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Comment: Strange? (Score 1) 14

by jandersen (#47568973) Attached to: More Quantum Strangeness: Particles Separated From Their Properties

I'm getting a little bit tired of the never ending fascination with QM 'weirdness', because it seems to me that it tries to see everything as 'weird' simply because it is 'quantum', with the danger that that it makes people blind to what might be explainable by more intuitive means.

In this case I think we see an illustration of the fact that the notion of a particle as a mathematical point in space - something with zero dimensions - is an abstraction; an approximation that works well enough because we can't in that much detail any way, and it makes the equations so much easier. We have always known, somewhere, that this is not true - things like the mysterious wavefunction that mysteriously collapses as soon as we measure it is a big hint, I would say. As explanations go, that one has always sounded a bit strained - hopefully we will be able to handle the maths of a better model in the not too remote future.

A more likely scenario, in my view, is that what we call particles is something more distributed in space, and that somewhere in that 'distributed particle' we can explain how a particle can travel through several paths at once. I mean, it isn't even an altogether new observation - the famous electron diffraction experiment shows something similar.

Comment: What I've got against Israel ... (Score 1) 792

by jandersen (#47566565) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Now, why do I put such a subject header on my comment, when I know it will have me branded as 'anti-Semit' before I even start? Well, because it doesn't actually make much difference - as soon as anybody voices any concern over what Israel does to the Palestinians, they are stamped that way, no matter how carefully and well-intended their put their words. But maybe, just maybe, if I start out being provocative, I can get at least somebody in the automatically responding, pro-Israel faction to at least think and try to see the issue in a more nuanced way.

I am not against Israel's right to exist as a nation; I am pragmatic about it. The state that calls itself Israel is no doubt founded on a historically dubious justification, but it is a current reality and that is what we have to consider. But on the other hand, I don't think what Israel is doing is right, not by many miles. It is not right to annex palestinian territory - if it wasn't right of the European nations to establish colonies all over the world in the 18th and 19th centuries, then it isn't right for Israel to do this now.

And how can it be right for Israel to smash up Gaza's infrastructure, hospitals and schools, killing 10 - 100 Palestinians for every Israeli? The answer is of course, that it isn't. And the outcome in the long run is inevitably that Israel will erode the support it has in the rest of the world. The West has been far too permissive with Israel, because of a long, bad conscience for the Holocaust; but the power of Europe and America is on the wane, and the new powers don't have that historical background. At some point you guys will lose all your allies - what will you do then?

Most of us criticise Israel because we care, and because we expect that you can do so much better - if only you would try. But arguing with you is like arguing with Scientology or Jehovah's Witnesses; there is no honest dialogue taking place. All you do is look for ways to mishear or misinterpret any criticism, and find ways to twist it around as a weapon. Sometimes I don't think you guys want friends in the world; sometimes I think you are addicted to this never ending conflict, because if it ends, you have to look at yourselves and see what miserable creatures you have become; caricatures of the evil bullies that broke you during the Holocaust.

Comment: Re:Great... (Score 1) 564

by jandersen (#47548195) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

Russia is NOT a state sponsor of terrorism. It has become a terrorist state

I think there is a third, and perhaps more likely explanation: Parts of the Russian military is not under the control of the government. Putin is not exactly stupid, and what is happening in that area is rapidly becoming stupid, so I think it is a reasonable guess that he hasn't got things under his control. Only very few countries are 'terrorist states' - there is something inherently incompatible between level-headed, routine administration of day to day business and hell-bent, wild-eyed terrorism; I can only think of Libya under Gaddafi.

Comment: Re:IT support costs (Score 1) 284

As for IT costs - I have worked in several companies over the years with both UNIX and Windows server rooms. Being a UNIX person, I may be a bit biased, but my personal impression is that supporting Windows servers is a lot more painfil than supporting UNIX/Linux - at one point I supported some 50 UNIXes alone, while the roughly similar number of Windows systems had a team of 5; I had a pretty relaxed daily routine, but they were always overstretched. Not because they incompetent, I learned a lot of generally useful stuff from them, but so many things in Windows seem to require either clicking through graphical interfaces, system by system, or require a specialised, graphical tool, where I would just run a few scripts from a command line. The power of tools like ksh (or bash), ssh, sed, grep, find etc should not be underestimated.

The other thing I have heard increasingly - from Windows admins themselves - is that Windows is just such nightmare to handle. I wouldn't know - I left Windows behind as soon as Linux became viable, and that's a long time ago.

Comment: The flavour of sour grapes (Score 5, Insightful) 218

by jandersen (#47515847) Attached to: China Plans Particle Colliders That Would Dwarf CERN's LHC

Cern had how many set backs while trying to power the thing up in the early stages of testing? With all the corruption China has I wonder how this will compare.

Of course CERN had problems - this is not engineering, but science. The big difference between the two being that you call it engineering, when you know in advance how to do, and science when you don't. No doubt, the first time a simple van-der-Graf accellerator was built, they had to overcome a number of problems; now, it is something you'd let a student do, because all the technical problems have been ironed out. And when/if China builds this new cyclotron, they will run into a large number of technical problems; of course they will. No need to start constructing fables about "all the corruption"; all that says is that you are suffering from petty envy.

Comment: Re:Pft (Score 2) 962

by jandersen (#47513589) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

Being aggressive is always the first response a man comes up with when he feels insecure or under pressure. However, speaking as a man - that is, an adult, experienced man, not a not-quite-out-of-puberty boy - I think it is always wise to listen to criticism and try to understand it. Objectively, it does not harm you or make you vulnerable, if you are open to criticism; quite the opposite, in fact. If you are doing something wrong, then criticism is your chance to improve yourself and become better, and if the criticism is incorrect, then you can reject it, so no problem.

And I disagree with your comment about 'nice ass' - unless you are complimenting somebody's donkey, this counts as an uninvited, sexual advance. Assuming that you are male and the only heterosexual in the office, just imagine receiving this sort of comment from just about every gay man around you. Even if you are not homophobic, would you like it? Probably not. This is about respect - you earn respect by showing respect, and you gain self-respect by earning respect from others.

Comment: Good grief (Score 1) 613

So, is this the new standard for scientific reasoning? Run an experiment and draw sweeping conclusions without considering the alternatives? This sort of tripe is simply stupid - it is no better than climate denial or hollow-earthism; I don't think it belongs in a forum of people with an interest in science and technology - or even politics.

What this experiment really shows, is that a group of people who grew up in East Germany "cheated" more than a group of West Germans. We don't hear by which criteria - 'randomly' just means they can't be bothered explaining. There is no explanation of why it is considered reasonable to extrapolate from a small group to humanity in general, or indeed how you get from 'East Germany' to 'Communism' in general, or indeed what is meant by 'Communism'. Being exposed to 'Communism' was hardly the only influence acting on people growing up there, just like 'Capitalism' wasn't the only thing that shaped the lives of West Germans.

A far more likely explanation is that if you live with the fear that your neighbors are informants for an oppressive regime, then you don't have much confidence in the merits of social virtues like sharing and trusting, which are necessary preconditions for fair play: you won't play fair, unless you trust that everybody plays fair. But living with that kind of fear is not unique to communism or socialism; indeed, oppression is arguably incompatible with socialism, which is all about sharing and trusting the society you are part of.

Comment: Re:From TFA (Score 1) 113

by jandersen (#47500151) Attached to: Domain Registry of America Suspended By ICANN

Sure you can treat that as a contract breach, but it seems more like a criminal matter to me... Why do you even put that in the contract, it's needless to say that criminal conduct will not be tolerated.

Because, in the criminal court, you are innocent until proven guilty, whereas in the civil court, the standard of proof is much more relaxed. So, in terms of stopping unwanted activity, putting it in the contract like this, is much more efficient.

Comment: Re:Finally! (Score 1) 474

Your 'silly' idea isn't completely silly. If we want to get people off drug addiction, the way forward must entail winning the trust of the victims; and you can't win the trust of people by treating them as criminals.

Where you get it wrong, I think, is where you assume the addicts will still be homesless wrecks; in countries where you can legally get your daily heroin fix (Switzerland? Holland?), heroin addicts quite often have a career, family etc. The truth is that it isn't the addiction as such, but the criminalisation and the diseases from unclean drugs and needles that destroy lives.

Comment: Re:Proud tradition (Score 1) 590

by jandersen (#47480943) Attached to: Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman

Female Power Rangers don't have their boobs hanging out of their outfits

Yeah, that's what i mean ... Poor stuff. ;-)

But basically, Power Rangers is nothing more than an excuse for showing off basic moped stunts; and covering the actors (and I use the word in the most liberal sense) in full leathers is not only sensible, it's also handy when you want to replace them.

Comment: Proud tradition (Score 3, Insightful) 590

by jandersen (#47464537) Attached to: Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman

The new Thor continues Marvel's proud tradition of ...

... completely ignoring things like historical background, common knowledge and elementary logic.

Being Danish, it has always irked me, that this cartoon 'Thor' is portrayed as a tall, sledge-hammer wielding body builder with lanky, blond hair, full body wax and a placid temperament; the traditional thunder-god, son of Odin and married to Sif, was red-haired and -bearded (and generally hairy as a man would be), foul-tempered and wielded a hammer, mjolnir, that was famously short-shafted. I suppose a busty, female 'Thoretta' isn't really all that much further from the original. It just another American, plasticky product, like 'He-Man' and 'Power Rangers'.

Comment: Re:So what? they can be tapped to. (Score 2) 244

by jandersen (#47455645) Attached to: German NSA Committee May Turn To Typewriters To Stop Leaks

I always feel vaguely amused when people say that you 'just' or 'simply' do so and so. I'm pretty sure the Germans know that these things can be done - they are clever people, you know.

Of course it is possible to penetrate whatever security measures are put in place, but using simpler technology has advantages:

- simple technology is easier to screen for spying devices; there is no networking, no firmware with backdoors, etc
- it is less easy to make copies on an industrial scale, when things are typed on paper instead of being stored electronically
- it is riskier to try to steal information, when you have to be physically present

And of course, just because it is possible to guess what a person is typing from the sound emitted, that is probably only true for a subset of typewrites, and in any case, it only works when somebody is typing something. The typewriter can be moved around, so you would have to plant microphones everywhere; and then, of course, you'll have to record everything in the hope that you'll catch something useful. All in all, you'd have to make a significant effort, which would then be more easily spotted. Possible is not the same as feasible.

Comment: Cheap documentary? (Score 4, Interesting) 55

by jandersen (#47447289) Attached to: Walter Munk's Astonishing Wave-Tracking Experiment

Could a storm half way across the world produce a patch of moving water that traveled from near the South Pole

This reads like the voice-over for one of those embarrassingly poor 'documentaries' you sometimes see, where the producers have tried to sensationalize a fairly standard, scientific subject, and draw it out to fill a whole hour, when it could have been adequately explained in about 10 minutes. A shame, really, because the subject is in fact quite interesting.

However: waves don't move patches of water half-way around the globe; the actual water more or less stays in place. A wave is simply energy propagating through a medium, and it is quite astonishing to hear that an ocean wave can travel that far without dissipating, because the expectation is that it would spread out in a circular pattern and thus grow weaker with distance. I would have been interested in hearing what the explanation is.

One small step for man, one giant stumble for mankind.