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Wil Selwood
Software engineer. Space Nerd. Reader of dead trees. Player of games. Dad. Cat person
Software engineer. Space Nerd. Reader of dead trees. Player of games. Dad. Cat person

Wil's posts

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This is one of those things that needs to be understood by everyone. Your right to be an ass extends far short of controlling others.
Tolerance is not a moral precept: It is a peace treaty.

We are brought up to believe that tolerating people is a basic moral good. But this simple approach fails, and can easily be used against us by people who say "Why won't you tolerate my intolerance?" This can happen in everything from our personal lives to the political arena. But it comes from a misunderstanding of what tolerance is.

The way to understand tolerance isn't as a moral absolute: it's as a peace treaty. The difference is that a peace treaty only applies when both sides abide by it.

This is an essay I've had brewing for some time.

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Lovely bit of morning madness.

Via +Matthew J Price​
I've decided to replace life's little inconvenient realities with my own more acceptable ones.
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Well this is pretty cool. Also if no one has built one using a raspberry pi yet I will be shocked.

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This so very much this.

H/t +Yonatan Zunger 
Hands down, the best bit of Star Trek headcanon I've read in a very long time. It explains so much.

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If I had a few spare days I'd offer my services ...
David Silva, who is in charge of the telescopes on Kitt Peak, is looking for a CS generalist to help with an external review of a computer system designed to handle a large flow of event information from future telescopes such as LSST (

If you're interested in spending a couple of days on this, please let me know via mail and I'll give you more background. Or, if you know someone outside who might be able to help, feel free to have them contact me.

No astronomy background required. In fact, it is preferable that the reviewer have little or none.

The problem is challenging.

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Hopefully none of my lovely followers need this information and if you do you have already seen this. However if you do I hope it can be some help.

Wheaton's law applies at all times and in all places
An update to the post from a few weeks ago ( about the increasingly unpleasant revelations about Scott Lewis: apparently, so many people have come forward as victims of this combination of con artistry and abuse, and so many people have been asking what they can do to help with the situation, that they've had to find someone to help load-balance and coordinate these efforts.

Fortunately, +A.V. Flox has offered her services here, and so she will be acting as the principal liaison for these things going forward. She's excellent at managing such projects in general, but more importantly, she's got an excellent eye for when proposed help will make things better or worse, so there's nobody who would be better at the job.

So for any of my readers who are dealing with follow-up from the Scott Lewis Incident, the Medium post linked below has all of the relevant info you'll need.

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Did a quick recording of an animated version of my Gaia data extent.

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Bit of fun for the last few evenings.

Been playing with the Gaia Data Release. When I first heard of it I wondered what kind of volume of space it covered. A tweet at Mark McCaughrean of the Rosetta team, and I realised it was probably some thing I could do my self.

A few lines of spark sql code to parse the file and aggregate it down to whole degrees and some c# and unity code produced the picture below.

I started with some unity code from the wiki to generate a sphere, then bumped the number of segments to 360x180 to check that I could fit the required number of vertex entries into the mesh. Then I loaded up the CSV file generated by the spark job and modified the radius by the provided value for each point on the sphere.

I had to apply a log10 scale to the radius because a few points go vanishing out to the sides and you couldn't see the detail in the middle.

Any where here is the outer extent of the Gaia dataset. Enjoy


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Gods damn it humans please can we stop being dicks to each other. Also your niceness value as a human does not aggregate well. Being good to most people but an asshole to some does not make you a good person it makes you an asshole.

Hind sight is an interesting thing. Looking back a couple of years this could explain a lot of slightly strange things. I wish it didn't take being laid out in such painful detail to realise the problems.

This makes me angry. Really really angry. Of course I believe them.

HT to those who have posted about this I know there can be blow back abuse from being named in something like this so not actually including names. 

All too often we let ourselves be conned by someone who says all the right things. Who abuses our trust and help.

I can't even begin to guess how many friends have been suckered. I'm not even certain who wrote this, but it makes me nauseous, the depths to which he has gone to misrepresent himself by abusing others.

I cut ties with him a few years back, after a few interactions that set my hackles up in warning. See, my birth father is just like Scott. Charming, intelligent, makes you believe he's more than just a puffed up shell.

This will probably be what gets me doxxed, but if he knows what's good for him, he will leave my wife and kid out of this. But when narcissistic sociopaths get cornered with all their lies exposed, well, they have a tendency to try and hurt everyone.

I'm gonna go throw up now.

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