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Doug_S. comments on Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs - Less Wrong

41 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 07 December 2007 11:08PM

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Comment author: Doug_S. 08 December 2007 02:07:03AM 1 point [-]

There's no particular reason to want to continue that metaphor more directly. Only mathematically precise metaphors have that kind of power.

Well, is it better to continue a vague analogy, or mix your metaphors and end up with something that reads oddly? ("Evaporative cooling" leading to an explosion? Isn't freezing the relevant phase transition here?)

I'm just nitpicking language here, so maybe I should stop hijacking the thread. ;)

Comment author: gwern 30 September 2009 05:00:36PM 1 point [-]

Well, is it better to continue a vague analogy, or mix your metaphors and end up with something that reads oddly? ("Evaporative cooling" leading to an explosion? Isn't freezing the relevant phase transition here?)

When I followed the link to the page, I watched the gif of a condensate cooling down; at a certain point, when enough of the 'red' (warmer) points had disappeared, the white column seemed to surge or 'explode' upwards.

Comment author: Strange7 17 February 2010 08:01:20PM 7 points [-]

Evaporative cooling could lead to a nuclear explosion. Imagine uraneous ore, dissolved in a fluid medium, surrounded by a potential barrier, and heated. Non-uranium particles escape first, followed by lighter isotopes. The end result would be a tight concentration of the heaviest available isotope: critical mass.

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 18 October 2011 05:10:08PM 3 points [-]

As it approached critical, it would generate heat. There would be an equilibrium. In this case, the group itself becomes super stable - but its ideas become unhinged.

I really can't think of any comparable system, except condensation.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 18 October 2011 05:30:25PM 5 points [-]

An almost identical system actually happened in nature.