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Comment: STILL smells like a duck... (Score 1) 153

by fyngyrz (#49186083) Attached to: Astronomers Find an Old-Looking Galaxy In the Early Universe

Except that science collectively doesn't claim to know what happened at the points when the universe was dense enough and at high enough energy scales that it is speculated current laws of physics break down

Yes, that's my point exactly. They don't. Because they can't. Because the theory is based on assuming something happened that our physics can't describe. BB theory is therefore incomplete in a way that makes it unable to stand in the face of what at this time appear to be some very simple and reasonable questions. Questions physics force us to ask.

To stick with your analogy, the Big Bang theory isn't saying the baseball materialized spontaneously from the ground, but that it appeared at some point on that path, with some evidence that the trajectory goes back some where near the ground for loose definition of "near." In which case, there being a pitcher and it being spontaneously generated on that path both being consistent with current theories and observations

No. Quite wrong. The specific reason I use this analogy is that BB theory goes right to the ground -- fractions of fractions of fractions of a micrometer above -- such that the option of there being a pitcher or a ball launcher, or a firecracker under the ball, or a really strong dwarf cricket or even microbe, etc., has completely gone away. You cannot explain BB any further using our physics because they state that the theory covers it right back until it cannot. Consequently it either has to be some other physics, or else it's massively wrong. Theories that are rigorous but then, still within the context of their own propositions, devolve into "and then we don't know" or "because we have no idea"

BB theory may, as I said above, be quite correct, and we may need new physics to understand it. if that's the case, on that day, it becomes a complete and compelling theory to me. Until then, it's not.

As of right now, spotting a galaxy that shows what we understand to be evidence of being older than would be possible if BB theory is correct does not particularly surprise me, any more than finding evidence that "Thor" was just some dude with a really big hammer would surprise me in the context of the ideas that present the Æsir and Vanir as "gods." Because just as, at present, there are no physics that would actually make the idea of a god or gods credible in the face of objective, reality-based inquiry, there are no physics that actually make the idea of the BB credible in the face of same.

Comment: Re:If it smells like a duck... (Score 1) 153

by fyngyrz (#49185093) Attached to: Astronomers Find an Old-Looking Galaxy In the Early Universe

"Monoblock" or "the primordial monoblock" is a term for the presumed state of the presumed material comprising the presumed universe just before it presumably exploded. Everything, no exceptions, including space itself, all in one tiny... something, (tiny with respect to... something), that did.... something, and then [waves hands] Big Bang! Try this google search.

Science can trace the expansion of the universe backwards quite a ways, within the bounds of our understanding of physics as it stands and it makes sense, albeit some very strange and difficult to swallow sense. But go back far enough, and a point is reached where our physics simply do not serve to describe the previous state. At all.

I liken it to tracing a pitched ball backwards, not having been around to witness the pitch, but analyzing the arc of its trajectory and theorizing that the ball erupted spontaneously from the ground in order to arrive where it is. We can't account for such a spontaneous emission, but after all, hey, there's the ball, right? The immediate and obvious objection is that "but physics tells us that can't happen"... well, physics tells us the exact same thing about the big bang. That's why I consider the comparison apt.

I'm not saying the big bang theory is wrong; I'm just saying it is definitely unproven, and that there are severe and fundamental problems with attempts to prove it at this time. Tomorrow, we have new physics, and that may resolve everything very nicely. But until or unless that happens -- until someone shows how the "ball could erupt from the dirt, spontaneously or otherwise" -- personally, I'm reserving BB theory acceptance.

Comment: Re:on *average* (Score 5, Insightful) 242

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49177303) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

It needs a lot more qualifiers than that.

For a start, as with an unfortunate number of academic studies, it appears that the sample population consisted of undergraduates and recent graduates. That alone completely invalidates any conclusions as they might apply to experienced professionals with better judgement about when and how to use refactoring techniques.

Even without that, there seem to be a number of fundamental concerns about the data.

One obvious example is that they consider lines of code to be a metric that tells you anything useful beyond the width you need to allow for the line number margin in your text editor. I doubt most experienced programmers would agree that a LOC count in isolation tells us anything useful about maintainability or that the mere fact that LOC went up or down after a change necessarily meant the code had become better or worse in any useful sense.

Another concern is that they talk about "analysability", but this seems to be measured only by reference to a brief examination of a small code base in one of two versions, unrefactored and refactored. I'd like to know what the actual code looked like before I read anything at all into that data -- what refactoring was performed, what was the motivation for each change, and how do they know those two small code bases were representative of either refactoring in general or the effectiveness of refactoring on larger code bases or code bases that developers have more time to study and work with?

I'm all for empirical data -- goodness knows, we need more objective information about what really works in an industry as hype-driven and accepting of poor quality as ours -- but I'm afraid this particular study seems to be so flawed that it really tells us very little of value.

Comment: Re:1.2 what? (Score 1) 199

Budget cutbacks.

In careful consideration of this, and in light of the seriousness of the problem, I have determined that the appropriate reaction is to seize Canada. I'm pretty sure that congress will determine the commerce clause covers it, anyway. I'm writing my crook^w legislator this evening.

Comment: Re:Did *everyone* miss the point here? :-( (Score 1) 374

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49166827) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

It remains the case that either my original statement is true, meaning a counter-example for the reliability of fact-based ranking has been identified, or my original statement is false, in which case the statement itself becomes a counter-example because it is widely repeated but incorrect.

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 231

by fyngyrz (#49165523) Attached to: Samsung Officially Unpacks Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge At MWC

Having used both removable batteries and external battery bricks, the external battery brick is FAR more useful.

Probably so. Luckily, there's a much better way to go. Throw out the original battery, replace it with one that has several times the capacity, replace the back with the supplied replacement, and buy the appropriate hardshell if that's how you roll.

Result? More battery life than a brick, no having to plug in all the time, and no need to remove the battery until it dies, which will likely be some years down the road.

When I bought my Note 3 (SM-N900V), it wouldn't last a day. I'd have to turn it off (not use apps, etc.) before bedtime if I wanted it to have enough juice left to receive a call, text, IM or email, etc. -- it would hit 5% by 9pm or so. Once I replaced the battery, I just pop the thing on the charger about every other day while I'm sleeping and have no worries. It'll go three full days of use, but that does put the battery down to about 20%, so I tend to avoid it.

This makes the phone thicker and heavier. I don't mind a bit. But some people would.

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 231

by fyngyrz (#49165377) Attached to: Samsung Officially Unpacks Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge At MWC

A replaceable battery costs more upfront and is incompatible with thinness. Most people get a new phone long before the battery dies.

After buying my Galaxy Note 3 (SM-N900V) and using it for a little while, I learned that the battery would hold up about 14 hours under the kind of use I made of it. So I replaced the battery with one that has about 3x the capacity, replaced the back of the phone with a back that would properly contain the new, much thicker battery, and got myself a new case for the resulting assembly.

The resulting phone (which I am delighted with) is not thin. In order to make me happy, the battery had to be replaced well before it died. The cost of the extra battery and case and hardshell added quite a bit to the bottom line cost of the phone. But the result was the best phone I'd ever used. I gave my iPhone to one of the kids and have never looked back. I do have a late-model iPad, but I rarely use it any longer other than to continue to play some long-standing word, chess, carcassonne, and upwords opponents. My desktop machine is a mac.

Based on my experience, I'd at least take a look at a new Samsung before any other Android platform. I'm no longer willing to consider Apple at all.

Comment: Optimism (Score 0) 232

by fyngyrz (#49165215) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

[Optimism] is something, the author argues, that is sorely missing from the new J.J. Abrams movies.

Every bit you can get closer to reality is what tends to separate better SF from worse SF. I look around me, and I see very little reason for optimism. I see no reason for optimism in ST:TOS, either, it was sort of invasive. ST:TOS was a litany of "everything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and the expendables (red shirts) are gonna die. ST:TNG, the same, except also, if IRL you appeared in Playboy, you're gonna die. ST:STE was dark as hell (and frankly, with that huge story arc, for me, the most enjoyable, despite what I perceived as a rather wooden captain in the first few episodes. Hoshi, Phlox, Trip and T'Pal made up for that, and then some.)

So. He may be right -- optimism is missing -- but I see it as a feature, not a bug. I look forward to the possibility of more of the franchise.

Comment: Re:Right, but does it correctly model... (Score 1) 244

Wait... I thought the first proper zombie movie was Romero's Night of the Living Dead, set in Pennsylvania.

Although they're technically vampires, I'm still going to go with Richard Matheson's "I am Legend" (1954.) Other than the fact that they weren't specifically after your brainz, Matheson's hordes of mindless, aggressive, human-seeking infected pretty much cover all the bases.

Besides, you have Triffids... be happy with that.

I agree. Also, they had giant wasps -- Keith Robert's "The Furies." Awesome book.

Bloody greedy UK types.

Parts that positively cannot be assembled in improper order will be.

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