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Chris Dolan
Works at Sony Creative Software
Attended University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Chris Dolan

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Here's the first public announcement of what my team has been working on. The Catalyst Production Suite includes v2.0 of Catalyst Prepare, which debuted last fall, and v1.0 of Catalyst Edit. We're very proud of Edit: it's a super easy-to-use video timeline editor.

I'll be at the NAB trade show in a couple weeks showing off the latest work on Vegas 13, Sound Forge, Spectral Layers as well as these new apps.
MIDDLETON, Wis., March 25, 2015- Sony Creative Software Introduces New Media Production Tools at the 2015 NAB Show. Catalyst Prepare™, Catalyst Edit™, and...
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I'll be sure to stop by and see 
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"At about 14 TeV, the new collision energies of the LHC are higher than anything we’ve ever created, but they aren’t nearly the upper limit of what we’ve observed. [...] the highest energy cosmic ray ever detected was about 400 TeV"

... and that didn't destroy the Earth. Nice. This is a concise debunking of the risks of the LHC that I'm going to hang on to for later dissemination.
Brian Koberlein originally shared:
 
You've Doomed Us All!

Later this month the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will be up and running again, this time at nearly double the previous collision energies. It will be the highest energy at which we have actively collided particles. While this is great news for scientists eager to discover new physics, it has some people worried that the LHC could open a pandora’s box of unexpected consequences, such as the creation of a micro black hole that could engulf the planet. The standard response is to state that even if the LHC were to create micro black holes, they would pose no risk. But given that we’ve never collided particles at this energy, how do we know?

On a basic level, a black hole is simply matter packed so densely that it forms an event horizon. The key is the density, not the overall mass, so in principle extremely tiny black holes are theoretically possible. Realistically, however, the strong forces between colliding particles would prevent them from reaching a density necessary to form a black hole. Besides, on such small scales the particle/wave nature of objects can’t be ignored, and quantum theory is very clear that the quantum “size” of particles prevents the necessary density. So conventional physics says that the LHC won’t produce any black holes, even at these new energy levels.

There are some exotic theoretical ideas that predict the creation of black holes at the new LHC levels. These models aren’t taken very seriously, but we are looking for new physics after all. On the off chance that micro black holes are created, does that mean we’re doomed? No, because quantum theory also says that black holes evaporate due to Hawking radiation. The rate of evaporation depends upon the size of the black hole, so that the smaller the black hole, the faster it evaporates. If a micro black hole on the order of LHC energies were to form, it would evaporate before anything else could be captured by it. So there’s no danger of creating a black hole that starts devouring the Earth.

But that’s all theory, you might say, how can we be sure our understanding of the risks are correct? At about 14 TeV, the new collision energies of the LHC are higher than anything we’ve ever created, but they aren’t nearly the upper limit of what we’ve observed. Cosmic rays strike the Earth with much greater energies all the time. In fact the highest energy cosmic ray ever detected was about 400 TeV, which is well beyond any energy level we could attain for the foreseeable future. None of these cosmic rays have created a black hole that consumes Earth, and cosmic rays have been striking our planet for billions of years.

So we can look forward to new discoveries from the LHC, with no worries of a doomsday scenario.
As the LHC begins running at its highest energy yet, do we need to worry that it will unleash something dangerous like black holes? Not in the slightest.
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Chris Dolan

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Repeating what I think is a key line: one high-resolution DNA-sequencing study of breast cancer last year couldn’t find two cells within one tumor that were genetically identical

As a layperson, I find that to be a very surprising and profound discovery.
 
One recent study of kidney cancers found that no two patients had exactly the same set of genetic mistakes; in fact, no two tumors within the same patient had the same mutations. Taking it one step further, one high-resolution DNA-sequencing study of breast cancer last year couldn’t find two cells within one tumor that were genetically identical
In January, the pharmaceutical company Roche paid more than a billion dollars to buy about half of a small company called Foundation…
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I'll bet that DNA repair mechanisms are switched off in most cancers, and this allows more mutations to happen.
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Vicky is scowling because she is thinking "Scott! Haiku is 5-7-5, not 7-5-5!" Ducky, the pragmatist, replies "But at least he got the seasonal reference, Vicky."
 
This is the dividing line. Vicky is in spring. Ducky is in winter. #Maine #PortlandME #EastEndBeach #EnglishSetter #EnglishSetters #SonyA7
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Ha. I wasn't even trying to write a haiku!
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Nice. :-)
 
"Why yes, we do offer two-factor authentication!"
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I'm really enormously proud of my brother's work in Maine.

Newspaper reporters are an important check on attempted abuses of power by government and industry leaders. Compared to many parts of the world the US has relatively low corruption, which is a huge economic boon. In my opinion, the decline of American newspapers are a threat to that advantage.

And this: "I wouldn’t say that I was overly concerned about being found in contempt of court and being jailed up to 30 days by Maine’s court rules. But I did arrange for a friend to take care of my dogs just in case." :-)
 
My piece for the New England First Amendment Coalition. #Maine #firstamendment #opengovernment #priorrestraint  
By Scott Dolan At first I was confused when Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz issued his order banning news reporters from reporting anything witnesses said in the …
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I like the way this article ends. Well done, +Brian Koberlein 
Brian Koberlein originally shared:
 
Symmetry

Suppose you want to balance a ruler horizontally on your finger.  To to this you’ll likely place your finger in the middle of the ruler, so that half is on one side and half on the other.  Intuitively, you recognize that the middle makes both sides symmetrical, which is why you put your finger there.  In other words there is a connection between the symmetry of the ruler and the physics of balance.

Symmetry is something we all tend to recognize, but probably find hard to quantify.  Things like mirror symmetry are easy to describe, but what about the image above.  It gives a feeling of symmetry, but exactly how would you describe it?  In the same way, we generally have an intuitive feel for the way symmetry is related to the physical world, such as balancing a ruler on our finger, but quantifying that connection is difficult.

This is why Emmy Noether should probably be put in the same group as Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein as one of the greatest physicists who ever lived, because in 1918 she published an elegant and mathematically precise connection between symmetry and physics.  It is now known as Noether’s Theorem, and it is so subtle and powerful it is hard to describe without mathematical formalism.

But I’ll give it a try.

In physics, symmetry is the ability to change a part of a system while the whole remains the same.  As an example, imagine if you were standing on a perfectly flat surface that extends as far as you can see.  If you were to close your eyes, take one step forward, then open your eyes, it would appear that nothing has changed.  You have moved forward (a change), but the surface appears unchanged (symmetry).

Through Noether’s theorem, such a symmetry of linear motion is connected to the fact that an object in motion will continue that motion unless something acts on it, what we call conservation of linear momentum.  In the same way, if you were to close your eyes, turn to the left or right a bit, then open your eyes again, the surface would appear unchanged.  This symmetry in rotation is connected to fact that a rotating object like the Earth will continue to rotate, which we call conservation of angular momentum.

But Noether didn’t just show these simple connections, she showed in general how every conservation law in physics is connected to a physical symmetry. Conservation in energy connects to a symmetry in time, conservation of charge to a symmetry in gauge, and on and on.  It is a connection that lies at the heart of every modern physical theory, and has deepened our understanding of earlier theories such as Newton’s mechanics and Einstein’s relativity.  Emmy Noether single-handedly revolutionized the way we understand physical theories.

Despite this fact, Noether is not widely known outside the physics and mathematics community.  Part of this is due to the fact that her work revolutionized existing physical theories rather than being a physical theory in its own right, but another reason is that she was a woman at a time when the work of women was often marginalized. Despite her world-class work, she struggled against discrimination in her field, and received a fraction of the recognition she deserved.  Although things have gotten better for women in the sciences, it isn’t quite what you would consider fully balanced.

So the next time you read about the discovery of cosmic inflation, or the search for supersymmetric particles, or the development of a theory of everything, think of Emmy Noether, and her theorem that lies at the heart of all of these ideas.  And remember that the sciences could always use a little more symmetry.
Symmetry is something we all tend to recognize, but probably find hard to quantify. Things like mirror symmetry are easy to describe, but what about the image above. It gives a feeling of symmetry, but exactly how would you describe it?
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Nice. I recommend looking at these pictures, as well as the moon ones.
 
The Sun replaced with other stars, "based on the absolute brightness, spectral class, and radius" of the various substitutions. Which is to say, the artists are aware that more than the sky would look different if you actually made the substitution.

I do wonder about the colors, I think we all learned from that dress business that these things are tricky at best.
Sun replaced with other stars. Internetmaps by JaySimons. This visualization shows how the sunset could look like to a human observer if our Sun was replaced by some of the other stars in our galaxy with different sizes and magnitudes, namely Barnard's Star, Gliese 581, Tau Ceti, Kepler-23, ...
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This is an excellent article: concise and very readable, and uses pizza delivery guys as an analogy for internet packets. :-)

"[In] the FCC's new Network Neutrality rules [...] one particular point has caught the eye of network engineers everywhere: the statement that packet loss should be published as a performance metric, with the consequent implication that ISPs should strive to achieve as low a value as possible. That would be very bad thing to do. I'll give a brief, oversimplified explanation of why"
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Wow, this is an interesting writeup. Reading DRAM quickly enough can flip nearby RAM bits which can be exploitable.
Posted by Mark Seaborn, sandbox builder and breaker, with contributions by Thomas Dullien, reverse engineer [This guest post continues Project Zero’s practice of promoting excellence in security research on the Project Zero b...
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I've always been amazed that DRAM even works. It reminds me of the D&D/Vancian style of wizard where casting a spell erases it from his memory so he needed to re-learn how to cast his spells each day.
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How to fix PCGen out-of-memory errors

On Mac, I frequently get out of memory errors when rendering to PDF. These steps will solve it, but need to be done for each new download of PCGen.

1) Right-click PCGen.app, Show Package Contents
2) In the Contents folder, open Info.plist in any text editor (TextEdit.app)
3) Find the line <key>VMOptions</key>
4) Change the next line to <string>-Xms128m -Xmx1024m -XX:MaxPermSize=256m</string>
5) maybe increase those numbers even more if you've got a sturdy machine and don't mind trading some RAM for better performance.

#pcgen   #outofmemory  
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Heh, amusingly I upgraded to Java 8 on this machine for unrelated reasons tonight, and discovered that MaxPermSize is deprecated and ignored. Looks like a problem that won't bite me again.
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"It’s a recurring problem in astronomy, where what’s right in front of you isn’t what you want to observe."

Like clouds, daytime blue sky, lens covers, etc. :-)
 
In the Air Tonight

Yesterday I mentioned the faint glow near the horizon as due to airglow of the atmosphere. It tends to be a very faint effect, even more dim than the zodiacal light, and isn’t often seen with the naked eye. While airglow is beautiful in images, for ground-based astronomers it can be bothersome.

Airglow occurs when atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere are ionized, either by light from the Sun, or by cosmic rays. There are also chemical reactions that produce light in the atmosphere. All of these effects combine to give the atmosphere a faint but uniform glow day and night. It’s only at night that the effect becomes visible. While the green glow of molecular oxygen tends to be the dominant color, you can also get yellow from sodium, red from atomic oxygen and even a weak blue glow.

Because airglow is spread throughout the sky, it tends to hamper ground-based astronomy. Basically it is a kind of light pollution that never goes away, no matter how isolated your observatory is. One way to overcome the effect of airglow is to limit your telescope’s field of view. If you observe a faint object in a small portion of the sky, the patch of air above your view is likewise small, and the airglow effect is less significant. There are also ways adaptive optics can limit the impact. But as we build ever larger ground-based telescopes to look at ever dimmer objects, airglow could increasingly become a problem.

It’s a recurring problem in astronomy, where what’s right in front of you isn’t what you want to observe.
Airglow is a faint glow of the night sky. It's beautiful, but it's bothersome for astronomers.
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Education
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Astronomy, PhD, 1994 - 2000
  • Cornell University
    Astronomy, 1990 - 1994
  • Derryfield School
    1986 - 1990
Story
Bragging rights
I was the #1 Google result for "constellations" for about 12 years (ended 2013); Toughest bicycle ride: 125 miles + 11,000 ft climbing
Work
Occupation
Programmer, software architect
Employment
  • Sony Creative Software
    Staff Software Engineer, 2012 - present
  • Avid Technology
    Sr Principal Software Engineer, 2007 - 2012
  • Clotho Advanced Media
    Sr Software Developer, 2001 - 2007