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Comment: Re:What's it good for? (Score 1) 236

by Remus Shepherd (#48436361) Attached to: Russia May Be Planning National Space Station To Replace ISS

The purpose of the ISS was to spread the cost of a space station among many different countries, so that no one of them had to foot the bill for their own. One of the reasons the USSR went bankrupt is because they could not keep up with US cold war expenditures, including the space race.

Which makes it truly bizarre that Russia would be thinking of going into space alone again. Putin doesn't appear to remember any history at all.

Comment: Re:umm.. what? (Score 1) 150

by Remus Shepherd (#48264513) Attached to: Researchers At Brown University Shattered a Quantum Wave Function

IAMA physicist, but not a very good one and this isn't my field.

From what I gather, they got liquid helium to react to the wavefunction of an electron without reacting to the electron itself. In other words, an electron approached the surface of a vat of liquid helium, the helium reacted (by forming bubbles), but the electron continued and eventually reacted somewhere else.

If true, this is really, deeply, weird. The wavefunction is supposed to be just a mathematical model of where the electron should be. Instead, this suggests that the wavefunction is a field with physical reality. A physical reality that can be studied in parts, not necessarily as a whole. It's pretty mindblowing and could lead to new physics -- gluon-like particles that carry wavefunction potential, maybe? But I'm skeptical until these results can be duplicated.

Note that the entire article is written in adherence to the Copenhagen interpretation. If you look at it via the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum physics, it gets even weirder -- is the helium responding to events in parallel universes? Luckily, I've always preferred the Copenhagen theory.

Comment: Re:Who cares about performance? (Score 1) 108

by Remus Shepherd (#48196533) Attached to: Which Android Devices Sacrifice Battery-Life For Performance?

Apps and Android OS both continue to get more bloated as time passes, so the better the performance, the longer the device will remain relevant and useful. It's a measure of lifetime. A weak phone might not be able to run the apps that will be released two years from now. A strong phone might still be able to run apps four or more years in the future.

If you upgrade your phone every two years like clockwork, then it doesn't matter to you. Those who prefer to delay upgrading until its necessary will appreciate a phone that's powerful enough to age well.

Comment: Same problem; decided to stay unlimited. (Score 1) 209

I'm not the original anonymous questioner, but I'm in the same boat. I live in a rural area where Verizon has the only coverage, and I've been on an unlimited plan for years. My phone is a Galaxy S (that's S #1) that's getting a bit old; it chokes on a lot of modern websites and apps. I never go above 2 GB/month. I don't even think it's possible, as my old phone is 3G and barely handles Youtube.

I would have switched plans before, but Verizon didn't give me any incentive other than a new phone. My monthly rate would have stayed the same (or even went up, depending on the store personnel I had) while I got less bandwidth. That's unacceptable. If they cut my monthly rate by $20 then I'd leap at the new contract. Any phone I get from them under a new contract would also be stocked with their worthless software; I'd have to root it to clean it out. It's worth it to me to pay full price for a new phone just to avoid the bloatware, let alone the loss of bandwidth that I may or may not use.

TLDR: A new contract means they're going to restrict my bandwidth, make me pay the same amount, and pile bloat on top of any phone I get. I think it's still worth it to me to buy a new phone at full price and keep the unlimited plan.

Comment: Re:Another take on the matter... (Score 1) 359

by Remus Shepherd (#47696633) Attached to: Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted

Nope. From the article, the looters were chanting that they believed Ebola was a scam. They do not believe it exists. So they're not going to bother trying to sterilize the objects stolen or 'purge' the infected. They're going to treat them as if they're going to get better. But they won't, and now the entire neighborhood is vulnerable to the disease.

Comment: Re:What's the additional challenge here? (Score 2) 56

by Remus Shepherd (#47677429) Attached to: A Thousand Kilobots Self-Assemble Into Complex Shapes

I think they're building these robots to solve the problem of how to make these robots. A pixel in a game of Life is easy to maintain -- it has an x,y coordinate and immediately knows all its neighbor's positions. A robot has to identify all its neighbors and then localize itself using infrared and communication time lags. That's a challenge. The only way to meet that challenge is to build the robots and figure out how to make them work.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous! (Score 1) 590

by Remus Shepherd (#47466561) Attached to: Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman

You're saying that Thor is a transitive property. I'm guessing that like XOR, it's an abbreviation of 'Therefore-Or', and is some kind of operator akin to the fuzzy logic Union operator.

If that's true, then we can use De Morgans' law to state that:

NOT(a THOR b) = NOT(a) THOR NOT(b)

This is true of a class of operators M, if any M(j) in the set obeys the commutative relationship:

a M(j) b = b M(j) a

and the distributive relationship:

a (M(j))^x b = (a M(j) b)^x

But if that's true, then we can write:

(M(j))^x = THOR^x

Or in other words, any operator that holds M(j) will possess the power of THOR.

Thanks! You just cleared up forty years of Marvel comic plots for me!

Comment: Re: Ridiculously stupid (Score 2) 501

Speaking as a physicist myself, I'm not sure he knows what he's doing. Physicists tend to oversimplify things.

Picture a massless, spherical cow.

Now picture that massless, spherical cow bouncing like a pinball around a giant tornado hemmed in by a thousand-foot wall...

Comment: Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (Score 1) 190

by Remus Shepherd (#47202545) Attached to: Study: Male Facial Development Evolved To Take Punches
Not faces that are easy to punch. Faces that can take a punch. This isn't an attempt at humor, I'm serious. A strong jaw, chiseled features, and a cleft (therefore padded) chin -- these are modifications that help a face receive punching with minimal injury. They have also become preferred characteristics in sexual selection.

Comment: Re:Well... (Score 1) 493

by Remus Shepherd (#47120405) Attached to: Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration
Mutant registration acts are fictional also. I think you have to look at this as if we're living in a comic book world. If mutants are real, then are mutant registration acts legal and ethical? Can you then compare them to vaccination registration acts? I don't have an answer to any of these questions. I think it's a very thorny debate.

When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.