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Comment Re:In Other Words (Score 5, Insightful) 363

1. Due to limited computational resources, the simulated universe would be granular or "quantum".
2. To limit computation, reality would be held in a fuzzy probabilistic "superposition" state until it is actually observed, similar to how a GPU running OpenGL will skip the generation of hidden polygons.
3. The maximum speed of information transfer would be finite, to limit the propagation of changes through the universe.

All of these are actually true in our universe, ergo, we are very likely a simulation.

And this, sir, is why you really need to consider taking a course in formal logic and maybe learn about logical fallacies.

None of these assertions, even if they were true in some useful way, constitute a statistical or logical argument for the conclusion. This is true at an openly embarrassing level. Suppose one were designing a rock because you wanted to build a rock wall and for some reason didn't want to use actual rocks. Due to the cost of raw materials, rocks would be finite in size. Because you don't want the wall to be boring, rocks would come in many different colors, sizes, and shapes. Because you don't want the fake rock wall to fall down, rocks would be solid, as opposed to liquid, glass, plasma, gaseous.

All real rocks are actually finite in size, come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors, and tend to be solid to the point where "rock solid" is a standard metaphor in human speech. Ergo, all rocks are obviously designed.

Not!

Teleological arguments are pure bullshit, which is what the physicist in question (as well as myself, also a physicist) are happy to point out.

When one actually looks at rocks or Universes, there is an utter lack of either evidence or a plausible, consistent, evidence linked chain of reasoning that increases the probability that the notion/hypothesis "Rocks are designed" or "We are living in a computer simulation" is/are true from their rightful place (so far) of 0.0000.....(0 until you get bored with writing 0's)...001 to something with a tiny smidgen of actual measure.

These are not independent assertions, by the way. If you take the assertion that the Universe is a simulation seriously, then rocks ARE designed objects, even though there is absolutely nothing about rocks to suggest that they actually are designed.

One could then deconstruct the truth of each of your statements individually. For example, there is nothing in quantum theory that limits computational requirements -- quite the opposite. Indeed, quantum theory is built on top of complex, non-discrete numbers in every quantum textbook ever written -- C-numbers. That is, quantum objects are described in general by (at least) TWO real numbers, not just one. If you attempt to represent the quantum state of a very simple -- the simplest -- two level quantum system such as |\psi> = A|-> + B|+>, one discovers that it requires two continuous degrees of freedom and that the states of the system map nicely into points on a 3D spherical hypersurface. If you try to describe the most general quantum state of N such 2 level objects, it requires 2^N or so continuous degrees of freedom. Consequently, we are limited in our solutions or simulational studies of fully correlated quantum systems to a tiny, tiny handful of e.g. "two level atoms" -- perhaps 20 to 30 of them -- because one very quickly runs out of computational resources to perform even very small general computations.

Second, you are building a whole mountain of assumptions into what appears to be a misinterpretation of the Planck length. To quote Wikipedia's page on this topic:

There is currently no proven physical significance of the Planck length...

so you are quoting something for which there is no direct evidence as evidence in a bad teleological argument for something for which there is no evidence at all.

You also don't address the actual numbers associated with the Planck length/time. If the Planck length \ell_p is order of 10^{-35} meters, and the visible Universe (alone) is ~10^11 light years across, and a light year is 10^16 meters then there are 10(11+16+35)*3 = 10^{186} cubic Planck lengths in the visible Universe, and making Planck time out of \ell_p/c we end up with another factor of 10^70 x 10^186 = 10^256 discrete space-time points. That's a hell of a lot of data, and one has to compute all of this for all of these time slices.

Now speaking only for myself, if I were building a simulation of the Universe, it would NOT look like this microscopically. That's because when one plays a game with a physics simulation, all one has to do is present a perspective view into a purely classical representation of various surfaces, plus some sounds, plus some sundry nervous/sensations. Humans can't see microscopic things anyway, even with a microscope we don't see microscopic things, we see images that our brains plus some cognitive work identify as microscopic things. I don't have to make a virtual world that has actual simulations of individual viruses to simulate the nervous sensations of "feeling viremic". Reality need never be more than skin deep, perception deep. I'll point out that empirically (there's that word once again) ALL actual reality simulations present precisely this sort of a Universe BECAUSE it doesn't require an enormous representation. When a dark iron dwarf in WoW throws a bomb at you, the simulator doesn't compute the quantum chemistry ot a gunpowder explosion all the way down to the Planck scale, it just manipulates a few pixels and sprites according to a very simple model of what an explosion LOOKS LIKE.

Similarly, it is really irrelevant as to what the "speed of propagation of causality" is in a simulation. It doesn't even matter how fast your computer is, since you are just stacking up large arrays of numbers with some index you are identifying with some sort of discretized timestep. And don't get me started about relativity and simultaneity and the ordering of events separated by spacelike intervals and COMPUTATIONS of all of these things -- suffice it to say that your argument itself is in fact naive and incorrect per point as well as collectively.

Could the world of our experience by a simulation? Sure. Of course it could. And pink unicorns COULD fart rainbow colors. There is nothing fundamentally contradictory about either one, especially when you get to make up the terms that aren't being contradicted.

It's just that we haven't a shred of actual evidence that either assertion is true. Or that the Universe is a made/designed thing. Or that we could somehow DISTINGUISH a designed "real physical" Universe from a designed "simulation, unreal" Universe from the real, undesigned, physical Universe we appear to live in. Teleological arguments are just as dumb in religion as they are in the assertion that we are all living inside "the Matrix" in reality. How could you even know?

rgb

Comment Re:All too true (Score 5, Insightful) 235

I came here to say this, mostly.

I *know* that there are plenty of places in our software that I could spend an hour or two, and rewrite an algorithm to run in 1/5th the time. And I don't care at all, because the cost is too low to measure, and usually, performance bottlenecks are elsewhere.

Who really cares if I can get a loop to run in 800ns instead of 1500ns, when the real bottleneck is a complex SQL query 11 lines up that joins 11 tables together and takes 3 full seconds to run?

Comment Not necessarily the same class of event (Score 1) 126

Digg previously wounded itself because it threw out all of its user's work, and then compounded the insult by preventing them from commenting. It's a ghost town.

Reddit appears to be adding something, not taking something away.

If that's the case, I doubt it'll hurt them in any way. What remains to be seen is if it will benefit them. That will depend on how they manage (and limit) the new capabilities, and how their user base views what they do.

Facebook is certainly ripe for competition.

Comment Pity, since I can't accept the EULA (Score 1) 137

Google's Chrome browser, on the other hand, remained unhackable during the contest.

Unfortunately for me, I can't accept Chrome's EULA.

It incorporates Adobe's, which (if I recall correctly from my AT&T Android-based smartphone) has several clauses I can't abide - including a never-compete, don't block updates, don't work on circumvention tools, we can change the license without notice, ...

I don't intend to do anything that might come back to limit my future software work or employability. Clicking through such a license (even if every bit of it is struck down by the courts - which I'm not holding my breath expecting), especially on a device that "phones home" in a way that is easily identified with my true name, is an invitation for an all-versus-one gladiatorial match with two multibillion-dollar corporations' legal departments.

Comment Re:Android? (Score 1) 63

So... based on the above comments, I bought Nova launcher pro.

When I started it, all my current folders and apps.... gone. It appears I'll have to set everything up again. Am I wrong? Changing back to the Touchwiz, everything came right back. Need to explore this a little more, and seeing as it didn't destroy my previous setup (for which I am grateful), I will indeed experiment. First I guess I have to make a series of notes about the current arrangement and then go into Nova and rebuild it from the ground up. Seems... tedious. But I have the time, so... onwards.

Thanks for the tip (you and others.)

Comment GitHub is in California (Score 1) 74

I struggle a bit to understand why this isn't a bigger issue. ... I wonder why some politician hasn't attempted to differentiate themselves by even mentioning the stifling effect on innovation [company-owns-all-your-inventions] policies impose.

Because it's already been adressed, long ago.

GitHub is in San Francisco, which is in California and governed by California labor law.

California labor law says that (paraphrasing from memory):
  - As a compelling state interest
  - overriding anything in the employee agreement
  - if an employee invents something
  - while not on company time or using company resources
  - and that invention is not in the company's current or immediately foreseeable business
  - then the invention belongs to the employee
  - (and the employment agreement must include a copy of this information as an appendix.)

(IMHO that law is THE reason for the explosive growth and innovation in Silicon Valley and why other states have been unable to clone it. Invent something that your current company won't use, get together with a couple friends, maybe get some "angel funding", rent the office across the street, and go into business with your new shiny thing. So companies bud off new companies like yeast. And innovators collect where they can become the inventor, the "couple of friends", or the early hires, creating a pool of the necessary talent to convert inventions into companies when they happen.)

What GitHub has apparently done is say to the employees:
"For the purposes of us claiming your IP, your lunch time and breaks are your time, even on company property, and your use of our computers and disk storage for things like compiles, storing code, and web research in aid of your project, does not count as 'using company resources'."

In other states, and other companies even within CA, that might be a big deal. For a company in CA, whose whole business model is providing archives for other people's software projects - and giving it away free to small groups, while charging large groups (or small groups that grow into large groups), it's not a big deal, and right IN their business model.

Comment Re:Android? (Score 1) 63

The problem with 3rd party adding is that they can break, leaving you with various levels of leftover problems. This is really something that should be implemented in the GUI. There's a reason computers have hierarchical filesystems. There's a reason Android uses one too, underneath the GUI. It's because they are a profoundly useful way to organize information. I'm not railing at you here... I appreciate the pointer. I'm just frustrated by how annoyingly stupid the Android GUI remains after all this time. And iOS.

Comment Re:All these bans are useless security theatre (Score 2) 244

Dollars, yes, but not just dollars; but impediments to commerce and comfort. For very little effort (by which I explicitly mean, nearly none), they have thrown a huge wrench into anything that involves commercial air travel. They manipulated our control-addled congress into doing the work for them. 100% successfully.

All that was actually needed was:

o Revamp cockpits, armor thoroughly, install rest and feed facilities for long haul flights. One time cost.
o Reduce cabin-to-cockpit comms to "land near hospital ASAP" One time cost.
o Reduce cockpit-to-cabin comms to "belts on or off" One time cost.

What we got was the incredibly and endlessly expensive, absurdist productivity and pleasure reduction of the TSA.

On the other hand, they did finally convince me to do all my flying privately, so there's that. Unfortunately, most people can't exercise that option. But hey, vote your congress critter back in. Can't go wrong with that one, eh?

Comment Re:Worked@IBM in 1980's, left, because sucked. (Score 1) 290

Spot on. I used to use the hell out of email and preferred it, same reason.

Lately, I've found slack in a web browser to be similarly async; I look at it when I'm ready, respond when ready. The richer environment -- the images, clips, etc., the ability to go live at any moment -- have moved my preference to Slack / Ryver (these are basically the same thing.) If only they'd let us have a richer text rendering environment... I've written a few bots for Slack, and I spend a fair amount of time chafing at the limits. But still... an improvement over email.

I keep slack on it's on window on its own monitor (I have eight monitors on this machine) so it's just a glance away. Usually that's all it gets. A glance. :)

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