As some of you might have read, a recent claim by an as yet inadequately identified ‘source’ about the recent supra-luminal neutrino experiment is getting a lot of publicity. The source claims that the observed 60ns edge of neutrinos over the photon based value of ‘c’ was due to a loose fibre-optic cable in one part of the apparatus. Lots of morons and scientists are prematurely rejoicing that this ‘source’ has somehow debunked the supra-luminal neutrino experiment. However I know a few things about the pathetic and petty nature of academics and will therefore make a prediction.
The ‘loose’ cable idea is a PR stunt by some scientists to win some recognition.
Here are my reasons-
1. Let us start by assuming that a ‘loose’ fibre-optic cable is indeed the cause of the observed anomaly. But if that were so- the observed anomaly would change substantially over time from factors such as changes in intra-day room temperatures, simple mechanical displacement from handling the affected instrument or nearby ones.
However nothing of that sort can be seen in the original data. The observed anomaly was notable for being consistent over a period exceeding a year! I would find it very odd for a fortuitously loose cable to remain so unperturbed for over a year.
2. This is not the first time some pathetic loser (academic) has tried to raise objections to the data. First it was relativity and GPS satellites, then it was inadequate statistical analysis, then it was inconsistent with existent ideas about supra-luminal particles.
At some stage, a skeptical person has to wonder why many so-called scientists are so dogged in their defense of their theories. Shouldn’t theories be based on reality, rather than vice versa?
3. This is NOT the first time somebody suggested that neutrinos have supra-luminal velocities. This particular experiment was infact conducted to check similar results from a less accurate setup. Furthermore Einstein’s theories are rather sparse when it comes to the behavior of tachyons and certainly does not prohibit particles that were ‘born’ as tachyons.
Let us face it- we have no clue if neutrinos have any mass. Our current theory about neutrino having mass is based upon their ability to change from one form to another. Nobody has measured the mass of a neutrino by either direct or indirect methods, unlike similar measurements for many other subatomic particles.
That is all I have to say for now. What do you think?
As a rule, I write about something only after giving alternate viewpoints some consideration. In the case of physical objects and devices, this includes hands on experience with the product. Consider this post about my thoughts on the likely future of PS Vita in that light.
First the good news.. The overall design, build quality, usability, screen resolution, CPU and GPU power is top-notch. You really cannot complain much about the hardware part apart from some wishful thinking about better CPUs (it is already a quad-core ARM9), the “quasi-HD 220 dpi display” (it is HD for all practical purposes) or the battery life (quite decent for something that does so much). I also have no issues with its cost or size, which are inline with its function and form. Furthermore comparing a dedicated gaming device which has real physical controls with the iPhone 4 or 4s is an exercise in stupidity.
My issues with this device are about its uncertain future as a mobile gaming platform- specifically its role in the device ecosystem. When the original PSP came out in 2005, smartphones were rather primitive and seldom used for serious or even casual gaming. YouTube and other “tubes” for media streaming were just being developed. FaceBook, Twitter and a lot of social media sites either did not exist at all or were just being developed. To put it another way- the PSP was the only game in town as far as high quality handheld gaming was concerned. Sure, you could your Nintendo handheld something, but it was pretty much restricted to sidescroller action games, go-kart simulators and puzzles.
Fast-forward to today and you will realize that much has changed. People use handhelds in a fundamentally different way than they did even 4 years ago and that in my opinion is the first problem for something like PS Vita. Handhelds (mostly smartphones) are now seen primarily as a portal into the virtual world. While there always will be serious gamers, the vast majority of users see games as one of the many uses of handhelds. It is no wonder that short episode length and casual games such as Angry Birds or similar physics based games sell so well. Then there is the issue of gameplay interruption for checking FaceBook updates, Twitter feeds, texts and forwarded viral YouTube videos- you get the picture.
While the PS Vita is an excellent piece of hardware, the software (games and applications) that I have seen to date are based on outdated ideas about how people play on portable gaming systems. Most of the publicized game titles are versions of PS2/PS3/PSP classics or heavily inspired by them. Now that decision by itself is not wrong, but how many people would want to play for a solid 30 minutes on a mobile gaming system? While Sony could bridge that gap by getting more independent developers to develop mobile-friendly games, their previous record in this area and attitudes towards small independent developers has been rather “asian”.
This “asian” attitude spills into their applications too. Everything from their Web browser, FaceBook client etc look, feel and behave somewhat differently from iOS and Android versions of the same. While the quality of their applications is quite good, it is unlikely that most of their users would be interested in learning another new way to do the fricking obvious. In my opinion, they should have just used virtualized android versions of popular applications or built them to look and behave exactly like them. But it seems they have allowed “asian” pride, obstinance and control freakery to overrule expedience.
Then there is the issue of half-hearted support for things like PDF files, Flash videos, Video Conferencing etc. Surely there are ways to make the most common and medium CPU intensity things like Flash Videos work smoothly on a quad-core ARM9 CPU+ GPU combination! And what is this fetish with proprietary storage formats? Just stick with a format that is common, inexpensive and functional.
In conclusion, the PS Vita is a very well-built and powerful handheld device which has been crippled by the “asian” corporate culture of Sony. They seem to forget that the world has changed since their glory days in the 80s and 90s. The PS Vita is a microcosm of Japanese society and its inability to accept or interact with a world which has grown past their “accepted” mental models.
What do you think? Comments?
As the longest running American sitcom “The Simpsons” has its collection of fans and detractors. While there are those who believe that it is ‘not as fresh as it used to be’ there is little doubt that the show still has more than enough viewers and relevancy to remain afloat. But what makes this show relevant and engaging- after almost 23 years and 500 episodes?
Make a guess..
It, more than any other show on network TV, explores the deep and increasing social cynicism prevalent in developed countries.
Network TV shows were, and still largely are, designed around validating and celebrating the status quo. In such shows- government agencies are always peopled by smart and competent people (Law and Orders, CSIs, X-Files), families always have textbook-style dysfunctions (every single sitcom), unusually attractive professionals (ER, Alley McBeal, Boston Legal to House) or are full of witty 20-30 somethings with lovable dysfunctions living in coastal cities (Seinfeld, Friends to Big Bang Theory). Occasionally you have semi-realistic but overtly sanctimonious crap such as ‘my so-called life’ to ‘the wire’.
The Simpsons differed, and still does so, from every other mainstream sitcom in three fundamental ways.
1. It lacks people who can be easily pigeonholed. While Homer is the official buffoon, he has far more redeeming characteristics than your average TV dad. Lisa for all her goody two-shoes act is often shown as an elitist, mean and competitive bitch. You almost feel sorry for characters such as Smithers, Moe and Skinner. Even somebody like Mr. Burns has his moments of redemption. The show is therefore far closer to reality in that its characters are not too rigidly typecast.
2. It mercilessly exposes the dark sides of every occupation and institution it examines. It is equally cynical about so-called ‘respectable’ occupations such as teachers, scientists, doctors, pastors to the more questionable ones such as lawyers and CEOs. In a similar vein, it is very critical of institution ranging from schools, universities, churches, police to corporations and elected government officials.
3. The characters in that show feel human and worthy of empathy. When is the last time you felt a connection to the outrageous and over the top characters and antics see in shows such as South Park, Robot Chicken, Family Guy etc? I cannot resist pointing out the irony that the most show with the most ‘human’ characters on network TV today is the one with live human characters.
In my opinion, it is the mixture of these three attributes that has given “The Simpsons” its longevity and popularity. It is probably the most accurate documentation of what living in the USA has been like for the last 25 odd years.
What do you think? Comments?