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Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos

Roger W Moore Re: Parallax. (170 comments)

She saw Russia from her back garden which, given the location of her garden and the curvature of the Earth is unbelievably amazing!

1 hour ago
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Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

Roger W Moore Filter of Time (171 comments)

Anyone remember the seventies pre-Star Wars? You couldn't produce an SF film unless it had a downer ending.

Rather than cyclical I'd suggest that it might be just the historical filter. The SciFi you remember looking back are the upbeat, wonderful future stories. It's similar to the filter that gets applied to modern music: it always seems to appear that things were better in the past because you forget the bad songs and only remember the good ones.

yesterday
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German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

Roger W Moore Re:Really? (287 comments)

I expect that part of what colours my experience is that the companies I typically have to call most often for customer support are the ones with the longest waits and slowest response times (that's if you even get one). I suspect that there may be a correlation. The couple of times I've had to contact Apple over the past several years they have been amazingly fast but try talking to Shaw Cable or Air Canada (other than to book a flight) and make sure you can sit by the phone for an hour or more and you can forget email because they certainly seem to!

4 days ago
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BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

Roger W Moore Re: ...and say what exactly? (362 comments)

That's what the summary says but the summary is WRONG. Read what they actually said in the article. Deliberately mis-stating what has been stated to make it ridiculously inflammatory is counterproductive and makes any criticism easy to dismiss. All the BBC says is that pirates use VPN. The troubling part of what they say is not this but that ISPs should act on any wild accusation they get to cut, or restrict, people's internet access. There is plenty to criticize there without the need to make up crazy stuff that was never stated anywhere.

4 days ago
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German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

Roger W Moore Really? (287 comments)

The only difference between Google and most customer service today is that at least Google are honest about it and tell you that you will be ignored. Most other companies will just ignore your email and not tell you or leave you in a call queue for so long that you end up having to hang up and go do something else.

4 days ago
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BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

Roger W Moore ...and say what exactly? (362 comments)

But what exactly are you going to say? Despite the inflammatory slashdot summary the quoted text from the BBC submission only says that pirates use VPNs. This is not at all the same as saying that all VPN users are pirates. The troubling part is that they are advocating that ISPs should throttle and disconnect users based on accusations from other companies which, as we have seen time and time again are often inaccurate.

So lets go after the real issues and not invent new ones based on deliberate misinterpretation since the latter will result in loss of all credibility and leave the field wild open for really draconian suggestions.

about a week ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

Roger W Moore Cheapest Ticket (811 comments)

The only way this would work is to place height restrictions on the different classes of seat. I'm an academic and when travelling for work I have to purchase the cheapest ticket. Without a height restriction I would then be forced to purchase a ticket for a seat I physically could not sit down it (I already have to pull out the magazines on US carriers to allow blood flow to my feet).

This can then open the debate about whether it is reasonable for an airline to charge someone extra just for being tall - something they had no control over and which is gender-biased. After all they don't charge more to provide special meals for those with dietary preferences or religious beliefs and, with the exception of medical conditions, that is a voluntary choice. Nor, I hope, do they charge disabled passengers extra for transporting wheelchairs etc.

about two weeks ago
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Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

Roger W Moore There are some problems (362 comments)

In this case, though, he's not wrong.

That depends. Having a holistic view of history is a good idea. Having a history teacher try to teach the Big Bang and Cosmology is a very, very bad idea.

about two weeks ago
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In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

Roger W Moore Prequel (441 comments)

Well after this he'll have plenty of great material for a 900-year prequel that will tackle some different, but still very troubling, social issues.

about two weeks ago
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How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

Roger W Moore String Theorists (202 comments)

Well, this method comes from physicists.

Clearly string theorists since, according to the summary, it creates a "dodecadron" cross-section. So having a cross-section somewhere between a 2D dodecagon and a 3D dodecahedron it clearly relies on converting the block into some multi-dimensional object with a strangely dimensioned cross-section.

about three weeks ago
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A Horrifying Interactive Map of Global Internet Censorship

Roger W Moore Corporate "laws" (158 comments)

Takes some seriously Orwellian doublethink to pretend copyright enforcement isn't censorship.

I think this is the result of a very narrow view point when making the map. They seem to only care about censorship by the state through direct laws. Increasingly in the US, and so some extent the rest of the western world, it is not government which restricts our rights but companies. They need to make a second map showing countries where companies have used laws to force, or bully, people into being censored through the threat of massive financial penalties.

about three weeks ago
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Major Delays, Revamped Beta For Credit-Card Consolidating Gadget Coin

Roger W Moore Re:Won't work with new chips (78 comments)

All the major credit card companies will be rolling out soon-to-be-mandatory chip systems for their credit cards.

They already have done several years ago. Wherever you are is about 5-6 years behind the times.

about three weeks ago
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The First Particle Physics Evidence of Physics Beyond the Standard Model?

Roger W Moore Re:No, there is no evidence of BSM yet (97 comments)

Actually that's not correct. The SM specified neutrino masses as zero just as it does the photon and gluon masses...or would you argue that those are free parameters as well? However I'll grant that this is not exactly a major change which is why I asked specifically about neutrino oscillations. This introduces 4 entirely new free parameters which were never included in the SM and while oscillations require that neutrinos have a mass the reverse is not true i.e. even if you give neutrinos a mass they do not have to oscillate. Hence I see no possible way that you can call this anything but new physics beyond the SM.

about three weeks ago
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The First Particle Physics Evidence of Physics Beyond the Standard Model?

Roger W Moore Whoa there: many corrections! (97 comments)

Since Einstein, we know gravity is the curvature of space-time. It may be represented as a force in calculations but in reality there is no force.

How about I turn that around and say that Einstein showed gravity can be modelled by the curvature of space-time but in reality it is a force? The fact of the matter is that, at a fundamental level, we have no clue what gravity is. However you can represent it very well by a spin-2, mass-less particle which couples to a particle's 4-momentum (the caveat being that you cannot make this theory work without an energy cut-off at some scale for which there is no justification). Until we solve quantum gravity we simply do not know what gravity really is but, if I were to bet, I suspect the latter is closer to the truth but needs some correction for the quantum structure of space-time which is something we have no clue about.

If gravity is not a force then do we really have a hierarchy problem?

Yes, and if anything it would be worse. The current problem comes about because we cannot scale the Higgs corrections up to the Planck-scale where we know there is new physics. If we remove that scale then we have a theory which has no upper scale limit and so should generate infinitely large corrections to the Higgs mass i.e. we go from an incredibly unlikely 1 in ~10^34 chance of the corrections giving such a light Higgs to a zero percent chance of the theory giving a light Higgs, or any Higgs with a non-infinite mass.

Obviously, if this is the case, G has nothing to do with Fermi's constant and we should not compare the two.

You are getting your 'g's and 'G's confused. In the muon g-2 experiment the 'g' is the muon's anomalous magnetic dipole moment. This is a precision test of Quantum Electrodynamics. The high order corrections to this will involve Fermi's constant (G_F) due to W and Z loops but these contributions will be incredibly small and were this any other experiment I would have said negligible but perhaps not in this case given the incredibly high precision involved. Neither of these constants have anything to do with the gravitational constant (G) nor the local acceleration due to gravity (g). So we are not comparing the two.

about a month ago
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The First Particle Physics Evidence of Physics Beyond the Standard Model?

Roger W Moore Re:No, there is no evidence of BSM yet (97 comments)

If there is no evidence of BSM physics yet then how would you classify neutrino oscillations?

about a month ago
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The First Particle Physics Evidence of Physics Beyond the Standard Model?

Roger W Moore Re:Neutrino Mass (97 comments)

As someone who has not been involved in neutrino physics (at least until very recently) I'd agree that neutrino oscillations are the first physics discovered that is beyond the Standard Model. In addition even if the g-2 experiment gives a 5 sigma discrepancy it tells you very little about what any possible new physics - to do that you have to produce the new particles directly and study them.

The corrections to the muon g-2 experiment are now so high order that they involve QCD loops. These are non-perturbative and incredibly hard to calculate correctly so all a 5 sigma discrepancy may mean is that the theorists have got the calculation wrong. Indeed this has happened before with a 3 sigma g-2 'signal' going away after an error in the theory calculation was found by the student of one of my departmental colleagues.

If I show my bias then I would say that the best chance of new physics is the new LHC run starting in March 2015 where we have almost twice the energy of the previous run and higher luminosity. This should at least double the reach of the LHC for new physics over the next 3 years. After this run any sensitivity gains to new physics will come from increasing luminosity and so take far longer to achieve, perhaps giving one more doubling of the reach but over the next ~15 years and with a lot of work involved since the high luminosity LHC upgrade has incredible background rates!

about a month ago
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No, a Huge Asteroid Is Not "Set To Wipe Out Life On Earth In 2880"

Roger W Moore Only a 0.0248% chance (123 comments)

Everything I've read said it's very unlikely to hit Earth in 2880. One chance in three hundred does not "likely" make.

Especially since it is actually 1 in 4,000 or 0.0248%. Still I'd actually think it would be a good thing to have the odds a lot higher, like 90%, with a lead time like this of 800+ years. To date the existential threat posed by wars have caused science to make massive advances but this has come at a huge cost of misery and death

Think of the scientific advances that could come from an existential threat that, instead of pitting us against each other, actually puts all of humanity on the same side for a change. In the past 800 years we have come from the dark ages to the internet age. If we can't get it together enough to develop the technology needed to cause a small deflection to an asteroid in the next 800 years then I'd say it was probably time for evolution to give it a second roll of the dice.

about a month ago
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California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla

Roger W Moore Best for Environment? (327 comments)

It's more that just jobs though. If this factory reduces the cost of the batteries to the point where lots more people can afford to purchase Teslas this could significantly impact air pollution in cities. While you'd need data to really know the answer this might actually be a case where the laws to protect the environment are not actually doing so.

about a month ago
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The Benefits of Inequality

Roger W Moore Re:Can't leave (254 comments)

I don't know about "benefits"...even the abstract says that one of the main triggers to accepting leadership was that the populace had nowhere to go, or that it was too costly to leave.

So really not much has changed. Let's face it if colonizing Mars became possible and cheap tomorrow there would be a mass exodus from the Earth as millions of people left to get away from the dodgy politicians and corporations we all have to put up with today...ironically only to end up with their own dodgy politicians and corporates a century or two later, at least if the colonization of America is anything to go by.

about a month ago
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Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

Roger W Moore Flawed Study (561 comments)

In the conclusions of the study they say that "hardly any better-qualified men were passed over as a result of interventions". However, given the structure of the study, this is only true when the men are forced to compete in a competition with a deliberate sexist bias against them since they did not get to chose their group - it was assigned. Given a choice between applying for a job where the selection criteria are non-biased by gender and one where there is a clear bias which would you choose, assuming that you were the gender biased against? In addition since there is considerable competition in the workplace (for promotions, contracts etc.) it is not clear that by lowering the competition you will actually get the best people for the job. You might get people with better skills but if they cannot use these effectively in a competitive environment their overall performance may be lower.

about a month ago

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