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• CommentRowNumber1.
• CommentAuthorIan_Durham
• CommentTimeApr 8th 2010
Added an entry on closed time-like curves. Also edited a few things in physicscontents in order to clean it up a bit.
• CommentRowNumber2.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 8th 2010

I think that physicscontents should consist of a list of major subareas and also possibly some highlighted central entries of the nlab within the physics scope. Listing minor auxiliary concept like closed time-like curves as an item in the main list, I find a bit inappropriate.

We also try to create new entry titles in singular grammatical case whenever possible, while the plural forms are treated by redirects.

• CommentRowNumber3.
• CommentAuthorIan_Durham
• CommentTimeApr 8th 2010
• (edited Apr 8th 2010)
Well, no one had changed the physics contents in a very long time and it looked sloppy to me so I changed it. You can always take out minor auxiliary stuff if you want to. As for the singular grammatical case, since I've got that in a redirect anyway, what does it matter?
• CommentRowNumber4.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeApr 8th 2010

Ian, I am very unhappy with what you wrote in that entry.

• First sentence: no, the notion of wormhole is not the same as the notion of closed timelike curve.

• Second sentence: no, a definition of closed timelike curve is not "a metric whose time-dimension is circular". This doesn't quite parse, even. We gave the definition of closed timelike curves at Lorentzian manifold. You can look it up there.

• Last sentence of the Idea part :"Under certain circumstances": no, in plain classical general relativity there is nothing that forbids solutions of the field equations to have closed timelike curves.

• section on Deutsch-Bacon: what you write there doesn't parse.

• CommentRowNumber5.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 9th 2010

As for the singular grammatical case, since I’ve got that in a redirect anyway, what does it matter?

It is not a problem, but uniform stylistic conventions are an advantage of any longer texts of written civilization, so it is good to be aware of conventions and follow them when it is not too difficult to remember it. Prof. Joyal has chosen plural convention in his catlab, and it has its own stylistic coherence and inner beauty.

• CommentRowNumber6.
• CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
• CommentTimeApr 9th 2010

To continue Zoran’s thought, singular grammatical case for titles is the Lab stylistic convention; see here.

• CommentRowNumber7.
• CommentAuthorIan_Durham
• CommentTimeApr 9th 2010
• (edited Apr 9th 2010)
@Urs: I will freely admit that entry needs work. You're right and I'm wrong on those points. I was rushing to squeeze it in between other tasks. But let me quote from the front page of nLab:

The purpose of the nLab is not to make polished expositions of material; that is a happy by-product. The purpose is to provide a public place where people can make notes about stuff.

For awhile, you were quite helpful. Now it's as if I did something to offend you. Look, I don't have the luxury of several hours of uninterrupted time to work on my research these days. I get maybe a maximum of 30 minutes at a time if I'm lucky, often with someone talking in my ear as I do it. Try being coherent under the same circumstances sometime and see how many mistakes you make. If you don't make any, then good for you. You're officially hired as my personal assistant.
• CommentRowNumber8.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 9th 2010

The thing is that if your entry is taking more time from people to discuss it and straighten it out, than it would be for them to write their own contribution on equally important entries from scratch than it is not helpful. There is a critical level of rough correctness in average which makes it a useful contribution. If a time pressure is a main obstacle, one can write some personal notes in a LaTeX file on daily basis and then bring a thought to reasonable contribution to the nlab once it is almost surely at useful level. Doubtful improvization should not enter main entries table and so on, unless in a form of question.

• CommentRowNumber9.
• CommentAuthorIan_Durham
• CommentTimeApr 9th 2010

Well, again, it would have helped immensely if I had my own spot on nLab, but I was denied that opportunity.

• CommentRowNumber10.
• CommentAuthorEric
• CommentTimeApr 10th 2010

The first time you asked, we didn’t know you.

• CommentRowNumber11.
• CommentAuthorIan_Durham
• CommentTimeApr 10th 2010
Maybe I'll look into it. I'll have to think about it.
• CommentRowNumber12.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 10th 2010

The first time you asked, we didn't know you.

And so far we still don't. Despite Ian's positive enthusiasm I have still not seen a sizeable coherent discourse qualifying as Ian's contributor's ID; and the recent outburst of the denial to the advices of community, as well as supporting it with proof by intimidation (I have read Schutz, I teach GR, I had this and this in my thesis) what is in a collaborative working environment nothing than external pressure and consequently a non-argument, makes me not supporting the idea. There are ways of silently working in background and bring out the material and discussions up with gradual adaptation, and it has a chance to change this in future. But if somebody did not want to grant nlab page to Ian because he was not known, than after all, again despite frank enthusiasm for nlab and relating physics to categories, I think that the trial work in the community makes the granting the personal nlab page less reasonable at the time being.

• CommentRowNumber13.
• CommentAuthorIan_Durham
• CommentTimeApr 10th 2010
• (edited Apr 10th 2010)

proof by intimidation

Proof by intimidation? That makes no sense. Urs suggested I read a standard GR text. I was offering evidence that, not only have I read them all, but I teach the subject. That's not intimidation. That's me attempting to defend myself against accusations that I consider false (and, frankly, not particularly kind). What would you do if someone, rather suddenly, suggested that the last 12 years of your life were a complete waste and your PhD thesis was trash? Because accusing me of not knowing basic GR implies exactly that.
• CommentRowNumber14.
• CommentAuthorEric
• CommentTimeApr 10th 2010
• (edited Apr 10th 2010)

My dissertation was in electromagnetism. I spent 8 years of my life thinking hard about it day and night. I published papers and won awards. I’ve worked at some of the world’s finest research institutions. I still do not understand electromagnetism.

No one in physics understands physics. That goes doubly for GR.

• CommentRowNumber15.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 10th 2010

Nobody said anything about your thesis and your past 12 years, nor is anybody interested in it. It is up to you to do analysis of your inner reasons why GR facts get confused when you are writing in nlab. It is intimidation to ask others to ignore your writing on the basis of your external claims on your career, and it is intimidation to ask people to consider your career when writing and discussion issues.

I mean it is good to mention at the beginning where you are coming from, and it can be advantagous to know who can help in what, or which arguments are likely to be backed up with somebody's experience. It is also OK to say, you see I have such and such experience and my experience in this and this field contradicts with some social statement (e.g. that nobody does such and such research any more). I myself told you about my experiences with terminology and based it on similar arguments of my external experience. All of these are about social facts (which terminology is more liked in the community...) or are hints about somebody's experience. All of these are thus about subtle facts of hints to expectations, and impressions of non-scientific nature. Once it gets to the questions of scientific correctness and argumentation, than opposing it stiffly ad anattentively with long unwanted lists of external claims is an argumentation by intimidation and is also a well-known sign of forceful web-trolling. You should be aware of that nothing invalidates your credentials more than bringing them up as a counterevidence in the cases when you are wrong. The least damage is to admit to be wrong and to keep low profile in such cases; bringing a higher stake in a no-win argumentation compromises the higher stake. The more claims at an inappropriate place, the more doubt.

• CommentRowNumber16.
• CommentAuthorIan_Durham
• CommentTimeApr 10th 2010
No, quite frankly Zoran, it is you who are being intimidating. I prefer to call it "intellectual bullying."

As for a no-win argument, any argument is no-win if enough people play the rhetoric correctly. While in mathematics and physics this shouldn't be true, it unfortunately is. I could cite a few interesting articles (not by me) that actually discuss precisely this point, but I wouldn't want to come off as being intimidating.

@Eric:

No one in physics understands physics. That goes doubly for GR.

Then Urs and Zoran are just as clueless as I supposedly am.

Honestly, I agree with you that no one understands physics or GR. We all have our preferred interpretation of experimental data. Mine isn't terribly mainstream but it's still just an interpretation. Zoran has argued for his "pet" interpretations of things to be included on nLab. But my point is that it's an interpretation and that's all it is. If the consensus is for a certain interpretation, then that's fine, but it could have been made clear without dragging my name through the mud (and please don't tell me that some folks on here didn't do that or that I did it to myself).
• CommentRowNumber17.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 10th 2010

Zoran, it is you who are being intimidating

Of course, Ian, it must be intimidating to you if we got to the position where we are forced to do acts of controlling the process to prevent from endless loss of time. I was talking about something else and this is the "proof by intimidation" what is a technical term in scientific community when somebody plays force of authority, time pressure and so on, to avoid or to override the regular intellectual arguments. In this vain, you will probably agree that mere citing papers of others is not an argument, but rather understanding and extracting and examining together the arguments from those. Mere citation of names, books, articles and so on is a proof of intimidation in the technical sense I am using it, and it translates as a watered down argument at least.

Then Urs and Zoran are just as clueless as I supposedly am.

And I am clueless on this I do not correct Urs's entries in that respect as he is less clueless than I am. You will admit that you now wnet relativizing too much.

• CommentRowNumber18.
• CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
• CommentTimeApr 10th 2010

Gentlemen, please: this bickering has gotten far too personal, and it is completely inappropriate to use the nForum for this purpose.

I do not agree that Urs made any of the suggestions indicated at #13, nor has he ever said anything libelous (a very serious charge). He did say Ian was confused on specific points, he did advise to read basic GR texts, he lost patience over some edits, and he asked Ian to stop (which Ian apparently has).

It’s easy to understand why Ian is upset about this development, but: the nLab is to be a collaborative effort. Newcomers will be assessed according to the positive contributions they make, and their ability to listen and get along. If they can’t, they should not get involved with the Lab, and should take their business elsewhere (we’ve been down this road before). I think we can all agree that life is too short, and that this argument has become a waste of time.

• CommentRowNumber19.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 10th 2010

Look Todd I am spending some precious time to try to make a fine distinctions (the last and least important example of feel of intimidation vs. a technical notion of an invalid argument called usually proof by intimidation) and describe the process of interaction the way I see it and what I see good or bad in that process. This is out of hope to help Ian see a difference between his and my attitude.

If I wanted to be rude to Ian (what I do not see any reason, I think he has good intentions but I can not appreciate the present outcome, and it became a problem) I could; as I (irrespective of my basic sympathy for his will to participate) do not care that much what Ian thinks of me, and would not spend the time for that, but I do want to make clear my attitudes to a work which costs me a lot of time and effort; this is a worthy motivation to spell out my thoughts completely in a dicussion you do not need to be interested. If you want to call this bickering (by the way I do not understand that word as a foreigner, but expect to be something of rude kind) I think you did not read carefully the discussion. I do agree with you that the more personal details (on his background) Ian presents as an “argument” it makes it more unpleasantly personal, that is exactly why I adviced and explained why it is not good, in a matter of dispute, to bring externalities, but rather instead to use a method I suggested to Ian in #8 (not hasting, thinking twice, listening others, and gradually reentering if he wishes so). If you really find all that effort to advice and explain ourselves as “personal” and “bickering” whatever it means than I accept it as such, but do not feel anything bad in it.

• CommentRowNumber20.
• CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010

Zoran: while it may appear that I was commenting on your comment, it’s not really so; the appearance is accidental. If you look again at what I wrote, you’ll see the my comment is hardly at all directed at your comment, and I’m sorry you got the impression that I was being rude or was meddling. (I wasn’t. “Bickering” isn’t so rude as you might think.) In point of fact, I see the points you are trying to make, and I don’t disagree with them. But now I ask you to read again what I wrote, and see where my true point is directed. (Hint: you make a fantastic contribution to the Lab.)

You are free to use your time as you wish, obviously, but I hope, for the sake of the public health of the Forum, that participants will have the good sense to firmly terminate discussions which are moving in a fruitless direction. I will end by saying my beef isn’t at all with you, and IMHO you shouldn’t have one with me.

• CommentRowNumber21.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010

Thanks Todd, you put that very clearly and succinctly - I couldn't figure out how do that politely, so I didn't.

• CommentRowNumber22.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010

Zoran, I call you on your bullshit! Give me a reference to ‘”proof by intimidation” what is a technical term in scientific community’ that applies to anything that Ian wrote. Bonus points if it also does not apply to anything that Urs wrote.

• CommentRowNumber23.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010
• (edited Apr 11th 2010)

The “proof by intimidation” phrase I hear with a consistent meaning used by mathematicians and physicists from all over word (most vivid are my memories of one of our Indian collaborators who uses this expression often). It is so wide spread that your question surprises me.(are you joking or you really never heard of that experssion in math community ? is it only my impression on wide spreadness ?).

Of course this answer is also a proof by intimidation, so you do not need to accept it. I am not a theoretician of science to be able to document the historical and other origin of that standard phrase; and if it is easy to find it on google (I did not check) than you can do as good as I do. But of course if Ian was addressing my first usage of “proof by intimidation” with “intimidation” from ZŠ, then even if Toby Bartels does not authorize the badge of being “technical” it is my right to explain the notation which at least my acquaintances and I use. And making consistent usage and having it analysed when the misunderstanding occurs is not a “bullshit”. :)

Bonus points if it also does not apply to anything that Urs wrote.

Did Urs also write something of the sort “I was invited at many conferences” and read such and such books and gave such and such lectures at such and such spaces as a background why he is right ?

You know when some not really big dog, but pretty aggressive one starts approaching me barking on the street and I see that it is getting tough, then I widen my coat and raise my hands together with a loud sound. If I had a good argument, say a fence between me and dog, a good stick, or presence of the owner of the dog, to make my discussion with the dog comfortable, I would not raise a coat and all that empty simulation. Or if I knew that the dog does not accept the proof by intimidation, I would also not raise it. I would rather run immediately, then to loose time and irritate the dog with the “proof”.

• CommentRowNumber24.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010

Then maybe you’d better check Google, Zoran. The phrase is easy to find, and it does not mean what you said. And it certainly is not a technical term!

I don’t know how you ever expected Ian to understand what you meant by the phrase. Frankly, it looks like you and Urs have both been deliberately trying to insult Ian. I don’t agree with his interpretation of the Reissner–Nordström metric, but at least he has been trying to talk to people (as have others, notably Eric).

And by the way, where did Ian say that he teaches GR to prove that he is right? It was pretty obvious to me, when I first read it on the ‘spacetime’ thread, why he wrote that. And if it wasn’t obvious to you, well, he has explained why in this very thread.

• CommentRowNumber25.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010

By the way, I used ‘call bullshit’ in a technical sense. To quote the Urban Dictionary: ‘State that some given information is incorrect’. If it was reasonable for you to accuse Ian of ‘intimidation’ without explaining what you meant, then it was reasonable for me to accuse you of ‘bullshit’ in the same way. And if it was reasonable for you to feel insulted by what I wrote, then it was reasonable for Ian to feel insulted by what you wrote.

Seriously, what did you expect???

• CommentRowNumber26.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010
• (edited Apr 11th 2010)

OK, I found it on wikipedia and it means (among other meanings) exactly the way I understand it:

The term is also used when the author IS AN AUTHORITY IN HIS FIELD presenting his proof to people who respect A PRIORI HIS INSISTENCE that the proof is valid or when the author claims that his statement is true because it is trivial OR BECAUSE HE SIMPLY SAYS SO.

.

And if it was reasonable for you to feel insulted by what I wrote

That would be completely unreasonable. What does make you feel that you insulted me, or that anybody in nlab insulted me in this calendar year ? I did object the terminology in my thoroughness which i somehow exercised a bit more than usually this couple of days. It does not differ from what you call “technical” here.

• CommentRowNumber27.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010

24 > And by the way, where did Ian say that he teaches GR to prove that he is right? It was pretty obvious to me, when I first read it on the ‘spacetime’ thread, why he wrote that.

Look I don’t know when he mentioned it FIRST. I saw it first on his nlab page I think, which is nice and useful page which was making me feel all positive about him (much of which I retain). When saying “proof by intimidation” I was refering only to the Ian’s outburst in entry 64 under spacetime, which I invite you to read.

• CommentRowNumber28.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010
• (edited Apr 11th 2010)

Sorry, Zoran, I’m not capable of responding to your comments in an appropriate manner.

• CommentRowNumber29.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010
• (edited Apr 11th 2010)

I do not understand (the statement 28).

And it certainly is not a technical term!

A technical meaning is one which is not given by the common speach. My parents for example would not guess any of the quoted meaning of the phrase “proof by intimidation”, though they do know word proof and work intimidation.

• CommentRowNumber30.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010

I find what you have written completely unreasonable. When I start to write down why, I get very angry. I cannot continue. I am sorry.

• CommentRowNumber31.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010

I widen my coat and raise my hands together with a loud sound.

I know this is a serious conversation, but the mental image I had when I read this...priceless :) Pity we didn't come across any such dogs when we were in Vienna, Zoran.

But more seriously, on the nlab people are not necessarily who they are in the physical world. Ian is not Associate Professor Ian Durham of Saint Anselm College, but Ian_Durham, enthusiastic new user. Likewise Harry Gindi is not just some undergrad :) but a reasonably knowledgable contributor. If out little community was measured by our standing in the academic world as measured by positions and so forth, then certainly myself, Toby, Todd and Eric would not rate a mention.

People in a sense are their contributions, or at least measured by them relative to the social and academic norms here. It may be that Ian (and this is pure supposition) is not familiar with the sort of communication culture that online researchers have. Pointing to one's credentials about in the face of criticism is out of form, but perhaps not an unreasonable 'safe-base' for someone frustrated and new to this game. It may be that this sort of behaviour is referred to as 'proof by intimidation' by some, but certainly when in a minority position (and let's face it, a minority of one against several big cheeses) it seems more like a last gasp of defense in this situation.

• CommentRowNumber32.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010
• (edited Apr 11th 2010)

I can not understand (that something I wrote makes Toby angry and even more paralised).

• CommentRowNumber33.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010

Golly, it takes me so long to write comments the discussion moves on. The above was started after Toby's #25.

• CommentRowNumber34.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010

It may be that this sort of behaviour is referred to as ’proof by intimidation’ by some, but certainly when in a minority position (and let’s face it, a minority of one against several big cheeses) it seems more like a last gasp of defense in this situation.

I said all that in different terms. But we were suggesting better defense and also suggesting that such a defense is actually detrimental to the user, while not a last defense. It should not have been accompanied by the things nobody said (that somebody’s 12 years of experience is trash) and that with label “libelous” for somebody’s patient aprpoach.

• CommentRowNumber35.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010
• (edited Apr 11th 2010)

(not so related) As far as wikipedia’s meaning as a long messy proof, that meaning I would also subscribe for; my advisor told me that when you make impression that something you talk about or something you do is more difficult than it should be, that Americans say “snowing people” and he accused that I sometimes do that (I admit that something things in my talks happen to be incomprehensible and that I sometimes look at things more misteriously than a down to Earth approach would do, but I believe in the approach which I teach, without intention to snow somebody, though in process I often realize a better path too late), and of course advise: never snow people. Sbowing people does not tell them argument, the argument goes over the listener’s head and sometimes the things get messy that the speaker just has the feeling that the argument is there but even he does not see the line of the argument clearly. So this gives an impression that the argument, that the proof is there, while it is not. Similarly, external credentials give an impression that the argument is there, while it is not. I do not see these much different.

Edit: Todd, do not worry, I did not feel any bad intention in your statement at any moment, though I was afraid that your kind reaction was partly based also on misunderstanding my own discussion writing, what if present must be my fault and felt it needed an explanation.

• CommentRowNumber36.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010

I am calm enough now to make this comment, which I hope may clarify some things:

I did not notice anything on the ‘spacetime’ thread which suggested to me that Ian expected people to believe his claims about science because he has academic credentials. As far as I noticed, he mentioned his credentials only to respond to Urs’s claims that he did not understand general relativity. This includes comment 64 on that thread, where he seems to make it pretty clear. My interpretation is corroborated by Ian’s comment #13 on this thread.

But maybe I should not talk about any of this. After all, it does not matter if Urs think that Ian does not understand GR. And it does not matter if Ian finds Urs’s claim libelous. It does not matter if Zoran finds Ian’s argument fallacious. And it does not matter if I find Zoran’s response unreasonable. I am getting tired of looking through past comments to see if what A said about what B said about what C said is right or wrong.

I am somewhat tempted to go back to the ‘spacetime’ thread and try to talk to Ian about his interpretation of the Reissner–Nordström metric. (I think that he is proposing to draw a distinction that is physically meaningless, and I would like to either convince him of this or get him to explain its physical meaning to me. And I think that this goes to the heart of some of the other things that he said before he brought up Reissner–Nordström.) At least that is about science, not about people, and I understand science much better than I understand people. But the problem with discussing science is that there are always still people involved in the discussion (^_^).

• CommentRowNumber37.
• CommentAuthorMike Shulman
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010

I can definitely agree with #18 that life is too short and this argument has become a waste of time. Even scrolling past these comments in my RSS reader has become a waste of time. (-:

• CommentRowNumber38.
• CommentAuthorEric
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010

To possibly ensure that something useful comes out of this, how about creating gravitational field and Reissner–Nordstrom metric?

• CommentRowNumber39.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010
• (edited Apr 11th 2010)

Toby,

independently of how Zoran phrased it, I also think that a good deal of the problem is that the assertion (in paragraphrase): “This is wrong, it contradicts elementary textbook knowledge.” received as reply only: “I don’t accept this criticism, since I teach GR.” (in paragraphrase).

I can see that you are very unhappy with the tone we have been using. But when I look back at the discussion, I see that a long list of polite and non-blunt comments was pretty much ignored or not understood as what they were, and only when a blunt statement was made was the message finally taken. This is, of course, very unfortunate. I’d rather have that none of this had happened and am not feeling good about it. But the alternative that I saw approaching us did not look better.

• CommentRowNumber40.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeApr 11th 2010

This is what I should have written in comment #22:

Zoran, I think that you mean argument from authority. The phrase ‘agument by intimidation’ is not a technical term in any field (or if it is, it hasn’t reached the Internet); it’s a colloquial phrase, and none of the meanings that I’ve found fit what Ian has said. In contrast, argument from authority is one of the now-standard fallacies (at least in Anglo-American philosophy) going back to the 18th century.

However, I don’t even think that what Ian said was argument from authority. I don’t find anywhere that he wrote ‘Not all spacetime curvature should be interpreted as gravitation, because I say so and I teach general relativity for a living.’ or anything like that. Rather, he wrote ‘I don’t need to review the basic ideas of general relativity, because I teach general relativity for a living.’ and things like that. That’s not an airtight proof, of course, but it’s evidence.

If I had waited an hour before posting, then I might have written just that. Or I might even have just commented on the ‘spacetime’ thread and tried to talk to Ian about his interpretation of general relativity. Given recent developments, I don’t think that I need to say anything more now.

• CommentRowNumber41.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeApr 12th 2010

As a last post on this topic, I will point out in response to

[Ian's] interpretation of the Reissner–Nordström metric.

that Ian expressed to me privately that he was very much an empirical physicist. In this light his insistence on considering the mass $\to 0$ limit of the Reissner–Nordström metric as a special case sounds a little more reasonable: we have not observed massless charges particles or objects, and so while being theoretically consistent and actually a no-brainer, because we all know the energy content of the EM field curves spacetime, one might have concerns that there might be a mechanism preventing this limit from physically existing.

I don't want to reopen a discussion about physics or an interpretation of physics, but add this because I didn't have time yesterday, and it may be a valid point to include on Eric's proposed page on the Reissner–Nordström metric.

• CommentRowNumber42.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeApr 12th 2010

a valid point to include on Eric’s proposed page on the Reissner–Nordström metric.

By all means, the next one who wants to mutter “Reissner-Nordström” here has to create that entry or remain silent! :-)

And by the way, that discussion of physical mechanisms relating charge and mass of a black hole can be found in any discussion of extremal black holes and supersymmetric black holes.

• CommentRowNumber43.
• CommentAuthorHarry Gindi
• CommentTimeApr 12th 2010
• (edited Apr 12th 2010)

I'm guessing that the ö in "Reissner-Nordström" is not pronounced like it would be in German, right Urs?

Bluff Called!

• CommentRowNumber44.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeApr 12th 2010
• (edited Apr 12th 2010)

I’m guessing that the ö in “Reissner-Nordström” is not pronounced like it would be in German, right Urs?

I am guessing the correct spelling of the guy’s name is Gunnar Nordstrøm and that he, or at least his name, is or was Norwegian.

And I think (but someboidy should correct me if not) that the German way of pronouncing “Norström” differs from the Norwegian way of pronouncing Nordstrøm only slightly, and not in the ö/ø, but in whether the “r” is rolled or not and in whether the “st” is pronounced with a sharp “s” or as in Enlish “sh”

• CommentRowNumber45.
• CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
• CommentTimeApr 12th 2010

Finnish, according to Wikipedia, in which case all bets are off! (Finnish being one of the notoriously tricky languages, like Hungarian, to classify.) At the very least, I can’t comment (apart from to guess that the ’d’ is silent).

• CommentRowNumber46.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 12th 2010

Finnish being one of the notoriously tricky languages, like Hungarian, to classify.

Now you surprise me. In comparative linguistics it is hardly any family of languages so well comparatively studied as Indo-European and Ugro-Finnnic families. What is not clear is the status of relationship in much wider superfamily of Mongolian-Altaic languages including Ugro-Finnic as a subset; some go further to claim relation to Korean, but it is probably too far fetched methodologically. Despite the genetic closeness the vocabulary part of Finish and Hingarian have very little overlap, even in the basic vocbulary, so from the synchronic point of view it is not really much advantageous to be Hungarian speaker to learn Finish apart from some feeling for the vowel harmony.