APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:01 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:
Boomer12k wrote:It is actually VERY interesting that it takes ALL OF THOSE PROCESSES....I would call it a MIRACLE for all that to come together, just right... and up to date with us.... let alone all the other lifeforms on Earth...the odds seem....er.... Astronomical...
:thumb_up:

Chris wrote:What about all the processes that don't happen, that have resulted in a Universe so impoverished of the other 2,567,845 useful elements that would have created so many amazing things? It's a cosmological disappointment of the highest order.

:thumb_down:

Interesting observations gentlemen. Boomer’s is based on what actually exists, while Chris’ is based on what never has existed. Which is more solidly based, I ask rhetorically?

My observation merely points out the logical flaw in the Anthropic Principle that Boomer essentially restated. We see what we see because that's what we have. If we had something different, we'd see something different. Nothing too amazing about that.

Virtually everything we observe in the Universe had a vanishingly small probability of existing. That doesn't make everything a miracle. And we never see the vastly greater number of things that never came into being.
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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby BDanielMayfield » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:14 pm

tomatoherd wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
Boomer12k wrote:It is actually VERY interesting that it takes ALL OF THOSE PROCESSES....I would call it a MIRACLE for all that to come together, just right... and up to date with us.... let alone all the other lifeforms on Earth...the odds seem....er.... Astronomical...

What about all the processes that don't happen, that have resulted in a Universe so impoverished of the other 2,567,845 useful elements that would have created so many amazing things? It's a cosmological disappointment of the highest order.


What 2+m elements are you talking about?


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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby OriEri » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:47 pm

Low mass stars nucleosynthesize Lithium from (presumably) lighter elements? This one is news to me.

I looked around and found this paper which summarizes in the introduction. Until today I thought (essentially) all lithium was a primordial/big bang nucleosythesis product , because it fuses into heavier elements so easily/at lower temperatures and pressures than what sustains proton reactions.
Last edited by OriEri on Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:43 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:00 pm

tomatoherd wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
Boomer12k wrote:It is actually VERY interesting that it takes ALL OF THOSE PROCESSES....I would call it a MIRACLE for all that to come together, just right... and up to date with us.... let alone all the other lifeforms on Earth...the odds seem....er.... Astronomical...

What about all the processes that don't happen, that have resulted in a Universe so impoverished of the other 2,567,845 useful elements that would have created so many amazing things? It's a cosmological disappointment of the highest order.


What 2+m elements are you talking about?

All the ones that you get in a universe with no electrons, neutrons, or protons. Where we have vigons, fluons, swigons, and puntons. You know... the particles that form the basis of a universe with a different set of rules. The universe where the Flxygorps are all sitting around on their own APOD site marveling at the miracle which made their elements (and them) possible.
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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby BDanielMayfield » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:06 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:Virtually everything we observe in the Universe had a vanishingly small probability of existing. That doesn't make everything a miracle. And we never see the vastly greater number of things that never came into being.


I agree about the “vanishingly small probability of existing” part. In fact, the mathematics of probability is what drives me to not be so dismissive of the intentionally directed causation explanation for our existence. I say this, not as some irrational religious zealot, but as someone who loves science and rational inquiry. Science is indeed providing sound explanations for where many things come from, so there is no need to call “everything a miracle,” again I agree. But this argument you raised to counter Boomer’s insightful comment is without substance. Yes indeed, no rational person can doubt that “we never see the vastly greater number of things that never came into being.” But, so what? That statement proves ... nothing.

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But .. But .. But ..

Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby But .. But .. But .. » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:18 pm

... what early and latter findings are right and there never WAS a big bang??????????????????

But .. But .. But ............................

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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby Gort » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:41 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:All the ones that you get in a universe with no electrons, neutrons, or protons. Where we have vigons, fluons, swigons, and puntons. You know... the particles that form the basis of a universe with a different set of rules. The universe where the Flxygorps are all sitting around on their own APOD site marveling at the miracle which made their elements (and them) possible.


Swigons are a myth created by the Flxygorps to manipulate the market.

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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:47 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:Virtually everything we observe in the Universe had a vanishingly small probability of existing. That doesn't make everything a miracle. And we never see the vastly greater number of things that never came into being.

I agree about the “vanishingly small probability of existing” part. In fact, the mathematics of probability is what drives me to not be so dismissive of the intentionally directed causation explanation for our existence.

Why? Flip a coin; if it's heads, walk one meter diagonally left, if it's tails, walk one meter diagonally right. Repeat a hundred times. Note where you end up. You could repeat this experiment over and over for age of the Universe and you'll never end up in the same spot. Does that make it somehow amazing that you ended up where you did? People really misunderstand probability!

But this argument you raised to counter Boomer’s insightful comment is without substance. Yes indeed, no rational person can doubt that “we never see the vastly greater number of things that never came into being.” But, so what? That statement proves ... nothing.

It's not intended to "prove" anything. It's just illustrative of the poor logic behind the Anthropic Principle, fine-tuning, and related arguments. We think it's amazing how many things had to work just the way they do in order to get what we have today... a view that totally overlooks the infinite number of other possibilities which would have produced totally different, but still physically realized results.
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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby BDanielMayfield » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:21 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:Virtually everything we observe in the Universe had a vanishingly small probability of existing. That doesn't make everything a miracle. And we never see the vastly greater number of things that never came into being.

I agree about the “vanishingly small probability of existing” part. In fact, the mathematics of probability is what drives me to not be so dismissive of the intentionally directed causation explanation for our existence.

Why? Flip a coin; if it's heads, walk one meter diagonally left, if it's tails, walk one meter diagonally right. Repeat a hundred times. Note where you end up. You could repeat this experiment over and over for age of the Universe and you'll never end up in the same spot.
:lol2: That’s absurd. Over a long run ( << than infinity ) you would converge on a 1% chance of flipping 50 heads and 50 tails, landing on the exact spot you started from.
Does that make it somehow amazing that you ended up where you did? People really misunderstand probability!
Indeed!
But this argument you raised to counter Boomer’s insightful comment is without substance. Yes indeed, no rational person can doubt that “we never see the vastly greater number of things that never came into being.” But, so what? That statement proves ... nothing.

It's not intended to "prove" anything. It's just illustrative of the poor logic behind the Anthropic Principle, fine-tuning, and related arguments. We think it's amazing how many things had to work just the way they do in order to get what we have today... a view that totally overlooks the infinite number of other possibilities which would have produced totally different, but still physically realized results.

The infinite other possibilities may not exist at all, so it is pure speculation to raise them in order to claim that our universe is not unique. This is pure conjecture, if one is being intellectually honest about it, imo.

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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:57 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:I agree about the “vanishingly small probability of existing” part. In fact, the mathematics of probability is what drives me to not be so dismissive of the intentionally directed causation explanation for our existence.

Why? Flip a coin; if it's heads, walk one meter diagonally left, if it's tails, walk one meter diagonally right. Repeat a hundred times. Note where you end up. You could repeat this experiment over and over for age of the Universe and you'll never end up in the same spot.
:lol2: That’s absurd. Over a long run ( << than infinity ) you would converge on a 1% chance of flipping 50 heads and 50 tails, landing on the exact spot you started from.

Who said anything about infinity? We're just talking billions of years here, which is nowhere near enough time to get a repeat.

It's not intended to "prove" anything. It's just illustrative of the poor logic behind the Anthropic Principle, fine-tuning, and related arguments. We think it's amazing how many things had to work just the way they do in order to get what we have today... a view that totally overlooks the infinite number of other possibilities which would have produced totally different, but still physically realized results.

The infinite other possibilities may not exist at all, so it is pure speculation to raise them in order to claim that our universe is not unique. This is pure conjecture, if one is being intellectually honest about it, imo.

We can, in fact, make solid predictions about how some things would change given different physical laws.
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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby StarRolf » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:57 pm

This is a great chart, but unfortunately frustrating for a colorblind person like myself. 'Big Bang fusion' and 'Merging neutron stars' are very difficult to distinguish, at least on my monitor, as are 'Dying low-mass stars' and 'Exploding massive stars.' I have this same problem with other charts I see online. It would be nice if a better way of displaying data could be found, or at least better color or texture combinations.

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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby geckzilla » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:29 pm

StarRolf wrote:This is a great chart, but unfortunately frustrating for a colorblind person like myself. 'Big Bang fusion' and 'Merging neutron stars' are very difficult to distinguish, at least on my monitor, as are 'Dying low-mass stars' and 'Exploding massive stars.' I have this same problem with other charts I see online. It would be nice if a better way of displaying data could be found, or at least better color or texture combinations.

Here, try this one. It's definitely not perfect, but it should be at least a little easier to read. It could certainly use a redo. The Cosmic Ray Fusion boxes look nearly identical to the ones that are kind of gray colored and not even included in the key. It would be impossible for you to realize that Tc, Fr, Ra, Po, At, Rn, Pm, Ac, Pa, and Np in fact have no label at all.
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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby ems57fcva » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:11 pm

Are you all sure that the colors are labeled properly? It shows low-mass stars contributing to everything between Strontium and Lead, while the exploding massive stars are only credited for elements as heavy as Zirconium. That does not look right. I thought that it took a stellar explosion to create elements heavier than iron. And even just a switch of the yellow and green still raises questions in that regard, as the yellow also extends past iron, but the exploding white dwarfs (white) do not.

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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby ems57fcva » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:04 pm

Added data point: See https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap160125.html. This table is very inconsistent with that one.

ems57fcva wrote:Are you all sure that the colors are labeled properly? It shows low-mass stars contributing to everything between Strontium and Lead, while the exploding massive stars are only credited for elements as heavy as Zirconium. That does not look right. I thought that it took a stellar explosion to create elements heavier than iron. And even just a switch of the yellow and green still raises questions in that regard, as the yellow also extends past iron, but the exploding white dwarfs (white) do not.

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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:21 pm

StarRolf wrote:This is a great chart, but unfortunately frustrating for a colorblind person like myself. 'Big Bang fusion' and 'Merging neutron stars' are very difficult to distinguish, at least on my monitor, as are 'Dying low-mass stars' and 'Exploding massive stars.' I have this same problem with other charts I see online. It would be nice if a better way of displaying data could be found, or at least better color or texture combinations.

Color is a fundamental way of displaying data, and works well for most people. It is probably not realistic to expect most graphical data presentations to accommodate color blindness. There are, however, numerous browser plugins which will dynamically reassign colors based on your color blindness type. I'd suggest installing one of those, which will probably make your browsing much easier.
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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby BDanielMayfield » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:46 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:Why? Flip a coin; if it's heads, walk one meter diagonally left, if it's tails, walk one meter diagonally right. Repeat a hundred times. Note where you end up. You could repeat this experiment over and over for age of the Universe and you'll never end up in the same spot.
:lol2: That’s absurd. Over a long run ( << than infinity ) you would converge on a 1% chance of flipping 50 heads and 50 tails, landing on the exact spot you started from.

Who said anything about infinity? We're just talking billions of years here, which is nowhere near enough time to get a repeat.

I said much less than infinity, you said over the age of the universe, both are long runs.

In your example of a 100 coin flip run, the odds of landing on any of the 201 possible positions from 100 meters right to 100 meters left can be precisely calculated. The most likely outcome is flipping 50 heads and 50 tails, which on average would happen 1% of the time. Over even as few as 1000 runs this outcome would be expected to repeat about 10 times, based on probability. Many other outcomes would repeat as well.

It's not intended to "prove" anything. It's just illustrative of the poor logic behind the Anthropic Principle, fine-tuning, and related arguments. We think it's amazing how many things had to work just the way they do in order to get what we have today... a view that totally overlooks the infinite number of other possibilities which would have produced totally different, but still physically realized results.

The infinite other possibilities may not exist at all, so it is pure speculation to raise them in order to claim that our universe is not unique. This is pure conjecture, if one is being intellectually honest about it, imo.

We can, in fact, make solid predictions about how some things would change given different physical laws.

That is true. But it still amounts to a hypothetical argument. Are any of such alternative universes real? Are any of these altered universes viable? It’s all just supposition.

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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:20 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote: :lol2: That’s absurd. Over a long run ( << than infinity ) you would converge on a 1% chance of flipping 50 heads and 50 tails, landing on the exact spot you started from.

Who said anything about infinity? We're just talking billions of years here, which is nowhere near enough time to get a repeat.

I said much less than infinity, you said over the age of the universe, both are long runs.

In your example of a 100 coin flip run, the odds of landing on any of the 201 possible positions from 100 meters right to 100 meters left can be precisely calculated. The most likely outcome is flipping 50 heads and 50 tails, which on average would happen 1% of the time. Over even as few as 1000 runs this outcome would be expected to repeat about 10 times, based on probability. Many other outcomes would repeat as well.

Fair enough. Change the problem to read that it would take you more than the age of the Universe to trace the same path twice. Okay? The point is simply that it's very simple to create some circumstance that has an almost impossibly small chance of occurring (any one path, for instance), and nobody looks on that as making that particular circumstance miraculous (by any meaning of that word).

We can, in fact, make solid predictions about how some things would change given different physical laws.

That is true. But it still amounts to a hypothetical argument. Are any of such alternative universes real? Are any of these altered universes viable? It’s all just supposition.

So what if it's hypothetical? It's just an illustration that there's nothing special about the rules we live under. Change the rules, and you get something else that also makes sense.

Douglas Adams put it very well: Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, "This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, may have been made to have me in it!"
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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby neufer » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:17 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
Douglas Adams put it very well:

Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, "This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, may have been made to have me in it!"

Genesis 2:6 There went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.
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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby rooiboer » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:29 am

A favor: For people who are color blind, the color coding does not work. It works better for us if you group items by using patterns like diagonal lines, dashes, dots etc.

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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby Ann » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:33 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
tomatoherd wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:What about all the processes that don't happen, that have resulted in a Universe so impoverished of the other 2,567,845 useful elements that would have created so many amazing things? It's a cosmological disappointment of the highest order.


What 2+m elements are you talking about?

All the ones that you get in a universe with no electrons, neutrons, or protons. Where we have vigons, fluons, swigons, and puntons. You know... the particles that form the basis of a universe with a different set of rules. The universe where the Flxygorps are all sitting around on their own APOD site marveling at the miracle which made their elements (and them) possible.


That was really funny, Chris. You had me giggle. And your Douglas Adams example is a riot. I had forgotten it, because my Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy-reading days are long past, so thanks for reminding me!

For all of that, we don't know if a universe without electrons, protons, neutrons and the relative strength of all the "forces" in our Universe (I'm sure there is a better word than forces) - could support stable structures in the first place, let alone life.

I'm just saying that we can't take it for granted that equivalents of humans or Flxygorps exist in every universe. And as for your Douglas Adams example, much as I love it, I'm not willing to concede that a puddle of liquid has the brains (or the equivalent of brains) to speculate about the hole in the ground that it finds itself in.

Personally I don't believe in miracles, as such, but I'm perfectly willing to speculate that technological civilisations in the Universe are so unusual that there may not be very many more than ourselves in the entire Universe that we are a part of. Of course, this is something I could never even begin to prove, so it is (obviously) all a gut feeling on my part.

And as soon as we find another technological civilization in the Milky Way, my hypothesis will be blown to pieces. :wink: Image

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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby Ann » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:23 am

ems57fcva wrote:Are you all sure that the colors are labeled properly? It shows low-mass stars contributing to everything between Strontium and Lead, while the exploding massive stars are only credited for elements as heavy as Zirconium. That does not look right. I thought that it took a stellar explosion to create elements heavier than iron. And even just a switch of the yellow and green still raises questions in that regard, as the yellow also extends past iron, but the exploding white dwarfs (white) do not.


I remember seeing a Hubble (or Chandra?) picture of a supernova remnant, and the caption said that we can be sure that this is the remnant of a massive star and its core collapse. And the reason why we can be sure of that is that the remnant contains so much oxygen, and oxygen is produced in core-collapse supernovas. And indeed, today's chart says that oxygen is produced almost exclusively by such supernovas.

I also remember reading about red giants and all the chemical processes that go on in them before they shed their outer layers altogether and turn into planetary nebulas and white dwarfs. The text where I read about that said that many elements are created here because neutrons are incorporated into the nuclei of other elements.

If you check out the chart, the "green" elements (green because they were created by low-mass stars) seem kind of weird. There are few well-known elements among them, apart from lithium, carbon and nitrogen, and the highly poisonous elements mercury and lead.

Fascinatingly, though, some silver and even some gold is apparently made by dying red giants!

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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby geckzilla » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:51 am

Can any color blind people let me know if this works better?
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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby BDanielMayfield » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:53 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:In your example of a 100 coin flip run, the odds of landing on any of the 201 possible positions from 100 meters right to 100 meters left can be precisely calculated. The most likely outcome is flipping 50 heads and 50 tails, which on average would happen 1% of the time. Over even as few as 1000 runs this outcome would be expected to repeat about 10 times, based on probability. Many other outcomes would repeat as well.

Fair enough. Change the problem to read that it would take you more than the age of the Universe to trace the same path twice. Okay? The point is simply that it's very simple to create some circumstance that has an almost impossibly small chance of occurring (any one path, for instance), and nobody looks on that as making that particular circumstance miraculous (by any meaning of that word).

Now with that rephrasing of your example I agree, since there would be 2100 possible paths. My point was merely to demonstrate that I do have some competence with probability. I also agree that examples of ordinary and yet extraordinarily unlikely events abound. Each and every human birth for example.

We can, in fact, make solid predictions about how some things would change given different physical laws.

That is true. But it still amounts to a hypothetical argument. Are any of such alternative universes real? Are any of these altered universes viable? It’s all just supposition.

So what if it's hypothetical? It's just an illustration that there's nothing special about the rules we live under. Change the rules, and you get something else that also makes sense.

Don’t know about that Chris. You assert that “there’s nothing special about the rules” and that changes would still work, but how could you prove that? This seems like untestable assertions. Testablity is very important in science, right?

Douglas Adams put it very well: Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, "This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, may have been made to have me in it!"

So, these counter-arguments against the Anthropic Principle and fine-tuning are imaginative. But, we can imagine anything at all. Imagination can be very clever, but it’s not reality.

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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby Chris Peterson » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:26 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:So what if it's hypothetical? It's just an illustration that there's nothing special about the rules we live under. Change the rules, and you get something else that also makes sense.

Don’t know about that Chris. You assert that “there’s nothing special about the rules” and that changes would still work, but how could you prove that?

Provable? There's no such thing. But analyzable, supportable with evidence? Absolutely. There are papers out there which explore the consequences of changing certain physical constants, which use known science to estimate the sort of Universe we'd see under different conditions. It's a legitimate avenue of research.
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Re: APOD: Where Your Elements Came From (2017 Oct 24)

Postby rooiboer » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:15 pm

geckzilla wrote:Can any color blind people let me know if this works better?


Yes, this is perfect for me. I can match the patterns. Thanks!


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