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Duane Benson
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Significance
Duane Benson   3/27/2014 2:53:27 PM
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If we are, in fact, alone in this universe, there are two ways to look at it. First, the way you concluded: "it would behoove us to take good care of each other and of the planet we call home"

From another perspective, in all of those trillions of stars out there, if we are alone, then we are such a small component of the whole as to be completely insignificant. We are a tiny spec of dust to brushed off and never thought of again.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Significance
Max The Magnificent   3/27/2014 3:00:27 PM
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@Duane: We are a tiny spec of dust to brushed off and never thought of again.

If you are trying to cheer me up, you aren't succeeding :-)

It's amazing to think that we are all formed from star dust.

My mother always used to tell me I was "special" (i took it as a complement :-)

Duane Benson
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Re: Significance
Duane Benson   3/27/2014 6:37:15 PM
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Don't panic

betajet
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Ja, wir hab' kein Bananen
betajet   3/27/2014 7:49:47 PM
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I don't know the source for this one: "Either we're alone in the universe or we aren't. Either possibility is mind-boggling."

Personally, I like the theory that we're a bunch of tiny Whos or mere 3-dimensional creatures who are incapable of understanding what's really going on.  We may also have a ridiculously fast sense of time, and the Elder Gods or whatever work on such a long time scale that nobody around here can tell that things like the speed of light are very slowly changing.

I also like the theory suggested by Anne Elk at Daily Kos: "Watching the dominant species self-destruct on planet after planet may be God's version of Breaking Bad."

[Subject line is obscure reference to Billy Wilder's One Two Three (1961).]

antedeluvian
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30,000 lbs of Bananas
antedeluvian   3/28/2014 8:59:25 AM
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The topic reminded of the Harry Chapin song (which I only discovered recently) "30,000 lbs of bananas". Seems there is quite a story behind the ending.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Significance
Max The Magnificent   3/28/2014 10:00:32 AM
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@Duane: Don't panic

I want a towel that says that!

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Ja, wir hab' kein Bananen
Max The Magnificent   3/28/2014 10:02:01 AM
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@betajet: I don't know the source for this one: "Either we're alone in the universe or we aren't. Either possibility is mind-boggling."

I've heard that one -- I don't know who said it either -- but it is mind-boggling.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Ja, wir hab' kein Bananen
Max The Magnificent   3/28/2014 10:03:19 AM
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@betajet: ...nobody around here can tell that things like the speed of light are very slowly changing.

Interestingly enough, there are suggestions that some of what we believe to be fundamental constants may be changing over time.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: 30,000 lbs of Bananas
Max The Magnificent   3/28/2014 10:09:07 AM
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@antedeluvian: The topic reminded of the Harry Chapin song "30,000 Bananas"...

You never fail to surprise me (I'm not saying whether I mean that in a good way, or not... LOL)

betajet
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Re: Ja, wir hab' kein Bananen
betajet   3/28/2014 2:18:46 PM
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There's a great book by physicist João Magueijo called Faster than the Speed of Light (2003), which proposes that considering C to be a slowly-changing variable rather than a constant solves a number of cosmological questions.  The book also tells you what a "cosmological question" is.  Faster is written for non-physicists and includes how the author got into theoretical physics in the first place, what he was doing when he got his flash of insight, and is a marvelous exposé of modern academia -- especially the sciences.  Those parts are hilarious and depressing at the same time.

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As data rates begin to move beyond 25 Gbps channels, new problems arise. Getting to 50 Gbps channels might not be possible with the traditional NRZ (2-level) signaling. PAM4 lets data rates double with only a small increase in channel bandwidth by sending two bits per symbol. But, it brings new measurement and analysis problems. Signal integrity sage Ransom Stephens will explain how PAM4 differs from NRZ and what to expect in design, measurement, and signal analysis.

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