Author Topic: Weekly Science Headlines  (Read 303384 times)

Brother Mythos

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1215 on: February 20, 2019, 03:37:58 am »
"Teen builds working nuclear fusion reactor in Memphis home"

As per the article:

“Some kids spend their time on social media, other kids spend their time playing video games. When it comes to 14-year-old Jackson Oswalt, his time is spent in a laboratory working on a nuclear fusion reactor.

The Memphis teen finished his reactor and achieved fusion at the age of 13. He’s regarded by experts as the youngest in America – maybe even the world – to accomplish it. Jackson built a steel machine made up of vacuums, pumps and chambers that is capable of smashing atoms together through force in a smoking hot plasma center that releases a burst of fusion energy. If you’ve ever wondered how the sun and other stars are powered, the process within Jackson’s nuclear fusion reactor is comparable.

He began working on the fusion reactor at 12 years old, after concluding that he didn’t want to dedicate his leisure time solely to playing games like Fortnite. He began scouring the Internet for nuclear-related things because that’s what he says held his interest. Yes — at 12 years old.”

Here's the link: https://www.foxnews.com/science/teen-builds-working-nuclear-fusion-reactor-in-memphis-home

I'm pretty sure the kid with the “Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcano” won't be beating this young man at the next Memphis Science Fair.

Al Qədic

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1216 on: February 20, 2019, 03:55:40 am »
At first I thought this was a repost of an older story...but no, there's now another young lad who decided it was a fine idea to try and achieve nuclear fusion...why is there more than one example of this?! At least the other kid was a Boy Scout! :argh!: Well, here's a link to that story, I guess. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/eagle-scout-nuclear-reactor/
O, the Frog fell down to Tehran.
To fix the broken hourglass in the sun.
From the gates, to the city, to the market so pretty,
They'd not leave until they were done.

Said the Goddess to the Frog,
"You'd best be moving along."
So sayeth the water, the words of Anahita,
But the Frog just made themselves a bog.

And lo, they said:

"May I have your shoes, miss?
O great Water Goddess,
I've a journey that I need to start."
She responded from her knowing, wise heart.

With this, said the Goddess,
"Go now, take these shoes with."
And covered their webbed feet with glee.
"You'll do good not to disappoint me."

Thank you for completing the free trial. To view the rest of this poem, nag me about it...I might not respond by giving you the rest of it, but when has that ever stopped you?

chaotic neutral observer

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1217 on: February 20, 2019, 04:56:00 am »
At first I thought this was a repost of an older story...but no, there's now another young lad who decided it was a fine idea to try and achieve nuclear fusion...why is there more than one example of this?! At least the other kid was a Boy Scout! :argh!: Well, here's a link to that story, I guess. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/eagle-scout-nuclear-reactor/

No, that Boy Scout was just playing around with fissile materials, and given his carelessness, it's surprising he didn't give himself cancer.  Nuclear fission happens all over the place in nature; it doesn't appear his ingenuity extended much beyond collecting dangerous materials.  (His "reactor" was held together with duct tape).

Nuclear fusion is an entirely different critter, and rather harder to accomplish in practice.  You need a lot of heat and pressure to initiate it, and if you do anything wrong, it Just Won't Work.  What the kid in Memphis did is in a different league.  (Ostensibly, anyway.  If his parents put $8000-$10000 towards this project, one wonders what exactly he did on his own.  That build looks suspiciously neat for something assembled by a 14 year old.)

To put this in perspective, we started making fission reactors in the 1940s.  We're still working out how to make a fusion reactor that puts out more energy than it consumes.
You will cooperate with the state, for the good of the state and your own survival. You will confess to the crimes of which you have been accused. You will be released and returned to society a productive citizen if you cooperate. Resistance will be punished. Cooperation will be rewarded.   --"Intersections in Real Time"

Brother Mythos

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1218 on: June 28, 2019, 04:21:59 pm »
Good luck with that Nobel, Nigel!

I see Nigel was here and gone, before I could offer her my condolences on Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler winning the Nobel Prize in Physics this year instead of her.

But, there's always next year.

Doktor Howl

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1219 on: June 28, 2019, 11:58:38 pm »
At first I thought this was a repost of an older story...but no, there's now another young lad who decided it was a fine idea to try and achieve nuclear fusion...why is there more than one example of this?! At least the other kid was a Boy Scout! :argh!: Well, here's a link to that story, I guess. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/eagle-scout-nuclear-reactor/

No, that Boy Scout was just playing around with fissile materials, and given his carelessness, it's surprising he didn't give himself cancer.  Nuclear fission happens all over the place in nature; it doesn't appear his ingenuity extended much beyond collecting dangerous materials.  (His "reactor" was held together with duct tape).

Nuclear fusion is an entirely different critter, and rather harder to accomplish in practice.  You need a lot of heat and pressure to initiate it, and if you do anything wrong, it Just Won't Work.  What the kid in Memphis did is in a different league.  (Ostensibly, anyway.  If his parents put $8000-$10000 towards this project, one wonders what exactly he did on his own.  That build looks suspiciously neat for something assembled by a 14 year old.)

To put this in perspective, we started making fission reactors in the 1940s.  We're still working out how to make a fusion reactor that puts out more energy than it consumes.

Well, there was the Bikini Atoll thing.  A short life, but a productive one.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, shattered underpance lies,
With blown elastic, and exploded back,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Doktor Howl, Spag of Spags:
Look on my ass, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Brother Mythos

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1220 on: July 03, 2019, 12:50:37 am »
Mini-brains grown from stem cells don't think, but they do show 'complex' neural activity, researchers say

As per the article:

“Evidence of dynamic activity, in individual and synchronized neurons, was seen across a network of cerebral organoids grown from stem cells in a preliminary study published Thursday in the journal Stem Cell Reports.
 
Dr. Hideya Sakaguchi, study co-author and postdoctoral fellow at Kyoto University (currently at the Salk Institute), explained in an email that the important thing here is not just the creation of a mini-brain but that a tool was developed to detect nerve cell activity. Someday, this new calcium ion analysis tool may help researchers better understand complex brain functions and neurological disorders.”

Here's the link: https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/27/health/mini-brain-activity-study/index.html

My first reaction, upon reading the article's title, was not all that many full-size brains do much thinking either.

I suspect, one day soon, we'll actually be able to add “floating disembodied conscious brains” to the list of things like climate change apocalypse, rogue AI, unsanitized telephones, etc. that may will eradicate us killer apes primates from the face of the earth. But then, it is the apocalypse. Try to have fun.

Prelate Diogenes Shandor

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1221 on: July 03, 2019, 11:07:39 pm »
Mini-brains grown from stem cells don't think, but they do show 'complex' neural activity, researchers say

As per the article:

“Evidence of dynamic activity, in individual and synchronized neurons, was seen across a network of cerebral organoids grown from stem cells in a preliminary study published Thursday in the journal Stem Cell Reports.
 
Dr. Hideya Sakaguchi, study co-author and postdoctoral fellow at Kyoto University (currently at the Salk Institute), explained in an email that the important thing here is not just the creation of a mini-brain but that a tool was developed to detect nerve cell activity. Someday, this new calcium ion analysis tool may help researchers better understand complex brain functions and neurological disorders.”

Here's the link: https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/27/health/mini-brain-activity-study/index.html

My first reaction, upon reading the article's title, was not all that many full-size brains do much thinking either.

I suspect, one day soon, we'll actually be able to add “floating disembodied conscious brains” to the list of things like climate change apocalypse, rogue AI, unsanitized telephones, etc. that may will eradicate us killer apes primates from the face of the earth. But then, it is the apocalypse. Try to have fun.

The assertati9n "Consciousness requires subjective experience, and that comes only when information is received from probing, sensory tissues -- those of the body." seems like it's mincing words; they seem to be defining consciousness as "awareness of one's surroundings", which at best is stretching the definition of the term
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Brother Mythos

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1222 on: July 04, 2019, 03:32:41 am »

The assertati9n "Consciousness requires subjective experience, and that comes only when information is received from probing, sensory tissues -- those of the body." seems like it's mincing words; they seem to be defining consciousness as "awareness of one's surroundings", which at best is stretching the definition of the term

I do not claim any special expertise on the subject, other than I believe I know when I am conscious, and I believe I usually, consciously know when I am dreaming. However, the simplest definition of consciousness, as per Wikipedia, is as follows:

'Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness or of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined variously in terms of sentience, awareness, qualia, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood or soul, the fact that there is something "that it is like" to "have" or "be" it, and the executive control system of the mind. Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is. As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives." You become aware that your actions have an effect on other people.'

Here's the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness

It appears to me that Dr. Hideya Sakaguchi's statement is consistent with the very first sentence of the Wikipedia definition.

So, how does your definition of consciousness differ from Dr. Sakaguchi's, and that of Wikipedia?

And, why does the definition of consciousness bother you more than a future that will include “floating disembodied conscious brains?”

nullified

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1223 on: July 04, 2019, 05:38:21 am »
Speaking for no one but myself, a society of floating disembodied conscious brains would have a much harder time being shitty to others. Easier to be completely open and honest about your thoughts than not, when you have to build a machine that can translate between them, and if you aren’t communicating at all, well, it’s harder to fucking be a shithead to anyone, right? And a lot harder to randomly decide to beat someone with a wrench without arms. If you assume exoskeletons, the bar is raised on what constitutes dangerous violence. Without, you don’t get monkey violence at all. Sounds good to me.

Brother Mythos

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1224 on: July 04, 2019, 05:17:16 pm »
Speaking for no one but myself, a society of floating disembodied conscious brains would have a much harder time being shitty to others. Easier to be completely open and honest about your thoughts than not, when you have to build a machine that can translate between them, and if you aren’t communicating at all, well, it’s harder to fucking be a shithead to anyone, right? And a lot harder to randomly decide to beat someone with a wrench without arms. If you assume exoskeletons, the bar is raised on what constitutes dangerous violence. Without, you don’t get monkey violence at all. Sounds good to me.

Floating disembodied conscious brains, flying disembodied conscious brains, conscious brains in disembodied heads, and even conscious AI brains in disembodied heads are a perfectly good science fiction trope. You are not going to ruin this for me.

Now, please excuse me while I search for a high quality copy of Fiend Without a Face.

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1225 on: July 05, 2019, 01:31:57 am »

The assertati9n "Consciousness requires subjective experience, and that comes only when information is received from probing, sensory tissues -- those of the body." seems like it's mincing words; they seem to be defining consciousness as "awareness of one's surroundings", which at best is stretching the definition of the term

I do not claim any special expertise on the subject, other than I believe I know when I am conscious, and I believe I usually, consciously know when I am dreaming. However, the simplest definition of consciousness, as per Wikipedia, is as follows:

'Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness or of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined variously in terms of sentience, awareness, qualia, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood or soul, the fact that there is something "that it is like" to "have" or "be" it, and the executive control system of the mind. Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is. As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives." You become aware that your actions have an effect on other people.'

Here's the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness

It appears to me that Dr. Hideya Sakaguchi's statement is consistent with the very first sentence of the Wikipedia definition.

So, how does your definition of consciousness differ from Dr. Sakaguchi's, and that of Wikipedia?

It doesn't differ from wikipedia's, just from Sakaguchi's. I'd define it somewhere in the realm of "the ability to...feel ... having a sense of selfhood or soul ... the fact that there is something "that it is like" to "have" or "be" it.", none of which require outward sensory input. Cogito ergo sum.
Praise NHGH! For the tribulation of all sentient beings.

a plague on both your houses -Mercutio

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It is an unfortunate fact that every man who seeks to disseminate knowledge must contend not only against ignorance itself, but against false instruction as well. No sooner do we deem ourselves free from a particularly gross superstition, than we are confronted by some enemy to learning who would plunge us back into the darkness -H.P.Lovecraft

He who fights with monsters must take care lest he thereby become a monster -Nietzsche

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Brother Mythos

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1226 on: July 05, 2019, 05:39:16 am »
Now that I've once again read Dr. Sakaguchi's statement about consciousness, as transcribed by the author of the original article, I realize he actually made no attempt to define consciousness. He simply said something about consciousness, as he believes it applies to his subject matter.

The entire quotation from the original article is as follows:

“For those who worry that the mini-brains might possess human-like qualities (and so pose ethical dilemmas), there's no question that the organoids are incapable of sophisticated function, because they lack input from their surrounding environment, Sakaguchi said. Consciousness requires subjective experience, and that comes only when information is received from probing, sensory tissues -- those of the body.” 

I have no reason to disagree with Dr. Sakaguchi's statement. And, although it is an interesting subject, I see no need for him to have given a robust, comprehensive definition of consciousness when talking about its relationship to his subject matter.

And, as his subject matter is a collection of disembodied brain cells, that have always been disembodied, I'm pretty sure that even the ol' Garbage In = Garbage Out has no meaning in relation to them. I see what's going on with his disembodied brain cells as a Nothing In = Nothing Out = Nothing Going On situation.

So, I ask again, why does the definition of consciousness bother you more than a future that will undoubtably include “floating disembodied conscious brains?”

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1227 on: July 05, 2019, 06:30:59 pm »
An extreme relative abundance of interneurons, those neurons that connect only to other neurons and not to any muscular or sensory apparatus, is one of the main distinguishing features of the central nervous system that set it apart from the peripheral nervous system and allow it to perform learning and decision making tasks that the peripheral nervous system cannot
Praise NHGH! For the tribulation of all sentient beings.

a plague on both your houses -Mercutio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrTGgpWmdZQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVWd7nPjJH8

It is an unfortunate fact that every man who seeks to disseminate knowledge must contend not only against ignorance itself, but against false instruction as well. No sooner do we deem ourselves free from a particularly gross superstition, than we are confronted by some enemy to learning who would plunge us back into the darkness -H.P.Lovecraft

He who fights with monsters must take care lest he thereby become a monster -Nietzsche

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHhrZgojY1Q

You are a fluke of the universe, and whether you can hear it of not the universe is laughing behind your back -Deteriorata

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Doktor Howl

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1228 on: July 08, 2019, 05:08:14 am »
This is really simple.  You have consciousness if you can look in the mirror and emotionally react, one way or another, with what you see.  I know I am conscious because I am stunned by my own guapo every time I shave.

Also, hugging your knees and crying in the shower is a good indication, if that's your thing.  Sheep don't hug their knees and cry in the shower.  Only people do that.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, shattered underpance lies,
With blown elastic, and exploded back,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Doktor Howl, Spag of Spags:
Look on my ass, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Brother Mythos

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1229 on: July 08, 2019, 05:16:12 am »
The Latest Science News in the War on Cow Farts

Study shows potential for reduced methane from cows

As per the article:

“An international team of scientists has shown it is possible to breed cattle to reduce their methane emissions.

Published in the journal Science Advances, the researchers showed that the genetics of an individual cow strongly influenced the make-up of the microorganisms in its rumen (the first stomach in the digestive system of ruminant animals which include cattle and sheep).”

Here's the link: https://phys.org/news/2019-07-potential-methane-cows.html

Out of all the things adversely effecting Climate Change these days, cow farts is way, way down on my list of concerns. But, I guess every little bit helps. I guess …