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Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

Pfhorrest Re:All I want to know is (214 comments)

When you get your pilot's license. Moller International builds car-sized wingless VTOL craft already, and has for decades. It's even called the Skycar. It's just technically an aircraft, so, pilot's license and all...

about two weeks ago

Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

Pfhorrest Re:This kind of thing confuses me (214 comments)

Mach's Principle neatly explains why inertial mass and gravitational mass are the same: inertia is a product of the gravitational effects of the rest of the universe.

For illustration, consider the infamous spinning bucket thought experiment:

When you view it from the reference frame of the rest of the universe, the reason why the water in the bucket initially stays put instead of spinning with the bucket, and then presses against the edges of the bucket once friction starts it moving, is inertia.

When you view if from the reference frame of the bucket itself, around which the rest of the universe is spinning, the reason why the water starts spinning, and then presses against the sides of the bucket when friction slows it down, is because the gravity of the rest of the universe is dragging the water's reference frame around with it.

about two weeks ago

Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

Pfhorrest Re:We've observed and created antiparticles (214 comments)

I think you meant neutrinos where you wrote neutrons. Neutrons most certainly do interact electromagnetically.

about two weeks ago

Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

Pfhorrest Re:But scarcity! (390 comments)

My city is actually shrinking in size and we still have well-maintained and even upgraded roads compared to when I was younger and the city was slightly bigger.

about two weeks ago

On 4th of July:

Pfhorrest Re:Options A. through D. (340 comments)

Or here it is in plainer math. He said that the $10k he makes on 4th of July is 10% of his total income. That means that:

10 = 10% x TOTAL

Solve for TOTAL:

10 = 0.10 x TOTAL

10 ÷ 0.10 = TOTAL

10 ÷ 1/10 = TOTAL

10 x 10 = TOTAL

100 = TOTAL

about two weeks ago

On 4th of July:

Pfhorrest Re:Options A. through D. (340 comments)


Let's say I do a thing some number of times a day.

I tell you I did ten of that thing just before breakfast, and that that was 10% of the number that I did all day.

How many did I do in the entire day?

about two weeks ago

On 4th of July:

Pfhorrest Re:Options A. through D. (340 comments)

You're the moron, or at least illiterate. They said that on one day, the 4th of July, they make $10k, and that that's 10% of their annual income. That means that their total annual income must be $100k, because $10k is 10% of $100k. That leaves $90k to be made over the course of the rest of the year, about $7.5k per month, which is plenty to keep the lights on and rent paid until the next 4th of July.

about two weeks ago

On 4th of July:

Pfhorrest Re:Options A. through D. (340 comments)

On the $100K/yr income implied by a 10K day being 10% of their annual income? Oh, it must be soooo hard, making four times the median wage...

about three weeks ago

House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

Pfhorrest Re:hahaha! (932 comments)

I think what you want is a pro-market, anti-capitalism party. Capitalism doesn't just mean free markets; it means those with more capital can exploit those with less. If you want a competitive, non-monopolistic or -oligopolistic, genuinely free market, you need to get rid of capitalism; that is to say, you need to protect the smallest players in the market from being held down and exploited by the bigger players. You need to make sure that all gains are made and all advantaged held through the continued production of genuine value, not just by rent-seeking and choice-limiting behaviors.

I agree that the left thinks that's impossible to do without forced wealth redistribution, but most of the right does too; and having some party backing that angle, and investigating and addressing the myriad ways that capitalists make the market less free, would be great.

about a month and a half ago

Was Turing Test Legitimately Beaten, Or Just Cleverly Tricked?

Pfhorrest How to guard a Turing test against stupid judges (309 comments)

Have a bunch of human judges and some instances of the bot in question all participating in a chat together, or randomly paired together for a while and then re-paired, so that humans are judging humans as well as bots, and have no idea which is which.

If a human is frequently judged as a bot by other humans, that human's judgements are de-weighted, because apparently they're too stupid to be distinguished themselves from an AI, so why should we trust their ability to distinguish other humans from AIs.

Although, I wonder if exceptionally intelligent humans with perfect spelling and grammar, a wide range of knowledge, and high typing speed, might be mis-judged as AIs too, for being "too good". Some hunt-and-pecker who can't tell their/they're/there apart might see someone who gives an intelligent response in complete, grammatically-correct sentences in half a minute as inhuman.

about a month and a half ago

Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.

Pfhorrest Re:market at work (325 comments)

Governments are made of people and do whatever the majority of politically active people want or at least allow them to do. You're reading too much into my position and wrongly assuming, as most do, that the negation of capitalism necessarily entails some kind state-controlled command economy, and that opposition to capitalism means support of the state. There's a thing called libertarian socialism which opposes both. You should look it up.

Anyway, yeah, governments can enslave and exploit and steal and so on just as others can -- and note here that "governments" is not the antonym of "individuals", as there are non-government aggregate entities (corporations being the big one here, but clubs, coops, NPOs and NGOs, even families, all count too), and governments like all aggregate entities are still composed ultimately of individuals.

The point is that what people will tend to do is always constrained by what other people -- acting as individuals or in aggregate, as governments or otherwise -- let them do. And what people should or shouldn't let other people do is always going to be an ideological issue. What's happening now is what people tend to do, yeah -- when other people let them do that and don't let them do other things that they might do instead. Whether that is the right choice of things to let and not let people do is a moral question, and even saying "yeah it's fine how it is now whatever" is taking a position on that moral question, not some kind of above-the-fray neutrality.

about 2 months ago

Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.

Pfhorrest Re:market at work (325 comments)

At no point did I say that unfettered capitalism was the best of all possible worlds

Maybe not but you suggested that capitalism was in some way non-ideological when it's certainly not.

merely that people, left to their own devices, tend to place value on goods and services and develop a market under their own steam, rather than someone sitting down in a cave somewhere and saying "hey let's build a stock exchange because we deeply believe in the fundamental principle of private property".

Yes and, as was my point, people when left to their own device also tend to do whatever they can to exploit and live off the work of others up to and including enslaving them and credibly threatening them with death to enforce that enslavement. The slave-driven economies of the ancient world, the capitalist economies of the modern world, and the feudal economies that bridged the gap between them, were none more or less "natural" than the others. They were and are just what people tended to do in their respective times when nobody stopped them from doing it. In other times people did stop them from doing some of those things, and then people tended to do other things instead; if we allowed feudalism or slavery today, people would tend to do those sometimes too. Would that make a nonchalant stance toward slavery somehow non-ideological? Would "people hold slaves, and I don't object to that" be ideologically neutral just because if nobody objects to it people will tend to hold slaves?

And bonus negative points for backhandedly equating the ownership of private property and the exchange of said goods and services to people who "steal from and enslave and murder each other".

There was no equation, there was illustration by analogy.

You claim that people tend to do a certain thing if nobody stops them and then claim that supporting or allowing that thing is ideologically neutral because of it.

I point out that there are other things that people tend to do if nobody stops them, things that we do not generally consider non-chalant attitudes toward to be ideologically neutral.

Thus illustrating a counterexample to the principle you seem to be employing, to make the point that accepting or protesting the practices of capitalism is no less ideologically neutral than accepting or protesting the practice of slavery, etc. Not because the two are the same thing, but because in either case it doesn't matter whether people will tend to do it if not stopped or not, you're still taking an ideological position if you say either that you're ok with it or that you're not.

If you're asked "Should this happen?", any answer you give will be a moral opinion. If you respond "that does happen", you've just avoided the question and given an answer to a completely different one.

about 2 months ago

Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.

Pfhorrest Re:Cultural issues (325 comments)

Analytic philosophy's adherence to mathematical rigor is what saved it from falling down the post-modern hole that swallowed up all the "other humanities".

(I'm not fond of that category "humanities" and how philosophy doesn't fit well into it. Paintings and literature are just arts. History is a thing of its own that transcends all the fields, arts and sciences alike, and so is philosophy. Lumping half the arts in with two big overarching fields in their own right doesn't sit well with me. Math also shouldn't be lumped in as a science, that's a thing of its own too on part with art, and we're completely lacking the normative analogues of science, engineering, and technology, although some things like sociology and anthropology are approximating a normative analogue of science, and bus-econ courses are in the right general area for a normative analogue of engineering and technology, but that whole area is woefully underdeveloped).

(I drew a diagram of something like this once, though I wasn't sure how exactly to incorporate history into it).

about 2 months ago

Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.

Pfhorrest Re:market at work (325 comments)

Capitalism is what people do when you leave them alone. You may as well say physics is a religion.

People also steal from and enslave and murder each other when you "leave them alone", in the sense of total unregulated anomie.

To say that people should be "left alone" in that sense is still to take an ethical, moral, or as you've been calling it, ideological stance. To say that nobody should do anything about it; that it is ok, acceptable behavior. Moral nihilism is still a moral position: the position that everything and its negation is OK, that nothing is either forbidden or obligatory.

Now on the other hand, what I think you probably more likely meant to say, is that free markets (which are not identical to capitalism) are what happen when people leave each other alone, in the sense of not stealing from and enslaving and murdering and otherwise violating and exploiting each other. But because people will violate and exploit each other if "left alone" in the earlier sense, i.e. if nobody stops them, then in order to achieve a state where we all leaving each other alone in the later sense, we cannot "leave alone" those who would violate and exploit others.

Freedom requires either everybody to be perfectly well behaved of their own accord (good luck with that), or for there to be enough people actively counteracting the misbehavior of others (but going no further in their actions against those others than to counteract their actions). As Adam Smith put it, a free market is a well-regulated market.

And whether the practices that underlie capitalism (which, again, does not simply mean a free market) count as misbehavior or not, and are in need of counteraction or not, is an ideological position. Should we let people exclude others from the means of production by force, and even help them do so? (i.e. should it be privately owned?). Should we let people demand repayment on borrowed money or goods beyond the return of the money or goods, on threat of force, and even help them do so? (i.e. should contracts of rent and interest be enforceable?) Capitalism answers "yes" to both of those questions; a "no" answer to either would not be capitalism, but could still be a free market.

To lose a free market, you'd have to answer "yes" to "Should we let people demand goods and services from others on threat of force?" It could be argued that allowing that on threats other than force would also lose the freedom of the market. Should we let people demand goods and services from others on threat of the release of private information (e.g. blackmail, I'll tell about your affair unless you pay me off). Should we let people demand goods and services from others on threat of letting them starve or freeze to death because they have no food or shelter? Now it's getting into controversial territory. But no matter what your answer to that question is, you're taking an ideological stance.

about 2 months ago

Snowden Rallies Privacy Advocates In New York City

Pfhorrest Broken metaphor (72 comments)

Somehow I don't think the government licking my balls really conveys the right idea of the bad things they're doing. That's generally the kind of thing you'd tell someone you don't like to do because it demeans them and pleasures you, not the kind of thing someone oppressing you does to you of their own choice.

Well, maybe it's different for men and women, their stereotypical experiences and perceptions at least. A bunch of pervs wanting to lick a woman's genitals against her will gets more into the territory they're probably trying to convey here.

about 2 months ago

Strange New World Discovered: The "Mega Earth"

Pfhorrest Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (147 comments)

I wouldn't know how to make sense of "2.3 times smaller" in any context. Except maybe... you have things A, B, and C, and B is smaller than A, as is C, and the A-C = 2.3 * A-B. But I wouldn't know what to make of it if you just said "C is 2.3 times smaller than B!" without the comparison to A. And I don't know how you would phrase that comparison... "C is 2.3 times smaller than A than B?" That's just confusing.

about 2 months ago

Comcast-Time Warner Deal May Hinge On Low-Cost Internet Plan

Pfhorrest Re:Already here? (114 comments)

...if you own your own home, which the majority of Americans do not.

about a month ago

Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

Pfhorrest Re:As Jim Morrison said... (1198 comments)

Rejection and loneliness results in the misogyny

no. bad social skills and a lack of empathy do.

You're both right. Bad social skills result in rejection and loneliness which results in resentment which results in a lack of empathy which results in misogyny. The resentment is the missing piece there.

That's not a justification of anything, just an explanation.

about 2 months ago

Gun Rights Groups Say They Don't Oppose Smart Guns, Just Mandates

Pfhorrest Re:Give 'em a cm and they'll take an m. (584 comments)

Merits of mandatory insurance aside, your analogy is broken.

Nobody is being forced to take birth control; some people are being forced to pay to provider others with the option of birth control, if those others choose to use it.

The gun analogue would not be that people are forced to have smart gun technology on their guns, but that some people would be forced to pay to provide others with the option of smart gun technology on their guns, if those others choose to use it.

about 2 months ago

What qualifications should the 'driver' of a fully autonomous car need?

Pfhorrest Self-driving cars are robot chauffeurs (301 comments)

Ok, say you own a bus company, and you pay people to drive your busses, and you also ride your own busses. You're sitting quietly at the back of the bus reading a book when the driver rear-ends the car in front of the bus. Are you personally responsible? Your company? The driver?

For that matter, reduce it down to an even simpler scenario: you have a paid chauffeur. You own the car and you pay a guy to drive it so you can sit in the back and relax. When your chauffeur drives your car into someone else's, who is responsible?

What if instead of you personally paying the chauffeur, you hired a chauffeur company to send some guy of their choosing to drive you around, in your car still. When their driver causes a wreck, who is responsible?

Now imagine your chauffeur is instead a robot. Do you own or rent that robot? Does that make a difference in responsibility?

And because he's a robot doing only one mechanical function, he doesn't even need a body, so he's just a program in your car's computer. Does own/rent even make a difference there since there's no question that the physical car belongs to you and the "intellectual property" of the program doesn't?

about 2 months ago



Teacher laid off for telling the truth about Santa

Pfhorrest Pfhorrest writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Pfhorrest writes "The Times Online reports:

A supply teacher has been told not to return to one primary school after she told a class of seven-year-olds that Santa Claus did not exist.

Children at Blackshaw Lane Primary School in Oldham were talking about Christmas when the teacher came out with the news.

Father Christmas was not responsible for delivering their presents on Christmas Eve, the pupils were taught. The teacher, who had been drafted in for just the day, has now been told not to come back.

Parents complained to the school after their children returned home to recount what they had learnt in lessons that day.

With all the contention about teaching religion (or the lack thereof) in schools these days, what do you all think about similar issues regarding more frivolous popular folklore like Santa Claus here? Should a school be able to fire a teacher for telling the truth about something all adults accepts as mere myth?"
Link to Original Source



Eternal - Beyond Infinity Lies Destiny

Pfhorrest Pfhorrest writes  |  more than 6 years ago The Xeventh Project is proud to present a Marathon scenario nearly twelve years in the making: Eternal X.

The longest-running Marathon scenario project in history, Eternal began production in 1996 upon the release of Marathon Infinity. Eventually run into the ground and then dormant for many years, it was resurrected in 2004 just in time for a "penultimate" release on Marathon's 10th anniversary, which received over ten thousand downloads. For the past several years since then, a crack team of some of the Marathon community's most skilled artists, musicians, and cartographers has been busy putting the final polish on this ancient project; and now, at long last, Eternal X is complete.

Featuring 52 huge levels, hundreds of new high-resolution textures, over a dozen tracks of original music, a wholly revamed user interface, all new weapons, and several new creatures and characters, alongside the complete cast from the original trilogy and numerous familiar locations, Eternal is one of the largest and most ambitious Marathon scenario projects ever undertaken.

The story of Eternal begins nearly one hundred years after Marathon Infinity, on the S'pht moon K'lia, hanging in orbit over a desolate and ruined Earth. Clearly all is not well with this future, and once again you are the last hope for mankind. The people of this time say that nobody really won in the war with the Pfhor; but now, thanks to recovered Jjaro technology, a plan has been devised to make things right. Paired with another sort of hybrid creature, the former Battleroid known as Hathor, you have been selected to venture back across time, one hundred and eleven years in the past to the U.E.S.C. Marathon. There, you and Hathor are to set in motion a plan that will alter the course of history and bring true victory to mankind. But things don't always go according to plan, and what begins as a mission to right history turns into an epic pursuit which spans not only the stars but also the centuries.

The scenario is available in both a Full Edition, complete with high-resolution graphics and an original soundtrack, and a Lite Edition, which is more amenable to older computers and slower connections. Both the Full Edition and Lite Edition are compatible with all currently supported platforms of Aleph One, including Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.

To download Eternal X, please visit <>.

-Forrest Cameranesi
Director of the Xeventh Project

Marathon was a landmark first-person shooter created by Bungie Studios, creators of the acclaimed Halo franchise. Originally released on the Macintosh in 1994, Marathon introduced many new features and concepts to the genre including dual-weilded and dual-function weapons; versatile multiplayer modes such as King of the Hill, Kill the Man with the Ball, and cooperative play; friendly NPCs; and a deep and intricate storyline. The sequel, Marathon 2: Durandal, was released in 1995, improving on the engine technologies and greatly expanding the scope of the story. In 1996, Marathon 2 was ported to Windows 95, and the Marathon Infinity package was released for Macintosh, including a new scenario using a modified Marathon 2 engine, and most importantly, the tools used to build it, Forge and Anvil. In the year 2000, Bungie released the source code to the Marathon 2 engine, and the Marathon Open Source project began, resulting in the new Marathon engine called Aleph One. Finally, in 2005, Bungie authorized free redistribution of the entire Marathon trilogy and all related files. This means that the entire trilogy can now be legally obtained for free and played on nearly any computer. To download the original Marathon trilogy, please visit <>.

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