377 posts • joined Thursday 19th November 2009 10:41 GMT
Re: Risk factor?
(Well, yes, of course it could be, which is why they're developing LMDE. At the minute it seems a better idea to use one of the Ubuntu-derived Mints but I suspect in the not-too-distant future LMDE will hit parity with the others.)
@Faux Science Slayer
Oh wow, I've wasted the last eleven years of my life!
No, wait, I haven't.
Re: Lack of carbon
Yes, so far as I know, that's the very point (hence "which would be expected given... their position in the universe's history"). -- it might have been nice if it had been a bit more clearly explained.
Re: Football results
To out-pedant a pedant, there is no football team called "Fife", which is the last remaining kingdom within the United Kingdom. Though I never saw a king there; he'd probably have moved to Edinburgh like every other bugger. There is, however, East Fife.
Re: From my experience
I'm not actually necessarily blaming Apple for the audio lag in MPlayerX and VLC. It appears in both, so it may very well be system - but as I commented, I can't play these videos in QuickTime since they're in MKV and to me it's not worth the effort to swap them into an MP4 container and test it. (It didn't crop up in Snow Leopard, though, in either system. So either Apple changed the subsystem and the apps don't play nicely, or Apple, err, changed the subsystem and they can't play nicely. One is the fault of the maintainers, one of Apple. Either way, finger-pointing isn't as helpful as having the bug sorted out.)
The mouse scrolling in Finder, on the other hand, is in Apple's own territory and that was the bug I was mainly commenting on (not complaining about; if I were complaining it would be on Apple's forums). That was there when I installed Mavericks -- which I put on top of a complete, clean reinstall of Snow Leopard. I can assure you, the only thing on my Mac when I first noticed it was stock Mavericks, except I'd committed the possibly cardinal sin of hooking it up via SMB to my external hard drives. It crops up whether or not the SMB drives are connected; just that I first noticed it accessing them. This *is* a mid-2009 Macbook Pro 15", so it's getting a bit long in the tooth, but it's still quite safely within their recommended hardware.
If it isn't fixed in the .1 release I'll file a bug report with Apple. At the minute I'm imagining either that others already have, or that the bug report would be filed under "too unimportant right now too many other things kthxbye".
I do software development too, after all...
From my experience
they could do with fixing the enormously irritating bug on the trackpad where scrolling left or right is slow, jerky or downright unresponsive. Most noticeable in Finder. There's also a weird bug in the audio feed, particularly watching videos, where the video will start up to two seconds before the audio (which then comes in in sync). Not sure if that occurs in QuickTime though, since my video files tend not to play with it and I'm running on MPlayerX (as updated for Mavericks) and VLC.
Otherwise I've found Mavericks surprisingly bug-free for a first release. It helped that I found how to shut off three-fingered drag and replace it with the old-style tap-and-click drag.
Re: What if...
Also I'm sorry if it seems I'm just trying to shoot down your idea. Your fundamental issue, so far as I can see, stems from the imbalance of matter and anti-matter, which is definitely an open issue, although there are mechanisms that can produce this imbalance which aren't *ludicrously* contrived, merely horribly so. The thing is that any slight preference for matter over anti-matter, and it doesn't matter which way that preference goes since whatever we were made from we'd call "matter" (bearing in mind that, say, anti-muons and anti-neutrinos are remarkably frequent given the nature of the collisions we've tended to produce) we'd call the other "anti-matter", would result very rapidly in a universe filled with hard radiation and a small amount of matter. The consequence is that any small preponderance of matter over anti-matter in a big bang model predicts that the very early universe shortly would be bathed in harsh radiation and possess no anti-matter. That imbalance could be anything from one part in two to one part in 10^10^100, and the qualitative argument is unchanged.
On the other hand, I'm always happy to see people thinking of ways of putting the big bang theory to stress. About the only thing I'd recommend is to allow a model to stay within its confines -- or demonstrably repeat its predictions to well within experimental error -- up until a period of galaxy formation. That's not least because the evidence for an expanding universe, and for a universe expanding in a way that is to a high degree modeled by a Robertson-Walker model is far too strong (even if that model contains phenomenological quantities -- "dark energy" perhaps, "dark matter" perhaps -- unrelated to smaller-scale laboratory physics; it is also worth occasionally reminding people that there is no fundamental reason to associate the "dark matter" appearing in cosmology with the "dark matter" appearing in gravitational physics beyond Occam's razor.)
Of course, the actual model can resemble Robertson-Walker cosmology only very slightly, or not at all, but when interpreted through the eyes of RW its observables have to resemble a dark energy/dark matter/standard model matter universe extremely closely. Which is a difficult ask.
Re: What if...
But let's assume that anti-matter can, and that BBN bounds aren't significant. Then we've unfortunately got a vast preponderance of anti-matter over matter; even allowing for errors in the RW model, we're still looking at something like ten times as much anti-matter as matter. That's... not what we see. We definitely would see annihilations. Maybe not that many -- space is very empty, and even the energy density of dark energy is not high -- but we would see them, and the overwhelming majority would be electron/positron annihilations, which has a very characteristic energy indeed, and a very well known one. (And, unfortunately, this can't be linked to gamma-ray bursts. While e/p annihilations do produce gamma rays, the sheer numbers of the bastards you'd need to get the energy output, and the tuning you'd need to ensure the frequency was as observed from Earth, are prohibitively unrealistic.
A further issue I have, beyond annihilations, is that anti-matter does interact with photons. Photons are their own anti-particle, and they interact with both matter and anti-matter in the same way. That's why we can interpret that Feynman diagram as either the annihilation of an electron and positron leading to emission of a photon, or as the scattering of an electron off a photon, or even as the scattering of a positron off a photon. Your suggestion neglects that the universe is bathed in the CMB. Let's ignore questions of cosmology, which may even be a slight detour here, and just see what's there. The CMB is practically uniform around the Earth. Let's ignore the issue of where it comes from; it is unescapable that we live in a part of the universe which is bathed in a virtually uniform emission of microwaves. But it isn't *quite* uniform, and one major influence on the CMB is known as the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect, which occurs when that light passes through galactic clusters and interacts with particularly electrons there, but also with ionised gases such as hydrogens. This leads to *extremely* characteristic distortions of the CMB, and one of the major results of the Planck survey which has just finished -- sadly, Planck has been nudged away from L2 and is now orbiting wild with no hope of saviour -- is the fresh identification of a number of clusters *purely* through the SZ effect... a number of which have then been found optically with follow-on surveys.
The point here is that since light interacts with anti-matter just as it does with matter, your model implies that -- regardless of the cosmology, regardless of annihilation -- we should see some honking great (anti-)SZ signals coming from voids. And we simply don't; they're not there.
What we do have from voids are effects from the so-called Sachs-Wolfe (and the related Riess-Sciama) effects. This comes from the redshifting of photons as they fall into and climb out of gravitational wells that have evolved in the interim through the expansion of the universe or accretion of matter. SW signals are very different from SZ signals (a very different dependence on frequency, for one), and we see them from both galaxies and voids.
I'm afraid that the SZ signals on the CMB basically kill your idea cold, even if we ignore all the cosmological arguments against it and just start from the simple observation that there is a bath of microwave radiation around us, and it is replete with tell-tale signs of interactions with matter (and indeed anti-matter).
Re: What if...
On the contrary, sorry for posting such a ridiculously long reply. I felt quite embarrassed when I looked at it the next morning and realised I'd almost filled the Reg's word limit twice over... And ignorance is never something to apologise for - a failure to recognise one's own ignorance, perhaps (and that's something I'm often guilty of :( ) Unfortunately this is another massive post.
It would be possible to make an estimate for how much antimatter was required. At present, you're trying to use antimatter to drive an acceleration of the universe. That immediately places you within the context of something similar to a Robertson-Walker (ie "big bang") cosmology -- for some definition of "something similar", true, but let's take it as a first approximation. In that context, we know, from evidence that may very well be misinterpreted but which is remarkably robust within the model, that the energy density of dark energy, *when interpreted as such*, has to be about 70% of the critical density of the universe. Within the context of that model, and on grounds far, far stronger than those that dark energy rests on, the matter making up the zoo of "standard model (of particle physics)" particles can only make up, at most, about 5% of the critical density of the universe. (And recall that while I'm no fan of "dark energy" at all -- indeed, I strongly suspect what's happening is that cosmology is built on a flawed phenomenology and have published on the topic multiple times -- the evidence for it is remarkably consistent and coherent within the bounds of the model, so this is a very strong claim.) That comes from the extremely tight bounds coming from so-called Big Bang Nucleosynthesis (BBN), which is exquisitely sensitive to the ratio of radiation and matter present in the universe. We *know* how much radiation is in the universe. No matter what galaxies kick out the dominant contribution is from the cosmic microwave background, and if we like we can add a correction from radiative sources. We can add in contributions from neutrinos. The argument then hinges on how the densities of matter, radiation, "dark matter" and "dark energy" scale as space expands or contracts. Matter is easy: its density scales as volume, ie R^3. Doddle. Radiation is likewise easy: its density scales as volume plus a redshift, R^4. Dark matter is by definition (a rubbish definition, I grant you) like normal matter that doesn't bother talking to anything else, and also scales as volume, R^3. Neutrinos may have a mass, but they're so light they go near as damn it as radiation, so R^4.
If dark energy exists, it has to be more or less constant. That's why the cosmological constant model is such a good fit. So in the extremely early universe, when BBN took place, dark energy would be utterly insignificant compared to matter/dark matter/radiation/neutrinos. A non-constant model of dark energy has to ensure it fits the BBN bounds, or it is going to face an extremely difficult fight towards acceptance.
So we're left, from BBN, within the bounds of a "big bang" type model, with normal matter -- everything we know of -- filling up around 5% of a universe which is at critical density. Radiation fills up about 0.01% or so. Dark matter, from similar considerations (and that of the tiny ripples we see on the CMB) has to fill up roughly 25%. Unfortunately, *when interpreted through Robertson-Walker*, the universe is for all intents and purposes at the critical density, and the remaining 30% *has* to be in the form of a dark energy.
I've highlighted the "when interpreted through RW" a couple of times, because that can and should be called into question, but the fundamental nature of the BBN constraints are unavoidable. The universe *is* expanding, even if people like me occasionally call into question whether it's physically accelerating (and what that "acceleration" even means in the first place), or whether the acceleration is being caused by a fundamental misunderstanding of gravitational physics (yes) and how to apply it (yes).
Now, if we assume that you're right and that anti-matter somehow avoids normal matter -- which is a hypothesis I have strong reservations with; indeed I think it is unfounded -- then we still have to face that it will, on average, scale as R^3. The reason is that you're placing it in the voids, and voids are nothing but practically empty space. Unless anti-matter is very different from matter (and it's not; that's the *point* of anti-matter) it has to scale as matter. Indeed, it has to be accounted for in that same ~5% budget. That leaves you with a whacking great problem when you look at the later universe. Even being pessimistic and assuming a Robertson-Walker approximation is only valid basically up until, say, a redshift of 5 when the universe was a sixth of its current size, or even assuming it's only valid until a redshift of about 20 which is long before the first stars lit up, you find that things just cannot work. The CMB looks totally wrong. Even more damningly, the same ripples we see on the CMB were imprinted on the structure of galaxies, way back when the universe was 300,000 years old.
This comes from the physics; a small universe is extremely hot, and a hot plasma of photons and protons and electrons will remain ionised and opaque since a photon can't go anywhere without immediately slamming into hydrogen and ionising it. This provides a radiation pressure that counters the gravitational force, which through a setup extremely simialr to high-school physics then sets up a little oscillation, with a very characteristic wavelength/frequency. Cool it down and you go through a phase transition. Electrons condense into protons to form hydrogen, which is too cold to reionise it, and runs free. There are no more waves, so everything freezes. The result is that both that light, and the matter, have printed on them the waves that were there at the phase transition (which in cosmology is called "reionisation", infuriatingly. It wasn't "re" anything.) The model therefore *predicts* a wave in the network of galaxy clusters -- on horrifically large scales -- which corresponds exactly to the waves we see on the CMB... and we've seen that wave. It's got a wavelength of roughly 15Mpc or so. Which is big.
Problem is that wavelengths are extremely sensitive to the evolution of the universe. If it evolves a bit faster than we think, the wavelength we see on the CMB (which was set when the universe was 300,000 years old) would be very different indeed from that we see in the large-scale structure (set when the universe was something like 10 billion years old). Alas, the wavelength we see in the LSS is exactly where we'd expect it if we had a dark energy... so whatever provides that has to act in such a way as to mimic a dark energy when viewed through a Robertson-Walker model.
And that's really, really hard to do.
Re: What if...
"Wasn't it Feynman who pointed out that an anti-particle behaves exactly like its twin, but traveling the opposite direction through time?"
Feynman himself actually attributed realisation that to John Wheeler, his PhD supervisor (claiming that Wheeler phoned him at about three in the morning to shout "I know why all electrons look the same! *They're all the same particle travelling backwards and forwards through time!*"), but it's central to the concept of a Feynman diagram. If you look at, say, the pair production of a photon from the annihilation of a positron and an electron, it looks a bit like this:
if you can imagine that the top and bottom slashes both have arrows pointing downwards. The top slash is an electron and the bottom a positron, while a tilde is a photon. Time runs left-to-right, so this shows a positron-electron annihilation. But those arrows make it tell a fascinating story. Run time top-to-bottom instead, and what you see isn't a positron-electron collision, but rather the scattering of an electron off a photon.
That only looks so obvious because Feynman incorporated the idea that a positron is just an electron propagating backwards in time deep into his diagrams. It also makes a lot of processes a lot easier to interpret. So far as I'm aware - and while I am a cosmologist I'm not a quantum field theorist of any great note - the idea that positrons are *literally* electrons propagating backwards in time has died a death, but it's still a useful concept at times.
Re: What if...
"It also explains why the universe seems to be expanding faster as the repulsive force of antigravity is constantly pushing away,"
Not really. Try and write it down in a self-consistent manner and you'll find it simply doesn't work. You'd have to build an entirely new theory of gravity based on gravity acting purely as a source - and then make sure that that theory passes the Solar System tests, because trying to apply a theory on cosmological scales that fails on local scales is guaranteed to get your papers thrown out at peer review. (And, unless you've an extremely good reason to do it, rightly so.) The idea of a repulsive gravitational force is based on the ice that there is a "gravitational charge", and it's extraordinarily hard to incorporate such a thing into a theory of gravity that can be applied on cosmological scales. You can view the issue as being that we have to at least account for causality in the universe. On smaller scales -- of the order of, say, a few hundred kilo parsecs -- causality is pretty unimportant, cosmologically speaking. That's why Newtonian n-body simulations are so powerful in cosmology. But when you look at larger scales the acausal theories, which would include Newtonian physics and your repulsive anti-matter suggestion, break down. They don't account for propagation time across the universe. The theories have to become relativistic... and therein lies your problem here. (Well, there are others, too, but this is a big one.) The same has happened to MOND, which is an entirely phenomenological approach to the dark matter problem which is staggeringly successful, on galactic scales. Far, far more successful than the idea of dark matter, if I'm honest. MOND *predicts* the shape of a rotation curve from the visible matter, using a single universal parameter setting a characteristic acceleration at which gravity flatlines, and it's the same number for every galaxy. A CDM model makes a raft of assumptions, introduces God knows how many parameters, and still does a shittier job. Sounds excellent, right? Yes, it does. Unfortunately it fails in a big way on cluster scales, and it can't even begin to be applied on cosmological scales, for the same reason that it is acausal. Any MONDian predictions on cosmological scales are in gross contradiction to observation, except those theories -- typically contrived and unconvincing -- that have managed to get MONDian behaviour out of complicated metric-based theories of gravity. (General relativity is a "metric-based" theory, meaning that gravity is described as geometry. You can write relativistic MOND theories as "bimetric" theories, where there are two metrics introduced, in an ugly and unconvincing manner replete with not just arbitrary parameters but arbitrary functions. Ugh.)
"instead of the common held theory that the big bang is the only source of impetus."
No-one holds that belief except a few rebels and nut jobs. (I spent a lot of my career actually trying to test whether this could still be true, through relativistic effects normally ignored. I still strongly suspect that actually the big bang *was* the only source of impetus... but that's not where cosmology is right now, and I could very well be wrong. The entire point of dark energy is that it's providing a major source of impetus. And there are ways of getting a dark energy that are if not convincing then at least not as grotesquely contrived as they originally seemed.)
"Obviously, much of what I have said is unproven, but neither has it been disproved"
Yeah, I'm sorry but unfortunately it has been. I know I've probably sounded like a dick at times in this reply but it's honestly not meant that way - it would be absolutely lovely if we could explain the problems of the universe by simply filling it with an anti-matter that acts anti-gravitationally. I think there are very few senior cosmologists who genuinely *like* dark energy. It's ugly, it's phenomenological rather than fundamental, and in ways it's hard to put across the layman but which kind of boil down to "Pick a scalar field. Any scalar field. It doesn't matter what it is, just tune the fucker so the universe accelerates". Dark matter is better, but not much. It seems very likely - again, unfortunately for me, since I have bets on that it isn't the case - that at least some dark matter is particulate. If there is any kind of supersymmetry at all, we immediately have a dark matter, which would be the lightest supersymmetric particle, which if it exists is metastable. Hell, we already *have* a dark matter, albeit a warm one: neutrinos have a mass, and are therefore a warm (or hot) dark matter. They don't explain the galactic rotation curves, and they cannot possibly be abundant enough to explain the missing matter on cosmological scales because if they were structure would be really washed out, but they're still there. But I think most people, if pushed to it, would probably acknowledge that there is likely more at work here than a single particulate dark matter, and that that is probably a small effect. The sheer success of MOND tells us something else, something weird, is going on. (Though that is a controversial statement that loses one a lot of opportunities in modern cosmology -- which is obviously very wrong.)
But unfortunately anti-matter just doesn't work.
"and if antimatter is accepted as a feasible force, then several totally unexplained events can be understood without resorting to weird concepts, like inflation theory, dark matter, dark energy et al."
The concept of an anti-gravitational anti-matter - though this might sound counter-intuitive - is actually a lot weirder in a cosmological context than either dark matter or dark energy and inflation. That comes straight back to the fact that the entire theory we base cosmology on is built on general relativity, or at least a similar metric-based theory. We can't *do* cosmology without using a metric-based theory. Dark matter is very easily included in such a theory, particularly on cosmological scales where you can ignore so much of the microphysics that you can describe any number of different particles by a single equation (w=0). Dark energy and inflation are very similar, and are also very easy to incorporate; pick a scalar field, give it a sufficiently flat potential, and you get a self-consistent inflation or dark energy. Trying to incorporate an anti-gravitational effect from anti-matter, on the other hand, involves ditching the theory entirely and building something new.
Should we do that? For other reasons, possibly, but anything we do *has* to fit local observations at least as well as general relativity, and that's tough because GR is extremely good. For this reason, no, there's just not sufficient evidence that there's any reason to believe that there's any kind of anti-gravitational effect, and even *less* reason to believe that such an effect isn't merely a facet of small, effectively quantum scales (on which we expect gravity to begin to behave a bit weirdly anyway), and that it could possibly be at all significant across even astronomical scales, let alone cosmological.
"Whereas I suggest the big bang was akin to a nuclear explosion"
Then you're flatly contradicting a theory that at present - little though I like it - fits all the observations absolutely perfectly, on scales above a few kiloparsec. If you're going to take any kind of geometric view of gravity seriously -- and I see absolutely, utterly zero reason not to, since geometric theories have utterly destroyed other theories; people *try*, constantly, to better GR and we never have -- then you can't even begin to view the Big Bang as an explosion. It wasn't an explosion. Be very dubious of people who pretend they can imagine it, because they can't; our brains aren't built to imagine expansion in 4D, and it's impossible to do so. But the maths is unarguable -- any similarity with an explosion is tenuous at best.
"Add in antimatter's eagerness to avoid contact and run away"
This is an eagerness you appear to have invented. Anti-matter does not have a desire to run away in the slightest. Subatomic physics, which is increasingly well tested, would look very different if it did...
Re: What if...
Warning: absurdly long post ahead. It will also look a bit mardy, but it's not really intended.
OK, here's my advice: write this up, properly, founded in a self-consistent theory, make a set of predictions, and see who pays any attention.
The answer will be this: no-one.
"Where did you get the idea antimatter hasn't got anti-gravity properties?"
Theory. Theory can be invalidated, it's true, but in this case I would be extraordinarily surprised. This is not least because *gravity is not a force*. Far and away the best theory of gravity we have is geometric. Anti-matter can have an opposite gravitational charge or no gravitational charge at all and it will make absolutely bugger all difference to how it reacts to the presence of massive bodies: it will still tend to follow a geodesic through a curved space-time.
"So if you can accept the above,"
Why should I? People will have to show me a better reason than "some scientists" have "tentatively" shown something that is well outside the bounds of current theory. But OK, let's run with it, I was trained in a field that did, after all, waste four or five years on braneworld cosmologies.
"you might also accept a galaxy surrounded by a sea of antimatter would indeed keep it together when it's mass and angular velocity suggest it would fly apart, due to the antimatter pushing back."
Not really, no. I'd have to actually do a calculation to state such a thing. I would also be extremely concerned that I'm not observing the rather obvious signatures of matter/anti-matter annihilations that would surround every single galaxy like a nimbus of hard X-rays. We're not observing such nimbuses. Matter is ejected from galaxies *all the time*. Dust is flung out, and stars are also flung out. If anti-matter, in your weird definition of it, is "spread evenly" then it is inconceivable that we wouldn't see a pretty much continuous bath of annihilation across the entire universe. We don't see it, ergo the scenario is not valid.
Unlike the idea of anti-matter acting anti-gravitationally, matter/anti-matter annihilations are very well-founded both theoretically and experimentally. Your model does not work.
"And to your last point, that antimatter would clump together, err, no. antimatter avoids contact with everything, even itself."
Wow, where did you get this nugget from? If anti-matter avoids contact with everything where the fuck are all those annihilations we see in anti-matter experiments coming from? If you accept the idea of anti-matter at all you're basically forced to acknowledge that electron+positron -> photon, and vice-versa. The idea that anti-matter "avoids contact with everything" is farcical.
"If antimatter did indeed behave like matter, then the universe would have just as many antimatter stars, with antimatter elements and planets and we would be able to see these huge bodies, but we don't."
Now, this is a good point. It's also an area of active research. The thing is that you've concluded that the universe is equally composed of matter and anti-matter, which is in contradiction to observation -- witness the distinct lack of matter/anti-matter annihilations observed throughout the universe. But, as you rightly point out, there is a discrepancy between the domination of matter, and the exact symmetry and matter and anti-matter. If neither are to be preferred -- and in the standard model, and most reasonable extensions, neither *is* to be preferred -- then we're left in a quandary. Why on Earth is the universe composed of matter and not an inhospitable nightmare of hard gamma radiation? We don't have an answer to this. It seems very likely that there is some slight asymmetry in fundamental physics -- whether preferring matter, or simply allowing for the possibility of a random preponderance of what we call "matter" over what we call "anti-matter" (names which in a different scenario we could flip with absolutely no observable consequences to the universe) -- and that in the extremely early universe there were something like 1,000,000,000,001 matter particles to every 1,000,000,000,000 anti-matter particles. The anti-matter annihilated with the matter, and some of that radiation -- far from all, but some -- may have lingered to be part of the present microwave background. The tiny residue became what we see.
Speculation, albeit speculation that you can find written up in detail, founded on actual - you know, numerate - theories.
[continued in next post. i'm enjoying writing this, though if the moderators want to remove it i probably don't have a counter-argument]
Re: What if...
Where did you get the idea that antimatter is antigravitational? (Also, why would this solve the dark matter problem? The dark matter problem is one of missing gravitating matter - the universe is a lot more clustered than we'd expect given the amount of normal "baryonic" (ie standard model of particle physics) matter. An antigravitational particle would tend to clump itself together in voids and do nothing good for clusters.)
Re: What if...
"Prove me wrong!"
Fairly straightforward, actually - the model you're describing would act identically (on cosmological scales - which are relevant to this article and to the size of the universe) to the simplest models of dust extinction, bland grey dust. While some of the interest in dust models was the (ultimately vain) hope that they could provide a simple explanation for the observed acceleration of the universe which does not require any exotic physics, they can still be used, and to cut a long story short, aren't sufficient either to cause the universe to accelerate or to make it significantly smaller than it appears. (The latter would be much harder to acheive, too, not least because it would involve a much stronger effect.)
Depends where you're flying to and from, really. When I lived near Frankfurt that was lovely and I flew BA (and Lufthansa - much nicer to fly to and from Frankfurt with simply because you land at the main terminal and not three miles away) a lot, and it was a damn sight nicer than Ryanair and their flights to "Frankfurt" Hahn which is on the Luxembourg border and 100km from Frankfurt. (And significantly more than that, in a different direction, from where I wanted to be. I often had the choice of waiting three hours and taking a direct bus, or else waiting two hours, catching a bus to Mainz, and then swapping to train. Cost was about the same, time was about the same, so I normally ended up waiting for the direct bus and grabbing a beer. I miss Germany.)
Re: I fly Ryanair on business by choice
And stop forcing us to say, repeatedly, no I don't want any fucking travel insurance. No I don't want to hire a car. No I don't want to enter a fucking competition to get something I don't want for free. No I don't want a travel bag delivered to my home address for NINETY FUCKING QUID. I've actually once or twice waded through those screens - with added distractions around me - to find that the payment server had timed out and I had to start over.
Apparently O'Leary claimed that they're redesigning the website. Good money on them finding more ways of tricking you into leaving extra costs enabled.
Re: Why should he care...
"For my own sins - I use them regularly and actually don't expect much - as I rarely pay that much."
Precisely. I use them regularly. I hate flying with Ryanair. There's zero legroom -- I've 6'4 so I could really do with it, but I don't get it -- and there's no service that doesn't come at a cost but come on, it's Ryanair, we know what to expect. Bitch and whine all you like but if you don't like it, don't sodding use it. I don't like it, but since I've been travelling funded by academic grants I have to drop the cost of travel to an utter minimum and hang the time it takes, which makes Ryanair, even now, far and away the cheapest airline in Europe. If comfort, or come to that accessibility to the airports they fly from, are more important to you than the sheer cost of the flight then, bloody hell, fly with a different airline because I sure as hell would! If, on the other hand, you're on a tight budget, they're fine. Just don't expect to get something for nothing, because that *defeats their entire business model*.
Re: Vote with your wallet
"Meeting the minimum standards does not a safe service make"
Then why are the minimum standards so fucking low? Raise the standards and Ryanair will be forced to come into line, or be forced out of business. Setting standards low and then blaming corporations for hitting them to maximise profit is moronic.
I fly Ryanair quite a lot. I hate it every single time, and o'Leary is a total cock. But this statement was stupid. If the minimum standards aren't safe, what's the fucking point in them?
Re: Colour me skeptical...
I think I'm one of the few people who genuinely absolutely loved Frontier. It's up there with Geoff Crammond's GP2 as my favourite games of all time. (Others on the list including Super Mario World, Sonic 1, Warcraft 1, Sim City 2000, and Valhalla and Chaos on the Speccy.)
I just don't have the time to burn on it anymore, or I'd very happily queue up a day's worth of albums and take myself up again from starting at Lave - far and away the worst place to begin in Frontier - to being ludicrously wealthy from the slave, drugs and live animal trades, and then set about working my way up in the Imperial Navy until I could start bombing raids on Solar targets.
God I love that game. I want more time, damn it.
Anyway, back on topic, I agree - I didn't donate to Braben's Kickstarter, but if the game looks worthwhile I'll definitely buy it when it's released. I'm just not totally sure it *will* be worthwhile. I'm not a thirteen year old with weeks to sink into a space trading game anymore, and that's sure to hamper things a bit.
(For nostalgia, by the way, you can do worse than FFED3D, which is a heavily patched version of First Encounters, with its graphics engine ripped out and replaced with one implemented in Direct3D. The only issue is that, well, it's First Encounters and even a heavily patched First Encounters is riddled with bugs and features spaceships that handle like shit when you use the keyboard. But it looks amazing.)
Re: Oh FFS
"There is a very subtle bug in the heart of Linux - certainly the versions since 8.04"
This is going to make me sound like a prick but there isn't a version 8.04 of Linux; you mean 8.04 of Ubuntu. The bug you're referring to could be in the kernel, it could be in X, etc. etc.
Is this important? In terms of distinction between kernel and OS, not really, no, though there are plenty of people who would vehemently disagree with me on that one. But in terms of remembering there are plenty of other Linux distributions out there (which may or may not have the same bug, depending on where it originated), yes it is. A bit. Relatively speaking, of course.
Re: How many re-releases this time round?
One would imagine that, being an entirely new film, it will follow a reasonably traditional release cycle: cinema (ranging from 3D Imax down to the local fleapit), Blu-Ray, torrent sites, Netflix etc., DVD.
I'd have to bugger myself with a fishfork too - it's just suddenly stopped being a problem. Not that I'm complaining.
In the event you or anyone else is still checking this I haven't had a crash of Firefox since and I'm not aware of doing anything differently. From one or more crashes a day back to nothing. Que será.
Firefox updated itself, I've not installed anything new. Could be a buggered add-on - just I can't find a reliable way of triggering the crashes so I can't test it isolating particular addons. (I don't have many anyway: Flashgot, NoScript, Adblock Plus, Feedly. Maybe the constant updates on NoScript have introduced a bug?)
Actually I swapped to Safari for a couple of weeks and it entertains itself hoarding all my RAM. Run it for ten hours and watch as it gobbles more than two gig. So I'll risk the death squads for the liberty of my memory.
Well, totally anecdotal evidence but I'm finding Firefox 23.0.1 on a Mac ludicrously crash-happy. I've had a sum total of bugger all browser crashes (across all platforms) for a good few years, and then multiple crashes in the last few weeks -- often two or three a day. Which is a pity because I've just gone round the circle of browsers again and still can't find anything that doesn't begin to send me potty.
Go the whole hog and put on Gentoo. Sure, it takes about three days to compile everything up (Gentoo+precompiled binaries for common applications is totally pointless; compile everything or use Arch) but you get an extra small burst of performance from compiling to your own specifications!
(Actually on a more serious note I wonder if I could compile up a Gentoo using a commercially-tuned compiler. Last time I used them, icc produced significantly faster binaries than gcc. Hmm...)
good IT guy with a job in London can easily earn more than MPs get"
FTFY. I've met IT guys working in the City who in no ways could be described as anything better than "adequate" but who were earning in excess of a hundred grand a year.
Re: Anon 0 Government 1 @HolyFreakinGhost
Also, their censored option is outlined as:
"Censored Internet access - restricted access to unpublished government mandated filter list (plus Daily Mail web site) - but still cannot guarantee kids don't access porn."
I doubt it will change anything but I'm liking their stance :)
Re: Anon 0 Government 1
"I wonder if some of the smaller ISPs, who are likely less able to absorb the start up costs associated with this system, could appeal to the competition commission that the govt. hasn't undertaken a proper equality impact assessment."
More likely they'll do as Andrews and Arnold have done, saying something like "If you choose censored you are advised: Sorry, for a censored internet you will have to pick a different ISP or move to North Korea. Our services are all unfiltered. Is that a good enough active choice for you Mr Cameron?" (emphasis theirs).
Then sit back and wait for this to be tested in court, where it is very likely to be thrown out.
That assumes it will even become legislation, which as an apparent sop towards a loony right of the party still pissed off about gay marriage, it most likely won't be. Hell, if nothing else we might even be able to rely on that unlikely bastion of democracy, the House of Lords, to block it long enough for the next election to be called, at which the Tories will be broken (and, ideally, never recover).
(Off-topic: I've been startled in the last ten years or so to see the House of Lords block unpopular legislation, but that seems to be one of Blair's greatest, and unwitting (and hopefully intensely personally annoying), legacies -- making the least democratic part of our constitution actually appealing to a republican...)
maybe the general failed to mention that he's actually an accountant but he takes the part of a general in his local civil war re-enactment society.
Re: Everything has a reason
In most cases I've no doubt that's true - armchair anarchists suddenly empowered by DDOS.
Also, "I very much doubt they're doing it for the lulz": you've not spent much time on the more tawdry parts of the internet, have you? Some of the douchebags who spend their life online definitely would do it for the lulz - and then doubtless protest mightily (on reddit and its ilk) when they find they can't afford to buy what they used to be able to thanks to "bankers".
Thank you, we treasure your opinion on the quality of modern music and how wonderful it is to "sample" every track at "256K"; I guess the good thing there is you can fit an entire album on a 1.44M floppy!
Now, what do you think about the spat between Spotify and Thom Yorke?
Re: Got that the wrong way round .....
Snowden openly admitted in his earlier interview with the South China Morning Post (article here) that he took the job with the NSA specifically after being told he would have access to this type of information. Regardless of your opinion on whether or not Snowden was right to do what he's done - and that's an antnest I have little interest in stirring up - this is one reason it would be an extremely bad idea for him to go anywhere near the States unless he can persuasively demonstrate that that wasn't him talking in an interview or that the SCMP fabricated the story, because that premeditation is not going to sit well with any court (whether trumped up or trustworthy).
That's why you should get behind the campaign to force Crytek to start developing Time Splitters 4. (Or behind the community development of Time Splitters Rewind.) Virtually none of the po-faced realism of most FPSs, which leaves me as cold as it leaves you, but it does have plenty of monkeys, zombie monkeys, cyborg monkeys, gingerbread men, snowmen, and "The Shoal" which is a big fish wearing a top hat and monocle who has other smaller fish for arms and is easy to headshoot.
If you never played any of the Time Splitters games they're basically descendents of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, developed by many of the same people after they left Rare, and they play almost identically to Perfect Dark but with even more of a sense of humour.
I love Time Splitters, which is why I've made this totally off-topic post.
Where are you still finding 128kb/s mp3s? Absolutely genuine question, I've only ever bought music from Amazon (which I think I got at ~230kb/s AAC), 7digital (normally 320kb/s AAC or MP3) or Bandcamp/Soundcloud where I've found artists are happy to upload FLAC/ALAC.
Re: Why are Snowden's travel options ignoring legs by boat or bus?....
If it suited Russia to do so they could provide a diplomatic car under some pretext and load Snowden onto it, then put him on a blacked-out carriage on the Trans-Siberian railway, then transfer him in a blacked-out cab to a ship from Vladivostock to Venezuala. The lack of documents would not be an issue to Russia if they didn't want it to be. (Come to that, I see few reasons to believe he's *literally* been in the airport all this time, although he's certainly officially been in the airport.)
Re: Wake up and realize this is global.
@SecurityPedant. You're genuinely one of the very few people I've seen talk even vaguely sensibly about this topic, and the broader context, and that includes the journalists.
Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*
They still build the best consoles on the market in my opinion, but some of us have gotten tired of them assuming that all their customers are thieves and being treated as such.
I don't think I've used a piece of Sony kit of my own since an MP3 player in the very early 2000s which insisted I run a piece of software that was
b) Extraordinarily buggy
d) Entirely unfit for purpose
No, I lie, I've got a Sony Reader. It's one of the best things I've ever bought, helped by the fact that I don't have to use the Sony Reader software which is
b) Extraordinarily buggy
d) Entirely unfit for purpose
(Also: e) Slow)
I'd love it if that was how they did it.
Some of the evidence circled around a TrueCrypt file on his drive which contained a reasonable number of incriminating files. Apparently prosecutors were able to decrypt it although I've no idea how they did that.
Re: Planetary formation theories...
This isn't my field at all so I might be wrong, but what I'd imagine is that this isn't an assumption at all but rather a product of the current planetary formation models. The collapsing clouds of gas that form both the planets and the stars are primarily hydrogen -- something like 75% hydrogen, 24% helium, or thereabouts, for modern stars. (My numbers may well be wrong; it's ten years since I studied this stuff, but they're close enough for government work.) That leaves you with bare traces of damn all for the rocks, metals (and, indeed, lithium let alone anything heavier like oxygen or nitrogen) to make planets out of. In itself this doesn't say that planets can't form sooner than stars -- and, indeed, rogue planets have been theoretically proven for decades and observationally proven in recent years. If you're into that kind of thing, have a read of "A Sun Invisible" and "Satan's World" by Poul Anderson, who majored in physics and took pains to make his galaxy believable, including at least these two stories about rogue planets.
Anyway, the point is that the vast bulk of the collapsing matter is hydrogen; other elements are scarce. That in itself immediately implies that the earliest structures to form are going to be bodies built of hydrogen and helium -- as indeed we see in the solar system with the Sun and the gas giants and particularly Jupiter. If we add to that that the biggest knot is going to collapse fastest and form a recognisable structure fastest, and that that knot will become the star, it becomes very likely that a star will form before the planets. The planets are then likely to form chiefly through accretion of lighter elements, which will take millions of years given how rare they really are (although of course lighter elements will be accreting one onto the other as they orbit in a protoplanetary disc, and others will be trapped and fall onto "planets" that are really little more than failing brown dwarfs without much of a core to their name).
None of that says that planets can't form before stars -- of course not. It also doesn't say that even if the star and protoplanetary disc form as expected that the young star can't trap a "rogue" planet that formed in isolation somewhere else in the molecular cloud. But with an orbit that regular, in the middle of a disc that's of about the right age, it is far more likely that the star formed earlier, and the planet coalesced from accretion within the disc.
Or that's how it seems to me, but it's very, very well worth remembering that I'm little more than a reasonably well-informed layman in this field and almost entirely unaware of the current thinking.
Re: Ok so
Yes because all science ever has to have had immediate and direct practical applications, which would come as something of a shock to Einstein, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Dirac and the rest -- without whom none of the modern world would exist.
Re: IRS registration required...
Hmm, I signed up with Kindle Direct a couple of years back and there's an explicit option to declare whether you hold the license worldwide or in a specific territory (and, I'd hope, territories). I haven't registered with the IRS, but that's not least because Amazon themselves advise not to bother unless you're earning above a certain limit (roughly around £100 a year, I think).
Kudos to Smashwords though, I publish on there more happily than Amazon. Actually saying that I think I've got one story up on Amazon that isn't on Smashwords. I might have to rectify that, but I'd like something new to publish at the same time.
I think over the last 18 months I've made about £15 selling stories. Thankfully I'm not in this for the money...
Re: IRS registration required...
don't license to sell in the states and you don't need to register with the irs. you'll have to deal with tax agencies in other countries, of course.
the alternative is that given the reality that you'll make somewhere between sod all and a tenner a year, is it worth registering for the irs anyway? the answer is obviously "no".
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