gpl's recent activity

  1. Comment on Read For Yourself: President Trump's Abuse of Power in ~news

    gpl
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    This is pretty well put together in my opinion and does a convincing job of laying out the narrative. Democrats should be blasting on social media.

    This is pretty well put together in my opinion and does a convincing job of laying out the narrative. Democrats should be blasting on social media.

    7 votes
  2. Comment on SpaceX has successfully launched another 60 Starlink satellites in ~space

    gpl
    Link Parent
    The alternative is working with both regulatory agencies and the astronomical community to mitigate the issues that these constellations bring into the fold. So far Musk has been completely...

    The alternative is working with both regulatory agencies and the astronomical community to mitigate the issues that these constellations bring into the fold. So far Musk has been completely unwilling to do either, and I have seen nothing to convince me he is interested in changing his approach going forward. Competitors are sure to follow.

    Earth-based astronomy hasn't imploded yet because scientists have put tons of effort (I wonder how many dissertations have been on this alone) into identify and compensating for transients in survey telescopes. Even then, its imperfect and some percentage of images taken each night have to get thrown out. To increase that number by a factor of 6-10 in the course of a few years is a nightmare for astronomy in my opinion that is hard to convey because, as the NYT article points out, to the naked eye almost nothing has changed. It's not just visible astronomy mind you - even though attempts are made to minimize radio noise from these constellations, the sheer numbers involved will make radio-based astronomy collaborations (like the Event Horizon Telescope, for example) much more difficult.

    These large survey telescopes are huge public investments into pure science - truly investments that have little immediate hope of turning some type of profit - that are being kneecapped in a race for more money. Global internet is certainly an important goal. I just don't trust one or two companies to get us there, and certainly not ones that have already show flagrant disregard for communities and agencies that they should ostensibly be working with.

    6 votes
  3. Comment on SpaceX has successfully launched another 60 Starlink satellites in ~space

    gpl
    Link Parent
    The article is largely accurate. My main concern is for these large scale survey telescopes, like LSST which is mentioned in the article. The sheer quantity of these planned constellations (and...

    The article is largely accurate. My main concern is for these large scale survey telescopes, like LSST which is mentioned in the article. The sheer quantity of these planned constellations (and surely, if Starlink is successful, it is only the beginning) is unlike other challenges faced by these surveys. Large numbers of images will be spoiled by reflection artifacts alone with other issues arising. Check out LSST's statement and a statement from the IAU for more info.

    The most frustrating thing about this, for me, is that there are simple solutions that could at least mitigate the issue that Musk & Starlink have completely ignored, despite publicly claiming to be willing to work with the astronomical community. Proposals like simply painting the satellites a less reflective color (like black) would solve or at least lessen some of the issues, but there's been no movement on this front. It's not a huge surprise in my opinion, as Musk's only goal in the long run is profits, but it is a bit rich considering his public perception as a big supporter of "science".

    8 votes
  4. Comment on SpaceX has successfully launched another 60 Starlink satellites in ~space

    gpl
    (edited )
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    I’m not very happy about this as it has relatively big impacts on my field (cosmology/astronomy). The goal of worldwide internet is a noble one, but I can’t help but feel Starlink is ultimately...

    I’m not very happy about this as it has relatively big impacts on my field (cosmology/astronomy). The goal of worldwide internet is a noble one, but I can’t help but feel Starlink is ultimately inhibiting science and progress in the name of profit.

    12 votes
  5. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    gpl
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    I'm in a reading drought and don't really know what to pick up next. Just been reading a little bit of poetry but I'm looking for something longer. I just finished Cat's Cradle, which was good but...

    I'm in a reading drought and don't really know what to pick up next. Just been reading a little bit of poetry but I'm looking for something longer. I just finished Cat's Cradle, which was good but I didn't like it as much as I should have hoped. Some possible books on my list:

    • The Windup Bird Chronicle
    • Love in the Time of Cholera
    • The Adventures of Augie March
    • Memoirs of a Geisha
    • Hiroshima
    • Sand County Almanac

    Does anyone have opinions on the above? I'm not sure what I'm in the mood for so it's tough to choose!

    1 vote
  6. Comment on Announcements from Google's 2019 "Made by Google" event in ~tech

    gpl
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    Is anyone here actually excited about Stadia? I'd love to hear your perspective because right now it just seems so... pointless? to me. What type of gamer is it supposed to appeal to?

    Is anyone here actually excited about Stadia? I'd love to hear your perspective because right now it just seems so... pointless? to me. What type of gamer is it supposed to appeal to?

    2 votes
  7. Comment on Is Tolkien's prose really that bad? in ~books

    gpl
    Link Parent
    I always love reading the songs and making up melodies that fall apart when a stanza ends two bars early. But actually, the songs and poems add so much depth to the story!

    I always love reading the songs and making up melodies that fall apart when a stanza ends two bars early. But actually, the songs and poems add so much depth to the story!

    3 votes
  8. Comment on Is Tolkien's prose really that bad? in ~books

    gpl
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    LOTR are some of my favorite books, but I unfortunately don't have the time right now to offer a fuller defense of Tolkien's prose (I'm at work), which I think is largely quite good. I want to...

    LOTR are some of my favorite books, but I unfortunately don't have the time right now to offer a fuller defense of Tolkien's prose (I'm at work), which I think is largely quite good. I want to leave an excerpt here I find particularly good in the hopes that it will spark a nice discussion, and hopefully I can come back later and discuss a bit more.

    This is from the chapter In The House of Tom Bombadil in the Fellowship of the Ring:

    He then told them many remarkable stories, sometimes half as if speaking to himself, sometimes looking at them suddenly with a bright blue eye under his deep brows. Often his voice would turn to song, and he would get out of his chair and dance about. He told them tales of bees and flowers, the ways of trees, and the strange creatures of the Forest, about the evil things and good things, things friendly and things unfriendly, cruel things and kind things, and secrets hidden under brambles.

    As they listened, they began to understand the lives of the Forest, apart from themselves, indeed to feel themselves as the strangers where all other things were at home. Moving constantly in and out of his talk was Old Man Willow, and Frodo learned now enough to content him, indeed more than enough, for it was not comfortable lore. Tom’s words laid bare the hearts of trees and their thoughts, which were often dark and strange, and filled with a hatred of things that go free upon the earth, gnawing, biting, breaking, hacking, burning: destroyers and usurpers. It was not called the Old Forest without reason, for it was indeed ancient, a survivor of vast forgotten woods; and in it there lived yet, ageing no quicker than the hills, the fathers of the fathers of trees, remembering times when they were lords. The countless years had filled them with pride and rooted wisdom, and with malice. But none were more dangerous than the Great Willow: his heart was rotten, but his strength was green; and he was cunning, and a master of winds, and his song and thought ran through the woods on both sides of the river. His grey thirsty spirit drew power out of the earth and spread like fine root-threads in the ground, and invisible twig-fingers in the air, till it had under its dominion nearly all the trees of the Forest from the Hedge to the Downs.

    Suddenly Tom’s talk left the woods and went leaping up the young stream, over bubbling waterfalls, over pebbles and worn rocks, and among small flowers in close grass and wet crannies, wandering at last up on to the Downs. They heard of the Great Barrows, and the green mounds, and the stone-rings upon the hills and in the hollows among the hills. Sheep were bleating in flocks. Green walls and white walls rose. There were fortresses on the heights. Kings of little kingdoms fought together, and the young Sun shone like fire on the red metal of their new and greedy swords. There was victory and defeat; and towers fell, fortresses were burned, and flames went up into the sky. Gold was piled on the biers of dead kings and queens; and mounds covered them, and the stone doors were shut; and the grass grew over all. Sheep walked for a while biting the grass, but soon the hills were empty again. A shadow came out of dark places far away, and the bones were stirred in the mounds. Barrow-wights walked in the hollow places with a clink of rings on cold fingers, and gold chains in the wind.’ Stone rings grinned out of the ground like broken teeth in the moonlight.

    The hobbits shuddered. Even in the Shire the rumour of the Barrow-wights of the Barrow-downs beyond the Forest had been heard. But it was not a tale that any hobbit liked to listen to, even by a comfortable fireside far away. These four now suddenly remembered what the joy of this house had driven from their minds: the house of Tom Bombadil nestled under the very shoulder of those dreaded hills. They lost the thread of his tale and shifted uneasily, looking aside at one another.

    When they caught his words again they found that he had now wandered into strange regions beyond their memory and beyond their waking thought, into limes when the world was wider, and the seas flowed straight to the western Shore; and still on and back Tom went singing out into ancient starlight, when only the Elf-sires were awake. Then suddenly he slopped, and they saw that he nodded as if he was falling asleep. The hobbits sat still before him, enchanted; and it seemed as if, under the spell of his words, the wind had gone, and the clouds had dried up, and the day had been withdrawn, and darkness had come from East and West, and all the sky was filled with the light of white stars.

    10 votes
  9. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    gpl
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    I'm kind of all over the place. I started reading Foundation a week or two ago but I wasn't really pulled into it - I think I just wasn't in the mood - so I've started a few other books since...

    I'm kind of all over the place. I started reading Foundation a week or two ago but I wasn't really pulled into it - I think I just wasn't in the mood - so I've started a few other books since then. I started an HP Lovecraft collection titled The Call of Cthulu, which includes that story and many others. I figured since its October and "spooky season" I should read some horror or other spooky tales. I also am about 1/2 of the way through Cats Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut and I'm enjoying it so far but less so than I did Slaughterhouse 5. So far its not extremely clear to me where the story is going or how it's all going to come together. Nonetheless it is very good and makes me want to read even more Vonnegut.

    2 votes
  10. Comment on Viewpoint: Feynman, Harassment, and the Culture of Science in ~science

    gpl
    Link Parent
    I can't tell if this is serious or not, but this is about the dumbest defense I could think of making. If you read the chapter in question it's clear that he adopts this attitude only after being...

    The author excludes the possibly that Feynman's statements were accurate, and that in fact, women Albuquerque bars, were, factually, bitches only looking for free drinks.

    I can't tell if this is serious or not, but this is about the dumbest defense I could think of making. If you read the chapter in question it's clear that he adopts this attitude only after being rejected (I don't have my copy of the book on hand to quote from). This is coupled with the other problematic behavior towards women that we see later in the article: having his students pose for nude portraits, and pretending to be a student to sleep with students as well. He was also probably abusive towards his ex-wife which led to their divorce, as judged by his FBI file (page 64 if it doesn't automatically load to that). In all his attitude towards women was not a good one, and I don't think there's a reason to give him the benefit of the doubt here and assume that the women "were, factually, bitches only looking for free drinks", whatever that means.

    Looks like a typical need to blame some singular thing in what is generally a problem of human nature that is best resolved by punishing offenders appropriately.

    The author is not blaming a singular thing.

    Why should we care about the bad behavior of a brilliant physicist who died more than thirty years ago? Why can’t we separate Feynman’s scientific achievements from his other actions, and write off his sexism as a product of its time? Because the power structures that enabled Feynman’s sexism then are the same ones that now allow us to forget his conduct, remembering him only as a great scientist. They let famed astronomer Geoff Marcy engage in decades of sexual predation in his field and permitted Caltech to preserve Christian Ott’s professorship after he harassed his female students. And now, they allow Caltech professors to continue defending Ott to my peers and me, claiming that the female students who endured his inappropriate and discriminatory behavior “ruined his career.”

    5 votes
  11. Comment on What is a subject you could talk for 2+ hours about with a great degree of accuracy and no preparation whatsoever? in ~talk

    gpl
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    Lord of the Rings and other stories from the mythopoeia. Or cosmology.

    Lord of the Rings and other stories from the mythopoeia. Or cosmology.

    6 votes
  12. Comment on What's your SILLY unpopular opinion? in ~talk

    gpl
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    Cavatappi and related pasta shapes are the only ones that have a right to be called corkscrew. Screw rotini.

    Cavatappi and related pasta shapes are the only ones that have a right to be called corkscrew.

    Screw rotini.

    3 votes
  13. Comment on Nancy Pelosi Plans Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump in ~news

    gpl
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    Just a nitpick, but technically "being impeached" means that articles of impeachment get voted on by a majority of the House. So only Johnson and Clinton have been impeached.

    Just a nitpick, but technically "being impeached" means that articles of impeachment get voted on by a majority of the House. So only Johnson and Clinton have been impeached.

    12 votes
  14. Comment on What are you doing this week? in ~talk

    gpl
    Link Parent
    I've always felt that Movies make for a tough first date precisely because they remove the pressure of conversation. It may be a bit less stressful but you walk away from the date not knowing a...

    I've always felt that Movies make for a tough first date precisely because they remove the pressure of conversation. It may be a bit less stressful but you walk away from the date not knowing a ton about the other person or having a lot to reference back to.

    Then again, a movie followed by coffee/ice cream/etc can be nice because the movie gives you both an immediate topic of conversation.

    5 votes
  15. Comment on What do you want someone to ask you about? in ~talk

    gpl
    Link Parent
    I'm heavily considering building my first desktop in about 10 years (been using a laptop for about the last 5) so I've been out of the scene for a while, and even when I was in I was quite young....

    I'm heavily considering building my first desktop in about 10 years (been using a laptop for about the last 5) so I've been out of the scene for a while, and even when I was in I was quite young. I started reading up again and it seems like in the last year or so AMD has been blowing Intel out of the water. I've been a pretty loyal Intel customer but from what I saw it might really be worth the switch.

    Can you give any insight on the new AMD chips and whether or not they're all they're cracked up to be? I would be doing mostly programming and some gaming but nothing crazy - I'm fine not having the highest settings as long as the game runs smoothly. Why should I buy an AMD chip over Intel's latest line, if at all?

    2 votes
  16. Comment on What are you reading these days? #28 in ~books

    gpl
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    I finished The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder the other day. The book lagged a bit in the middle but overall it was a really riveting read and a great look at what drives people to do what...

    I finished The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder the other day. The book lagged a bit in the middle but overall it was a really riveting read and a great look at what drives people to do what they do. All of the people involved in the development process that the book follows were very interesting people, and the character of Tom West is reason enough to read the book. Such a unique guy.

    Next up I think is Foundation by Isaac Asimov. I'm gonna try to knock that out so I can read some spooky books come October.

    1 vote
  17. Comment on How do you power your personal site/blog? What should I use? in ~comp

    gpl
    Link Parent
    This seems to be the key question for me here. I know almost 0 CSS or HTML (only experience being themeing a subreddit years ago), so I honestly don't know if it would be more overhead to learn...

    I've used Jekyll, but what is the difficulty in editing the CSS of a theme? If that's where you're comfortable (and not so much the development side), then I'd suggest reading up on how to tweak themes to your liking.

    This seems to be the key question for me here. I know almost 0 CSS or HTML (only experience being themeing a subreddit years ago), so I honestly don't know if it would be more overhead to learn those markup languages or to just get familiar with Go since I program quite a bit anyway. I use Jekyll now but I never tinker "behind the scenes" which is good, because I don't know Ruby! I might try out Hugo and see how I'm liking it.

  18. Comment on How do you power your personal site/blog? What should I use? in ~comp

    gpl
    Link Parent
    Mostly for myself, but also a few tutorials and such for others if I get around to it. I do currently use Typora for quick markdown notes, but I like the fact that having an actual public facing...

    Mostly for myself, but also a few tutorials and such for others if I get around to it. I do currently use Typora for quick markdown notes, but I like the fact that having an actual public facing blog motivates me to polish my writing a bit more than I would for personal use.

    A lot of people have been recommending (or suggesting) just writing up my own script to generate HTML pages and honestly I might give that a go. The appeal of things like Jekyll is that I honestly don't know much HTML or CSS so getting nice looking output has been a struggle. With SSGs a lot of that is behind the scenes - the issue of course being that its harder to truly customize and tweak things just right.

  19. Comment on Google Claims ‘Quantum Supremacy,’ Marking a Major Milestone in Computing in ~comp

    gpl
    Link Parent
    I want to push back a bit against your edit. It's true that this demonstration (if it checks out) doesn't mean that standard encryption protocols are vulnerable any time soon. But up until now it...

    I want to push back a bit against your edit. It's true that this demonstration (if it checks out) doesn't mean that standard encryption protocols are vulnerable any time soon. But up until now it has been extremely difficult to conclusively show there is any task that a quantum computer can do much better than a classical one ever could. Even well known examples like Shor's algorithim for factoring numbers is only better than our best known classical algorithm - it has not been shown that it is better in principle than any other classical algorithm.

    Google demonstrating a concrete example of a task that is not feasible classically is a big deal and I wouldn't really characterize it as artificial - it may not immediately address any of the things quantum computing is "known for", but its very important in its own right. Whether or not their claims hold up we will have to see. The paper you linked to looks pretty convincing from my reading but I am not in quantum information so that judgement shouldn't be super highly valued.

    13 votes
  20. How do you power your personal site/blog? What should I use?

    I currently have a personal "portfolio" site that I haven't updated in close to a year. I'm planning now on revamping it, and I am using this opportunity to reconsider the static site generator I...

    I currently have a personal "portfolio" site that I haven't updated in close to a year. I'm planning now on revamping it, and I am using this opportunity to reconsider the static site generator I am using.

    I host my site on Github pages, which means that Jekyll was originally very appealing due to its nice integration with Github. However, I have found it difficult to greatly customize the themes I find, and I'm the type of person that likes to get everything "just right". It seems like Hugo might be more extensible in this regard, but I'm not sure if that alone makes it worth the switch from my current setup. Anecdotally, a lot of the blogs I find whose layouts I really like tend to use Hugo.

    Pure HTML/CSS is an option but that seems like a big overhead for what I want. I'm no web developer and I don't plan on becoming one.

    15 votes