It was a bad day. A lot of bad stuff happened. And I'd love to forget it all. But I don't. Not ever. Because this is what I do. Every time, every day, every second, this: On five, we're bringing down the government.

Monday, April 28

Cool

On The Subject Of The Higgs Boson And How We Know For Certain That All That New-Agey Spiritual Crap Is, In Fact, Crap

Sorry, jump forward to about 34:00 to get to the delicious creamy filling.  I did have that working, but now it doesn't want to behave.

Though then you'd miss the chocalatey coating, with tidbits like the fact that the amount of energy in the particle beam of the Large Hadron Collider is equivalent to a freight train moving at 100 miles an hour.  (Which is why the thing is so big - freight trains have lousy turning circles.)


In essence, any hypothetical event - say, faith healing - can be reduced to particle interactions under Quantum Field Theory.  People are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons, so whatever happens to us has to interact in some way with those particles.

We know the properties of the known subatomic particles, and none of them allow for faith healing.  So if faith healing were real, it would have to be carried by a new, previously unknown particle.  And under Quantum Field Theory the properties of that particle would be constrained by the very fact that it interacts in normal, perceptible ways (curing illness) with normal everyday matter.

The trick shown here is that the same equations that describe this hypothetical interaction also describe how new particles are produced in particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider.  And the constraints on the properties of our hypothetical faith healing particle include a constraint on its mass.  And for our hypothetical particle to interact in perceptible ways with everyday matter, that mass would be low enough that existing particle accelerators would generate it in quantity.

And yet, they don't.

In other words, any such particle would already have been found and catalogued, and the mechanism for faith healing discovered.

Which means that Quantum Field Theory can be correct, or faith healing can be real, but not both.  The evidence for Quantum Field Theory is vast; if it were wrong, you would not be reading this, because computers and fibre-optic links simply would not work.

This doesn't mean that there aren't exotic undiscovered particles that show up at very very small scales or at very very high energies.  It doesn't mean that we won't find such particles and harness them in advanced technologies.  It just means that we know for certain that they play no direct role in our everyday lives.

There are known unknowns in physics; we don't know what dark matter is, and dark energy came as a complete surprise.  And there are almost certainly unknown unknowns.  But Quantum Field Theory tells us where these unknowns lie, and it's not in our day-to-day world.

Which means that not just faith healing, but anything that affects people in perceptible ways, that disagrees with known physics, is known to be untrue.

So bigfoot isn't ruled out (though it clearly doesn't exist), but ghosts most certainly are.  Acupuncture isn't ruled out (though meridians don't exist), but crystals are just pretty rocks.  And so on.

We reject all that stuff anyway because it's unsupported by evidence and contradicts well-tested scientific theories, but Quantum Field Theory tells us outright that it cannot be true.  If the internet exists, then psychic powers do not.  If you have an iPhone, you do not have a guardian angel.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:28 AM | Comments (12) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Monday, April 21

World

A Serious Question

What the hell is it with Democrats and totalitarian iconography?  They don't even seem to care whether they steal from communists, fascists, or movie posters for 1984.

The Hillary poster in particular seems to come from some weird alternate universe in which Eva Peron was an admiral of the Imperial Japanese navy.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:36 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Saturday, April 19

World

Portlandish

So, a reservoir in Portland is to be drained because someone urinated in it.  Essentially, they're using 38 million gallons of water to flush the loo.

This is...  Something of an overreaction.  Apart from the ick factor, and the possibility that the phantom micturator has an implausibly infectious UTI, the toxic substance in urine is urea.   And if the entire population of Portland emptied their bladders into that one reservoir, the concentration of urea would still be undetectable by taste or smell and below the allowed limit.*

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:05 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Friday, April 18

Geek

Choices...

The contenders to replace my old Dell 27" monitor:

Samsung 28" 3840x2160 TN display for $749.
Dell 24" 3840x2160 IPS display for $1199.*
LG 34" 3440x1440 IPS display for $1299.

The Samsung is cheapest by a good margin, but it's a TN panel, and I've been using IPS screens on my desktop since I first moved away from CRTs.

The Dell is a very high-quality screen, but it's the smallest, and runs exclusively at 3840x2160.  So it's not great for gaming unless you have something like the new Radeon 295X2, a $1500 500W liquid-cooled monster.

The LG is actually lower resolution than the others, but it's huge and wide enough for three workable documents side-by-side.

I think there's no bad choice here; they all look like excellent monitors.  Unfortunately, I don't really have the money or space to buy one of each.

* It was A$1699 at the start of the year.  That price is coming down fast.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 03:09 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, April 17

Cool

Musical Interlude

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:35 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, April 09

Geek

Dodging Bullets

First Apple's SSL library had a serious security flaw, but that's okay because I don't use Apple's SSL.  (I have an iPad, but it mostly just sits there.)

Then GnuTLS had a worse security flaw, but that's okay because I use OpenSSL.

Then OpenSSL had the worst security flaw of them all...  But that's okay because the version of OpenSSL we're using here is older than the bug.

I will wipe and reinstall a couple of virtual machines that don't have user data on them yet, just in case.

Of course, while mee.nu was secure* Amazon, Google, and any number of other providers have been exposed to this bug to varying degrees for two years.**  And the nature of the bug is such that attacks would not show up in normal server logs; it's a silent, pseudo-random data leak.

* Entirely because I've been too busy to migrate to a newer version of Linux and install proper certificates, not because of any specific virtue.

** It's been a busy two years.  Seriously.  I don't want to talk about it.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:50 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Sunday, April 06

Geek

Get With The Program!

I mentioned recently how iiNet have been periodically upgrading my internet plan for free for eight years.

This leaves me with this "problem":

daily usage trends
anytime:8,325MB

suggested daily usage
anytime:125,024MB

I'm not sure that my connection is actually fast enough to download 125GB per day.  Never mind finding that much content that I want.  I just downloaded every current version of Linux Mint because it was there and I might want to try it some day.  There's only so many Linux distros and podcasts out there...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:27 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Friday, April 04

Life

April

Three public holidays and I get an extra hour of sleep this Sunday.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:16 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, April 03

Geek

U28D590D

I almost bought a new monitor (or two) last year.  I have a Dell U2711, and while it's adequate, it's not a perfect monitor (and mine has a few flaws that have developed over the past couple of years).

So I've been looking closely at Dell's 4K monitors. The 32" model at around $3000 is simply too expensive; I might be able to afford it, but I have better things to do with the money.  The 28" model is a lot cheaper ($829), but it's a TN panel rather than IPS, and it's limited to 30Hz.

The 24" model falls in between - it's IPS and a full 60Hz, but half the price of the 32" model ($1449).  But it's not all that big, smaller than my current screen.  Also, it doesn't have a scaler - the only resolution it accepts is 3840x2160.  I have a Radeon 7950, which isn't a bad graphics card, but it's not up to playing the latest games at 4K resolution.  I don't really care about playing games at 4K - I played Mass Effect 1 and 2 on my current monitor at 720p, and that was just fine - but if I have a monitor that only accepts 4K, I'm kind of stuck.

So, none of the Dells are ideal.  But Samsung just announced their catchily titled U28D590D, a 28" display most likely using the identical TN panel as the Dell model, but with different electronics.  Samsung provide 4k@60Hz via DisplayPort, and dual HDMI inputs for 4K@30Hz - or 1080p@60Hz.   Or, for that matter, two side-by-side displays of 1920x2160, if for some strange reason you wish to do that.  It can also do scalable picture-in-picture with the alternate inputs.

It has a fairly nice, minimalist industrial design.

/images/U28something.jpg?size=720x&q=95

And it costs $749.  Australian.  Including sales tax.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:01 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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