Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children. - George Bernard Shaw
Question #91742 posted on 10/15/2018 1:06 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Why are there no phone interview booths on campus? Who can I suggest this to? I have some phone interviews and taking them on the floor of a building because you can't talk in a lot of the buildings without getting sssh-ed or having other people's conversation cut through yours. People in my research lab have used my advisor's office to take interviews but THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER SOLUTION!

-Already stressed with school

A:

Dear Stressed,

Reserve a room in the library or some other building for the interview. 

~Anathema


0 Corrections
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Question #91724 posted on 10/14/2018 7:54 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Ever since I moved out from home (6 years ago) I developed poor eating habits in college and still haven't grown out of them despite not being in college anymore. The most significant issue is that I undereat (I'm now down to 1 meal a day, and it rarely has enough protein or fiber to keep me satisfied long-term). I also started taking ADD medication which reduces my appetite even more than it already is. I feel like if I ate 2 or 3 actual balanced meals a day I would see an improvement in my mental health (and also have more physical energy to do things like working out), but I don't know how to force myself to do this. I don't have an eating disorder, I just don't like eating because it feels like it takes away time from work and play (I also very rarely have anyone to eat with socially speaking).

How do I start getting help with this? Do I see a doctor or a specialist (if so what type)?

-My Name Here

A:

Dear friend, 

I'm in the same boat as you (except I'm still an undergrad.) Even without eating disorders/body image issues, I hate eating. Preparing food takes too long, grocery shopping is super boring, and sometimes I just forget. So I appreciated this question because the research gave me some ideas to help myself get my own gosh darn life in order. 

There are different ways to approach this problem. For some instances, you can just make ready-to-eat meals. This has worked pretty well for me the last couple of days that I've tried it. If you have extra time on a Saturday/Sunday, just make a bunch of soup, pasta, veggies, burritos, etc. and then freeze them so when you want to eat later that week, you just nuke your frozen meals.

If your appetite is ultimately the problem, one recommendation I like is eating lots of snacks throughout the day instead of eating big meals (especially on-the-go snacks, which won't take time out of your schedule.) If you do a good job of this, you won't feel hungry and will get all the right nutrients, but you don't have to MAKE meals all the time. 

I do think it would be wise to talk to your doctor the next time you go in. Especially if your medication contributes to your lack of appetite, your doctor probably has some pointers that could be more specific to your needs.  

Cheers, 

Guesthouse

A:

Dear Aziraphale,

I've had periods of time in my life where I was physically incapable of eating full meals (my stomach was shrunken to a point where eating too much at a time would cause me to get very sick and vomit excess food). So instead of eating meals, I would carry around a plastic bag of food, normally consisting of crackers, bread, cheese, and jerky to nibble on throughout the day. 

While my problem was different from yours, I think the solution could still work. Snack foods generally don't require any prepping, and have the added advantage of being really easy to consume whilst doing other things. That way, you don't need to take any time out of your day for eating, and don't need to have much of an appetite any time you eat (because you don't need to be hungry in order to have just a couple bites of something).

~Anathema

A:

Dear you,

I second what Anathema and Guesthouse said about snacks. If you're forgetful or really busy I would also recommend leaving a box of snacks at work, or a locker, or a desk, or wherever you spend most of your time. That way if you forget your snacks in the morning then you still have something to eat at work or school. I do this with a box of granola bars and it's saved me so many times.

Peace,

Tipperary


0 Corrections
Question #91736 posted on 10/14/2018 2:18 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Will somebody explain to me how dimensions work? Obviously, I understand the three dimensions we live in, and actually, trying to visualize how a two-dimensional being would encounter a three-dimensional object is a key part of how I understand why human encounters with God are sometimes confusing, indescribable, and miraculous; obviously we can't fully comprehend a being that exists in higher dimensions. I've read Flatland and Slaughterhouse 5.

But I'm talking about a purely scientific understanding. How do we know that there ARE higher dimensions? How many are there? And how is it possible to exist in three dimensions but not in a fourth or a fifth? Nothing in our world is truly two-dimensional, is it? I mean, you can say that a stick-figure person drawn on a piece of paper is two-dimensional, but that's disingenuous - both the paper and the graphite lines take up space in the third dimension, even if the space is tiny. So how is it possible for objects to not exist in all dimensions?

Do we know of anything in our universe that exists in more than three dimensions? Most of our understanding of physics has to do with how matter interacts with other matter, but matter as we understand it is only three-dimensional, right? So how might our understanding of physics have to change in order to accommodate more dimensions? How might we, humans, encounter a four-dimensional being? How would that be different from how we encounter a five-dimensional being? Can we even speculate about that?

-please help before my brain explodes

(Bonus question: how do you feel about the end of Interstellar?)

A:

Dear Aziraphale,

While I have absolutely no background in physics, I keep on getting drawn in by questions that have to do with dimensions (even if the asker didn't include dimensions, I sometimes manage to fit them in anyways). You can read a couple of my answers dealing with higher dimensions here and here.

Now that my self-plugs are out of the way, I'm going to focus on your specific questions.

How do we know that there ARE higher dimensions?

 Well, that depends on your definition of higher dimensions. I have worked with, and proven things about infinite-dimensional spaces that have direct applications to the real world. In that sense (i.e. dimensions are some kind of coordinate system, roughly speaking), there are definitely higher dimensions, and infinitely many of them (even uncountably infinite dimensional spaces). However, if you don't want to simply live in mathematician land (weird) where we all imagine things, and then painstakingly describe what we're imagining using special vocabulary to make sure everyone else is imagining the exact same thing, and prefer to focus on the traditional definition of dimensions--point, line, square, cube, etc. kind of deal--then no, we can't ever be 100% certain that higher dimensions exist. That's because the only way we can prove reality is through empiric methods, which don't actually establish absolute truth. Basically, all of science/reality is unprovable, though that hasn't stopped plenty of philosophers from trying, one of the most notable being Descartes. But even if you aren't so stringent about what it means for something to be proven, there is not direct evidence for higher dimensions.

Now you (or some other reader) might be asking why--if there's no evidence for it--we roll with the theory of higher dimensions. The reason is because it provides a good model for the world. You see, when modelling, it doesn't always necessarily matter if the model matches reality perfectly. For example, economists model people's lifetime consumption choices by assuming that all people live forever (which is obviously false--sorry if I just crushed your momentary hopes and dreams) because turns out that model ends up describing what economists have observed about people's consumption better than models where people die (feel free to email me or ask another question if you want to know why this is). Similarly, even if we don't have proof for higher dimensions, the models that assume they do exist describe what we can observe about reality better than the ones that don't. Cause when it comes down to it, some information is just not available to us, so we have to guess at bits and pieces of it, and make sure those guesses don't give us results that contradict what we do know.

How many [dimensions] are there?

This depends on which theory/model you're using. If you're living mathematician/imagination land, there are uncountably infinite dimensions. If you subscribe to superstring theory, the highest dimension in the universe is 10. Again, note here that how many dimensions a model/theory either assumes or implies doesn't mean that the universe truly has that many dimensions, but it can still be a good model/theory anyways.

And how is it possible to exist in three dimensions but not in a fourth or a fifth? Nothing in our world is truly two-dimensional, is it? So how is it possible for objects to not exist in all dimensions? 

To answer your first question here, it isn't. If you exist in one of the possible dimensions, you exist in every equal or higher dimension. And our world does include both one dimensional and two dimensional things. Every 3-D object is composed of infinitely many 2-D objects, which in turn is composed of infinitely many 1-D objects. However, it is definitely possible not to exist in all dimensions. In fact, unless something is 1-D, it's impossible to exist in all dimensions. For example, I am a third dimensional being. I cannot exist in either two dimensions or one dimension. However, I do exist in every dimension higher than three.

Do we know of anything in our universe that exists in more than three dimensions? 

Nope. If we had definitive evidence, then we'd have evidence of higher dimensions, which as I said above, we don't. 

Most of our understanding of physics has to do with how matter interacts with other matter, but matter as we understand it is only three-dimensional, right? So how might our understanding of physics have to change in order to accommodate more dimensions?

It's actually our current understanding of physics (i.e. our physical models and theories) that imply there are higher dimensions, despite the fact we don't have any hard evidence to that effect. So, if just the fact higher dimensions exist is proven, it will validate our current understanding of physics. However, if higher dimensions are proven, it's pretty likely some other weird things about the universe will come to light in the process. In that case, it's very likely we will update our models and theories to accommodate this new weird information to make the models better. Again, remember the models and theories we have aren't perfect replicas of reality; rather they describe bits of reality in useful ways. The more we understand about reality, the more we'll be able to create models to take into account those things (though not necessarily, because as previously stated, models are sometimes better with aspects that blatantly contradict reality).

 How might we, humans, encounter a four-dimensional being? How would that be different from how we encounter a five-dimensional being? 

Idk, man, but it'd be weird. 

Can we even speculate about that?

We can speculate about whatever the heck we want. Like, we could have a full on speculating session about the complex social hierarchy of electric-blue vegan dragons if we wanted. As a mathematician, I spend considerable amounts of time speculating about worlds where things are nice and have nigh on magical properties. I get the sense you really meant, "Can we speculate accurately/reasonably about that," though. The answer to that question is no. Unless you have a really loose definition of reasonable. Seriously, we don't even know for sure if higher dimensions exist, let alone what encounters with living beings from them would look like (no pun intended).

As far as your bonus question goes, unfortunately it's been too long since I've watched Interstellar for me to have a real opinion... I seem to remember crying, though. And on that note, I'll leave you to ponder over dimensions and the art of modelling some more (or not, your choice).

~Anathema

A:

Dear Whoa there, 

Well, that's a lot of questions, but I'll do my best to explain at least a little bit:

We know there are higher dimensions because of Einstein's theory of relativity, largely. Light as we understand it doesn't make any sense without 4 dimensions, the 4th one being time. And from an astrophysics perspective, gravity doesn't really make sense without like 10 dimensions. So we generally say space has like 10 dimensions. But really, you can't say definitively because mathematicians will tell you there's definitely the possibility of like... infinite dimensions. But man, that stuff is complicated. So just don't worry about it.

Technically speaking, anything that exists in 2 dimensions also exists in the 4th and 5th dimensions, just as a 2-dimensional object. The 4th and 5th dimensions just perceive 2-dimensional objects differently than we do. Honestly, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me either, but there's this YouTube video I watched for this which sort of started to help me understand the concept. 

Can things be 2-dimensional? Sure... conceptually. A triangle is 2-D, but every time you draw a triangle, it is a 3-D version of it.... But the concept of a triangle is still 2-dimensional. 

As for how 3D objects might encounter a 4D or 5D world... I think Interstellar did a good job. That's honestly what helps me conceptualize higher dimensions... just as if all time was indeed present before us. That's maybe the only way a 3D being might be able to comprehend a higher dimension... you'd basically have to dumb it down. But technically speaking, we encounter higher dimensions all the time, because we live in them. We just... don't really fully comprehend them or see them as they see us. 

While I know that probably didn't answer all of your questions, I read a lot of stuff and honestly didn't fully understand any of it myself. Heck, I don't think even astrophysicists fully understand how multiple dimensions function, but they study it anyway. Like my sociology professor says, don't stare too long into the abyss, or it'll start staring back. 

Cheers, 

Guesthouse


0 Corrections
Question #91740 posted on 10/14/2018 2:54 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I live in Heritage Halls. A bee landed on my window and has stayed there for hours in the same spot, sometimes moving its legs. Why is it there?

-Arsenic

A:

Dear Old Lace,

Because there's a secret conspiracy of bees out to invade all of freshman housing. This bee is just the first of many, it's selective leg movements signalling to the others all the information they shall have to know to make their evil plans complete.

~Anathema

A:

Dear #33, 

Haven't you ever seen the Bee Movie? You should just try to talk to him. 

Cheers, 

Guesthouse


0 Corrections
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Question #91737 posted on 10/13/2018 9:42 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Why does the ground in the Garden Court randomly shake like there's an earthquake?

-Grace

A:

Dear Graceful,

According to a very very secret source, there's just one huge room under the Terrace that holds lots of machinery. These machines are rumored to be generators that circulate air through the building. That just seems like a myth, though. Tunnel worms would go to any lengths to disguise their machinations from the hearts of men. All the better to bewitch and entrap freshmen! Beware! 

-Quixotic Kid

A:

Dear autosave,

In Board Question #79465, Tally M. highlights four archived questions that address the tremors, all of which are similar responses to that which Quixotic Kid has yielded.

Suerte,

--Ardilla Feroz


0 Corrections
Question #91727 posted on 10/13/2018 9:43 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'm sitting here eating grapes. More often than not, the pedicel breaks off the bunch and I then have to expend extra effort to remove the pedicel from the grape before I can eat the grape. Why does this happen instead of the grape pulling free of the pedicel on the first try? Is there a reason breeders can't selectively breed grapes that have pedicels that don't break off so easily?

—Tasteless in Provo

A:

Dear Tasteless,

This was a fairly involved answer, and I got all my info from this book.

Here's the gist: they will probably never do that, because it'll make harvesting and shipping the grapes way more difficult while having only a slight benefit for the consumer. We don't usually pick up a bunch of grapes by the stems anymore, but that's how they grow, are harvested, processed, packaged, and shipped. If that connection was bred to be weaker, the growers would see much more grape loss as random grapes just started falling off bunches onto the floor, into machinery, etc.

The stem connection to the pedicel isn't as strong as the connection from the pedicel to the grape because the pedicel is how the grape forms, and there's a vascular type system from the pedicel under the skin of the grape. Once the grape bunches are detached from the vines, they start dehydrating from the stem toward the berries and get more brittle as they dehydrate. By the time they get to market, the attachment from stem -> pedicel is more dry and weak than from pedicel -> grape which hasn't dried out as much yet.

Overall, I think it's clear what the takeaway is. Grapes are delicious, so take your time and enjoy. Or better yet, freeze them. They're so flipping good that way.

-Quixotic Kid


0 Corrections