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# Bri’s Techdirt Profile

• Mar 23rd, 2016 @ 9:57pm

### Re:

Nope! Astronomer here! The extent to what we can see is called the observable universe. That is a distance of 46 billion lightyears away. This has to do with the fact that our universe is expanding, so if a particle emits light, how far could it travel before the universe is expanding so fast light can never reach a further point? We assume that everything past the horizon is the same as here, but we have no way of knowing that since our understanding of the universe is limited by the speed of light. We can't get any information past that horizon. It could be different, but our understanding of fundamental physics tells us that location in the universe doesn't make you special, so there is no reason for it to be different.

This question is giving me flash backs to my preliminary exam when this question was asked and we had to calculate a bunch of distances based on the age of the universe. Don't remember if I did too well on that question...

• Feb 1st, 2016 @ 11:55am

### (untitled comment)

What makes me concerned is the way they've been doing damage control. Deleting whole swaths of comments, and getting videos that are "reacting" to their announcement taken down seems a bit dictator-like to me. It's possible the videos were dmca'd by another entity, but it seems unlikely.

• Oct 30th, 2015 @ 9:13am

### How many synonyms an you think of?

Called my ISP last night. For the past few weeks, our internet has been fine until 10pm almost in the dot, where it would go from 50Mbps to maybe 5Mbps, sometimes 0.9 or just 0. The nice lady on the phone had us speed test, and when the speeds we told her were confirmed she discovered a " mismatch" in the system between the speeds we were paying for and what the system was giving us. When asked about why this only happened after 10, we were told sometimes the system shows different speeds and needs to be corrected. She did everything possible to avoid saying we were being throttled at peak hours. Now our speeds are up to 66 Mbps, and we were told when we signed up it was not physically possible for it to go over 50. Hmmmm.

• Oct 16th, 2015 @ 1:29pm

### Possibly good can come from this?

I'd like to point out the University just had 250 million in funding cut by the state, convieniently in time for a 250 million Wisconsin Bucks stadium to be funded by the state (the stadium will be privately owned though). So, while I get this is patent trolling hard, I can only hope the money actually will go to the University to try and prevent the drastic cutting back to the actual education system. Departments like mine, the astronomy department, which don't really bring in money, are in dire straights with some faculty even looking at leaving. We don't have enough money for all the grad students either, and have to rely on private donors to make up the budget of our department. We are certiany not the only ones.

Still, hoping the money can go towards something good does not justify patent trolling. Universities shouldn't have to focus on making money, but the sad state of things is the government, especially in Wisconsin, is dead set on making it impossible for universities to NOT try and make money at every turn. They can't afford to keep being a cutting edge research institution if the state claims they should only be producing people ready for the workforce and cuts money to prove a point. I was almost hoping Scott Walker would get the nomination just so he would quit as governer (but the chance that he could have won was equally terrifying).

• Sep 25th, 2015 @ 12:54pm

### (untitled comment)

For a country that likes to make a lot of weapons, we sure beat down the youth who actually have an interest in making them or studying them. You'd think those would be the kids the DoD would be mentoring hoping to fastrack them into R&D instead of losing them to private tech companies or just beating them down into ACTUALLY becoming a problem.

• Sep 22nd, 2015 @ 12:36pm

### Seeing the future

Wa s just reading more up on reddit, and user GarryMcMahon pointed out that about a year ago Shkreli was on reddit talking about this issue. Some people used the remindme bot to remind them a year later about it, predicting the storm this turned into. Turns out they were a 10 days off in their predictions.

• Jul 28th, 2015 @ 2:18pm

### (untitled comment)

used that as an opportunity to change its name to avoid some of the bagggage

Even the schools baggage is a wreck. Can't get anything right, can it?

• Mar 31st, 2015 @ 11:12pm

### Re: Highschool dropout here

There is nothing wrong with not going to a university. Heck more people SHOULDN'T be going to university and should instead be getting their career started. A lot of the degrees handed out nowadays, especially the most popular ones, will not get you where you want to go.

However, for things like the STEM fields, or people who want to go into academia research for history, archeology, etc, it's extremely important. For the 900+ psychology majors who got a BA, probably not so much. But the ones who got a BS are likely going into a research or medical field, and for them the degree is important. It gives them the basis for their career,

I'm in astronomy, a few years out from my PhD, and there is no way you can get the experience you need without going to a university. There are some things you cannot do without going through the years of academics.

Often one thing you learn in classes at universities is not something like "this is how you program" but instead "this is how you program for optimal efficiency and why this is how it works". You learn the basic principals of the methods, not just how to do it. Understanding why you should use one method over another and the theory behind it is useful for further discovery and invention. You can get buy a lot on just teaching yourself, both my godfather and father who have 6 figure jobs did that, but sometimes they go through a lot of extra effort figuring something out re-inventing the wheel when, if they had learned it in a class, they would have learned the basic methods behind what they are doing and the solution would have fallen out naturally. It's not for everyone and certainly you can't say they weren't successful because they didn't go to university, but you can't say other people in the same situation could just figure it out on there on.

Also, if you can do basic math for your taxes or anything really, you do remember things from gradeschool, and even from middle school if you ever "solve for x when you have y etc".

• Mar 31st, 2015 @ 8:10pm

### (untitled comment)

"meets the state's workforce needs"

That's called a technical school, an apprenticeship, etc. Universities are not necessarily meant to prepare you for the work force. They are supposed to promote higher thinking and discovery.

Scott Walker keeps on talking about improving Wisconsin's workforce, but targeting the University is only going to make sure people don't respect the degrees you get from there. If he wants workforce ready places of learning, they already exist. It's called a technical school. Or an apprenticeship.

• Mar 12th, 2015 @ 5:25pm

### (untitled comment)

My doctors office now does hand scans, where it looks at your veins to match you to your records. It's pretty nifty. Also makes me wonder how hard it would be to trick the system.

• Mar 5th, 2015 @ 10:38pm

### Getting into the realm of philosophy

"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.

• Mar 1st, 2015 @ 12:58pm

### (untitled comment)

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.

http://www.goblinscomic.org/lowtide-update-for-goblins-alternate-realities/

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.

• Feb 27th, 2015 @ 12:57pm

### (untitled comment)

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.

Love it but it drives me a bit nuts.

• Jan 30th, 2015 @ 10:06am

### (untitled comment)

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.

• Jan 26th, 2015 @ 7:21am

### Re:

Now that Ted Cruz, known climate change denier and NASA hater, is the chairman of the Senate comittee on on Space, Science, and Competitiveness? 100%.

Also thanks for the editors choice! Never thought I'd get one of those.

• Jan 22nd, 2015 @ 2:06pm

### Speaking as an astronomer

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.

• Oct 7th, 2014 @ 11:54am

### The laws of the playground

Do they also use the "I licked it, it's mine!" rule to enforce civil forfeiture?

• Sep 15th, 2014 @ 9:12am

### I might have exploded!

So I have two stories.

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.

• May 5th, 2014 @ 8:48pm

### (untitled comment)

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!

• May 2nd, 2014 @ 5:06pm

### (untitled comment)

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!