Science FAQs (Discussion)

should we have them ?

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Science FAQs (Discussion)

#1  Postby twistor59 » Dec 01, 2010 2:54 pm

I was just thinking - sometimes questions keep coming up repeatedly, for example:

"How come we can observe galaxies receding from us faster than light?"
"What is the evidence that our universe is (or is not) fine tuned for life ?"

Maybe we should generate some FAQs. Even if the FAQ is just a collection of references to material available elsewhere, it would be useful to have it in one place and not to have to go trawling through old posts to find the information again. There's no hurry for this, if we do it, the priority should be to get some high quality accurate material together, so it may be a drip-feed process.

What do people think ?
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Re: Science FAQs

#2  Postby HughMcB » Dec 01, 2010 3:29 pm

What a fucking wonderful idea twistor :thumbup:

I offer up my services as being a a staff liaison, even if only to be a paper pusher.
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Re: Science FAQs

#3  Postby Paul G » Dec 01, 2010 3:52 pm

I would love one. Awesome idea.

How about "science questions you were afraid to ask" also? For us non science people.
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Re: Science FAQs

#4  Postby Evolving » Dec 01, 2010 4:11 pm

I agree, very good idea; and as a parallel thing, how about Frequently Given (Wrong) Answers, as I notice that posters often ask how they can counter some (usually creationist) friend's pseudoscientific argument.
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Re: Science FAQs

#5  Postby Paul G » Dec 01, 2010 4:18 pm

Evolving wrote:I agree, very good idea; and as a parallel thing, how about Frequently Given (Wrong) Answers, as I notice that posters often ask how they can counter some (usually creationist) friend's pseudoscientific argument.


I think that should be a seperate thread. Cali started something similar I think.
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Re: Science FAQs

#6  Postby twistor59 » Dec 01, 2010 4:24 pm

I suppose the next question is how to organize it. I guess we need a list of FAQs in some rough order of priority. Then for each one - I dunno, do we start an individual thread to develop that one, or do we keep it offline, just circulated amongst interested parties until it gets to a "reasonable" state ?

Maybe Cali has some suggestions from his Wikipedia editing experience ?
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Re: Science FAQs

#7  Postby Evolving » Dec 01, 2010 4:37 pm

Paul G wrote:I think that should be a seperate thread. Cali started something similar I think.


Yes, there are those threads at the top of the Evolution and Natural Selection Board, but I was thinking about other woo such as the speed of light and the orbit of the moon.

It's a different topic, you're right.
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Re: Science FAQs

#8  Postby Mr.Samsa » Dec 02, 2010 4:23 am

To organise it you'd probably want two threads: one called "Science FAQs" and one called "Science FAQs (Commentary)". In the commentary thread, people can ask questions about things or put forward common questions that need answers, and people can answer them in the thread. Then we could either pick out the best (most comprehensive, but simple and brief enough to be part of a FAQ) or we could have a new "post" for each question where it includes a couple of the better responses.

Good idea though, I like the sound of it.
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Re: Science FAQs

#9  Postby twistor59 » Dec 02, 2010 8:06 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:To organise it you'd probably want two threads: one called "Science FAQs" and one called "Science FAQs (Commentary)". In the commentary thread, people can ask questions about things or put forward common questions that need answers, and people can answer them in the thread. Then we could either pick out the best (most comprehensive, but simple and brief enough to be part of a FAQ) or we could have a new "post" for each question where it includes a couple of the better responses.

Good idea though, I like the sound of it.



Sounds good. I'm happy to do some searching at the weekend to come up with a list of questions that have been asked already, or if anyone can get on it before then, they're more than welcome....
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Re: Science FAQs

#10  Postby Paul G » Dec 02, 2010 10:31 am

A global warming FAQ would be fapping immense.

What is it?

What is it not?

How do we know it occurs?

Answers to common misconceptions.

Answers to denialists.
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Re: Science FAQs

#11  Postby twistor59 » Dec 28, 2010 10:40 am

I just had a trawl through the Astronomy and Physics sections, and extracted this list of questions from the titles and OPs. Some of them can doubtless be amalgamated. Also, some of them may never be likey to be "frequently" asked questions. Anyway, here they are:

1 When we look at the night sky, how does what we see relate to the history of the universe, inc big bang ?

2 What was the big bang ?

3 What is a singularity ?

4 What is the maximum possible size for a star ?

5 What is dark energy ?

6 What does a black hole have at its centre ?

7 Can you recommend a first telescope ?

8 Will you marry me (Hackenslash) ? WTF ? No - let's skip that one......

9 What is the Pioneer anomaly ?

10 Do we live in a designer universe ?

11 Is space cold ?

12 What shape is the universe ?

13 Where did the big bang happen ?

14 Does Heisenberg Uncertainty Priniciple refute determinism ?

15 Where do photons end up ?

16 Is string theory a theory ?

17 Must there be a Theory of Everything ?

18 Where do the laws of physics come from and why are they as they are ?

19 What is electromagnetic duality ?

20 What is cold fusion ?

21 What is the delayed choice quantum eraser and does it imply changes to current physical prinicples ?

22 If colour is frequency, why does it change when you mix paints together ?

23 How could the universe have come from nothing ?

24 Since gravity is attractive, how could is cause an explosion like the big bang ?

25 What are the laws of thermodynamics and do they support creationist claims ?

26 If gravity is curvature of spacetime, why do we talk about gravitons ?

27 If time stops at the speed of light, why does it still take time for light to travel from point 'A' to point 'B'

28 Can you send information faster than light using quantum entanglement ?

29 What is entropy and why does it exist ?

30 Why are ceramics abrasive ?

31 What is the holographic principle ?


Maybe we could assign some sort of order of priority to these, plus the global warming FAQ and slowly start cobbling together some responses ? Could someone do the same for life/earth sciences ?
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Re: Science FAQs

#12  Postby hackenslash » Dec 28, 2010 12:25 pm

What a brilliant idea, and of course I'll marry you (but don't tell the wife). :lol:
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Re: Science FAQs

#13  Postby Paul G » Dec 28, 2010 12:55 pm

Sticky?
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Re: Science FAQs

#14  Postby hackenslash » Dec 28, 2010 1:04 pm

That's why I said not to tell the wife. :lmao:
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Re: Science FAQs

#15  Postby twistor59 » Dec 28, 2010 1:10 pm

Paul G wrote:Sticky?


Yeah, would be good if a mod created the sticky versions of the two threads "FAQs" and "FAQ Discussion" which Mr Samsa suggested above. Could then put our FAQ list at the top of one of the threads, and we could make a start at populating them. Although Ratskep isn't specifically a science forum, science stuff is constantly a part of the discussion, so I think this would be worth it in the long run.
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Re: Science FAQs

#16  Postby natselrox » Dec 28, 2010 3:46 pm

Brilliant idea!! :clap:

I will try and contribute to the best of my ability.
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Re: Science FAQs

#17  Postby MedGen » Dec 30, 2010 11:00 am

natselrox wrote:Brilliant idea!! :clap:

I will try and contribute to the best of my ability.


I will sit by and watch everyone do all the hard work to the best of my ability. :shifty:
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Re: Science FAQs

#18  Postby GenesForLife » Dec 30, 2010 12:51 pm

I am open to contributing.
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Re: Science FAQs

#19  Postby Darkchilde » Dec 30, 2010 2:01 pm

Well, we could also take some of the contributions from the Science Writing competition and add them to the FAQ. And especially this month's competition is full of good debunking and definitely food for the FAQs.

Should we make this one the commentary thread then?
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Re: Science FAQs

#20  Postby twistor59 » Dec 30, 2010 2:11 pm

Darkchilde wrote:Well, we could also take some of the contributions from the Science Writing competition and add them to the FAQ. And especially this month's competition is full of good debunking and definitely food for the FAQs.

Should we make this one the commentary thread then?


I reckon so. Maybe a Modski could change the title to something like "Science FAQs (Discussion)" and stickify it ?
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