The Atoms Wearing Out Thread

The crazy sh*t you guys argue about is crazy.

Farscry wrote:
Ok, so the entire argument was a moot point because Malor and LarryC were each using a semantically different meaning of "wear out" in regards to the atomic lifespan, right? Because otherwise this thread is so far over my head that I just don't see it.

Dude, the point of this thread was so below you, it didn't compute.

Malor just wanted to publicly shame LarryC over a misunderstood debate of semantics. And LarryC is unable to discuss anything with the understanding that he might be wrong.

If you viewed this "debate" as anything more than popcorn material, then you really didn't get it.

Jayhawker wrote:
Dude, the point of this thread was so below you, it didn't compute.

Malor just wanted to publicly shame LarryC over a misunderstood debate of semantics. And LarryC is unable to discuss anything with the understanding that he might be wrong.

Do you think they work their scripts out beforehand in PM? Or is it more improv with a general theme like Whose Line is it Anyway or wrestling entertainment?

Jayhawker:

I think it's unfair to Malor to imply that he did not, in fact, start this thread with the intent of discussing the topic in good faith. That would be disingenuous behavior, I think.

The thing is, Malor, you were using "wear" as a concept referring to atoms, when the concept of "wear" would simply not be applicable. Friction does not degrade atoms, unsurprisingly; and chemical reactions do not do so either, also unsurprisingly.

No, it's actually not unsurprising at all. What in the macro world works perfectly, forever? A four billion year old oxygen molecule works exactly the same as a brand-new one fresh out of a supernova. It can go through any number of chemical reactions without degrading in any sense whatsoever. Unless it falls prey to fission or fusion events, it will remain inviolate for, we believe, about a googol years before dissipating. In the context of the original thread, a magnetic atom will maintain that charge for the next closest thing to forever.

If you don't find that at least a little bit amazing, I think you're trying to win internet arguments.

Jayhawker, he was the one who said I didn't know what I was talking about, and asked for a thread. I wouldn't have done this otherwise.

LarryC wrote:
Jayhawker:

I think it's unfair to Malor to imply that he did not, in fact, start this thread with the intent of discussing the topic in good faith. That would be disingenuous behavior, I think.


Malor wrote:
I think you're trying to win internet arguments.

Mixolyde wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Dude, the point of this thread was so below you, it didn't compute.

Malor just wanted to publicly shame LarryC over a misunderstood debate of semantics. And LarryC is unable to discuss anything with the understanding that he might be wrong.

Do you think they work their scripts out beforehand in PM? Or is it more improv with a general theme like Whose Line is it Anyway or wrestling entertainment?

It's mostly like any other internet debate. It's the Special Olympics version of Tug-of-War. It's not over until one of them wears out.

Jayhawker wrote:
Mixolyde wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Dude, the point of this thread was so below you, it didn't compute.

Malor just wanted to publicly shame LarryC over a misunderstood debate of semantics. And LarryC is unable to discuss anything with the understanding that he might be wrong.

Do you think they work their scripts out beforehand in PM? Or is it more improv with a general theme like Whose Line is it Anyway or wrestling entertainment?

It's mostly like any other internet debate. It's the Special Olympics version of Tug-of-War. It's not over until one of them wears out.

It's not possible for one of them to wear out.

gregrampage wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Mixolyde wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Dude, the point of this thread was so below you, it didn't compute.

Malor just wanted to publicly shame LarryC over a misunderstood debate of semantics. And LarryC is unable to discuss anything with the understanding that he might be wrong.

Do you think they work their scripts out beforehand in PM? Or is it more improv with a general theme like Whose Line is it Anyway or wrestling entertainment?

It's mostly like any other internet debate. It's the Special Olympics version of Tug-of-War. It's not over until one of them wears out.

It's not possible for one of them to wear out.

I don't think you have the science to support such a statement, and I'd welcome the opportunity to discuss that with you in a dedicated thread.

gregrampage wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Mixolyde wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Dude, the point of this thread was so below you, it didn't compute.

Malor just wanted to publicly shame LarryC over a misunderstood debate of semantics. And LarryC is unable to discuss anything with the understanding that he might be wrong.

Do you think they work their scripts out beforehand in PM? Or is it more improv with a general theme like Whose Line is it Anyway or wrestling entertainment?

It's mostly like any other internet debate. It's the Special Olympics version of Tug-of-War. It's not over until one of them wears out.

It's not possible for one of them to wear out.

Thanks, I just lost it in the library's "quiet study area".

Malor wrote:
A four billion year old oxygen molecule works exactly the same as a brand-new one fresh out of a supernova.

Forgive me for going slightly off topic but how does one know that an oxygen molecule is four billion years old or fresh out of a supernova if they look and behave exactly alike?

Thank you.

MacBrave wrote:
Malor wrote:
A four billion year old oxygen molecule works exactly the same as a brand-new one fresh out of a supernova.

Forgive me for going slightly off topic but how does one know that an oxygen molecule is four billion years old or fresh out of a supernova if they look and behave exactly alike?

Thank you.


Cut it in half and count the rings.

MacBrave wrote:

Forgive me for going slightly off topic but how does one know that an oxygen molecule is four billion years old or fresh out of a supernova if they look and behave exactly alike?

Thank you.


I was told that you cut it in half and count the rings... or was that unicorns?

I approve of this massive derail.

Alternately, not being able to tell the difference, especially on earth, where the oxygen has been around and reacting for ages, proves the assertion.

Forgive me for going slightly off topic but how does one know that an oxygen molecule is four billion years old or fresh out of a supernova if they look and behave exactly alike?

As far as I know, you don't. You'd be able to infer minimum age from indirect evidence... if, for instance, you find an oxygen atom in an asteroid you believe is a billion years old, then the oxygen atom is probably at least that old. But I don't think there's any way to know if it's older still, nor is there any measurement you can make that would show that atom is being materially different from any other oxygen atom of the same isotope. (oxygen has three stable isotopes.... different numbers of neutrons.) You could probably do some really weird quantum level measurements to differentiate for a time between two atoms, but if the quantum states were lost, there'd be absolutely no way to tell which was which.

It's really quite cool. Oxygen atoms that were in Hitler, in Gandhi, and in Shivakur The Galaxy Destroyer, Tyrant of the Virgo Supercluster, are all entirely indistinguishable from one another.

It's really quite cool. Social uprisings that were in Germany, in India, in Deep Space, and the Virgo Supercluster, are all entirely indistinguishable from one another.

MacBrave wrote:
Malor wrote:
A four billion year old oxygen molecule works exactly the same as a brand-new one fresh out of a supernova.

Forgive me for going slightly off topic but how does one know that an oxygen molecule is four billion years old or fresh out of a supernova if they look and behave exactly alike?

Thank you.

As Malor has said, you can't. However you could look at a solar system far off and determine from the wavelengths of light that the star (and theoretically planets if you had near-future telescopes) was, say .02% Oxygen. If the star went supernova a century later and you checked again and found that the system was now .08% Oxygen you'd know that 3/4 of the Oxygen in that system was "new". However even if you had a time machine/teleporter and went there yourself nothing you could do would tell you which atoms were new and which atoms were old.

In that example I was ignoring isotopes, if some Oxygen Isotopes were less stable then you could guess that they were more likely to be the newer ones, but you are still playing the odds. Also if you are able to pin down the wavelengths of light finely enough you would be able to tell the Isotopes of the relevant atoms anyways, so it really wouldn't do anything for you.

The way that atoms and isotopes are used for dating is when you look at a whole bunch of them together. For example, the way that Carbon Dating works is because the ratio of two different Carbon isotopes in the atmosphere at any given time is known. It's close to constant, and the affects that make it non-constant are reasonably well known (basically solar radiation keeps creating the unstable elements at the exact same rate that they decay, which makes sense if you think about it, over time that is the relationship you need to make any constant system), and other methods of dating have been used to match dates of known objects to calibrate the whole system. During the life of an organism the carbon isotopes stay in equilibrium with the ratio of the environment. This is mostly because things (with the exception of the oldest trees, and even them barely) don't live long enough for the isotopes to get out of whack. Even for those longer-lived species it's still a good approximation because most of the carbon in an organism is open to eventually being eaten/ingested through photosynthesis, and exhaled out, so even during your life you are keeping an equilibrium.

Once you die though, that all stops, and unless your final resting place was on a hot air balloon in the upper reaches of the atmosphere none of your stable elements are getting kicked up into unstable carbon. So even though you can't look at any particular carbon atom and guess how old it is, you can look at all of it in aggregate and make a really good guess at how old the entire sample is. Going back to the Solar system example, if you knew from watching a lot of supernovas that that created a 90/10 mix of unstable/stable oxygen, then you could look at a new solar system with a 70/30 mix and say "oh, it has been 37 million years since the last supernova" or something like that anyways.

Malor wrote:
Oxygen atoms that were in Hitler, in Gandhi, and in Shivakur The Galaxy Destroyer, Tyrant of the Virgo Supercluster, are all entirely indistinguishable from one another.

Just look for the atom that hates jews and is trying to put all the other atoms into camps. Science!

Funkenpants wrote:
Malor wrote:
Oxygen atoms that were in Hitler, in Gandhi, and in Shivakur The Galaxy Destroyer, Tyrant of the Virgo Supercluster, are all entirely indistinguishable from one another.

Just look for the atom that hates jews and is trying to put all the other atoms into camps. Science!


The easiest way to spot one is to look for the tiny moustache.

muttonchop wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:
Malor wrote:
Oxygen atoms that were in Hitler, in Gandhi, and in Shivakur The Galaxy Destroyer, Tyrant of the Virgo Supercluster, are all entirely indistinguishable from one another.

Just look for the atom that hates jews and is trying to put all the other atoms into camps. Science!


The easiest way to spot one is to look for the tiny moustache.

Sure, but as soon as you measure the width of the moustache, you alter the atom's ideology.

So I read somewhere that atoms are not subject to entropy....also 99.9999% of internet arguments are pointless.

Yonder, I actually looked up oxygen yesterday, and apparently all three isotopes are stable. We can't measure decay rates in that particular element, because there isn't any that we know about. But your explanation of carbon-dating is correct. Cosmic rays hit nitrogen atoms, and occasionally turn them into carbon-14, instead of the stable carbon-12. Carbon-14 has a half-life of about 730 years, so it's barely radioactive, not particularly dangerous to be incorporated into biological structures.

So any living creature, and most manmade objects, will have about the same amount of Carbon-14 at the moment that they die or are constructed. But as soon as the object isn't mixing with the atmosphere anymore, the unstable carbon starts to decay. Measuring how much less carbon-14 an object has, tells you how long ago it lived or was made. However, this can be thrown off by other carbon sources -- if there was extra carbon-12 and -13 in a given year, perhaps from volcanic activity, an object can look older than it really is. So they've done the best they can to come up with correction factors for different years.... it's rather fuzzy.

At best, this only lasts for so long -- after about 60,000 years, there's so little carbon-14 left that we can't really detect it anymore, so we can't use that atom to date objects older than that. I think there are other isotopes that can be used to measure longer periods. I think they're generally considered inferior to the carbon-14 method, but I don't remember why.

Malor wrote:
Yonder, I actually looked up oxygen yesterday, and apparently all three isotopes are stable. We can't measure decay rates in that particular element, because there isn't any that we know about. But your explanation of carbon-dating is correct. Cosmic rays hit nitrogen atoms, and occasionally turn them into carbon-14, instead of the stable carbon-12. Carbon-14 has a half-life of about 730 years, so it's barely radioactive, not particularly dangerous to be incorporated into biological structures.

So any living creature, and most manmade objects, will have about the same amount of Carbon-14 at the moment that they die or are constructed. But as soon as the object isn't mixing with the atmosphere anymore, the unstable carbon starts to decay. Measuring how much less carbon-14 an object has, tells you how long ago it lived or was made. However, this can be thrown off by other carbon sources -- if there was extra carbon-12 and -13 in a given year, perhaps from volcanic activity, an object can look older than it really is. So they've done the best they can to come up with correction factors for different years.... it's rather fuzzy.

At best, this only lasts for so long -- after about 60,000 years, there's so little carbon-14 left that we can't really detect it anymore, so we can't use that atom to date objects older than that. I think there are other isotopes that can be used to measure longer periods. I think they're generally considered inferior to the carbon-14 method, but I don't remember why.

Ah ok, yeah I was just using Oxygen completely at random, I wasn't sure if it could be used for any dating, let alone stellar dating.

I think that the main thing is that the slower decay rates that let them last longer than C14 also by definition gives larger uncertainty ranges. Also most of the other isotopes aren't in the actual materials they are looking at. I believe the next most useful element is found in dirt, so you can't measure the age of the objects themselves, but the age of the dirt they are in, the age of the dirt below them, and the age of the dirt above them. This ends up giving you a much larger uncertainty range.

I am constantly amazed by how much information you can get from what is essentially random trivia. For example many materials have different formations that are directly dependent on the temperature that they are formed at. This is our main way of directly measuring temperatures over the past several thousand years, but you can even use it for more esoteric purposes. One of the components of teeth has this property, and we have been able to verify that an examination of teeth can accurately tell you the temperature of pretty much any animal you pull them out of. We have dinosaur teeth. Presto now we know that Brachiosauraus was 38.2 degrees Celsius (although honestly the error bars for that, +- 2 degrees Celsius, runs the gamut of many modern warm-blooded animals, but more samples can lower than measurement, and it is at least enough to prove that they are warm-blooded.

If nothing else, I think we can all agree that Shivakur got what he deserved after the uprising of the Beta Centauran dock workers. Occupy Virgo Supercluster changed the universe.

Oh, wow, I hadn't heard about that. I knew they were thinking that dinosaurs had to be warm-blooded, but I didn't realize they'd actually proven it. Neat!

Malor wrote:
The thing is, Malor, you were using "wear" as a concept referring to atoms, when the concept of "wear" would simply not be applicable. Friction does not degrade atoms, unsurprisingly; and chemical reactions do not do so either, also unsurprisingly.

No, it's actually not unsurprising at all. What in the macro world works perfectly, forever? A four billion year old oxygen molecule works exactly the same as a brand-new one fresh out of a supernova. It can go through any number of chemical reactions without degrading in any sense whatsoever. Unless it falls prey to fission or fusion events, it will remain inviolate for, we believe, about a googol years before dissipating. In the context of the original thread, a magnetic atom will maintain that charge for the next closest thing to forever.

Well, as stipulated, the atom will retain its magnetism unless it is acted upon in some way to change it. This is likely to not be very close to "forever," unless you define "forever" as something finite.

The reason it is unsurprising to me is because atoms were conceptualized to be indivisible and indestructible (hence the name), even before their other natures and structures were figured out. They were theorized this way as a result of experiments and observations in the real world.

It was obvious to me (even as a child) that when I use an eraser, its material was not being disintegrated, but simply transferred or modified. Same with a car wheel, wood, oil, you name it. I read about the Theory of Matter Conservation as a very young child, as part of school curriculum. Macro materials designed to be resistant to change exhibited similar properties - as you mention, some ceramics can last for a very long time.

I'll have to ask you a question. Is Jayhawker right? Were you not, in fact, creating this thread in good faith, but as an underhanded means to shame? If so, then I think it would pointless for me to continue, and I would be highly inclined to ignore you henceforth anywhere else, which might be beneficial for you, if you feel antagonistic.

Wow, both of you guys want the last word. Neither of you will admit you're wrong in any way shape or form. Are both of you secretly hoping you will get the last post before the whole thing gets locked? Is that how "points" work now a'days?

PAR

No, internet points work how they have always worked, a count of the funny cat pictures you've posted.
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I'll play!

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