"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

Tag Archives: number

On Herdbeasts

No human can survive on its own, so every one of us has to pander to the group to stay alive, let alone to thrive and have the surplus necessary for reproduction.  Independence is a myth, individual freedom is a thing we must steal in the dark.

So selection for group compliance is heavy amongst human beings.
People often know in their hearts that an absurd popular belief is false or at best uncertain, but they have a strange ability to refuse to admit even to themselves except in the dark of night as they try to sleep.  Their herd instincts overwhelm their reason.  This is the dissonance you see in every washed up careerist schlub you meet.  That middle class guy who lives a secure life with a wife and two kids, yet no one envies him.

This is what drives the evangelist to say “but how do you live without Jesus in your heart?”  They’re speaking to their own deeply embedded fears, not to you.  These fears are all the worse because they can never confront them, like ghosts hiding under a child’s bed.

Group existence is likely the cause of human intelligence.  In a group with just 5 other people, you have 25 possible combinations with them to account for.  Chimpanzees live in bands of perhaps 12-16 they deal with perhaps 144 to 256 different combinations.  Humans are equipped to handle groups up to 150 different people, or 22,500 possible combinations of interactions.
The man with even a slight edge in such a large group ends up with the best women and most of the wealth.
A society where millions interact has innumerable combinations and impossibly complex patterns.  Such a situation is bound to create pressures that produce herd predators that have an edge in exploiting mass trends.

Treated as an aberration in youth, I barely survived, but now I find I have great survival advantages.  I see people following trends and reading the news, while I ask how the trend creators gain and what’s in it for the journalists.  I would hope that I am the future and will do everything in my power to make it so.

I don’t fault them as much as I used to.  I’ve come to understand that every group has rules that serve to weed out specimens that are poorly adapted.
On reflection, I’ve come to realize I’d do the exact same thing if I had power.
I would wield it unapologetically, remembering well what life was like when they were in charge.
I’d naturally make life hard for those who displease me and grease all the wheels in life for the right kind of people.

Why We Use A Decimal System

Most cultures around the world independently arrive at a decimal system for counting things?
Why is this?

Because that’s the number of fingers on our hands. Childish and simple, but the truth. Look at a synonym for a number in our language: a ‘digit.’

Thus, can we say a decimal metric system is necessarily more ‘rational’ than a standard system largely based around numbers like 12 and 16?

Ancient Mesopotamian cultures based their numeral system around the number 60, evenly divisible by 12.

Computers are set up to do many things in hexadecimal, base 16, rather than the base 10 preferred by its ten-fingered users.

It makes best mathematical sense to use numbers most easily divided and factored as a base.
Thus a race of aliens with 13 fingers might also create computers that use base 16.

If we were to suppose the divine is reflected in the nature of the universe, Would humans in the image of the divine have had 12 or 16 fingers instead of 10?

How Do Protons Determine the Identity of An Element? Should They?

OP: As I understand it, the only thing on a chemical level differentiating the different elements from each other is number of protons, and thus electrons. But how does adding one proton change something from say, carbon to nitrogen?

I’ve had awhile to think about this since I first posted this thread…

I suspect Van Der Waals forces might play a critical role in elemental identity.

The basic chemistry books in high school basically teach that all the action in the atom takes place in the electron orbitals.
So why would identity be determined by number of protons.

In fact, the protons in the core do exert a pull on other atoms known as Van der Waals forces. Perhaps this is one source of an element’s unique properties that’s directly influenced by number of protons?

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