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Hello. When you create a new page, could you use complete sentences and highlight the title word or title phrase at its first appearance? Thanks. Michael Hardy 00:12 24 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Greetings! I hope you like the place and decide to stay. If you have questions or doubts of any sort, do not hesitate to post them on the Village Pump, somebody will respond ASAP. Other helpful pages include:

Have fun! --Jiang 00:29 27 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Spam? Huh? See my reply on the village pump. -- Wapcaplet 16:11, 8 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Wapcaplet, spamming? Perish the thought! -Smack 01:52, 9 Aug 2003 (UTC)

What is the recommended approach/remedy when somebody sends you "talk"/e-mail about their great T-shirts they have fore sale? Spam within this system is even more annoying (if possible) than spam to my regular e-mail address. I assume there must be a process for protesting against the activity of somebody who sends such junk. Patrick0Moran 06:46, 8 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Has this ever actually happened? Your user talk: page doesn't show anything of the sort. Spam depends on high volume. A single message targeted at a single person is vanishingly unlikely to get any response. It's just so much easier to send real email in bulk. -Smack 06:50, 8 Aug 2003 (UTC)
According to my talk page, Patrick0Moran apparently believes I am the source of this spam he refers to. I have not, nor will I ever, sent spam, either in email or talk form, to anyone, least of all anyone on Wikipedia, and least of all about T-shirts which I don't even possess. Could you please show us where this has occurred, Patrick? I'm interested to know who is impersonating me. -- Wapcaplet 16:11, 8 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I assume that
== Wikipedia T-Shirts ==

I've made some Wikipedia T-shirt designs. Check out my meta user page for designs which you are free to use for any purpose you like.

is what he is talking about... If you usually remember to sign your posts, and often post on talk: pages, there would be a link to an "advertisment" posted on many talk pages. I'm not sure about the e-mail part, watchlists, where you get an e-mail if the page changes, haven't been implemented, have they? (In writing this, I just noticed a quote from myself in your user page history - apparently I'm famous already...) Ксип Cyp 17:53, 8 Aug 2003 (UTC)
A search of the user talk: namespace for 't-shirt' revealed no spam. On the other hand, it also did not detect the table that Cyp just posted, so I don't know if it's meaningful at all. -Smack 01:57, 9 Aug 2003 (UTC)
That's because the search is currently running off a static copy of the database, so it won't show anthing that was added in the last couple of days. Angela 02:00, 9 Aug 2003 (UTC)
What I posted was from User:Wapcaplet, not from the User talk namespace. Ксип Cyp 10:05, 9 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I thing that appears in the box above appeared when I clicked on "you have messages" one time. I didn't go to Wacaplet's user-talk, unless there was a link somehow hooked in with "you have messages." I read it too fast and thought it meant real T-shirts, but even so I prefer to go to the "classified ads" in my newspaper or go to the yellow pages, rather than getting, e.g., (it really happened) a phone call from the local mortuary suggesting... Well, you get the idea. I'm not sure how this happened. I can't see any indication of the message being edited out of my stuff, but I can't find it. I apologize to Wapcaplet for getting his name/identity involved in this publicly. I wrote to the "well" because I looked around for a link for some kind of FAQ on how to handle "unrequested commercial solicitations" and the link.

Patrick0Moran 17:31, 9 Aug 2003 (UTC)

No hard feelings :-) -- Wapcaplet 03:53, 10 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Glad to see this sorted. :) Martin 10:05, 11 Aug 2003 (UTC)

You beat me! I don't know if there is any technical term for trot in Chinese. wshun 20:00, 11 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Your entry on Horse breaking seems more of an essay on the topic - whether the practice is good or not. For the wikipedia, it should be a description of the thing from a neutral point of view. --Zippy 08:18, 31 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I wouldn't have chosen to use the term "horse breaking" because it is not NPOV itself. It assumes the use of violence in the initial training of horses. You can't break an egg without breaking it. I have tried to add enough not best practices without calling them stupid and counterproductive to balance the issue by showing the whole range of techniques that can be used in what is colloquially and frequently inaccurately called "horse breaking."

Does the Chinese char -> Unicode method described by User:kt2 fromerly on his user page work -- here -- for you? --Menchi 05:20, 7 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Another method: Enter the characters at , and the next screen will reveal their codes. It doesn't work with a string over 10 char though, I think. --Menchi 05:27, 7 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Replied on User talk:Menchi#Chinese character input problem. --Menchi 01:49, 8 Sep 2003 (UTC)

This works great on my 'puter: [ Character Codes in HTML Unicode convertor]. --Menchi 01:26, 2 Oct 2003 (UTC)

What was wrong with the material you took out of Gender role? RickK 02:12, 23 Sep 2003 (UTC)

It was my stuff that somebody objected to, so I decided to remove it and then go over the things that I saw as problematical, one by one.

Patrick0Moran 02:21, 23 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I thought it was good stuff. Too bad. RickK 02:25, 23 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I'm not trying to deny the value of the work, if it has value. I've found the disagreements about sex and related subjects difficult to pursue for some reason. Securing clarity is not easy because the subject is so complex and everything seems to have been done without much top-down planning.

Thanks for the kind words.

Patrick0Moran 02:47, 23 Sep 2003 (UTC)

thanks. The kung fu page seems to need a lot work. Even the martial arts page covers kung fu better.

Xah P0lyglut 10:03, 2003 Nov 30 (UTC)

I appreciate the explanation on my talk page. However, you should know that the convention of breaking up the page in the way you discuss is usually used for articles (although there is even a limit at which an article must for practical reasons be broken up). The convention for talk pages is to periodically archive material. I don't believe any one very considers it tantamount to deletion or vandalism, it is simply a way of managing what is in effect an endlessly ongoing conversation. Slrubenstein

The fact that a "convention", as you call it, is usually used for articles does not prevent its being used to improve the readability of talk pages. P0M

The trouble with archiving a talk page at a crucial point is that continuity of discussion is lost. In particular, if an objection had been raised that somebody did not wish to respond to, archiving the discussion at that point would have the advantage, for the person who would find the objection difficult to answer, that things that are "out of sight [go] out of mind." I do not intend to accuse you of deliberately obscuring a line of questioning, but I was miffed to discover that I would have to copy things from the archive to the current talk page to make them "reappear" -- and that even then they would probably draw somebody's ire for being taken out of context. P0M 09:17, 16 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Dear Patrick, I'm very sorry about that! I'm using Mozilla so I can use IRC chat at thesame time, and it's an old version that has some weird bugs when I use cut and paste or even typeover. Also, I didn't check the edit history before I came here to leave this message, so it's possible that EntmootOfTrolls (alias Ann) deleted them when "she" deleted Slrubenstein's comments. But it was probably me (completely inadvertently) and I'm truly sorry. Thanks, BCorr € Брайен 05:04, 17 Dec 2003 (UTC)

No problem. I was wrong to screech at you without communicating privately first. I think I am getting a little shell-shocked. Too many things are changing after an eternity of trying to get a single point straightened out. P0M

Thanks -- and not to worry. It was just bad luck for me to have that happen after EoT decided to drop in. It so hard to figure out what's going on when things are already stressful. Cheers, BCorr € Брайен 14:27, 17 Dec 2003 (UTC)

For part of an explanation I'm working on, I'm trying to get a short list of beneficial human mutations. The mutation that created "white" skin is one. The mutation that improved our ability to make speech sounds is another one. If I need to fill things out with non-beneficial but readily apparent, I know of two more, blue skin and red hair. Any others you can think of? Thanks. P0M 00:51, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)~

Two obvious ones are the "sickle cell" mutation which, while not beneficial in itself, provides resistance against malaria, and a common mutation in the CCR4 gene which offers resistance against HIV. Stewart Adcock 01:25, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

[Peak:] Stewart - Isn't that CCR5? See e.g. Peak 07:36, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

[Peak:] Patrick - Careful!

First - "beneficial" in biology is usually relative to environment. Thus the sickle-cell mutation confers a net benefit in some environments, but not in others. In cases where there are significant numbers of subpopulations with different alleles, it is safe to assume that differenct variations are either neutral or ambiguous with respect to benefits. That is, since there are fairly large numbers of people with the various eye colors, we can be sure that no one eye color is "uniformly beneficial".

Second - almost all the "universally beneficial" mutations that any one subpopulation of H. sapiens has today are in fact universal to the species. That is, universally beneficial mutations that occurred since the emergence of H. sapiens are extremely rare. This is basically because H. sapiens is of such recent origin and has for the most part maintained a gene flow, with the result that most of the genetic variability amongst extant H. sapiens is either "invisible" or associated with detrimental changes.

Putting it rather crudely:

H. sapiens ~= common ancestor with chimps + beneficial mutations

There seems to be a nice little paradox here: although beneficial mutations are very rare, we are the sum of a set of such mutations.Peak 07:36, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

[P0M:] I am trying to find a clear and convincing example to explain why “all beneficial mutations are in fact universal to the species.” There has to be a reason why some people are so stuck on the idea of “race,” and I suspect that it is due to their inability to see how a grandchild can inherit traits from all four grandparents. (And, of course, if that is possible then a more gradual mixing of genetic components could occur.) “How can a good caucasian of blue blood stock end up with shovel-shaped incisors?!?”

[P0M:] Consider a situation in which A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H are alleles, i, j,...p are alleles, and so forth. The primed elements in the following schematic representation are beneficial mutations. The pairs of columns are chromosomes, and only four genes of interest are included in these imaginary chromosomes:

Adam      Beth    Calvin        Delores
A’  B     C  D     E  F         G   H’
i   j’    k  l     m n’         o   p
Q   R     S’ T     U V          W’ X
y   z     a  b’    c’ d         e   f

[P0M:] If some people believe that only the chromosomes as pictured above could be inherited, then they would have trouble to believe in a grandchild, or anybody farther down the line, called

A’ H’
j’  n’
S’ W’
b’  c’

[P0M:] Instead, if V (or some other gene on the same first-level chromosome) codes for violet eyes, then those people would expect to find n’ (improved oxygen absorption adaptation for high altitudes, for instance) only in people with violet eyes. And if R codes for vivid red hair, they would expect to find j’ (improved sound articulation adaptations facilitating human speech) only in people with red hair. Finding both improved oxygen absorption and improved speech production in people with neither violet eyes nor red hair would seem contrary to reason, perhaps. I know it’s a contrived example, which is why I’d like to find some instance of a beneficial mutation (or even something like the sickle-cell trait, although for vividness I’d prefer something that could be determined more readily) together with two “marker” characteristics on the "same" chromosome. P0M 02:37, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Mandarin Chinese

As you can see, I've moved most of the text taken from Mandarin to the Chinese language article. I left Scratch_pad#Adoption of Foreign Words there because it's Mandarin focused. I think this could be made into a full-fledged article, with examples from other dialects/variations added. What do you think? --Jiang 05:02, 1 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Thanks, Jiang. Yes. I think it would make thinks much less abstract. I would be interested, myself, to see some telling examples. The Min languages look much more interesting to me now that I see how they related to all the others. I know a smattering of Taiwanese and even less Fu2 Zhou1 language, but enough to believe Fu2 Zhou1 speakers who told me that when they came to Taiwan they did not just "pick up" Taiwanese in a few weeks. On the other hand Yun-nan hua sounded incomprehensible to me until somebody explained a sentence word by word and then I realized that I could catch on to it very easily. People need to see that kind of thing. If Si-chuan hua is a "dialect" and Taiwanese is a "dialect" it makes it seem that they are equally distant from "standard" Chinese. P0M

I appreciate your lengthy comments on my talk page. Did you see the comment I directed to you, on the Race talk page? I only added it yesterday, and it is embedded to respond directly to your question about what I mean by "principle." It is the only and best response I can give you (sorry that it is so late, I have been out of town). I will also look at the page on classification, and other things you have asked me about, but I am swamped at work and don't think I can get to it soon. Slrubenstein

Thanks for the note on my page. To tell you the truth, I am about to loose patience. However, I just don't have the energy to get angry -- as long as the article page is protected. Alas, that also means no one else can improve the article in legitimate ways. Anyway, I'm content to leave it to you to try to talk sense into 195, and best of luck, Slrubenstein

P0M: Slrubenstein: Be sure to make a bookmark for me.

Hi, on your language tree you put Ba Shu, Jiao Zhou and Guan Dong as subfamilies of Qin, but from the page you cited [1] it looks like only Qin Jin is descended from Qin (the others look like they're on the same level as Qin). I'm looking at the section labeled Hanyu Yanhua Tu (漢語演化圖). Is there something I'm missing? --Xiaopo's Talk 22:19, Feb 4, 2004 (UTC)

Here is what I was looking at (but in romanization)

          --Ba Shu Yu
          --Jiao Zhou Yu
  Qin-----|--Qin Jin Yu
          --Guan Dong Yu

[P0M]To me that means that Qin differentiated into 4. It's a little hard to see since both the site I got my information from and the above diagram both used dashes and "|" symbols instead of drawing connected lines. Note that on another "limb" there is a line from Qi to Qi to Qi -- and no lines perpendicular to join, e.g., Qi to Guan Dong Yu.

Hm, yeah, that makes it clearer, thanks. One question: What do the lines from both Zhongyuanyu and Qi pointing to Min mean? Does one of them show descent and the other massive vocabulary borrowing or something? --Xiaopo's Talk 07:32, Feb 5, 2004 (UTC)

[P0M]: I wish I knew for sure. Unfortunately all that website seems to have is the charts. Maybe if I had time I could get the books/papers they cited (if I could read their tiny print). Vocabulary borrowing happens, sometimes. But since the underlying characters are generally what carries the meaning, and since they are in dictionaries and other such sources that would have been available to everybody, it's hard to say exactly what "borrowing" means. I can think of one example. The word for "garbage" is pronounced two ways. People who are educated in Taiwan are taught to say "le4 se4" and people who are educated on the mainland are taught to say "la4 ji2". They are written with the same characters. Who is right? Well, if you go back through the history of the thing, the term comes from a non-Mandarin language where the pronunciation is neither of the above. The term means the muck that settles out in the bottom of an irrigation canal. It became extended to mean "garbage". It was carried out of its original area, probably in written form, and people looked at the characters and made their own decisions on what the "correct" pronunciations should be.

[P0M]: Before I started working on the "dialects" article I had not realized how unusual the Min languages are. In an area only slightly larger than Fujian and Taiwan there are five languages. It appears to be the only region in China where there is that much diversity. Maybe the reason is that there was at one time heavy immigration to that area that mixed Zhongyuan yu and Qi yu, and then people or ways of speaking sort of sorted themselves out. Why do both NYC and London have several dialects? Is there a kind of "linguistic nationalism" that is bolstered by or that bolsters class or ethnic differences? It's a fascinating question, but I am way over my head. I just tried to reproduce as accurately as I could the materials I could find in Chinese with the hope that somebody would come along (maybe some of those same linguists) and mop up any errors.

Please stop editing and reverting my article, thanks! :D

I did not edit and I did not revert your article -- except to remove it at this moment from my own user talk page. P0M 04:59, 17 Feb 2004 (UTC)

On Votes for Deletion, please clarify what page you think you created? If it's subjugating horses by force (as you mention in your comment), the page does not exist when I checked. --zandperl 04:44, 17 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Please forgive my maladroit submission. The page name is: "Present-day proponents of subordinating horses by force", and it is still there.

Hey, just thought I'd let you know, the page you created on practical equine psychology is a copyvio from this article. Just thought I'd let you know, it's been listed on "Copyvios for deletion". Yours, Meelar 05:20, 17 Feb 2004 (UTC)

If you will kindly look at the page above, you will see that it starts out like this:

Practical equine psychology
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
This is a stub for Practical equine psychology. Currently, material is being moved from horse breaking that may need further editing.
Horses, unlike domestic animals like cats and dogs, have never formed a voluntary symbiotic relationship with their human keepers. Horses are prey animals, which run in herds, and have a highly developed flight instinct in order to avoid becoming food for predators. Nonetheless, because their physiology is peculiarly suited to the accomplishment of a number of human-related jobs and entertainments, humans have domesticated horses and pressed them into service for centuries.

[P0M:] They copied from the Wikipedia article and cited the article they copied from.

[P0M:] I didn't write this stuff. I moved it from another article where it was not appropriate. (I forget the details but I think somebody suggested that I not just delete it.) I actually do not agree with the article because it does not, IMHO, represent what Monty Roberts claims very accurately. But, without rereading Robert's several books I couldn't prove that the attributions are incorrect.

Wow, I apologize. It was late, if that's any help. No hard feelings? Yours, Meelar 05:55, 17 Feb 2004 (UTC)

[P0M:] No problem. It probably needs to get wiped out anyway. I noted it long ago as needing citations, and nobody every came back to clean up their work so I assume the person who wrote it has disappeared. The original is still there, under the old article title "horse-breaking" (

zapped DNA comments

Hey Patrick, did you deliberately do this? Stewart Adcock 18:52, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I was just coming to mention this to you :-) It was very likely an edit conflict which turned wrong :-) FirmLittleFluffyThing

Nope, and as a matter of fact I didn't even get close to the text that was zapped. And, on top of that, something else really strange happened. I wrote two paragraphs. I tried to save. There was an edit conflict. I copied my two paragraphs to clipboard. I went to my watchlist. I reentered the talk page. I saw that nothing had changed near where I had been editing. I went back to edit mode (and, unfortunately, on my Mac I have to edit the entire article because the little "edit" tags don't function. I pasted in my two paragraphs. I saved and went back to look at the revised talk page. Only one of my paragraphs appeared. I went back, hoping against hope that the missing paragraph hadn't gotten wiped out. I re-copied the two paragraphs. Fortunately they were both there. Then I went back to view the talk page and, mirabile dictu, both paragraphs were there. Then I noticed that I had mail. P0M 19:04, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I assummed it was just a mistake, but just wanted to let you know. It's all very, very strange... I am unable to edit my talk page now... Must be a DB problem. Stewart Adcock 20:55, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for your comment on my page, yes, it is curious, isn't it? By the way, I wonder if you agree with my points about DNA: 1) I object to the language "because they propagate their traits by doing so." It is inaccurate in part because DNA doesn't exactly "do" things, and because the contribution of DNA to the propogation of traits, however significant, is not total; the propogation of traits involves other things. 2) I object to the language "It encodes the structure and functions of an organism." Technically, it does not encode the structure and functions of a cell; it encodes the structure of proteins for enzymes that are vital to the structure and function of cells and organs. I think this is a very important and too often misunderstood/oversimplified distinction that gives people a misleading view of how inherited traits work. Am I being reasonable? Slrubenstein

[P0M:] I have been trying to make my own formulation, and I think I am faced with some of the questions you raise above. The present versions seem to me to latch on to various buzz phrases -- things that may or may not be accurate but in any case do not tell the general reader anything useful. "Dogma" is an instance of what I have in mind.

[P0M:] Part of the problem in understanding DNA is that in the present it is usually found active only inside living cells -- environments that provide what it needs to do its job. At some point there must have been a form of RNA or DNA that could replicate itself simply by grabbing atoms or molecules out of the environment. That primitive situation is duplicated in the lab by introducing the enzyme DNA polymerase, which links DNA components and makes the chemical bonds of the DNA backbone, using the original DNA present as its template.

In a cell, the DNA in various segments of a chromosome can produce various chemical compounds that are useful in the body, and the entire chromosome can also reproduce itself. As long as one is looking at a single cell, one can imagine that one understands what is going on. An amoeba encounters something edible, it pulls the edible tidbit into the cell, it manufactures enzymes that disassemble the tidbit, it expels whatever it can't use and stores the rest, and then when it has enough to duplicate the chromosomes it does so, splits in half, and starts building back to a unit large enough to split. Before you know it you have a cupful of amoebas.

[P0M:] What happens when life goes multi-cellular? How does control occur? What turns one cell into a heart cell and another cell into a brain cell? There is something about the location, the environment, that will direct a stem cell deposited in the brain to make a brain cell. What is that signal? What interprets it? P0M 20:58, 20 Mar 2004 (UTC)

[P0M:] In principle, I can understand how a template molecule duplicates itself. There has to be something about the fully assembled "target" molecule that makes it "unplug" itself from the template.

[P0M:] Lets say that the original molecule is ABCDE and it creates a "mirror" copy of itself as molecules a, b, c, d, e become available:

 a c
 a cde
 abcde --->  (At this point the copy begins to uncouple.)

[P0M:] I can't prove that yet. P0M 07:10, 21 Mar 2004 (UTC)


Please give your opinion here Talk:DNA/vote.

FirmLittleFluffyThing 06:05, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)

(beautiful spider :-))

Hm, I certainly would feel awful if I misattributed an edit, but according to this, it was you who put in the loaded "once again" (which is what I was referring to). -- VV 09:38, 26 Mar 2004 (UTC)

[P0M:] I think I see what happened. I was working on topic sentences and made a copy of all of them, which I then reworked so that there would be smooth flow from topic sentence to topic sentence. (I posted the proposed changes, by the way.) 195xxx had made the sentence "Lately people have tried to associate race and intelligence. This is not new." Between the time that I copied those sentences and finished by topic sentence rewrites you (or somebody else) must have discovered what 195 had done and repaired it without having him revert the change. I rather mechanically went through and fixed the topic sentences according to the draft I had posted and, in the process, replaced your edit. Sorry.

No problem, of course; these things happen. Sorry about my edit summary, then. -- VV 00:14, 27 Mar 2004 (UTC)

message no longer relevant! Cheers -- Tannin

Yup: it's a minefeld which has been protected numerous times. I'd like to go through and clean it up (as I did, or at least half-did, a year or two ago) but I don't like having perfectly good work constantly hacked about which, in the case of race, is an inevitability. It wouldn't actually be too difficult to make the entry read well and accurately reflect the current state of knowledge in a reasonably uncontroversial way, but it would take half a day and last for about that much longer before the lunatics and the hair-splitters ran riot over it again. Contrast this with subspecies, which I write the bulk of at the same time, and which remains readable today.


Still, the current version of race seems to almost completely ignore the biological meaning. Maybe we ought to redress that balance a bit. But I'mm off to the office. (Yes - and on a Sunday.) Tannin

Re: Race. Fair enough, my explanation was a bit telegraphic. The way it was phrased is that "[t]his accords with the common expression the human race, but many people continue to hold the belief that..." (my bolding); this is pretty prejudicial phrasing, wouldn't you say? This is what I meant (imprecisely, perhaps) by "sarcasm". The term subspecies inherits all the ambiguities in the term species and then some, so the preceding inference that there is "by definition" only one human race presumes too much, and, if it's going to be included at all (prob not), should be in a discussion section and not part of the definition section of the article. Alluding to the phrase the human race is also not a very scientific approach; there are lots of stock phrases in English that just don't tell you much. I think we should just stick to giving basic info in the intro and leave the supposed deductions to the parts that discuss POVs. Anyway, I'd wouldn't be surprised if the person who put that in didn't really expect/want it to stay and was just trying to make a point. -- VV 03:01, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Hi, sorry if I missed your earlier message. You question whether DNA acts like a "template" and instead suggest "code" insofar as it "actually functions as a as a signal for the corresponding amino acids to be brought in and strung together." I agree that this is an important function, but actually, this is precisely what "template" means to me, so I don't see the problem. I have no problem with code, DNA is certainly a code or encodes information, but the question is, what is this information used for and the answer is it is used as a template for among others things the way amino acids are strung together. My real objection is not semantic but the point that DNA does not actually do this stringing together itself, it relies on other chemicals for the actual stringing together; moreover this process you describe by itself does not determine inherited traits, other chemicals and chemical processes are involved in the inheritance of traits, that is my main point. Slrubenstein

Concerning RNA I misunderstood yes I understand you know. COncerning everything being in the ovum, perhaps, my point was simply that not everything is in the DNA itself. Slrubenstein

ad hominem

look buddy, I don't even know you, and I definately am not looking to insult you, nor belittle you, nor any of that. I made a joke, primarilly directed at the general crew of editors on on paraphilia. I am sorry if you didn't like it, perhaps it was even tacky or tasteless, but it wasn't intended as an ad hominem. Sam Spade 04:25, 8 Apr 2004 (UTC)

p.s. the NPOV dispute listing is full, it only is ment to hold 100 disputes or so. You can't edit it because it automatically adds when it has room. BTW, it is sam spADE not space, or was that an ad homimem ;)

[P0M:] I thought I fixed "space," sorry. Sam Spade was my radio hero as a kid and got me into a lot of trouble. I once threw a Sam Spade line to a police officer. (Groan.) But you seem to be doing the same thing with your "look buddy, I don't even know you...." Do you ever wonder how you sound to other people? P0M 05:09, 8 Apr 2004 (UTC)

sure, I'm a psyche major, and as a practicing hypnotist my voice will be the focus on my work. heck, as a salesman (which is what I have mainly done as far as work) I already use how I sound to other people. As far as how I am different online than in person, I admit a disadvantage of sorts, but on the other hand I spend at least as much on IM as on the wiki (often with other editors) and the fact that I met countless real-life dates from women I met via IM (I met my wife on ICQ) I think that I must present a certain degree of charm. Really, to be honest, it seems to depend on my audience. I don't click w everybody. A good friend of mine told me that I am a barometer, if someone is overly sensitive or thin-skinned, they always seem to get offended by stuff I say. I'm severely non-P.C. and asociate w alot of intellectuals and academics however, so that might be a factor as well. ;) Anyways, love me or hate me, I'm here to make/read a great, NPOV encyclopedia, and incidentilly make some friends as well. I do my best to be polite and kindly in all parts of my life, and often think "what would Jesus do?" (often before making one of my off-color jokes ;). Nice meeting you, glad to hear you likewise appreciate my present moniker, and I hope to create some brilliant prose with you in the near future. Cheers, Sam Spade 05:48, 8 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Edits to Heteronormativity

Thanks for making the edits you have made to Heteronormativity. Your edits are well made and are insightful. I hope you continue to look over and expanded where applicable that entry. Thanks again. Lestatdelc 22:55, Apr 9, 2004 (UTC)

Sociological study

Hi, good idea -- only I don't have the time for really doing something in this direction at the moment. But I keep it in mind as a possible quite interesting field of study (an will maybe start at the German wikipedia, because there seem to be a lot more people interested in sociology (cf. de:Wikipedia:WikiProjekt Selbstreflexion der Wikipedia, de:Portal Soziologie). -- till we *) 08:41, 12 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Race: Post_Tax_Day_Changes

Hi, I only wanted to make you aware of my excuse posted on the rase discussion page. Thank you for making the correction. Arnejohs 00:29, 18 Apr 2004 (UTC)


Patrick, I'm removing my complaint about the MSG article from my user page. The article might still strike me as a bit sensationalistic, but I really don't know enough about MSG to comment. I'm sorry if MSG has caused problems for you personally. --Ryguasu 19:52, 19 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Hi, I am sorry if my tone on the race page seemed angry or hostile. I also apologize if I misunderstood your comment. I may have misunderstood the initial point you were making, but I was also trying to make a more general, and I believe valid and important point, concerning the writing of the article in which I was responding to some things you wrote (or, at lease, as I interpreted them) about the positions people take on race and biology. Thanks for contacting me and again I am apologize if what I wrote was rude or misplaced, Slrubenstein

Hi, I hope that I finally was able to be clear, in a non-rude way, about my points on the race page. But I m writing to ask you to do the archiving on the talk page now. I don't think anyone has been more active on the page than you, and I hesitate to archive because I do not want to archive material that is still immediately relevent to immediate need of the article. I trust your judgement, Slrubenstein


POM, I think the page that could truly benefit from your dichotomy idea is the article on race. There is so much potential material to be covered there that it could use some kind of reorganization. --Rikurzhen 03:43, Jul 14, 2004 (UTC)

Hm, the McCulloch link does on its surface look off-topic to me. What do you think? I will add that paging through the external links I am disappointed at the lack of diversity in views represented, but that should probably be addressed by adding science links with other POVs. VV 22:28, 19 May 2004 (UTC)

Yes, suspicious indeed. But sure let's leave it for now. I'll look into better links in the mean time. VV 23:01, 19 May 2004 (UTC)

The race and intelligence article is a terrible mess, but I'm afraid to contribute much to it for fear that it will spark an edit war. As to why that's such as hot topic, consider this quotation "More is known about the genetics of intelligence than about any other trait, behavioral or biological". Intelligence is in a sense a stand-in for all heritable traits. Coincidently, intelligence is second only to health in how strongly people regard it, which adds to the furvor.

I find it curious that Wikipedia does not have an entry for the Haplotype map (HapMap) project. The connection to race is that individual samples will be taken from US/European, Asian, and African populations.

The HapMap, together with a series of powerful genomic tools developed over the last several years, will make it possible to spell out in great detail the genetic differences between peoples from different parts of the world.

But we already have some data on this topic: (

ALFRED contains allele frequency data on polymorphic loci for different human populations. As genetic polymorphisms, the common alleles at these loci must be considered normal variations. While it is a demonstrable fact that different populations have different frequencies of these alleles , most of the common alleles are present in most human populations. Many studies have shown that for any one genetic polymorphism most of the variations will occur among the individuals within each population because of the different genotypes. Only a small additional proportion of the global variation occurs as gene frequency differences among populations. Those differences, however, can illuminate evolutionary histories of human populations and may be especially relevant to design and conduct of biomedical research.

Other than the data on intelligence, I think there may be some very limited studies that demonstrate average personality differences between races. The prevelance of many genetic diseases is strongly different between populations. Cystic fibrosis for example in Europeans. A number of diseases that disproportionately affect Jewish populations have been well studied and are currently being controlled by genetic testing (e.g. Tay Sachs).

The conflict over this issue seems to stem from the normative desire for equality. You can add to this the Marxist belief that human tragedy stems from conflicts of power. Emerging genetic data provides a non-power explanation for some human differences, and thus is unwelcome. Another problem comes from the difficulty in describing exactly the kind of distinction that races entail, short of a mathematical description of allele frequency differences. --Rikurzhen

Mandarin final -r

But isn't the English /r/ retroflex as well? It certainly doesn't sound right if I leave my tongue flat.
(You know Dr. Chan?)
-- ran 10:57, May 20, 2004 (UTC)

Hey! You're right. It does come from the back of the mouth (and so does English final "r"!) ... so what's the symbol for that? /ɹɣ/ ?
-- ran 23:56, May 20, 2004 (UTC)

The problem with that lower-case /r/, though, is that it really means the Spanish trill. In phonemic notation they probably use it in every and any language to mean a general purpose "rhotic" consonant, but I think we should try to provide a passable phonetic description on the Mandarin page. -- ran 07:07, May 21, 2004 (UTC)

You're right about "r". I just saw something that said "..." is used? P0M

Check this source: [2], para. 3. They say that 'the "er" sound of (stressed) "fur" or (unstressed) "butter", which is represented in IPA as stressed [ɝ] or unstressed [ɚ] (SAMPA [3`] and [@`]) is realized in American English as a monophthongal rhoticized vowel.' One of my charts shows that the little squiggle common to each symbol above is an indication of "rhoticity", i.e. (I guess), that the shwa is given an "r" quality. P0M 15:26, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Horses and people

I didn't really understand what you meant about horse whisperers. I dimly remember watching a documentary about a man who "gentled" horses, called The Real Horse Whisperer. It impressed me enough that I bought a book about his life and work.

The book told of his reaction (or rebellion) against his father's rough (vicious?) methods of horse breaking and how he discovered (or re-discovered) some elements of equine herd behavior. He was able to use horse's instinctual desire to be part of the herd and avoid being left out, as a motivational tool to get extraordinarily quick results. He could get an "untamed horse" to accept a human rider in under a day, often in less than an hour.

I love horses, and I'd like to see more about their nature, history, and especially their prospects of a happy life both in the wild and in partnership with human beings. (I'm also a big fan of the book Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.) --Uncle Ed 13:43, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Horses and people

I didn't really understand what you meant about horse whisperers. I dimly remember watching a documentary about a man who "gentled" horses, called The Real Horse Whisperer. It impressed me enough that I bought a book about his life and work.

The book told of his reaction (or rebellion) against his father's rough (vicious?) methods of horse breaking and how he discovered (or re-discovered) some elements of equine herd behavior. He was able to use horse's instinctual desire to be part of the herd and avoid being left out, as a motivational tool to get extraordinarily quick results. He could get an "untamed horse" to accept a human rider in under a day, often in less than an hour.

I love horses, and I'd like to see more about their nature, history, and especially their prospects of a happy life both in the wild and in partnership with human beings. (I'm also a big fan of the book Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.) --Uncle Ed 13:43, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Tagged image.


I tagged your {{GFDL}}, hope you don't mind and that it was what you intended.

David Remahl 21:18, 17 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Sex article

Thank you for your suggestions about sex, especially your urging of explanation and simplification. I was away most of last week and tried to carry out your suggestions and answer your questions on the talk page. PS I just discovered your new talk page and elaborate diagrams. You put a lot of work and thinking into it. I agree with most of what you have written, but (forgive me if I am wrong) I still suspect you don't have an accurate grasp of chromosomal determinants of sex, which means that your "spectrum" or continuum from Turner to Klinefelter is at best misleading and will give people the wrong idea. E.g., where would you put penta X syndrome? Look again at the sexual differentiation article: the earliest important determinants of sex are genes from the Y chromosome, esp SRY. The sheer number of sex chromosomes has much less influence on sex than it does on height. Sex is actually simpler than height from a genetic perspective: if your Y chromosome has functional genes, and you have the autosomal genes to carry out the whole cascade of subsequent development, you will be male in every biological sense. I also wonder if you might be giving too much emphasis to fertility, which has little directly to do with being male or female (at least in the ordinary sense that one is clearly male or female by the time of puberty, before fertility is even known). Most people who are infertile did not know that in childhood and do not change sex upon discovering it as adults. However, I guess the type of gamete one produces is a legitimate level of definition of sex. Finally, perhaps I owe you one more apology because I softened some of your advocacy: I don't think the article is the place to persuade people of a specific axiological perspective on discordance. We should acknowledge the dominant Western perspective and describe it but also acknowledge that many if not most of the rest of the world does not share it. Change it again if you think the article needs to be prescriptive rather than descriptive; I won't fight over it if I can't persuade you. Regards. Alteripse 02:48, 21 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Chinese IPA

Oy, this IPA stuff is too complicated for me. What do you think is the best way to represent in IPA the Chinese "short i" sound, i.e. the i in "Laozi" or "chi fan le ma"? - Nat Krause 17:30, 18 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for your reply about this. Now that you pointed it out, I do see that info on your table, although one of the symbols won't even display on my browser. I suppose IPA wasn't really designed with this in mind. - Nat Krause 10:12, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Re: Race

I think you're broadly right about how the article should be written. By the way, even if they didn't used to have a word for it, don't you find that Chinese people often tend to be very interested in the subject of race? For instance, the other day, I was involved in a conversation with a group of Chinese (I live in Anhui currently) people who, upon learning that I have partial German ancestry, decided that I "look German" (which, I suppose, is pretty much true) and proceded to debate amongst themselves whether having an indented chin like mine and a nose shape like mine are typical German characteristics. I wondered how many, if any, other people of German extraction they had ever met before. - Nat Krause 10:12, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I spent 7 years in Taiwan, so my experience may differ slightly from yours. I and every other white person regardless of actual ancestry was regarded as "Mei3 Guo2 ren2" (other words referring to nose configuration were popular too, especially in Taiwanese). They are certainly aware of differences, unabashedly so. I have body hair that looks black indoors but like filaments of gold under the sun, and at the beach or swimming pool little kids try to pull it off. I actually find that kind of open curiousity, and openness to differences, refreshing. That being said, I never found the Chinese to feel that they are biologically superior. Instead, when somebody starts a rant it with, "We have three thousand years of culture." I think they were set on the right road regarding human differences very near the beginning of written records of cultural artifacts. Right after Mencius comes Xun Zi. He taught that the most important thing is the impact of the culture on the individual -- a lesson that goes all the way back to the Duke of Zhou, at least in practice. Xun Zi says that if you put a child of an outlying tribal group into a Chinese home in infancy the child will grow up to be "Chinese." I can't remember the wording for sure, but he at least implies that a Chinese kid raised in a barbarian family will be a barbarian.

Maybe another factor is that entitlement came to a person not because of his [race] but because of his clan and family. There is something hereditary there, but also an awareness of accumulated wealth, wealth that can buy a good education, and the really interesting tradition of having a kind of family culture expressed in the form of a written document: This is the X family, this is what we value most highly, and this is the way we do things.

I suppose you have noticed that there are very strong preconceptions about what, e.g., Shanghai people are like, Fuzhou people are like, etc. Chinese people in Taiwan frequently don't want their kids to marry outside their original province, but that is because of language differences (I won't be able to understand your husband's father because he comes from Anhui.) and cultural differences (You can never figure out the real motivation of people from Fuzhou. How will I know what your in-laws really are thinking?). I've never heard anybody say, "If you marry a woman from Yunnan your kids will all turn out to be (whatever, whatever)." Actually, one of my Fuzhou family's cousins married a Swedish woman. Nobody ever complained that their children would have big noses. The mother was worried more about language, talking with her grandchildred since she didn't even speak English let alone Swedish -- which was what?

The people who formulate these kinds of things professionally say that the Chinese can be very ethnocentric, but I've never heard or seen written any account that suggests that they might be racist. I think you might compare their attitude (generalizing broadly, I realize) to my attitude toward languages. I've always been fascinated by the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and I find the idea that languages like Shawnee can tesselate the world in such remarkably different ways from the way English does it. If I didn't have to make a living I might take a decade off to learn one of those languages. (Aramaic would be another good one.) But my fascination with the differences of languages doesn't include any idea that any one of them confers superiority on the individual.

How are you getting along in Anhui? One of my teachers in Taiwan was from Anhui. He had better English than I do, but his pu3 tong1 hua4 even gave the Chinese students fits. His speech retained the ru4 sheng1 (entering tone) and a heavy, heavy accent. I used to tape his 3 hour lectures and then take them to the dorm and decode them word by word. Sometimes my roommates couldn't help. What are you doing there, anyway? Have fun and enjoy a great learning by living experience! P0M 14:17, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Yeah, I don't really know enough other than anecdotes to say in what way Chinese people are aware of differences. I have the impression that they interested in any and all types of group difference, linguistic, cultural, genetic, whatever they believe exists. The historical examples are interesting, and I think it's definitely the case that pre-modern China was much more willing to accept acculturated outlying populations than, say, European colonists in America, Africa, or Asia were (although that's not saying much). I do wonder, however, what would have happened had the Chinese been exposed to more physically dissimilar peoples. What I'm thinking is that most of the groups surrounding China in pre-modern times were what the Linnaeans would classify as Mongoloids, which may not mean anything genetically, but might map well against the perception of sameness/differentness. Based on the people I've met here from neighboring countries, I do realize that there are some differences in appearance, but I'll wager that many of them could pass for Chinese if they had been raised here, and that, for almost any of them, if they had a half-Chinese child who was raised here, the child could pass for Chinese. Don't the Manchurians nowadays pass as almost indistinguisable from the Hans? The same would probably not be true of people who look like me.
I know there must have been cases in the past where the Chinese encountered, say, pale-skinned Tocharians, or so-called Negrito southeast Asians, but I've never heard anything one way or the other on whether there interactions were different from those with, say, Koreans or Vietnamese. I suppose the native Taiwanese are among the more dissimilar people that the Chinese had large-scale interactions with, but, again, I don't know a great deal about the history there.
I'm doing just fine over here in Anhui. I've been here about five months, teaching English at Anhui University. To be honest, my Chinese is still terrible, and largely useless in practical situations, so I'm not very much of an expert on accents, but, yes, even I know that the Hefei accent is a hassle. Actually, it can be a real problem sometimes, because I still frequently having trouble understanding things people say in perfect putonghua, but the dialect issue means I sometimes have to wonder whether I should even try to understand some people. On the other hand, I don't know where in Anhui your teacher is from, but Hefeihua is at least theoretically related to Mandarin, whereas, for instance, my contact at the waiban here comes from a village in southern Anhui where they speak a dialect that sounds like Shanghainese, which is presumably this that I've read about on Wikipedia. - Nat Krause 19:22, 22 Jul 2004 (UTC)
One of my friends in Taiwan was actually of mixed parentage, but she looked totally African-American to me. Anyway, she was not the object of any more attention from people than I was, as far as I know. (When I went into the countryside for my weekly lessons with one gentleman I had to cross a river by ferry and when the oarsman got us to the other side there was always a gaggle of a dozen or so pre-teens who would line the side of the road and chant "Doap-pee ya, a dok-a" i.e., "hook nose beak nose" unceasingly.) Thanks for solving the mystery of my teacher's language. Everybody told me there were two Anhui accents and he had the bad kind. I wish I had not economized by recording over my class records. P0M 14:27, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I suspect that many are more interested in arguing than actually working on the article. If no one comments after a week or so, we can ask the admins to unprotect the page and get to working on other problems. Right now I think the article is light on details about genetics, but that's just the POV that I'm coming from. Rikurzhen

Thanks for your note. I have to admit that I find myself more captivated by the similarities between cultures than the differences, which is probably why I didn't enjoy intro sociology in college. As to the genetics section of the article, I think that there are lots of places where interesting and relevant details are missing. I've never read Luca's book, but I'm familiar with his work -- and his students' -- but I suspect that some of the info in it is out of date. There's an nice new article in Nature Reviews Genetics [3] that seems to spell out a conservative concensus, so I was going to use that as a starting point for revisions. If there's enough new stuff, we could consider a separate article, but I doubt that it will be necessary. Rikurzhen


Hello POM. First of all, thanks for changing the caption of the image, but not removing the image outright. It sounds better now and also makes the reader think. One of my activities here on Wikipedia is trying to add images where needed, as listed on Wikipedia:Requested pictures and also Wikipedia:Featured article candidates. That's how I got to the article Race in the first place. Thinking about how to illustrate race I was looking for a source of public domain passport style images to assemble a number of faces of different races/ethnicities/skincolors ... sort of what most people consider to be the difference between races. (Andy Warhole made something similar once, "Thirteen Most Wanted", and also got a very controversial reaction) About your objections:

  • "Race" does not have an operational definition, everybody has a differnet view what a race is: True. The image is only one example according to the FBI classification, and not an universal definition. This can be adequately expresed in the caption. (Again thanks for improving the caption). Many articles on Wikipedia show only example images, and having only "examples" on Race is no grounds for removal.
  • The images are racist: False. All races are equally treated in the image, and none looks better or worse than the other. All are wanted for murder/homicide except for asian and black female (couldn't find murderers)
  • The images are mugshots: True. This is about the only point where I think the image is flawed, and I would have preferred non-mugshots, but could not find a good source. Every society (race, whatever) has criminals, but most societies prefer to look away. Yet I do not think this flaw is grounds for removal.

This is a controversial topic, as can be seen on the number of people that removed and added the image. Also, some people have expressed that they find the image helpful, or at least do not oppose the image. Of course you have your right to object to the image, as well as I have the right to find it helpful. I see two possible ways out of this:

  1. A new image is created that does not feature criminals but average people (preferably no celebrities either). Again, this will have to be a set of examples only, and the included bias will be noted in the caption.
  2. We organize a vote to find out the majority view on Wikipedia about the image, and then keep or remove the image accordingly.

I am positive that we can overcome this dispute and eventually find an acceptable solution. BTW, a quick question: Why are you adding § to the beginning of every paragraph? Just curious. Best regards -- Chris 73 | Talk 05:25, 30 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for your answer. Good news (for you) first: I'll refrain from adding the image to Race, although I feel the article looses a valuable example (not a fixed definition of race). I can understand your opposition to mug shots, although I do feel different. However, I can't quite understand your opposition to general images of happy, smiling, pretty, non-felon example images. Anyway, I'll be looking for a new home for the image, maybe at Felony?
About §: makes sense. I hate it when people write between my comments. I usually drop them a line and ask them not to, and often move inserted comments to the end after my text (It's MY comment, after all ;-) Anyway, happy editing, and let me know on Wikipedia:Requested pictures when you need an image -- Chris 73 | Talk 13:07, 1 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Hi, I am still not happy with the mug shots although the caption is accurate, at least, now.

However I am frustrated with Darrien. PLEASE see [[4]] and do anything else you think reasonable, Slrubenstein

Explicit photo license

Hey there. Would you be so kind as to edit your wonderful Image:Shepador Chewer.JPG with its licensing, such as {{GFDL}}? Thanks! Just trying to clear up all of the licensing issues on the dog photos. Elf | Talk 14:37, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Gender role

Per your comment on my talk page:

I'm not sure what spellings you actually changed in the "gender role" article

You can find this out via the page history, of course.

please be aware that when an article is started by someone using British spellings, we are supposed to stick with that set of conventions

Yes, I'm aware of that. On reviewing the changes I made to Gender role, I couldn't see any of my corrections that were specific to British or American English. Could you clarify your comment?

(As for the general point that it's best to be consistent within any given page, I agree of course. I sometimes make mistakes of this nature when fixing spelling because I run poorly-spelled pages through a spell checker which only has an American English dictionary installed. Most of the time I notice British spelling variants and don't correct them, but occasionally one will slip through.)

Also, it makes me sad that you reverted my edit. As far as I can see, the edit was fine -- even if there are some mistakes I'm not seeing, the majority of the changes it made were completely correct. If you had issue with some specific change(s), please only revert the change(s) in question.

Neilc 11:34, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Okay, thanks for the explanation. I think the current state of the article incorporates all my changes, so that's cool. My apologies if my first response wasn't in the proper spirit -- I was a little confused about your comments WRT British spelling and your decision to revert my changes. Anyway, I think we've cleared up the confusion. Sorry for marking the original edit "minor" -- I did that because the edit actually only changed a handful of words, but in retrospect I ought to use the "minor" modifier less liberally.
BTW, you mentioned manually copying out the text of an article to spell check it. That works, but there are also various browser extensions you can use that integrate a spell checker (such as SpellBound for Mozilla or IESpell for IE). I've been using SpellBound, which works acceptably; the only problem is I can't see an easy way to set the dictionary to the union of UK and American English.
Best wishes!
Neilc 03:21, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Hi Patrick,

If you have time, please vote on Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Chinese)#Survey. Thanks. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 23:33, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)


I fill in edit summaries in general but don't bother if i've marked something as minor or if filling it in would put me in a bad mood. Did you have some particular article or edit or change in mind? - Nunh-huh 07:25, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Oh, please improve the brainwashing if you can. Andries 19:24, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It was not my edit -- ≈ jossi ≈ 19:52, Sep 15, 2004 (UTC)

Hi :-) I noted the name :-) SweetLittleFluffyThing 06:46, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Hallo Patrick, thanks for your interest in the complicated and controversial subject of brainwashing. I am an ex-member of a purported cult, which explains my interest in the subject. See also my small essay about the subject (I do not intend to use this as a basis for the article.) What facts in the current article do you dispute? Andries 17:58, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Patrick, Thanks for your extensive reply. I borrowed a book by Robert Lifton from the university library Thought reform and the psychology of totalism but I still need to find time to read it. The root cause of the problem with the article is, I think, that it was written by (ex-)cult members, like me and Ed Poor, who do not know much about the origins of the term brainwashing but know quite a lot about the current debate about it and who do not believe that the concept can explain their involvement in cults. Andries 07:49, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I hope you agree with what I wrote. I hope we can finish the article on brainwashing and remove the disputed warning. Andries 19:29, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Edit summary

Obscure? It's been listed on "Capitalization" under Wikipedia:Edit summary legend or Wikipedia:Edit summary legend:Quick reference for a long time. Writing "capitalization" out in edit summaries hundreds of times can become a bit tedious. --Lowellian 05:42, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)


Hey, sorry if I came across badly, I explained things a bit better on the talk page in question. Sam [Spade] 15:37, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Oh dear, I had no idea you took those photos yourself. If it helps, I didn't mean the people were unattractive, only that the way they were arranged was hard on the eyes. Heads of varying sizes, and varying poses, and divergent backgrounds, etc... and the features which assist in discerning race were hard to see. Hope you accept my apology, and I will be more careful w my edit summaries / comments in the future. Sorry again, Sam [Spade] 19:40, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)


I moved your article Archive 1 to User:Patrick0Moran/Archive 1. RickK 08:26, Nov 9, 2004 (UTC)

Sorry about that. I thought it was an archive of your talk page. Yes, I'll delete it. RickK 21:50, Nov 9, 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the Welcome

Thanks for you kind note welcoming me to Wikipedia. I know this is late in coming, but it took me a while to find out how to get here. (What can I say? I'm a techno-idiot.) So, you're a spider person who snatches specimens who come to visit. CREEEEEP-PY! :-p deeceevoice 14:41, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)


I assume you are referring to the edit summary that reads (there's an article on the subject, put this there). I removed some info from the disambig block because it was not needed to identify Tarantella, Inc. from the dance. There is an article on Tarantella, Inc. which should, and does, include all relevant info. Tuf-Kat 01:37, Nov 15, 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the kind words. I'll be fairly busy for about a week or so, but after that I can have a look at things if you so wish. Dysprosia 09:05, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)


not at all! I apologize for any apparent antagonism! When I said 'are you colour-blind?', I was seriously considering a rather frequent condition, and it would have been useful to have somebody who is colourblind comment on the scale, to assure that it is visible to everybody. Sorry if I seemed rude. dab 08:43, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Puppy photo

A user asks here about whether this puppy is really a mix or a purebred, say, Anatolian Shepherd. I've already responded, but perhaps you could comment on the source of its ancestry determination? Thanks! Elf | Talk 02:03, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Article Licensing

Hi, I've started a drive to get users to multi-license all of their contributions that they've made to either (1) all U.S. state, county, and city articles or (2) all articles, using the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike (CC-by-sa) v1.0 and v2.0 Licenses or into the public domain if they prefer. The CC-by-sa license is a true free documentation license that is similar to Wikipedia's license, the GFDL, but it allows other projects, such as WikiTravel, to use our articles. Since you are among the top 1000 Wikipedians by edits, I was wondering if you would be willing to multi-license all of your contributions or at minimum those on the geographic articles. Over 90% of people asked have agreed. For More Information:

To allow us to track those users who muli-license their contributions, many users copy and paste the "{{DualLicenseWithCC-BySA-Dual}}" template into their user page, but there are other options at Template messages/User namespace. The following examples could also copied and pasted into your user page:

Option 1
I agree to [[Wikipedia:Multi-licensing|multi-license]] all my contributions, with the exception of my user pages, as described below:


Option 2
I agree to [[Wikipedia:Multi-licensing|multi-license]] all my contributions to any [[U.S. state]], county, or city article as described below:

Or if you wanted to place your work into the public domain, you could replace "{{DualLicenseWithCC-BySA-Dual}}" with "{{MultiLicensePD}}". If you only prefer using the GFDL, I would like to know that too. Please let me know what you think at my talk page. It's important to know either way so no one keeps asking. -- Ram-Man (comment| talk)

It is not true that your contributions to articles are public domain, unless you specifically state so as follows:
I agree to [[Wikipedia:Multi-licensing|multi-license]] all my text contributions, in the English Wikipedia '''main''' namespace only, as described below:
This version is restricted to articles only, and excludes user and talk pages. You can copy and paste that into your user page or a page such as User:Patrick0Moran/Copyrights. Ram-Man (comment) (talk)[[]] 21:11, Dec 10, 2004 (UTC)

Unverified images

Hey! Thanks for uploading Image:Achae tepid.JPG

I notice it currently doesn't have an image copyright tag. Could you add one to let us know its copyright status? (You can use {{gfdl}} if you release it under the GNU Free Documentation License, {{fairuse}} if you claim fair use, etc.) Thanks so much. --[[User:Ricky81682|Ricky81682 (talk)]] 08:53, Dec 18, 2004 (UTC)

Same with Image:Agelenopsis.jpg. Thanks. BrokenSegue 18:52, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I know just what you mean. Thanks for making the contribution. Cheers, -Willmcw 23:28, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Shih Tzu link

Hi; there was some background to the Shih Tzu external link that you restored. It's a link to a user group that only registered users can access. I think that generally that's discouraged from encyclopedic articles here--links that allow people to get information freely are more appropriate to WP. An anon user added it, I removed it 3 times & they readded it, then they finally got a log-in and we were able to have a discussion about it and she agreed to remove it herself--and then you readded it! :-) So I took it out again; hope this makes sense. Elf | Talk 00:21, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Race article

sorry, late response -- problem with internet connection -- I concur with your assessment that we're talking about the same thing but using different language. It's been a while since my college metaphysics class, but I suspect our major differences are in that field, not biology.

I think the main body of the article is almost satisfactory. I would like to add some population genetics detail to the anthropology and genetics section. Stuff like: any 2 random humans vary at 1 in 1000 nucleotides, whereas 2 random chimps vary at 1 in 500; and material that links to population bottleneck and founder effect so that people can get more info on that. The other thing that needs improvement in the main article body is NPOV phrasing in some sections.

The validity section has been moved to a new article. This needs more work. I think we might be able to all agree that there is a consensus among at least 99% of people that the 3 older biological definitions are flawed -- and then explain why. Then we can try to present some of the current debate about the linage definition, which has been written about a lot lately, so we should find current material. (Notice the new APA issue linked in the race talk section.)

Finally, would it help if we wrote up a roadmap for the article and try to ask back previous editors to contribute material that are missing? --Rikurzhen 18:07, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)

Race article

sorry, late response -- problem with internet connection -- I concur with your assessment that we're talking about the same thing but using different language. It's been a while since my college metaphysics class, but I suspect our major differences are in that field, not biology.

I think the main body of the article is almost satisfactory. I would like to add some population genetics detail to the anthropology and genetics section. Stuff like: any 2 random humans vary at 1 in 1000 nucleotides, whereas 2 random chimps vary at 1 in 500; and material that links to population bottleneck and founder effect so that people can get more info on that. The other thing that needs improvement in the main article body is NPOV phrasing in some sections.

The validity section has been moved to a new article. This needs more work. I think we might be able to all agree that there is a consensus among at least 99% of people that the 3 older biological definitions are flawed -- and then explain why. Then we can try to present some of the current debate about the linage definition, which has been written about a lot lately, so we should find current material. (Notice the new APA issue linked in the race talk section.)

Finally, would it help if we wrote up a roadmap for the article and try to ask back previous editors to contribute material that are missing? --Rikurzhen 18:09, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)


I appreciate your comments. About that earlier sentence, all I can say is I did and probably still think it is a good sentence, although probably for very different reasons than JDG. That said, I have no problem with the current introduction (meaning, including what I added), even if that former sentence that I liked is gone.

As to your point about races: in principle I agree, because I know exactly what you mean. This is of course what I have tried to accomplish by conceiving of the intro as laying out three distinct widely held views of race (biologists who use it, biologists who don't, social scientists who see it purely as a social construct). I also believe that Rikurzhen has been trying to do the same thing with his table of different "theories" of race proposed by biologists/evolutionary scientists. (I understand your point about different concepts of race to be isomorphic with Rikurzhen's notion of different theories of race, and very similar to my notion of different scholarly communities, each of which has a different attitude towards the concept).

For what it is worth, I favored the older opening line (taxonomic principle) precisely for the same reason you are now suggesting defining races as aggregates that different people have come up with etc. I still prefer "taxonomic principle" over "aggregates" but my point is I think we differ in semantics, not substance. But to be clear, I am not trying to revive an old argument, I am not demanding that we put that sentence back in. I am just trying to explain my reasoning.

As to your suggestion about "races." As I said, I understand what you mean and agree absolutely. Nevertheless, I do not think your proposal will work because when people read "races" they do not, as I think you are suggesting, understand it to mean "a plurality of conceptions of race." Rather, they take it to mean "a plurality of races, races being real 'things', all races reflecting a unified conception of race." In other words, to use the word "races" will not be understood by most readers to refer to "socially constructed race"+"essentialist race"+"taxonomic race"+"lineage race" etc. They will undertand it to mean "negroid"+"caucasian"+"mongoloid." I think this is inevitable.

As I said, I think we agree in substance. My difference with you is semantic -- I do not think your proposal will have the effect you intend. I hope that you and Rikurzhen and I and others can work out an effective way of communicating this good point you are making., Slrubenstein 16:21, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

geographically disjunct subspecies usually can be demonstrated to actually be species

I can only guess he might mean something like this: suppose there are wolves in Asia and wolves in North America and someone thinks they are different subspecies of the same wolf species. And your criteria for species is that they can produce fertile offspring and would normally do so in the wild. Then someone accidently releases some Asian wolves in a American wolf sanctuary, and it turns out they fail to interbreed, and so concludes they are actually different species. That's what I'm guessing he means. --Rikurzhen 21:34, Jan 22, 2005 (UTC)

social construction

my understanding of social construction is that it is primarily a counterfactual claim. to say that X is socially constructed means that X would have been otherwise if society had been otherwise. thus, to extrapolate a biological construct is one that would have been otherwise if biology had been otherwise. in my opinion some definitions of race are mostly social construction, and some definitions of race are mostly biological construction -- in the context of that phrase. note: i would dislike a definition of construction under which electrons could be said to be constructed. --Rikurzhen 09:25, Jan 25, 2005 (UTC)

no, that's fine. i just wanted to give you an answer before I went to sleep. --Rikurzhen 17:51, Jan 25, 2005 (UTC)

I think the above is a plausible description of social construction, but I disagree. Preliminary note: scholars use the term in a variety of ways and it may not be possible to come up with one definition that works in every major published use of the term.
Ian Hacking provides a somewhat pragmatic explanation in The SOcial Construction of What? Basically, he sees all talk about "social construction" as a means of identifying something people take for granted, and getting them to stop taking it for granted.
He claims that "social construction" inovles three propositions, one which is always necessary and the other two which may or may not be necessary, depending on the object of analysis.
(1) X need not have existed, or need not be at all as it is. X, or X as it is at present, is not determined by the nature of things; it is not inevitable.
(2) X is quite bad as it is.
(3) We would be much better off if X were done away with, or at least radically transformed.
I happen to disagree vehemently with Hacking, but his is one of the most widely cited accounts by a philsopher.
I however believe that the notion of "social construction" starts with Kantian metaphysics. He claimed that we can never know a "thing in itself;" that all our perceptions of the real world are mediated through human senses, which necessarily structure our experience of the world. I think social constructionists go one or two steps further. The first step is to add that besides the human mind (which is by definition the same for all human beings), language (especially involving the grammar and lexicon of a given language) too structures our experience of the world. The second step is that discourse (meaning, rules governing (or if you prefer, habits or patterns) conversation -- rules of which people are unconscious, except of course in the breach) further structures our experiences (the case studies in the social construction of race, in the race article, exemplify this). From this view, "socially constructed" most definitely does not mean that something lacks physical reality. That something is socially constructed through language and discourse does not mean it is not constructed out of physically reall raw materials, and does not mean that it what is constructed has no physical reality. Nuclear bombs are socially constructed -- they do not exist "in" nature, but we humans, organized socially, came up with the idea to make one, and then worked together to make one, turning naturally found materials and turning them into something quite new. One could even argue that atoms are socially constructed (in fact, I think there is a book on the social construction of quarks). I don't think Stephen Hawking ever used the term "social construction" but when he explained what a scientific theory is in A Brief History of Time he is describing a social construction. He does not claim that theories are physically real or identical with reality, he explains that they are models we humans come up with to comprehend in some predictable way certain phenomena. In any event, I think social construction hinges on making a distinction between things and ideas. As soon as you admit to that difference, then you either become an idealist in the sense of Plato, or you pretty much have to acknowledge that our ideas are socially constructed. They are socially constructed out of experiences with the phenomenal world, and they may be used to make sense of or even control the phenomenal world (and to do so, we must have very rigorous procedures for socially constructing something). Of course, because they are often used to control the phenomenal world, they can and sometimes are used against other people. This gets to Hacking's point, which really has to do with the political uses to which "social constructionism" is put (and not what is "social construction" per se). I think anyone interested in this concept should read Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar's Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific facts. They show how the Salk Laboratory socially constructed TRF (Thyrotropin Releasing Factor). At one point they explain " say that TRF is constructed is not to deny its solidity as a fact. Rather, it is to emphasize how, where, and why it was created." Again, I think here one can productively go back to Hacking. The importance of "social construction" is to get people to recognize that what they take for granted is not, in popular naive ways of saying it, a "fact" or "natural." We all know just how much real, physical damage a nuclear bomb can do. But woe to us if people start thinking that "there have always been nuclear bombs" or "well of course making nuclear bombs is natural." If I haven't explained social construction well here, I am not sure I can do better -- but I think after reading this book anyone would have a crystal clear idea of what it means. Slrubenstein 21:39, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
This detailed explanation is well-structured and deserves to be incorporated into an artcle. Does it appear pretty much in this form somewhere? If yes, why did you repeat it at such length here? If not, it is an important explanation of an issue of major importance. Thank you Jeffrey Newman 05:51, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Chinese classical music

Just wanted to drop you a note that I just discovered your page on Chinese classical music on your personal website and found it to be very interesting reading. Great job compiling that information! —Lowellian (talk) 09:31, Feb 17, 2005 (UTC)

John Money

Hello, I am a new user and stumbled across this page in the most unlikely way, when I found a verbal linkage to Dr. Money and Graham crackers (you are what you eat?). Isn't that peculiar? I read the article biography and noticed that there were no external links; so I found some. Thought it would be proper to discuss this with you first, prior to making any changes to this extraordinarily well-researched article. Please see the John Money talk page, if you are inclined. Sincerely, Otto 00:40, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Thanks very much for responding; I have been busy with (real life) and haven't had much time to follow-through with this until now. I believe that there were two links: The case of John/Joan written by a reporter who then published the article in Rolling Stone, and then an AMA link that I found...and lost...more work to do! I do know that the AMA link has strong policy guidelines for copyright, and will require a letter of authorization. They are quite explicit on that point. The link that I found on the AMA doesn't even have the full text of the article; merely an abstract by the two doctors who originally criticized Money for witholding information for so long re: Reimer case. I questioned whether or not to even bother with it, based on the fact that it's a pay retrieval to access the original article, and listing it requires copyright permission from the AMA. Let me know if it's worth the effort of tracking down the article again. --Otto 19:39, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Sorry! I made the inexcusable mistake of not copying down the name which the exhibit (I took the photo in a museum) had. --Fir0002 03:55, 27 Mar 2005 (UTC)


The article begins this way: 'This article is about race as an intraspecies classification. A race is a distinct population of humans distinguished in some way from other humans. The most widely observed races are those based on skin color, facial features, ancestry, and genetics'

So let's talk about ANCESTRY. Shall you leave that opening statement alone? Yes, you have, you've left it there. Read it again, especially the part about "widely observed races are intraspecies classifications based on ANCESTRY. Now, who can think of an EXAMPLE of a race that is based on ANCESTRY? The question is - shall it be OK to MENTION an example? Either it is, or it isn't. If it isn't, then let's not even talk about race. So it HAS to be OK to mention examples if the generalizations are to make ANY SENSE AT ALL. Now the question is, WHO CLAIMS to be a race based on ancestry? Well, JEWS do. It's a FACT. It's NOT a BROADSIDE.

I had written the following - 'They cite as an example the self-assertion by Jews that they are a distinct race from 'Arabs'. This claim is based upon a religious belief of lineal descent from someone who lived nearly 4,000 years ago named Abraham and his son, Issac. The counterweight supposition is that all Arabs are descended from Abraham's other son, Ishmael. Scientifically, it is nonsensical, but it is the foundation of the Jewish religion, nation and 'race'. Welcome to a new dimension of discussion of the very old human perception of race.'

Instead of just removing my work, why don't you point out what is factually incorrect, or what is not rationally implied? There are topics in Wikipedia which are just a bunch of sterilized, neutered words which enlighten very little, if at all. Race is one of those topics, thanks to removal activity such as yours. If RACE is a valid concept, then let's talk about it in a way that's meaningful. If talking about it reveals that it's a social construct only, then so be it. If talking about it reveals that it is a biological reality that means nothing, then so be it. But let's TALK about it. If it's a social construct that is used to divide people and cause war, then let's talk about it, for crying out loud.

I want you to tell me what you mean by describing the above as a BROADSIDE. I want you to specifically say what is wrong about it.

If you insist that race will not be discussed throughly within Wikipedia then so be it - the discussion with regard to specific EXAMPLES of how some people use a claim of ANCESTRY to justifiy the concept of a racially distinct population, for instance, and what the implications of that are, good and bad, will have to take place with Wikipedia sitting irrelevant on the sidelines.Bill Cannon 15:51, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Can you provide a citation for your assertion that Jews claim to be a different "race" from Arabs? Jayjg (talk) 20:53, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Orange (color)

I see many of your contributions are substantive, and several "rv vandalism"s are just that. But I'm not sure what you intended with "orange". I rv the article, and avoided labeling your edit as anything but "damage" -- inadvertant, I'm sure.

I don't mean to embarass you and, if you like, you may immediately delete my comment. — Xiongtalk 05:30, 2005 Apr 26 (UTC)

Sorry, I don't know what happened. I was trying to follow up on an unregistered user who had been making, or trying to make, funny comments in the middle of articles. I wouldn't have gotten to Orange otherwise. Now I don't see his entry, and it appears that I reverted in a way that removed legitimate edits. It looks like the time records may have gone awry somehow. Anyway, thanks for catching my mistake. P0M 08:08, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)

NP. — Xiongtalk 17:01, 2005 Apr 26 (UTC)

Mao badge

I see you are very active on Cultural Revolution. It is a contentious topic and all are to be commended on an article which is anything other than a bloody battleground.

Mao badges are -- I should hope -- a relatively neutral footnote, a curiosity if you will, although they did have great significance. Perhaps the Mao badge deserves its own article; surely it should be mentioned in the context of the Cultural Revolution. As it happens, I've done a small bit of research on the item in question; I also have a small collection of indifferent quality, which I may photograph for use as illustration.

As an outsider to China, I have a rather jaundiced view of Chinese political battles and I do not want to be drawn into one over this. Suggestions? — Xiongtalk 05:36, 2005 Apr 26 (UTC)

Uploading to the Commons

Hi, As you probably saw on my talk page I have already been approached to upload to the Commons, and I've decided to take up on the idea and have uploaded all my photos from a-c so far. Amongst them is my tarantula picture. Unfortunately I uploaded it on its old name. If you thinks this is a problem tell me and I'll upload it again. --Fir0002 06:48, 1 May 2005 (UTC)



Thank you for your kind words from October 2004. I think we had a great discussion, too. I think it was fun and we produced a good outcome - and that's what I am here for. An I'd like to return the compliment about accepting other opinions - I also had the impression that even if we had a disagreement, we were both working towards the common goal of improving the article.

You also contacted me about an image from an Italian author for the race article in January - I assume that's already solved. If not, I can help with Italian. --Fenice 09:26, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

Re:Spider picture

You posted about my spider picture. None of the pictures I could find on google images searching for either Tetragnatha or Leucauge looked quite like my spider. But then again, I don't know anything about spiders really. I'd certainly believe you if that's what you think it was. Thanks for looking at it though. If you or anyone else can identify the spider, I'd be glad to hear about it. And of course feel free to use the image on any article. --jacobolus (t) 21:57, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Spider categorization

I was curious with the new spider categorization you are using, it looks like now spiders get the category of their species not genus, such as the hobo spider being of the category agrestis? It does make the categorizing spiders very logical from a scientist point of view, but will it be harder for average joe to find? Just browing the spider category now doesn't show that there is an article about hobo spiders, I'd have to know the order, family etc... then dig down a few subcategories to find the hobo article.

Ultimately it seems like the spiders category would be mostly unbrowsable, but eminently searchable. Is this the route other sections, perhaps snakes or birds, have chosen to take with organizing their articles? Would putting each spider into it's species category but also putting it in the overlord spider category be useful for searching as well as browsing?

Again, thanks for helping me out with my foray into working on spider articles, and all your awesome work in general on wikipedia!

--Fxer 17:05, May 18, 2005 (UTC)

Hobo spider image

Thanks for the heads up on the image being deleted soon, I changed the licence on it to reflect what his website states, and additionally emailed Dr. Ostrom to make sure it would be okay to use his image on Wikipedia, just to be doubly sure, and he was more than happy to have the image disseminated :)

Additionally, would you mind taking a look at Talk:Phoneutria? I made a little comment there to try and get some more info about the genus, perhaps you can shed some light on it! Thanks again for all your help

--Fxer 16:09, May 20, 2005 (UTC)

More spider categorizing

Also about categorizing the spiders, on the lowest species level such as the Hobo spider it is classified as agrestis for its binomial name, eventually could this cause a problem with other spieces (spider or not) sharing the same half of a binomial name? The Domestic house spider would share a category with the housefly (binomial name Musca domestica) if we categorize according to the half-binomial name...should this be of concern?

--Fxer 17:29, May 20, 2005 (UTC)

If we categorize based on partial binomial, such as P. fera we could end up running into the same problem eventually, with species like the housefly (Musca domestica) and the Apple (Malus domestica) both being in the category M. domestica, why can't we catch a break? :)

--Fxer 17:40, May 20, 2005 (UTC)

To your second question, on the Tree of Life taxobox page the complete classification has an entry for every subrank if needed. That link also states:

This taxobox contains a complete list of taxobox templates. Do not use this complete list: instead cut out all ranks except for the seven major ranks (regnum, phylum, classis, ordo, familia, genus, species) and the particular other ranks that are important to the taxon being described.

I've just been using the 7 major ranks, as I thought all the subranks for a particular species would just clutter the taxobox, and the subranks of spiders can still be found if needed. Like on the main spiders page the families divided amung their suborders to make them easier to find and organize, as there are so many of them.

Perhaps we should just use the 7 major ranks for the taxoboxes, and have just a single page for each subrank that shows its members? Example being the Araneomorphae suborder page that lists its member families?

As to how to categorize the species of spiders, your idea to recapitulate the higher-order names to an acronym is interesting, I don't suppose there is some sort of council that this question could be posed to and we could get some community discussion on the best long term solution?

--Fxer 19:33, May 20, 2005 (UTC)

Suborders, subfamiles and common names

For families such as the tarantula that has quite a number of genera, would you add another line to the taxobox that for subgenus in addition to the suborder line? It'd probably be easy to find a species that would have a suborder, subfamily, subgenus in the taxobox because there are just so many members of each rank.

Also that's a good point about the common names, perhaps with the brazilian wandering spider, we should change that to the article title for Phoneutria, then just redirect Phoneutria to brazilian wandering spider. Then change the Phoneutria nigriventer article to its binomial name for now, unless a more accurate common name for it is known.

--Fxer 20:59, May 20, 2005 (UTC)

Image:Races of Bees.png

I tagged Image:Races of Bees.png as "GFDL-presumed." Please confirm by changing to GFDL or some other license. Thanks Nv8200p 12:35, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

button spider

The reason i did that was because "button spider" was a missing topic (see Wikipedia:2004 Encyclopedia topics), and according to [5] it is just another name for the black widow. I'm sure you know more than myself about the matter though, so change it as you see fit, but remember that Button Spider currently redirects to black widow spider. thanks Bluemoose 09:42, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)

"Standard Chinese"

An anon has suggested at Talk:Standard Mandarin that the term should be changed to "Standard Chinese". However, given the popularity of the term "Mandarin" and the number of pages that link to Standard Mandarin, I'm not sure if I want to move the page. What do you think should be done? -- ran (talk) 00:50, Jun 8, 2005 (UTC)

our friend

i think he's a troll and i hope that ignoring him from now on will make him go away --Rikurzhen 21:48, Jun 16, 2005 (UTC)

Knowledge Management

Good to see your comment though it might take me a while to 'unpack' it, being new to all this. I'm not clear on the links, if any, between the e-mail, the Master Control Panel (sounds terrifying) and Knowledge Management (maybe that does, too!). Culture Wars certainly takes us to Star Wars domaine, but thanks for the welcome!

PS Have you been looking at the spiders on the Wikipedia - Reference Desk (I can't get that quite right, but at least you'll know where I mean) Jeffrey Newman 06:20, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, no spiders!

My mistake - all sorts of other interesting creatures, but the spiders I saw must have been on your site. Forget the above comment. Jeffrey Newman 06:24, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Uploading to the Commons

Hi Patrick, All my new photos have been uploaded to the commons, but I don't have time to reupload my old ones. I figure that I'd be better off uploading new ones than relocating old ones. --Fir0002 08:03, Jun 25, 2005 (UTC)

Civility and how to attain it

Without prejudice to the issue of whether or not Z was wrong to use words like racist and Nazi on various talk pages: there's a new approach being formulated to deal with annoying personal remarks. One aspect being considered is the special case wherein the target of an unwelcome remark wishes to raise an objection.

I've recently come around to the idea that it may be better not to raise the prospect of bans or blocks oneself as this may be seen as a sort of retaliation - which could willy-nilly add fuel to the fire, so to speak. (To be frank, this is a mistake I just made last week with csloat on a gitmo talk page.)

The upshot of this, is that "we who are innocent" must be patient - but we can also seek help. But while waiting for help to arrive, we can still say something like:

I wish you wouldn't call me a racist.

If a response comes back like

  • I did not mean you, or
  • Don't take it personally, or
  • That's not what I meant

...then do not respond further. Either disengage, or ignore it. Let others help restore civility; you will have done enough. -- Uncle Ed (talk) June 28, 2005 11:33 (UTC)

I am puzzled, or maybe I'm being over-sensitive. Zen-master called Rikurzhen a Nazi. I immediately objected, without suggesting penalties, to name calling. I added a "heads up" on the Wiki ettiquete alert page, whatever it's called. Nothing happened. More name calling. I sent messages to Mav, to you, the Anome. (I don't remember the order, and I think I'm leaving out the name of someone else who has been helpful in the past.) After I objected to Zen-master calling Rikurzhen a Nazi he wrote something indicating that both Rikurzhen and I are Nazis. I asked him whether that was what he intended to convey. He affirmed it was. I was in the process of going one notch higher in the making of formal complaints when you got involved. After your warning, I thought he would stop name calling or else you would do something about it. I became so used to "Nazi", "Neo-Nazi", and "racist" that I just disattended to them and went back to the problem of how to communicate. I copied and pasted one or more of his own sentences that happened to involve the word "Nazi," not because I wanted to call attention to what was already far too obvious, but because I wanted to get him to say by pronouns without clear referents. Then you posted something that sounded like it could be a warning to me not to use the word "Nazi." (I'm not sure of the exact sequence of events, but it's all there in print.)

I spent all day Saturday collating his postings and trying to find a thread of equations from the more clear of his posting that would make it clear to me, and hopefully to others, what he is trying to say since he has ignored all requests from me for clarification and it's a sorry scene when people are yelling instead of actually communicating.

Before getting out of bed this morning I had already decided that it is a waste of time to try to get through to somebody who is not answering responsively. I have other things to do.

Thanks for your help. I'll butt out completely except for one concern that I will put on your talk page. P0M 28 June 2005 16:10 (UTC)

Thanks for this. (For what it's worth, my estimation of your character - already rather lofty - just went up another couple of notches. :-) -- Uncle Ed (talk) July 1, 2005 19:36 (UTC)

Sensei, you do an excellent job of modeling civil behavior. I'm attempting to follow your example. Lil


I have posted a message on psychoanalysis to your objectionwhicky1978 June 28, 2005 23:37 (UTC)

Re: Please sign your postings (and be logged on)


Either you are not logging on and are making edits nevertheless, or someone else has been editing your user page.

What on Earth are you talking about? The last accidental unsigned edit to my user page was more than three weeks ago by me. If it was a chronic problem, I'd understand your concern, but I always sign in nowadays, so your little bit of initiative is entirely perplexing.

Usually it is better to log on and to sign postings, etc. I think most people automatically suspect anonymous edits as being the work of vandals, whereas the name of a known and trusted editor in an edit summary means (to me at least) that I can trust that it has been a reasonable and proper bit of editing.

While many vandals are anonymous, some utilize User Names. And while many editors who make solid contributions utilize User Names, some chose to be anonymous. And I am under no obligation to anyone to sign in - if I wish to edit anonymously, I shall do so. Thank you for your concern.

--Jeffrey O. Gustafson - Shazaam! 5 July 2005 07:19 (UTC)

In reply:

I should have given you more information. I was following some somewhat strange edits by an un-logged-on contributor and came to your talk page. Check your history, or take a look at
Somebody did make some changes, and I didn't read all of them or I would have realized that it couldn't very well have been you.

It wasn't. It was a vandal, which you would have easily ascertained if you looked at the History which clearly shows me reverting that user's changes a few hours after they vandalized my page. This is more of a case of really not paying attention.

--Jeffrey O. Gustafson - Shazaam! - <*> 5 July 2005 17:41 (UTC)


It's your edit that caused the appearance of spurious whitespaces. Please refrain from editing large portions of text until you've solved the problem. _R_ 7 July 2005 12:57 (UTC)


Hi P0M, you aren't an admin here, right? Would you like to be one? I'd happily nominate you if you wish. Regards, Stewart Adcock 8 July 2005 14:32 (UTC)

a new PC

a friend of mine just build himself a new PC for like $350; of course, it would be cheaper if we just archived more often --Rikurzhen 07:55, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

Question for you

Hello POM, in our arbitration case you stated the following:

The fundamental problem of thought, which five or six of us have all tried in ways both short and prolix to explain to Zen-master, is that it is impossible to discover whether there is a connection between two factors without seeing through objective studies whether or not there is a strong correlation between them, and that correlation does not prove causation. Every time one of us tries to explain, even to bring this matter up for question, it is evaded by a liturgy of rhetorical questions and accusations to the effect that a conspiracy exists to bury the true way to discover the truth.

I think you may be misinterpreting what I am saying so I will now hopefully try to clarify. I am arguing it is impossible to find the true cause for the IQ test results disparity if people think about and present the issue using only two factors. The studies you refer to can't possibly be objective if they ignore or bias the presentation of other factors that are equivalent and highly relevant. My point all along has been the other equivalent factors such as "wealth" and "nutrition" are not getting a fair presentation, I do however support the analysis of data correlations such as "race" and "intelligence", but I am against excluding equivalent and highly relevant other correlations from the exact same IQ test results data. If the cause of the IQ test results disparity turns out to be 100% because of nutrition in your view what would be the most accurate way of describing the issue? At a language level is there any chance describing the issue using only two factors might lead to bias? zen master T 02:16, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

We need to go point by point. Did you see the puzzle I put on the talk page? What was the first hypothesis regarding kuru (the human equivalent of mad cow disease)? P0M 02:35, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

We can go through it point by point if you want. Talk page discussions were actually archived improperly including outright deletions, misorganizations and misleading titles. The content can't ever go away you are right, but the perhaps unconscious goal on the part of the archivers may be to decrease the chances third parties will read article criticisms. You will have to explain your "kuru" point specifically.
Also, can you please answer my question if you think, at a descriptive language level, that focusing on only two out of multiple factors might bias an allegedly scientific analysis? In your view is there possibly a tiny chance I might have some valid neutrality concerns about the way the article presents the issue? zen master T

Bear with me for a while. The question is in regard to Kuru (disease). What was the first hypothesis?

1. (The missing hypothesis.)

2.(Commonplace) Infectious causes are at work.

rapidly ruled out because of the complete lack of inflammation.

3.Heredity causes it

appeared less likely because of the widespread involvement of multiple brain regions in the disease, lack of fit to any known hereditary disease pattern, and extremely high rate of occurrence, though a familial pattern of the disease was noted.
Also, the disease was so highly lethal that it was hard to understand why it hadn't self-extinguished.

4.Contagion of a microbial or viral agent via culture-relevant features of the Fore population causes it.

no infectious agent was found in the tissue specimens and attempts to transmit the disease to cultures, mice, rats, chicks, and rabbits had failed.

5.Further study produced the hypothesis that something had to be being transmitted in connection with cannibalism because of the close fit between Fore group members who actually practiced cannibalism and Fore group members who actually contracted the disease.

This hypothesis became more and more well confirmed -- especially after Fore group members were persuaded to cease their practice of cannibalism and new cases of the disease rapidly declined

6.Prions, and their mis-folded forms, were discovered, and infection by transmission of the mis-folded forms is now the hypothesis that has the most support.

[Progress required the discovery of] (infectious proteins) to move forward, and the story is still unfolding.

7.The story is still unfolding, for one thing, because some (diehard?) researchers still accept the idea of some kind of a viral agent that is behind the ability of the one form of the prion protein to be re-folded into into a disease-causing form.

I guess I should have gone into "edit" and copied the underlying stuff, but I think you can still read the above fairly clearly. P0M 03:49, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

My question was how does your Kuru reference above specifically relate to the race and intelligence dispute at a logic level? Do you think there is any chance the race and intelligence article gives an unfair and biased presentation of the subject? Can we please analyze the neutrality of language? Wikipedia's NPOV policy specifically requires evidence be presented using neutral language, after that is complete conclusions are inferred from the evidence. If there is disputed evidence and ommitted evidence how can there be scientific conclusions? zen master T 04:16, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

What good would it do if I agreed with you? We could both be wrong. I could make you feel good by agreeing with you, but I could be like the man who says, "Yes, the river is frozen, just as you say. But you deserve the honor of walking well ahead of me as we cross." What is needed is someone who has already made it across the river a few times and knows the safe way. But you want to give me directions, so there is no function for me to perform. P0M 05:09, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

What good would it do? Neutrality disputes always center around the possibility of a neutrality violation. The good is acknowledging that possibility so readers are made aware there is more than one way of thinking about the issue. I am not trying to conclude anything, I am just arguing the status quo method of presentation is biased. I am not arguing your way of looking at the issue should be excluded, I am arguing multiple ways of looking at the issue should be included. I don't see how your analogy relates to race and intelligence? Wikipedia specifically has an NPOV policy to protect the minority view, evidence must be presented using neutral language, conclusions are then inferred from the neutrally presented evidence. zen master T 11:30, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

I said it before: We need to go point by point. If you won't enter into a reciprocal process with me there is no more to be said. On the talk page for R&I I have already agreed to as much of your position as I find to be correct. When there appear to be differences in conclusions regarding peripheral matters, one needs to go back to fundamental matters. But you haven't even looked at the problem I posed.

Even if I were coerced, somehow, into agreeing with you, the people with good groundings in the philosophy of science and even better groundings in the issues specific to R&I would not change their conclusions because of my asserting an unfounded belief. Jokestress, on the other hand, they have to listen to because she does not just assert conclusions. She has a good grounding in the philosophy of science, and she procedes from fundamentals and from evidence to conclusions, and for that reason she has been able to get some of her points accepted. She also gives ground when somebody shows her a weakness in her own position. That attitude creates respect on the part of other contributors.

As I said above, you want to give me directions, so there is no function for me to perform. P0M 02:34, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Ok, let's go through our race and intelligence discussion point by point. I think even experts in any field can become confused because of confusing language. zen master T 03:20, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

We won't get anywhere this way. You wrote to me, asking for help. I tried to help. You come back by directing attention to your first point, and ignoring where I said I'd need to start the discussion. What would you think of a patient who goes into a doctor's office and insists on telling the doctor how to perform surgery? P0M 03:31, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

What way that would get anywhere would you propose? I am trying to explain my thinking and understand yours. Your Kuru reference is tangential toward making progress in the discussion. Say what you mean directly. zen master T 04:51, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Your comment

Your comment on the kang article bummed me out. Did you not bother to double-click on the image and see the info on photo source there? P0M 02:05, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Hi Patrick! I'm sorry, I really didn't mean it as criticism. I was trying to explain where Mihoshi [might be/is] coming from. I wasn't talking about the source of the image, but of the facts themselves. A style for citations is evolving on Wikipedia. For an example of references in action, see Open cluster#References. An example would be to add a reference to where you read / heard that the heat capacity of kang beds is so great.
Sources are important not primarily from a copyright perspective, but to ensure verifiability and no original research. Again, I didn't mean to sound hostile, just to give you a helpful tip. Regards, — David Remahl 03:08, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Race and intelligence

As you correctly surmise I wasn't trying to delete your comments. When I submitted the first time I got a cache fault (from the Wiki cache server) so didn't know that the edit had gone through which is why I re-submitted it. In future I'll check if the edit has gone through before using the 'back' button and pressing 'Save page' again. KayEss | talk 19:14, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Good. No problem then. Myself, I'm trying to get off to bed :-) KayEss | talk 19:27, 2 August 2005 (UTC)


Hi. Could you please revert your recent changes to the taxonomy chart? I know they were well-intentioned, but you just created a goo-gob of links to articles that do not exist. Thanks. P0M 01:56, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

That was the whole point! That means (a) these red links may tempt people to write the articles; (b) having links for both scientific and common names makes it easy to see when an article has been written at one name without a redirect at the other; (c) when someone does write an article on one of these families, they don't have to remember to edit spider to add a link. Gdr 02:00:50, 2005-08-03 (UTC)

I really don't like this idea. If there is an article for Lycosidae and an article for Wolf Spiders they will be about the same subject, no? Then somebody will insist, reasonably, that since they both say the same thing they should be combined. Before you do things like this you should at least bring the subject up on the discussion page. P0M 02:06, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

The scientific name of a taxon should be a redirect to the name of the article that describes that taxon. So Lycosidae should be a redirect to wolf spider (I just added it). That's how it works throughout Wikipedia. (For example, Chrysomelidae is a redirect to leaf beetle; Spheniscidae is a redirect to penguin, and so on.) Having links for both scientific and common names makes it easy to see when an article has been written at one name without a redirect at the other. Gdr 02:17:28, 2005-08-03 (UTC)
For example, my making these links has revealed a small problem: the spider article implies that Cybaeidae is the family of water spiders. But water spider redirects to diving bell spider which is just one species in that family. Gdr 02:20:06, 2005-08-03 (UTC)


Please don't create categories based on species epithets, like Category:Tepidariorum. First, it makes no sense; there is no such creature as "tepidariorum". Species epithets are always used with the genus name. And second, species epithets often occur in many genera. Imagine "Category:Officinalis" or "Category:Chinensis"!

Category:Achaearanea tepidariorum is probably what you need. Gdr 04:07:35, 2005-08-03 (UTC)

Brainwashing revisited

Patrick can you please take a look at Talk:Brainwashing#Original_research.3F Personally I believe that the research on brainwashing in the prisons of Communist China is undisputed, based on many testimonies and several researchers and hence can be stated as facts, though I have to admit that I did not read very much on the subject. Thanks. Andries 07:59, 7 August 2005 (UTC)


Greetings Pat. Actually, I was just fixing the link. It looked something like Tai ChiTai Chi Ch'üan]] and had some extra brackets sticking off the end. Most Western literary and translation work on T'ai Chi uses W-G, so I'll usually default to W-G for the T'ai Chi articles. Cheers, Fire Star 17:03, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

Tarantulas in Commons

Per your request, I added those tarantula photos to the commons - Category:Aphonopelma. Actually I added three photos, uncropped at full resolution (1600x1200). I've got a few others of this same individual that I can upload if you think folks would be interested. Toiyabe 16:17, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

Question on procedure

I am, unfortunately, one of the people involved in the Zen-master arbitration process. I just discovered that there is now a workshop attached to the original request for arbitration. The whole process looks different to me than the kind of arbitration that Anthere conducted when there was a big fight over the DNA article. This proceeding has, to me, more the look of a trial with the projected solution being some kind of punishment if anyone is found guilty.

The workshop page was my innovation created to give a space to discuss proposals and toss ideas around before they are frozen into definite proposals. I realize it is new and possibly not linked and explained as well as it could be. It is a trial and we do routinely apply "punishments" usually editing restrictions of one sort or other. It is usually not a negotiation or mediation although it can turn into that, for example if Zen-master addressed us in terms which seemed to get at the root of the problem. Fred Bauder 12:52, August 31, 2005 (UTC)

I asked in several ways for outside help because Zen-master was calling people Nazis and similar names, and those accusations can be damaging to individuals outside the Wikipedia domain in the void. I had in mind another case where I had imagined that one user making some abusive statements had decided to behave himself -- not knowing that the abuse was continuing on the talk pages of other articles. I felt that I should have intervened in that case, and I didn't want to stand by and let people get hurt in this case. After the use of abusive language had been abated, hostilities moved into the edit war theatre. Then a request for arbitration was put in. (That's just as I remember things. No time at 3 a.m. to go back and reread old talk page entries.)

Zen-master makes some good points but in terms of Wikipedia policy this material Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Zen-master/Workshop#Accusations_of_racism trumps whatever points he makes Fred Bauder 12:52, August 31, 2005 (UTC)

I don't see where administrative punishments are particularly suitable in this case. I think mediation, if successful, would be more productive in the long run. The problem, as I see it, is that Zen-master will not accept attempts to mediate by me as being other than inimicable to him. That is perhaps understandable, since in certain key respects I disagree with him. What is needed, IMHO, is to find somebody whose good intentions Zen-master can believe in. And that person, if I understand things correctly, will have to be able to explain to him, in terms that he can accept, why it is not productive to keep repeating the same assertions and questions over and over again.

Again this material Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Zen-master/Workshop#Accusations_of_racism calls for a firm No. Fred Bauder 12:52, August 31, 2005 (UTC)

I basically agree with Zen-master on an emotional basis. I have a non-expert's feeling about the way the issues of "race and intelligence" have been framed, about the reliability of the evidence, about many of the issues that center around the validity of the conceptual scheme used to discuss the entire issue. That being said, I know that I have feelings but no proof. I have agreed with Zen-master publically, on the discussion page of the R&I article, on every point on which I can find agreement with him. He still regards me as some kind of enemy. I watched another contributor (Nectarflowed, I think it was) patiently try to get him through the same fundamental flaw of reasoning that I saw, but Zen-master rejected all attempts at reason and kept pounding at his familiar assertions. Then I tried to set up a parallel problem in scientific inquiry that did not involve the same emotionally loaded issues, but all contributors including Zen-master ignored that attempt.

Yes, racists obviously take comfort with respect to this topic as so framed. It seems rather unlikely that genetics is wholly responsible for the observed data and a search for the cultural or health factors which could also explain the data is in order.

Since everyone has ignored it, the example has failed its original purpose, but let me use it here to describe what I think is causing the intellectual side of the problem. (What I see as Zen-master's set to see bad intentions in people who disagree with him is another matter.) When kuru, the human analog of mad cow disease, was discovered in New Guinea, the researchers did not investigate all members of the general population of that country. The researchers noticed almost almost immediately that all people affected by that disease were members of an ethnic group called the Fore. Their initial hypothesis was, "Something is causing disease among the Fore." Then the looked for characteristics of this ethnic group that might explain the fact that they had this problem. They very early on considered the possibility that it involved the genetic constitutions of this group. It would have been stupid for those doctors to look at non-Fore members of the general population. Now for the analogy I was setting up: Lower average IQ scores are the "disease," and there are three or four ethnic groups that have progressively lower average IQ scores in the US. The same questions need to be asked: Is this a matter of genetic constitution? (It wasn't a question of genetic constitution in the case of the Fore.) Is it a matter of culture? (It was in the case of the Fore, and they had to be convinced to change practices central to their cultural identity.) Zen-master wants people to not look at "race and intelligence" but to look at "nutrition and intelligence". Applied to the prion disease emergency his approach would have asked health officials to ignore the fact that it was the Fore who manifested the problem and look at all individuals in the country to see why a certain "random" set of indivuals got the disease.

I hope that's clear enough for you to understand what is puzzling me. One possible response to what has gone on so far is to do what Ed Poor did immediately after I wrote to him. Just say: Don't fight, or else. Doing so will prevent future outbreaks of the problem in this one place, but it doesn't strike me as an instance of either arbitration or mediation. It strikes the branches not the root of the problem. I sincerely believe that Zen-master's heart is in the right place. So is Rikurzhen's heart, and that of everybody else involved. At the root of the problem is an issue of dynamics, a dialog that is not taking place. I don't know whether to put any of this on the "workshop." It seems that nobody is interested or aware of what I see as the fundamental issue. P0M 07:57, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

We will not become deeply involved in a content issue when there is an obvious behavioral issue before us. When and if Zen-master quits calling everyone else Nazis he might be able to contribute to the dialogue. Fred Bauder 12:52, August 31, 2005 (UTC)

VfD on Black Recluse

Not sure if you noticed or not, but black recluse is now up for a VfD.

--EngineerScotty 17:52, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Hybrid bees and artifical insemination

The term hybrid and bees is usually used if a queen breeder crosses the genetics of two or more pure populations of bees. Artificial insemination makes this process more predictable but is not necessary to create "hybrid" bees. If you want artificially inseminated queens contact [6]. Be ready to shell out some serious money though. Buckfast queens are hybrids (depending on who you listen to) There are several queen breeders who sell Buckfast queens.

Shoefly 03:07, September 7, 2005 (UTC)

Hybrid or no-hybrid - yes, they do have stingers!!

Recursive link

Maybe you're in the middle of an edit, but Australian venomous funnel-web spider is currently a redirect to itself. I'm assuming that the prior content at Sydney funnel-web spider will eventually be there, with some editing?

Just checking... --EngineerScotty 03:46, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

Let's do it!

Please see Wikipedia:WikiProject horse training. Uncle Ed 20:00, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

Thank you

Thanks for your answer re the mobility of the horse. It was very useful. Avalon 06:48, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

Philosophical implications of classical physics

Thanks for your explanation on the background on this article. It is hard for an outsider to find out exactly what is going on, especially if it's about the interpretation of QM which is a subject which I find very difficult (even though I have heard quite a bit of QM). One of the details which made me wonder is that the AfD nomination was extremely succinct and by somebody who has, as far as I could see, not been involved in the article. Let's see what happens with the AfD. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 21:25, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

I took a look at the changes that David made to the intro - and although I understand better what the focus of this article is from his point of view - I am not sure he yet understands the purpose of wikipedia articles and the difference to original research - although sourced - it is very much like Classical definition of republic AfD now here: Classical definition of republic very well researched and sourced - but original research none the less. Because it is not verifiable - i.e. there are not a bunch of people commenting on this idea and providing analysis that we can report on - instead it is like a book report on Messiah's views of a particular subject.
Anyway - I am not going to make any other edits until the original research question is resolved - if it survives - I will do what I can to help make it understandable. Trödel|talk 03:22, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
That is why people hate math and physics too often - a teacher that doesn't excite the mind with the possibilities and help the students understand why the stuff is so interesting. Let's not give up too early - just make sure that all the hard work is not wasted - and whatever David may want the article to say - it may or may not end up that way once it is presented from a NPOV. We'll see. Trödel|talk 04:03, 1 November 2005 (UTC)


I replied on my talk page. And don't call my bot mad, it is doing useful work. :) Oleg Alexandrov (talk) 15:14, 28 October 2005 (UTC)


for your observation on Michael Berumen. I agree with you completely. This article underwent a specious VfD effort, handily defeated. A couple of critics said it was too well written, which, they contend, is inappropriate for someone so unnotable, a rather curious kind of criticism. Then a fellow said it's too long, also implying undue notability. Very difficult to please people sometimes. I added the criticism section to the article for the sake of comity, not because I thought it was essential. Anyway, your comments are quite correct in my view. icut4u


Yes that page is an important source, but it is not the light reference, which, I think, was shorter and earlier in the book. I didn't work page by page but reveiwed the early part of the book and wrote what seemed to be called for in the current Wikipedia context, to corect the overly classical presentation. What helps to extend the meaning, especially of the page you mention, is the page from Merzbacher that I just added, that shows that things don't have to appear classically to have touched to have interacted quantum mechanically. I don't see why you rush me so much. I am not getting paid for this either. I have actually been involved in measuring with photons. We used a common procedure that in no way a result of our research. David R. Ingham 05:08, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

QM philosophy

Yeah, that is what I meant to imply. Not only can I read what he's trying to write, but it's completely correct as far as I can tell. Lemme see if I can explain what he's trying to get at. I apologize if the following example is either at too high or too low a level; if the former, just tell me what I need to explain better.

In quantum mechanics, information about the system is represented by a complex wave function, that is a complex number is assigned at each point in space and time. So we write, e.g. for the ground state of a quantum harmonic oscillator,

However, the wave function is not itself observable, what's observed is the probability density

, where denotes the complex conjugate.

In any particular measurement, you'll see the particle at only one x position, but if you replicated the experiment many times you'd map out this probability distribution. In the harmonic oscillator case, this gives

However, we could also have added a phase, like this:

Because of the complex conjugation and the fact that , this gives the same probability density as above.

So by making a measurement, we're losing information. It doesn't matter here for anything we observe, but if we added up two waves with different phases they would interfere with each other and we'd see it.

He goes on to explain that quantum mechanical wave functions evolve deterministically in time, that is to say that there are no probability calculations in determining how a wave function evolves in time; the probability is only invoked when you actually conduct a macroscopic measurement.

The problem with the article is it really is POV-pushing; he sees quantum mechanics as true, and classical mechanics as an approximation of that truth. In fact, I (and most physicists, I believe) would say they're both models of measurements you can make in the real world, although of course quantum mechanics gets the right answer when things are very small and classical physics doesn't apply. It's true in principle that you can derive all of macroscopic physics from quantum mechanics, but it's very hard and serves very little purpose. He's concerned with the "primacy" of one theory or the other, which is unnecessary.

Hrmm... Hope that's helpful. -- SCZenz 07:30, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Quantum computers

I'm not 100% sure I understood your question, but this should cover it. The article has nothing to do with quantum computers. He mentions offhand "(non-quantum) computers" as a storage device equivalent to a notebook; he didn't mean you could use quantum computers as a data taking device. (You can't read what's in a QM computer without collapsing its wavefunction anyway.) -- SCZenz 21:17, 31 October 2005 (UTC)


Where've you been? Playing with spiders or something? I miss you. Jeeny 05:28, 6 October 2007 (UTC)


Hi, I was just told by some Chinese people that sawdust is and not . Are you sure it's the latter, as you'd said in the discussion page for Moo shu pork some time ago? Badagnani 11:16, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Sawdust is sawdust. Exselsior (a shredded wood product that looks like shredded wheat cereal) is not dust at all, nor is it small chips created by a saw blade. I'll check the correct characters for "muxu." Maybe that is where your problem is. P0M 22:09, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Check out: P0M 22:09, 14 November 2007 (UTC) know which without delving into old Chinese sources. Badagnani 22:46, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

By the way, the earliest mention in English I found on Google Books dates from 1967, with all other sources there dating from the 1970s.[7] The spelling in the early sources is "moo shi pork." Badagnani 22:47, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

I'll check further, but I have had things packed in "excelsior" in Taiwan, and I'm pretty sure they called that stuff "mu xu." The "Mu shi" is probably the result of spelling errors by people who don't know Chinese. The "shi" is among the worst sounds to put in the name of an edible product. If you read it in third tone it is the blunt term for excrement.
When I get home I'll check my Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Chinese Language. That one is about the size of the Encyclopedia Americana, so they generally are very thorough in giving derivations. Of one thing I'm sure -- it's not "sawdust pork." I just added some stuff to the article. It turns out that "mu xu" can also mean "tree fungus," and "tree fungus" is a possible ingredient for "mu xu rou," but it certainly isn't the main or even the second component, so I'm guessing that the primary characteristic of the dish is that everything is sliced into "whiskers."
If you'd ever have seen the packing material you would realize how easy it would be to go from that stuff to naming a meat and vegetable dish after it. I wonder what they call "shredeed wheat" in Chinese. I don't recall ever having seen it for sale in Taiwan. (To me it tastes about like shredded wood, and Chinese people probably would not eat it since the only way I ever found to make it palatable was to drown it in milk and put in about an equal amount of suger. :-(

P0M 22:59, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Ijust did a Google check for the packing material in Chinese and found a different compound (wood fibers instead of wood shreds), but my memory of the name for the packing material goes back to the 1960s, and people may have taken to using another name in the interim. I'll have to check when I can get to a dictionary. P0M 23:31, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks--I worked on both Auricularia auricula-judae and Cloud ear fungus and did not come up with the synonym "mu xu" for this fungus. I agree that your theory is compelling, but it's getting a lot of discussion disputing it from folks in China. Have you examined the sources whose links I placed there? Badagnani 23:37, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

I've summarized the other current Chinese theories about the dish at Moo shu pork. Badagnani 23:37, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Here is yet another article giving this opinion, that the "Sweet Osmanthus" meaning is the older one, and the "wood shavings" meaning is a newer one (perhaps assigned by Cantonese chefs in the U.S. who were not from the dish's original area in northern China, perhaps Shandong). There are apparently several other dishes using 木樨, as a euphemism for dan ("egg"), which older Chinese folks didn't like to use at death anniversaries, presumably out of decorum or for fear of offending the spirits. Two things seems strange, however: why 木樨 is used instead of 桂花. That doesn't seem to make any sense. And why is it 木樨 and not 樨木? Is it because 木樨 refers to the plant and 樨木 would refer to the wood made from the tree? These things need to be investigated thoroughly, and old Chinese sources examined. Is there a Chinese equivalent of Google Books? Badagnani 00:03, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

I've spent lots of time looking through dictionaries, and there doesn't seem to be much on culinary terms. It's clear what the food is, i.e., there would be no trouble to find recipes. Sometimes the sources of words in any language can be hard or even impossible to retrieve. I suspect that there are several things going on with this name. The dish I am familiar with does not often contain eggs. Neither does it contain cinnamon or the bark of the osmanthus tree (a similar spice that sometimes ends up in "cinnamon" sold in the U.S. because it is cheaper). Why would they have named a dish that is primarily pork and vegetables mu4 xu1. Both shredded wheat (the breakfast cereal) and shredded wood (the packing material) currently use su1 rather than xu1 in their names, which could easily slip over into a "shu" spelling. (Su, Xu, Shu... If you're talking to somebody with a regional pronunciation their pronunciations may slide all over the place, but "shi" is improbable because the English equivalent is the same spelling plus a "t," or it could mean "stone," or "clan," etc. but nothing that sounds probable as a cuisine name that I can think of.)

The "mu xu" I heard in Taiwan could easily have been a mispronunciation of "mu si." "Mu xu" can mean "wood whiskers," and at first sight that sounds improbable as the name for cuisine. But the visual image for the packing material is almost perfect. I have always wanted to see the machine that produces the packing material because it produces fibers that are clearly separated but also somehow locked together. If you are packing a vase in a cardboard box and want to put excelsior around it you have to use some force to pull a handful of useful size free from the bushel or so of interlocked fibers that you get from the manufacturer. And the fibers are parallel and curved in much the same way that the individual hairs are parallel and yet hard to comb in a somewhat curly beard. So it is possible that the original name was "shredded pork (and vegetables)," and the non-carpenters who heard the name and didn't get the image might have looked for an ingredient name thinking it meant something like "cinnamon pork" or "egg pork." I can see how somebody could throw an egg into a dish of mu xu rou and have it taste pretty good, but when I try to imagine adding a teaspoon or so of cinnamon to a pint of mu xu rou, uh, no thanks.

Why does "mu xu" mean tree fungus? I guess because the fungus growing on the tree is somewhat analogous to the way a beard grows on somebody's face. Which aspect of this name would have been relevant to the original recipe name? Suppose that it originally meant "tree fungus pork" and somebody saw a dish with the tree fungus hard to make out because it had been so finely shredded and also a dish that was composed of long, whisker-like, shreds. Somebody familiar with excelsior would have made the wrong connection. Or, if the original chef called it "excelsior pork" because he was familiar with the packing material and somebody else came along who didn't know the name of the packing material, then that person might have assumed that it had tree fungus in it (or, maybe, osmanthus bark). And if that person tried to cook it himself he might have thrown some tree fungus or cinnamon in with the rest of the stuff.

I guess, in the absence of any time machine or ancient recipe books, we should go with the surface meaning of the Chinese name and a description of the texture of the components -- which is that they are shredded.

I have one more dictionary to dig out and one Chinese friend who may remember what the old Chinese name for excelsior was. (I was really surprised to discover that people are still making that stuff. I thought it had been entirely supplanted by plastic peanuts.) P0M 13:40, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

The idea is that Chinese often abbreviate by just using one character of a multiple-character word. For example, one often sees things about 中-美 cooperation rather than 中国-美国 cooperation. Thus, as has been discussed a lot in Chinese, 木 is simply the shorthand for 木耳 and 樨 is shorthand for 桂花, as apparently many dishes containing eggs are often called. Regarding osmanthus bark, I've never heard of this used as a spice; it appears to be unknown why the osmanthus flower is called 桂花, but it may come from the color of the flowers or the fact it grows prominently in Guilin. The one that is used as a spice is cassia, which is the literal meaning of 桂. Again, we have the Chinese penchant for metaphor or synecdoche. Badagnani 14:43, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Can you give the characters you found for "shredded wheat" or "shredded wood"? If it is su1 (not the pronunciation of 须) we'll have to change the text of the article accordingly. Badagnani 14:50, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
I see, it's 木丝 ("wood silk"), similar to the noodles called 粉丝. That makes sense. So the fact that you had that 木须 is the packing material, and presuming that those were the characters used too when you first encountered it is a pretty serious error, which needs to be corrected. I've never seen the characters 木丝肉 associated with moo shu pork. Badagnani 14:55, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

The Chinese Wikipedia has found an early mention that actually explains the term. We should probably go with that entry.

That source says that 木樨肉 (mu4 xi1 rou4) is the name that was originally written. One dictionary entry I discovered mentions scrambled eggs, which actually explains the connection between eggs and 0smanthus, sort of. It's another way in which the appearance of the dish can determine its name. The scrambled eggs, with bits of yellow and bits of white, reminded people of the some yellow and some white flowers. The reference (whether it was a correct explanation or not) is something that was actually written down and can be quoted. The Guo2 Yu3 Ci2 Dian3 says that 木犀(or 樨) (mu xi) is the ornamental tree, and 木樨(mu xu) refers to the various dishes that include egg. Those are the facts as we have them. 木须 seems to be a miswriting of 木樨. Whether it was written that way because it is easier or because it was a pun on the whiskery nature of the food preparation is impossible to say. I haven't been able to find a single dictionary entry for 木须, so the other dictionary entries must be the standard way to write the name of the dish. I have looked for "excelsior" in English-Chinese dictionaries, but so far I've only found explanations: thin wood shavings used for packing and stuffing things. (I see you've put many of the sources I've just mentioned on the dicussion page for the article. Thanks.) P0M 17:20, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm still waiting to hear back from my native informant. But even if he gives the same answer to the Chinese name for excelsior that I had it will only explain the 木須 character combination. The problem with product names, even in English, is that they can be tansient and/or regional. I remember trying to purchase "RCA connectors" in North Carolina and having nobody know what I was talking about -- even though before and after that time that is still the general catalog term.

I wonder what cooks call the long thin strips of something like celery that can be obtained by pushing the celery the long way into a fine grate. P0M (talk) 22:47, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Good work. We ought to remove that 木须 can mean 木耳, if you're now sure it doesn't. I added that to the article after you told me you knew that. Badagnani (talk) 22:55, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

木须 is wood ear (Auricularia). 木耳 is black tree fungus.(Auricularia auricula)

The dish called 木樨肉 happens to contain 木耳 which is a species of 木须. It does not contain 木樨 but it looks a little like its flowers and does contain 肉. It apparently does not mean excelsior but it looks more like it than it looks like 木樨 flowers. Its consistency, especially when MSG is added, is mushy (mushi?), but that's a joke (I think). The only thing I'm really sure of at this point is that it does not have anything to do with sawdust.

If you think about the way excelsior is made, it's probably about the same as the way that the meat and vegetables are prepared for "muxu rou."

I was just watching a TV program on the making of violins. People have been using jigs and tools like wood planes for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, writing on technologies used for mundane purposes are scarce in Chinese. P0M (talk) 03:13, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Excelsior is 木絲,刨花. P0M (talk) 03:38, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

You just said, above, "I haven't been able to find a single dictionary entry for 木须." Now you say you're sure Auricularia is 木须. I have never heard nor seen Auricularia called by this name, although it does have a number of common Chinese names. If no dictionary gives this name, I think this is incorrect and should be removed from the article. Badagnani (talk) 08:00, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

I think I meant 木须(肉) in my own dictionaries, sorry. I do not have a botanical dictionary at hand. 木须 comes up in on-line dictionaries,but I'm not sure how dependable they are. I wouldn't want to throw out the possibility that they are right. On the other hand, I just checked for "Auricularia 須" via Google and didn't come up with a real instance. I suspect that 須 is a simplification for 樨, and that 樨 is a recent clarification of 犀. But 須 is also a simplification of 鬚。Online, 木鬚肉 is less common as a culinary name than is 木须肉. But people will write over the sounds they've learned to say but using the wrong characters. Also, in the old days there frequently wasn't any way to put something like 樨, 樨, 犀 on a printed menu because the menu was being written out on a Chinese typewriter and the fonts for those devices were limited.

We have a source of some age that says the term was originally 木犀(肉, etc.) and that it had to do with the white and yellow flowers of the 木犀 tree. We have a contending "tradition" that writes it as 木鬚(肉, etc.) and would appear to have something to do with another aspect of the appearance of the dish, its "stringy" nature. At this point we have no way of knowing for sure whether the one historical source that has been found was right or was that author's misunderstanding of the 木鬚 idea and subsequent miswriting of it as 木犀 and/or 木樨. One thing is clearer to me than it was before -- those who write "wood whiskers" are probably not thinking of a mixture of yellow and white flowers. Do they even break the compound and try to figure it out, or do they treat it as much as a unit as we do with "titmouse"?

Maybe we need the historical information first, the yellow and white flowers idea. Then we need to cover the alternative writing of the name of the dish as "wood/tree whiskers", and the simplification or alternative for of that word as 木须, noting that one definition of 须 is "whiskers." (Etymologically, that is likely to be the original meaning anyway since there is "decorative whisps" on the left and "head" on the right.) We don't have to draw any conclusions for the readers, but we can give them the information.

After we have dealt with the names we can deal with the preparation and appearance of this dish. I would really like to know how the big restaurants cut stuff for this dish. My bet is that they have a dedicated "vegetable plane" that lets people do the equivalent of running a hand plane down a carrot the long way, thus coming up with long thin strips. When I was looking for information on this subject I came to one note that said that in the design of a restaurant kitchen you had to provide a skylight or other very good source of light because otherwise your kitchen help could ruin their eyesight or slice their fingers trying to cut stuff so thin. I suppose that in families they just do the best they can with a regular Chinese kitchen knife/cleaver. But even there I can see how to design a sort of inverted carpenter's plane with little knives parallel to the way the carrot is shoved into the main blade. Doing things that way would be something like running a potato through a french fries cutter. Just how the Chinese cooks get the ideal results for this dish is probably more important than the derivation of the name. If the vegetables are not very thinly sliced and made into long strips, the resulting dish would not be "mu xu rou." It would be some kind of "pork ding and mixed vegetables."

Maybe some of the CLTA people will come up with some information for me. P0M (talk) 10:05, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

OK, I think you've got it. What must have happened is that some Cantonese restaurateur in the U.S. started making this dish in the 1960s. For whatever reason, they substituted the "wrong" character (with a similar sound and a sort-of-making-sense meaning), using "whiskers" instead of "osmanthus" (you're right; maybe "whiskers" is easier to write than "osmanthus," and is a more familiar character, easier to write for Cantonese waiters who might not have a very good education back in Hong Kong in all the unfamiliar characters). This changing of the original characters to new ones is a not-uncommon occurrence in Cantonese, as with kumquat. Badagnani (talk) 01:14, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
The English name "kumquat" derives from the Cantonese pronunciation gam1 gwat1 (given in Jyutping romanization; Template:Zh). The alternate name , also pronounced gam1 gwat1 in Cantonese (gān jú in Mandarin, literally "large tangerine orange") is now more commonly written by Cantonese speakers. Badagnani (talk) 01:14, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Regarding 木须, I am fairly sure that 木须 does not refer to 木耳; instead; 木 must be an abbreviation, or synecdoche for 木耳, and 须 must be a homonym selected by Cantonese restaurateurs to replace 樨, which is a less familiar character (or, as you say, because Chinese typewriters available in the U.S at that time didn't have the character 樨. Badagnani (talk) 01:26, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

I do not agree with all of your points. That 木须 does not refer to 木耳 is clear. But 木樨 and 木犀 are different ways of writing one name. I don't know how they came up with that compound, but it is the name of the treee and/or its flowers.

I don't think it is necessarily simple as that they simply chose 须 for the sake of convenience. I looked up the various ways of writing "moo shu" in Google, and there were lots of instances of the complicated character for "whiskers" being used. These were all communications among native Chinese, probably in Taiwan and mainland China for the most part. It's possible that all the variations developed when 须 was written for the sake of convenience. But if they were looking for a substitute for 犀 or why wouldn't they have written ?

We need to stick with assertions that can be documented. P0M (talk) 02:15, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Alternate names

I just found the alternate names 木犀肉絲 and 炒木犀肉 via a Google search. I think we should add them. Where does come from? I don't think we have this character in the article yet. It seems to mean "rhinoceros" so now we have to examine how this character came to be used. In a Google search, Chinese websites do seem to talk about what we call 木须肉, and the photos show a dish that looks just like it. Badagnani (talk) 01:33, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

木犀肉絲 and 炒木犀肉 are just names of variations on the main recipe/dish name.
I am pretty sure that 木犀 was the original way to write the name of the tree. "Wood rhinoceros" doesn't make sense on the surface of things, so maybe it was originally 木樨. Or maybe it was originally 木犀 and somebody tidied up by writing 木樨. Either way, those names were chosen because of the "scrambled eggs" appearance of clusters of yellow and white flowers. The average reader doesn't need a big trip through Chinese etymology. P0M (talk) 02:28, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

If 木犀肉絲 and 炒木犀肉 (as well as 木犀肉) are actual alternate names, they all need to be added to the article, probably also in the infobox. Badagnani (talk) 03:03, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

I still don't understand why 犀 would be used (as it seems to be, from the many Google hits for the dish with this character). What does your etymology dictionary say? 犀 and 樨 seem to be related, but 犀 doesn't have the "wood"/"tree" radical. Badagnani (talk) 03:05, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

There is a theory that claims that what are currently regarded as phonetic components originally was typically all there was of the character. One "dogged" 犬 one's opponent (to take an English example) and then later people didn't get the image so somebody wrote the equivalent of "mental attitude+dog." We have words like "dogwood," and "catsup," that may or may not have anything to do with dogs or cats. (And horehound got me in trouble once, too.)
I don't know why the ornamental tree was called a "rhino tree." However, the character was originally the name of a mythical animal if I remember correctly. There could have been a story about the preference of the mythical creature for the tree, so the tree became his tree -- just the way a certain kind of tree in India gets named for the Buddha.
I don't have time right now, but I'll try to track down the "rhino" and its connection to ornamental trees. P0M (talk) 16:15, 19 November 2007 (UTC)


I've rewritten part of the article.

The part beginning "While in Chinese American restaurants..." needs citations. P0M (talk) 21:25, 18 November 2007 (UTC)


For what they are worth, hereinunder begins a collection of assertions:

Introduction to quantum mechanics

Hello. As you know, the above article is intended to be a relatively simple intro to the subject, but it actually now has 82,419 bytes, compared to the "expert" article, Quantum Mechanics, which has 51,037. Based upon the comments in Talk: Introduction to quantum mechanics, I've gone through the article and enormously simplified it, omitting all the charts and graphs which should be rights be placed in the "expert" article. I wonder if you could take a look at the result, which I am storing at User:GeorgeLouis/Quantum before I launch it on an unsuspecting world. Any suggestions will be gratefully received. Yours, GeorgeLouis (talk) 00:58, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Hello, again. I got to your message just before going out for my evening walk with my little dog. Well, I'm not a physicist, but a writer and editor. I was appalled at what passed for a Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, with all the charts, digressions, lack of organization, etc. What I suggest is for you to go through my draft and see if there are any scientific mistakes because I plan to use it more or less as it stands. If nothing more, I think it organizes the subject a lot better than the original, and it presents a basic intro to each subject: The details are in the other articles, the ones for the experts. Sincerely, your friend, I'll await your answer on this page. GeorgeLouis (talk) 01:22, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I hope that you will be collaborative in your efforts to edit.
The reason for charts such as the one on light interference is that they enable readers to see without very much trouble something that is absolutely vital to understanding quantum phenomena. Most article critiques suggest more graphics. I have never heard of an article review that declared that there should be no graphs, diagrams, or pictures whatsoever. P0M (talk) 01:29, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

The charts are totally incomprehensible to the average person — and severely offputting. They can be put into the main article, the one for people who might be able to understand them. You can find all the deleted material at User:GeorgeLouis/QM.Rejects (or in past versions of Introduction to quantum mechanics. I invite you to put them into the experts' article where they will do some good. (Frankly, quantum mechanics is not so hard to figure out if presented simply enough.) Sincerely, your friend, GeorgeLouis (talk) 07:05, 28 May 2009 (UTC)


Hi there.

Thanks for the input to Talk:Introduction to quantum mechanics#Rewrite.

I have two 'tidying-up' requests, if you wouldn't mind - it is not considered appropriate to edit comments left by others, therefore I'm asking that you do it.

Firstly, because you used == Headings == to list your suggested sections, these appear as actual sections on the talk page. This makes the page somewhat confusing, as they appear in the table of contents. Please could you change it to a simple bullet-pointed list of suggested sections instead, using an asterisk at the start of each line.

Secondly, please "sign" your name at the end, by putting ~~~~. This will add your user name, and the date/time.

Many thanks,  Chzz  ►  08:13, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

I think you are addressing your critique to the wrong perso. I did not add sections where you said I did. I have added information under the "lede" section, but I did not create that section.
I generally sign. If I failed to do so I apologize. If you know that I wrote something then I believe there is an automatic process for adding the signature that serves to identify unsigned material and remind the forgetful contributor at the same time.

P0M (talk) 14:53, 2 June 2009 (UTC)


Template:Talkback SarekOfVulcan (talk) 23:55, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

You asked for help but I don't know who changed what ... Gill110951 (talk) 08:30, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Basics of QM: Uncertainty principle

I had a go at improving this section - what do you think? Djr32 (talk) 21:44, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Hmm, the errors are back... Djr32 (talk) 06:24, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Strange how that could happen. Maybe the easy way is just to document everything with perfect citations. A good place to start would be Introducing Quantum Theory by McEvoy and Zarate. Another good place to look would be the popularizations written by Feinman.
The main problem is that you cannot exactly prove a negative, i.e., it is going to be difficult to find someplace where Einstein or Heisenberg says, "Such and so is pure nonsense." So you will be stuck proving the contrary and then arguing that, e.g., "All swans are white," is disproven by the fact that, "Some swans are black."
If that does not work then you may have to ask for a citation to establish that "All swans are white."
Some day a sociologist should investigate how power is acquired and either used or misused in this part of the Void. It isn't always easy to make reason prevail. I can't always follow my own advice, but it is best never to get angry and never let one's own ego get the upper hand. P0M (talk) 08:00, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'm not sure it's worked out too well for me so far... [8] [9] [10]. Nice work on the Trojan WP article, by the way - something that really isn't a basic concept of quantum mechanics! Djr32 (talk) 22:55, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Others have noticed the perturbations. At least the article no longer maintains that "speed is velocity per unit time" -- or was it "velocity is speed per unit time."
The article on Trojan particles was largely the work of Ti-30x. I just got it started.
Several people have taken an interest in the "intro" article and have improved it. Somebody put the "introductory" boiler plate up again, and took off the part about the article requiring high school math. I left the boiler plate up and reintroduced the qualification about the needed math. Having several people actively involved makes it much less likely that the article will get disappeared. P0M (talk) 01:10, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Electrical permittivity

Patrick you were wondering what the symbols ε, ε0, and e represent.

  • ε is the small epsilon symbol and represents electrical permittivity.
  • ε0, is a constant equal to 8.854 187 817... x 10-12 F m-1. But I don't know when exactly the constant is used. Here it is on CODATA: electric constant ε0.
  • Truthfully, at this moment I can't figure out what "e" could be. It may that the author interchanged this, at will, with the epsilon, even though it doesn't make much sense to do that.

I went over to the "Understanding Heisenberg's 'Magical' Paper..." link. It looks interesting. I will explore later today. I don't know how much help I will be able to give you on this. I hope the "permittivity" information, helps. By the way, this property is very important in metamaterials. I could give you some links to AAAS Science Magazine articles that show how this, and magnetic pemeability, are important parts of their research. Maybe it will give you some insight to the article you are working on. Well here is one anyway (very interesting by the way):

{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}

If you haven't already, you can register for free, and this is one of the articles you can access with your free subscription, otherwise all you will be able to read is the summary. Ti-30X (talk) 05:16, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Patrick I may have discovered what "e" symbolizes - it may symbolize "elementary electric charge". I discovered it in a list of symbols at the beginning of "Elementary Particles" by Enrico Fermi. Then I managed to get to page 36 of this book in Google Books. The book is open to page 36 below, take a look: (see page 36 and 37).
  • {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation

|CitationClass=book }}

Hopefully, these help. Ti-30X (talk) 22:23, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. The trouble is that there are so many es. Somebody told me that in the context of the equation involved it is the base of the natural logarithm and appears where there are indications of phase. At some point I am going to have to put in some numbers and find out whether the answers are plausible.
Using undefined symbols is often a problem with Wikipedia articles, by the way. At one point there was a list, but I'm not sure what happened to it. P0M (talk) 23:51, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, at least permittivity worked out - that's two out of three. You're right, there are so many e's in the sciences. Good luck. So about, Trojan wave packet. I added some content with references. Here is an idea that I am using that you may want to use. The original link from the "Q basics" talk page led me to this article, in PDF Nondispersive two-electron Trojan wave packets.
Then I came across this: References for the article itself with active links for the references. In other words, you can click on the link and read the abstract or the article, that is used as a reference. If you read through the article you can see the reference number, for which the prior research is referenced. I will continue to help out on this. Ti-30X (talk) 03:12, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
I just copied some stuff out of the Polish article. I don't know whether it will all be useful, but I thought I'd grab it all while I was accessing that article. P0M (talk) 03:14, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Good idea. Right now I am adding more content with a reference or two. Ti-30X (talk) 03:33, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

DYK nomination

Hi. I've nominated Trojan wave packet, an article you worked on, for consideration to appear on the Main Page as part of Wikipedia:Did you know. You can see the hook for the article here, where you can improve it if you see fit. Bruce1eetalk 09:58, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Patrick - Wow! What do you think? I know that I am surprised.Ti-30X (talk) 12:39, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
I re-worded some parts of the article to reflect our personal writing styles Ti-30X (talk) 13:44, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
You mentioned "it wasn't easy to tell whether the two-electron work in helium has actually been accomplished or is still in the works." Well, that's the "cliff-hamger", as in a novel. Like, does he or doesn't he beat the bad guys and, at the same time, get the girl? It will keep people coming back for more, right? (Just joking, of course). The writing for this aricle is following along with the orginal PDF, and I didn't get to that part, yet. I wasn't expecting a DYK nomination :-) Ti-30X (talk) 13:58, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

DYK for Trojan wave packet

Updated DYK query On July 28, 2009, Did you know? was updated with a fact from the article Trojan wave packet, which you created or substantially expanded. You are welcome to check how many hits your article got while on the front page (here's how) and add it to DYKSTATS if it got over 5,000. If you know of another interesting fact from a recently created article, then please suggest it on the Did you know? talk page.

BorgQueen (talk) 06:07, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

You're on the Main Page, congratulations! --Bruce1eetalk 06:15, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Patrick, we made the big time. Have a cigar! Ti-30X (talk) 01:03, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
BTW check this out. trojańska. This is on the Polish Wikipedia. Let me know what you think. Oh, it just dawned on me. Were you translating the Polish version of Trojan Wave Packet? Ti-30X (talk) 01:03, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
I visited that page and copied over the list of papers that weren't in Polish. So that was about all that I have done since I looked at a couple papers and created the original page. You are the one who deserves the congratulations. Good work. P0M (talk) 04:19, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
You may be interested to know that Trojan wave packet attracted 9,300 page views while on the Main Page yesterday. See DYKSTATS. --Bruce1eetalk 05:29, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Chinese languages/dialects

I noticed you had contributed in the past to discussions on the Chinese languages/dialects. If you have time, please take a look at Wikipedia_talk:Naming_conventions_(Chinese)#Language.2FDialect_Names and offer your opinion. Colipon+(T) 23:42, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Aitchison etc.

Hi, Patrick, glad to see you over at Introduction to quantum mechanics. Have you been researching your Aitchison article article? I went over to Trojan wave packets earlier to make sure no one was messing with it (if you catch my drift). I got an unexpected entry on my talk page, today. Ti-30X (talk) 03:20, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

I just went through the entire Intro article and found only a few typographical errors and minor things that looked out of place. I think the article has everything that a person would need to get into the subject and get as far as is practicable without higher math, so I am pleased with it.
I am going to be teaching a course on the Dao of martial arts next semester, so I have been working on a "trot" to the Dao De Jing and a draft translation of Master Sun's Art of War. I have a couple of weeks left before administrative sorts of things will start pulling me away from my desk, and I need to work out a new syllabus for that course in the meantime. Oddly, quantum mechanics is a good illustration for the part of the metaphysics in the DDJ that is not right out there in the open. The DDJ is all about what somebody once called an "undifferentiated aesthetic continuum" and how human minds fabricate the equivalent of the molecules in organic systems that detect things like sugar by the fact that the sugar molecule fits into them as a key fits into a lock. So humans fabricate something like the molecules that trigger immune defenses or that detect sugar, but we do it in a free-form and experimental way. We make a "molecule" for waves, and just as regardless of whether it is a nutrasweet "wave" or a sucrose "wave" it will get caught by the same molecular trap, the wave "trap" will catch water waves, sound waves, photons, electrons, etc. But the fit is not equally good. We also have a particle "trap," and it catches lots of photons too. The Daoist idea of "traps" comes very close to the idea of "useful fictions" seen in modern philosophy of science discussions, although it is also interested in the maladaptive "traps" like "witch" that cause so much human misery.
Dr. W. M. de Muynck (another Wikipedia contributor) has been very patient with me and my attempts to figure out the symbols used in the Aitchison article. And I got into a discussion with another advanced level person over some of the issues involved. In the beginning of that discussion I was just dissatisfied with a single word, but the discussion that developed has helped me see that I probably am not too far off the mark in the way I have been thinking about the matrices and the kind of model of reality they provide. I really should study Fourier analysis, but that would mean re-learning first-year calculus and then going beyond for a second year of course material. One of the advantages of being in a physics program as a major is that somebody is doing the planning and coordination between what is available in the math classes and what is being presented in the physics classes. Right now I don't even know what the best textbooks would be. The textbook we used when I was an undergraduate was not badly written, but it did not have the lucidity of the classroom presentations by my favorite calculus teacher. (He, unfortunately, never wrote any textbooks. Maybe he did not get tenure and went off in some other career direction.) What textbook to use as a follow-up is even less clear. Anyway, I think I may have all the math figured out well enough to try to populate a corner of the amplitudes matrix. I am interested in whether it can actually predict the observed intensities of the hydrogen bright-line spectrum. Logically, since Heisenberg was happy with his own math, I should be too. But I am stubborn in my desire to see it actually work. At least I am now reasonably sure that the article is not going to mislead people about the matrices, so my compulsion to work on it has been attenuated somewhat. Probably it will be back as soon as I need to procrastinate. (Doing things like the two little books I mentioned above can be amazingly boring and tiring once one gets to the drudge work needed to format everything for the computer screen, the PDF file, etc.)
Thanks for all your good help with the article. P0M (talk) 07:05, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Double slit experiment

I think some of the facts in the double slit experiment are inaccurate. (No offense to anybody). I am doing a quick rewrite. Please, go ahead and take a look, and see what you think. It seems there is too much emphasis on the wave functon collapse. A wave function collapse is not an observable phenonmena, per se. A wave function collapse is part of the "wave function" . The wave function, is just a predictor of probabilities. It is more a calculation, and not really observed in physical reality. What is observable is the intereference pattern, of light and dark fringes. Take a look at the main article: Double slit experiment. If wave function is mentioned at all it should be after describing the fringes. But, wave function collapse may not fit like it is being inserted into this section right now. "Wave function" and the "bright, dark fringes phenonmena" are two different things.

In the double slit experiment two wave functions have been made out of one wave function -- whatever that means. I would call those two wave functions entangled, but that is just my way of thinking about things perhaps. What is clear is that mathematically we have to treat the experiment as the propagation of two wave fronts, each originating across the width of its slit. (More below.)P0M (talk) 19:40, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

I get it, that there is an attempt to express wave function and wave function collapse, but it has to be expressed differently than it is currently being expressed in this section. I hope you don't mind me pointing this out.

Anyway, it sounds like you have your hands full and they are going to be fuller very soon. :>) Ti-30X (talk) 10:14, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

I added some content to this section, and corrected a couple of grammar / spelling errors. I didn't remove anything. I am out of time right now, so I will have to come back later today. If you don't mind, take a look at this video: Dr Quantum - Double Slit Experiment. It is an animation, and at first may seem to be childish, but it turns out to be a good visual description of the double slit experiment, and is not childish after all. Have a good day now, Patrick Ti-30X (talk) 11:12, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that I've seen this. It is well done, although I am not sure that it takes proper care to mention diffraction patterns if there is only one slit.P0M (talk) 19:40, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
OK, sorry if I missed the diffraction pattern. I will look into it. Ti-30X (talk) 19:46, 1 August 2009 (UTC)


You are right. The wave function is not an observable phenomenon. The wave function collapse is not an observable phenomenon. The photon is not an observable phenomenon either. What is observable are the various ways that humans can do something at one point that will create physical effects at another people, and these ways include lighting a match, connecting a wire filament to a car battery, supplying power to a LED, etc. When any of these things are done the observer's eyes may get stimulated by "light." A photographic emulsion may get exposed by "light" that nobody ever sees. We have models that try to explain these cause and effect relations, but the map is not the territory.
If we look at the physical apparatus, we note several things. Starting with a laser or other source of [light] (whatever that means), a bounceless switch, a photo-detector of some kind, and a very good clock, we can measure the amount of time that elapses between activating the light source and detecting the disturbance at the detector. Humans have been performing informal versions of this kind of experiment for a very long time, perhaps for as long as the species has existed. So we are pretty confident about the process, aware that we need to screen for ambient light if we want to measure the speed of one photon or one "blip" from a laser pointer, etc.
When we add in a median wall with a single narrow opening (slit or circular hole, for instance), we get a diffraction pattern. Humans could see the same general kind of phenomenon occurring after ocean waves pass through a break in a sea wall and in other such situations. Huygens and Fresnel analyzed diffraction on the theory that light spread out in what would be analogous to a series of wave fronts caused by a jiggling bobber in a still pond, and some assumptions about how things work in the "vibrating medium" that led to a very close approximation to the right result. When Young did his experiment, it was learned that the same analogy could be used to explain the interference pattern that will be discovered on the detection screen (the shore). I need to go back to the physical apparatus then, because the basic picture of Huygens and Fresnel appears to be wrong. Light consists of photons. The disturbance shows up on the detection screen as a pattern built up of single blips at highly localized positions.
Experiment with the slits makes it clear that it matters whether there is one slit, two slits, or some larger number of slits. It also matters what the dimensions of the two slits are, and what their separation is. Treating light as something that involves wave lengths permits us to predict things like Newton's rings, the colors on puddles that have a little layer of oil on their surface, and Young's fringes. To account for interference patterns we have to do calculations that involve the "waves" that would arrive at the detection screen from two (or more) slits, and how they reinforce or cancel each other at different points along the screen.
That's basically all we know. Do we speak of light going to the screen by all possible paths, do we say that the photon goes through one slit and not the other, do we say that there is a "wave function" that passes through both slits but then delivers all its energy as a single point as though it had been a little bullet all of the time? All of these ways of making the results comprehensible to ourselves have their defects. What does not seem arguable is that there are two sets of values (each associated with one of the slits) that can be computed and associated with points on the detection screen, and that summing the values at each point (and then squaring that value) gives the probabilities for a blip to appear at that point.
If something is "real" when one can go to x,y,z,t and find something measurable (the fingerprint on a living finger of Joe Biden, for instance), and something is not demonstrated to be "real" when checking any suggested value of x,y,z,t doesn't show evidence of that thing, then (to me) the wave functions, or whatever you want to call them, are "real," and the photon in flight is "not real." The laser or the LED is real, the exposed silver that makes a "grain" in a photographic image is real.
Is "collapse" real? Wait a minute. I forgot to mention that the detection screen and its distance from the double slits is also important. What happens if there is an interference pattern on the detection screen and then we cut out and move some portion of the screen back? The pattern that appeared there before will now be seen "projected" on the more distantly positioned portion of the original screen. Why doesn't a spectral interference fringe pattern occur in the hole in the wall? That would be really cool!
Remember that the wave functions that move out of each slit in our model have been in interference for most of the distance between them and the screen. So why do the scintillations mostly appear on the detection screen? It can't be a pre-programmed distance-from-slit value, else the "projections" would get messed up. There seems to be something essential to having a photon "show up" -- and the essential requirement is that there be an electron available to absorb it. So on the one hand there seems to be genuine randomness (not the pseudo-randomness of dice throwing or computer random number generators), and the necessity of there being an electron (or may some other elementary particle) to absorb the photon and change state. (On rare occasions photons tunnel through the screen, so presence of the screen is not a sufficient condition for the photon to show up there.)
I think the idea of "collapse" is not to be considered anything more than an analogical way of thinking about what happens when a photon "decides" to show up at one place or another. I think speakers who use this method of talking are saying that it is as if there were something like a soap bubble floating through a the air and encountering a mesh screen. At whatever point on the screen the bubble first touches, the screen starts to absorb the soap and water, and the surface of the bubble shrivels up in such a way that all of the soap and water ends up at essentially the same point. That's a way of visualizing the phenomenon, but it does not explain anything. Saying that the "wave function" touches the screen, that it interacts with the screen where it finds an electron it likes, and that then "the rest of" it all drains into that point (instantaneously, over infinite distances if you believe the model and the math), is just a way of talking about something and making ourselves more happy with the mystery of true randomness.
If the probability for the photon to be at x,y,z,t is 1, then at that time its probability to be anywhere else has to be 0. If that is an instantaneous change then it would not fit in with ordinary ideas of causation. But humans do not like causeless changes and timeless events. That's why they are uncomfortable with entanglement. It suggests too much about the tangle of useful fictions by which we explain the world to ourselves.P0M (talk) 19:40, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Good to Go

Thanks for your time here on the talk page.

Patrick, I just read over the double slit experiment. I say this section is good to go. It's ready for the world! Also, I notice that you are satisfied with the entire article, right now. OK great! (It is a good article BTW). Ti-30X (talk) 21:16, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Anyway, on to other stuff now. See you around. Ti-30X (talk) 21:24, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. Not only QM is unfathomable. P0M (talk) 21:32, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Featured Article and Good Article

I was thinking of nominating Introduction to QM for Featured Article status. I looked at the archived page, for the previous nomination, and it was one oppose after another. One oppose emphasized the lack of in line citations. It seems that people, (the reviewing editors) couldn't get it that this stuff is basic and found in hundreds of texbooks if not a couple thousand textbooks. Not to mention the populariaztion of this subject in other books, which can give some understanding of the concepts. Also, I am sure the Feynman and Einstein can be counted on knowing what they are talking about. (Einstein wrote a book right?). I still might nominate anyway, since there is a big block of references and links listed.

I took a look at GA, but I am not sure yet what it would take for GA, and there is a backlog. With the backlong why not just go for FA (I ask myself)? Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I was checking this stuff out.

Well, this page gets attracts a lot of viewers anyway. Checking the stats: 16,386 views in June, and 16,788 views in July. (Some of those would be mine ha ha). Ti-30X (talk) 23:11, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

On second thought, I don't think I want to put in the time to go through the process right now. I have other things I want to do at the moment. See you around. Ti-30X (talk) 23:39, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
That's really good news. I thought the only people who read it were the ISP guys who deleted illustrations. It kind of makes all the work worth it. Maybe some of those 16k readers/month are the next crop of 8 year old Richard Feinmans or something.
Actually, I have been starting to go through my books, starting with one on entanglement, so I can probably add in-line citations as I go along. I worry a little about the matrices because nobody has done them the way Heisenberg's original article would indicate before. (I am pretty sure that Born made them more general and more in accord with the way matrices are usually written.) But the formula/"recipe" can be very clearly documented. The third person to put time into this article proposed it for FA status, but it was not ready at that time. I think we have now cleaned up the language and conceptual issues. I'm sure if somebody wrote that spiders have eight legs somebody else would want an academic reference.
Thanks again for your good work.P0M (talk) 00:18, 3 August 2009 (UTC)


Char is a British English slang word for 'tea'. Perhaps you should check a good comprehensive dictionary. English is more diverse than you think.

Bathrobe (talk) 00:50, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

DYK redux

Patrick, since Introduction to QM has been recently expanded I am going to put it in for DYK nomination. I hope you don't mind. Ti-30X (talk) 23:25, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Is there anything that you would like to use for the hook, or do you want me to pick one? Ti-30X (talk) 23:29, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Patrick, sorry, according to the DYK rules, Introduction to QM doesn't qualify. There would have to be a very recent five fold increase in article size, for this article to qualify. BTW I like the spider picture on your front porch. It looks like a very humorous situation, as well. Ti-30X (talk) 01:07, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Originally I thought it was a wolf spider. Wolf spiders will bite, but except for a few in S. America their bites are not likely to be medical problems, and generally the largest wolf spiders in the U.S. are so totally devoted to getting away from humans that probably the only time people get bitten is when they put on a shoe without thinking about the possibility of something being in there. Even so, I always take things that large seriously. The one in the photo turned out not to be a wolf spider. Some of the spiders in the same Family that are found in England are known to give really unpleasant bites, but I've never seen reports about bites by this species. I recently caught another one. I ran across it unexpectedly when I was moving a fallen log for a neighbor lady. I had gloves on, so I just grabbed it. Fortunately it did not try to bite. After I got it home I took a few pictures and it let me move it around with a pencil without showing any aggression.
Somebody gave me a baby Grammostola rosea (AKA Chilean Rose tarantula) that is one of the atypical kinds. Mostly they are known as "living rock" because they are slow moving and seem hardly ever to do much. Some small percentage of them, however, are very scrappy. The one I got was always eager to make physical contact with anything that came into her cage, and as an adult she has shown a proclivity to grapple with things and then bite them. (The venom is being investigated for its medical properties in treating certain conditions relating to heart attacks. It isn't known to be a medical problem. But those fangs are about as long as a hamster's front teeth.) So her cage is where I put my credit card.  :-) Contact me by e-mail, o.k.? Not only spiders... P0M (talk) 02:07, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I just back to your talk page yesterday. I've been busy lately. How do I get in touch with you by email? Then I can tell you what I have been busy doing lately - the Wikipedia adventures I have been experiencing. Respond here and I will read it here. Ti-30X (talk) 21:19, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Click on "E-mail this user" in the toolbox at the left side of this page. (Your page does not have one unless you have supplied an e-mail address in your user prefs.) P0M (talk) 21:31, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Heisenberg etc.

You could try {{Inuse}}, or developing in your user space. I am interested you say it will be "a sub-page", how will that work? Rich Farmbrough, 01:53, 17 August 2009 (UTC).

What was your objection to the following entry in the Uncertainty Principal article?

==Simple Uncertainty==   

- - Consider a car moving one mile in one minute. One measures its position A at time T then measures its position B at time T+1 minute and finds position B to be 1 mile away. One might naivly conclude that the car is moving 60 MPH. One could thus predict where the car will be in the future or in fact where the car was at any time in its journey. This assumes the car to be moving at a constant velocity over the measured mile. Consider that the car is accelerating over the mile. Considering only the data points A at time T and B one mile from A at time T+1 minute one could still conclude erroneously that the car is moving at 60 MPH. In order to resolve a constant acceleration one needs 3 data points. Consider that the acceleration is not constant, that it is also accelerating. One would need another data point to resolve that. Since any acceleration can accelerate one would need data points of N number to resolve accelerations to N accuracy with N<=infinity. - - In measurment with light the shortest wavelength postulated as the Planck length puts a finite limit on the number of data points in a finite length of measurement. Since one cannot have data points of N number in a finite length of measurment one cannot resolve accelerations to N accuracy with N<=infinity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:35, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

Your addition to the article is original research, for starts. If you are reporting on research published in professional peer-reviewed journals then you would need to cite those articles and show how they support the conclusions you claim.
Your first paragraph argues from objects that exist on the scale to which classical physics applies. If one extrapolates from events and measurements at a classical to events and measurements at a quantum scale, problems appear because of the indeterminacy of positions, etc. on that scale. One can measure the positions of a car and one can increase the accuracy of knowledge about the changes in time of the positions of a car both by improving the quality of the measuring apparatus used and by taking more and more data points. The indeterminacy of position of a car, due to its large mass and correspondingly small wave length, is so small as to be impossible to detect by existing instruments. Moreover, the calculated indeterminacy will be smaller than the experimental (measurement) error of the experimental apparatus. So what is "uncertain" on the macro scale is due to slop in the experimental apparatus.
The indeterminacy of quantum scale events is due to factors other than experimental error, so the indeterminacy cannot be removed by improving the experimental device.
The indeterminacy of quantum scale events was discovered to be a mathematical consequence of the calculations that led Heisenberg to his breakthrough in quantum mechanics. That there would be a mathematical problem was clear to Heisenberg before his calculations were even put into matrix math format. When Born realized that Heisenberg's new equation provided the recipe for matrices and for a multiplication of two matrices, he also saw almost immediately that the order in which the matrices were multiplied would always produce different results. Born could calculate the necessary difference between the two matrix multiplications. Heisenberg later developed these insights and calculations into his indeterminacy principle.
If you were to propose your analogy to Heisenberg, I believe that he would point out that even on the assumption that a classical model could be applied to quantum scale events, the measurements that you propose making on the quantum scale car of "its position A at time T" and so forth would inevitably change what you had just tried to measure. (See Heisenberg's microscope.)
Your second paragraph is not entirely clear to me. It appears, however, to argue that our knowledge of positions is limited by contingent factors, and not to apply to Heisenberg's point about there not being a position defined by a geometrical point to which a quantum scale object can be assigned.
The object of Wikipedia articles is to make available to the general public the "state of the art" conclusions reached by recognized authorities. It is not to gain publication for our own attempts to arrive at conclusions to rival those with professional qualifications.
If you want to take this discussion further, you should probably take your objections to my reverting your insertion to the discussion page for the article.
It might also be helpful to study Introduction to quantum mechanics and in particular Heisenberg's entryway to matrix mechanics where I have attempted to trace out the way Heisenberg reached his conclusions. Ultimately you will need to study the physics books starting from Heisenberg's own paper of 1925. P0M (talk) 07:16, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

And the name of the article is...

The name of the article, that I mentioned, is Negative index metamaterials. Oh by the way there is a little blurb that I lifted from QED in Introduction to quantum mechanics. I attributed it of course. It is in the first part of the section entitiled "Controlling electromagnetic fields". Ti-30X (talk) 02:27, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Articles for deletion nomination of Introduction to Dirac's constant

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I have nominated Introduction to Dirac's constant, an article that you created, for deletion. I do not think that this article satisfies Wikipedia's criteria for inclusion, and have explained why at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Introduction to Dirac's constant. Your opinions on the matter are welcome at that same discussion page; also, you are welcome to edit the article to address these concerns. Thank you for your time.
Please contact me if you're unsure why you received this message. TimothyRias (talk) 13:00, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

  • See the AfD discussion. I think this article probably should be merged into the article on Dirac's equation. I do not feel qualified to do so - could you do it? My sense is that Dirac's constant is more than a convenient shorthand, but has significance in itself. What that significance is, I don't know. It has been over forty years since I read about quantum mechanics. Aymatth2 (talk) 17:16, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Dirac's constant has historical significance, perhaps. Numerically, it is just a variant of Planck's constant. On top of that, many physicists now prefer to adjust the units of measure so that in the system of "natural units" these constants equal 1. That way you can forget about them. (That's their argument, anyway.)
When another contributor was putting a great deal of energy into writing the Intro to QM article I think we were both a little confused by the difference between h (Plank's constant) and h-bar (the "reduced" Plank's constant). The other contributor wanted to make a big thing of the difference, but to me it was just a notational issue and/or a way of not having to compute some value in an equation divided by 2π every time. If you already know the numerical value of h, then why not just divide it by 2π once and then remember that value?
My guess is that if more discussion of Dirac's constant were needed to make the article on Dirac's equation clear, then it would already have been done long ago. But I'll take a look. P0M (talk) 02:56, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
  • When I say someone should do it, I mean the famous someone else - not me. Writing a clear explanation of a subject like this that a high-school student could follow takes exceptional skill and understanding. Once upon a time, long, long ago, I could at least follow the mathematics. No more. I can only imagine the horror and despair that my attempt would cause in the physics departments. :~) Aymatth2 (talk) 18:09, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Sorry to be slow replying. I did some reading and found I had forgotten even more than I thought I had. I can't find what I was looking for. If the other editors who do know what they are talking about don't see much significance in h-bar other than a convenient shorthand, so be it. At a more basic level, some of these articles seem a too detailed and technical to me, more like textbook entries than encyclopedia entries, particularly the one on Dirac's equation. I would expect the typical reader to be someone with a reasonable high-school level grasp of physics and mathematics who is interested in learning more, but does not want all the detail. They would want the history, an outline of the reasoning that led to the underlying concept and its significance. Much harder to do but more useful, I think. Writing articles like that need a rare combination of deep understanding of the subject and the ability to communicate its essence in clear and simple language. Let's hope some editors with the right skills try it. Aymatth2 (talk) 12:27, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree that many of the physics articles are "too detailed and technical," at least in the sense that they are not going to be at all helpful to a bright high school student (or anybody else in a similar position) who wants to get an entryway into the subject. One of the contributors, quite a while back, was of the strong opinion that classical physics and any approach through the history should be totally avoided, and that students should be given the "real" quantum physics -- by which I think he had in mind Bohm's particular version that includes hidden variables. Doing anything like that would mean keeping everyone totally in the dark who was not already a second- or more likely a third-year physics major, or maybe a math major.
Dirac is important, and I really like the introductory part of his QM textbook. By that I guess I actually mean that he confirms many of my hypotheses about how one should best look at the lab results and try to express them in everyday language. The good thing he does is to head off many of the "common sense" interpretations made by the people who would probably most vociferously argue for the "math only" approach to understanding QM. Their position strikes me as being one that tacitly says, "We won't use everyday English unless it supports my preconceptions."
I have yet to see an explanation of Schrödinger's equation that illuminates anything. There used not to be anything accessible about Heisenberg's matrix formulation, but I think I have managed to work out the main outlines of what he did. Part of the math is very high level, but I think beginners can deal with the simple fact that the math is there and can be done by anyone who has gone through the appropriate calculus classes. But Heisenberg's matrices are probably as close as anyone can get to penetrating the black box. For everything beyond that point the person without the math can only be told: This is the black box. You put in inputs at this end consisting of X, Y... and you get output from this end consisting of x, y...
The main thing that h-bar has to say is that there is something involving circles of different radii that is very significant in our understanding of quantum events, at least within atoms. There may be a slight entryway for the average well-informed reader at this point. The math was greatly appreciated by Heisenberg. I'm impressed by the people of that time and place because of their generosity to other researchers. Pauli seems to have been the "nastiest" of the lot, but he was Heisenberg's special collaborator in the sense of being both guardian angel and devil's advocate.
I think there may be much of value to report to bright beginners about Dirac's "take" on quantum mechanics, much that will help these novices avoid some beginners' mistakes. Right now I do not have time to do anything other than read a little when I have time and try to take good notes.P0M (talk) 15:19, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Slightly off topic, see the last revision to Planck constant and a message I left on the editor's talk page. Aymatth2 (talk) 19:11, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I had a look. It seems somebody is convinced that there is no such thing as Dirac's constant. I am pretty sure that the editor who wrote the section that became an article and will now be deleted did not dream the term up on her own. It's too bad that she did not provide citations.
When I get time, or feel the need to procrastinate, I will start in on the Dirac textbook. I get the feeling that he was a really neat thinker, maybe a little like Leibniz in being very careful about what he said but also economical. What I like about Leibniz is that once I got on his wavelength I could very clearly follow what he was saying. (My favorite philosophy professor said he found Leibniz virtually incomprehensible, which I found pretty interesting.
In the earliest strata of records of the Intro to QM discussion page there are probably discussions/arguments between Voyageur and I about what was going on with h-bar. My argument was that h and h-bar are just defined by a mathematical relationship. Her question was, basically, "So where does the 2π come from?" She worked out that it had to have something to do with the electron in orbit.
I have looked through most of my books and have been unable to find any mention of Dirac's constant, but it must be a term that some people have used. I'm prepared to let it go at this point. Maybe if I can dig something out of Dirac's QM textbook I can come back to the question. P0M (talk) 02:00, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Proof of Pythagoras' theorem
  • Totally off topic, I remember coming across the picture to the right when I was 18 and thinking "why did nobody show me that when I was 12?" Maybe someone, somewhere has a picture that make QM as easy to understand as that! Aymatth2 (talk) 19:35, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
My physics career might have been different if Professor Restrepo had been my calculus teacher all three trimesters. He actually taught people how to think about calculus. If you would listen and write down everything that he wrote neatly on one blackboard in one hour, you would understand everything. Then he would give the class a problem that I always thought would take my whole weekend to solve and in the next couple of minutes he would show us how to work it in our heads. Unfortunately he did not stay at my University. I've always wondered whether they would not give him tenure. He disappeared from the world of mathematics as far as I can tell. You would like Max Wertheimer's Productive Thinking because he advocated teaching the way Restrepo did. He was one of the early Gestalt psychologists. (His son was at the University of Colorado.) P0M (talk) 02:00, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

More on Intro to QM

Hi, Patrick, I am going to send you an email, in about two minutes. Ti-30X (talk) 03:28, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Intro to QM

Thanks for your speedy replies. I'm also concerned that the article doesn't really introduce wavefunctions. Talking about the Schrödinger equation explicitly is probably out of the question (differential equations and all that), but I think it would be very doable to talk about the basic statistical nature of the wavefunction and what it tells us (finding the most probable location, etc), and maybe even introduce some explicit families of wavefunctions (like for the particle in a box). I think it would also be good to introduce the concept of a quantum state, since that term pops up a lot in quantum mechanics. I'd love to add these things in myself but I'm afraid my grasp of them is not strong enough to write an accurate and coherent explanation. Strad (talk) 00:46, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

I think I had a moment of clarity just after I gave myself a dope-slap a few days ago. Maybe I can piece together something that will not be too bad. But all of the secondary sources seem to be fairly down to earth up until they start talking about matrix mechanics. Then (I suspect because most of them are working backwards from current QM understandings) they start waving the magic wand and dispensing fudge. It took me about three or four years to gradually piece together clues and bug enough people to be pretty sure that I understood what was going on. The treatments of Schrödinger seem to all jump in without even showing the magic wand. That I don't mind, but they also seem to be jumping in at a point that would only make sense to someone who had gone through a university curriculum aimed at bringing students in at that point. Otherwise, they assume too much.
I picked up a book by Dirak from the library a few weeks ago, and I have been impressed by the way he writes. People say he didn't really try to communicate with others, but I don't see that. For one thing, he talks about the "photon in flight" as a state of the photon.
Superposition is another thing that more than one person has indicated needs treatment. I was trying to wrap up the top part of the article and get matrix mechanics under control when the forks started to fly, so to speak. Actually I've not done the math to let me see some of the matrices that I really want to see. Maybe it will end up meaning nothing to me, but I am a kinesthesic thinker -- if that means anything. I can't actually remember what a tree looks like. I have to actively generate the image by what are probably brain analogs to hand motions or something. It's all very foggy, but it is all I have. And I never know what I'm doing if I just have somebody's words or some equations. So superposition was put on the back burner too.
When the subject of Planck's constant came up four years ago I was seeing it as I now see it, and other people told me I was wrong. I found something in Sears that seemed to support exactly what they were saying, but I was missing context. Anyway, my point was going to be that I'd really like to be sure that there are not any other conceptual flaws lying around in plain sight.
It would be a help if there were reliable bridges to Schrödinger's math published somewhere. I'll keep looking. P0M (talk) 05:35, 28 September 2009 (UTC)


As far as I can see, your edit messed up the article and it took me 10 minutes to fix, including finding that checking. If it was your, consider your self trout slapping. If it was one else, tell me and we can both slap. --Philcha (talk) 17:52, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Proposed deletion of Spiders by color‎

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The article Spiders by color‎ has been proposed for deletion. The proposed-deletion notice added to the article should explain why.

While all contributions to Wikipedia are appreciated, content or articles may be deleted for any of several reasons.

You may prevent the proposed deletion by removing the {{dated prod}} notice, but please explain why in your edit summary or on the article's talk page.

Please consider improving the article to address the issues raised. Removing {{dated prod}} will stop the Proposed Deletion process, but other deletion processes exist. The Speedy Deletion process can result in deletion without discussion, and Articles for Deletion allows discussion to reach consensus for deletion. Kaldari (talk) 00:27, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

"Did you mean to write it this way? "

Please, see my talk page for an answer to your question about `causation'.WMdeMuynck (talk) 16:23, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Butterfly effect and causality

This is kind of an answer to your January 27 contribution to I put it here because I have the impression that the Talk:Causality_(physics) page is not the appropriate place for general discussions.

It is my impression that your contribution is some reaction to my preceding edit of the Causality (physics) page. But I am not sure whether it is meant as an extension or as a correction of that edit. Anyway, it does not seem to regard what I think is the crucial issue of a Causality (physics) page, viz. the role played by causality in physics as expressed by the causal character of physical laws (to the effect that certain terms can be interpreted as causes and other terms as effects).

Note that the butterfly effect is usually presented as a problem of causality but treated as a problem of determinism (by pointing to inaccurate knowledge of initial conditions), thus employing a very special notion of causality (characteristic of the D-N model of explanation). It seems to me that the butterfly effect in this sense is actually a problem of retrodiction (is it possible to prove the necessity of the activity of that one butterfly given there is a tornado at a later moment?). Now Hume already knew that this can at best establish correlation, causality not being derivable. So, from this point of view I think the butterfly effect does not touch the heart of the causality problem.WMdeMuynck (talk) 14:29, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

However, I was pleased to find on the Causality (physics) page a small section entitled `Distributed causality', referring to the butterfly effect, and promising that "This opens up the opportunity to understand a distributed causality". It indeed seemed possible to me to live up to this promise. So, I added some sentences having the purpose to do so (although on second thought I doubt whether `triggering' is the correct expression for the activity of the butterfly). Indeed, causality can be considered to be distributed over those parts of the atmosphere that are in the past light cone of the tornado allegedly caused by the butterfly but intuitively felt to be caused by the temperature and pressure differences that were there independently of the butterfly. Indeed, mathematically establishing the contribution of that one butterfly is far beyond experimental accuracy, and even if that were possible Hume would not be forced to accept it as a cause.

The butterfly effect is quite analogous to the problem of a skier triggering an avalanche, the difference being that the skier might be more liable to be accused of causing an avalanche than a butterfly causing a tornado. Also here, however, it will be difficult to exclude alternative causes (other skiers, or small earthquakes, or even a marmot digging a hole under the snow). Probably this example would be preferable to clarify the notion of `distributed causality' (which can now be reduced to the distributed interplay between gravity and cohesive forces) without raising the commotion that can be expected in case of the example of the the butterfly effect.WMdeMuynck (talk) 14:31, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

It's a bad time for me to spend time right now, but I can't resist mentioning the main reaction that kicked up as I read your words above. What I am thinking is not for or against what you have said above. I'll have to carefully process that information.
It might be that Leibniz was right and none of what I see is anything other than a modification of my unitary substance. But I have to start with my current understanding of the universe and then modify that understanding as I find problems with it.
What I see is a universe in which nothing is isolated. The only things that even seem that they might be isolated are the ones that are believed to appear out of pure vacuum. Leaving those conjectures or predictions based on theory aside, I will return to the basic picture that I create for myself. There are no discrete objects as I understand things, so that in itself rules out the possibility of objects that are not connected in any way with other objects by gravity of other such forces or consequences of the bending of space. As early as the mid 1950s the late Dr. Greenstein at Cal Tech was saying how the picture of the expansion of the universe indicated that at some distance from any observer no forces limited by the speed of light could be felt. I suppose he was not the only one with this understanding even at that early time. I heard of his ideas only indirectly so please forgive the inelegance or inaccuracy with which I represent them. I think this is basically the same idea you refer to by the current idea of one's light cone. So my universe picture has some kinds of "limits," but nothing that is limited within. I think it was Feynman who pointed to the possibility that some "different" kinds of atomic events may be the "same" kinds of atomic events but reversed in time. So I have to modify my original naive picture of a continuum that modulates in one continuous direction, but if one looks at it slightly "from a distance" the fuzzy outline of some events in time would not be apparent.
I can also imagine the universe as an immense collection of quasi-point entities that are discrete, but within that picture I imagine that the things that humans deal with are not those quasi-point entities but vibrations of them, and complexes of vibrations among them. So what I perceive as a rock shot from a sling shot is actually the propagation of a certain kind of wave through the sea of quasi-point entities.
I am not suggesting that anybody need take these ideas seriously (although the Daoists do construct their world in approximately this way), but that this model makes it perhaps clearer and easier to show that there is nothing that is not (in Buddhist terms) co-dependent. Everything is "dependent" on everything else. If I mentally isolate something from my perceptual "screen" and regard it as a discrete thing, then that [thing] (I put this word now in phenomenological epoche, i.e., by the square brackets I mean "don't assume I really believe in it.") is in interaction with any other [thing] to which I might direct my attention.
In this interpretation of the universe, or, if you prefer, when using this kind of a model to understand the universe, the "cause" of any [thing] cannot be limited to a finite set of [things].
When we are being practical and try to understand why there is boiling water in the tea kettle when we return from a hike to our supposedly isolated camp, probably only the physicist even thinks about air pressure, etc. Most people want to create an envelope in space and time that is just big enough to include a presumed recent visitor who lit a fire under a kettle of cold water hanging from its hook over the fireplace.
So in ordinary language finding a cause is always or almost always a process of making discrete entities out of a continuum and then focusing on an element that has "triggered" a change in the previous equilibrium. Sometimes we pick out the coincidence of more than one such [discrete entity], e.g., the road got iced, a child ran into the road, the truck was moving too fast for road conditions, and so the truck jack-knifed and nearly injured several people.
It's bad enough thinking in these terms using classical ideas, but if quantum statistical outcomes have to be taken into account it may require a new generation of thinkers simmered in quantum mechanics from conception onward. (I am told that nobody has ever become a go master who did not learn this game sometime before the age of about ten years old. It may be the same limitation that makes humans unable to learn language if they survive as "wolf children" and are found only after they are pretty much through their childhood eyars.)
I've already spent too much time, and I suspect I have accomplished nothing. P0M (talk) 18:49, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

Today I discovered your above reflections on causality, with which I largely agree. Let me add some comments.
As you may infer from my treatment of quantum mechanics on my website [11], I am a bit reluctant to take too seriously the ontological models we think up with respect to the world we live in. I think that from Aristotle to Hawking we have had too much the idea that we are able to look into God's mind. What the world is like is discovered by gradually extending our domain of experience. Each following step has brought us unforeseen insights, and it is not to be expected that we have reached the deepest level today. Hence, in my view today's best theories just reflect the way we at this moment experience reality, they are not descriptions of reality as it "really" is.
With respect to causality I hold the Humean/Kantian view that it is a way to understand and explain our experiences. Independent of whether it has an ontological basis causality is an assignment, meant to order our experiences (note that the Kantian categories are to be applied to the phenomena). Of course, this assignment should preferably be implemented into our theories by giving physical laws a causal form. This induced Einstein's criticism of quantum mechanics, classical mechanics allegedly being causal. However, by the second law of thermodynamics causality becomes a dubious issue within classical mechanics too if this theory is applied to systems of molecules in (local) thermodynamic equilibrium. Causality can meaningfully be applied to thermodynamics if applied to macroscopic phenomena like the heating of a kettle of water by the heat of a gas burner. However, it does not make sense to try to reduce this process to the Newtonian equations of motion of all molecules involved, first because classical mechanics is not even applicable to molecules (since quantum mechanical processes are involved), second because even at the classical level of description we learn from chaos theory that, apart from some special cases related to strange attractors, the determinism necessary to implement causality cannot observationally be distinguished from indeterminism (it is impossible to unambiguously prove any causal relation between the onset of a hurricane and the clapping of a butterfly's wings far away).
This part seems completely reasonable to me, too.
With respect to application of the idea of relativistic causality within the theory of general relativity there is the extra element of the velocity of light as the upper limit of the velocity of physical influences. There are quite a few physicists believing that during an early period of the existence of our universe there has been a superluminal expansion (inflation theory). This is in disagreement with Einstein's theories of relativity. I have no strong preference for either one of these views. I find it quite possible that Einstein's theories of relativity will find their domains of application as limited as in the past have turned out to be the domains of most physical theories. On the other hand, our experience with relativity theory is such that it does not seem wise to abandon (sub)luminality too easily. So, I am afraid that a decision whether Dr. Greenstein at Cal Tech was right has to await further experimental and theoretical developments.WMdeMuynck (talk) 11:19, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
George Greenstein (the son, not the father) was a classmate of mine, and I still keep somewhat in touch with him. I guess sometime I should e-mail him to see whether he remembers our conversation of the early 60s or can be reminded of what his father actually said.) As I listened to what he said I had in mind Gamow's model of expanding space wherein buttons, representing suns, are spot glued to a gradually expanding rubber balloon. P0M (talk) 17:33, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

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Single slit interferenceindications

In your Single slit light passage image, you show an interference pattern. How do you explain that?WFPM (talk) 08:35, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

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Intro to QM once again

Hi Patrick, long time no confer with. There are two discussions regarding Intro to QM and the main QM article. I think you are one of the editors best qualified to add to these discussions. One is on the talk page of the intro article Content fork and the other is taking place over at the village pump - here. My words of psuedo-wisdom are down towards the bottom of the page at the village pump discussion.----Steve Quinn (formerly Ti-30X) (talk) 19:15, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Was this your Question?

Hi Patrick!

No, It was myself who deleted my question on the uncertainty theory, I have done some research on the subject, and now "partially understand the answer to my question.

Thank you for your brilliant answer, It has confirmed much of my understanding.

I totally agree with your "non natural units" Planck's constant is merely the amount of "Quanta" in one Joule, which is not a orderly number, because the joule has no relation to quanta (other than it describes the same property of nature: energy)

This part is wrong. One way that you can get a little clearer on this subjects is to learn about "multiplication of units." Usually people do not learn about this idea until they get into college physics. For instance, if you are working with the formula "d = r x t" (distance = rate times time) in high school physics, most people will do the "units" informally. They won't say, e.g., "3 miles = 1 mile per hour x 3 hours," they will just write "3 = 1 x 3," or, since people usually think about what they know first and the answer that they want to get second, they would write "1 x 3 = 3," and then they would understand that if you travel at a mile an hour for three hours you will cover three miles.
Physics students learn to ignore the numbers for a while and just look at the units to make sure that everything is going to work out o.k. In this case it would be "miles = miles/hour * hour," and since the "/hour" and "hour" cancel, you would end up with "miles = miles," which means you are looking for an answer in number of miles and you are getting an answer that is a certain number of miles.
The joule is a unit of energy. If Planck's constant were the number of units of energy in one joule, then the unit of Planck's constant would have to be the joule -- but it is not.
Much of the problem understanding this thing is a kind of historical accident. Planck had no idea of what was going on inside something that is radiating energy. He was working backwards from one problem and making a model to explain what everybody was seeing in nature. He said, basically, "What if inside this heated chunk of iron that is radiating heat there are a number of individual things that are analogous to tuning forks. Just as each tuning fork has its charateristic frequency of sound, and how hard you hit it determines how loud the musical note will be at that particular frequency, each 'vibrating bar' in the chunk of steel can only give out one frequency of light, and the strength of light at that frequency depends on how many times per second that little bar is vibrating. So E = n * h, where n is some integer and h is my constant." That put the idea of "n * h" into people's minds just on account of the kind of Tinkertoys model that Planck was using. Doing things that way, the math turned out right and a big problem (called the Ultraviolet catastrophe disappeared.
But we are now pretty sure that there are no such "bars" in a chunk of steel. Instead, there is a huge number of atoms, and each atom has electrons, and (usually only the outermost of) the electrons can rise to a higher orbit and then fall to a lower orbit. Each rise to a higher orbit absorbs a certain amount of energy (probably caused by the heat from the fire warming the chunk of iron), and each fall back to a lower orbit radiates a single photon of a determined frequency and a determined energy. Just as you can talk about a quantity of water that weighs an ounce and the quantity of water that occupies an 0unce volume, and it will be the same quantity of water, you can talk about the frequency of the photon or the energy of the photon and it is the same thing. What determines how fast photons of a certain frequency flow out of the chunk of heated iron is the temperature of the iron and how much iron there is.
The important thing is that an electron does not fall by steps from one orbit to another, and the photon that is emitted is not composed of chunks of energy.

Right now, I am wondering if the universe is subject to "non viewable determinism" or complete "randomness"

There has been a dispute about that question since the time that Einstein first tried to put quantum mechanics out of business. There are some people who believe that there are "hidden variables" that account for everything that happens in a deterministic way, and there are other people who say that there is no evidence for there being any hidden variables. One physicist, Dr. Bell, discovered a way that appears to prove that there cannot be a deterministic factor, but the idea that things have to have a definite reason is so strong in some people that people still argue against him and are trying to find some experiment that will prove Bell's ideas are wrong. See Bell test experiments.

in other words, if "we don't know what particles are doing, or if they don't "Know" what their doing"

Maybe it's more like the question, "Where is a ghost when is hasn't materialized yet?"

Clearly I have a lot more to learn, and once again, thank you for your thorough and informative answer :-)

Is it possible that uncertainty, and randomness is just as much of a property of the universe as say; mass, momentum or direction is?

One of my Chinese friends thinks that probability is what is the most basic. Or you could say that potentiality comes before actuality. He believes that our normal way of thinking starts from where we are -- in some actual world (that has developed according to underlying potentialities) -- and so we tend to see the actual as primary and then say that the actual things have probabilities of doing this or probabilities of doing that, or even that actual things have actual reasons for doing definite things but that we just haven't figured out yet how to get to these actual reasons.
To me, it is easier to understand the double-slit experiment by saying that a photon in flight has no definite position and so must go through both slits, rather than saying that a photon always has some definite position even if we can't discover what it is, and that it therefor must go through one slit or the other. In that experiment, everything changes depending on whether there is one slit or two. If the photon is either in the left slit or the right slit, why would it matter that the other slit was open or shut? But it does matter. People make all sorts of stories up to account for the function of the second slit. Some kind of "un-photon" goes through the other slit. It must go through the other slit. Otherwise there is nothing to interfere with the "real" photon. To me, unless you can trap one of these "photon's invisible twins" you had better not assert that they exist.

Can I ask one more question of yourself, It is probably absurd, although it seems interesting. Does uncertainty in momentum (providing that uncertainty is a fundamental property of nature) allow for the creation and destruction of energy?

There are what are called "quantum fluctuations" that create subatomic particles even in interstellar space, or so the theorists say. I think this is essentially what you are looking for. Matter and energy are essentially the same thing -- another idea that most people can't deal with.

If you have one particle moving at a particular momentum, and it interacts with another particle, and then randomly "chooses" a momentum, that could be different from its original momentum, has it "created" or "destroyed" a small amount of energy?

You are treading on the ground that led Einstein to bring up what is called entanglement. But the destruction/creation part is not a big part of that discussion.

However, this creation, and destruction would eventually even out, much the same as "flipping coins" (the first three coins may yield an uneven ratio, although, when thousands of coins are flipped the ratio evens out)

I believe this "evening out" is what physicists to occur with the stuff created out of quantum fluctions -- the particles tend not to hang around for very long.

Regards, Mike :-)Mike of Wikiworld (talk) 15:57, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Think of things this way: It's all probabilities. The position of something as big as an elephant, or even as big as a flea, is not truly determinant. We don't really know where the bus is, but on the other hand the amount of fuzz in the picture is so very small that we can't detect it. We don't really know where a photon is on its flight between laser and target, and the indeterminacy is so great that we must take account of it to get any kind of accurate predictions of what we will see in the end -- and those predictions must reflect the high variability of the possibilities active in the physical apparatus. The double-slit experiment works so gloriously because the interference effects both spread out the most likely places for showing up and also strengthen the amplitudes of the fringes by removing the possibility that any light shows up in the dark zones.P0M (talk) 14:58, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

I'll put a note on your user page unless to see this answer before I get back from a trip for some groceries. P0M (talk) 20:43, 15 June 2010 (UTC)


Please see:Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of English words of Chinese origin Kitfoxxe (talk) 15:31, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Yenlin Ku

I don't remember creating the article but a Google search seems to confirm the form "Yenlin Ku" - see especially this article. Regards - Ian Pitchford (talk) 17:32, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

The error traces back to a government-issued paper that summarizes some biographical data. The trouble is that people from southern China drop their gs in "ng" endings. Whoever made the English-language document probably did not bother to check the standard Mandarin pronunciation.P0M (talk) 00:20, 9 April 2011 (UTC)



I was in Peru and I took pictures of this Tarentula. I will post it on commons. But did you find the binomial name ? In the link, I'd just found that is a new specie part of gender Pamphobeteus. Any idea ? (one of the picture) Zil (talk) 01:33, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

The Wikipedia article you cite above shows two species of the genus Pamphobeteus that are found in Peru. You can take the two names and look for them via Google. Check the images for them. P0M (talk) 04:54, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Double slit experiment

I have answered here --Camilo Sanchez (talk) 06:02, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Thanks and Contact

Thanks a lot for your explanations on QM-related matters! May I have your contact info for further discussions if you don't mind? Mastertek (talk) 08:49, 21 February 2012 (UTC)


You can click on "e-mail this user" in the upper left corner of this page. I don't have accounts on facebook or other such places. P0M (talk) 04:14, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Hi, I finally sent you an email :) Mastertek (talk) 08:49, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

I'd like to have your attention on this

I'd like to have your attention on Talk:Uncertainty principle. I intend to put back a paragraph that was deleted in May, after modifying it, of course. You have participated in a discussion that led to the deletion. So before doing that, it'll be good to know a detailed reason for which it was deleted. Adrien (talk) 21:36, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Placement of comments

Patrick0Moran, can you be a little more careful where you place your comments? Twice you have placed your reply to someone else's comment before an older reply by me, leaving mine looking marooned. RockMagnetist (talk) 19:44, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, I'll fix them.P0M (talk) 19:47, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
It's o.k., I have already fixed them. RockMagnetist (talk) 19:49, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Jumping spider

Do you have an extreme closeup of their eyes to replace that diagram? I tablized it to get right format but am not very happy with the look it gives the lead. --Alatari (talk) 16:06, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

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The Schrodinger equation article

Patrick0Moran, I'd like to draw your attention to my latest comments on the Schrödinger equation article. You have done such a nice job of explaining quantum mechanics in Introduction to quantum mechanics and I'm hoping that you can help me with my proposed outline for different levels. RockMagnetist (talk) 18:39, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the kind words, however lots of people contributed to the Intro article. I spent most of my time trying to understand how Heisenberg fought his way through to matrix mechanics, and meanwhile other people were filling in the later developments. For that part of the article I just served as a lab rat, nibbling until I bit through insulation somewhere. :-)
The outline looks fine to me. I'll keep an eye on it for future developments.P0M (talk) 21:17, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Apologies for the long wait - but its over now. The problem has been fixed. I have now responded at the talk page.--Maschen (talk) 21:19, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

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Hi just to let you know that I saw your comment here and that I gave feedback. Note that I rarely come here and nowadays few people participate in that article, so if you agree with my suggestion, please go ahead! :-) Harald88 (talk) 18:35, 10 February 2012 (UTC)



I like your work

Understanding quantum mechanics is like drinking from a fire hose.

Great line. Did you write that? Viriditas (talk) 10:49, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

The idea of drinking from a fire hose is not original with me. The "fire hose" part does not go back to medieval Buddhism, but only because they didn't have fire hoses then. One or more of the Buddhist teaches talked about drinking a river -- sort of like what happens if you succeed in putting your finger down beside a mosquito that is drinking your blood and thereby trap the mosquito's mouth parts to your body in the "on" position. (There is no "off" so mosquitoes have to pull back out of your skin or they will explode.)P0M (talk) 16:59, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for explaining. Do you have any plans to bring double-slit experiment to peer review and prepare it for GA/FA status? Viriditas (talk) 19:51, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I have no such plans since I do not have time for that pursuit. When I do have time I try to spend it making things readable for the high school kids who are stuck in the boondocks with nobody to learn from.P0M (talk) 04:37, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Quantum Mechanics discussion/double-slit


Thanks. I guess I do need to start from the beginning. It would seem that the people I've gleamed my understanding of quantum mechanics from were totally insane. You, on the other hand, seem quite grounded and reasonable. I do recall, though, some thought experiment between Bohr and Einstein in which a single photon was kept in a box of mirrors and then 'weighed'. It seems I totally misunderstood this to mean that photons had some sort of mass.

No book, I imagine, will answer for me the question as to why the photon has any path at all, or why it is subject to time. I am a bit disappointed that my objections lead to what I perceive you as saying, 'what we know is as right as it can be, you just don't understand it': which I find strange, considering that what we know tells us little to nothing. A certain pragmatist said that general knowledge is more important than direct knowledge of a field; and so from my limited knowledge, I perceived what you now affirmed about mass affecting time. But yes, I do need to learn more, and accurately. --IronMaidenRocks (talk) 08:17, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Bohr's thought experiment is given on p. 54f of his book, Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge. It's a hard read, but one of the things that comes out fairly directly is that they are using the spring balance to measure momentum, or the "kick" of the photon of light. (If you fire a 50 caliber sniper rifle you will feel something like a horse stepping on your shoulder, but the bullet doesn't weigh as much as a horse. The surprising thing is that when mass goes down to zero in the case of a photon there can still be momentum. Anyway, what they were basically trying to work with was the mass of the box and its contents, the momentum of the box (comparable to the momentum of your body when you get kicked by the recoil of the rifle), and time. Since they are imagining the experiment to occur on earth, there is a gravitational field pulling down on the mass of the box and its contents, so it has weight. When the photon fires off it will move the box against the force of gravity. In other words, there is an exchange of momentum between the photon and the box.

Working backwards, if the energy carried off by the photon makes what appears to be a change of weight in the box, you would be encouraged to believe that there may be a connection between energy and mass.

One of the people back around the beginning half of the 20th century, I think his name wss Nartorp or something like that, said that correcting our common-sense ideas about nature and getting a more correct idea of how to think about nature and do it correcting is like trying to make hull repairs on a ship at sea. Everything depends on everything else, so if you change one thing the whole enterprise starts to sink. Light is connected to time. Time is connected to space. "Pathway" is connected to our ideas about space too.

I think it is accurate to say that we know that energy has been exchanged because things move, and things start moving only when energy has been exchanged. Light is our word for quanta of energy that are of the right frequency and wavelength to affect our retinas, but there are frequencies above and below what we can see. So for one small thing, let's say an atom or a molecule, to move another such small thing, it requires that a photon (or probably a bunch of photons) have to leave one of them and go to the other one.

The speed of light has been explained, by analogy, with the speed of sound waves in things like air, water, and railway tracks. The more squishy the medium, the slower the waves go. The speed of sound in air is much lower than the speed of sound in steel. If the speed of light is anything like the speed of sound, then maybe it has something to do with the characteristics of space. But space is not very well understood.

In a sense, the speed of light is the definition of time. See light clock. What Einstein did was to base everything on the presumption that the speed of light is always measured to be the same, and then to work from there. Other people had worked from the idea that light speeds were like everything else, and then tried to patch up all the resulting problems.

I'm out of time for now. P0M (talk) 17:15, 3 May 2012 (UTC)


There is a lot of dispute and confusion about what space is and what time is, and there always has been since St. Augustine argued that God created space and time, and so there wasn't any time before the creation of the universe. Some people have argued that space and time are both only relationships. For example, if there were only one thing in the universe there would not be anything called space. If the one thing were then broken in half and the two halves were pushed apart by whatever internal action had broken them, then a "space" would open out between them. The space would be one-dimensional, I guess. If one of the fragments broke apart and the two resulting parts separated there might be a triangular configuration, so there would be two-dimensional space. If one of the three split again then maybe there would be a three-dimensional space. Well, what if one of the four split again? Wouldn't there be a four-dimensional space? It appears that idea is wrong. So maybe there is something about the original thing that makes it three-dimensional. Or maybe there really is something called space that has characteristics of its own, one of them being three-dimensionality.

How do we know there is space? In everyday experience we believe in space because as infants we can drop our toys down from highchairs and our parents can go away from us and come back again.

How do we know there is time? We find we can keep track of changes by relating them to some regular and countable process such as the passage of the sun across the sky, the dripping of water out of a tank, etc. A swinging pendulum is a relatively reliable way to make a clock. You and I can have identical pendulums and agree to meet again in 3000 swings of the pendulum. If we both go to the same place as the pendulum count nears 3000, neither one of us will likely leave feeling that s/he has been stood up. But if we agree to meet after 3000 heart beats, and then one of us goes to sleep while the other runs a long race, we may find we have not created a reliable way to meet. Two or more pendulum clocks are a little tricky to get to keep the same time because of friction, forgetting to wind the clock up, errant breezes, etc.

A light clock works by having something like a laser sitting next to a light detector on one side of the room and a mirror on the other side of the room. A brief burst of light is fired from the laser. It hits the mirror, bounces back to the light detector, and that amounts to one "tick" of the clock. The light detector does two things. It augments its count and it triggers the laser to send out another flash of light.

Here is the interesting thing. There are different conditions. The laser either is or is not firing. The counter either says "393785" or it does not. The mirror on the other side of the room is or is not reflecting some light. The laser being in operation does not coexist with the laser not being in operation. Differences are real. So time seems to be connected inextricably with the idea of difference and change. (A single clock in its own universe that happened to have broken would not give a disembodied observer any idea of time existing in that universe. If nothing changed in our universe there would be no indication of the passage of time even if time is something that exists independent of things moving "through" it.) Maybe that's all that time is—just the change of states. But we need one more thing. I have an electric clock that misbehaves when its battery runs down beyond a certain point. The second hand tries to go from 45 seconds to 46 seconds, but then it falls back to 45 seconds. If all change in the universe operated that way, we would never get anywhere and we would not go anywhen through time. Physicists can account for the forward movement of time by considering the probabilities of things like Humpty-Dumpty spontaneously reassembling themselves.

Why is light subject to time? I think that is the wrong question. Light is movement, and movement is time. So light is probably the first place in the Universe that time either comes into being or that time is revealed in action.

Why does light have a path? That's a little like asking why the Universe exists at all, or why π is not exactly equal to 3 or some other number. If we make the question a little easier and ask why light moves the way it does, then we can get a pretty reasonable answer for situations that are not tricky (like the double-slit experiment). When people thought that light was made of particles like little bullets, then they could explain the path of light by the rules about nature that Newton had figured out. The basic idea there is that a particle keeps going the way it had been going unless something forces it to change direction. That's why astronauts carry little jet propulsion units with them in case their tethers break while they are out space walking.

If light were a simple particle, the way we once imagined it was, then to make it have a path that jinked around would require doing something to it that would account for every change of course. That idea goes back at least as far as something that Thomas Aquinas said, something that was recycled in the movie version of The Sound of Music, "Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could." In more prosaic language, you don't get a change unless you expend some energy to cause that change.

Einstein and others like him wanted to keep that idea of determinacy in the absence of outside force, so they could not deal with the sort of statistical determinacy idea that came out of quantum mechanics, i.e., the kind of thing that happens with the double-slit experiment where all you can say is that the next photon has an x% chance of hitting dead center, a y% chance of hitting one or the other of the strongest and nearest side-bands, and so forth.

Explanations one one level seem always to depend on knowing what goes on at a more fundamental level. So we think we are getting somewhere. Why do clouds form? Because water in its gas phase condenses to water in its liquid phase. Well, why does water have phases? ... Why do we have hydrogen and oxygen... We can keep on asking why. The people who are working with string theory and brane theory kinds of things have taken the process to the point that they may have a hope of "explaining" all the things fundamental to this universe, but only in terms of "things" that are out of this universe and beyond our hope of getting any empirical information about. It's sort of the ultimate black box, the box that is so black that even the outside of the box is invisible to us.P0M (talk) 19:18, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

P.S. Nobody understands it. Maybe all we can hope for is a sort of made up story that accounts for almost everything and that does not have too many inconsistencies.Back around 350 BC the Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zi had already realized that nature does its own thing, often behind closed doors, and that humans make up a variety of "It's gotta be because..." stuff, and we try to make our stuff consistent. What is really going on is beyond us. We are like professional storytellers on the street corner. The first time we tell a story we may get caught out on some inconsistency by a member of the audience. So the next time we patch that hole, only to be caught out on some other inconsistency. To me it seems remarkable that we have come close to piecing together such a good history of the universe and that we can do so well at predicting where photons will go and what they will do, how many atoms in a certain mass of uranium will fission every hour, etc. I was just re-reading some of the 1920s stuff by the founders of quantum mechanics. The articles sometimes make it seem like it is all so obvious (to the writers, at least). But if you look at what people like Bohr and Heisenberg were doing back then, it is clear that they were spending years trying to dope out what they could eventually express in a 20-page article. The account of Heisenberg's discovery of quantum mechanics makes it clear that he was sailing really heavy mental seas and quite exhausted before he finally made a breakthrough, and even then it took months for him and his colleagues to work through all the immediate consequences. And, in the end, it is a construct that might fall apart when hit by one new discovery. The empirical stuff that has been discovered will not go away, but it might have to be repackaged in some form as radically new as was quantum mechanics. P0M (talk) 19:39, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the responses, very well written. A few things: How do we know that a clock is an accurate representation of time? Perhaps the further we are from a mass and the clock ticks faster, it is because that mass is in some way reacting with the mechanics of the clock, and not with the mechanics of time. The article on time dilation says that astronauts came back less-aged than their ground teams: How could that possibly be measured? What we really see is things from our relative perspective and relate them together. Aging/oxidation appears to happen over time, but is it really acceptable to say we know such things wouldn't happen without time, or that they are directly caused by time?
I think you would get different answers depending on who you asked about a clock being a measure of time (never mind whether it is a good measure or a poor measure). Maybe Leibniz was right and there is no "thing" called time, just a relationship, or actually a set of relationships in all but contrived cases, between things. One of the big improvements in thinking about how we think (in science and more generally) came when people began to think about questions such as "what is time?" in terms of what operations we perform when somebody asks, "How long did it take you to get from home to my place?" If that approach is right, then we just follow the operational definition of time.
Maybe Leibniz was wrong and there is some "thing" that is like a stream that carries us along as though we were riders on a barge. On of the practical problems with this idea is that if we were each on a separate barge and were being carried along by the same river, then how would we know how much distance in time we had traveled unless we could see some kind of landmarks along the bank of this river of time.
Along came Einstein, and he discovered that (if we continue to use the river of time image) supposing a couple of boats don't turn on their outboard motors and another boat speeds away (up or down or in any direction perpendicular to the time axis) then its clock will slow down. (A crew of 30 year old astronauts leaves earth and goes to some other star at some substantial fraction of the speed of light. The captain sends a radio message back to Earth saying, "On my 45th birthday we went into orbit around the fourth planet of our new star/sun." But from Earth's point of view it took 100 years for the spaceship to make its trip.
I am a little more familiar with the space side of the discussions of relativity, and in a way I suppose they are easier to understand. The key idea, for me at least, is that before Einstein people were faced with all kinds of practical contradictions or inconsistencies when they began to deal with relativistic speeds. But, when Einstein decided to treat the speed of light as a universal constant, all the paradoxes went away. What it can mean for the speed of light to be measured as "c" under all conditions of motion is really hard to understand as an intuition. Suppose that we are in a spaceship that has an open tube leading from nose to tail. Somebody goes outside the spaceship, stands on the nose, and shoots a beam of light through the tube. There is a light detector right inside the opening in the nose, and a light detector right inside the opening in the tail. There is then a way to calculate the speed of light by seeing how long it takes for light to get from one place to the other. We compute the speed of light and come up with c. Ahead of us there is a quasar that pulses regularly, so we get a definite "flash" that we can use like we just used the beam of light shone into our spaceship measuring device. We have achieved a velocity of .75 c with respect to this quasar. If we were in a fighter jet and flying into an opponent's oncoming machine gun bullet, we would expect it to have a higher velocity with respect to us because we are moving toward our opponent with a ground speed of 783 mph. If we were flying directly away from it and had a fast enough jet airplane we might be able to outrun that bullet. If we were running away from one bullet and heading into another bullet, we might escape the first bullet and run into the other bullet with a velocity equal to the ground speed of the airplane plus the ground speed of the bullet. But it does not happen that way with light. Light from the quasar we are running away from enters at the tail of the ship, emerges from the nose of the ship, and we measure its speed as c. Light from the one we are running toward enters at the nose of the ship and exits the tail of the ship, and we measure its speed as c. On top of that, there is something called the Fitzgerald contraction that tells physicists that things will contract along the direction in which they are moving. But does anything really contract? From the viewpoint of people in the spacecraft, its length has not changed. From the viewpoint of people in an observatory on our North Pole, the spacecraft has shrunk in one direction. Who is right? Nobody has a right to claim to have a privileged point of view.
The Fitzgerald contraction was known before Einstein, and many of Einstein's theoretical points were covered (but with a different mindset) by Maxwell (dealing with electricity--including how moving things should contract), Lorenz, and others. What Einstein did was to drop the idea that we all start with, that we are sitting or walking around in our houses, and our houses are not going anywhere, and pick up the idea that light does its own thing and that people have different ideas about how it "should" be moving based on their own individual perspectives. The result of making light the center of everything was that he was able to account for everything else consistently.
So I suspect that the best way to understand time is to go over the "light clock" discussion. It involves nothing more highly mathematical than the Pythagorean theorem.
Really, what we know about time is, that in popularly understood mechanics, nothing could happen without it.. but such explanations fail to explain what it actually is. Your model on 'state changes' [Edit: funnily enough, I was talking about the theory you presented me after my 'physics computer' idea, before reading the bit about state change in your latest post] seems to explain it quite well, really. When we measure time, or 'action' on a computer, it is done through literal state changes or 'ticks'. Time, in the popular idea I would suppose, is 'action' (or the ability for action) mutually exclusive of any other scalar or vector, which gives ability for action to all of these. But how do we know that time is a real entity, and not a figment of our perspective? I'm not at all sure, and there seems to be a mountain of ambiguous data on the subject. Just in the light of this conversation, I would say that perhaps time is an expression of electromagnetic exchange, an expression of the scalars, and perhaps a humanly perceived need for why things function, age, etc (and specifically, perhaps there is not need for such a thing).
Would you accept: "Time is a function of electromagnetic exchange"?
One of the old arguments is that time will come to an end and the Universe will disappear and "then" the Universe will be reborn again, and it will go through exactly the same sequence as before, and so forth ad infinitum. To make the argument a little simpler, imagine an empty Universe into which somebody introduces a friction free (easy in a pure vacuum) solar system composed of one cannon ball and one ball bearing in orbit around it. What would distinguish the "first" revolution from the "second" revolution? Put into this Universe a curious chicken in a space suit who watches the intriguing possible dinner and the chicken presumably has enough mind to think something roughly like, "Here it comes again." In other words, there are physical changes occurring in the chicken's brain, and these physical changes mark time.P0M (talk) 19:43, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Space, on the other hand, is a very tricky one. In that too, much of our understanding is based on perspective. All of us who have never left the planet earth have never seen or felt space in terms of the absence of matter. We know of distance between solid objects. But even in black space, where we cannot see matter or electromagnetic interactions, there's still something there 'connecting' objects by gravitational pulls. So how can we say that anyone know of 'real space', or that such a thing is the same as distance between objects or photons, etc? Maybe space cannot exist in terms of the complete absence of something.
There is some interesting discussion of this subject in Brian Greene's most recent book. The Universe is expanding. What is it expanding into? Nothing?
Space seems to have characteristics, and that fact makes many people dubious of Leibniz's idea that space is only a relationship. There is a lot of very good discussion in Gottfried Martin's Kant's Metaphysics and Theory of Science. That's an old, extremely good, and unfortunately generally neglected book.
And then, I find it very interesting how you paint the mystery of our universe. In the macro layers of science, we are told again and again that everything is understood. At the level of quantum mechanics, we are told again and again that we could, perhaps, understand nothing. There are no frontiers in the macro world: but in the quantum, terrifying unknowns are as close as your coffee, your eyeglasses, your body. There's something very poetic about that.
I don't think any serious scientist says that everything is understood. We have numbers, mathematical models, etc. that allow us the ability to predict things very well. Newton knew that masses attract each other. He didn't know why masses attract each other. For everything short of space travel and high energy physics, Newton's "laws" work perfectly. Maybe Einstein has succeeded in explaining gravity in terms of more fundamental factors. He explains that any mass bends space. Bending space means changing what is effectively a straight line (as in "a straight line is the shortest distance between two points"). If the shortest way for light to get from a distant star to the earth changes when our sun gets nearer to the original straight line then the straight line changes (just the way a straight line drawn on a rubber sheet would change if something distorts the shape of the sheet). That explanation is evidently consistent with everything else we know, but there doesn't seem to be any other way to play around with "distorting space" to see what happens when a solar mass is not involved. Brian Greene's new book goes so deep into the abstract to explain the things that are used to explain other things that there seems to be no standard for its truth other than that he tell an entirely self-consistent story. We will never know if his account is right, but we might find something in the Universe would make his account fail.
More later.P0M (talk) 19:43, 18 May 2012 (UTC)


Really, what we know about time is, that in popularly understood mechanics, nothing could happen without it.. but such explanations fail to explain what it actually is. Your model on 'state changes' [Edit: funnily enough, I was talking about the theory you presented me after my 'physics computer' idea, before reading the bit about state change in your latest post] seems to explain it quite well, really. When we measure time, or 'action' on a computer, it is done through literal state changes or 'ticks'. Time, in the popular idea I would suppose, is 'action' (or the ability for action) mutually exclusive of any other scalar or vector, which gives ability for action to all of these. But how do we know that time is a real entity, and not a figment of our perspective? I'm not at all sure, and there seems to be a mountain of ambiguous data on the subject. Just in the light of this conversation, I would say that perhaps time is an expression of electromagnetic exchange, an expression of the scalars, and perhaps a humanly perceived need for why things function, age, etc (and specifically, perhaps there is not need for such a thing).
I'm not sure that I have the model used in the movie Matrix, but let me try. Some aliens take over Earth and imprison the humans that survive. They put them in individual life-support machines and wired their sensory inputs and motor control outputs into a central computer. So, unbeknownst to the individual humans, they are actually playing a computer game with each other via the big alien computer. Let's do them one better and replace each human with a "personal computer." Now the situation is like one personal computer playing chess with another personal computer. What I am working toward is a situation in which we can take "the real world," and real space and time, out of the picture.
In the world constituted by the mainframe and all of the little computers, the place in time of something, e.g., the temperature in my oven, is just a linked reference between some collection of memory items that pertain to the oven (including the temperatures) and a sequence marker that we could call "t". So you could look at the register and see t1 100°, t2 100.01°, and on and on and on. Every "thing" and every component of every "thing" will have its own entry for a long series of "t" items. If we were part of this computer program we could watch the part of the database that gives the temperature of my stove, and we would see it change from time to time. If we were outside of the computer we might get a very large hard drive and copy down all of the readings in all of the data registers. Perhaps we could hit playback and see the action in our own temporal sequence (if we had one). From one perspective, the "time" in this imaginary matrix world is nothing but the "t" entries. Movement from place to place is nothing more than changes of the x, y, and z entries for, e.g., my car.
There are some simple computer "lifeforms" that come on your computer screen. The computer program does something like this: The computer generates a random number. If the number is 13 then the computer lights up pixel thirteen. The computer generates another random number and puts the dot down accordingly. If the next number happens to be 12 or 14 then the second dot "eats" the first dot and moves to 13. To the viewer it appears that the second dot does something to the first dot, but the truth is that all the "action" has occured within the CPU and the data registers of the computer. If we could get a print-out of all the data registers from tick to tick of the clock that runs the CPU, then we could "reconstruct" this little world at any time just by looking at that line of computer output.
So suppose that we step out of our universe and find the infinite block that contains all of these records. We cannot know whether it was created out of nothing and just left there, or whether it was created layer by layer and in sequence. We wonder how, if it were created as a single event, an egg laid by some super-infinite being, whatever created it contrived all of the infinite number of connecting links (my oven's temperature is 400° and I put my bare hand inside to pick up pyrex baking dish and my hand gets burned). If, instead of being created instantaneously, it was created layer by layer and in sequence, then there must have been another dimension along which the creation process moved, and we might as well call that "time" as to declare the sequence laid out in the "egg" to be time. (It's like there being one "time" for the computer-universe in Matrix and another "time" for their bodies that are on life support.
There is another problem with the CPU, the "clock" that makes the computer's CPU actually function by going from cycle of action to cycle of action, and then the "game time" of the characters in a shoot-em-up computer game or whatever. (Have you ever loaded a simulation made for an older generation of computers onto a computer that has twice the clock speed as that old generation? Everything in the simulation happens much faster than the programmer intended for it to happen. It's like running a 33 1/3 rpm record on an old 78 rpm record player.) The time that a human being experiences sitting here on earth observes for its clock will be different from the time the earth observer views for the space ship that buzzes the north pole at 1/3 the speed of light. It will be different, also, for somebody sitting in an observatory on a world on a solar system that is heading in the direction of where the spaceship is coming from at a rate that the earth observers calculate to be 1/4 c. And there are an almost infinite number of other things in the universe with different velocities so there will need to be computer registers for all of those values and those values will be themselves almost infinite in number because things change from moment in this universe so (even though nothing supposedly is really happening in a time that is just a "record" of what might be cwonsidered time by people without a clue) each register has to have almost infinite capacity. When we make these computer records that tell us whatever happened at each "quantum of time," we are going to have to put down a definite value (which goes against what we know about uncertainty from quantum mechanics) or else we are going to have to put down a range of numbers that reflect the quantum uncertainty of each micro event. (What, for instance, is the temperature of one electron in my atom at a certain "tick" value in the memory banks of this giant super computer? It cannot be exactly 400°, so how is the computer going to record it? As the psi-function for the unmeasured electron perhaps? Fascinating. How does the computer contrive to make a recording of something so complex. It has infinite extent, and the probability assigned to any point along it has its own unique value. There goes another huge swath of computer memory.) Let's see. Just because of a space ship, or just because of an electron, we need to have a recording of huge numbers of values, and it is not clear to me that even quantum granularity will save us from having an infinite number of values to try to record because the psi function of, e.g., a photon shooting out of my hand-pointer laser is supposed to have infinite extent in directions perpendicular to its direction of travel.
Whether we look at individual states of some object or at multiple views of the object taken by observers it seems that we are always going to be accounting for the recording of uncountable numbers of numbers (if we believe in real space and time) or the computation/creation of uncountable numbers of numbers (if we believe that this universe is a "matrix universe" contained in the cosmic equivalent of a roll of movie film).

I would say that perhaps time is an expression of electromagnetic exchange, an expression of the scalars, and perhaps a humanly perceived need for why things function, age, etc (and specifically, perhaps there is not need for such a thing).

I think it would be accurate to say that what functions as the "clock speed" of our universe is the speed of light. Hitting the end of one section of railway track does not transmit a sound or any shock to its opposite end because hitting the surface of one end compresses the distances among iron atoms on that end, then they spring back and in so doing compress iron atoms going toward the other end, and so forth. Iron atoms don't physically bump into each other. What happens is that they get closer to each other and field forces between them change. The changes in field forces are essentially photon events, and the speed of transmission is limited by the speed of light. When the atoms are close together they don't have to move much to have the atoms close to them "feel" their force fields. When the atoms are farther apart (as in the case of air) they have to move quite a bit before they give an effective push to neighboring atoms. Our brains are also going along, propelled by changes that ultimately involve photon exchanges, and also have built-in clocks that tick at more "human" rates, e.g., the beating of our hearts. If there is a human need for a separate "thing" called time through which we and everything else "flow," and only that, then it must be that when we look at all the phenomena that we associate with time (e.g., time dilation for clocks that get close to huge masses) we can explain it by tracing out each step in the ticking of some clock as that clock is perceived by somebody in another frame of reference. P0M (talk) 18:48, 27 May 2012 (UTC)


Space, on the other hand, is a very tricky one. In that too, much of our understanding is based on perspective. All of us who have never left the planet earth have never seen or felt space in terms of the absence of matter. We know of distance between solid objects. But even in black space, where we cannot see matter or electromagnetic interactions, there's still something there 'connecting' objects by gravitational pulls. So how can we say that anyone know of 'real space', or that such a thing is the same as distance between objects or photons, etc? Maybe space cannot exist in terms of the complete absence of something.
For one thing, if we could move around at close to the speed of light, or even if somebody made up a virtual reality in which we could move around at the speed of light, we would experience directly how, e.g., the Fitzgerald contraction makes speeding spaceships contract along their axis of movement.
There are philosophers who argue that space is nothing but the relationship among objects. Others raise objections to that idea. They point out that if a dancer spins around on the floor with arms extended and then pulls them in, the dancer's speed of rotation will increase. Humans use this kind of conservation of momentum phenomenon in ice skating, competition diving, etc. What would happen, those who object to "space is a relationship only" ask, if a person in a spaceship were dropped into a totally empty universe wearing a spacesuit and holding a seltzer bottle manipulation jet in each hand, one pointing headward and one pointing footward? If that person used them both at the same time, starting with both arms extended at the side, then wouldn't one arm be pushed down and the other arm be pushed up, and wouldn't the entire body start to rotate? The person would spin, and his/her inner ears would react accordingly. The individual is rotating in space, but not in relation to any other thing. See Bucket argument.
If we know anything about light it is that if the same person beams a light from one hand to a mirror in the other hand, and from there to a detector located between his/her eyes, measures the length of time the beam took to arrive, and then directs the light at his/her own face, the speed of light will still be c. So that is our basic clock tick, and if space is real then it looks like time has to be "real" at least in the sense that it is a function of real things and real processes.P0M (talk) 19:05, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
And then, I find it very interesting how you paint the mystery of our universe. In the macro layers of science, we are told again and again that everything is understood. At the level of quantum mechanics, we are told again and again that we could, perhaps, understand nothing. There are no frontiers in the macro world: but in the quantum, terrifying unknowns are as close as your coffee, your eyeglasses, your body. There's something very poetic about that.
People who say that "everything is understood" are not scientists. Maybe they are mass-media reporters or other people who jump to conclusions. Scientists frequently get in trouble themselves when they are not cautious enough of how they quality their discoveries. Scientists took seriously the possibility that neutrinos might be moving at a speed greater than c. Humans have been measuring the speed of light with ever-increasing precision for over a century, and with the use of things like GPS we are making calculations that would go wrong if we had the speed of light wrong in the sense that some transmissions could go faster than c. (The value of c is the fastest possible rate of travel for anything. It is not argued that it just applies to light. So if we found that neutrinos went faster than light, then we would have to change the maximum speed limit, and that change would make us have to do lots of work to accommodate the changes.) Since we have not found anything yet that can go faster than c, and since we have measured light and other things so very many times, we think that the maximum speed limit is now given at a reliable value and all we might do is to change the number of decimal points we can work out the empirical value to. Some scientists are trying to recover genetic material from the remains of a few samples that have been claimed to be yeti hide or fur. It's more likely that we will find something new in some field where we have little empirical knowledge up to now than that we will find that something that has been measured formally and practically a gazillion times will suddenly show up with a second "true" value.
We can predict things on the quantum level with a very high level of reliability. We also use quantum mechanics over and over again in contexts that would blow a whistle if what has been figured out earlier turned out to be wrong. On the other hand, the results are probabilistic, and most humans are conditioned from birth to expect deterministic consequences. If all that is really there is, e.g., a 50-50 probability that the electron will go to the left or go to the right, then that's all that we can really say about it.
P.S. I am pretty sure I am remembering this stuff clearly, but it's been 20 years or so since I read about it. What are called "toroidal coils" do not work the way physics says that they should. A toroidal coil is basically something made with an iron ring instead of an iron bar as the center of an electromagnet. I think the deal is that physics says that there should not be a magnetic field detectable if you run current through one of these coils because everything cancels out (like two people of equal strength in a tug of war contest). Probably there is an article on the subject somewhere on-line.P0M (talk) 07:49, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I find that the question of 'why light has a path' is not only fundamental to explaining our universe (how can you understand a thing if not from its most basic point of origin?), but may be reachable for us. How do we know? Are we to say 'no, that's reaching too high'. Why? Because no one has done it before? There's so much thinking that we could exhaust on the topic, which means there are things to learn. --IronMaidenRocks (talk) 10:49, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
What would be the consequences if there were no path involved in light transmission? If there is no path, then the question, "Why does light have a path?" is an irrelevancy. A moment ago Casper was in the Lincoln Memorial Now Casper is in the Lincoln bedroom in the White House. In between? It's a meaningless question because Casper dematerialized in the Memorial and rematerialized in the Lincoln bedroom.
What would be the consequences if there was a path, but there was no predictable path, involved in light transmission? We have a laser in one place and a detector in another place. But now we have an omnicient observer, maybe it is Casper (who knows), and the omnicient observer informs us that photon one went by way of New Jersey and photon two went by way of New Caladonia.
What does seem to be almost irrefutable is that if you fire a series of photons from the same laser toward the same unobstructed target (no intervening slit or slits)then they will always arrive after a time interval that is equal to the straight-line distance between the two points divided by the speed of light. Even when the path of light is modified by crowding the original straight-line with something like a stellar mass, Einstein claims that light travels in a length of time that is appropriate to a new kind of straight line -- a geodesic that indicates that space has been warped the way the shape of a trampoline would be deformed temporarily if a cannon ball were to be placed upon it. If you ask Einstein whether things really are the way his General Relativity says they are, he answers: "Who knows? But I give you this beautiful model by which I predicted that the apparent position of a star would change as the sun almost gets in between it and us. Doesn't that make you at least the slightest bit amazed and happy?"
See Principle of least action for the history of how the idea that light goes by the straight-line path developed.P0M (talk) 07:32, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Questions such as why π = 3.14159... are hard to answer. In the beginning we could only say, "That's just what it is. God made it that way." Later we started to say, "Well, it could have some other value, but only if space were not Euclidean space but something else. Maybe the Universe really is non-Euclidian. If we succeed in measuring the angles of a large enough triangle we may find that their sum is not 180°.
The next question will be, "Why is space Euclidean?" Or it may be, "Why is space non-Euclidean?" And if we get an answer to that one then somebody will ask, "And who or what set that condition up?"
Who says there is a "most basic point" from which to begin an explanation? Maybe it is infinite onion-peeling and Russian dolls.P0M (talk) 00:52, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

uncertainty principle

I'm so sorry about the delay!... I already have images like this on wave-particle duality:

{{#invoke:Multiple image|render}}

and Schrödinger equation:

{{#invoke:Multiple image|render}}

Are these good? (of course we can change the captions). I'll quickly produce a diagram analagous to the one you mentioned [12] for the spectrum of superimposed waves that form a wavepacket, if thats wha you're after. Word of caution: as you may know I am NOT an expert, just an undergraduate, and only know physics up to the second year... Again apologies and thank you for your polite and kind words, I just don't get on WP anymore... Maschen (talk) 18:49, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

Intolerable behaviour by new user:Hublolly

Hello. This message is being sent to inform you that there is currently a discussion at WP:ANI regarding the intolerable behaviour by new user:Hublolly. The thread is Intolerable behaviour by new user:Hublolly. Thank you.

(I had to include you by WP:ANI guidelines, sorry...)

F = q(E+v×B)ici 23:05, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Fuck this - User:F=q(E+v^B) and user:Maschen are both thick-dumbasses (not the opposite: thinking smart-asses) and there are probably loads more "editors" like these becuase as I have said thousands of times - they and their edits have fucked up the physics and maths pages leaving a trail of shit for professionals to clean up. Why that way???
I will hold off editing untill this heat has calmed down. Hublolly (talk) 00:14, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

A moment of clarity for you

You are not permitted to post to my talkpage under any circumstances - given your paranoia and obsession with getting me into trouble.

Is that clear? Do not, ever, at all, in any shape, form, geometry, infiltration procedure, post to my talkpage again. If I have done something so egregious that I need talking to, someone else will do it.

Not you. Ever. As an editor or as an admin, you are permanently unwelcome at my talkpage. I will not be watching your page, and should you ever post to my talkpage again it will be construed as harassment and I will take it to ArbCom if necessary.

Never. Ever. Forever.

To eternity and beyond - when our atoms become the reminants of the destroyed solar system, to drift through the universe and from which anything can happen - be it that they form a new planetary nebula and solar systems with new life forms which devlop their own computer technologies and internets and wikipedias telling the same thing to simalar editors, or crushed and shredded by black-holes, whooshed through wormholes (should such cosmological topology exist in spacetime fabric), and collapsed into the big crunch or frozen solid in the "deep freeze" end to the universe.

Except that you will not edit my talk page. Not ever. For all time.

Understood? Sparkling clear as a wine glass? Actually - is diamond opaque in comparison to what I just said?

I trust we understand each other.

Goodbye. (as in I am leaving WP for a short break, not permanently). :-/ Hublolly (talk) 18:44, 10 July 2012 (UTC)