truth is life

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  1. Obviously this isn't Misner, Thorne, Wheeler or Carroll...whose book is this, by chance? My advice (as a graduate student in physics myself), assuming you're going to get a physics Ph.D., is to spend a great deal of time on advanced books ahead of time. The physics GRE is not easy, introductory courses are not easy (depending on university), and qualifiers (if they exist at your institution) are not easy, especially if you're teaching or researching (or, worst, both) at the same time, which you probably will be. Go ahead and read books like Jackson (despite the reputation) or Goldstein on your own, and if you don't understand something find someone to ask about it. I know it would have saved me a huge amount of heartache. Well, you know what they say about physicists... "How do you tell who the social physicist is?" "They're the one looking at everyone else's shoes!"
  2. I preordered a Fluttershy from them in January as well (I also ordered a Twilight, but long, long ago, and that order has been fulfilled). I have not gotten a package yet, but as I said on the other thread I try to cultivate a sense of patience about these things (which is, ironically, helped by the fact that there are no updates), so I'm not particularly bothered, either. She'll get here when she gets here.
  3. No. I don't know, but this is why I cultivate patience.
  4. Charging, because everypony needs to refresh themselves from time to time...
  5. A slight correction: That's not from the official comics, but rather a fan-work from someone whose style is similar to the official comics, Gray Day. Good work, but not official.
  6. Fair point, fair point. One could theorycraft something about translation conventions, which can often misleadingly analogize positions (e.g., the number of nobles in Chinese history who are termed "Dukes" in English, despite not having anything to do with duchies, much less Roman military leaders), but I prefer to stick to just what's in the show and the supplemental material. Well, really we only know a bare handful of facts about Equestrian government: The Heads of State are called "Princesses" and consist of, at least, Celestia and Luna, and possibly Cadance and Twilight as well. Cadance is the Head of State of the Crystal Empire, but whether this is part of Equestria formally or not is unclear, which may or may not affect her position as a Head of State for Equestria itself. Equestria has local government officials, at least mayors and sheriffs (c.f. Mayor Mare and S01E21, "Over a Barrel, in which Sheriff Silverstar appears). Excluding the comics (in which Mayor Mare is explicitly stated to be elected), we don't even know if these are appointed or elected officials. Equestria has a military, at least in the form of the Royal Guard. Besides that, though, we know nothing at all, or at least nothing that I can recall (excluding the comics and other non-show material). Understandably, considering that this is fundamentally a children's show, but there's not enough there to say anything with any degree of firmness. Knowing what we do about Celestia, and the fact that she had been sole Head of State for a thousand years prior to the beginning of the show, I do doubt that Equestria is an absolute monarchy, but there's no real evidence saying it's not. There's not even any real evidence for a bureaucracy or other intermediate government layer between the local and national, though practical considerations pretty much require it.
  7. The easy answer is simply that Equestria is a Principality, not a Kingdom, and is therefore ruled by princes. This doesn't prevent them from being very powerful; in reality, the first prince (by that name) was Augustus Caesar, the princeps of Rome, who clearly was running a very powerful and important state. Originally it meant "first citizen," but due to linguistic drift and the adoption of Roman titles and names as prestigious ornaments by later European rulers (e.g., the use of Caesar itself as a royal title, in Kaiser, Tsar, and so on), it became a royal title itself, sometimes used for children of a higher-ranking noble, sometimes as a generic term for independent rulers (e.g., the "princes" of the Holy Roman Empire, who usually had no familial relationships with the Emperor, certainly not the kind most English-speaking people would think of at the term, or the "prince" of Machiavelli). It's entirely possible that Celestia and Luna adopted the title as a more "down to Earth" alternative to traditional royal titles like Queen or Empress, which due to their position ended up becoming very prestigious and high-ranking on its own. In fact, it would actually make sense if Princess was the highest-ranked title on the planet!
  8. My feeling is that Pinkie is actually very intelligent, but has a slightly strange world view. She clearly has a great deal of analytical intelligence and a capacious memory, she just doesn't choose to use them pursuing academic pursuits like Twilight does.
  9. Strictly speaking, horses are also native to North America, but died out there about 12,000 years ago, after the first paleo-Indians migrated there, possibly due to overhunting or climate change. However, soon after the emergence of horses (that is, the genus Equus) several million years ago they spread into Eurafrasia, where they radiated into a number of forms (the horse itself, donkeys, onagers, zebras, etc.) and survived until they were domesticated several thousand years ago. Something similar happened with camelids, which is why they're found in South America (llamas and alpacas and their related species) and in Eurafrasia (camels). In any case, American Buffalo are a natural choice for use as a "native American" species, because, obviously, they are native to America; they are iconic and well-known; and, perhaps most importantly, the best known American Indian groups, of the plains, were heavily dependent on buffalo as a food source and for many other important raw materials. It's almost too obvious a connection to make.
  10. That's not quite true. Moon phases are caused by the fact that the Moon orbits around the Earth, which in turn causes the illuminated hemisphere of the Moon to traverse its entire surface over the course of a month, just as the illuminated hemisphere of the Earth traverses its entire surface in the course of a day. Because of this, different regions of the Moon will be lit up at different parts of the month, which we perceive as phases due to only being able to see the hemisphere facing us. Wikipedia has an explanation with diagrams, if you can't quite see it. The same thing happens for Venus and Mercury, and to a much lesser extent with Mars. Eclipses can only happen when the triangle collapses into a line, which can only happen at new moon or full moon, for solar and lunar eclipses, respectively. They don't happen every month because the Moon's orbit is inclined to the ecliptic. Getting away from the real world for a moment, I assume that anything having to do with the sky is some form of magic in the show, because it really doesn't behave anything like the real world.
  11. I've written a little, and I continue to write a little, and in the future I'll write more. That's about it, though.
  12. They made paint. Oh, and medicine. Does that count?
  13. And yet it has a breathable atmosphere... My answer is, "it's magic, you really should just relax".
  14. Oh no, Earth-like planets would probably not be terrifically uniform in their atmospheric temperatures (though ocean temperatures are another story, given sufficiently good communications between different parts of the world). Venus was simply an example of how other properties (in this, an extremely dense atmosphere that can efficiently transport heat) can overwhelm the day-night cycle length. I can't cite the studies I saw, since they were presented as talks, but I did come across this rather succinct article, which concludes that a reasonable Earth-like tidally-locked exoplanet would have extensive areas of open sea and ice-free land, provided the continental configuration isn't completely ridiculous (like having a giant supercontinent filling the ENTIRE night hemisphere), and would be quite habitable, though chilly. There would be no need to rotate it faster to settle it. The ionosphere is simply created by the impact of solar wind and cosmic particles into the atmosphere, so will self-form provided there is an atmosphere at all (Venus and Mars, despite lacking magnetic fields, both have ionospheres). As for the rest, all I can say is that the necessity of a magnetic field is a common and intuitive misconception that simply doesn't square with the data when you look into it. As far as time-scales, "short-term" means anything up to millions of years, whereas "cosmic scale" means hundreds of millions to billions. Atmospheric erosion is an extremely slow process once you get past the lightest particles, so that it's mostly the amount of activity (or lack of activity) on the planet that's going to determine the atmospheric thickness.
  15. Twilight does some field astronomy. (Also, if you complain about the Moon I will cut you Not really, of course, but please)