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Comments by Alex_Redsky

Go to: BREAKING NEWS: Error Undoes Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Results

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Alex_Redsky

That is good, I didn't like that anomalous result at all. Good ol' special relativity still rules. Yay !

Wed, 22 Feb 2012 22:29:01 UTC | #920837

Go to: In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 237 by Alex_Redsky


We salute you. We will deeply miss your sharp intellect and your witty prose. Now, it is our time to rise up to the challenge and take the flag that you have so eloquently carried thus far.

Be sure, you will live forever in our memories and future actions.

Thank you.

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 13:42:48 UTC | #899775

Go to: Thank you, Matt Ridley

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Alex_Redsky


Matthew White Ridley, journalist, writer, and businessman... non-executive chairman of the UK bank Northern Rock before the collapse... wrote "The Rational Optimist"... famous by his libertarian views and support for free market policies...

Well, despite being also a supporter of the BHA (to his credit), this man has clearly a very personal view, an agenda or, at least, a vested interest that some economic agents should go on unencumbered by any austere regulations aiming to reduce greenhouse gases emissions (or carbon taxes) that might hit the fat profits. I get suspicious when anyone starts saying that "the medicine can be worse than the disease" and advocates a "do nothing yet" as the most rational solution.

I might be wrong, sure, but I wouldn't take his words at face value without very strong supporting evidence. Especially because his discourse might be tainted by the same bias he accuses many others to espouse.

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 17:43:39 UTC | #888687

Go to: Faircloth discusses his new book "Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All & What We Can Do About It."

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Alex_Redsky

@RDfan (Comment 22)

I think you are missing the point here a bit. We don't need an "American-led" world (or China, Russia, or else). It is about time to put behind this idea of 'super-powers' who rule 'by example'. To say "no" to overwhelming, benevolent, forces from those modern (or even progressive) new empires. What we all need, if it is there to be a future for the Humanity is a multi-polar world, where no one has the absolute or final saying over the other parts without having to listen to them with multilateral agreements. Otherwise, sooner or later, any unfettered self-righteous state who believe they are a paradigm to be followed by anyone else end up doing all kinds of atrocities, even though they did not intended it in first place.

Wed, 19 Oct 2011 09:47:31 UTC | #882068

Go to: UPDATED: Richard on Radio 4 Start the Week - Monday 17 October 2011

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by Alex_Redsky

Why the Beeb insists on inviting priests and other theologians to every program remotely discussing either evolution or cosmology, is beyond me. Probably for the sake of "balance", as if those religionists had anything remotely valid to add to those subjects. Instead, they get a platform to repeat over and over the same inanities about "meaning", conceding that science is very important today – which is undeniable now to almost everyone, of course – BUT (and it's a big 'but') keep arguing instead that religion have a unique, unsurpassed role to the moral and ethic values of our time, blah, blah... Sorry to break it to you this, Chief Rabbi, but it doesn't. Just look around you where people upholding those strong religious beliefs and morals have led us before.

When a 'concerned' Mr. Sacks said he "wouldn't like to live in a world ruled by scientific thought", Richard missed an excellent opportunity to make a point-blank remark of where a pious, religion-dominated world has done to mankind in the past (and are still doing in certain places today). 'Moral values'? I bet the good-mannered, Rabbi wouldn't like very much to live in one of those theocentric places if his chosen faith wasn't the dominant (and sole) force.

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 12:13:29 UTC | #881458

Go to: Why Spring Starts Today

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Alex_Redsky

Mr. yyarovyy said above:

I feel it's useless to define spring in terms of the vernal equinox [...]

The definition is, and always will be, astronomical. Sometimes we tend to forget, but all calendars are based on the heavenly bodies positions. Of course, the local weather and climatic variations, by their own nature, are unlikely to correspond rigidly with the sharp cut-off points of the mathematical-astronomical definitions, thus the perception of the season start being variable from year-to-year. But to appease the unhappy ones, we could either change the definition, or give up altogether this 'start of the season' concept.

But changing the equinox, never ;-)

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 14:20:46 UTC | #605343

Go to: Findings Could Put a New Spin on Black Holes

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Alex_Redsky

Comment 21 by rod-the-farmer :

Again, no expert, me, but I doubt that the current level of detection devices could distinguish between the leading and trailing edges of a rotating white dwarf, and thereby capture blue/red shifts respectively. I think at the distance we would find them, they would not have a visible disk. But what do I know about the math, Anaximander ?

It's all Greek to me.

Sorry poking my nose in this discussion here, but theoretically you don't have necessarily to resolve the disk of a given star in order to measure two separate spectra from either rotating border before concluding that it is therefore a rotating body due to the respectively blue and red-shifted absorption lines. A single, "total" spectrum from the star would also do the trick: if you take any known strong line, say H-alpha, and observe the result, a rotating star under those circumstances will have, on this single "combined" spectrum, doppler shifts both to blueish and the reddish sides of that theoretical line position, with a small spread proportional to the angular rotation. Of course, you'd have to discount other known effects (e.g. main redshift due to star recession, spectral line broadening, Zeemann effect, gravitational red-shift effect on photons wavelength, etc), but you get the idea. Might be feasible to small ordinary stars, but it is beyond me if anything similar could (ever) be achieved on more exotic bodies like neutron stars or black holes.

Wed, 16 Feb 2011 15:15:21 UTC | #592475

Go to: Law could bury ancient secrets for ever

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Alex_Redsky

Marcus Small [18] said:

You find this lobby group of interest. I am not sure that I completely disagree with them.

Well, I do. Although they sound "balanced and respectful" on their intentions, it seems to be a group of (anglo-saxon) Neo-pagans wanting to earn the same "respect" that traditional, and therefore more influential religions are granted on their burials. Notice the particular emphasis they place on that Dark Ages period. Would that mean that Roman remains, for example, are to be excluded from their claims ? Why this ethnic-centric approach is justified then ?

Fri, 04 Feb 2011 14:19:48 UTC | #587854

Go to: Atheists' numbers doom them to irrelevance

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 125 by Alex_Redsky

@Vorlund said: [..] For the benefit of non UK posters. The Daily Star is a 'newspaper' which is more comic book crap than objective news [..]

Although crappy the Daily Star UK paper might be, this "Daily Star" here is a different one (follow the link), from a tiny American city on NY state, if I am not mistaken. That is, even smaller and insignificant.

Wed, 22 Dec 2010 15:58:18 UTC | #567361

Go to: Atheists' numbers doom them to irrelevance

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 117 by Alex_Redsky

Well, this text is another study case of the "straw man fallacy". The sort of "atheists" he conveniently portrays for his rant is far away from reality. If one wants to dismantle that flimsy article, please go ahead, that should be easy. But I ask you, how long are we going to waste time to reply to these self-righteous Xtians with a voice in the press ? It is getting really annoying now. If they want to engage in debate with us, so please do it. Otherwise stop beating that old straw man of yours.

Wed, 22 Dec 2010 13:37:26 UTC | #567277

Go to: Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Alex_Redsky

I peek through these numbers but it still gives me shivers. Why oh why is there A LOT of people who think CREATIONISM should be taught in science classes on the 21st century? I'm sorry Yankee fellows, but this is beyond my comprehension.

Sat, 18 Dec 2010 09:07:01 UTC | #565025

Go to: The Feynman Variations - Brian Cox presents a tribute to Richard Feynman

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by Alex_Redsky

Comment 36 by mmurray :

Comment 35 by Alex_R :

[From mmurray on comment 33]: "You were talking about possible extinction of man versus the certain extinction of millions of innocent people if the Nazi's won the war. As it turned out we have done a reasonable job of avoiding a nuclear holocaust."

I beg to differ. This is an oversimplification of a much more complex process that was developing at that time, ...

That would be because it is 38 words !

By "reasonable" I just meant we managed to avoid it. It wasn't an assessment of the process used. I remain staggered that we managed to get through that period of history and that the communist party dictatorship was unravelled in Russia without any nuclear weapons going off.


Indeed, Michael. But the danger is far from over, especially now that for the first time in history there is a possibility that some crackpots (and I mean here non-state organisations) can have access to those devices. Although not capable themselves of developing one, they still can do it by smuggling, purchasing one on a black market or even getting them out of... how can I say... "sponsors". And one is enough. Although nation states are very unlikely to detonate atomic bombs, even the rogue ones, any group of fanatics that believe in martyrdom, life after death and paradise rewards can and will not hesitate to use smaller tactical weapons to spread their "certainties" by wholesale terror. Total submission is essential part of their mindset. That, is a terrible legacy post Cold War era that assumes a new face under the rise of the fundamentalist intolerance. Worse, any pre-emptive strike would be morally wrong and highly counter-productive, so the good fight today (if there is one) is to make clear the fact that irrationality, on any form, is the breeding ground of destruction.

OK, I am getting too much off topic now ;-)


Thu, 14 Oct 2010 10:29:22 UTC | #533340

Go to: Allah’s existence to be debated at UK’s leading mosque

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 67 by Alex_Redsky

Comment 37 by ibn sadiq :

3) Whereas the Muslim debate about God's existence has always being nuanced, escaping modern, object-subject bifurcation of yes/no God exist or doesn't. (The same kind of thinking that created at its extreme the Self-Other justification for the holocaust)

Wow ! So your God is a "Quantum God" then ? He/She/It exists and does not exist at the same time, on a quantum state superposition that only reveals itself on the measurement (pray?) process, when the wave function collapses onto existence or non-existence depending on the observer's luck (or faith) ? Now you're talking...

Thu, 14 Oct 2010 09:27:05 UTC | #533314

Go to: The Feynman Variations - Brian Cox presents a tribute to Richard Feynman

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by Alex_Redsky

[From mmurray on comment 33]: "You were talking about possible extinction of man versus the certain extinction of millions of innocent people if the Nazi's won the war. As it turned out we have done a reasonable job of avoiding a nuclear holocaust."

I beg to differ. This is an oversimplification of a much more complex process that was developing at that time, and a bit of "what-if history". Under the risk of straying too much out off topic here, I have to point out that the logic of the Mutual Assured Destruction was the only reason that avoided the nuclear holocaust. And it rested upon the fact that two antagonistic sides (in the case, USA and USSR) had a sizeable stock of warheads (and not only one or two each), capable of inflict crippling destruction upon on each other, plus the certainty of retaliation in the case of any strike. That is it, as mad as it could be. Had just one side been capable of developing and delivering atomic bombs, this sole power would have certainly bullied other nations into acting in accord to their 'imperial' interests. Well, in fact they end up doing something like that on the 50/60s, but to a much small scale thanks to... MAD ! Ironically as it would be.

On the "what-if" side, I grant you that Nazis with nuclear devices would have been a nightmare, sure, but given the state they were, with destroyed infrastructure and a lack of access to the raw materials, those deranged chaps would have been capable of producing maybe a handful of bombs. The likely target would probably have been London under the desperate revenge, "Vergeltung" campaign they were practising at the time. However, they couldn't and I am here now writing this, so I am grateful to that fact. But as tempting as it as it might be to buy into this black-and-white logic, we cannot forget the fact that the nuclear weapons were not developed to "end quickly the WWII", or "to spare human lives", as some cynics dare to say even today. Even at that time, the far-sighted strategists soon realised that the bombs were developed (and regrettably detonated) to point out to the future , to the logic of a new warfare with an virtually infinite power released at the flick of a switch, albeit one potentially victimless for the winning side, because unconditional surrender would be the only option to the vanquished. And this, is the scary bit.

Thu, 14 Oct 2010 08:34:32 UTC | #533290

Go to: The Feynman Variations - Brian Cox presents a tribute to Richard Feynman

Alex_Redsky's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Alex_Redsky

[from Comment 14 by loqueelviento] It was a "we or they" situation. I would have supported the building of the atom bomb in that time. Without any kind of doubt. And guess what, if Stalin alone had had the bomb alone?

Well... on the same token, from the Russian perspective: "Why should we leave the Americans alone with nuclear weapons ? After all, they had already demonstrated their willingness to use them on the Japan civil population twice."

The Cold War arms race in the aftermath of the WWII was sheer madness. Or should I say MAD-ness ? The fact that eminent scientists were instrumental on that developments is just another sad reminder to the level on insanity running on those days. Fear, uncertainty and doubt were everywhere.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 09:45:33 UTC | #532881