:41 am

That was my sixth-grade science project.

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Sharkey
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Re: Science!

Postby Sharkey » Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:35 pm



Scott Manley basically repeats what I had to say except with a Scottish accent and less swearing.
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