"They assert we're in a "post-empirical" period for understanding fundamental physics."
And that is where we astronomical observationalists laugh at them because their "advanced models", while getting quite a bit right, fail so horribly in other respects to describe what is seen and it just gets waved away.
However, I did go to a talk at this years American Astronomical Society meeting by Max Tegmark, a leader in the multiverse theories, and he explained several things we CAN observe to at least rule out some of the multiverse theories. There are some proposed observations that, if observed, would narrow it down to one kind of multiverse. I wish for the life of my I could remember what kind of observations he was talking about, but I only work in nearby galaxies so it wasn't something I would add too.
In the end, unless we figure out SOMETHING to observe, the theories are a bit meaningless because they just play with ideas and don't effect the rest of the science. They turn into really mathematical philosophers. Still, string theory would be so cool if it turns out to be correct.
I did not back, but was intending to buy this product once it was out. Goblins: Alternate Realities was supposed to be a cardgame based on the comic Goblins, which is a wonderful long running comic with an entertaining storyline. The project raised $177,000 + because of the many fans, and just overall good concept. The kickstarter was being co-run by the author, but everything official was going through the owner of Evertide Games. Tarol, the author of goblins, was all gung-ho to get it made. Time went buy, and suddenly the owner of Evertide Games was not responding to emails. For a thorough account read this blog.
The recap is the guy ran off with all the money leaving poor Tarol to hang. He also had the funding from Mr. Card Game which had raised 142,000 that he took off with as well. Backers from that Kickstarter who are in Australia are looking into legal action.
Tarol had a mental breakdown which was really awful because of this, but after taking some time to himself to recover is trying to fix things by doing the game out of pocket, which is insane but he believes it is his responsibility and he is just that kind of guy. However, Kickstarter is making it really hard for him to get together a list of everyone. You can read the nightmare that is kickstarter's response here.
I have backed quite a few kickstarters and so far all of them have succeeded and produced what was promised. But this just shows even people with credentials can screw you over. Tarol is trying to make good, but the whole thing has been a huge mental and financial strain on him and certainly darkened my view on kickstarters.
I have been seeing this for a while, but when I first saw this post on Techdirt I saw white and gold and thought you had posted the modified version. I then tilted my screen, and it snapped to blue and black and I can't see it as white gold anymore, no matter what I do.
Huh, my parents live in that one little patch in Washington. Never realized how lucky they were to actually get fiber. When they first got it I was amazed at how fast it was.
HOWEVER. That was 6/7 years ago and I now live in a different place and have Charter. Whenever I go home I am shocked at how slow it is when it is supposed to be much faster then what I am getting. Don't know what's going on there, but I swear they aren't getting what they paid for. It is like pulling teeth waiting for pages to load at their house when I know their internet should be faster.
Being a member of the astronomy community, the idea that the information would become public instantly is slightly terrifying. Mostly because my funding comes from grants, which often rely on past publications. If my group released the photos, and was working on careful science to explain some phenomena, and some other group scooped us with poor quality science but mostly correct ideas, there goes the discovery paper and quite a bit of my oomf for my next grant cycle. It's all about who publishes first, and I feel not having the proprietary period would cause a manic rush to publish that would end up effecting both the science, and probably the sanity of the scientists involved.
Boosting the economic return by releasing information right away may be a good thing, but in the end you are going to be hurting the scientists who have made this their life work.
Also, linking this to the HGP; astronomy is a very low economic return science, that's part of the problem with funding. We don't often make discoveries that end up making people money. Meaning or main source of income is those grants we have to fight tooth and nail for. The HGP likely has for more economic applications then most astronomy projects do, aside from the money made via PR. It's a very one way science when it comes to costs. While I adore my particular research, I am under no illusions that what I am doing will somehow be able to be economically viable. My research is important for the advancement of my field, but has no economic return. This is of course scary in the US were the government seems to be pushing only for science that boosts the economy.
Still, there ARE projects designed for this instant information release. The LSST, which will hopefully be working sometime in the 2020s, will be pushing all its info out as soon as everything has been reduced. The beauty of that particular project is that there is so much information that no one person could scoop all the important discoveries. They will have terabytes of data released every few days, and there will be thousands of important discoveries to be made. Rosetta is a very different mission, in that there is a much more limited data set, and for funding purposes the scientists who run the mission need those discoveries to be made within the science team to validate the mission.
I was flying out of Tucson, through LAX into Seattle. I went through Tucson security just fine, and landed in LAX. I was thirsty so I went to the soda machine that was right across from where I was going to board. I purchased a soda, saw the line starting to get on the plan, and dragged my bag and my soda over. While I was there I opened the soda and took a drink. All of a sudden two TSA agents pulled me out of line and told me they needed to check me for explosives. The took my drink out of my hand and started testing it with little swabs. My first reaction was "Oh god that better not explode I just drank that!", they swabbed down my hands, checked me over, and let me back in line with my soda. I threw it away immediatly.
My second story was also a friend coming from Tucson, through someplace in California, to Seattle. She also went through security in Tucson just fine, got to the Cali airport, and was pulled aside while she was standing in line to board her next plane. Now, she is a tiny girl, but is very gifted in the bust area. They got a female TSA officer to start "checking" her chest because they insisted someone so tiny couldn't have a chest that big and not be smuggling drugs (AKA, they had to be fake). She was so pissed of she bounced up and down and was all "These bounce, DO THEY LOOK FAKE?!?" An older lady who had been standing next to her turned around and smacked the male TSA officer with her handbag and started yelling "For shame!" at them. Eventually they let her go.
Why both of these happened in California, both within a month of each other is beyond me.
Aaah SkyMall. Without it, how could anyone channel their love for Easter Island by decorating their backyards with 6 foot Moai? I'd be back to carving my own out of basalt and hauling it into my backyard instead of having it delivered right to my door!
When I saw this on another site I wondered when you guys would pick it up. It really is unfortunate for the people at ZeniMax who are not involved with this because I feel like this will give the company a bad rep. I've been in contact with a lot of the people who work at ZeniMax for the TESO alpha and beta sessions, and they genuinely wanted to make good products focused on what the customers want and will enjoy. This just makes the company sound like another big bad trying to crush the little guys who are trying to give the public what they want. Shame on you, ZeniMax legal department!
The National Observatory on Kitt Peak is losing almost all funding, and the National Solar Observatory at Sunspot, NM is as well. This are huge, active sites for astronomy that are heavily used, but they are being shut down due to the budget cuts. Almost every school I applied to for Grad School as bought in to the telescopes there which is one of the reasons I applied to them, but it is likely they won't be running 2 years from now due to the cuts. It's also likely there will be less jobs for astronomers as well due to the cuts, since many positions are funded by grants.
I love my field of research. Astronomy discovers so many mind blowing things every day, things people can't even BEGIN to make up on their own, but the government thinks it's not worth funding. Astronomy is one of the most inspirational and motivational fields that gets people interested in science at a young age, despite very few people becoming astronomers. I know everyone is hurting for money, but I wish there was some other way then taking it from the sciences where it actually does good.
I got off a plane at LAX and went to my connect flight, but not before stopping at a vendor to buy a soda. I then walked up to the line to get onto the plane and opened the soda and took a swig. Right before I got on to the plane I was pulled aside.
TSA: "Mam, we need to check your drink for explosives."
Me: "What?!?! I just bought this here!"
Thank god the TSA has the forethought to check their own already screened drinks for explosives after people have had a drink. It made me feel so much safer when I got onto the plane.
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