Episode-729- Listener Feedback for 8-22-11 — 21 Comments

  1. AR-15 upper giveaway page appears to be missing part of the address area and any type of SUBMIT button if you use Firefox. The entire thing came up when I shifted over the Internet Explorer.


  2. I called readymade resources technical support regarding the problem w/ AR contest webpage. It didn’t work w/ Safari (ipod) either. Still, it is great they support the community this way.

    • I think people (my self included) were unclear on what question he sought to answer with his study. These two quotes show the problem:

      “My investigation asked the question of whether there is a secret formula in tree design and whether the purpose of the spiral pattern is to collect sunlight better.”

      “But the best part was that I discovered a new way to increase the efficiency of solar panels at collecting sunlight!”

      If the question is: “Why are the leaves on trees shaped and arranged in such a pattern”, the answer can be “For optimal solar gain”. If that was the question, he arrived at the right answer, and his methods were sound (though it did neglect a few variables). The fact that he used photovoltaics to measure it is fine.

      If however the question was: “Can photovoltaic cells improve performance in this tree-like arrangement”, the answer is no, though the experiment didn’t really test for that.

      The latter assumes plants and photovoltaic cells collect light in a similar fashion, and store and consume it in the same manner. They do not.

      He answered his question with a proper test and arrived at the right answer. He extrapolated from that something he hadn’t proven in the test. Youthful enthusiasm. He still deserves the award, but we won’t be seeing tree shaped solar panels any time soon.

  3. As to the solar array. I noticed the only measurement was in volts, I wonder what the amps were?

  4. I thought the little shout out to TSP was awesome on the news! I love to get the word out however I can about TSP and seeing it on mainstream media was great. However, maybe I’m just being a little cynical here, but I wonder if they did their research on TSP or if they just automatically assumed it was a cancer survival podcast. Either way, it was great and I’m glad to see she is up to $35,300! That is awesome! Again Jack you’ve changed peoples lives for the better.

  5. I totally love that news about the Fibonacci sequence and trees.

    I did some research on the Fibonacci numbers about 5 years ago. The entire sequence (an infinite sequence) has the odd characteristic of LOOKING like they are random, but they aren’t really random. They LOOK like chaos, but they are actually quite orderly. The scientific lesson to be learned from the Fibonacci sequence is that the supposed randomness of the universe might in fact be a cleverly deceptive camouflage covering over a deeply programmed degree of orderliness that we have barely begun to grasp.

    On other matters, the big blue plastic lottery machine cash-register-looking thing sitting on the counter top at your local 7-11 which pops out MegeMillions and Powerball tickets on demand is a mathematical machine designed to generate an endless assembly line of random number sequences. Those blue machines are able to pop out random-number lottery tickets by operating on an algorithm driven entirely by Fibonacci numbers.

    • Actually, the Fibonacci sequence is very nonrandom. The pattern is given in the article linked to by Jack. You may be thinking of prime numbers which appear random, but mathematicians have over time started to notice some patterns in this sequence also. Also any number in the Fibonacci sequence can be calculated (

  6. @Jack,

    “Preppers are Prepared to Give, because they’re Prepared to Live.”

    Very Catchy. That might make a good sig, or sub-motto.

  7. Loved the story about the 13 year old’s innovative solar energy ideas. These kids are leading us into the future. I’m so impressed.

  8. There is no technical distinction between “depression” and “recession”. These are historical terms that have changed over time for arbitrary reasons.

    Back in the day, “depression” was what they called a bottom of the so-called business cycle until we had a real bad one, then we quit using the term depression (because it really left a bad taste) and started using a new term (recession) for a bottom of the business cycle.

    Before that there was another term (which escapes me right now) that got replaced by the term “depression” until we had a real bad one and it left a bad taste… (and so on)

    • @bluprint, today there is a technical difference and I gave it to you on the show. The genesis of the term you mention is correct which I also explained. Words in any language evolve, these words have evolved in modern economics to mean different things.

    • I’ve studied economics both formally and informally and I’ve never been aware of a technical definition (i.e. one widely agreed upon by a preponderance of academics). There are some “unofficial” definitions that have sprouted up (like a 10% reduction in GDP) but those are merely attempts to apply a hard label where one does not exists (usually by media or govt).

      For what it’s worth, wikipedia agrees with me.

      • I don’t know if there are any agreed upon definitions, but they would all be relatively arbitrary even if there are some. Why is 2 or 5%, or X% change the right percent; or 1, 2 or X quarters of decline the right duration? There is no principle to really decide which number is better, but people like to be able to put some objective measurement on these things. I agree with you on this bluprint, since I have heard people give different definition before also. I know this was not in dispute, but from what I have read Jack has the history of language distortion right on depression vs recession.

  9. I got to listen to this podcast about the mini nations at sea and had to laugh a little. I have been living and working on these “mini nations” for several years in the gulf of mexico along with thousands of others out here. There is a whole hidden world out here that most people do not know about. We are small self contained cities, serviced by fleets of helicopters and support ships, manned by, strangely enough, people who are looked down on because we will take risks ( and get paid for it ) that most people will not, to be out here in what is our last frontier ( seeing NASA is busy with non space related activities )