Thursday Throughput

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Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He is on Twitter, blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

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  1. Avatar Michael Cain
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    says:

    ThTh7: When I was in college I saw a cartoon about particle physics that I wish I had saved. I’ve been unable to find a copy in recent years — I should recreate it. Anyway…

    The first frame is a square, with a caveman type standing in one corner, labeled “The inhabitants of the paper square universe have no idea of the true nature of their world.”

    The second frame has a Victorian-looking scientist standing in one corner, a diagonal line splitting the square, and is labeled “The inhabitants of the paper square universe discover it can be split into upper and lower triangles.”

    The third frame has a 1930s sort of scientist and two diagonal lines and is labeled, “The inhabitants of the paper square universe split the triangle, creating upper, lower, left, and right half-triangles.”

    This goes on with finer and finer lines being drawn, including things like “The inhabitants of the paper square universe discover the square, the rhombus, and other shapes. The existence of the hemi-demi-semi-half-triangle, from which those can be constructed, is theorized. Two years later the hemi-demi-semi-half-triangle is observed.”

    The final square has extremely puzzled science types standing in the corner. The background is a uniform gray. It is labeled, “The inhabitants of the paper square universe have no idea of the true nature of their world.”Report

  2. Avatar Richard Hershberger
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    says:

    ThTh2: I saw the same thing decades ago from medical professionals about medical marijuana, dismissing it because there are no studies showing it to be effective. To which I respond of course there are no such studies, as studying marijuana is illegal. What we have is a large volume of anecdotal evidence from patients to get relief from it. Were it not for reefer madness stupidity, academics and big pharma would have jumped on this long ago. Well, perhaps not big pharma, unless they can figure out a way to patent it. But still… I don’t know if we have had these studies since, and yes, from a scientific perspective the way medical marijuana as gone is kind of ridiculous. But it is less ridiculous than formerly.Report

  3. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    [ThTh3] Avi Loeb says that the possibility of other hypotheses is not the point. The point is that if you never test the unusual hypotheses, you will never discover unusual phenomena. I endorse this view. Do science, by all means. Gather evidence, perform experiments, and so on.

    Loeb believes there is more evidence for his hypothesis (Oumuamua is of alien origin) than there is for the existence of dark matter (though with extremely recent discoveries, this might no longer be true). But that’s a hypothesis nobody has much trouble embracing.

    The truly difficult part of the Oumuamua dataset is the object acceleration, which does not appear to be consistent with the behavior of meteors.Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    [ThTh7] – 20 billion seems amazingly cheap to me for this. The list price for the Texas supercolider back in the day was something like 5 billion in Bush Senior dollars, (with parts of the internet saying the cost overrun projections were as high as 12 billion at time of cancelation)

    Ignoring whatever Musk is peddling these days, it’s seem impossible to build just the 60 mile tunnel itself for 20 billion anywhere in the US.

    edit: also oblig

    edit 2: also alsoReport

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