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Ransom Stephens

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Ransom Stephens is a technologist (ransomsnotes.com), science writer (ransomstephens.com), novelist (novels.ransomstephens.com), and Raiders fan.


Ransom Stephens

's contributions
  • 12.13.2013
  • Sports should adopt real technology
  • With GHz processor speeds it's not too hard to check the position every few milliseconds and use continuity as a constraint. We did this at a startup several years ago. The echoes give bad solutions and there's plenty of time to calculate lots of solutions and then choose the right one. Of course, shouldn't integrate the accelerometer down to position, but it's good enough to identify pitches and orientation. Could even put two transmitters in the ball, a football (American or the round kind) especially, to maintain an ongoing calibration.
  • 04.09.2014
  • Measure of emergence through smugness and faith
  • Pendulums and springs, baby, the simple harmonic oscillator has been solved to within an inch of its inanimate life. And then applied to every conceivable situation. With massive simulation finally going mainstream, we're not restricted to solutions that can be written down, we can solve *everything* (everything that we understand, anyway) to whatever accuracy you're willing to pay for. It's the old, "do you want it fast, good, or cheap? Pick two." The CPU demands of simulation go up fast (maybe by the cube of the scale reduction?) for every increment in accuracy.
  • 05.22.2013
  • Global warming/climate change: an easy calculation
  • While I agree that the massive set of DEs forms the global climate model, the first order calculation I present here provides the starting ground for discussion. While the nuances of how increased temperature will affect the climate are complex, the gross effect of heat absorption in the atmosphere is pretty simple: heat energy absorbed increases temperature as dictated by heat capacity. You can show it with two balloons, a thermometer, a desk lamp and a bottle of seltzer water.
  • 07.26.2013
  • Quantum wave functions come alive! May the Bohr Model rest in peace
  • Lots of stuff here! At the energy scale where we are and where the vast expanse of the universe is, the different forces interact in different ways. So, for example, the electron only has electric charge, gravitational "charge" (by virtue of its tiny mass), and weak "charge" but doesn't interact through the strong force because it has no "color" charge. So most nuclear radiation doesn't involve the bound electrons. I'll write an article on the four forces, maybe a few. The Strong force is really a trip. Gravity doesn't depend on the other forces at all - as far as we can tell at these energies - so the nuclear and atomic wave functions don't seem to be coupled to the gravitational interactions. On the other hand, the covalent bond is kind of a harmonic match, the two electrons share a state, though since they're "spin-half" particles (aka, Fermions) they can't have exactly the same state, so they share the energy state -- the same harmonic, if you like -- but with opposite spins. I guess I should write one on why more than one identical Fermion can't be in exactly the same state, too. Lots of food for thought - thanks for checking in!