Comment Archives: stories: Life + Outdoors: Field Notes

Re: “Non-random Random Primes

Hi Maybe, these were from first billion primes (i.e. two billion pairs). Apparently the bias effect tapers off as you increase the dataset, all the pairs trending to 6.25%. Cue spooky music...

Posted by barryevans on 07/16/2016 at 7:25 AM

Re: “Non-random Random Primes

Barry: I assume these percentages were derived from analyzing the first X number of prime numbers as a sample. Because the series of prime numbers is actually infinite, what guarantees that these percentages don't shift around significantly after adding another million prime numbers or so. For example, couldn't the percentage of "1-9"s say surpass that of "7-3"s?

Posted by Maybe,maybe not on 07/15/2016 at 4:35 PM

Re: “E-Cigarettes vs. Tobacco

I got the 7 seconds from the World Health Organization — looks like (averaging several sites) it's more like 30 seconds (not minutes) for nicotine vapor to affect brain. Thanks for catch!

Posted by barryevans on 06/03/2016 at 10:00 PM

Re: “E-Cigarettes vs. Tobacco

This youtube video explains the real reason for the CA Dept. of Public Health's attack on e- cigs. Short version: follow the money:…

Also, Dr. Michael Siegel is an anti- smoking zealot who supports e cig use as a method of harm reduction. He has a blog:

Posted by Fred Mangels on 06/02/2016 at 7:17 AM

Re: “E-Cigarettes vs. Tobacco

Mr. Evans, a 25 second Google search, and 5 minutes of reading will provide you with the information conspicuously absent from your attention grabbing opening sentence. Nicotine delivered in vapor takes minutes, not seconds to be detected in the blood.

I do appreciate the relatively even-handed nature of the rest of the article - shame the lead was inaccurate.

Posted by mstave on 06/02/2016 at 6:54 AM

Re: “The Good Old Days?

I should used "life expectancy" when talking about a baby born today (77 years)

Posted by barryevans on 05/25/2016 at 8:12 PM

Re: “Cash, Plastic or Bitcoin?

Barry: Before you pronounce bitcoin as secure, you might want to Google "bitcoin theft."

Like any predator/prey interaction it's always a a pendulum swing. And one should consider what legal mechanisms are available to help the victim in case of loss.


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Posted by Bronco on 05/09/2016 at 6:20 PM

Re: “A Little Lower Than the Angels?

"Charles Darwin showed how the relentless thrust of evolution further dilutes our previously self-glorified status."

"...according to some contemporary physicists who propose that even our universe isn't special! "Universe" used to be interpreted literally: "that which is combined into one." Now speculation runs rife with talk of "multiverses." Whatever process created our universe..."

Darwin did not know about the digital code of DNA in the 1800s and the multiverse is untestable. It's all part of our final exam. We can believe what we WANT to believe, and what we WANT to believe tells God who we are.

Posted by Robert Lockett on 05/09/2016 at 5:47 AM

Re: “Cash, Plastic or Bitcoin?


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Posted by Erik Aronesty on 05/05/2016 at 9:31 AM

Re: “General Relativity, 100 Years On

Just saw this myself... good questions all of them. Do you think they can be answered apart from our assumptions concerning the meaning and purpose of the universe and of life? How do we extricate ourselves and answer them objectively?

Posted by Robert Lockett on 04/16/2016 at 8:44 PM

Re: “Bayes, Mammograms and False Positives

On thing to add... given that there are credible historical grounds to believe in the resurrection of Jesus, and that there are credible scientific grounds to believe that the universe came into being, each only once in this course of natural history, we can then use Bayes' theorem not as a proof, but as useful ground in terms of probability for believing -not that each will happen over and over, but that each can happen once more (a total of twice), ergo a collective resurrection and a new heaven and new earth. But it is important to notice that in the prophetic regime, the second nature is not like the present, but seems to be a more real nature, not lacking the added dimension/s and permanence of this nature. It almost gives the picture that this present nature is only the precursor to the real, the prototype, or the evolutionary ancestor of what (in one sense) is still being fashioned.

Posted by Robert Lockett on 04/16/2016 at 9:20 AM

Re: “Bayes, Mammograms and False Positives

Assigning probability to the existence of God or the miraculous is a category error as C.S. Lewis explained very well. If, for example we try to contemplate the probability of the resurrection, we will find that it falls into a different category like that of the history of the earth. The whole history of the earth is very improbable and by its nature it only happens once. Lewis masterfully shows that in the same way, the resurrection is one of those 'one-off' events that cannot be subject to the kind of probability that things within the ordinary cause and effect relationship of the total system reside.

We must not let our habits of thought blind us to the obvious.…

Posted by Robert Lockett on 04/16/2016 at 7:57 AM

Re: “Gravity Waves: Confirming a Metaphor

Barry, I owe you a debt of gratitude for helping me focus my thoughts over the last year so that they can be made intelligible. You have motivated me to work harder, and smarter. That's what good teachers do whether they intend it or not. In your case, I wish not to judge which side of that equation you would fall. You are like a photon, a tomato seed, and resistant to being pinned.…

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Posted by Robert Lockett on 03/16/2016 at 6:17 AM

Re: “Myth of the Invisible Ships

Excellent point! True, passive acts are normally ignored and not something "invisible" under the Webster's dictionary's definition, or are they? "Invisible" means: "(1a) incapable of nature of being seen." Any decent attorney could spin that definition towards their own argument with ease. Although that doesn't prove that the ships were invisible, it also doesn't prove that the ships were simply ignored, as you state. It may be helpful to re-examine your "prosaic" conclusion as the exact stance you attempted to refute. In all honesty though, keep up the good work Barry!

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Posted by Jeff_La on 03/15/2016 at 10:28 AM

Re: “Gravity Waves: Confirming a Metaphor

As I was editing tonight something struck me about these gravity waves.

Naturally, there are challenges when translating ancient Hebrew to English as in certain cases the Hebrew terms often carry deeper meaning than any particular corresponding English term allows.

I noticed that Genesis 1:2 may be describing space because it describes the earliest account of creation as 'formless and void". In this particular case, other translations render it, "formless and empty". I am cool with that, same difference, simple enough...

But then it says, "and the spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the deep". And because of those translating challenges others render it, "over the face of the waters". The difference is greater here, and if it were to turn out that the Hebrew terms imply depth, waves, and surface, then...

How did the Hebrews know that space time can have waves? Furthermore, and in the peculiar context of space time, 'surface' as well? If that were to turn out to be the case, then how could they know that 3000 years ago when we confirmed it just 6 months ago on Sept 14?

Posted by Robert Lockett on 03/11/2016 at 10:20 PM

Re: “The Martellus Map

Correction: I should have said that Martellus was ONE of the first to use Ptolemy's latitudes and longitudes. (His 1491 map probably was the first to use Ptolemy's “second projection” with curved parallels and meridians.)

Posted by barryevans on 03/10/2016 at 7:35 PM

Re: “General Relativity, 100 Years On

"What are those questions please?"--just saw this, Rob. Off the top of my head:
Origin of universe
Mismatch between GR and QM
Failure to detect signs of ET life (Fermi paradox)
Role of consciousness
Why something, not nothing

Posted by barryevans on 03/10/2016 at 8:43 AM

Re: “General Relativity, 100 Years On

Fun to watch boys at Cambridge dress up and try and address those questions. There are some familiar faces in the audience...…

Posted by Robert Lockett on 03/06/2016 at 9:46 PM

Re: “Thinking Outside the Galaxy

What I find most interesting about Seti is that besides the signs you mention here, they also search for signals that alien civilizations might send in the same way we do. So they search for patterns that would not be natural. They search for an information rich signal such as a series of prime numbers.

What is fascinating about that is that if information rich signals equal reliable indication of intelligence, then what do we make of the information in the DNA molecule? Why is it that that does not warrant excitement?

I like this explanation:…

Posted by Robert Lockett on 03/05/2016 at 6:47 PM

Re: “Theory of Anything

These difficulties are glaring. I respect you Barry for acknowledging them head on.

I have been listening (again) to a talk by John Lennox (professor of mathematics at Oxford for those who do not know) and studying it very closely. In part 2 He makes a point that eluded me at first and still may. He makes mention of the fact that in the biblical narrative God creates by serially injecting information into the system (universe) which was initially created formless and void. "And God said... (fill in the blank).

Lennox notes something he considers very interesting. On the 7th Day God rests from his work in creation. "So what", we may ask?

Well, Lennox points out that it immediately tells him that we are not going to get the full story by studying what's going on at the moment. And he says that has enormous theological implications but I do not understand why.

It reminds me of what you said here: "This was Big News to cosmologists and physicists, who would love to understand how the conditions we now observe came about."

So far as I can tell, Lennox is trying to show the philosophical sophistication of Genesis, that it contains the understanding and distinctions that give absolute limitations to what CAN be known scientifically. But maybe you can help me, I think Lennox is getting at more than that but I honestly do not perceive it.

Now I agree that the anthropic principle is not science. It tells us nothing about the mechanisms involved (the material causal chains) in the construction of this odd universe. My point is to remember that neither would any descriptor that essentially explains this in material terms.

So many of the questions we have are not scientific. And they can't be. And although I do not see the anthropic principle as science, I would disagree with you that it stops science and is defeating in any way. That is unless the point of science for many (perhaps yourself) is to find purely material explanations so as to under-gird a philosophy.

What I am saying is that the anthropic principle may be a defeater for a persons philosophy (a materialist for instance), but not science itself. But since when is the pursuit of science a search to affirm ones worldview? That would be begging the question, NOT science.

We both know the answer... since always. And that is what I find so fascinating at the juncture. Theists and design advocates are having a marvelous time because the pattern so screams of design at this point they have absolutely nothing to fear in terms of discovery. In fact, if the universe IS designed, and biological life is nothing more than insanely high tech machinery, then we can make predictions based on that to guide research; ie. that junk DNA is not junk at all. We can learn more by NOT assuming a 'natural' (what is going on at the moment) cause.

Link to Lennox Remarks. 26 total minutes:…

Posted by Robert Lockett on 03/05/2016 at 1:08 PM

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