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Astronomers Discover 33 Pairs of Waltzing Black Holes 101

Astronomers from UC Berkeley have identified 33 pairs of waltzing black holes, closing the gap somewhat between the observed population of super-massive black hole pairs and what had been predicted by theory. "Astronomical observations have shown that 1) nearly every galaxy has a central super-massive black hole (with a mass of a million to a billion times the mass of the Sun), and 2) galaxies commonly collide and merge to form new, more massive galaxies. As a consequence of these two observations, a merger between two galaxies should bring two super-massive black holes to the new, more massive galaxy formed from the merger. The two black holes gradually in-spiral toward the center of this galaxy, engaging in a gravitational tug-of-war with the surrounding stars. The result is a black hole dance, choreographed by Newton himself. Such a dance is expected to occur in our own Milky Way Galaxy in about 3 billion years, when it collides with the Andromeda Galaxy."

Apple Orders 10 Million Tablets? 221

Arvisp writes "According to a blog post by former Google China president Kai-Fu Lee, Apple plans to produce nearly 10 million tablets in the still-unannounced product's first year. If Lee's blog post is to be believed, Apple plans to sell nearly twice as many tablets as it did iPhones in the product's first year."

Comment Re:Hyperbolic Claims... what's behind the curtain? (Score 1) 144

unless you're the author of the underlying study, I am unclear as to how you have knowledge of the methods and science behind what they are doing.

Electron microscopes have been around for decades. So long, in fact, that you do NOT have to explain how an electron microscope works every single time you show a picture taken with an electron microscope. Instead, you publish an article and you say "figure three was taken with an electron microscope" and anybody unclear on the subject can go and read up on how that works.

In the exact same way genetic algorithms have been around for decades. And in the exact same way, you do not have to spell out the precise details of what you're doing every single time you're using one. It is entirely sufficient to say "we used a genetic algorithm to evolve a certain behaviour (like food-seeking or poison avoidance) and found the following interesting social strategies...".

while i appreciate your attempt, it is unfortunately ill-adapted. The problem is that there's a fundamental dis-analogy between the two cases.

In the first case, "electron microscope" is a phrase that has only one usage and meaning. It does not have multiple possible understandings.

In the second case, this is apparently not so. "evolve", "food", and "genome" have a standard meaning which refer to a process in biology, sustenance for animals and plants, and the bearer of genetic material in the form of DNA/RNA and methylation.

the usage you are making of these terms is not this. If I want to use the term "Iron Condor" to refer to a mountain range near where I live, I should not go about publishing popular press articles as if I am referring to the same thing that others refer to.

as a second example, if I write a visual basic program and call it SQL, then publish an article about how I improved SQL 500%. I should really explain that I am not talking about the database language.

that's exactly what I am asking of the article.

If you aren't going to do that, then it means you're lazy, not that the article is "misleading".

I feel you're not putting your critical thinking cap on here. Your analogy was utterly disanalogous.

Comment Re:Genetic Algorithms (Score 1) 144

Yes, food is exactly the right word. Because it is a necessary precondition for survival and the passing on of sections of ones genome.

afraid not. that's not what food means. food provides sustenance for animals. these ain't animals and don't need the "food." we'll start with an easy link: here. I'll leave reading it as an exercise. if you want to use food in another meaning, please mark it as such.

Comment Re:Genetic Algorithms (Score 1) 144

Only in the same sense that you are a figment of your own imagination, and any discussion of there being a "you" or "me" is also a misconstrual.

how so?

the one is clearly a construction that we can fully comprehend because we generated it.

the other has yet to be shown to be merely a construction (whether or not it can ever be shown as such).

maybe to make it more clearly, robots do not survive on the basis of said "food" so it's not the same as our "food" even if both deserve the quotes.

the further difficulty with your claim is that you state "Only in the same sense that you are a figment of your own imagination". But then it seems that we need to endow the robot with imagination before it can really have the same sense.

Comment Re:Hyperbolic Claims... what's behind the curtain? (Score 1) 144

You seem to be confused... The very thing that is unclear is the aptness of the analogy, and the very fault of the article is to perpetuate it without justifying.

The terms are a (very good) metaphor, and the article is not at all misleading. I would have thought this would be obvious.

unless you're the author of the underlying study, I am unclear as to how you have knowledge of the methods and science behind what they are doing.

I would have that this would be obvious

The entire point of this sort of research is that the "genome" in the bots is analogous to, but far simpler than, a biological genome, and the means of selecting which "genomes" to generate the next "generation" from is analogous to how genomes are selected in biology (either "natural selection" like you find in nature or "artificial selection" like you get with farmed crops or dog breeding).

the entire failing is that it's not clear that the simplified model in any way duplicates the more complicated model.

oddly, when you simplify something, you often bludgeon the very thing that makes it what it is. What has made genetics so interesting is that the pathways of inheritance and gene expression are more complicated than each model we devise.

So without knowledge of the senses in which this is reflective of a "genome" to call it so is misleading.

In what way is it not transparent?

see above. The opacity is the validity of the comparison not the use of the comparison.

Believe it or not, computers actually can generate effectively random numbers.

Believe it or not, the article makes no mention of this and does not indicate how the randomization was effected.

oddly that failing is precisely what i questioned to begin with ... believe it or not.


in summary, while you have marshaled an interesting array of wikipedia articles, the original article in question remains a piece of hype-mongering.

it has in no way connected itself to any of what you have stated.

instead, it has merely used (or possibly abused) the terms of biology to describe what might otherwise be a rather boring high school science fair experiment.

Comment Re:Hyperbolic Claims... what's behind the curtain? (Score 1) 144

it sounds like you are now accepting that the article is misleading.

You're agreeing that the terms are not what a normal reader would construe them to mean.

if the experiment wants to show anything, the methodology has to be more transparent so that we can know whether to consider its "genome" as really a genome or are something more banal.

if the semi-random is really just someone going through and changing parameters in a config file (or using a script to do it), then it's not really random at all.

here's a url that helps make sense of the difference: same site []

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