March 18, 2014
This brought tears to my eyes. Vindication for 30 years of work and assertion. Can you imagine?
Brief explanation. “5 Sigma” is described thus:
Incidentally, for anyone not au fait with scientific. terminology as used in the video, “sigma” refers to standard deviations in statistics and is a way of measuring the chance of something just being statistical fluctuation. “5-sigma” means there is a 0.0000003 chance that the result is a random fluctuation in the data, and is the level of probability used as a standard to declare something a discovery.
So if it had only been a 0.000003 chance (5 zeros to the right of the decimal) that they were wrong they would say it was unconfirmed. Add that extra order of magnitude, that extra zero (0.0000003), and they say yes, we’re going to say this is confirmed. Astonishing accuracy and a laudable level of certainty that must be achieved.
It’s really neat to see their reactions.
March 17, 2014
Witness the joy of the man who predicted today’s Big Bang discovery as he hears the news: “Today is a great day for science, humanity and Andrei Dmitriyevich Linde—one of the main authors of the inflationary universe theory that was confirmed today. Watch his emotions as assistant Professor Chao-Lin Kuo surprises him with the news of the evidence that supports his theoretical work.”
Pretty neat to see his face.
March 16, 2014
“‘It’s been called the Holy Grail of cosmology,’ Hiranya Peiris, a cosmologist from University College London, told the Guardian. ‘It would be a real major, major, major discovery.’ Any convincing evidence would almost certainly lead to a Nobel prize.”
Far-Traveling Objects: “In terms of human-made objects, has Voyager 1 travelled the farthest distance? It’s certainly the farthest from Earth we know about. But what about the edge of ultracentrifuges, or generator turbines that have been running for years, for example?
“‘Obamacare would cost me $4,855.20 a year more, or a $2.33 an hour pay cut.’ And Angela Portillo, a maid at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas: ‘The Obamacare website says (my husband and I) would have to pay $8,057.04 a year more to keep the great insurance we have now. That’s a $3.87 per hour pay cut.’
Americans who says they’ve been hurt by Obamacare outnumber those who say they’ve benefited from it by more than 2 to 1, according to recent polls by both Rasmussen and Gallup.
The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that, through February, only about 15 percent of the 17.2 million people eligible for Obamacare had enrolled.
‘They are not buying it because the premium — even net of the subsidies — is too much for plans that have deductibles that are too high,’ Mr. Laszewski said.
A Brooking Institution study indicated that families with incomes between $20,000 and $38,000 will suffer the largest proportionate income declines.
‘Only in Washington could asking the bottom of the middle class to finance health care for the poorest families be seen as reducing inequality,’ the Unite Here report said.”
It’s bad news all the way down. Too bad we weren’t warned that this very thing was going to happen… oh, wait.
But, as always, I refer to the comment I saw online: “Even if it bankrupts the country, we have the moral obligation to provide everyone with health insurance.” Wish: granted.
March 14, 2014
March 13, 2014
March 12, 2014
Just finished my 14th book since January 1st. Shooting for 50 this year. I’ve gotten to 48 before but never passed the half-century mark. Hopefully this year will be the first time.
March 10, 2014
Edward Snowden at SXSW: The NSA is setting fire to the future of the Internet: “I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and I saw that Constitution being violated on a massive scale.”
But remember, this guy is somehow the enemy and should have gone through “proper channels” to air his grievances. Just ask this guy, who did just that, and got blackballed for his efforts to do things within the system.
“Taking care of others is a sign of moral character. So is taking care of oneself. Relying on others to take care of you when you are capable of taking care of yourself is just plain selfish and the very definition of irresponsible.”
Well said. Please note the all-important qualifier in the sentence: “when you are capable of taking care of yourself”. Often detractors or opponents of this idea will conveniently skip over this caveat in their rush to discredit. This, however, is the hinge upon which the rest hangs.
Anyway, good thoughts here.
March 6, 2014
March 5, 2014
The Uncanny Valley, Interior-Design Edition – Megan Garber – The Atlantic: “You know Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset? Now there’s a 3-D version of Jerry’s apartment, created for the platform by the OR designer and Seinfeld fan Greg Miller. Which means, as On the Media put it: ‘Anyone with an OR headset can download his project and sit around pretending that they’re talking about nothing.’
It also means that there is now highly unscientific evidence that the uncanny valley hypothesis can be extended beyond its original meaning and applied to the aesthetics of physical spaces. Because ‘Jerry’s Place’—while it is impressively detailed (look at that photo!)—is also undeniably creepy. And also, arguably, a little bit sad. Either way, it hovers in that real-but-not-real space that is so perfectly captured by the term ‘virtual reality.’ “
March 4, 2014
This is total win. I’m going to do this. Might even get a solar panel.
In the Texas summer heat it would probably take fifteen minutes to pay for itself.
“She suddenly remembered, and for the first time understood, one of the scientists trying to explain mockingbirds to her. That the boy mockingbird with the most stolen songs gets the girl. Because if he can sing the song of a hawk, it means he’s met the hawk and lived to tell about it.”
The Myriad, R.M. Meluch
February 28, 2014
Related: The End of Higher Education’s Golden Age (h/t Sean for the link)
“Many of my colleagues believe that if we just explain our plight clearly enough, legislators will come to their senses and give us enough money to save us from painful restructuring. I’ve never seen anyone explain why this argument will be persuasive, and we are nearing the 40th year in which similar pleas have failed, but “Someday the government will give us lots of money” remains in circulation, largely because contemplating our future without that faith is so bleak. If we can’t keep raising costs for students (we can’t) and if no one is coming to save us (they aren’t), then the only remaining way to help these students is to make a cheaper version of higher education for the new student majority.”
What can’t go on forever, won’t. Promises that can’t be kept, won’t be. Prepare accordingly.
February 27, 2014
8 Surprising Historical Facts That Will Change Your Concept Of Time Forever: “4. The Pyramids of Giza were built in the time of wooly mammoths.”
Read them all. Pretty fun.