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Noah Friedman
Works at Perforce Software
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Noah Friedman

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Here, have some physics nerdery.
 
Aggressively expanding civilizations

What will happen if some civilizations start aggressively expanding through the Universe at a reasonable fraction of the speed of light? Each such civilization will form a growing ‘bubble’: an expanding sphere of influence. And occasionally, these bubbles will collide.

Physicist S. Jay Olson has done some calculations, based on a range of assumptions, of what this will be like. Read more on my blog!

Here's the most surprising part.

If these civilizations are serious about expanding rapidly, they may convert a lot of matter into radiation to power their expansion. And while energy is conserved in this process, the pressure of radiation in space is a lot bigger than the pressure of matter, which is almost zero.

General relativity says that energy density slows the expansion of the Universe. But it also says that pressure has a similar effect. And as the Universe expands, the energy density and pressure of radiation drops at a different rate than the energy density of matter.

So, the expansion of the Universe itself, on a very large scale, could be affected by aggressively expanding civilizations! Olson does the math.


Ever since I became an environmentalist, the potential destruction wrought by aggressively expanding civilizations has been haunting my thoughts. Not just here and now, where it's easy to see, but ...
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One of the more though provoking explanations for the Fermi paradox is that alien civilizations are "keeping their heads down" for good reason - that there are dangerous things out there and the successful have found that it's best to keep quiet.
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Noah Friedman

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QOTD: "I need programming jokes explained to me, line by line."
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No comment.
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Hey +Bruce Shark​​, I think everyone might need one of these.

h/t +Velvet Siren​
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I'm gonna make one for mah kittehs....

and I'd love to have a giant one for ME.
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Andreas brings up some good considerations of liabilities for both democratic party candidates (let's not kid ourselves, o'malley is not really in the running). Not enough to change my mind about my preference, but it's a good thing to remind ourselves that none of the candidates are going to be a panacea.

The biggest audacity of hope is having any.
 
Let me lay my cards on the table:

I do not think Bernie would be a great President, because I don't think that the United States has a socialist policy bench. I mean, who would he even hire to run policy programs?

You can see that from his health care plan, which is basically laughable: it doesn't engage with any of the difficult trade-offs necessary to implement single-payer in the most expensive health care market in the world. He's attempting to replace a 2.9 trillion dollar market with a 1 trillion dollar program without cutting coverage or doctor salaries. 

You cannot do that. That's not a policy position. That's math. 

He also doesn't know anything about foreign policy, and most of what he knows is wrong. For instance, he wants genocidal sectarian militias to keep the peace in Syria, which would be laughable if it were not so stunningly immoral. But as he's unlikely to accomplish that, he's wrong in a way which is unlikely to do harm. 

On the other side, Clinton's primary accomplishment as a politician is her management of the State Department. Particularly, the progress she made in securing an Iran deal. But as an elected official, the only consequential thing she did was to vote for the Iraq war -- which puts about 6,000 Iraqi deaths on her conscience, personally, and the immeasurable damage it did to US foreign policy. She's also pro-mass-surveillance, conditionally pro-torture, and a small-bore thinker on social issues. 

She's also a bad campaigner who surrounds herself with morons. She lost the 2008 primary because she did not understand the benefits of pursuing states with small vote totals but a winner-take all-system. And her core advisors : Mark "Scroogled" Penn? Lanny "I started the birther movement" Davis? Sydney "I Send the SecState Emails From InfoWars And Expect Her to Act On Them" Blumenthal? Really? 

If there were any other viable Democratic candidate this election, or the Supreme Court were not 5-4, I would be more publicly suspicious. But those are both the case. And so I am cautiously optimistic that she will overcome her history of taking bad advice and hidebound thinking.

She was a Senator at a time when the Republicans controlled the rest of government. I'm willing to write more off because I think she actually listens to her advisors, and that the Democratic moderate policy bench is deep enough to keep her from doing real or permanent harm. 

But there's no pretending that the criticisms of her from the left are unreasonable or false.
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I thought largely the same of Obama. He surprised on the down side though.
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Seen on TV while eating lunch: "what's it like to be Jewish in an NFL locker room?"

I didn't get to see the response, but I imagine it was something along the line of "it's not a good place to give any of your teammates any tips".
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+Mike DeSimone It means that the joke only makes sense to people in the USA born before circumcision became the default and was still mostly a Jewish tradition.
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Rest in peace with the fishes, Abe.
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If you want a chuckle, watch the first few minutes of Misery Brothers (AKA Misery Brothers Y2K). Abe plays a cross-dressing send-up of The Godfather. The rest of the movie is brain-meltingly terrible, but I laughed at that bit, because he sold it.
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Dammit. I don't like having to agree with Cruz about anything, but he's right.

Then again ICANN is already an unnecessary, rent-seeking plague on the Internet, so this isn't exactly shocking news either.
 
ICANN's outgoing President/CEO has not been adequately directed or constrained by ICANN's board of directors ... so now this....

The letter itself is fairly severe: http://www.cruz.senate.gov/files/documents/Letters/20160203_FadiChehadeLetter.pdf
Today, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent a letter to Fadi Chehade, CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), currently under contract with the federal government.
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+Noah Friedman
Agreed on all points. I guess that even if someone's reasons for doing something good aren't the purest, it's better than doing something bad.
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"Can't see the fouriest for the threes."
+Jack Carlson

My problem is that I can't see the florist for the bees.
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This sort of problem looks vaguely like a Diophantine equation to me. 
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What's so bad about horse meat? Truth in advertising notwithstanding, I'd eat it with complete... equinimity.
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"When a relative passed away, it was primarily women who would cook and feed on the dead body to show their love and respect for that person."
https://upvoted.com/2016/01/20/dining-with-cannibals-why-eating-human-brains-can-kill-you/
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I fail to see what's so funny about Rand Paul soliciting donations to defeat socialism. Socialism isn't voluntary. Charity is voluntary.  It doesn't work that well, but there's nothing ironic or inconsistent about asking for voluntary donations.  Many people sincerely believe that coercion is worse than letting others suffer.

Of course, Paul is more socialist than he might be prepared to admit, but that's not why people are spreading this meme around. Frankly it misses the mark.
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It was only a pun in retrospect so not your fault that you didn't get it. I can never remember how to spell it although maybe I will now. :)
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Today I learned:

In order to avoid detection by magnetometer, ships have to cancel their tendency to disrupt the earth's natural magnetic field as they move through it, because the hulls are made of steel. The way they demagnetize their hulls isn't what I thought it was.
 
Why are submarines demagnetized?
Correct answer: so they can avoid detection The decision to demagnetize warships was an indirect result of efforts to detect submarines far below the surface. This was a very important question for the British and American militaries during the Second World War. They needed to find a way to ...
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So it's antimagnetic and full of seamen.
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Call me Fishmeal.
Introduction
There are times I find myself suspecting that there is some cruel cosmic deception being perpetrated against me by something akin to descartes' evil genius.   But then I remind myself not to put descartes before the hoax.
Bragging rights
My father was a mathematician and he played the fiddle, so my childhood was full of sets and violins.
Work
Occupation
specialist in these kinds of things
Skills
yak shaving
Employment
  • Perforce Software
    Release automation developer, 2005 - present
  • Yahoo!
    Software engineer, 2004 - 2005
  • Inktomi
    Toolsmith, 1999 - 2004
  • Netscape
    Unix systems architect, 1996 - 1999
  • Computational Logic
    sysadmin, 1994 - 1996
  • Free Software Foundation
    sysadmin, editor, distribution, 1990 - 1994