gpl's recent activity

  1. Comment on What's something you wish people outside of your field knew/understood? in ~talk

    gpl
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    Beyond basic things like "the position of the stars at your time of birth has precisely zero influence on your personality or what kind of day you're going to have", there are a few things I wish...

    Beyond basic things like "the position of the stars at your time of birth has precisely zero influence on your personality or what kind of day you're going to have", there are a few things I wish people understood about a) cosmology, b) physics, and c) science (in order of increasing generality). Some are quite specific so I understand why the general public may not care or be expected to understand, whereas some are quite general and I think it would be good for everyone to understand. Examples:

    Cosmology

    • The evidence for dark matter, at this time, far outweighs the evidence for any specific theory of modified gravity. While the latter can be interesting, we are pretty confident dark matter exists and it's not really a "placeholder" or a sign we're clueless.
    • Yes, satellite constellations really do pose a problem for ground based astronomy and it's not something that can easily be resolved by changing observing patterns, data analysis, or other "obvious" solutions.
    • Despite the nomenclature, dark energy and dark matter are almost completely separate concepts (we think), and we know a lot more about dark matter than we do dark energy.

    Physics

    • The fact that we haven't found evidence for the easiest to detect models of supersymmetry is disappoint but it doesn't mean that supersymmetry is dead, just that we may not be as lucky as we could have hoped.
    • It is extremely unlikely that faster-than-light travel will ever be possible, even accounting for exotic solutions that don't technically break the rules, like the Alcubierre drive or whatever it is called.
    • The fact that particle physics theory seems to have hit a dead end is more a consequence of lack of funding for the big experiments needed to get more data than it is anything fundamental about the theories themselves.

    Science

    • The reductionist hypothesis does not imply a constructionist one, and even if everything obeys the same fundamental rules, the changes in scale introduced by considering complex or large systems mean that it will probably not be possible, even in principle, to simulate or derive complex behavior just by simulating the basic rules. That is, we won't be able to figure out how things like solids work just by starting from quantum field theory and simulating things from there, even with an arbitrarily powerful computer. Genuinely new phenomena are introduced by complexity that would not be captured. A corollary of this is that genuinely fundamental problems exist in many fields and aren't confined to just the "basic" ones of, say, particle physics.
    • Scientific consensus is good, actually, and if you're not an expert in some field it's probably best to just listen to that consensus instead of seeking out counterpoints in the interest of "understanding the issue". It's far too easy to feel like you understand enough to distinguish between genuinely valid ideas that run contrary to the consensus, which may nonetheless be well thought out and not easily dismissed, and the pet projects of individual researchers which are not so.
    13 votes
  2. Comment on Feynman and the bomb in ~humanities

    gpl
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    I discovered this blog recently written by Alex Wellerstein, a nuclear historian and an excellent writer. If you're interested in nuclear history at all, I highly recommend checking it out. The...

    I discovered this blog recently written by Alex Wellerstein, a nuclear historian and an excellent writer. If you're interested in nuclear history at all, I highly recommend checking it out. The story I linked examines Richard Feynman's contributions to the bomb project beyond the usual hijinks you might typically associate with his time at Los Alamos, and in particular I found the connections to his later science very interesting. I'll probably be posting other interesting articles from this site in the future as I'm very interested in nuclear history and policy.

    3 votes
  3. Comment on Alexei Navalny: Poisoned (Russian) opposition leader held after flying home in ~news

    gpl
    Link Parent
    I agree with most of what you’ve said, but how does the Assange arrest at all compare to this? They seem like completely distinct situations to me, not at all similar.

    I agree with most of what you’ve said, but how does the Assange arrest at all compare to this? They seem like completely distinct situations to me, not at all similar.

    2 votes
  4. Comment on Daily thread - United States 2021 transition of power - January 16 in ~news

    gpl
    Link Parent
    This is a weird one because it does seem plausible that it was an honest mistake? Is this guy really employed by a security firm working alongside capitol police? This article just quotes his...

    This is a weird one because it does seem plausible that it was an honest mistake? Is this guy really employed by a security firm working alongside capitol police? This article just quotes his father claiming that. It seems weird that he would have a non-government issued ID in that case. It's also not clear why they would claim he has 500 rounds of ammo if he didn't, as he claims. It seems like one party here isn't being forthright with what happened.

    5 votes
  5. Comment on Report: China CCP to nationalize Jack Ma's Alibaba and Ant Group in ~news

    gpl
    Link Parent
    Subscription based news removes a lot of the incentives to editorialize in an effort to drive clicks and engagement. I honestly think we would be better off if more things were subscription based.

    Subscription based news removes a lot of the incentives to editorialize in an effort to drive clicks and engagement. I honestly think we would be better off if more things were subscription based.

    11 votes
  6. Comment on 70TB of Parler users’ messages, videos, and posts leaked by security researchers in ~tech

    gpl
    Link Parent
    I’m asking this because I’m genuinely curious, and not too much should be read into the comparison: would you feel the same way of this happened to an ISIS recruiting site?

    I’m asking this because I’m genuinely curious, and not too much should be read into the comparison: would you feel the same way of this happened to an ISIS recruiting site?

    4 votes
  7. Comment on Former Israeli space security chief claims an alien "Galactic Federation" has been in contact with humanity for years, but are keeping themselves a secret to prevent hysteria until humanity is ready in ~space

    gpl
    Link Parent
    If the Federation was smart, they will know something like this will ruin his reputation and not only make his claims not be taken seriously, but will also stigmatize the subject further and make...

    If the Federation was smart, they will know something like this will ruin his reputation and not only make his claims not be taken seriously, but will also stigmatize the subject further and make future claims also not taken seriously. It's actually in their interest that this go to press. Checkmate!

    14 votes
  8. Comment on Implement a feature that allows users to flag and challenge exemplary labels on comments they find undeserving in ~tildes

    gpl
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    I want to echo others that I really don't think it's too much of an issue, in the sense that each user only gets one label every 8 hours, its influence on sorting usually isn't too pronounced, and...

    I want to echo others that I really don't think it's too much of an issue, in the sense that each user only gets one label every 8 hours, its influence on sorting usually isn't too pronounced, and it usually doesn't really drown out any other comments. Of course, I agree that objective misuse (e.g. coordinating use of exemplary labels to dominate discussion) should be disallowed, but I don't agree that there should be some review or challenge process for something that is fundamentally my opinion. Why should someone else, like a group of users or an admin, get to say "Actually, no, you did not think this comment was exemplary". There have often been times that I have seen comments I don't particularly think are notable with blue labels, but I'm approaching the comment in a different context and experience than the person who awarded it. Maybe they did think it was exemplary in that moment.

    There are potential methods of misuse that aren't as blatant as the example I gave above, such as using the labels to "balance out" a perceived misuse of another one in a back and forth chain. But those types of things I think are a social issue in which people view discussions here as something to be won or lost, and labels as a way of gauging that. I don't think its particularly an issue with the mechanic itself. Sometimes social/community issues arise because a mechanic lends itself to being misused or misunderstood, but I personally don't feel that's the case here.

    4 votes
  9. Comment on The time is right to re-evaluate open worlds. We can do better in ~games.game_design

    gpl
    Link Parent
    I would be interested in some "multiverse" type thing where there is a large and in-depth local world, but one which can be expanded by connecting for online play.

    I would be interested in some "multiverse" type thing where there is a large and in-depth local world, but one which can be expanded by connecting for online play.

    7 votes
  10. Comment on What is a particle? in ~science

    gpl
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    For what it's worth, I am in the "Particles are what we measure in detectors" camp.

    For what it's worth, I am in the "Particles are what we measure in detectors" camp.

    2 votes
  11. Comment on It’s time to restore scientific integrity in ~science

    gpl
    Link Parent
    I'm conflicted on this point. On one hand, I totally support the idea that research papers and journals should be as accessible as possible, and this particularly has an effect on researchers at...

    That, and stop paygating access to research. Restricting access to science is never going to be a net win for humanity.

    I'm conflicted on this point. On one hand, I totally support the idea that research papers and journals should be as accessible as possible, and this particularly has an effect on researchers at underfunded institutions and in developing countries. On the other hand, I do think there are instances where data needs to be paygated. In large, cross-national scientific collaborations somebody has to pay for the infrastructure and the operating overhead (which can often be comparable in cost to the initial investment in instruments over the lifespan of the project), and using the data outputs of the collaboration as a carrot on a stick is one reliable way to make sure everyone pays their fair share and science can get done. If institutions or nations know they are going to get access to the data anyway since it is published for free, there is very little incentive for them to contribute to these aspects of the budget. This has caused some issues in the past for some collaborations I have experience with, and I imagine it is not a new problem.

    3 votes
  12. Comment on Robin Kemp lost her news job in Clayton County, Ga. — but she kept reporting the news. It paid off on election week. in ~news

    gpl
    Link Parent
    Her updates were much awaited on Reddit and Twitter on election night. She has a gofundme set up to support her independent journalism which was getting passed around as well. What a great story...

    Her updates were much awaited on Reddit and Twitter on election night. She has a gofundme set up to support her independent journalism which was getting passed around as well. What a great story about how an extremely ordinary person can play a part in a global story. I love stuff like this.

    5 votes
  13. Comment on Modern IDEs are magic. Why are so many coders still using Vim and Emacs? in ~comp

    gpl
    Link Parent
    Chiming in to echo this. I use vim with a couple of plugins like powerline to make it a little more modern. I don't need much more than this. Granted, I am not a software dev but rather a...

    Chiming in to echo this. I use vim with a couple of plugins like powerline to make it a little more modern. I don't need much more than this. Granted, I am not a software dev but rather a scientist, so I am sure that no matter how big I think my projects are they are not nearly as complex (from a CS point of view) as a standard software dev project. I use vim because I need to be able to edit and run my code on tons of different systems, many of which are either only accessible through SSHing or at least more easily accessible in this way. vim is already on pretty much all of these systems, and it only takes a few minutes of one time config to get it set up the way I want. Maybe one day I will move on to a more modern IDE, but vim does everything I want or need for my projects.

    5 votes
  14. Comment on Timasomo 2020 Thread #2: Update Thread 1 in ~creative

    gpl
    Link Parent
    Wow, never knew VR open mics were a thing. This sounds super cool. I consider myself a decent public speaker, but the thought of attempting standup is so anxiety inducing. Major props for getting...

    Wow, never knew VR open mics were a thing. This sounds super cool. I consider myself a decent public speaker, but the thought of attempting standup is so anxiety inducing. Major props for getting up there and doing it.

    4 votes
  15. Comment on Joe Biden is the next President of the United States in ~news

    gpl
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    Literally honking and cheering in the streets. We're finally getting a break from shit.

    Literally honking and cheering in the streets. We're finally getting a break from shit.

    7 votes
  16. Comment on 2020 US Presidential Election Day - Discussion Thread in ~talk

    gpl
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    This election is going to be talked about for years. Just insane to live through really.

    This election is going to be talked about for years. Just insane to live through really.

    5 votes
  17. Comment on 2020 US Presidential Election Day - Discussion Thread in ~talk

    gpl
    Link Parent
    I just want to point out that the OP originally said they will take away constitutional rights, not that they want to. I don't think the two are equivalent.

    I just want to point out that the OP originally said they will take away constitutional rights, not that they want to. I don't think the two are equivalent.

    5 votes
  18. Comment on 2020 US Presidential Election Day - Discussion Thread in ~talk

    gpl
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    With AZ and NE-2 looking likely to go to Biden, I am very optimistic that the Democrats will pull it off. That being said, that it isn't a landslide is hugely disappointing, and we may not get the...

    With AZ and NE-2 looking likely to go to Biden, I am very optimistic that the Democrats will pull it off. That being said, that it isn't a landslide is hugely disappointing, and we may not get the Senate.

    10 votes