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Comment: Filter of Time (Score 2) 173

by Roger W Moore (#47915085) Attached to: Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

Anyone remember the seventies pre-Star Wars? You couldn't produce an SF film unless it had a downer ending.

Rather than cyclical I'd suggest that it might be just the historical filter. The SciFi you remember looking back are the upbeat, wonderful future stories. It's similar to the filter that gets applied to modern music: it always seems to appear that things were better in the past because you forget the bad songs and only remember the good ones.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 287

by Roger W Moore (#47888505) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails
I expect that part of what colours my experience is that the companies I typically have to call most often for customer support are the ones with the longest waits and slowest response times (that's if you even get one). I suspect that there may be a correlation. The couple of times I've had to contact Apple over the past several years they have been amazingly fast but try talking to Shaw Cable or Air Canada (other than to book a flight) and make sure you can sit by the phone for an hour or more and you can forget email because they certainly seem to!

Comment: Re: ...and say what exactly? (Score 1) 362

by Roger W Moore (#47888423) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates
That's what the summary says but the summary is WRONG. Read what they actually said in the article. Deliberately mis-stating what has been stated to make it ridiculously inflammatory is counterproductive and makes any criticism easy to dismiss. All the BBC says is that pirates use VPN. The troubling part of what they say is not this but that ISPs should act on any wild accusation they get to cut, or restrict, people's internet access. There is plenty to criticize there without the need to make up crazy stuff that was never stated anywhere.

Comment: Really? (Score 4, Interesting) 287

by Roger W Moore (#47888041) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails
The only difference between Google and most customer service today is that at least Google are honest about it and tell you that you will be ignored. Most other companies will just ignore your email and not tell you or leave you in a call queue for so long that you end up having to hang up and go do something else.

Comment: ...and say what exactly? (Score 5, Insightful) 362

by Roger W Moore (#47860905) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates
But what exactly are you going to say? Despite the inflammatory slashdot summary the quoted text from the BBC submission only says that pirates use VPNs. This is not at all the same as saying that all VPN users are pirates. The troubling part is that they are advocating that ISPs should throttle and disconnect users based on accusations from other companies which, as we have seen time and time again are often inaccurate.

So lets go after the real issues and not invent new ones based on deliberate misinterpretation since the latter will result in loss of all credibility and leave the field wild open for really draconian suggestions.

Comment: Cheapest Ticket (Score 4, Interesting) 811

The only way this would work is to place height restrictions on the different classes of seat. I'm an academic and when travelling for work I have to purchase the cheapest ticket. Without a height restriction I would then be forced to purchase a ticket for a seat I physically could not sit down it (I already have to pull out the magazines on US carriers to allow blood flow to my feet).

This can then open the debate about whether it is reasonable for an airline to charge someone extra just for being tall - something they had no control over and which is gender-biased. After all they don't charge more to provide special meals for those with dietary preferences or religious beliefs and, with the exception of medical conditions, that is a voluntary choice. Nor, I hope, do they charge disabled passengers extra for transporting wheelchairs etc.

Comment: String Theorists (Score 4, Insightful) 202

by Roger W Moore (#47760139) Attached to: How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

Well, this method comes from physicists.

Clearly string theorists since, according to the summary, it creates a "dodecadron" cross-section. So having a cross-section somewhere between a 2D dodecagon and a 3D dodecahedron it clearly relies on converting the block into some multi-dimensional object with a strangely dimensioned cross-section.

Comment: Corporate "laws" (Score 4, Interesting) 158

by Roger W Moore (#47757877) Attached to: A Horrifying Interactive Map of Global Internet Censorship

Takes some seriously Orwellian doublethink to pretend copyright enforcement isn't censorship.

I think this is the result of a very narrow view point when making the map. They seem to only care about censorship by the state through direct laws. Increasingly in the US, and so some extent the rest of the western world, it is not government which restricts our rights but companies. They need to make a second map showing countries where companies have used laws to force, or bully, people into being censored through the threat of massive financial penalties.

Comment: Re:No, there is no evidence of BSM yet (Score 1) 97

Actually that's not correct. The SM specified neutrino masses as zero just as it does the photon and gluon masses...or would you argue that those are free parameters as well? However I'll grant that this is not exactly a major change which is why I asked specifically about neutrino oscillations. This introduces 4 entirely new free parameters which were never included in the SM and while oscillations require that neutrinos have a mass the reverse is not true i.e. even if you give neutrinos a mass they do not have to oscillate. Hence I see no possible way that you can call this anything but new physics beyond the SM.

Comment: Whoa there: many corrections! (Score 5, Interesting) 97

Since Einstein, we know gravity is the curvature of space-time. It may be represented as a force in calculations but in reality there is no force.

How about I turn that around and say that Einstein showed gravity can be modelled by the curvature of space-time but in reality it is a force? The fact of the matter is that, at a fundamental level, we have no clue what gravity is. However you can represent it very well by a spin-2, mass-less particle which couples to a particle's 4-momentum (the caveat being that you cannot make this theory work without an energy cut-off at some scale for which there is no justification). Until we solve quantum gravity we simply do not know what gravity really is but, if I were to bet, I suspect the latter is closer to the truth but needs some correction for the quantum structure of space-time which is something we have no clue about.

If gravity is not a force then do we really have a hierarchy problem?

Yes, and if anything it would be worse. The current problem comes about because we cannot scale the Higgs corrections up to the Planck-scale where we know there is new physics. If we remove that scale then we have a theory which has no upper scale limit and so should generate infinitely large corrections to the Higgs mass i.e. we go from an incredibly unlikely 1 in ~10^34 chance of the corrections giving such a light Higgs to a zero percent chance of the theory giving a light Higgs, or any Higgs with a non-infinite mass.

Obviously, if this is the case, G has nothing to do with Fermi's constant and we should not compare the two.

You are getting your 'g's and 'G's confused. In the muon g-2 experiment the 'g' is the muon's anomalous magnetic dipole moment. This is a precision test of Quantum Electrodynamics. The high order corrections to this will involve Fermi's constant (G_F) due to W and Z loops but these contributions will be incredibly small and were this any other experiment I would have said negligible but perhaps not in this case given the incredibly high precision involved. Neither of these constants have anything to do with the gravitational constant (G) nor the local acceleration due to gravity (g). So we are not comparing the two.

"Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit!" -- Looney Tunes, "What's Opera Doc?" (1957, Chuck Jones)