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Comment: Re:Not real practical (Score 4, Interesting) 49

by TexVex (#42355597) Attached to: MIT Research Shows New Magnetic State That Could Aid Quantum Computing
Look, the Ansible is not possible with quantum entanglement. Also, the original science fiction concept of the Ansible did not involve quantum entanglement. A fictional Ansible is built from a fictional particle that exists simultaneously in two locations and never decays. For an Ansible to work, there must be a special frame of reference in Relativity, but General Relativity does not allow for treating any frame differently from any other frame.

Entanglement is the splitting of a bit of quantum information across two interactions. Neither of the two interactions can possibly have any effect on the other; all that happens is that the entangled measurements from both interactions sum to zero. Every interaction between particles either creates entanglement or destroys it or performs some combination of the two.

Consider that they must sum to zero in every frame of reference under General Relativity: no interaction can determine the results of another because then there would exist some frame of reference where the effect would precede the cause.

That's the bonkers thing about entanglement: it implies determinism but also sidesteps it at the same time.

Comment: Re:End goal: (Score 1) 147

by TexVex (#42256597) Attached to: Blizzard Has a Version of <em>Diablo 3</em> Running On Consoles
In my own experience with Diablo III, in the thirty-or-so hours I gave it, I never once got a loot drop that I thought was excellent. I bought most of my equipment on the gold auction house -- no real money involved -- and it allowed me to pretty easily stay ahead of the curve. At the same time, I didn't sell anything that way; it was just easier to sell every half-decent piece of loot to the shop.

Maybe the worst decision they made was to make the auction available to just anyone. It totally bypasses the loot cycle for the first two difficulty levels of the game. The player just buys good loot for game gold, blows through every level easily, and never experiences the excitement of a rare loot drop. "Oh, a yellow item? Yeah, I just bought one better than that for 500 gold."

If you could only access the auction once you reached Hell level, maybe the first hours of gameplay would be a, um, hell of a lot more fun.

Comment: Re:Cruelty to animals (Score 1) 182

by TexVex (#42220655) Attached to: Parrot Drives Robotic Buggy
It doesn't take any special training. You just gently extend the wing, extend the flight feathers, and cut about 2/3 of the length off the four longest feathers. Just don't cut to the quick!

Clipping the flight feathers doesn't actually stop them from flying. It just makes it very difficult for them to gain altitude. Clipped birds can still make short flights or flutter safely to the ground from any height, but they also can't fly into a ceiling fan if they get spooked.

Comment: Re:I Wish (Score 4, Interesting) 259

by TexVex (#42034227) Attached to: Particle Physicists Confirm Arrow of Time Using B Meson Measurements
The arrow of time is the reason why random bits of shrapnel and chemicals don't fly together and "un-detonate" to become hand grenades. In one direction of time, entropy in the universe always increases; in the other, it always decreases. The question is, why? If everything at the quantum level always worked the same way forwards as it does backwards, then entropy would be constant; the universe would be in some kind of steady state and nothing would matter because we wouldn't be here.

I think at this stage of research, it's more about finding clues than it is about trying to put them together into a coherent explanation. But if that's not true, I'd love to hear from someone who really knows this stuff..

Comment: Re:What's wrong with dissonance? (Score 1) 183

by TexVex (#41976799) Attached to: Why Dissonant Music Sounds 'Wrong'
I just listened to some Schoenberg stuff out of curiosity. It sounded to me like an orchestra out of tune, except every now and then there would be a nice harmonious moment. I think the general horribleness of it made the harmonious moments nicer.

But if you think about it, it's like being in an elevator full of farts and occasionally getting a whiff of perfume.

I'm sure it's an acquired taste.

Comment: Re:Yah, really? (Score 1) 107

by TexVex (#41953563) Attached to: 'Treasure Trove' In Oceans May Bring Revolutions In Medicine and Industry
I would be okay with having government funded pure research, with its results becoming public domain. We share the cost and the risk, and we share the reward.

Each and every one of us benefit every day by discoveries fellow humans have made dating back to the discovery of flint spearheads and controlling fire. Can you imagine where the human species would be if the first people to hammer on flint rocks made a trade secret of their discoveries?

We'd probably be extinct.

I think I can be sort-of ok with patents and copyright on things that are pure luxuries. But when your life expectancy is beholden to someone who can charge you literally whatever they want, we have a serious problem.

Look, if it costs others many hours of labor to extend your life by one hour, then certainly a very high price for that extended health is justified. But when the cost of your life-saving medicine comes from nothing more than someone holding a secret, we have SERIOUS problems.

Comment: Yah, really? (Score 4, Insightful) 107

by TexVex (#41947109) Attached to: 'Treasure Trove' In Oceans May Bring Revolutions In Medicine and Industry
I'm old enough to remember when the Rain Forest was the "treasure trove" of new medicines.

Even then, the documentarians had the wit to point out that the main goal of researching all those new wonderful plant cures would be to figure out how they could create synthetic versions of nature's miracles and patent them.

So, you know what? I don't give a shit. If somebody finds something revolutionary and decides to share it with humanity, then by all means please slap me around some and make sure I am aware of it. Because not even the invention of aspirin (developed from old common knowledge about the medicinal properties of willow bark) went without patent-related controversy.

Comment: All Code Is Shit (Score 3, Interesting) 360

by TexVex (#41747507) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Working With Awful Legacy Code?
Look, if you just want to be able to only write fresh stuff, you're useless. Your new code will become "legacy" code next month. Requirements are likely to change, or at least be refined. This is because project managers are not prescient and nobody ever really understands the real requirements until an alpha gets put into the hands of the end user.

It won't be long before you're going to have to go back and deal with the turds you yourself are crapping out. You might not think they're turds, but they are. That's because you're not prescient either. And if you spend too much of your energy striving for the most elegant, perfect code, then you're also constipated.

You're a better engineer if you can effectively reverse engineer other people's turds and polish them up a bit. If you can somehow find within yourself the ability to feel a bit of pride in addition to the disgust of dealing with other people's crappy code, you'll be happier in your lot.

You haven't made your bones as a programmer until you've spent five minutes cursing the idiocy of a programmer that came before you, whose crappy code you are having to fix, and then you look up the revision history to see who the offender is and discover that it was YOU.

Comment: Re:If I recall..... (Score 1) 333

by TexVex (#41248295) Attached to: Quantum Teleportation Sends Information 143 Kilometers

Will that destroy the remote particle's self-interference fringes? If so, then we have our ansible.

You can't get enough information from a single particle to know for sure whether or not it interfered with itself as it passed through the slits. And when you try it with multiple particles, you can only figure out which ones interfered and which ones did not after you match them up with measurements taken at the other end of the experiment.

Whether the particles are entangled or not, the results at both detectors taken in aggregate look the same. The effects of entanglement only appear when you correlate both result sets.

"Lead us in a few words of silent prayer." -- Bill Peterson, former Houston Oiler football coach

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