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Thread: Stand back... I'm going to try SCIENCE!

  1. #101
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
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    Science? I guess. Russia? Definitely.


  2. #102
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    I think I recognize the bald guy with a big beard in the background. Off to Facebook to ping him and ask if he can get me Neil's autograph!


  3. #103
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    Pipes that can produce electricity using only hot and cold water:

    http://www.diginfo.tv/v/12-0224-r-en.php


  4. #104
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    Some dudes filmed an underwater giant squid (60+ feet) and their footage will be on Discovery Channel on Jan. 27th!

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macheath View Post
    Some dudes filmed an underwater giant squid (60+ feet) and their footage will be on Discovery Channel on Jan. 27th!
    I'm not sure why that's such a big deal. They've had giant squid footage for years:

    - Definitely

  6. #106
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    Stand back, I'm going to try MATH!

    Let's start by getting an idea of scale. A "googol" (10 to the 100th power, 10^100, a 1 with 100 zeroes after it) is a really big number. So big, it's practically useless. Even on astronomical scales, there's not much you can measure in googols. Yeah, I know all about your 1200-megaparsec quasar superstructures. Let me tell you, the googol is not impressed.

    The observable universe has a diameter of about 93 billion light years. If you were to do something asinine like measure that distance in millimeters, you'd end up with a number somewhere around 8.7 x 10^29, which isn't even close to a googol. It's not "30 percent of a googol," that's not how exponents and orders of magnitude work; it's more like...

    1/10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000th

    ...of a googol. (That's 71 zeroes. The forums won't even let me type so many zeroes all together, they're forcing it to break up.)

    Hey, volume's a different story, though. Add another dimension! Let's measure the volume of the known universe (with a radius of 46.5 light years) in millimeters! No, fuck millimeters! Nanometers! There are a million nanometers in one millimeter, let's use those! What's that get us?

    The universe has a volume of a whopping 3.57 x 10^80 nm³. Still not even close. That's...

    1/100000000000000000000th

    ...of a googol. Googols are big.

    Now turn your attention to homeopathic medicine. Maybe, like me, you have some idea that homeopathy is ridiculous, but you don't know the phenomenal details. Consider this randomly selected ingredient list:

    Ingredients: 4 fl. oz (118 ml) Contains 16% USP Alcohol. Bone Meal, Liquid Calcium, Lactuca sativa 3x, 6x, 12x, 60x, 100x, 1500x. Calcarea Fluorica, Calcarea Sulphurica, Calcarea Phosphorica, Calcarea Muriatica, Calcarea Carbonica, Manganum Metallicum, Magnesium Metallicum, Equisetum arvense, Juglans nigra, Vitamin D, D2, D3, A, F 4x, 8x, 12x, 60x, 100x. Niccolum Metallicum 5x, 12x, 30x, 60x, 100x. Osteoclasts, Osteoblasts 6x, 12x, 30x, 60x, 100x. Thyrocalcitonin 6x, 12x, 30x, 60x, 100x, 500x, 1000x. Sarcodes: Bone, Thyroidinum, Parathyroid, Liver, Kidney, Skin 6x, 30x, 60x, 100x, 1000x. Fluorine, Molybdenum 12x, 30x, 100x. In a tincture of purified water and non-allergenic USP alcohol.
    All those numbers! So impressive. What "3x" means is they've diluted that particular ingredient three times. They take one part of the chemical, put it with nine parts water or alcohol, shake it around... then take one part of the solution, put it with nine parts water or alcohol, shake it around... then take one part of that solution, put it with nine parts water or alcohol, shake it around, and there's your "medicine." The active ingredient is now one part in 1000 (1x10^3, or "3x").

    In the homeopathic world, though, "3x" medicine is considered super duper weak. 100x is preferred (one part in a googol... remember, that literally means far, far less than one cubic nanometer in the entire universe!), but the "strongest" stuff is 1500x. That's one part in 1x10^1500. Think how big a googol is, and now imagine how big that number must be, even in comparison to a googol.

    I got my info from this page at "classichomeopathy.com," which includes the following statements:

    Quite simply, one drop of the mother tincture is put into a vial and then nine drops of a diluting material is added (again an alcohol and water solution). This mixture is succussed (shaken with impact).

    Succussion is essential. It has been proven that just diluting the material is ineffectual for making homeopathic remedies. Each dilution must be shaken violently with impact in order to become an effective remedy.

    Succussion can be as simple as holding the vile containing the solution and pounding it against a book on a desk (with a lid on, of-course). This is now a 1X potency. X stands for ten in Roman numerals. To make a 2X potency you take one part of the 1X potency again adding it to nine parts of the diluting solution (alcohol, and water) in a vile with a lid, and then succus it. Seccussion is done at a minimum of 100 times per each level of dilution starting from the very beginning. This process continues until the desired potency (strength) of the remedy is attained.
    It's really that simple! You just dilute the medicine until it's potent enough!

    Now, they're not stupid. At least, they're not math stupid. They know there's literally no chance there's any of the active ingredient left in their "medicine." I mean, Avogadro's fucking number is only 6.022 x 10^23 -- once you dilute as far as 10^24, it means there's only a 10% chance of a single atom of the ingredient being present. So, they're not selling you "Lactuca sativa." They're selling you the magical effects "Lactuca sativa" has on water molecules when it's "succussed" often enough. I've heard it described as "vibrations" and "memory," but the reality is just that homeopathy is even dumber than astrology.

  7. #107
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    This is like you wrote a snarky "What-if", nice work.

  8. #108
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    speaking of unimaginably large numbers. I present Graham's number:


  9. #109
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    I love the bit in that which begins at 8:30.

    As far as mathematicians are concerned, 11 to the biggest number every used constructively is quite precise. Because no matter how big a number you think of, right --and this is just stupid big-- it's smaller than infinity. There's still an infinite number of numbers that are bigger than Graham's number.

    So, frankly, we've pretty much nailed it, as far as I'm concerned.

  10. #110
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    I hate Graham's Number. Things that unfathomably huge make me queasy.

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