Things I Do Not Know

HawkeyeHawkeye Members Join Date: 2002-10-31 Member: 1855Posts: 2,075 Advanced user
I'm a strong believer that knowledge is power. The smartest are those that aren't afraid to ask questions. Everybody has such questions, but they are different per person. I have an abundance of unanswered questions that I simply do not know the answer to. I would like to have my questions (or at least many of them) answered so I may be a more powerful person. Please remember as you read these, that while the answer may be obvious, they aren't for me. If they were, I wouldn't be starting this thread.

Here is a listing of all the questions I do not know:

How are fish/birds able to fly together as if it were a single entity. They turn directions within split seconds, and there have been no traces of any signals being passed inbetween them. How does that work?

Birds fly south for the winter. How do they know which direction is south?

Seeds in the ground grow always up, and the roots down. How does it know which direction to grow in?

The color yellow is said to look different for each person. Is that true, and if so, how does it happen that you interpret it that way?

Can a computer be made to simulate a human brain? In other words, can it replicate the thought processes and emotions (perhaps not now, but with better technology)?

Why are humans the most aggressive creatures on this earth? Why does any other creature that demonstrates intelligence is kind and gentle, though our tendencies are violent and malevolent? What attribute about humankind makes us this way if it isn't intelligence?

Is time travel possible? Is everybody's futures predestined, or have they not been written yet? And, is there a past that physically exists that we can visit or does only the present exist?

QUOTE ([email protected])
Nothing says theft deterrent like a dog running up and down the yard with a spine flopping in his jaws.
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Comments

  • cannon_fodder11cannon_fodder11 Members Join Date: 2004-08-03 Member: 30339Posts: 98
    Hmmmm...

    1. Good question, and one I've never heard before. I reckon it's just a combination of good senses and reflexes.

    2. Maybe the direction of the sun?

    3. That's not true, you can grow plants upside-down, as far as I know. As for the knowledge of which direction the air is in, I don't know. I think they might just shoot out roots and stems, until they get it right (because they can detect light and moisture).

    4. Never heard of that one. Although when you think about every single person is going to detect\interpret colors in a slightly different way. None of our brains are goin to be exactly the same...

    5. Yes, I think so.

    6. NO animal out there is kind or gentle. They all care for themselves and those that are important to them mostly. Any animal will defend itself against hostiles. Kindness is an illusion. Truth is, all animals (including us) are bastards to each other. I don't think humans are more aggresive than other animals, I just think that through their technology and VERY complex social structure they have a much higher capability to cause harm.

    7. I don't think time travel is possible. Although, I do think that the future is predestined (although that's a bad word to use for it, as it somehow implies that the future is destined through the intervention of some being). This is what I've always thought of as my god- TWTCC. The way the cookie crumbles. That is, the way events unfold. You see, I think the only Universe can only possibly operate (operate being another bad word to use) are-
    1. Total linearity.
    2. Partial randomization.
    and I think the linearity one is more feasible. So events can and will only unfold in one way.

    However, time travel to the future is still explainable eve if you don't believe this. Time could just be going quickly for you and slowly for everything else.

    But I think that time travel to the past is totally unfeasible. Think about it- if you went back in time and killed yourself, you could never have gone back in time to kill yourself, yet you would be dead because you killed yourself. A paradox. Unless, time goes backwards for you and at the normal speed for everything else and anything you do won't change the future. Although, this would imply the existence of paralell universes (even though, by definiton, there can only be one universe), as mass and energy from one time would be in another (unless the law of conservation of mass is BS). Yet none of this means anything if (and, if it were true, it would be) this is all a part of TWTCC. My brain's tired.
    I don't want no teenage queen.
    I just want my M-14.
  • taboofirestaboofires Members Join Date: 2002-11-24 Member: 9853Posts: 2,246 Advanced user
    1) The whole reason birds fly in formation is to minimize drag. When you move slightly out of formation, drag increases. The bird can feel it, and turn in the direction of least resistance (the way the leard bird turned. This is probably combined with other senses like sight, and good reflexes are certainly required (not that they aren't required for not becoming a snack anyway).

    2) A little bit of bodily iron deposit can act as a compass. I believe homing pigeons were proven to follow street directions (literally, following streets, plus rivers and other landmarks) and using that to get around. Just some ideas.

    3) There is definately an answer to this, but I can't recall it atm. Leaves grow toward sunlight, that much is readily observable, but I can't remember back far enough to what happens when you grow things in microgravity and in the dark.

    4) What color you see is simply a function of the sensors in the back of your eyes. Exact patterns and densities for different sensors differ between people, and in my case, my left eye view has slightly higher yellow intensity than the right.

    5) A computer can simulate anything to within a reasonable accuracy. There are deeper questions here that we don't know the answer to, however.

    6) Consider dolphins. One side of them is playful, intelligent. Another shows their predatory instinct. A good way to look at this is: whatever results in you living to bear children usually gets passed down. Violence, at least against other species and sometimes within, is simply successful. Also, there is a very large gap between what we know about animals and their actual natures that has only recently begun to close (primarily because of new surveilance techs, as animals act wierd when they know humans are around).

    7) Time travel does not exist in any useful form, nor is it likely to ever. Time dilation is certainly possible, and even observable, but it's not useful either (far more effort to force than it's worth).
  • BloodySlothBloodySloth Members Join Date: 2003-08-27 Member: 20284Posts: 896
    If time travel was possible, we would be getting tourists from the future tounge.gif
  • SymbioteSymbiote Members Join Date: 2003-09-07 Member: 20625Posts: 38
    only one i can touch on

    3) plants have these diff cells in them, some that fall due to gravity causing roots to fall and grow into the ground. then theres cells that move away from sunlight causing the opposite end to grow, which in turn leads to growth toward the sun. kinda complicated without some pictures, and i dont remember the names of these cells either.
  • SwiftspearSwiftspear Custim tital Members Join Date: 2003-10-29 Member: 22097Posts: 7,018
    QUOTE
    Can a computer be made to simulate a human brain? In other words, can it replicate the thought processes and emotions (perhaps not now, but with better technology)?

    In theory, yes it should be able too, I mean, essentially the brain runs on a 1's and 0's code language as well (in the form of if then gates), so computers have already started to simulate brains in that way. However the code style is totally different, and there are several things the brain can do that computers can't do, for instance, applying occams razor style logic to a problem. If a computer is presented with the problem:
    CODE

    x = 100
    While (x>0) do{
    x = x/2}

    and is asked weather or not the program will stop, the computer will not be able to solve the problem because computers can only solve problems by plugging them in and computing them, the human brain however can simply process instantly that in order for x/2 to be equal to zero, x must equal infinate, and thus we can never count x to the point where the program will end.
    O_O image
  • coilcoil Amateur pirate. Professional monkey. All pance. Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor Join Date: 2002-04-12 Member: 424Posts: 7,511
    QUOTE (Hawkeye @ Nov 1 2004, 02:55 PM)
    How are fish/birds able to fly together as if it were a single entity. They turn directions within split seconds, and there have been no traces of any signals being passed inbetween them. How does that work?

    Flocking is a very simple behavior with a complex emergent result. Each bird follows a few specific "rules," such as "keep pace" and "don't fly into your neighbor." The result is a flock/school that moves as a single, fluid entity.
    QUOTE
    Birds fly south for the winter.  How do they know which direction is south?

    Magnets in their brain. No, seriously... they sense the Earth's magnetic field.
    QUOTE
    Seeds in the ground grow always up, and the roots down.  How does it know which direction to grow in?

    Same way you know that your feet go down -- the seed senses gravity.
    QUOTE
    The color yellow is said to look different for each person.  Is that true, and if so, how does it happen that you interpret it that way?

    I've actually asked this question before, or one similar to it. How do I know that Color X looks the same to me as it does to someone else? I don't know the answer, but it sounds like a philosophical as much as a scientific one.
    QUOTE
    Can a computer be made to simulate a human brain?  In other words, can it replicate the thought processes and emotions (perhaps not now, but with better technology)?

    Theoretically, most likely yes. We know how neurons function, so once we have figured out what makes them do what, we should be able to reproduce it.
    QUOTE
    Why are humans the most aggressive creatures on this earth?  Why does any other creature that demonstrates intelligence is kind and gentle, though our tendencies are violent and malevolent?  What attribute about humankind makes us this way if it isn't intelligence?

    Humans are probably the most destructive because we are the smartest. Other intelligent species, though, are anything but kind. Dolphins and chimps have both been witnessed performing vicious acts, usually in the form of sometimes lethal attacks against others of their own species. I watched a video once of a large male chimp beating a smaller one to death... not by hitting it, but by literally heaving the smaller chimp bodily against the ground over and over again.
    QUOTE
    Is time travel possible?  Is everybody's futures predestined, or have they not been written yet?  And, is there a past that physically exists that we can visit or does only the present exist?

    Like the color, this one has a lot of philosophy in it. I don't know.
  • CronosCronos Members Join Date: 2002-10-18 Member: 1542Posts: 1,823
    QUOTE
    The color yellow is said to look different for each person.  Is that true, and if so, how does it happen that you interpret it that way?


    Heres an interesting notion. The colour of these forums appear navy blue to me. To another, they may appear red, however, if this person were to say "This forum is red" I would read "This forum is blue" because I would interpret red to be blue. If I were to say to him the forum was blue, he would read that as red.

    Wait, I think I confused myself there. Agh. Anywy it's meant to do with perceptual differences or some such.

    Anyway, moving along...

    QUOTE
    Can a computer be made to simulate a human brain?  In other words, can it replicate the thought processes and emotions (perhaps not now, but with better technology)?


    Any system can be understood and emulated given enough information. The human brain remains a very complicated cypher, so until the human brain can be understood it is unlikely that we can simulate it in any reliable fashion, though that does not rule out approximations.

    QUOTE
    Why are humans the most aggressive creatures on this earth?  Why does any other creature that demonstrates intelligence is kind and gentle, though our tendencies are violent and malevolent?  What attribute about humankind makes us this way if it isn't intelligence?


    Greenie propaganda. All animals do what they have to to survive. Humans are portrayed as the most violent and destructive because we have the tools to do the most amount of damage (language, tools, organisation, motives, etc etc).

    Aggression has existed since the first virus infiltrated the first living cell. Hell, it was because of a particularly aggressive little bacterium some four billion years ago that gave rise to the mitochondria, a structure within cells that is vital to survival. It isnt something new and it wont end with us in any manner, shape or form.

    QUOTE
    Is time travel possible?  Is everybody's futures predestined, or have they not been written yet?  And, is there a past that physically exists that we can visit or does only the present exist?


    Possibly. We still need further knowledge on the nature of space, time and existence to know for certain.
    image

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.
  • venomusvenomus Members Join Date: 2002-11-16 Member: 8951Posts: 353
    How are fish/birds able to fly together as if it were a single entity. They turn directions within split seconds, and there have been no traces of any signals being passed inbetween them. How does that work?

    Do a search for "boid" or "boid demo". There are simple algorithms which give rise to a flocking effect, and they are easy to simulate on a computer, many games even make use of them.
  • taboofirestaboofires Members Join Date: 2002-11-24 Member: 9853Posts: 2,246 Advanced user
    QUOTE (Swiftspear @ Nov 2 2004, 01:40 AM)
    QUOTE
    Can a computer be made to simulate a human brain? In other words, can it replicate the thought processes and emotions (perhaps not now, but with better technology)?

    In theory, yes it should be able too, I mean, essentially the brain runs on a 1's and 0's code language as well (in the form of if then gates), so computers have already started to simulate brains in that way. However the code style is totally different, and there are several things the brain can do that computers can't do, for instance, applying occams razor style logic to a problem. If a computer is presented with the problem:
    CODE

    x = 100
    While (x>0) do{
    x = x/2}

    and is asked weather or not the program will stop, the computer will not be able to solve the problem because computers can only solve problems by plugging them in and computing them, the human brain however can simply process instantly that in order for x/2 to be equal to zero, x must equal infinate, and thus we can never count x to the point where the program will end.

    That's the halting problem, yes, but under the same restircted conditions it's applied to, a human can't solve it either. Halting is quite restrained. The computer can follow a set of well-defined rules as well as a human can, and they are capable of the pattern recognition required to determine halting. They just can't do it with finite state machines, grammars, or turing machines. You couldn't either, but that doesn't mean you can't use something to figure it out. Even then, there's no guarantee you'll find an answer.

    For example, does this halt?
    CODE
    do x=rand(maxint)
    while (x<maxint-1)


    One way to look at it is this - computers are good at math, humans are good at pattern recognition. You can define one in terms of the other, but it's not easy. Some things can't be done with either, so you're stuck either way.

    ...

    And even if two people see different images for the same color, they should call it the same thing. The crayon still has the same name wink-fix.gif Barring color blindness and other vision problems, all that would differ between people is the intensities in the image.
  • CallMessiahCallMessiah Members Join Date: 2002-06-24 Member: 813Posts: 167 Advanced user
    Concerning the colours:
    If I asked what colour the normal smilies like this one smile-fix.gif were, I would get the answer yellow from most certainly anyone in here. The colour could actually look blue to me and red to somebody else, but we have been tought that this colour is called yellow. That is how we are able to talk about things which might not appear to us in the same way as if they did. It does not matter if we perceive things in the same way as long as the name we have given something is the same.
    If you would raise a child in totally unaware of outside influences other tahn your own you could easily teach it different names for different colours and would have... a pretty messed up child in the end.
    I remember I was trying to make a point somewhere... I'll get back to you, when I find it again.
  • ZelZel Members Join Date: 2003-01-27 Member: 12861Posts: 1,610
    Wow, Cannon_fodder1990 has exactly what i was going to say about time travel.

    plants grow towards light and opposite gravity, fungus grows towards light, as any tiny amount of light tells them when the mycelium have reached surface.

    computers can emulate a human brain to 99.999% similarity, but we cant program creativity just yet, and how would you test it anyway? in the movie iRobot, the detective yelled at the 'bot that he could never create masterpeices of art with his 'tin brain' and the robot said that the detective could never personally do it either!
    one fish. two fish. red fish. blue fish.
    ABC, LSD, gummi bears are chasing me.
    one is green, one is blue, the yellow one just took my shoe!
  • EpidemicEpidemic Dark Force Gorge Members Join Date: 2003-06-29 Member: 17781Posts: 3,104 Advanced user
    edited November 2004
    That's because blue, yellow, etc is a too broad definition. #10065 is always #10065 though tounge.gif
    Time travel isnt possible, travelling faster than light would only give you a vision of the past tounge.gif
    In some animal planet broadcast, the narrator said they navigated after sun/stars.
    I saw a radscorpion the other day.
  • HawkeyeHawkeye Members Join Date: 2002-10-31 Member: 1855Posts: 2,075 Advanced user
    Thanks guys. Some of those questions aren't intuitive I know. I admit I am completely ignorant on most of those subjects (though the computer simulation one I think I have a better grasp on than most people since I am computer science).

    I have some more questions that I've been thinking about:

    Can we travel faster than light? I know it isn't possible by theory, but tachyon particles are known to move faster with LESS energy and closer to the speed of light with more energy.

    What is the significance of the speed of light? I mean, why couldn't it be the speed of sound? Why does that determine the "fastest accomplishable speed"?

    If evolution is true, then what did the simplest life form evolve from? How did the very first "life form" come from?

    What is the "String Theory" of our universe? How does it work (in terms I can understand tounge.gif).

    The "Golden Number" said to be the building block of God is a ratio 1.614 (or something to that effect). It shows up in plants, animals, nature, and even human beings from everything to arm to shoulder and elbow to shoulder ratio to the shrinking ratio found in snails or conk shells on the beach. Why?

    How does solar power work (the intricacies)?

    A lightning strike supposedly generates twice as much power as the world's electricity power put together PER strike. If we had a rod connecting to power cells, why wouldn't it be possible to use this power to generate electricity for years on end?

    Why can't we use geothermal energy?

    How does the electoral college work exactly?

    More to come. tounge.gif
    Thanks. Keep answering for me.
    QUOTE ([email protected])
    Nothing says theft deterrent like a dog running up and down the yard with a spine flopping in his jaws.
  • coilcoil Amateur pirate. Professional monkey. All pance. Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor Join Date: 2002-04-12 Member: 424Posts: 7,511
    QUOTE (Hawkeye @ Nov 2 2004, 04:21 PM)
    If evolution is true, then what did the simplest life form evolve from? How did the very first "life form" come from?

    Experiments suggest that the likely conditions on primordial Earth could spontaneously create organic compounds (molecules containing carbon, specifically, as well as nitrogen and other important atomic sub-structures) like amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.

    The most widely accepted theory is that some RNA-like molecule (ribonucleic acid, a single-stranded DNA-like molecule) was probably the first self-replicating structure. Some RNA is able to self-replicate, as each building-block has an affinity for a matching base - A with T, C with G (RNA frequently replaces A with U, adenine with base whose name escapes me, but that's beside the point). The RNA strand AATT will naturally bond to TTAA, which is indentical to the original (just inverted). CAGTACTG will bond with GTCATGAC, again an inversion of the original.

    The theory continues that molecules which were better at replicating and less susceptible to degradation produced more of themselves, out-performing less capable molecules in the hunt for building blocks. Eventually, they reached the stage where one molecule performed multiple functions - perhaps part of it serving as a protective shield, or specifically as an aid to more efficient replication (early cell wall, early ribosome). Maybe two molecules started associating with each other accidentally, because one was very good at catching building blocks and the other very good at using them to build more.

    Over time, molecules in one of these proto-organisms would become specialized, depending on one another for their survival. Scientists offer that liposomes, naturally occuring bubbles made up of fatty acids with the properties of a cell membrane, may have become proto-cells when replicating molecules accidentally ended up inside them. Evolution was certainly a series of accidents, but they had a LONG time to have those accidents.

    In my opinion, "evolution" doesn't occur on a species or even an organism level, but at the genetic level. In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins describes living organisms as "survival machines" -- constructions built to specification by our genes to enable *them* to survive and reproduce... not us. It's an interesting theory, and one that makes a lot of sense broken down as well. I highly recommend the book; it's a very easy read.

    QUOTE
    The "Golden Number" said to be the building block of God is a ratio 1.614 (or something to that effect).  It shows up in plants, animals, nature, and even human beings from everything to arm to shoulder and elbow to shoulder ratio to the shrinking ratio found in snails or conk shells on the beach.  Why?
    Just speculating, but it's very likely that this is an effect of fractal or recursive construction, in which the whole resembles its parts and vice versa. At the molecular level, there are a small number of "common" angles between molecular bonds. Carbon, when fully bonded, forms a tetrahedron with the carbon molecule at the center and its four partners at each corner (e.g. methane). Water molecules similarly form hydrogen bonds with each other in a tetrahedron-like system. The angle between bonds in this case is, IIRC, ~135 degrees. You can see this kind of structure in coal/diamond as well (solid carbon). Graphite is a planar carbon molecule, in which each carbon bonds with three neighbors in a series of hexagonal bonds (the angles, of course, are 120 degrees).

    Not really an answer to your question, but I have a feeling that 1.614 or whatever is a result of similar molecular recursions that all organic life share.

    QUOTE
    How does the electoral college work exactly?
    Short version: Each state has a certain number of electoral votes. I believe the minimum is 3, and additional votes are granted proportionally to that state's population. Electors have no requirement to cast their votes according to majority vote, but generally do. If a state's popular vote is for Candidate X, then he receives *all* of that state's votes. Colorado is voting today on a proportional electoral vote system, in which its electoral votes would be divided proportionally to represent actual popular voting in the state (e.g. if Bush gets 55% of the popular vote in CO, he would get 5 of the 9 electoral votes).

    A candidate needs 270 votes to win the election. There are 538 votes up for grabs, which makes a 269-269 split possible. In that case, Congress votes for the new president and vice president - the House picks the President, and the Senate picks the VP.
  • DiscoZombieDiscoZombie Members Join Date: 2003-08-05 Member: 18951Posts: 4,521 Advanced user
    QUOTE
    What is the significance of the speed of light? I mean, why couldn't it be the speed of sound? Why does that determine the "fastest accomplishable speed"?

    always wondered myself... my guess is because light is actually energy moving through space, while sound is vibration passed from one particle to the next rather than actual movement... so moving faster than sound is just moving faster than atom-to-atom vibration can occur, while moving faster than light would be moving faster than energy...

    but I'm not sure.

    as for the first life form thing, well obviously creationists know how they'd answer that. personally I don't think it's unheard of that, when the planet was a molten (but cooling) primordeal ooze, a few microscopic molecules out of the 90,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms on earth came together into a formation capable of self-replication.

    the only other question I'd wanna touch is the geothermal energy one - we DO use it... you mean why can't we use it to a greater degree? I think it's only useable in places of geothermal activity, like plate boundaries and hot spots... because otherwise, the earth's heat is way too deep to drill down to in order to access the heat. but in places like hawaii, it works by having a reservoir underground where the earth keeps it nice and hot, and the earth's heat boils the water and creates steam to power turbines and create electricity...
    image
  • SnidelySnidely Members Join Date: 2003-02-04 Member: 13098Posts: 3,893
    What is that clear liquid that comes out of wounds? I'm tired of calling it "that clear liquid that comes out of wounds". I don't mean pus, because that's usually viscous, and this stuff is like sticky water.
    user posted image
    user posted image user posted image uuuuussssssssser posssssted iiimage

    USER POSTED IMAGE
  • kidakida Members Join Date: 2003-02-20 Member: 13778Posts: 1,458 Advanced user
    puss? plasma? vital fluids?
  • SnidelySnidely Members Join Date: 2003-02-04 Member: 13098Posts: 3,893
    It's not pus, I reckon (as I said in my post). Pus has colour and is thicker than the clear stuff. It may be plasma, but isn't that a part of blood? Why wouldn't you just bleed instead of ooze plasma? Vital fluids is a bit vague.
    user posted image
    user posted image user posted image uuuuussssssssser posssssted iiimage

    USER POSTED IMAGE
  • moultanomoultano Creator of ns_shiva. Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Gold, NS2 Community Developer, Pistachionauts Join Date: 2002-12-14 Member: 10806Posts: 4,219 Advanced user
    edited November 2004
    QUOTE (taboofires @ Nov 2 2004, 09:11 AM)
    QUOTE (Swiftspear @ Nov 2 2004, 01:40 AM)
    QUOTE
    Can a computer be made to simulate a human brain? In other words, can it replicate the thought processes and emotions (perhaps not now, but with better technology)?

    In theory, yes it should be able too, I mean, essentially the brain runs on a 1's and 0's code language as well (in the form of if then gates), so computers have already started to simulate brains in that way. However the code style is totally different, and there are several things the brain can do that computers can't do, for instance, applying occams razor style logic to a problem. If a computer is presented with the problem:
    CODE

    x = 100
    While (x>0) do{
    x = x/2}

    and is asked weather or not the program will stop, the computer will not be able to solve the problem because computers can only solve problems by plugging them in and computing them, the human brain however can simply process instantly that in order for x/2 to be equal to zero, x must equal infinate, and thus we can never count x to the point where the program will end.

    That's the halting problem, yes, but under the same restircted conditions it's applied to, a human can't solve it either. Halting is quite restrained. The computer can follow a set of well-defined rules as well as a human can, and they are capable of the pattern recognition required to determine halting. They just can't do it with finite state machines, grammars, or turing machines. You couldn't either, but that doesn't mean you can't use something to figure it out. Even then, there's no guarantee you'll find an answer.

    That's a bit inaccurate. So far, every computational device that has ever been discovered or invented is less powerful or equivalent to a Turing machine in what it can compute.

    All of the cases that were presented could be solved by a computer. In fact, anything that is provable can be proved by a computer simply by searching the current list of true statements and combining them according to logical rules to add to the list of true statements.

    So far, there nothing that humans can do has been shown to be computationally impossible for a computer, and its unlikely that anything will. The difficulties confronting AI research are not the bounds on computability. The difficulty is in describing inference processes mathematically, and in implementing them to achieve acceptable preformance.
  • moultanomoultano Creator of ns_shiva. Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Gold, NS2 Community Developer, Pistachionauts Join Date: 2002-12-14 Member: 10806Posts: 4,219 Advanced user
    QUOTE (coil @ Nov 2 2004, 04:17 PM)
    QUOTE
    The "Golden Number" said to be the building block of God is a ratio 1.614 (or something to that effect).  It shows up in plants, animals, nature, and even human beings from everything to arm to shoulder and elbow to shoulder ratio to the shrinking ratio found in snails or conk shells on the beach.  Why?
    Just speculating, but it's very likely that this is an effect of fractal or recursive construction, in which the whole resembles its parts and vice versa. At the molecular level, there are a small number of "common" angles between molecular bonds. Carbon, when fully bonded, forms a tetrahedron with the carbon molecule at the center and its four partners at each corner (e.g. methane). Water molecules similarly form hydrogen bonds with each other in a tetrahedron-like system. The angle between bonds in this case is, IIRC, ~135 degrees. You can see this kind of structure in coal/diamond as well (solid carbon). Graphite is a planar carbon molecule, in which each carbon bonds with three neighbors in a series of hexagonal bonds (the angles, of course, are 120 degrees).

    Not really an answer to your question, but I have a feeling that 1.614 or whatever is a result of similar molecular recursions that all organic life share.

    That's basically it.
    The exact value of the golden ratio is (1+ sqrt(5))/2 .
    It has a ton of interesting properties and shows up a lot in computer science.
    The wikipedia page goes over most of them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio
  • SwiftspearSwiftspear Custim tital Members Join Date: 2003-10-29 Member: 22097Posts: 7,018
    QUOTE (taboofires @ Nov 2 2004, 09:11 AM)
    QUOTE (Swiftspear @ Nov 2 2004, 01:40 AM)
    QUOTE
    Can a computer be made to simulate a human brain? In other words, can it replicate the thought processes and emotions (perhaps not now, but with better technology)?

    In theory, yes it should be able too, I mean, essentially the brain runs on a 1's and 0's code language as well (in the form of if then gates), so computers have already started to simulate brains in that way. However the code style is totally different, and there are several things the brain can do that computers can't do, for instance, applying occams razor style logic to a problem. If a computer is presented with the problem:
    CODE

    x = 100
    While (x>0) do{
    x = x/2}

    and is asked weather or not the program will stop, the computer will not be able to solve the problem because computers can only solve problems by plugging them in and computing them, the human brain however can simply process instantly that in order for x/2 to be equal to zero, x must equal infinate, and thus we can never count x to the point where the program will end.

    That's the halting problem, yes, but under the same restircted conditions it's applied to, a human can't solve it either. Halting is quite restrained. The computer can follow a set of well-defined rules as well as a human can, and they are capable of the pattern recognition required to determine halting. They just can't do it with finite state machines, grammars, or turing machines. You couldn't either, but that doesn't mean you can't use something to figure it out. Even then, there's no guarantee you'll find an answer.

    For example, does this halt?
    CODE
    do x=rand(maxint)
    while (x<maxint-1)


    One way to look at it is this - computers are good at math, humans are good at pattern recognition. You can define one in terms of the other, but it's not easy. Some things can't be done with either, so you're stuck either way.

    ...

    And even if two people see different images for the same color, they should call it the same thing. The crayon still has the same name wink-fix.gif Barring color blindness and other vision problems, all that would differ between people is the intensities in the image.

    The answer to the first problem is no, it does not halt. The first program does not halt because in order for x to equal infinity, the only condition in which the condition is true, the equation would need to compute an infinate ammount of times, which is not possible in the real world. The second program shouldn't halt either because maxint is an infinate value, and infinity - 1 = infinity, thus no random number (all real integers must be found on the number scale, and all random numbers must be real integers) scale can equal the value of the test condition.
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  • RuByRuBy Members Join Date: 2002-12-12 Member: 10732Posts: 1,019
    QUOTE (Snidely @ Nov 2 2004, 04:30 PM)
    What is that clear liquid that comes out of wounds? I'm tired of calling it "that clear liquid that comes out of wounds". I don't mean pus, because that's usually viscous, and this stuff is like sticky water.

    lymph
    Rubber*ducky or Rubert in NS, Kaelwe in WoW, and too many other sobriquets...
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  • SnidelySnidely Members Join Date: 2003-02-04 Member: 13098Posts: 3,893
    RuBy, you rock.
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  • panda_de_malheureuxpanda_de_malheureux Members Join Date: 2003-12-26 Member: 24775Posts: 1,633
    edited November 2004
    QUOTE
    What is that clear liquid that comes out of wounds? I'm tired of calling it "that clear liquid that comes out of wounds". I don't mean pus, because that's usually viscous, and this stuff is like sticky water.

    White blood cells? They're clear and used to block up cuts (IIRC)
    edit: lymph contains white blood cells.

    QUOTE
    If time travel was possible, we would be getting tourists from the future


    True, that's why my theory is that you can only "travel" forward in time, by getting scanned (ISO), killed and then put back together.

    Good thread smile-fix.gif

    edit2: why is it that (American) football is called football when they hardly ever kick the ball and why is it called a touchdown when they don't have to touch the ball down (like in rugby)?
  • ForlornForlorn Banned Join Date: 2002-11-01 Member: 2634Posts: 6,495
    edited November 2004
    QUOTE (BloodySloth @ Nov 2 2004, 12:58 AM)
    If time travel was possible, we would be getting tourists from the future tounge.gif

    Actually, false!


    Time travel is physically possible. Furthermore, time travelers would only be able to travel back in time closest to the point when the machine was built and active. Therefore once the machine is built you can go forward in time and back in time up untill the point where the machine was built, and go forward (in theory) forever.
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  • coilcoil Amateur pirate. Professional monkey. All pance. Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor Join Date: 2002-04-12 Member: 424Posts: 7,511
    The white stuff that comes out of wounds is basically blood without the red blood cells - platelets, white blood cells, etc.

    Pus is a combination of the above and dead tissue - dead cells, dead infectious agents, etc.
  • TheAdjTheAdj He demanded a cool forum title of some type. Members, NS1 Playtester, Constellation Join Date: 2004-05-03 Member: 28436Posts: 961 Fully active user
    Lymphatic fluid is usually the white stuff, which is mostly dead infectious agents and white blood cells (commonly T-Cells because they die en-masse killing off vectors).
    [NAPT]
  • SnidelySnidely Members Join Date: 2003-02-04 Member: 13098Posts: 3,893
    edited November 2004
    Lymph (or the stuff I'm talking about, anyway) comes out transparent but can become slightly yellow when it sets. It does not have colour until it sets. It is not viscous, but it is slightly sticky. I usually get it instead of blood when I tear some skin off, if I don't dig deep.

    Pus, from my experience, is viscous. It's not stretchy like snot or the mucus that comes out of your eye, but if you rub it between your fingers its texture is a bit like cream. It has a definate colour (varies from white to yellow to beige to green). It's not what I'm talking about, and my doctor confirmed that, but he didn't know the name for lymph off-hand, either. I just wanted to know the name.
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  • taboofirestaboofires Members Join Date: 2002-11-24 Member: 9853Posts: 2,246 Advanced user
    QUOTE (Swiftspear @ Nov 2 2004, 05:08 PM)
    The second program shouldn't halt either because maxint is an infinate value, and infinity - 1 = infinity, thus no random number (all real integers must be found on the number scale, and all random numbers must be real integers) scale can equal the value of the test condition.

    MAXINT is not infinity. It is defined as a particular integer value. If it's throwing you off, just consider random numbers from 1 to 10. There is a possibility that you will never, ever get a five, no matter how many numbers you choose. A rediculously small chance, but it exists.

    The correct answer to the question, "will that code halt," is maybe. Because it is not in the set of any decidable languages, you can't solve it yourself, let alone a computer. There does not exist a true statement to compare this to, either.

    And you can have leaks small enough to ooze liquids (or very small cells/cell debris), yet block red blood cells from passing through.
  • MerkabaMerkaba Digital Harmony Members, Retired Developer, NS1 Playtester Join Date: 2002-01-24 Member: 22Posts: 2,571
    Re: Speed of light

    Is the speed of light deemed the fastest it's possible to go because light itself travels as fast as it can go? Otherwise, why is it not plausible to go faster than the speed of light? Admittedly your vision would probably go a bit askew (Read: pear shaped) but I don't see why it's not technically possible otherwise.

    Re: Time Travel

    This is my big beef with time travel and the concept of it:

    Consider that time travel was possible. Now consider a time machine in the shape of a wheelie-bin or whatever, set to go back and forth in time but not to do much travelling in the other 3 dimensions.

    Now consider going forward in time by a month, to find yourself reappearing in the middle of space because the earth as rotated around the sun 1/12th of the way, or even to find your solar system missing because we can't tell if its moving or not (for all we know the whole universe could be travelling at a very high speed, no?)

    Even worse, go back a week and you may find yourself inside solid earth (which probably isn't possible anyway).

    So what use is time travel, unless somehow a time machine can set to 'follow' a beacon in 3D space to prevent that kind of thing happening? And then it would be pretty impossible to go back in time. A spaceship could plausibly be a time machine and bypass these problems to a degree, but it still seems very unpredictable to me and I'll be damned if I'll be the first time traveller on earth.
    "I am the woodsie lord, the Trickster of legend. If you be thirsty, flesh thing, drink of me. If you be hungry, then feed, for I am the honey-maker and the jacksberry." ~ The Trickster, Thief: The Dark Project (1998)
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