I was in the Exploratorium in San Francisco on 4th July 1997 watching the Mars explorer coming down onto the Martian surface in a live transmission from NASA. That vehicle was still sending back information until quite recently, and there are currently two other probes on the Martian surface with another due to land soon.
I suppose it's a waste of my time telling you, so goodnight.
Agreed. The man is a buffoon.
Never a waste of time, and thank you for the info. Here's part of the Wiki stuff about Mars exploration. Make up your own mind...
Originally Posted by Ferretfancy
Due to the complexity involved in engineering an interplanetary journey, the exploration of Mars has experienced a high failure rate, especially in early attempts, with roughly two-thirds of all spacecraft destined for Mars failing before completing their missions, with some failing even before observations could begin. However, missions have also met with unexpected levels of success, such as the twin Mars Exploration Rovers operating for years beyond their original mission specifications.
Wikipedia - Exploration of Mars
"Due to the complexity involved in engineering an interplanetary journey..." There are many reasons why so many Mars probes have failed, and arguably one reason is because our mathematics is so flawed.
Mathematicians find all sorts of clever ways to get around Pi, and the square root of 2, and infinity, etc, etc, but none of it really explains the physical universe we find ourselves in. Thus when we go beyond our little blue planet we get into all sorts of difficulties.
Would you care to tell me what the square root of 2 is?
Originally Posted by Vile Consort
Or will a deity you worship tell you that?
This is the 21st century, not the 12th century. Who's the buffoon?
It's the real irrational number which, when multiplied by itself, gives a result of 2. The fact that it cannot be expressed as a ratio of two integers makes it no less real.
Originally Posted by Budapest
No. You are a complete tosser and not worth engaging with.
Originally Posted by Budapest
merely less countable ?
Originally Posted by Bryn
Excellent!! That's how experiments go. These days some of them are very complex and one has to control conditions very well, so's not to fool oneself, and know what the results are actually saying, if anything. CERN, plant treatments, drugs etc etc. I'm not sure that physicists are any different to anyone else. The 5 sigma test is just a statistical confidence thing to give some assurance that the results are better than random.
One way to get to this level of confidence is to do an enormous number of trials. I think that is what CERN have been doing, huge numbers of proton collisions.
Brownian motion isn’t the kind of jiggling of particles that we have in mind in QM. However [and this is only my understanding so I don’t get VC wrath again] if we were to be able to peer deep into the structure of space well away from any “matter” we might “see” [not with real eyes of course but with a mind’s eye] lots of jostling. Entities coming out of nowhere and just as soon going again, not things that are always present and just moving around randomly. A kind of foaming, frothing of energy that disobeys the Conservation of Energy, but only for a tiny amount time, that only you are experiencing down there in the deep. Back up here in normal macroscopic space all goes on at a more sluggish pace and CofE isn’t affected. Nevertheless this jostling is not totally forbidden at macroscopic levels, just very unlikely.
Is anyone really comfortable with QM – who was it said if you aren’t shocked by it you don’t understand it? Trouble is the dratted theory seems to hold up. Apart from Heisenberg we also have that wretched cat of Schrodinger’s and that Superposition business that causes a lot of head scratching. One would have thought that a theory so weird would have rolled over and died long ago. So until some new genius comes along with a refinement or a compelling bit of experimental observation we’re stuck with it.
But... quantum computing:
We all know that 2 + 2 is 4, don't we, why would anyone doubt it? No one has to calculate what 2 + 2 is because they already know what it is, they have seen it before and it is memorised. Now ask a normal human being what 2.1953 + 2.0765 is and then they have to compute [ie “work it out”] because these are not everyday numbers whose sums are kept in the head.
How do they compute? Some rare folks can do it in their heads but most can't and need a pencil and paper AND an algorithm or series of ordered steps to arrive at a reliable result. The algorithm is independent of the numbers it processes. Everyone who has been to school knows all this.
So computing machines? What for? well to ease our burden of doing it and all the time it takes. We need a machine that can perform that algorithm instead of us and do it much much faster. The one feature of calculating machines that we really value is speed. Like calculating a Fourier Transform on the fly as happens of course in a DAB or DTT receiver. One of the great hopes [some would say promise] of quantum computing is to do the same things, and possibly more things too, at greater speed than conventional methods. How? we might ask. The theoreticians, of whom there are many, have published loads of intricate stuff about the mathematics but not a lot about how to build one. So it’s all a bit woolly at the action end.
I have to own up to being facetious. When I said that a Quantum Computer [QM] MIGHT say 2 and 2 wasn’t 4 etc I was speculating that if we adopt the probabilistic notions of QM that that is how a QC might respond. But that would not be good enough to replace our existing computing machinery, quantum computing does mean doing sums properly. Just as QM seems to suggest that particles are in a composite state until their probability functions collapse so some quantum structure might “know” all the answers until that uncertainty is collapsed? Pure speculation but not wholly inconsistent with some of the stuff you read in books.
But how? From what I have read one uses quantum entities like photon polarisations [Right hand/Left hand] or electron spins [Up/Down] to hold quantum bits. These sound familiar and binary. Then we invoke QS so that all possibilities of these quantum bits are sort of available at the same time, including the superposed ones, so that the photon [eg] state can be both R and L, and so the answers drop out when we ask for them like the collapse of a Schrodinger wave. Just like that. And quick too – [how do they know if they haven’t built one?] And 2 + 2 will be 4. Honest.
However no book or article I have read says exactly how to make a fully functional machine, not even close. QC has apparently been used in cryptography as a method of securely exchanging secret keys in a Diffie-Hellman system but it was slow and very cumbersome requiring magnetic fields and a stores of electrons spinning. Don’t sell your Intel shares just yet.
Anyway off to a birthday bash now.
Last edited by Gordon; 14-07-12 at 10:21.
Ooh Dear!! trouble 'tmill!
Well, Budapest, we do agree with you that the human race isn’t perfect. Given the gifts of science etc they do seem to latch on to the worst of it. Unfortunately that Pandora lady has lot to answer for but she’s long gone now. And let’s face it the God person isn’t that bothered either [no disrespect to believers]. He’s had several goes at setting us to rights but none of them seemed to work. But what do I know.
Some of them are perfectly good people [us for instance ] but there are some strange ones about as well. Lamentable, disappointing lot? Well, taken in the round, I suppose they are but for me that is mitigated somewhat by the decent people that I know and I find that comforting.
Anyway, to science. I do see what VC is saying about some of your statements. For example, you seem to confuse science with engineering. Don’t blame Newton because a space probe broke down. It’s a miracle that Voyagers have reached as far as they have without breaking. Yes, we have a lot to learn about building reliable machines that can get us safely further than the moon. Newton has told us enough about how to do it, it is not his fault that we haven’t the political, social and economic maturity to put the planet to rights AND do that exploration? We can do it all, we just can’t organise ourselves and we put all sorts of impediments in our own way. I would agree that until we have sorted this planet out we should not go polluting the rest of the solar system.
If I was God I’d have put an invisible cordon around the planet [perhaps he has] saying “Keep Out, Hazardous Species” in every galactic language there is….…..except English.
Anyway must go or all the fizz will have gone
Last edited by Gordon; 14-07-12 at 10:25.
Agreed, let's keep science out of discussions of science. It only complicates matters.
Originally Posted by Budapest