Discussion (33)¬

  1. Laripu says:

    In order to take the proper moral position when reading this cartoon, you have to acknowledge your own lack of moral rectitude. That’s actually a Christian position, isn’t it? That you yourself are a sinner?

    No problem for me. My position is that I and everyone else are future insect poop. So that even in the medium term, moral rectitude doesn’t matter. It only matters in the short term, in your own lifespan and possibly one more.

    Now go and sin no more. 😀

  2. Deimos says:

    “Give the dead a break”.
    I suppose I can agree with Mo for once.
    Except for Thatcher, still hate her.

  3. Oozoid says:

    Deimos, I’ve been checking the numbers. In 1979, Thatcher got 44% of the vote. In 2019, Johnson got 44% of the vote. In 2021, Sturgeon got 44% of the vote. But only one is deemed a ‘legitimate’ leader by the moral rectums who regard their own opinion as more worthy than that of those who don’t agree with them.

    (BTW, Author, a wee ‘oopsie’ in panel 2.)

  4. Author says:

    Well spotted, Oozoid. Thanks.

  5. M27Holts says:

    All politicians are of the same ilk…Thatcher with a first in chemistry must have been the most intelligent PM surely?

  6. Jesus F Iscariot says:

    Donald Trump would make a good addition to the trinity—-> Jezuz and Mo and Donald. Belonging is more important than truth. My faith is better than your facts.

  7. MarquisDeMoo says:

    Wow, Religion and politics! I still think Thatcher was what the country needed. Cometh the hour cometh the ….

  8. Martin Benson says:

    “Except for Thatcher, still hate her.”

    I’m pretty well in agreement with you. However, she and her cabinet ministers actually had integrity. I didn’t agree with what they were doing, but they truly believed that they were doing what was right for the country, and individually they would resign if they felt that they could not support something they didn’t agree with, or if they were caught in wrongdoing.

    This lot have no integrity; they are doing purely what is best for their rich mates, and stuff the country; and nothing, no matter how corrupt it is, seems to be a matter for resignation. They are appalling.

    This current government is the worst in my living (67) memory. I would rather have Thatcher back.

  9. Smee says:

    People who are absolutely convinced of their own moral rectitude, are probably one of the biggest threats out there!

  10. Donn says:

    Here in the NW US we have identified one of those generally admired historical figures who had a questionable moment, Thomas Henry Huxley. Great figure in biology, maybe particularly at the advent of the theory of evolution, but wrote some unfortunate things about races and mental ability that didn’t age well. A local college of environment science incautiously took his name, and now it appears they will have to change names.

    Huxley on agnosticism:

    When I reached intellectual maturity and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; Christian or a freethinker; I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until, at last, I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure they had attained a certain “gnosis”–had, more or less successfully, solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble. And, with Hume and Kant on my side, I could not think myself presumptuous in holding fast by that opinion … So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of “agnostic”. It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the “gnostic” of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant. … To my great satisfaction the term took.

  11. Son of Glenner says:

    Donn: I have read through your T H Huxley quotation several times and cannot see anything in it that does not age well. In fact, I would say it is as relevant today as it was when he first wrote it.

  12. Donn says:

    That isn’t what he’s going to be hung for. How does this sound? From “Emancipation – Black and White”
    It may be quite true that some negroes are better than some white men; but no rational man, cognisant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the average white man. And, if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites. The highest places in the hierarchy of civilisation will assuredly not be within the reach of our dusky cousins, though it is by no means necessary that they should be restricted to the lowest.

    In this piece he argues against slavery, and incidentally for equality for women, but obviously he lacks intellectual purity. I guess not so much a question of “sensibilities” as portrayed in the cartoon, as simply an apparent error of fact (or to be perhaps excessively cautious, fact as we know it today.)

  13. Son of Glenner says:

    Donn: How surprised T H H would have been if he had witnessed the presidencies of Obama and Trump!

    (He would no doubt have remarked that Obama was only 50% black!)

  14. Henry ford says:

    They are inside a pub. Should I report them and the landlord? Who is the landlord btw?

  15. M27Holts says:

    The bar-maiden is a comely wench? Or are they like babs the taxi driver from “a league of gentlemen” who knows?

  16. Len says:

    Absolutely excellent, Author.

  17. Troubleshooter says:

    Claiming any value as “absolute” in a reality where even the speed of light is relative strikes me as an invitation to disaster … and of course, this is where Jesus & Mo come in.

  18. Alex says:

    Troubleshooter: Bit of a tangent, but the whole point about Special (and General) Relativity is that the speed of light *isn’t* relative – it’s the same in all inertial frames of reference; General Relativity extends that to rotating frames of reference.

  19. Troubleshooter says:

    Per Google:

    Light travels at approximately 300,000 kilometers per second in a vacuum, which has a refractive index of 1.0, but it slows down to 225,000 kilometers per second in water (refractive index of 1.3; see Figure 2) and 200,000 kilometers per second in glass (refractive index of 1.5).

    I stand by my previous comment.

  20. Donn says:

    Relative: considered in relation or in proportion to something else.

  21. jb says:

    According to the theory of relativity the speed of light in a vacuum is indeed absolute; it will be measured to have the same value in all reference frames (i.e., it doesn’t matter if you are moving towards or away from the light source, accelerating or decelerating, in a gravitational field, or whatever).

    The speed of light in a medium will be slower, and an interesting question that I’ve never seen raised is whether light passing through a medium retains the characteristic of having the same speed for all observers. I suspect it does not. What slows light down in a medium is absorption and reemission by the atoms of the medium, and since the medium singles out a special frame of reference — something that does not exist in a vacuum — all bets may be off.

  22. Donn says:

    This seems like a case of talking about two different things – the speed that light “propagates” through water, and the speed of light when it’s allowed to travel uninterrupted between two points. If I construct a giant maze and show that a photon takes a long time to come out the other end, can I measure the diameter of the maze and declare that light isn’t so fast after all? Where the light travels between two points inside the maze, it’s traveling at what we call the speed of light. If propagation through a medium involves a lot of events beyond just light traveling through space, then that too is the speed of light in a sense – but not in the sense we’re talking about when we say the speed of light is absolute.

  23. Laripu says:

    Even a vacuum has transient virtual particles. I imagine their existence is low probability, but even so, for long enough distances, there must be a non-zero probability that light would interact with one or some.

    Therefore, in a “real” vacuum (as opposed to a theoretical vacuum), light may be slowed slighty, if moving over long enough distances. See:

    My question: on average, what is the minimum distance light must travel in order that the time it takes to traverse that distance is reduced by a Planck time (compared to the time over a theoretical empty vacuum)? That should be a function of the average number of virtual particles that pop into existence.

    My next question: does that previous question even make sense to ask?

  24. Donn says:

    This seems like the same semantic issue, just with “virtual particles” making it sound more quantum physical. If we’re interested in the speed of light as a phenomenon unto itself, then the only interesting sequence of events is the departure and arrival of a photon on a straight and uninterrupted path between two points.

    Anything else, we’re talking about another sense of “speed of light”, one that would surely be interesting for astronomers and others whose calculations depend on elapsed time between distant points – but not in terms of the speed of light as a phenomenon that’s directly related to modern physics. I suspect pop science articles sort of relish this kind of confusion.

  25. Laripu says:

    First of all, in my previous post, I should have said “increased” rather than “reduced”. Sorry about that.

    Donn, quoting you “the departure and arrival of a photon on a straight and uninterrupted path between two points.”

    I’m not a physicist, but if I understand correctly then the circumstance you described doesn’t exist except theoretically. If virtual particles do pop in and out and have consequences, then the theoretical ‘speed of light’ is just a good approximation over short enough distances where the virtual particles are few enough that their effect is too small to measure.

    It’s the effect in interested in, and also, what constitutes “too small to measure”?

    I should phrase my question more generally and in probabilistic terms: What distance D does light have to travel so that the probability is P that it will take longer by N number of Planck times? (Than it would take in theoretically perfectly empty space.)

    That’s more a question about the nature of virtual particles than it is about light. And obviously if N=1 and P is very low, then that certainly constitutes too small to measure. (With present tech, even large values of N and P make it too small to measure.) Another question: are the possible values of P discrete?

    I think that’s a valid physics question. But the second part of my previous post was: “Does that previous question even make sense to ask?” I think that should also be asked because I’m no physicist. I’m just a dumb math-flavored software engineer.

  26. jb says:

    General Relativity per se is not a quantum theory, and in its pure form the speed of light is indeed an absolute absolute. Once you mix in Quantum Mechanics — in particular Quantum Electrodynamics, which calls up those virtual particles — the question becomes less clear.

  27. M27Holts says:

    I’m no physicist either. But I do know that my gigantic wafer thin telly is a artifact designed, developed and tested using the standard model and thus proves it’s usefullness. Seeing the soccer in super HD is believing in science….QED

  28. postdoggerel says:

    Late at night, the supermarket gnomes emerge and mess up one wheel on every cart. They did that to my vacuum cleaner, demonstrating that a vacuum is unstable.

  29. Laripu says:

    Everyone’s a comedian… So did you hear the I’ve about paper? It’s tearable.

  30. Laripu says:

    That should have said:
    So did you hear the one about paper? It’s tearable.

    Damn autocorrect.

  31. Son of Glenner says:

    Did you hear the story about the peacock?

    It’s a lovely tale!

  32. Rrr says:

    I just can’t get over how easily some of you ‘tellectuals here can comb-ine a Thatcher and a man with hay wrapped all around the top of his head, in one sentence. Well, not as in one and the same sentence, but at least in the same post. Or on the same page. Or the same Internet. (I hope.) Same hairspray certainly.

    Who will invent Occam’s trimmer?

  33. Rrr says:

    M27: By that standard, if none other, Dr Merkel must be even better. Except as Bundeskanzler — which topples that particular apple cart comparison, of course.

    Anyhow, I confess I like her more now, personally. Must be the chemistry?


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