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Comment Re:Okay, if they think that will work (Score 1) 72

Yep, what made the movie work was that it was actually good Sci-Fi, as action movie Sci-Fi goes (which has little enough to do with written SF). Good character development, a bit of actual suspense, you cared about the characters, etc. Even without the parody stuff, it was better than the Star Wars prequels or half the Star Trek movies.

It was genre-savvy satire, more than simple parody, and it was good. Not sure how you could turn it into a series though, unless they're going to make the Galaxy Quest series that was the backstory to the movie, which could be fun for one season.

Comment Re:Wait, physics doesn't work either? (Score 1) 183

Everything in physics works in both time directions (you have to swap some signs +/- when you reverse time, but it all works). Causality as "a chain of related events over time" is a real thing, even if what you place in the chain may be somewhat arbitrary, but the direction, which is cause and which is effect, isn't so well defined. At the QM scale it's arbitrary. In human experience, a film played in one direction looks different than in the other because, ultimately, of the energy input from the Sun breaking the symmetry.

Comment Re:Wait, physics doesn't work either? (Score 1) 183

our "underlying state" seems equivalent to a "hidden variables" theory.

No, it's just the sloppiness of English trying to represent math, or perhaps my lack of facility with one of those in trying to craft a metaphor.

To extend my above metaphor: there's no hidden "observable" state. The underlying state is not "this one spin-up, that one spin-down" (which is forbidden), because there are not electron identities anyhow, but instead "exactly one of them is spin-up". As you measure one of them, there are now three entangled things: the two electrons and your detector, and there's a set of allowed observables given all that, when you add the second detector, now there are 4 entangled items. It's not non-local, it's just a constraining of the set of allowed states for the complete system.

Comment Re:Wait, physics doesn't work either? (Score 4, Interesting) 183

The real question is - exactly wtf is entanglement anyway? I can find lots to read about what it looks like and how it behaves... but what's the underlying mechanism? Is there even the most speculative explanation of it?

Here's the best answer I can give you - I think it's true, and not so over-simplified as to be wrong.

The universe has some underlying state. We don't have direct access to that state - not only is it not directly observable, it's not directly related in any intuitive way to the state we can observe. There's this arbirtary-seeming transform between underlying state and what we observe (it only seems odd or arbitrary because all our intuitions are based on human-scale observables, and are not at all directly informed by this underlying state). This underlying state seems to be well-defined and deterministic, forwards and backwards in time. The observable universe is not.

Entanglement is a feature of how observations relate to underlying state - a feature of the transform. In very simple experiments we can measure specific properties of, say, an electron. We can't measure all of them, for a given electron, because the transform just doesn't work that way, but we can measure some. However, that's deceptive, because you can't really track that property of that electron over time, in non-trivial cases. If e.g. two electrons interact, become entangled, your observations are now a function of both electrons' underlying state, and that's a different transform from 2 non-entangled electrons.

There are two key concepts here. The first is that the whole notion of "particle" is a handy but false oversimplification. It can lead you to all sorts of false intuitions about how particles behave. Fundamentally, individual e.g. electrons don't have unique identities. The underlying state is a single electron field, which other fields can interact with, in a way that can sometimes be simplified as "particle interactions", for a simpler mental model, but you can't go too deep with that model. An example: "two electrons collide in an accelerator, and two electrons leave, which is which?" That question is "not even wrong", it's just nonsense. Thinking of electrons as billiard balls colliding is simply not a helpful model, as it just misses the point of the interaction.

"Entanglement" happens just when the "particle" mental model fails: you can no longer pick two disjoint areas in the electron field and consider them as independent "electrons", but instead you have to reason about two areas which may be quite disconnected in space and time. E.g., you might know for sure that one electron is spin-up, and one spin-down, but have 0 information about which is which. None of that matters to the underlying state: there's just one electron field, and the only truly correct way to reason about it it to reason about the whole field all the time, and so this is only half of "WTF is entanglement".

The second concept gets too much into the math to explain well, but in a hand-wavy way it's this: "what is measurement?". There are older interpretations about measurement causing wavestate collapse and so on, but they're wrong because of that word "cause". Measurement is simply the observer becoming entangled with the observed. Measuring one entangled electron doesn't "cause" the other electron to do or become anything. The underlying state is unchanged, which is why there's no faster-than-light effect. In some cases, this is an overly pedantic distinction, but it matters when the difference between QM and intuition matters. In a two-slit experiment where you see an interference pattern at your detector, if you add a measuring device to one slit suddenly you don't see that interference pattern. Informally we might say the second observer "caused" this change, but formally that's wrong, it's just that a system with 2 slits and 2 detectors behaves differently from a system with 2 slits and one detector, and it doesn't matter which detector the electron passes first, because (see above) an "electron" as a discrete particle is fiction anyway, and both detectors are entangled with the electron field already, or they couldn't measure an electron anyhow.

Comment Re:Ban all NUKES NOW - accident waiting to happen (Score 1) 161

Truly, as the sun never stops shining and the wind never stops blowing.

It will eventually. I suspect there will still be fossil fuels available when that day comes, as we'll have moved fully to solar and fusion (but I repeat myself) before we run out.

Comment Re:So if I'm CEO at a tech company, block google? (Score 1) 179

Google already knows who you work for. Google already knows what you're working on. Heck, if you have an Android with default settings, they have all your whiteboard pictures. This likely isn't a "candidate identification" tool, but rather a way to get people more interested in saying "yes" to the recruiter - oh, those were fun puzzles, maybe I do want to work for Google.

Comment Re:I like it. It's Subversive. (Score 1) 84

Google search is a natural monopoly as all other search engines that don't use google search return shit results

I've never seen a problem with DuckDuckGo results (even though they're mostly Bing), and with "!wa" you get a better calculator than Google's. Google tailors your search results to your search history, so you don't see anything that might make you question your beliefs. Maybe that's why people think it's better?

Comment Re: Judging by the story so far... (Score 1) 367

That doesn't quite work, because some people's morality requires that they impose their morality upon others, and by saying they shouldn't you are imposing a morality upon them. If we instead agree on just one (meta-) moral principle, that it's wrong to attempt to impose your morality, then we can get to a consistent place.

If we rephrase that as "recognize that others are themselves moral entities, with the right to each choose his own path to happiness", we have the current Dalai Lama's definition of "compassion", which he's spent most his long life extolling as the principle moral virtue. I agree with that completely. He also has a solid argument that compassion is the optimal choice even if you're purely motivated by self-interest, which I also agree with (basically: mental comfort is far more important than physical comfort, and if you can find joy in the happiness of others, you can become much happier than otherwise).

Comment Re:bring it on (Score 2) 60

For now... then there will be automata that brings you new automata.

While that may happen, it's "Singularity complete". If it every does, we'll all have utopia, or we'll all be dead, but either way employment won't be a problem.

Better development tools and automation has only increased the number of working devs over the years: the lower the cost of automating any given thing, the more new things that can now be automated. Given there are probably 100x as many devs working now worldwide as when I started as an assembly-language programmer, I'm comfortable with this trend.

Comment Re:See.. (Score 2) 69

Not clear from TFS whether they're talking inbound or outbound. Inbound blocking makes sense for anything not open to the general public. Oubound blocking? Good luck with that, IBM.

TOR has been blocked in China for many years, but it still works. There's been a blocking/stenography arms race happening between the Great Wall and TOR for years. I don't know anything about the technical details, but it seems a safe guess that TOR "bridge" connections successfully bypass all the easy or obvious ways of blocking TOR. Of course, a whitelist of allowed outbound sites will always work.

Comment Re:Agree with content, not the name (Score 1) 234

As a business, the modern US university system is perpetrating criminal fraud to the greatest extent ever seen in mankind's history. Selling a product for $50-100k on the premise that it will improve your lifetime earnings more than enough to compensate for the debt, but only delivering on that for a few select degrees.

Also, if a university cares about coddling its kids to the extent that they do not become adults ready to face the world, then it has failed at it's primary mission, and should be closed down to stop the damage it is doing to society. "You had one job" etc etc.

Variables don't; constants aren't.