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CRKrueger

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I assume birdeaters are pretty docile towards humans, like tarantulas. In Texas, I'd occassionally find tarantulas in the yard, and you can pick them up and pet them and they don't mind at all.
Yeah, you really need to piss them off to get a bite, and they have an unmistakeable threat display. With tarantulas it’s the urticating hairs that they kick off their backside that can really bother you. Get a bird eater’s hair in your eye, you’ll wish it bit you instead. That’s New World tarantulas though, the ones without the hairs might rely more on bite, I dunno.
 

chuckdee

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That guy Coyote Petersen that gets all kinds of animals to bite and sting him has one of those chomping on his finger. It hurt like hell, but it didn't break through the skin on his fingertip.
Now a Goliath Birdeaters fangs would definitely go in deep, but the venom still won't kill you, unless you're allergic or something.
View attachment 27512
I assume birdeaters are pretty docile towards humans, like tarantulas. In Texas, I'd occassionally find tarantulas in the yard, and you can pick them up and pet them and they don't mind at all.

Nope to ALL of that!
 

xanther

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Looking at it again I don't think it's a fake, I think it's two camel spiders hugging. That would make each of them something like 5-6 inches long using the hands in the picture for scale.
Well now that I know these spider like things are only 5-6 inches long I feel much better, not. I'm used to my "big" spiders being an inch long.
 

Stan

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Well now that I know these spider like things are only 5-6 inches long I feel much better, not. I'm used to my "big" spiders being an inch long.
I laugh sometimes at fantasy games - 'size small spider' likes it's no big deal. If there was a spider 2 feet across that weighed 20 pounds, most people would lose their shit if one came near them. I'd be more scare of that than a wolf.
 

Séadna

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I laugh sometimes at fantasy games - 'size small spider' likes it's no big deal. If there was a spider 2 feet across that weighed 20 pounds, most people would lose their shit if one came near them. I'd be more scare of that than a wolf.
I love this in the Resident Evil games, the things would make anybody catatonic on sight, but the characters even the kids just go "wow, a monster" or "this is gonna be rough bro!"
 

Silent Green

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Ok, let's do this.
pluto.png
I calculate the length of the foot as 1470.45km. Now the length of the last seems to be a fixed 1.5cm bigger than a human foot, which is obviously inapplicable here. So I estimate the last to be (43.4cm + 1.5cm = 45cm) 3.5% longer than the foot, giving a last size of 1521.9km (~6×10⁶ in). This means Cthulhu has shoe size 22825000 (EU/D/F/I), 179751943½ (UK), 173675175 (US/male) or 173675176 (US/female).
And I rate the pertinent Wikipedia articles at 1d6 SAN loss and 1% mythos knowledge.

ETA: Mind, he'll need bespoke footwear for his bunion.

ETA: Math typo.
 
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TristramEvans

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Do you have a full-sized image of that lower part of the image?


Biggest I could find:

solar_system_vintage_infographic.jpg
 

Séadna

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The Internet Era has been rough on Popular Mechanics.
This is a particular bugbear of mine. It's actually gotten pretty hard to get accurate popular science published. For example (since entropy is mentioned in that article) I know a colleague who tried to get an explanation that entropy wasn't a physical objective quantity into one of his books but was told to remove it. This was because the narrative of entropy as a force of decay and outmoded 19th century ideas like "heat death" are simply too popular that the current understanding is judged to be confusing.
Then you have Wikipedia sourcing itself from these books, even undergraduate texts can absorb popular errors. I spent a good bit of my youth trying to get accurate science into local publications and newspapers but my ultimate feeling is :weep:.

It changed sometime around the 1940s as far as I can tell. Before then popular books are sober and up to date.
 

TristramEvans

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Reminds me of my thinking onthe Jurassic Park films. When the first film came out it took on the populare notion of Dinosaurs as slow, lumbering, unintelligent creatures. It actually advanced modern science theories about dinosaurs at the time in the popuar conscious.

Now, the new films ignore all the modern science about Dinosaurs being feathered and whatnot, and just perpetuate the old ideas.
 

Klibbix!

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This is a particular bugbear of mine. It's actually gotten pretty hard to get accurate popular science published. For example (since entropy is mentioned in that article) I know a colleague who tried to get an explanation that entropy wasn't a physical objective quantity into one of his books but was told to remove it. This was because the narrative of entropy as a force of decay and outmoded 19th century ideas like "heat death" are simply too popular that the current understanding is judged to be confusing.
Then you have Wikipedia sourcing itself from these books, even undergraduate texts can absorb popular errors. I spent a good bit of my youth trying to get accurate science into local publications and newspapers but my ultimate feeling is :weep:.

It changed sometime around the 1940s as far as I can tell. Before then popular books are sober and up to date.

This is very interesting, particularly the bit about Heat Death which I didn't know was outdated. What theory/concept/whatever has replaced it? Or has it just been updated?
 

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I don't know how much you want to know, so just ask if there is anything you want clarification on.
This is very interesting, particularly the bit about Heat Death which I didn't know was outdated. What theory/concept/whatever has replaced it? Or has it just been updated?
Heat Death was a sort of cosmological application of thermodynamics done in the 19th century. Since thermodynamics really only dealt with nearly isolated perfectly controlled systems, like a gas in a sealed rigid box at a fixed temperature, even at the time they had doubts that it made sense to apply it to the whole universe. Later in the early 20th century the French mathematician Henri Poincaré showed that even gas in a box doesn't exactly undergo heat death, so there was even less of a reason to think it made any sense for the universe as a whole.
The whole set up makes little sense today as we now know that entropy is a subjective* property measuring how much you know about a system, not a real physical quantity like energy.

As for the actual fate of the universe, in current physical theories it's unknown since it depends on a quantum theory of gravity which we don't have.

*I think this is probably the thing most commonly left out of popular expositions, how subjective and "non-mechanical" a science physics now is. Notions like "The Laws of Physics" even are outdated. Modern theories are quantum theories and quantum theories operate in terms of an observer's bets/beliefs/probabilities about what they might see in the future. Not absolute 3rd person "objective" laws governing the world like it was a giant clock.
 

TristramEvans

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I don't know how much you want to know, so just ask if there is anything you want clarification on.

Heat Death was a sort of cosmological application of thermodynamics done in the 19th century. Since thermodynamics really only dealt with nearly isolated perfectly controlled systems, like a gas in a sealed rigid box at a fixed temperature, even at the time they had doubts that it made sense to apply it to the whole universe. Later in the early 20th century the French mathematician Henri Poincaré showed that even gas in a box doesn't exactly undergo heat death, so there was even less of a reason to think it made any sense for the universe as a whole.
The whole set up makes little sense today as we now know that entropy is a subjective* property measuring how much you know about a system, not a real physical quantity like energy.

As for the actual fate of the universe, in current physical theories it's unknown since it depends on a quantum theory of gravity which we don't have.

*I think this is probably the thing most commonly left out of popular expositions, how subjective and "non-mechanical" a science physics now is. Notions like "The Laws of Physics" even are outdated. Modern theories are quantum theories and quantum theories operate in terms of an observer's bets/beliefs/probabilities about what they might see in the future. Not absolute 3rd person "objective" laws governing the world like it was a giant clock.


Correct me if I'm wrong but my understanding is the problem is that gravity is a defining element of the shape of space, and quantum mechanics currently only work because it's such a weak force, so it's easy to perform the expriments with the assumption that space is flat, but the minute that any sort of curvature is introduced into the calculations they become impossible to predict?
 

Klibbix!

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I don't know how much you want to know, so just ask if there is anything you want clarification on.

Heat Death was a sort of cosmological application of thermodynamics done in the 19th century. Since thermodynamics really only dealt with nearly isolated perfectly controlled systems, like a gas in a sealed rigid box at a fixed temperature, even at the time they had doubts that it made sense to apply it to the whole universe. Later in the early 20th century the French mathematician Henri Poincaré showed that even gas in a box doesn't exactly undergo heat death, so there was even less of a reason to think it made any sense for the universe as a whole.
The whole set up makes little sense today as we now know that entropy is a subjective* property measuring how much you know about a system, not a real physical quantity like energy.

As for the actual fate of the universe, in current physical theories it's unknown since it depends on a quantum theory of gravity which we don't have.

*I think this is probably the thing most commonly left out of popular expositions, how subjective and "non-mechanical" a science physics now is. Notions like "The Laws of Physics" even are outdated. Modern theories are quantum theories and quantum theories operate in terms of an observer's bets/beliefs/probabilities about what they might see in the future. Not absolute 3rd person "objective" laws governing the world like it was a giant clock.

Thank you, I appreciate the response. This actually kind of cheers me up in a weird way. I always thought the Heat Death of the Universe was a particularly depressing future.
 

Séadna

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Correct me if I'm wrong but my understanding is the problem is that gravity is a defining element of the shape of space, and quantum mechanics currently only work because it's such a weak force, so it's easy to perform the expriments with the assumption that space is flat, but the minute that any sort of curvature is introduced into the calculations they become impossible to predict?
I hope you don't mind a bit of set up to put the answer in its proper context, but to answer directly first yes the issues are to do with space no longer being flat. The answer is long since I'm afraid of leaving the wrong impression and you have to clearly state what quantum mechanics is about to convey the problems. Apologies if I repeat things you know. Spoilered not to bloat the thread for those uninterested and to split the length into nice chunks.

One thing I want to say from the outset is that probability is subjective. Take two people. One thinks a dice is fair and the other thinks it is weighted. The dice is rolled and they're not shown the result. Their respective probabilities are:
Person A1/61/61/61/61/61/6
Person B1/61/121/61/121/61/3

Now imagine they're told the result is even. They update the probabilities to:
Person A01/301/301/3
Person B01/601/602/3

All I'm trying to convey here is that the probabilities depend on both initial beliefs (A and B differ initially) and on knowledge learned (A and B both update their probability lists upon hearing the result was even). Thus probability alone introduces a large subjective element.

Updating your probabilities is often called "collapse". A major howler in popular books is that they treat collapse like it was a real process, rather than an agent updating their probabilities/beliefs in light of what they have learned.

The background of quantum mechanic's development was an attempt to understand the spectrum of colours emitted by gases when they were heated. Bohr had managed to explain hydrogen's spectrum through the usual solar system model of the atom one often sees, but nobody could correctly match Helium's spectrum despite years of work. No mathematical model for the helium atom matched what was seen.

Heisenberg's major insight in 1925 was to give up on modelling helium completely. He realised that at our level all we see are colours, energy readings, photographic plates developing marks and so on. We never experience the microscopic level directly. By studying Bohr's model of hydrogen he managed to find an abstract set of rules that could relate the things experienced at our level, without passing through any kind of model or description of the microscopic world. He got Bohr's results while eliminating not only the Solar System model, but without any model at all. When these rules were applied to Helium it correctly described the spectrum.

This was Einstein's problem with quantum theory. It wasn't an descriptive theory of the microscopic world, just a theory of how the microscopic world might effect our macroscopic world. If an observer at our level can't witness something, the theory says nothing about it. I'll just call these things that can be seen at our level "macro-effects".

Added to this was the probabilistic element. The macro-effects cannot be completely predicted, the theory only offers guidance on how likely various macro-effects are. However as mentioned above probabilities are subjective. QM will predict different probabilities for different agents to reflect their personal beliefs and knowledge. There's a nice quote from Thomas Banks Professor of Physics at Harvard concerning this in his undergraduate notes:
Many physicists, with full understanding of all these issues, will still share Einstein’s unease with an intrinsically probabilistic theory of nature. Probability is, especially when applied to non-reproducible phenomena like the universe as a whole, a theory of guessing, and implicitly posits a mind, which is doing the guessing
...I have no real answer to this unease, other than “That’s life. Get over it.”

Now what has this got to do with gravity? In order to manage all of this we always do calculations in highly idealised scenarios. A particular one is where space is flat/gravity is low, the experiments are very controlled and we only do measurements when the forces involved have become very weak. All these approximations serve a purpose. The experiments being hyper-controlled means there is essentially agreement between observers on the probabilities, so the subjective element is largely eliminated. Space being flat and the forces being weak means we can "pretend" the microscopic world is composed of simple objects called particles. Thus we build machines, colliders, where these conditions hold to test our theories.

I think it is worth stressing that point in the last part. Particles are fictitious entities used to simplify calculations. So in no sense are you or anything else "made of" particles. What quantum theory really says is that if I extracted a very small piece of you and shredded it in a collider, then to make the calculations easier I could pretend it was made of particles.

However once gravity gets introduced all of these simplifications break down. We can't pretend things are made of particles, subjectivity comes to the fore again and you get into complicated issues with Observers and exactly what macro-effects related to gravity it is possible for them to see. None of these issues have been resolved. We've learned some very weird stuff in recent years though, like you have to be careful with not trying to use quantum theory to model other Observers too closely. There was even a recent paper showing Time Machines don't enter the theory, not because they don't exist, but because if they exist nothing an Observer can experience occurs within their causal loops and thus quantum theory "doesn't speak about them".
 

Klibbix!

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I hope you don't mind a bit of set up to put the answer in its proper context, but to answer directly first yes the issues are to do with space no longer being flat. The answer is long since I'm afraid of leaving the wrong impression and you have to clearly state what quantum mechanics is about to convey the problems. Apologies if I repeat things you know. Spoilered not to bloat the thread for those uninterested and to split the length into nice chunks.

One thing I want to say from the outset is that probability is subjective. Take two people. One thinks a dice is fair and the other thinks it is weighted. The dice is rolled and they're not shown the result. Their respective probabilities are:
Person A1/61/61/61/61/61/6
Person B1/61/121/61/121/61/3

Now imagine they're told the result is even. They update the probabilities to:
Person A01/301/301/3
Person B01/601/602/3

All I'm trying to convey here is that the probabilities depend on both initial beliefs (A and B differ initially) and on knowledge learned (A and B both update their probability lists upon hearing the result was even). Thus probability alone introduces a large subjective element.

Updating your probabilities is often called "collapse". A major howler in popular books is that they treat collapse like it was a real process, rather than an agent updating their probabilities/beliefs in light of what they have learned.

The background of quantum mechanic's development was an attempt to understand the spectrum of colours emitted by gases when they were heated. Bohr had managed to explain hydrogen's spectrum through the usual solar system model of the atom one often sees, but nobody could correctly match Helium's spectrum despite years of work. No mathematical model for the helium atom matched what was seen.

Heisenberg's major insight in 1925 was to give up on modelling helium completely. He realised that at our level all we see are colours, energy readings, photographic plates developing marks and so on. We never experience the microscopic level directly. By studying Bohr's model of hydrogen he managed to find an abstract set of rules that could relate the things experienced at our level, without passing through any kind of model or description of the microscopic world. He got Bohr's results while eliminating not only the Solar System model, but without any model at all. When these rules were applied to Helium it correctly described the spectrum.

This was Einstein's problem with quantum theory. It wasn't an descriptive theory of the microscopic world, just a theory of how the microscopic world might effect our macroscopic world. If an observer at our level can't witness something, the theory says nothing about it. I'll just call these things that can be seen at our level "macro-effects".

Added to this was the probabilistic element. The macro-effects cannot be completely predicted, the theory only offers guidance on how likely various macro-effects are. However as mentioned above probabilities are subjective. QM will predict different probabilities for different agents to reflect their personal beliefs and knowledge. There's a nice quote from Thomas Banks Professor of Physics at Harvard concerning this in his undergraduate notes:

Now what has this got to do with gravity? In order to manage all of this we always do calculations in highly idealised scenarios. A particular one is where space is flat/gravity is low, the experiments are very controlled and we only do measurements when the forces involved have become very weak. All these approximations serve a purpose. The experiments being hyper-controlled means there is essentially agreement between observers on the probabilities, so the subjective element is largely eliminated. Space being flat and the forces being weak means we can "pretend" the microscopic world is composed of simple objects called particles. Thus we build machines, colliders, where these conditions hold to test our theories.

I think it is worth stressing that point in the last part. Particles are fictitious entities used to simplify calculations. So in no sense are you or anything else "made of" particles. What quantum theory really says is that if I extracted a very small piece of you and shredded it in a collider, then to make the calculations easier I could pretend it was made of particles.

However once gravity gets introduced all of these simplifications break down. We can't pretend things are made of particles, subjectivity comes to the fore again and you get into complicated issues with Observers and exactly what macro-effects related to gravity it is possible for them to see. None of these issues have been resolved. We've learned some very weird stuff in recent years though, like you have to be careful with not trying to use quantum theory to model other Observers too closely. There was even a recent paper showing Time Machines don't enter the theory, not because they don't exist, but because if they exist nothing an Observer can experience occurs within their causal loops and thus quantum theory "doesn't speak about them".

Mind-blowing stuff!
If we are not, as you say, "made"of particles, then what are we composed of? Things that we find it easier to describe as particles?
 

Séadna

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Happy to keep talking with anybody via PM or in a different thread, but I'll end with this in this thread to let the Cthulhu goodness continue.
Mind-blowing stuff!
If we are not, as you say, "made"of particles, then what are we composed of? Things that we find it easier to describe as particles?
Yep, easier to describe as particles in certain situations. In other situations they display properties not only not like a particle, but logically incompatible with the notion of particle.

For a long time it was hoped one day we would get some picture of what was there in the microscopic world, but that was ruined by things like the Kochen-Specker theorem where you can prove the results we see in different experiments can never be combined into a cohesive picture. There also doesn't seem to be a cohesive account of how we as Observers operate (e.g. Kochen-Conway Free Will theorem).

It just seems beyond a certain level the nature of the world cannot be contained in language or logic. Without an actual description of the world, all you'll ever have is a system for organising effects witnessed at our level:
Neils Bohr said:
Physics is to be regarded not so much as the study of something a priori given, but rather as the development of methods of ordering and surveying human experience
 

TristramEvans

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@Seadna, what do you think of M-theory and the notion of a holographic universe?
 

Séadna

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@Seadna, what do you think of M-theory and the notion of a holographic universe?
I was lucky to get to speak with an expert in M-theory quite often, who guided me through reading the massive books by Polchinski on the subject.

It's hard to say. From a mathematical perspective we know all the String theories are really just aspects of some larger theory we don't possess yet. So at the very least M-theory exists as a mathematical framework. However since each of the individual String theories don't have experimental support as of 2021 there's no empirical reason to have confidence in them or the larger M-theory that contains them.

The holographic conjecture is interesting but it's a property of String theories in a universe not like ours. It's cool, but not only is there the ambiguity in whether String theory is right, but also whether its properties in those fictitious universes also hold in ours.

I should say, since I think the media often exaggerates, String theories are still quantum theories. So they're still theories of what Observers see. Directly related to your question above current quantum theory doesn't say exactly what Observers will see at or inside a Black hole. We don't have any clear model of that. String theory is essentially the only extension of quantum theory to handle such cases that doesn't blow up in our face. I just want to mention this as it's often given the name "The Theory of Everything" as if it completely explained reality where as it is still an Observer focused "subjective" theory.

A simple example is the holography principle itself. This is often presented as if it said the world was a projection/illusion/hologram and it's really 2D or something. The principle really says "in situations with high gravity" the observers beliefs about events within a region are fixed by their beliefs about events on the region's boundary. It's like how your predictions for the weather in a country might be fixed by readings from weather stations along its border, but this doesn't imply the weather in the interior of the country is an illusion or something.
 
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