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My List Of Ten questions Science simply can't answer...Help!

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posted on Dec, 22 2005 @ 12:57 PM
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Okay, I confess, I don't have ten questions yet! However, I DO have two which seem to start the List nicely.

1. Why do waves travel at such a consistant speed?

It is true that various waves, in various mediums, travel at different speeds. BUT... why does light not slow down after bouncing off a mirror? By the same token, why do echoes also travel at the speed of sound? Lastly, (the last time I checked anyway) a water wave made by a pebble travels at the same speed as a wave made by a boulder, but why?

2. Why do magnets never "wear out"?

Yes, electromagnets can switch on and off. Also, (and frankly, I'm not sure) manmade magnets do indeed wear out...but not natural magnets. How come?




posted on Dec, 22 2005 @ 01:16 PM
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Why do waves travel at such a consistent speed?


Wave propagation is a function of the medium, wave amplitude is a function of the energy. Echoes and light may indeed change frequency or amplitude after bouncing off something, but the propagation is constant, because it is only a function of the medium.


Why do magnets never "wear out"?


They do. That's why we use electromagnets in industry, so that we can constantly keep a flow of electrons going and keep the magnet running. A regular bar magnet will eventually run out over time. In addition a piece of ferrous metal can always be magnetised by aligning it in a strong enough field or for a long enough time in a weak one.

[edit on 22-12-2005 by Quest]



posted on Dec, 22 2005 @ 05:34 PM
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2. Why do magnets never "wear out"?

Yes, electromagnets can switch on and off. Also, (and frankly, I'm not sure) manmade magnets do indeed wear out...but not natural magnets. How come?


I just yesterday watched a documentary, and one guy mentioned that permanent magnets lose their strength over time, and that the rate was roughly 1% per year. I don't know how reliable that is, though, but in the context of that program, it seemed to apply to all magnets, natural or not.

I don't know the reason for question #1, only that it is true.

Here's an interesting question, that I believe is referred to as 'the horizon paradox'.

Look into the sky with the most powerful telescope in the world. You can see something like 10 billion light years away. This means that the light you see is 10 billion years old. Now turn your telescope 180 degrees and look the other way. You see some other light that is 10 billion light years away. So, the spacing between those two distant points is 20 billion light years. But... the universe, according to astronomers, is only something like 12 billion years old.

Does this mean that space is curved, somehow? Does this mean that light used to travel faster than it does now? Does this mean our estimate for the age of the universe is wrong? What does it mean???? I have no idea!



posted on Dec, 22 2005 @ 07:13 PM
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Sorry to burst your bubble, but light does slow down when refracted off of different mediums.
Light Slows When Refracted


When visible light passes through a transparent material such as glass, its velocity changes according to the Index of Refraction of the material. This slowing is caused by the electrical fields in the material. When the beam of light enters the material at an angle, it is bent or refracted as a result of the decrease in velocity. The refraction is similar to the change in direction of soldiers marching into a muddy field.


I hope that helps! I found out that when I have a question, Google is your friend.



posted on Dec, 22 2005 @ 09:41 PM
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Originally posted by DragonsDemesne
Here's an interesting question, that I believe is referred to as 'the horizon paradox'.

Look into the sky with the most powerful telescope in the world. You can see something like 10 billion light years away. This means that the light you see is 10 billion years old. Now turn your telescope 180 degrees and look the other way. You see some other light that is 10 billion light years away. So, the spacing between those two distant points is 20 billion light years. But... the universe, according to astronomers, is only something like 12 billion years old.

Does this mean that space is curved, somehow? Does this mean that light used to travel faster than it does now? Does this mean our estimate for the age of the universe is wrong? What does it mean???? I have no idea!


If I understand that correctly, then the universe would be 10 billion years old, not 20.

star 1------------------10 bil. LY-----------------> earth



posted on Dec, 22 2005 @ 09:58 PM
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TJ11240: Light years are a measure of distance, as you said. The point I am trying to make is this: look at the diagram you drew. Star 1 and Star 2 are 20 billion light years apart in distance. But how did they get to be 20 billion light years apart? Possibly the universe used to expand at a rate faster than the speed of light, but this would contradict modern observations that the rate of universe expansion is increasing, implying that it was slower the further in the past you go.

I guess the point is, how did two stars (or positions) get 20 billion light years apart? This means, at light speed, it would take 20 billion years for those two stars to get that far apart, but they have only had 12 billion years to do so. I think the confusion on your part is both due to my poor explanation in the previous post and the unfortunate grammatical fact that 'light year' = distance and 'year' = time.

By analogy, suppose I am in New York and you are in Los Angeles. I telephone you from several thousand kilometers away, and we have a nice chat. Then, two minutes later, I knock on your door and walk into your house. How did I get there, when even the fastest airplane could not have come close to doing the required speed? The two points (NY and LA) are separated by a distance too great to traverse by me in two minutes. Same goes for the two stars in the horizon paradox.



posted on Dec, 22 2005 @ 10:04 PM
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i think the starts stretch out, and the light is stretched, so the light you see is stretched as well, which distorts the time or something like that. i dont know if you know what i mean.



posted on Dec, 22 2005 @ 10:07 PM
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Yes, DragondDemesne, please explain.

Are you saying that light is not a constant? I thought light, like gravity, was a constant, and that it doesn't change.

Intruiging.



posted on Dec, 22 2005 @ 10:09 PM
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Originally posted by Toelint
Okay, I confess, I don't have ten questions yet! However, I DO have two which seem to start the List nicely.

1. Why do waves travel at such a consistant speed?

It is true that various waves, in various mediums, travel at different speeds. BUT... why does light not slow down after bouncing off a mirror? By the same token, why do echoes also travel at the speed of sound? Lastly, (the last time I checked anyway) a water wave made by a pebble travels at the same speed as a wave made by a boulder, but why?

2. Why do magnets never "wear out"?

Yes, electromagnets can switch on and off. Also, (and frankly, I'm not sure) manmade magnets do indeed wear out...but not natural magnets. How come?

Natural magnets can lose their magnetism, and get weaker over time.
Light slows down when it travels through different mediums, such as oil and water.
The ripple moves relative to its travel medium, not its source's size.



posted on Dec, 22 2005 @ 11:44 PM
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DragonsDemesne, you're being fooled by overthinking this.

Imagine space as a sphere. Imagine we're in the centre. We aren't necessarily, but that doesn't really need to factor into the thought experiment.

Now, Let's say the sphere has a radius of 5 meters. It would then have a diameter of 10 meters.

If the radius expanded at a speed of 5 meters/second, then after one second, the sphere has a radius of 10 meters, and a diameter of 20 meters. After 2 seconds, the sphere has a radius of 15 meters, and a diameter of 30 meters.

If you, at the center, look to one side, it will be 15 meters away. Turn 180 degrees, and look to the other side. It will be 15 meters away.

The sum of the two is 30. The sphere expands at 5/second, so, 30/5/second=(30/5)seconds. Or, 6 seconds. Thus, the sphere has existed for 6 seconds, right?

Nope.

The sphere has only existed for 3, because you only factor in the radius. The diameter is not needed, because the distance they move from the centre matters, not the distance they move from each other.


If your qualm arises from the fact that in 10 billion years, stars made it 10 billion light years from the universal centre, and thus, have moved at the speed of light (which is impossible) it's because of a simple lack of accuracy.

The actual farthest observed star is about 12 billion light years away, and we estimate the universe to be approximately 13.7 billion years old. That's not much slower than light, but when you realise that we could be more to one side of the universe than the other, or, that not only are all of the galaxies physically drifting around, but that the universe itself is expanding, light ends up having to travel quite a distance.

There IS a problem in the math: As, for the light to be 12 billion years old, it would have to have been reflected when the universe was a meagre 1.7 billion years of age, and the universe was only 4-5 billion light years across. That means that it has taken 12 billion years to cross (assuming we aren't on an edge, and it was) about 2-2.5 billion light years of space.

So light travelled about a sixth of the speed we'd expect it to. Does the expansion of the universe account for that? Hardly. Something is definitely up, and unfortunate as it is, I've just left school for the holidays. I'd have loved to get a quick answer from the nearest physics teacher, as I'm sure it's an error on my end.

I'll look through google/wikipedia, and ask about on MSN. I can likely revise my post with a fix soon.



posted on Dec, 22 2005 @ 11:45 PM
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Aha! In regards to the magnet, I found the following at a website called skytopia.com:

Do magnets lose their energy?

This depends on various factors such as if the magnet was man-made or not, and whether external power sources are nearby. Under best conditions though, even the most resilient magnets will fade gradually over thousands of years. Also, in some cases, it's even possible to 're-energise' a magnet that has lost its power. [editor]


Now, as for the light, I'm understanding MOST of what everyone's telling me. But this light "thing" still has me perplexed.

I understand now light slows down when it shines through glass...perhaps more so when shown through water...perhaps even MORE so through a gel...and certainly in oil, but will a beam of light, slowed to, say, 170,000 mps in a gel, continue at that speed after it exits the other side? If so, why isn't that BIG news?

(Of course, maybe it is, and I'M in the dark. LOL It won't be the first time.)



[edit on 23-12-2005 by Toelint]



posted on Dec, 22 2005 @ 11:54 PM
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Nope. It'll speed right back up when it exits.

The reason it 'slows' is because it's interacting with more particles, as the medium is of a greater density.

Sound is a vibration of particles. As such, higher density means higher transmission speed. When you hit a rigid board on one end, the other end is affected immediately.

However, something loose, like a gas, has relatively low elasticity. So, when you vibrate air in one spot, it takes longer to reach another, because the initial effect was "weaker".

Light, though, is an interaction. A photon interacts with an electron, and either is bounced immediately out, or raises the electron a level of energy, until it drops, and light is then moves onward.

If there's very few particles, light moves very fast. If there's a ton of particles, then light is dispersed or slowed.

That's why, when it gets out onto the other side, it doesn't "gain" speed, it's just not being held back as much.



posted on Dec, 23 2005 @ 12:34 AM
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Aha! I think Viendin has it, I never thought of it that way, before. As long as the light had enough time to travel across 'half' of the universe, then everything should work out
The strange thing is, I remember reading about this on some website or in some book or magazine or something (I didn't think up this problem myself) and the writer said that the problem hadn't been solved, so either Viendin is a genius or that writer didn't know what he was talking about.

I've got another one I was thinking about recently; this question really is one I dreamed up, rather than read somewhere, though I'm sure it's been asked before.

It has to do with evolution. Now, I'm not a biologist, but if I'm not mistaken, the earliest known life forms were some sort of single celled or small multi-celled organisms, that were genderless. How would life have evolved to produce gender? What benefit would it have given early organisms? (This question assumes that the evolution model is correct, which it may or may not be; check out the creationist forum for more on that
) For most other characteristics, like size, color, amount of hair/fur, various appendage characteristics (curve of beak, length of claw, that sort of thing) I can see how those would evolve, as certain characteristics will improve survival chances and increase the probability that the organism reproduces. But I've never seen an explanation of how gender came about. Anyone have any ideas?



posted on Dec, 23 2005 @ 12:42 AM
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There's another reason why light always moves at a constant speed. Light waves don't actually propagate in a medium like sound waves. Light has wave-like properties because of its indeterminate position and momentum. You can think of it as a probability wave.

But the speed of light comes from its particulate nature rather than its wave nature. A photon is a particle with zero rest mass. Applying Newton's equation A=F/M, any amount of force or energy F applied to a rest mass M of zero would produce infinite acceleration A, and so infinite velocity. But in Einstein's theory, the mass of an object in motion increases with velocity, and for any nonzero rest mass becomes infinite when velocity equals C.

With a zero rest mass, though, the same equation does not generate infinite relativistic mass but rather ends up dividing zero by zero, a function satisfied by any real number (but NOT by infinity). For any velocity V less than C, though, the relativistic mass boils down to zero divided by some number greater than zero, which equals zero. As long as the relativistic mass is still zero, any amount of energy continues to make it go faster. It's only when it hits C that the mass becomes something that can stop its acceleration.

Another way to think of this is that light always goes as fast as it can, and under ideal conditions C is the fastest it can go because it's the fastest anything can go.

If you bounce an object with a nonzero rest mass off something, it loses energy and so loses velocity. If you bounce light off something, it loses energy too, but because it has a zero rest mass and so can't slow down, instead it manifests the energy loss as reduced wave frequency.

[edit on 23-12-2005 by Two Steps Forward]



posted on Dec, 23 2005 @ 12:49 AM
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I thought you had 10 questions to ask?



Keep em coming.



posted on Dec, 23 2005 @ 01:25 AM
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Well, let's see here:

3. Doesn't the notion of a "Big Bang" particle violate the first rule of whole theory, that being, that matter and space didn't exist until after the Big Bang? If not, why? Even the folks at skytopia.com didn't answer this one.

How's that?



Here's another one:

Electrons orbit their respective atomic nucleuses at near light speed, and yet they stay in orbit! How come?



I'm looking for the rest....HEY!...if you find any, let me know!



[edit on 23-12-2005 by Toelint]



posted on Dec, 23 2005 @ 11:50 PM
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Thank you Viendin for answering the universe question. Thatsbasically what I meant
.

Toelint- Electrons can move close to the speed of light, however most do not ever go that fast. Electrons from the Hydrogen atom move less than 1% the speed of light. It just depends how much energy you put into them. As you get them moving faster and faster, it takes more energy to make a difference. They stay in orbit because of the strong electrical charge between them and the nucleus. When there isn't enough energy to keep them in orbit, they move on and find a nucleus that can.



posted on Dec, 24 2005 @ 12:07 AM
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Originally posted by DragonsDemesne
It has to do with evolution. Now, I'm not a biologist, but if I'm not mistaken, the earliest known life forms were some sort of single celled or small multi-celled organisms, that were genderless. How would life have evolved to produce gender? What benefit would it have given early organisms? (This question assumes that the evolution model is correct, which it may or may not be; check out the creationist forum for more on that
) For most other characteristics, like size, color, amount of hair/fur, various appendage characteristics (curve of beak, length of claw, that sort of thing) I can see how those would evolve, as certain characteristics will improve survival chances and increase the probability that the organism reproduces. But I've never seen an explanation of how gender came about. Anyone have any ideas?


I read an article on this in a few places (an awesome book for anyone like ourselves is "A Short History of Nearly Everything" - it's got everything you likely need). Sex was basically stumbled upon by two bacteria who, in a fit of weak-shells and barriers between them, accidentally exchanged some bits of DNA. However, since the two bacterium were so closely related, they could read both their own, and the other's, DNA. Since one bacterium had some resilience to one thing better than the other, and the same the other way around, both bacterium benefitted from the transaction. Sex was born.

And immediately, it became popular! All the "hip" species of bacterium started doing it (LITERALLY!). If a helpful mutation occured in one, they could quickly spread it to other bacterium, and so the population as a whole benefitted - not just the offspring of the original mutator. Although in some cases bad mutations got spread, usually a bad mutation would kill off the original bacterium, or the first few it was passed on to, before the mutation got out amongst the general populace.

Species that could have sex evolved at a pace that scarred all other life on the planet. And because of this, species that have sex now dominate the planet. Almost everything on the planet does it, since it works so well. Even creatures that can reproduce quite happily on their own exchange DNA on occassion.

However, don't count out the unsexed yet
. They are still around, but their more prone to diseases and extinctions, since they evolve slower and can't quite keep up with the latest death-trends
.

Hope that explains that!



posted on Dec, 24 2005 @ 12:14 AM
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Oh, as for how gender came out of sex, well - you see - the original sex was stumbled into, since the two bacteria basically bumped into each other and spilt DNA into each other. However, since they did better, their offspring (who's cellular barriers were just as, if not weaker, than the parent's) could also accidentally bump into each other and exchange DNA.

So, it became that whoever could best and most quickly exchange their DNA evolved even faster than those who just had sex the truely old-fashion way.

Gender eventually formed out of this as being an excellent method of spreading the genes. One type of offspring would hold genetic material, and the other would spread it, thus resulting in the first method of male and female - and even after a billion years they don't understand each other. Even the female parts of a flower refuse to live in the stink-holes that the man-parts of the flower live in ("Have you seen it up there! It's a mess! You can't come down here until somebody cleans up!")



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