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12:15 AM
@bolbteppa taking one semester of organic chemistry turned me towards physics (only half-joking) :-)
1 hour later…
1:27 AM
Do you guys like like Sean Carroll as a science communicator ?
mixed feelings
Interesting, is it because he is philosophically not very educated ?
I've read some strong criticisms of the way he talks about metaphysics
I like him overall, but can't judge much of the complex physics ideas, especially black holes.
He seems to be the only one still trying to understand how QM is to be interpreted though, which is nice I guess.
2:11 AM
no, i think he might be better on those things than you think
on interpretations, he is not the only one / or even very informative on the topic, except that he is into multiverse
2:39 AM
i don't think, so probably yes
3 hours later…
5:33 AM
It's equinox time again, ~2023-Sep-23 06:50 UTC. ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/api/… Here's a declination plot using my script from astronomy.stackexchange.com/a/49605/16685
5:52 AM
@PM2Ring wonderful work again!
6:11 AM
@PM2Ring Astronomoy jargon is intimidating :)
Good morning!
I have not had diferential geometry or relativity, my understanding of covariance and contravariance, is that vectors scale in a similiar manner to the way the base vectors scale or change when applying a change
How does this transfer to the concept of the equation is "invariant" when its written in covariant form?
It seems to be the case, that we write equations in "covariant" form, to ensure "invariance" , but my understanding was, covariant means, that the mathematical objects, behave in a similiasr manner to the way the base vectors change
i read this often " maxwell equations in covariant form" or "lorentz invariant form"
@Minsky i enjoy his talks.
@Minsky i am just a student, but have been for a very long time, and i do alot of self research and study. i agree with him that physics is being taught in a manner of being practical and making predictions, which is fine, but any sort of deeper understanding aquirement is discourged in the universitarian world, or is seen as unphysical, which in my opinion is not fine
6:38 AM
@Mad I find that it is commonly the case that mathematicians would be incredibly confused over the language physicists use on this topic, and it is of very little use to clarify this, because when the mathematicians learn the subject using differential forms, the resultant equations are necessarily correct and incorporates the symmetries physicists wanted to express, and so it might not be worth the effort explaining this physical concept to mathematicians.
@naturallyInconsistent well i think i incorporate both schools of thought, can you maybe make a link for me so i can i better describe it to my brain?
@Mad Interesting. I like quite a bit the last one with Lex Fridman, he asks nice questions in that interview.
@Minsky Oh i havent heard that, i think i heard mostly his talks with Joe rogan, added to my list of podcasts to hear!
Cool, we can discuss afterwards.
@Minsky Sabine and Penrose also deeply care about the measurement problem
6:49 AM
@Mad It is just a matter that the form of the equations do not change when we swap from one frame of reference to another. Like, we tend to like to measure in the lab frame, measuring E and B fields (really, requires enlightened deduction too), and we use $\frac{\partial\ }{\partial t}$ and $\vec\nabla$ in our coördinate frame. Another observer that is moving relative to us, thus necessitating SR, will measure $\vec E{}^\prime$ and $\vec B{}^\prime$ and use $\vec\nabla{}^\prime$ and
@RyderRude and conciousness, it gets very philisophical, slippery slope
Yes, yet when penrose talks about microtubules he seems far off, doesn't he ?
sure, you can't measure a man from 1 opinion
$\frac{\partial\ }{\partial t^\prime}$ and so forth, and the point is just that the equations look exactly the same, only by swapping unprimed for primed quantities everywhere
@Mad yes, Penrose talks about consciousness too which is outside of this field tbh
@RyderRude I would not dare to assume that. Probabilistically it does not seem far off.
6:51 AM
@Minsky @Mad But Penrose and Sabine are correct at least in that we have to have an ontology for the world, which physicists these days dont care about very much
@naturallyInconsistent Ah i see, so basically, the "form" of the equation does not change, even though some quantities "such as the derivative" change, and this is referred to by the physicist as "invariance"?
@naturallyInconsistent Okay i understand, thanks!
An equation is invariant w.r.t. to some group of transformations if, when you contract its indices against some tensor of the same rank, it produces a scalar, it's tedious to distinguish between invariant and covariant
@RyderRude The reluctance of the modern physical mentality to engage in discussions about the implications of theories such as quantum mechanics opens the doors to charlatans and tricksters who prey on people's ignorance by claiming extraordinary knowledge and interpretation of this subject.
In the culture of my parents, one used to say something along the lines of "Inaction enables the devil"
6:56 AM
@Mad that's a great argument for why interpretations are so important. almost all Quantum Mechanics founders cared about having an understanding of the world. but physicists these days just want to be edgy with "shut up and calculate"
What about Tyson and Greene, are they also good communicators in your view ?
Look at that documentary "what the bleep do we know" which is the corpus of the statement that i made.
@RyderRude Most of them rejected the idea of alternatives and believed the 'shut up and calculate' approach was the only way, and even the people pushing these alternatives have to invent new versions because they admit the old versions those guys pushed were flawed
@bolbteppa ah i see. yes i have been meaning to do Differential geometry for a long time, it is difficult to get my department to agree on crediting another mathematical subject for my degree
It seems that some of the best physicists (not by my own measures) care about the interpretation of qm and the tools we use though, like steven weinberg
7:00 AM
@Mad this is something that I am particularly in agreement about.
@Minsky Weinberg is particularly un-understandable on the topic. He has a set of terminology that is not what other people are using.
@bolbteppa I am just saying that "shut up and calculate" is not an understanding of the world. it is an algorithm to make predictions
@RyderRude this is just not true.
Who is understandable in your opinion (3 names if you can) ?
@Mad That is a particularly bad source.
@Minsky Actually, the stanford encyclopaedia happens to be quite readable...
@naturallyInconsistent In what sense a bad source? i mean, its basically people interpreting quantum mechanics to push on an agenda that is beneficial to them
7:03 AM
@naturallyInconsistent Does it contain stuff said by humans or is just what the Encyclopaedia says ? Point being, which author do you find more valuable in this topic.
It's an admission that there are things we don't understand and no amount of logic is going to change that, everything in qm makes sense and is not mysterious apart from some very primitive things like why particles don't appear to follow paths the more accurately you measure, at best it is rationalized as the apparatus interacting in an unpredictable way with the particle that we can never control, but then it's still confusing
@Mad that's like saying that it is useful to learn from some alt-right propaganda video, or some hippie "E is not m c squared" "intensity is continuity" guru nonsense; they are all trying to interpret stuff to push an agenda beneficial to them
@naturallyInconsistent thats literally what i am saying
@Minsky I think it is quite important to read from a variety, but all of them orthodox sources, on the topic. The nature of interpretations is just too difficult for just a handful of authors to cover properly
Feb 7, 2019 at 19:12, by PM 2Ring
But it's not like Penrose only got interested in consciousness in his mature years, it was always an interest. I first learned about him in connection to the Penrose triangle and staircase, which the Dutch artist Escher made famous. Penrose was fascinated that our minds could (sort of) make sense of such counterfactual structures.
7:10 AM
@bolbteppa i know that you support the classical quantum divide but isnt it also good to acknowledge that many great physicists (past and present) disagree with this? they dont find this a satisfactory understanding of the world. while you may think you are correct, it is also important to acknowledge other perspectives about what is still an unsolved problem
Also, his dad was a psychologist.
@Mad that is not a good way to spend time, if anything. You can look at a thousand 9/11 denier videos and not learn how steel beams actually behave. One is far better served by learning from people who actually know what they are saying.
@PM2Ring how does that information make you feel?
Schrodinger, DeBroglie, Bohm, everybody claims their interpretation was wrong and it needs to be fixed by some bandaids and they can always add another bandaid if a problem is found again, only in 'interpretations' is this taken seriously
@PM2Ring Yes, I heard in an interview that he found out about Godel's theorem in his early years and he has since then connected it to the consciousness problem
:) It makes me feel that Sir Roger has every right to talk about consciousness. But he doesn't have a right to expect that we give his musings on the nature of consciousness the same level of respect that he (deservedly) gets for his hard physics & mathematics. OTOH, I'm happy that he wants to explore that stuff and doesn't care that it impacts his reputation.
7:16 AM
@naturallyInconsistent i dont think you really understood what i meant
@bolbteppa like that time that Feynman took a couple of biology classes
@Mr.Feynman oh man bet i have been so keen on getting a book about evolutionary biology. it is such an interesting topic.
You can find the whole story in Surely you're joking, [my nickname]
I like Schrodinger's Mind and Matter, but people tell me it's a stupid book
I've read that but I can't remember the biology story off the top of my head
7:21 AM
Here's a summary of it
> I began to read the paper. It kept talking about extensors and flexors, the gastrocnemius muscle, and so on. This and that muscle were named, but I had not the foggiest idea of where they were located in relation to the nerves or to the cat. So I went to the librarian in the biology section and asked her if she could find me a map of the cat.

> "A map of the cat, sir?" she asked horrified. "You mean a zoological chart!" From then on there were rumors about a dumb biology student who was looking for "a map of the cat."
Relevant part for this conversation: Feynman discusses giving a presentation to fellow students in a biology class at Princeton, the other students "laughing hysterically" at his mispronunciation of common biology terms. Later, the class urges him to move on after an especially long introduction of background facts saying, "We know all that!" He replied:
> "Oh" I say, "you do? Then no wonder I can catch up with you so fast after you've had four years of biology." They had wasted all their time memorizing stuff like that, when it could be looked up in fifteen minutes.
@bolbteppa yes, those interpretations had problems too. Just because they were rejected doesnt mean Copenhagen got accepted as a serious understanding of the world. The measurement problem is still unsolved and they are testing out Quantum Mechanics at larger and larger scales to rule out the "objective collapse interpretations"
@Mr.Feynman please send this to my professors who is actually forcing us to memorize the Fock , hartree and all those long ass equations by heart.
nice equations though !
7:26 AM
Are they explicitly asking you to know the equations without deriving it?
do you study chemistry or physics or what ?
@RyderRude I would wager the people testing these alternative interpretations can't even describe how measurement is done in standard qm and will talk about wave function collapse and magical projections
@Minsky I read Mind and Matter and What Is Life? a few decades ago, so my memory of their contents is rather hazy, but I remember enjoying them. I got the impression that he was a nice guy, and it would've been great to hang out with him & discuss life, the universe, and everything.
7:28 AM
Did you know he was a poet as well ? @PM2Ring
I would go to uni with that book, sit in the back and enjoy. Would love to have one back. Then some classmates would tell me that it was not a good book, I can't remember why now.
not sure if this is good, but may be link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11191-013-9579-4
Some of the views in "What is Life" were improved or just extended, i think, by a biologist called Humberto Maturana (and Francisco Varela), from Chile. E.Schrodinger describes how inheritance works, quite well, and this was before watson and crick, to my understanding.
It's not easy to find people who are experts at physics and who also know about cognitive science and philosophy. At least Schrödinger & Penrose are both great physicists, and have some understanding of the cognitive / philosophical stuff.
Yes, Bertrand Russell as well, didn't he ?
I think Schroedinger liked Schopenhauer's philosophical views
Russell was certainly an excellent philosopher & mathematician. I can't remember how much physics he knew, but back then calculus was heavily geared towards physics (and astronomy) and he certainly wouldn't have had any problems with the mathematics needed for a BSc in physics of the era he went to university.
He wrote several books on physics, like the ABC of Atoms, and of Relativity, and so on. Doesn't mean much though, it includes rather simple explanations.
@Minsky Yes, Schrödinger predicted that some kind of semi-periodic structure stores genetic data.
It's hard for us to imagine how radical atomic theory was 100+ years ago. Wave-based physics was totally dominant by the late 1800s, and theories based on particles seemed like desperate attempts to revive a defeated theory. Ernst Mach never fully accepted that atoms are real.
Feb 12, 2019 at 19:43, by PM 2Ring
Bear in mind that before QM, physics was very wave oriented, and corpuscles were unpopular & old-fashioned. The chemists liked them, but nobody else did, and it was generally assumed that some kind of wave theory would explain the chemists' atoms. Eg, Mach could never bring himself to accept that atoms are really particles.
7:49 AM
Both atomic theory and Darwinian heredity was well-established by the 1940s when Schrödinger wrote What is Life; I don't think the idea of a DNA-like structure as the mediator of heredity was all that revolutionary at the time, he was simply one of the first influential figures to write it down
Even a lot of early electronics doesn't require a particle model... except for the photoelectric effect. But of course you really do need quantum stuff for solid state physics.
there weren't really any "atomic doubters" left and the main opposition to Darwinism were ideologically-driven Soviet Lysenkoists
@ACuriousMind Agreed. OTOH, atoms were certainly controversial several decades earlier, before Einstein.
IMHO, the publicity surrounding Einstein helped make atoms famous. And the atom bomb sealed the deal. ;)
@PM2Ring Um, I would caution against Schrödinger's characterization as a "nice guy" in light of his repeated sexual abuse of teenage girls.
7:58 AM
Sure, there was little (informed) doubt of Darwinism in the West. But it was still a mystery where the genes lived.
@ACuriousMind Wow. I didn't know about that. :(
It's right in the Wiki article with plenty of sources: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erwin_Schr%C3%B6dinger#Sexual_abuse
@ACuriousMind although i've read he took 20 yrs to publish it
@ACuriousMind Yeah. I just read it. That's pretty bad. :(
@PM2Ring this is unexpected. so people already speculated some sort "particles being waves" phenomenon
@ACuriousMind damn, I'm flabbergasted
8:12 AM
There'd been a strong battle between particle vs wave theories regarding light, since Newton. The Arago spot phenomenon seemed to show rather conclusively that light is waves. And the success of Maxwell's electromagnetism seemed to indicate that everything could be explained in terms of waves.
I knew some anectodes about the guy but they were about him and his wife reciprocally cheating
In optics, the Arago spot, Poisson spot, or Fresnel spot is a bright point that appears at the center of a circular object's shadow due to Fresnel diffraction. This spot played an important role in the discovery of the wave nature of light and is a common way to demonstrate that light behaves as a wave. The basic experimental setup requires a point source, such as an illuminated pinhole or a diverging laser beam. The dimensions of the setup must comply with the requirements for Fresnel diffraction. Namely, the Fresnel number must satisfy where d is the diameter of the circular object, ℓ is the...
@PM2Ring Hooke's greatest mistake was to challenge the madman Newton was
The guy became a mod of Royal Society and banned Hooke
@PM2Ring wow. that theory would've been very exciting at the time. but it seems like a vague idea "everything is waves". how did they actually intend to identify matter with waves
they didnt meant probabilistic waves like in QM. Maybe they meant "matter is spread out like fields instead of spherical balls'
I don't think Newton was mad, per se. But I expect that he was rather intensely Asperger's. He had strong religious beliefs & obsessions, but it was almost unthinkable to not be religious in those days.
8:20 AM
perhaps they meant to identify particles with concentrated excitations of some classical fields
@Mr.Feynman I don't mean to keep harping on this but Hooke was also a child abuser (third-to-last paragraph here), arguably a bigger mistake than having beef with Newton :P
I mean it was ancient times
@RyderRude They weren't sure. :) But you get obvious problems with the inverse square law with classical charged particles as r approaches zero. Kelvin's idea was that atoms may be some kind of vortex structure in the æther. That didn't pan out, but it gave birth to knot theory. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vortex_theory_of_the_atom
Beating your kids was traditional
@Slereah it wasn't beating
8:22 AM
Ah yes I see
@PM2Ring it is a very cool idea. particles as ripples in a classical field. this was all before QM was even known, and years later in QFT, particles indeed happened to get identified with fields :P
@ACuriousMind oh come on, I will never talk about history of Physics with you again :P
oh, don't worry, the history of physics isn't all that exceptional in this regard :P
the history of everything is filled with people widely adored who were actually pretty bad people :P
However, I don't want to be controversial here but if nothing else I think there is a difference between Schrödinger and Hooke, as the latter lived 3 centuries before the former
I don't know if the moral standards of 17th century were the same as ours, though
why do you want Hooke to be a good guy though?
8:31 AM
But I don't want to argue further about it because my message might not sound as I hoped
@RyderRude I don't care
oh. then it's fine. i thought maybe u loved his physics and quotes, which made u not want to accept him as a bad dude:P
No, that's literally the only thing I knew about Hooke, except Hooke's law
same. I only knew the spring thing. this is why i wanted to know why anyone would fanboy Hooke :P
@Mr.Feynman I mean, that is a difference - but does it matter for my judgement today? Yes, moral standards varied over time, but I have no obligation to judge people by their moral standards - I judge them by mine
also that tends to often be wrong rly
8:35 AM
@ACuriousMind this is why Mr Feynman preferred not to say more :P
A lot of people were against slavery in olden times, for instance
it wasn't like nobody had figured out that slavery was bad
@Mr.Feynman if Richard Feynman was hypothetically a bad dude, would it affect you?
@ACuriousMind I understand. I prefer to apply their moral standards instead when it applies to the past
Feynman did some sleazy stuff. But not with under-age girls.
8:38 AM
Because the question I am answering is not "would X be a good person in our society?" but "was X a bad person in their society?" (not talking about Hooke anymore, this is generic)
@RyderRude for Feynman specifically yes because I regard him as a mentor figure. For other people no, I consider the person and the physicist separately
@Mr.Feynman I don't know why I'd be interested in the answer to the latter question
if I consider the moral standard of the society in question abhorrent, the people who are "bad people" are the ones I approve of
@Mr.Feynman The age of consent was 12 in England during Hooke'a era. OTOH, having sex with a kid when you're their parent / guardian is pretty bad in most places & eras.
Oh, I see
@Mr.Feynman oh. i just apply this principle to every physicist. Feynman made good jokes and physics, but it would be better to read about his personal life before admiring him as a person I guess
@ACuriousMind I wouldn't be interested in the former. If I have to give a moral judgment of someone in a far past, I'd need the context (i.e. the moral ideas of their time), or that could lead to deem an entire society as bad people because of some habit that today we condemn and back then they did not
8:47 AM
@Mr.Feynman see, this is the kind of relativism I can't get behind: That morality is relative does not imply I have to judge other people by their morality. In what sense is your morality a morality if you do not think it binds anyone but yourself?
at least sean carroll seems a good person
@ACuriousMind and if you do judge them, what are they gonna do, judge you?
You're home safe
That's the neat part - they can't because the suckers are dead!
I mean for some of the more recent people of the past, they are not!
They're just old
We can judge racist grandmas to their face
That's why a couple of days ago I said to be interested in nihilism even more than relativism.

I'll answer your question, though. My morality would also bind anyone living in *my* era. I wouldn't deem a violent man as good *today*, and of course I agree with you that *if we were* to apply today's moral standards to a violent man in the past, he wouldn't pass the test either.
8:52 AM
why would morality be temporally anchored?
Even then, trying to be as detached as possible, at the moment I regard my morals as no more than a tool, that might also answer your latest question about my view
you seem to me to mainly promote conformism as moral - as long as you don't rock the boat of your societal context, you're a good person?
@Mr.Feynman one problem is that society norms dont just depend on time but also the place. would you not judge a bad place at your time by your morals?
According to the moral code I subscribe to, I would say yes
this is just the "I was following orders" defense in slightly softer phrasing
@Mr.Feynman and the flip side of it is that people who do disturb their context are bad?
8:56 AM
@ACuriousMind I'm not saying that moral should be rejected in our world. I'm analyzing what I think about its role
ah, you're trying to hide behind sociology in order to avoid making a moral judgement :P
I'm really too uninformed to play any tricks like that voluntarily :D
if your criterion is society norms, then you would have to define different morals for different places at the same time. then you wouldnt be able to criticize immoral things happening in a bad place where it is the norm
@ACuriousMind Well, basically yes. If you ask me whether I like this view of mine, I do not. I feel uncomfortable with it, but as I said above I'm being detached by my feelings when I express this ideas
I mean, from what you've said so far, you can't really condemn any of the countless atrocities commited by the militaristic and expansionist European regimes of the 19th and early 20th century, can you?
"Society" back then believed largely in the supremacy of their nation and their right to visit violence upon the other humans they viewed as lesser beings
8:59 AM
Can you even judge them today
@Slereah yes; I do not see what the point of any moral code is if it would get me equivocating about whether or not genocide is really bad
I mean if you start thinking "Morality can only be judge by the moral standards of the day", what does it say about right now
What's the current moral standard of today and are you unable to say anything if that's the majority opinion
It is kind of a weird idea
ah, you're not talking to me; sorry
the key point is that you would need to distinguish places with different morality, even at the same moment of time
@ACuriousMind Is he talking to me though?
Oh, I hope this discussion doesn't get so hot that I get banned for it. Short answer: yes, I do condemn them. My analysis of morals doesn't affect my judgement as a citizen and my feelings as a person, otherwise a nihlistic point of view would imply that I'd be unfazed by a homicide, which I'm not.

However, there is a problem here: even with the ideas I've mentioned, the example that you bring up is not so distant in time that the moral standards about it would be any different back then. Furthermore, we're talking about such extreme acts that I don't think in any moment of humanity they w
I don't think we even disagree about how one should act towards moral questions practically. It's about why one acts like that, purely theoretical.
9:10 AM
@Mr.Feynman if you go to the time and place of genocides, then genocides are somewhat accepted there
@ACuriousMind For a person who is always pointing out that we should not be projecting modern understandings back to the past, I was definitely not expecting this from you.
@RyderRude By those committing them? Well, I'm not talking about them
@Mr.Feynman they are also supported by a good proportion of the brainwashed population
Just as I wouldn't be talking about the murderer's moral opinion in a homicide
i dont mean that everyone in those places and times is a murderer, but they dont oppose others doing it too much either @Mr.Feynman
9:13 AM
@Mr.Feynman I'm not entirely sure what's going on here but I think you're conflating morality and legality. The idea is generally that societies have - written and unwritten - rules about what is considered "acceptable". You can judge people according to whether or not they conformed to these rules, and it is correct that over time many things once considered acceptable have become unacceptable and vice versa.
But evaluating someone behavior according to this is entirely different from passing moral judgement - surely there are things the society you find yourself in right now considers acceptable that you find immoral, no?
@ACuriousMind You're not wrong there. Saying that as of now I think of moral as a tool, I also mean that I think there is a fine line between moral and legal
Also I would guess the people being harmed may have different opinions about whether or not this was good
@RyderRude They were still part of it, indirectly
I recognize that my view may be naive - I don't know if we can say "flawed" for such an opinion-based topic as I think it is - and I repeat that I myself do not enjoy it, but that doesn't change that this is my idea of the world and for that matter I'm willing to investigate further
@ACuriousMind That's fair enough. OTOH, I believe that we should take the prevailing morality of the place & time into account when judging people, to some extent. So if someone sincerely believes they're doing the right thing I tend to judge them less harshly as an individual, even if I disapprove of the actions of their culture.
@naturallyInconsistent I'm not saying we shouldn't try to understand the historical context and why people might have held different moral opinions; but again just the observation that beliefs were different does not oblige me to reserve moral judgement.
9:18 AM
Eg, I don't like what the Christian missionaries did in America & Africa. So even though I judge the missionary culture as a whole as bad, I consider the individual missionaries as misguided, not intrinsically evil. OTOH, some of those guys did some pretty weird stuff. Eg, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jun%C3%ADpero_Serra
@ACuriousMind I was NOT judging ya either, miahahahaha
Rather, I simply have a "this is horrible but is the norm of the time" and "this is horrible even in its day" and plenty of shades of grey.
@Mr.Feynman my point is that when a good proportion of the brainwashed population becomes part of it, it becomes classified as the "societal norm" or "context", so then you can no longer classify their views as objectively bad if u believe in relativism
@ACuriousMind I do not think that this is really something where either part can be confuted and neither of us should be obliged to embrace the other's view. Nonetheless, I think both views are at least understandable - in the sense that the motivations can be understood without personally accepting - and come from two radically different views
@PM2Ring I think there is an important nuance there: Someone who believes they're doing the right thing and this leads to bad consequences because they're mistaken about facts is very different from someone who believes they're doing the right thing but I find their very idea of what is "right" abhorrent to begin with
Most people are not "intrinsically evil", if this is even a coherent concept to begin with. "Evil" is often banal (cf. Arendt) in that it is just people who do what they're told or what benefits them and don't really consider a moral dimension of their actions at all
@PM2Ring it is hard to draw the line between "misguided" or "brainwashed by the societal context", and "intrinsically evil", because most people who do bad things do so not because they are born that way, but because of their life experiences in society
9:28 AM
@ACuriousMind I need reassurance that this talk is not compromising user relationship or creating any grudge and it is just a discussion. I ask that because many times discussions about morals - in completely different settings - have created interpersonal problems for me
It gets blurry, though, because we can't always determine what the real facts are. To prove that the Christian (or Muslim) missionaries were misguided we'd have to prove that their religion is wrong. And that's a bit tricky. ;)
I think one of the things you observe in people that do evil, is their idea that others are inferior, in any sense. You see it in history but also in the corner shop, and sometimes your parents...I fight with it frequently as well. Almost done with it though.
For example, these days, people buy in X country because it's cheap, and we do not know how this will be seen in the future. Probably badly.
Maybe it's a bit unrelated, apologises if it is.
I'm like, this is not an easy thing to parse even within our lifetimes: There was a time before 9/11 that a certain kind of morality prevailed, and then in the aftermath it was inevitable to invade Afghanistan, though it was not so inevitable to invade Iraq, and then there was a post-"widespread realisation that Iraq was a farce", and whatever other kind of periods I've skipped. Morality is just difficult.
(I think Minsky itself has some stuff under the rug.)
@Mr.Feynman it is a good discussion. ur position is one of the mainstream ones too. u r not saying anything objectively wrong, i guess
9:34 AM
And then there is brainwashing
How much is it because of laziness though
@Mr.Feynman I mean, yes, I'm a relativist in the sense that I don't think I can prove to anyone that my moral stances are correct. I understand your viewpoint, I just think it's dangerous to value conformism so highly compared to personal responsibility.
While I reject his ultimate conclusions, I'm deeply influenced by Kant's idea of reason as a duty and our way to free ourselves from self-inflicted immaturity - immaturity being most importantly the idea of doing what others tell you instead of judging for yourself.
I remember the racist programming spiking to insane levels as Obama got elected, and so on
ACuriousMind cant help but bring up Kant's philosophy :P
@RyderRude Oh, glad to hear that because I had many problems in the past with people getting personally upset about it
9:37 AM
@Mr.Feynman you haven't said anything so atrocious I'd hold a grudge about it :P
nothing against Kant's philosophy. just an observation :P
@ACuriousMind Again, I asked because I had some people conclude that I would gladly commit a genocide once
@Minsky It seems sufficiently related to me. There are some things in the modern world economy that aren't far removed from slavery, like sweatshop workers. And people in Africa doing mining work that would be totally illegal elsewhere. But modern electronics needs those minerals, and Africa has the best prices.
@ACuriousMind dangerous, I agree. That's the part of my idea that I don't like
@Mr.Feynman I mean you haven't really convinced me you wouldn't if enough other people decided it was society's New Thing; but then again this is more unusually honest than unusual :P
9:41 AM
Yes, there are. You can ~~ easily ~~ (ok can't crossover) judge a country by the way it treats immigrants. Not many of the great countries do well. Germany maybe. (this is the reverse process to what you said, same result) @PM2Ring
My country (Australia) is quite multicultural. OTOH, we don't have a great track record with the way we treat asylum seekers.
Yes, same for the UK, or worse. But you see it in poor to very-poor countries as well.
@ACuriousMind this is a somewhat unfair stance on Mr Feynman's viewpoint unless it is a joke
Or the way we treat Australian Aboriginals. We've improved with that, to some extent, compared to 50-100 years ago, but there's still plenty of room for further improvement.
I am all for moral objectivism, but you cant deny that if you are born in a bad place and time, you are probabilistically more likely to inherit those "morals"
this is true for anyone, doesnt matter whether you buy relativism or objectivism
9:48 AM
Interesting topic. I agree, this is also true in the south of South America. I'd never say all of them were that nice though, having been in some tribe's celebrations. @PM2Ring
Moral objectivism is however correct in the sense that bad people in a bad place and time should still be judged as bad people
I'm certainly not claiming that those cultures before European contact were pure and noble. However, the clash of cultures was generally not pleasant, and tended to erode both good & bad elements of those cultures.
@RyderRude @Mr.Feynman In case you also think this: I wouldn't have said this if you hadn't explicitly talked about this conclusion. I do find it hard to see how, from what you've said, you would conclude you have to act against orders to commit genocide if those orders are given with large societal backing. If you say you wouldn't, I believe you, I just don't quite see how this meshes with the rest of what you've said.
I tend to think how much I miss by not knowing Russian, Chinese, maybe Pali, maybe some indigenous language, or Mayan script. But we insist in knowing 4 European languages. Still better than 1 I guess.
@ACuriousMind the point is that what you said is technically correct for anyone, doesnt matter whether they buy relativism or objectivism. so it is not a consequence of what Mr Feynman said. people born in a bad place and time are probabilistically more likely to be bad.
@ACuriousMind and you need to add a probabilistic qualifier here
10:12 AM
@RyderRude Don't worry. He has a point and I shall answer to that later to flesh it out more properly, just not now because today I have a busy schedule @ACuriousMind :P
@Mr.Feynman ok . I agree he is technically correct somewhat, so it is a point
The way ACM phrased it bears no offence as it sounds as a genuine doubt about my thoughts; if he had written "lol you would totally a murdered and a monster" it would be different, but he didn't. Bye for now
10:42 AM
Astronomy talks about lines and angles instead of co ordinates and it gives me anxiety
11:26 AM
@RyderRude Well, for most of history we didn't have a good idea of absolute distances to celestial bodies. By the 18th century we had pretty good relative coords for bodies in the Solar System, but we didn't have a good estimate of the Astronomical Unit. That was improved significantly by making precision measurements of the transits of Venus in the late 1700s from various locations & calculating the absolute distance to Venus via parallax.
James Cook went to Tahiti to measure the transit of Venus, and in a side mission afterwards he discovered the east coast of Australia.
These days, we have quite good coords for Solar System bodies, through precision modelling fitted to observations made by terrestrial observatories, space telescopes, and other spacecraft.
But we still don't have high precision distance measurements to bodies outside the Solar System. The Hipparchos & Gaia missions have given us a wealth of parallax data for many stars in the Milky Way. But they have their limitations. Eg, it's hard to measure the distance to Betelgeuse accurately because it's so large, bright, and variable. See astronomy.stackexchange.com/q/36765/16685
@PM2Ring Thank you. It is a fascinating subject. We are able to figure out so much of the outside universe by sitting here
Parallax is genius really
Experiments are heavily involved in astronomy, which makes it sound complicated to me :P
It's pretty impressive. I'm still amazed by all the great data that was gathered before the telescope era. OTOH, it's a bit frustrating that we know more about other galaxies than we do about large chunks of the Milky Way that are obscured from our location. If we could just nip up above the galactic plane by a couple of hundred light-years... :)
There was an extremely impressive post about estimating sun's temperature using its angular diameter or something
@PM2Ring lol. I was wondering recently... a 0.5kg object at 0.9c carries a similar amount of kinetic energy as released in a nuclear explosion. then why is our fastest man made space object only at 0.0005c
I won't buy any of those measurements until I can do them with a ruler
why cant we accelerate these to 0.9c by supplying energy slowly from a controlled nuclear reaction
i think we could really do better than 0.0005c with nuclear power
you could slowly accelerate it to 0.9c in two years of controlled energy supply
11:43 AM
If those old astronomers knew that one day we'd improve our knowledge of planet orbits by sending ships to those planets it would blow their minds. Ryan Park is currently the leader of the team that does the JPL Solar System model. He was also a principal engineer on several space missions, including the Juno mission, which is making accurate measurements of Jupiter's gravitational field. solarsystem.nasa.gov/people/514/ryan-park
I think it was kind of iffy for a lot of history whether physical laws were the same on Earth and in space, to start with
i think there might be a lot of physical forces and matter we dont know about yet because those phenomena are rare on earth
the universe is so big that there could be very weird things happening somewhere and not explained by the laws we've deduced
@RyderRude Try harnessing all the energy from a hydrogen bomb to accelerate your 0.5 kg object, without vaporizing it. A more fair comparison is that a body at 0.86c has KE equal to its rest mass. So we should compare that to an antimatter annihilation reaction, not a "measly" thermonuclear reaction. ;)
IIRC projects like that kind of got put on hold because of all the nuclear issues they entail
@PM2Ring i was thinking of a controlled reaction where we slowly accelerate it to 0.9c over two years. even 0.01c would be huge by our current standards :)
we obviously have the energy to do it. but probably, it's that we cant launch a controlled nuclear reaction into space @PM2Ring
11:52 AM
@Slereah Sure. That was the major breakthrough for Newton: realising that a single theory of gravity applied to both terrestrial & celestial motion. As I said here: astronomy.stackexchange.com/a/41481/16685
> Prior to Newton, the very idea of attempting to apply mundane mechanics to the heavens would have seemed strange to most natural philosophers, if not downright blasphemous.
Different places had different solutions to the notion
for a while a lot of places just had the heavens as a literal object resting on some mountains
Kind of a hard problem to solve because if the stars are objects like here, why they no fall down
FWIW, an ideal deuterium cycle engine converts around 260 kg of fuel to 259 kg of exhaust and 1 kg * c² energy. A ship that's 50% fuel by mass at launch running at 1 g consumes its fuel in just under 21.9 days, reaching a speed of ~0.0618 c. Of course, a real engine will have various losses. — PM 2Ring Aug 5, 2022 at 2:06
@Slereah Indeed. And it's "obvious" that celestial motion is quite different to terrestrial motion. Everything in the heavens is moving eternally in circles, but terrestrial motion is temporary, and generally not circular, without some visible mechanism that enforces rotation.
@PM2Ring oh. if the real engine achieves even a tenth of this speed, it would be 10x the current record of fastest object :P
An ideal antimatter engine does better, but it still chews up a lot of fuel maintaining 1g.
FWIW, setting a to standard gravitational acceleration, 9.80665 m/s, the decay rate corresponds to a half-life of ~245.25154 days, slightly over 35 weeks. — PM 2Ring Jun 2, 2022 at 17:38
I.e., a perfect antimatter drive ship, using photons as its reaction "mass" chews up 50% of its mass every 35 weeks.
is the acceleration a downside here or does more acceleration lead to a higher life due to time dilation?
12:04 PM
I have no idea how you convince all those photons to travel in the direction you want them to go in. Rather than going in every direction, and melting your engine. :)
@Slereah Atlas holds up the heavens with his mighty muscles :)
the chinese version was that the heavens were just like a big plate resting on some mountains
and one day some god smashed one of them, causing them to slide down
Hence celestial motion
Not a great theory because it doesn't really explain the periodic motion
@PM2Ring yes. it would be hard to process this energy into kinetic energy. maybe we make steam first using it idk :P
and people were aware of the weakness, but seem to not have better to propose
Acceleration is nice because you want high speed. :) And humans tend to prefer environments with some gravity, preferably uniform.
12:06 PM
i had calculated 0.9c in 2years at 10g or something
humans would not survive that acceleration :P
but i was just thinking of sending a camera
@PM2Ring i have also read that at too high speeds the CMB may vaporise you but i dont remember how high speed was that
Some people lament the lightspeed barrier, thinking that it limits our ability to explore the galaxy. But that's silly. Relativity lets you cross the galaxy in less than a lifetime, although (of course) millennia will pass back on Earth. It requires tons of energy, but Newtonian travel over those distances with the same time span requires vastly more energy.
indeed. i think the only "bad" thing relativity brings to limits of space travel is the accelerating expansion of the universe
speed limit + time dilation is a good thing actually
@RyderRude Sure. A small camera on a light-sail thingy that can use sunlight in the inner Solar System & which you can maybe boost with a laser (for a while) when it gets out past Jupiter.
I vaguely remember a short story where the drive operated by lowering the speed of light to make easier to achieve relativistic effects.
@PM2Ring that is technically nuclear energy too because of the sunlight :)
@PM2Ring lol
I'll pay that. :D
12:17 PM
i think warp drives can counter the accelerating expansion too. then we can visit the edge of the universe :)
or is that wrong
it seems wrong to say we can ever escape the observable universe
but what if you could compress and expand spacetime
Yeah. You'd have problems trying to visit the most distant stars that we can currently see.
if the expansion wasnt accelerating, then this funny puzzle would apply to space travel : en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant_on_a_rubber_rope @PM2Ring
And it'd be even harder visiting the last scattering surface of the CMB. That's currently ~46 GLy distant, with a redshift of z~=1100, so the original distance was ~42 MLy, and it took light ~13.7 billion years to traverse that expanding distance.
The Ant on a Rubber Rope thing still applies, in a modified form. One of our professional astrophysicists has a good answer about it, but I can't remember where. But there's this excellent answer abour expansion:
A: Can space expand with unlimited speed?

PulsarThere are quite a few common misconceptions about the expansion of the universe, even among professional physicists. I will try to clarify a few of these issues; for more information, I highly recommend the article "Expanding Confusion: common misconceptions of cosmological horizons and the super...

12:33 PM
thanks. i thought the ant-rubber series did not approach 1 with acceleration
oh it is not always the case that it doesnt approach 1
It's hard enough to properly comprehend distances to nearby stars. Imagine that sound could travel through space, and at the same speed that it travels through air. If Alpha Centauri blew up tomorrow (and the explosion was loud enough), it would take over 4 million years for us to hear it on Earth.
yes. astronomical distances are hard to comprehend. i dont even know how big 4 million years would feel like
large numbers lose their intuititiveness
Well, 4 million seconds is ~46 days. Now expand each of those seconds to a year. :)
omg now i felt it. scary
this gave me anxiety :)
Time is a good way to conceptualise big numbers. But when you're a little kid, even half a billion seconds is a long time.
There's a bit more than half a million minutes in a year.
12:46 PM
i dont get any feels for a million or billion :P
@PM2Ring this worked because u made it 46
@PM2Ring this is pretty mindblowing too. half a million doesnt sound that big
And here's gambling game where everyone can participate cause we have infinite money!!!
Q: Cardinality in an instance where evolution describes everything?

More AnonymousThe simplest algorithm to represent evolution I can think of (as a physics student) is this: Given a system with probability outcomes $p_1$ and $1-p_1$. Life will search if $p_1 > 1- p_1$ or $1-p_1 > p_1$. There are 2 values over here required such as certainty of accuracy of $p_1$ and judgement ...

Computer pioneer Grace Hopper used to hand out bits of wire 300 mm long, while saying "this is how far light travels in a nanosecond".
and yet light is so incredibly slow for the universe. the sheer contrast
@MoreAnonymous i did not understand the question but i dont think they will like it on Math SE :P
hence the education tag :P
were you high when you came up with this idea? :P
12:54 PM
Nah the opposite pretty low
I work at company that
kills my soul
I dont wanna spoil my art though :P
I'll be very surprised if that question doesn't get closed, and possibly deleted, within 48 hours.
Then philosphy must be the answer!
@PM2Ring lol
@MoreAnonymous i cant understand anything but at the same time it seems like you are saying something very deep :)
12:59 PM
Mysticism doesn't go down well on Math.SE
Neither does ethics
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