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Manuel Strehl (Boldewyn)
Works at Kinetiqa GmbH
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Massive Hangovers and the Harmonic Series

This picture shows a stable deck of 52 cards in which the top card overhangs the bottom card by about 1.5 card widths. In theory, it is possible to do even better so that the overhang is almost 2.26 card widths. The reason for this has to do with centres of mass and the harmonic series.

In order to understand where the number 2.26 comes from, it is helpful to keep track of the horizontal displacement of each card. We will measure horizontal distances from an origin at the rightmost edge of the top card, in such a way that each card is 2 units wide. The centre of mass of the top card is then 1 unit to the left of the origin. 

The overhang of a stack of cards is the horizontal distance between the rightmost edge of the top card and the rightmost edge of the bottom card. In a stack of two cards, the way to create the largest overhang is to put the centre of mass of the top card above the rightmost edge of the lower card. The combined centre of mass of these two cards will then be half way between their individual centres of mass; in other words, 1.5 units to the left of the origin.

Now consider creating an overhanging stack with n+1 cards by placing an overhanging stack with n cards on top of a single card. (This is probably not a good way to create a stack in practice, but it is mathematically helpful.) In order to maximize the overhang, the cards should be positioned so that the centre of mass of the top n cards is directly above the rightmost edge of the bottom card. If we define C(n) to be the horizontal distance between the centre of mass of the n-card stack and the origin, this shows that the size of the overhang for n+1 cards is equal to C(n).

The centre of the bottom card of the new n+1 card stack is at a distance of C(n)+1 from the origin. The centre of mass of the new n+1 card stack is thus given by the weighted formula
C(n+1) = (nC(n) + C(n)+1)/n+1,
which simplifies to C(n+1) = C(n) + 1/(n+1). 

Since C(1) = 1, we can solve this to show that C(n) is given by the sum of the first n terms of the harmonic series, H(n) = 1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + ... + 1/n. A famous property of this series is that it diverges to infinity. For example, if you were prepared to make n large enough, you could add up enough terms to make H(n) larger than 1000, or any other large number you care to specify. However, the divergence is very slow, and adding up the first million terms of the series only gives a total sum of about 14.39.

Going back to the skewed stack of 52 playing cards, we now know that the size of the overhang for 52 cards is equal to H(51), which works out at around 4.5188. However, the width of a card is two units, so in terms of card widths, the maximum overhang is about 2.2594, which is where the figure of 2.26 comes from. 

Since the series H(n) diverges to infinity, it is possible in theory to stack objects in this way so that the overhang is arbitrarily large. However, the thicker and heavier the objects become, the harder it is to achieve large overhangs.

This post is based on a post in the blog ThatsMaths by Peter Lynch, who is a Professor of Meteorology at University College Dublin. The blog post also shows a photograph of a stack of ten biscuits (cookies) and a stack of ten volumes of the Encyclopædia Britannica

Relevant links
Peter Lynch's original blog post, Biscuits, Books, Coins and Cards: Massive Hangovers, can be found here: http://thatsmaths.com/2014/06/12/biscuits-books-coins-and-cards-massive-hangovers/

Here's an online harmonic series calculator by Jim Carlson which you can use to calculate values of H(n) for various n: http://www.math.utah.edu/~carlson/teaching/calculus/harmonic.html

#mathematics #scienceeveryday
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Funniest cartoon ever.  Proven.
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Statement regarding suspension of some NASA activities with Russian Government representatives:

Given Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, NASA is suspending the majority of its ongoing engagements with the Russian Federation.  NASA and Roscosmos will, however, continue to work together to maintain safe and continuous operation of the International Space Station. NASA is laser focused on a plan to return human spaceflight launches to American soil, and end our reliance on Russia to get into space.  This has been a top priority of the Obama Administration’s for the past five years, and had our plan been fully funded, we would have returned American human spaceflight launches – and the jobs they support – back to the United States next year.  With the reduced level of funding approved by Congress, we’re now looking at launching from U.S. soil in 2017.  The choice here is between fully funding the plan to bring space launches back to America or continuing to send millions of dollars to the Russians.  It’s that simple.  The Obama Administration chooses to invest in America – and we are hopeful that Congress will do the same.
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I don't agree with this.

What these developers are saying is that individuals can't have personal beliefs.

If Mozilla the company instituted anti-gay practices, go for it. Eich, as an individual,  donated to a cause they don't agree with, did so quietly and personally, and before he was an executive. This is seemingly now enough to make people abandon a company who has had a good policy towards gays.

This is also an act of intolerance.
Firefox developers started boycotting Tuesday after the Web browser's parent company Mozilla hired a new CEO with anti-LGBT views.
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The prayer book of emperor Maximilian I is a prayer book in Latin language, that was printed in Augsburg in 1514/15 in an edition of ten copies.
The Bayerische Staatsbilbiothek has now digitized its unique exemplar with illustrations from Albrecht Dürer and Lukas Cranach d.Ä.
 
Das Gebetbuch Kaiser Maximilians I. ist ein Gebetbuch in lateinischer Sprache, das 1514/15 in Augsburg in einer Auflage von zehn Exemplaren gedruckt wurde.
Die Bayerische Staatsbibliothek hat nun ihr einzigartiges Exemplar mit Illustrationen von Albrecht Dürer und Lukas Cranach d.Ä. digitalisiert.
Link zum Digitalisat: http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/bsb00087482/image_1
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+Christoph Weber and I compiled a new binary of the famous CDex CD-Ripper. We called it 1.71. It fixes some bugs related to Unicode and the famous CDDB-bug which left the latest Version 1.70 b4 unusable.. 
Original code was taken from cdexos.sourceforge.net. (last commit from 2009)
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In his circles
1,351 people
Have him in circles
2,575 people
 
X-Men: Days of Future Past, Explained in #Git

/via +Elijah Manor
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How to Raise Moral Children

I thought this article on child-raising had a lot of good ideas in it.  There was stuff that was new to me, and stuff that was old, but the old stuff was worth reviewing, and the new research quite enlightening.

Do read the article even if you don't have children. The principles it outlines apply to our lives as adults as well, to leadership in the workplace and in the world.  And while I've reproduced many of the best bits below, it's well worth going to the article itself, because it is heavily linked to the original research.

What matters most is not achievement but caring

The article opened with the familiar advice that "when parents praise effort rather than ability, children develop a stronger work ethic and become more motivated."  But it went from there in a surprising direction:

"When people in 50 countries were asked to report their guiding principles in life, the value that mattered most was not achievement, but caring."

Contrary to popular advice, praise of character is more effective than praise of behavior

"Many parents believe it’s important to compliment the behavior, not the child — that way, the child learns to repeat the behavior. Indeed, I know one couple who are careful to say, 'That was such a helpful thing to do,' instead of, 'You’re a helpful person.'"

But that's not what the research shows:

"...A couple of weeks later, when faced with more opportunities to give and share, the children were much more generous after their character had been praised than after their actions had been. Praising their character helped them internalize it as part of their identities. The children learned who they were from observing their own actions: I am a helpful person. This dovetails with new research led by the psychologist Christopher J. Bryan, who finds that for moral behaviors, nouns work better than verbs. To get 3- to 6-year-olds to help with a task, rather than inviting them 'to help,' it was 22 to 29 percent more effective to encourage them to 'be a helper.' Cheating was cut in half when instead of, 'Please don’t cheat,' participants were told, 'Please don’t be a cheater.' When our actions become a reflection of our character, we lean more heavily toward the moral and generous choices. Over time it can become part of us."

I think this is an important insight.  Internalizing our experiences and making them part of our identity is a key element of growing up. 

Note:  "by the time children turned 10, the differences between praising character and praising actions vanished: Both were effective. Tying generosity to character appears to matter most around age 8, when children may be starting to crystallize notions of identity."

I will note that the advice for dealing with bad behavior (as opposed to good behavior) is just the opposite:  to emphasize the behavior, and not the character.  You don't want a kid to internalize the idea that he or she is a bad person!  That was the next key point, the distinction between guilt and shame.

"If we want our children to care about others, we need to teach them to feel guilt rather than shame when they misbehave."

This is a fascinating distinction:  

"When children cause harm, they typically feel one of two moral emotions: shame or guilt. Despite the common belief that these emotions are interchangeable, research led by the psychologist June Price Tangney reveals that they have very different causes and consequences.

"Shame is the feeling that I am a bad person, whereas guilt is the feeling that I have done a bad thing. Shame is a negative judgment about the core self, which is devastating: Shame makes children feel small and worthless, and they respond either by lashing out at the target or escaping the situation altogether. In contrast, guilt is a negative judgment about an action, which can be repaired by good behavior. When children feel guilt, they tend to experience remorse and regret, empathize with the person they have harmed, and aim to make it right."

...

"The most effective response to bad behavior is to express disappointment. According to independent reviews by Professor Eisenberg and David R. Shaffer, parents raise caring children by expressing disappointment and explaining why the behavior was wrong, how it affected others, and how they can rectify the situation. This enables children to develop standards for judging their actions, feelings of empathy and responsibility for others, and a sense of moral identity, which are conducive to becoming a helpful person. The beauty of expressing disappointment is that it communicates disapproval of the bad behavior, coupled with high expectations and the potential for improvement: 'You’re a good person, even if you did a bad thing, and I know you can do better.'"

Children learn generosity not by listening to what their role models say, but by observing what they do.

"In a classic experiment, the psychologist J. Philippe Rushton gave 140 elementary- and middle-school-age children tokens for winning a game, which they could keep entirely or donate some to a child in poverty. They first watched a teacher figure play the game either selfishly or generously, and then preach to them the value of taking, giving or neither. The adult’s influence was significant: Actions spoke louder than words. When the adult behaved selfishly, children followed suit. The words didn’t make much difference — children gave fewer tokens after observing the adult’s selfish actions, regardless of whether the adult verbally advocated selfishness or generosity. When the adult acted generously, students gave the same amount whether generosity was preached or not — they donated 85 percent more than the norm in both cases. When the adult preached selfishness, even after the adult acted generously, the students still gave 49 percent more than the norm. Children learn generosity not by listening to what their role models say, but by observing what they do."

So true.  As I said above, all of this applies to adults too. 
The tactics are different from those used for encouraging achievement.
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In Zukunft wird es weniger Lebensmittelskandale geben! 

Wir werden von ihnen nämlich erst gar nicht erfahren, jedenfalls, wenn sich die EU-Kommission mit einem Gesetzentwurf durchsetzt. Sie plant eine umfassende "Geheimhaltungspflicht" für Lebensmittelkontrollbehörden, die Informationen dann noch seltener als bislang an die Öffentlichkeit weiter geben könnten. Zum Beispiel dann nicht, wenn wenn dies „den Schutz der geschäftlichen Interessen“ von Unternehmen „beeinträchtigen“ würde, so dass das öffentliche Interesse hinten an steht... Am Montag wird das EU-Parlament darüber debattieren. 

Bitte teilt diese Info, damit dieses Gesetz nicht einfach geräuschlos verabschiedet wird! 
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Danke +heise online für meinen-Tag-machen:

> Unter der Überschrift "Upgrade auf Windows 8.1 von Windows Vista oder Windows XP" weist Microsoft darauf hin, wie man eine Upgrade-Installation unter Beibehaltung aller persönlichen Dateien, Einstellungen und Anwendungen von XP auf 8.1 machen kann, nämlich gar nicht.
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The Problem I Have With Modern Creationism
 
Several folks have shared the following +BuzzFeed link, which contains pictures taken by +Matt Stopera of people who attended the recent debate between +Bill Nye of +The Planetary Society and Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis:
 
http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/messages-from-creationists-to-people-who-believe-in-evolutio  
Most of the instances I've seen these shared has mostly been to ridicule the questions. That's easy enough to do, since nearly all of the questions are remarkably simple to answer with just a general understanding of the science and logic (reasoning based on a set of principles). I think it's actually more difficult to answer these questions without resorting to ridicule, and to provide serious explanations. So here I am, attempting to provide 22 answers to the 22 questions/statements from these folks who attended the debate.
__________________
 
1. Bill Nye, are you influencing the minds of children in a positive way? This is a pretty subjective question that depends on your feelings instead of some kind of objective measure. However, if we were to choose a measure that's based on Nye's intentions as he's explained them over the years, we can kind of reach an answer. According to Nye's own website ( http://www.billnye.com/about-bill-nye/biography/ ), his mission in life is "to help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has been doing most of his life." Considering Bill's work ranging from his television shows to his work with organizations like The Planetary Society to his lecturing as a professor at Cornell University, the evidence is pretty strong that Bill Nye has contributed quite a lot to his mission. Is that positive? That depends on whether you feel that scientific literacy and being entertained while learning new things is a positive thing. Most people, including most Christians and people of all types of religions, tend to view that as as positive. Even during the debate Ken Ham spoke positively about lots of Nye's body of work, so it's safe to say the general consensus seems to be a resounding "Yes" for this question.
 
2. Are you scared of a divine creator? This is another subjective question, but it's fair enough in that one of the two sides in this debate rely completely on the existence of a divine creator. I can't speak for Bill Nye, to whom this question was probably directed, but I can answer for myself and at least guess for most others based on commentaries I've seen elsewhere. For myself, quite the contrary I'd be incredibly interested if anyone could ever come up with some actual evidence of a divine creator. Finding something new would be exciting to me! Also, since there are so many different accounts of a divine creation from so many different religions around the world, the possible variations of which divine creation account might be the right one is fascinating! If someone could present proof that the divine being Atum gave birth to Tefnut and Shu, who gave birth to Geb and Nut, who created the four forces that create life... That would be amazing! Perhaps someone might find evidence of the divine force we only know as The Way (Wuji), who gave birth to Unity, who gave birth to Duality, who gave birth to Trinity, who gave birth to all of the creatures of the planet... That would be fantastic! However, I'm pretty sure the person asking the question isn't referring to these types of divine. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the version these other versions of creation are viewed as ridiculous and impossible by the person asking the question. I'm pretty sure that most folks are no more afraid of the concept of the modern Creationist (westerm Christian protestant) divine creator than they are of the concept that Brahma joined with Vishnu and Shiva to create the universe. Perhaps there are people who are genuinely scared of these stories, but I haven't seen that kind of fear in Bill Nye's behavior or from pretty much anyone else who has discussed the topic.
 
3. Is it completely illogical that the Earth was created mature? i.e. trees created with rings... Adam created as an adult... This is an interesting question because it implies that the first things that were created were created as if they went through a seed/birth process but didn't actually grow up and mature on their own. This suggests that everything on the planet was created to look like they came about by some other means than a creator, and done so intentionally. Radiation and light from faraway stars and planets would have been created completely separate from the stars and planets themselves, so it would look like that light had been traveling for hundreds or thousands or millions of years. The simple answer to this question is: if you can construct a logical reason for using such deception and some kind of testable hypothesis to provide evidence supporting such a willfully deceptive process, then the suggestion wouldn't be illogical. However, since no such logical (as in logically consistent) explanation has surfaced at this time, then we have yet to see a logical version of this concept. By all means, get cracking on building that hypothesis so we can test it!
 
4. Does not the second law of thermodynamics disprove evolution? This one is easy: on the contrary, the laws of thermodynamics (including the second) are required for evolution and all life in general to exist. Most of the time, people who ask this question tend to not understand the laws of thermodynamics in general and the second law specifically. Since we're talking about life on Earth, the unspoken assumption of people who ask this question is that the matter and energy and atoms here on Earth are all that have been here and all that will ever be. This isn't only demonstrably mistaken when taking into account the actual matter from outside that finds its way onto the planet regularly, but also by just walking outside during the day and looking into the sky (at least in good weather on a clear day). There's this huge, massive, (nigh) unimaginably powerful source of various forms of energy that's buffeting the entire planet all the time. The Earth only receives a small fraction of of the energy that this central energy source in our local planetary system, and in return out planet gives off some of that energy while converting or absorbing the rest (all following the second law). This is all measurable, and it's measured regularly by many types of scientist. As cool as all that sounds, it's still waaaay more of a simplified version of the actual physical science on the subject that you can find out there from others. Even more exciting is that we're constantly working on better and better technology to measure and observe this constant system of change because it gives us better and better information to make even more precise technology and learn even more about our universe. How cool is that?
 
5. How do you explain a sunset if their [sic] is no God? The short answer can be summed up in one word: Heliocentrism. Basically, this means that the planet spins on an axis while it orbits around a star at the center of the solar system. In our case, the Earth spins on an axis that we know exists and the Earth orbits the Sun. This is why the sunrise and sunset moves each day according to a predictable set of parameters, which means you can know when and where the sun will rise and set tomorrow based on where you are on the planet. Amazingly, we (humans) have been able to do this with a pretty good level of accuracy for nearly 2400 years!
 
6. If the Big Bang Theory is true and taught as science along with evolution, why do the laws of thermodynamics debunk said theories? In short, see my answer to #4 for a basic explanation. Basically, the laws of thermodynamics help us to understand how things work the way they do and inform/explain how concepts like the Big Bang most likely worked. Those laws are part of the math used to measure and record the effects of the Big Bang today, as well as predicting those effects tomorrow and next year and ten years from now and longer. So far the math has been pretty consistent and confirming. So the laws of thermodynamics don't debunk the Big Bang Theory or evolution. Hope that helps!
 
7. What about noetics? What about it? It's a new word for "magic", basically. For those who never saw that word before, it's basically ESP, meditation, seeing the future, and things like that. Noetics consists of what is called pseudoscience, which is presenting a belief or practice as if it were scientific but using no scientific method to test for evidence or provide repeatable conditions for people that don't believe to confirm the results.
 
8. Where do you derive objective meaning in life? Another interesting question! The most interesting thing is the use of the word "objective" here. The question asks about the meaning of life which is a philosophical question, but the emphasis is on objective in the question and the debate was about science. Objectivity in science means a method for measurement or a manner by which to avoid observational bias. So to that end objectivity is reached by having as many other people review and critique scientific work that's done in order to see if the results remain the same. This includes having people who might disagree on what the outcome might be having a go at it. Objectivity in philosophy, however, is going to get you tons of answers. The reason for that is because there's never been one singular "objectivity" that's ever been discovered in philosophy. People much smarter than I am have certainly tried, and other people much smarter than me have also argued that there is no such thing. I'm pretty sure that "objective meaning in life" in this question is actually a stand in for "religious purpose" in general instead of the scientific or vague philosophical question. Since that's asking about religion and not science, the answer is going to be different depending on the religious beliefs of the person who is asked (which isn't very objective in the scientific sense).
 
9. If God did not create everything, how did the first single celled organism originate? By Chance? So far nobody knows exactly how the first and simplest organisms came into being. But based on what we know of how things develop so far, "by chance" is a more reliable explanation for the first single celled organism as saying "God did it", due to one major difference: we have actual evidence for what things were like when the first organisms existed, but we currently have no evidence for any God or other divine being (faith isn't evidence by its own definition). However, if someone can come up with evidence not only of a divine being (maybe Brahma?), but of that divine being existing in the primorial environment that gave us the first simple organisms on the planet, then we've got the beginnings of a workable theory that said divine being (Popol Vuh?) created the first organism on the planet.
 
10. I believe the Big Bang Theory... God said it and BANG it happened! That's very clever use of words! Now if you can define in a scientific manner how "God said it" worked that provides a testable, repeatable hypothesis from which we can build working physical science on, then you may be on to something! By the way, "God did it because this book said he did it and God wrote this book" isn't testable or verifiable in any way. It's servicable as a religious belief that involves faith, which is the belief in something without evidence, but science requires evidence. Let me know when you've got that theory ironed out!
 
11. Why do evolutionists/secularists/humanists/non God believing people reject God but embrace the concept of intelligent design from aliens or other extra terestrial [sic] sources? This question is less than interesting because it's basically a rewording of the old "why do you people <insert stereotype here>?" type of question. The reality is that most humans don't believe that aliens or anything else created life. However, from a practical point of view based on evidence there is exactly as much evidence of an extraterrestrial creating life on Earth as there is of a divine being creating life on Earth. That amount of evidence being zero.
 
12. There is no inbetween... the only one found has been Lucy and there are only a few pieces of the hundreds neccessary [sic] for an "official proof". This is not an accurate claim, but more to the point this is an example of what's called arguing from the gaps. Say we have a point A and a point Z. If we discover a point N between point A and Z, arguing from the gaps would demand that N is insufficient as evidence for a connection between A and Z because it's only one point, and now there exist two gaps (the one between A and N as well as the one between N and Z)! Add another point, say point E, and arguing from the gaps would expand to claiming that there's still no evidence and now there are more gaps! The funny thing is that the "hundreds necessary" is pretty close to the number of hard anthropological pieces of evidence we've found supporting just the recent evolutionary process of mankind alone. If we include the number of pieces of evidence for all life, the number is in the hundreds of thousands. It's interesting that the person making the statement chose such a small number as the goal for "official proof" when we passed that number long, long ago.
 
13. Does metamorphosis help support evolution? This seems like a leading question to me, implying that there is some kind of link between metamorphosis (like a larvae to a butterfly) and evolution. I would answer that it's mutation that supports evolution, since metamorphosis is a process of maturation. It would be like asking "does puberty help support evolution?" or "does gestation help support evolution?" Actually, the development of zygote to fetus to infant does provide a fascinating insight for evolutionary science. Here's an example: http://www.exploratorium.edu/exhibits/embryo/embryoflash.html Click that link and see if you can guess which embryo is a human one. Bonus challenge: explain why the human embryo begins with both female and male sex identifiers, and one can only approximate what physical sex a baby will be after months of gestation. Examining why so many different animals follow so similar early development designs is pretty difficult to reconcile with differing "kinds" as Ken Ham likes to use in place of the word species. Just saying.
 
14. If evolution is a Theory (like creationism or the Bible) why then is Evolution taught as fact. Actually, evolutionary science is taught as a process. However, the use of the term "theory" here is probably tripping up the questioner. You see, the word "theory" in scientific terms isn't the same as someone who just thinks up an idea and throws it out there. This video by PBS ( https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/11/2/e_s_1.html ) provides some detail and example on what a scientific theory entails versus how we use the word in everyday regular conversation. In short, a scientific theory (like evolution) requires that it meets several specific criteria regarding predictions that can be proven or disproven, is supported by multiple points of evidence instead of one observation, is consistent with itself and with other scientific theories that have met similar standards (this goes back to the thermodynamics topic), and is succinct (excluding unnecessary steps). Under the criteria that evolution meets to be considered a scientific theory, creationism fails on pretty much every point to be considered a theory. It's not even a workable hypothesis.
 
15. Because science by definition is a "theory" -- not testable, observable, nor repeatable" why do you object to creationism or intelligent design being taught in school? I'm not talking about the punctuation or grammar here, but everything about the sentence that ends with a question mark is wrong or makes no sense whatsoever. Science, by definition, means that something is testable, observable, repeatable, and from which we can make predictions. Evolutionary science involves the study of things which are testable, observable, repeatable, and from which we can make predictions. Creationism is none of those things, and intelligent design is just a two word way in which to say creationism. The point of science classes in school is to teach people science, so teaching things that are not science in a science class seems to work against the goal of teaching science.
 
16. What mechanism has science discovered that evidences an increase of genetic information seen in any genetic mutation or evolutionary process? This question is mind blowing, because I'm wondering if the person meant to answer their own question with their question. The answer is easy: Mutation. We have discovered mutations in human and other animal population that increase the diversity of information, which in effect is an increase in that information. This is why we know definitively that two human beings are not sufficient genetically to populate the entire planet on their own, and that diversity must be introduced in order to sustain a population. In relevant recent news, we found out that we humans contain a (statistically) significant amount of neandertal DNA, but not everyone has the same type of DNA traces of neandertal and some humans don't have any trace. The information this provides is confirmation of hypotheses that evolutionary biologists and anthropologists have made regarding how human beings spread out to different parts of the world and how we interacted with other species (in this case, neandertals). But the short answer is within your question: mutation.
 
17. What purpose do you think you are here for if you do not believe in salvation? I won't speak for others, but my purpose is to learn new things and meet new people and in the process pass on what I can in the most socially positive manner possible. Lots of other people, including people who also believe in "salvation" (by which I'm assuming you mean "are Christian"), believe similarly to what I do. I'd counter with this: why is that such a moral problem for you?
 
18. Why have we found only 1 "Lucy", when we have found more than 1 of everything else? Good news! We've found way more than one "Lucy" so far, if by "Lucy" you mean Australopithecus specimens! In fact, in just 2011 we found a new specimen of the same type as "Lucy". What's even cooler is that these different specimens have all been found between 1974 and today, meaning ongoing work looking for more information is actually giving us more information! Pretty good to know that there's more than one "Lucy", isn't it?
 
19. Can you believe in "the big bang" without "faith"? I'm pretty sure I can't explain all of the physics and mathematical concepts in every last granular detail as well as some others, but the whole point of trusting scientific theories is specifically because they've been subjected to rigorous testing over a period of time. In fact, the concept of the Big Bang has undergone some significant adjustments as scientists have repeatedly tested and retested it, as well as observed modern data based on what the theory predicts. That's what's so great about science: if the data doesn't match the theory, then either the theory is altered to form new predictions or another theory is tested. It's also why creationism fails at being a science: it predicts nothing, there's nothing that can be tested (no prediction means nothing to test), and the only "science" it practices is looking for ways to explain a conclusion. With science, a conclusion is based on results; in creationism, results are based on the conclusion (which is itself based on faith).
 
20. How can you look at the world and not believe someone created/thought of it? It's amazing!!! I agree, the world is pretty darned amazing! It's so amazing I always want to learn more about it. I want to know as much as can possibly be known, not only about how things are right now but how we got to this point and where we might be going in the future. The excitement I feel when I start thinking about that stuff really is awesome. The thing is, it's not about whether or not I believe that there's a divine being or not. There's zero evidence of a divine being and nothing about what we know of the universe requires a divine being, but I actually have no problem at all with someone having faith in a divine being (or state of being). But unless you can show how that faith has anything to do with studying science I'm not at all convinced that it should be taught as if it's a science. If you have evidence then by all means share it. But until that time you may as well be asking why I don't believe sea anemones should play in a mariachi band at Venice Beach. (the answer is I've never seen a sea anemone play guitar in a sombrero)
 
21. Relating to the big bang theory.... Where did the exploding star come from? Since I've never heard that version of the Big Bang theory, I'll have to go with "I don't know." However, if I were to hypothesize what award winning and Nobel prize winning scientists in physics and other specialties would say, I can predict with almost 99.99999% assurance that just about every one of them would say "I don't know" as well. Actually, some of them probably wouldn't say it in English, but the meaning would be the same. You see, not only don't we know what was there before the Big Bang, we're still not 100% sure of everything that was present at the precise moment of the Big Bang. Currently, science has managed to get pretty close to that moment but we still can't quite get to the point of the actual bang. I bet you're wondering how we're able to see things back in time. Have you ever heard of the Large Hadron Collider? Maybe you've heard it called the LHC? No, it's not a time machine. We're able to look at what is called the "background radiation" of the universe, and we're able to look at light from distant stars and galaxies and planets and stuff that began making its way to us millions and millions of years ago. On top of that we also are able to look at really small things that are here on the planet right now. On top of that, we're able to predict that certain Very Big Things happen when we make elements of different types smash together really fast (like how we made nuclear bombs and cup'o'noodles). Well, based on these things we can observe now we've been able to make some guesses as to what the moments just after the Big Bang looked like. The LHC is one of the places where we can actually test these guesses, which helps to strengthen those guesses into workable hypotheses and even scientific theories! So far we're finding some very neat things about what the conditions were like, and it's helping us to better understand what the universe is like today and what the universe will look like far into the future. Isn't that great?
 
22. If we came from monkeys then why are there still monkeys? Very clever! The simple answer is that "common ancestor" isn't the same as "we came from". According to evolutionary science human beings and monkeys and apes and other primates share a common ancestor from which we diverged millions of years ago. Some primates diverged much further back than other primates, which is why there are some types of primates that share more similarities to humans than others. Respectively: why do Christians no longer allow for slaves or require their young men to not cut the hair that grows in front of their ears (Pe'ot) or require the brother in law of a widow to marry the widow? Is it perhaps because the beliefs have evolved?
 
__________________
 
I watched the debate, and all I saw was Bill Nye being cordial with someone who would make contradictory statements in a single argument and not bat an eye, then follow up with a challenge that fails to recognize universally accepted definitions of words and terms and still managing to not string them together in a way that was consistent. Everything about the argument that Ken Ham made requires us to assume that the universe was made whole 6000 years ago, but was intentionally made to look as if the universe was an order of magnitude older than that and any search for evidence would come up with intentionally planted falsehoods.
 
I'm rather shocked that any Christian, let alone any person who holds any religious faith that is different than Ham's very narrow interpretation, can even take this man any more seriously than society takes folks like Fred Phelps and his family. I've known plenty of people of faith who believe in a God that wouldn't lie to them and who expects them to treat every other person on the planet with empathy and sympathy and love. Ken Ham seems to believe in a God who has no problem with supplying lies and expects his followers to treat every other person as a target to be either assimilated or dominated.
 
Even as appalling as I find Ham's religious views, I still don't care whether he holds those views or not. I simply don't see why his religious views have any place in the realm of scientific education at all. As far as whether his views are relevant to religious education, I strongly feel that it's a decision that others in his religion can choose to accept or deny. Given that, though, I can't imagine why most people who tend to predicate their faith and beliefs on inclusion and acceptance would find his message of exclusion and suppression at all palatable.
 
Ken Ham (and at least a few of the messages in the BuzzFeed link) seems to be a moral nihilist and prescribes dominionist ideology (conveniently administered by himself) as the solution. Doesn't that book he constantly refers to say something about people like that near the end (having read it, I'm pretty sure it does)?
 
Image credit goes to Monty Python (via http://youtu.be/buqtdpuZxvk ) and +Craig Froehle 
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Manuel Strehl

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Note the "confusables" section here: http://codepoints.net/U+0041 Unicode has basically already a list together of usual suspects in this area. For the OCR part, there's Shapecatcher (http://Shapecatcher.com) that tries to do matching your input strokes, and it's obviously highly non-trivial.
[Image linked from http://babelstone.blogspot.no/2013/10/whats-new-in-unicode-70.html] I wonder if somebody could do OCR matching of all Unicode 6.x characters against each other, with a threshold value to find characters tha...
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Oh sweet mother of .... WOW! THANKS A MILLION!

VERY useful for my purposes!
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