Has the Black Hole Information Loss Paradox been solved?

A couple of guys at Case Western think they’ve solved the Black Hole Information Loss Paradox.

So what’s the black hole information loss paradox? Well, think about it like this – there’s two fields of physics that describe most everything we’ve observed in the universe – quantum physics and the physics of general relativity. The problem with these two fellows is that each describes a couple of situations that cannot exist within the confines of the other. Quantum physics works well when you’re describing very small things, like subatomic particles. Relativity works well when you’re describing very big things, like galaxies. The “paradox” lies in trying to apply things that happen in one to how they apply in another. Gravity in particular gets very messy.

So, here’s the gist of the article:
According to Dejan Stojkovic, one of the papers authors, “An outside observer will never lose an object down a black hole. If you are sitting outside and throwing something into the black hole, it will never pass over but will stay outside the event horizon even if one considers the effects of quantum mechanics. In fact, since in quantum mechanics the observer plays an important role in measurement, the question of formation of an event horizon is much more subtle to consider.” What does this have to do with the information paradox? Since the outside observer never sees the formation of the event horizon in a finite time, the radiation that they can measure is not fully thermal, and can still carry information about the object that was tossed towards the black hole. Thus, information has not been lost, only changed; which is fine by all physical laws.

I can’t even begin to imagine the work that went into proving that…

The Yoggie Pico

This little item just hijacked it’s way to the top of my must have list. They say it’ll be released next month at about $180. Now, just to set the record straight – I’m a security freak, plain and simple. I have more security built into my home network than most of the enterprise networks I come into contact with on a daily basis. Not a little more, much more. Why do I love thee, little Yoggie Pico? Let me count the ways:

– Anti-Spam
– Anti-phishing
– Antispyware
– Antivirus
– Parent control system
– Transparent email proxies (POP3; SMTP)
– Transparent web proxies (HTTP; FTP)
– Intrusion detection system
– Intrusion prevention system
– Firewall
– Adaptive security policy (ok, this is kind of double counting IPS)
– Multi-layer security agent (Patent pending)
– “Layer-8” security engine (Patent pending)

And to top it off – it’s been graced with my other geek passion… speed. This device would be totally unremarkable if it tried to do all of the above using the CPU that I’m simultaneously using to whip your butt with in BF2. Instead, it offloads almost all security-related processes from your PC to it’s own dedicated Intel 520MHz PXA270 processor.

The Pico

Since I pay $30/yr to ESET for my NOD32 subscription, the cost of the annual sub to this guy pays for itself. Since it does AV plus a whole lot more… there’s several other apps I can ditch too.

Now my only question left is this – what can I sell on eBay to rummage up the cash to get myself one? I just sold all of my good stuff to get my 22″ LCD and my 8800GTS. Might have to break down and sell the old Cisco router and switch… don’t really use them anymore anyway.

Memorial Day Weekend

So for the little party we had yesterday, I bought a neat little toy – a BBQ Grillware Vertical Smoker from Lowes. I hickory smoked 2 pork tenderloins, and 2 whole chickens. Marinated all of it for 24 hrs in different stuff. One pork loin and one chicken was done in mojo criollo (bitter orange juice and garlic basically), other loin in mayo+lime juice (excellent flavor, but don’t think it clicked too well with the hickory smoke), and the other chicken in buttermilk and pepper. Buttermilk chicken was liked best by the majority of visitors. Cook time was about 4.5 hours at 200-225F, which took the meat temp up to 170F.

Very interested in trying some different wood and really really want to do a boston butt with a good rub for some pulled pork. Jen’s just interested in seeing how often I use it. I told her that if I used it once a month I’ll be happy.

BBQ Grillware Vertical Smoker

It’s about 4 feet high, and has 4 racks in it. In the bottom there’s a brass burner, then on top of that is a cast iron box that you put your wood chips in. Above that is a bowl that you fill with water. The four racks are above the water. Everything turned out great, and very tender. I was kind of nerveous about doing that much meat my first time out of the gate – that’s a lot of money in meat that I could screw up. It was pretty idiot proof though – I’d say easier than grilling a steak. The reason is that because it takes a lot longer, it’s almost impossible to screw up. I could’ve left it in there for 8 hours and it would’ve been fine – there would’ve just been more “crust” around the outside. There’s a big gap however, in having “good” smoked meat – which is easy – and “great” smoked meat – which is hard.

Got another interesting little item too – it’s a digital thermometer probe like I use with frying, but the probe has an RF transmitter base that it plugs into. You carry the reciever that has the display around with you, so you’re not tied to the grill. Any time you mix grilling and wireless technology, the result is nothing short of beautiful!

Filed under the “I wish this were a joke” category

I had to create a whole new category for this one. Did you know that sitting in your car outside of a coffee shop that has unsecured wi-fi access is a felony? This poor bloke (the word “bloke” courtesy of Dave, who’s got me in an English mood after his “rubbish” comment) didn’t know that either.

OK, It kind of makes sense when you think through it though. Let’s say the coffee shop had a table set up out front with a box of oranges on it with a sign that reads “Free oranges for coffee shop customers”. Technically, if you walk up and take an orange without first having bought a cup of coffee, you’re stealing. But a felony??? Come on. My argument would’ve been that I am a coffee shop customer – I bought a cup of coffee there just last week. I’ve spent money there – I’m a customer. It doesn’t say anything about being a customer in the last, oh, twenty minutes or so now does it? I can only come to two conclusions:

1) This guy had an ultra crappy lawyer.
2) I really should’ve gone to law school instead of going into telecom.

This one gets the Bunny Pancake award:

A bunny and a pancake

See? We’re not all quantum computers, overclocking, and Cylons here at oswald.us!

“The Children of Hurin” released!

W00T!!! I’m on my way right now to pick up my copy of “The Children of Hurin”!

According to this story by ABC News, they mention the Silmarillion (not by name oddly enough) and state “Outside of Tolkien scholars and Middle-earth fanatics, few read them.” Yes, reading the Silmarillion is like reading the Old Testament of The Bible in terms of complexity. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart – but “Túrin Turambar” is one of the greatest stories I’ve ever read, even in it’s unfinished form.

Unfinished that is, until now.

“The Children of Hurin” is the completion of this work, compiled by J.R.R. Tolkein’s son, Christopher. I say “compiled” because there is almost no new content in the book. Rather, it’s finally been arranged in a way that is presentable as a complete work.

If you haven’t read it, pick it up (along with a copy of “The Tolkein Illustrated Encyclopedia” if you’re new to this), strap yourself in, and prepare yourself for an epic story about inner conflict, sadness, and grief. It’s not an uplifting or inspirational story, so be ready for that. It’s a story that’s written with some of the most incredible imagery ever conceived, and it’s true to life in that very few conflicts end happily ever after.

China moves to curb online gaming

Could you imagine living in China, plowing into your fourth hour of BF2 (well, maybe not BF2 since the Chinese weapons all suck except for the J-10) and all of a sudden at the end of a half-hour round where you pwned to no end, your score on the board comes up as… zero?

Well, there it is.  Done deal.  If you’re a WoW player in China, you’re one pissed off gamer right about now.  I just can’t fathom my government controlling my score in a *game*.  Blizzard should file a complaint with the WTO, for whatever that would be worth – since this new law is eating directly into their bottom line.

[flippant] How can Chinese citizens afford MMORPG monthly fees anyway?  Isn’t $14 like a whole month’s salary to them? [/flippant]

Fab@Home – Home 3D fabrication is here

Who here has read Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age? Remember the “matter compiler”? Any Star Trek fans remember a little device called a “replicator”?  Well, we’re getting there.
Janeway and the Replicator

Three dimensional fabrication machines have been around for a while, but they’re typically owned by really large companies and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here’s how it works – you use a CAD program to create a digital three dimensional object, and the fabricator creates that object, typically using a plastic polymer. It’s like a printer for three dimensional objects.

So the barrier with fabrication machines has always been cost – until now. Evan Malone, a grad student at Cornell, has created a 3D fab machine that an enthusiastic hobbyist can create for less than $2500.

The Fab@Home Machine

Personally, I think this has *much* larger ramifications than just being cool. This is no less of a revolution than was printed paper. This makes *object creation* within the typical person’s reach. This particular fab machine can not only use plastics, but can use just about anything to create it’s objects – chocolate, for instance.Sit back for a moment and consider where this could go…

Thanks again Ars

Ubuntu and Vista & the HardOCP 30 day test

VERY interesting articles here on the author’s experiences with both Ubuntu Linux and Vista…

Oh, and btw, if all you want is your desktop to look different, for heaven’s sake just install WindowBlinds – you don’t have to install a new freakin’ OS just for that.  Personally, I run the Azenus2 skin…  *very* nice.

New WEP cracking app chainsaws your 104-bit keys

Still running that Rev A Linksys AP?  Your neighborhood geek utes sure hope so.  They are now able to tear through your WEP keys in two minutes flat – and that’s using a crappy old laptop.  It’s not the processor speed that’s doing the crunching – it’s the amount of data they can capture and analyze for your keys that’s new.  Used to be 500K packets captured would yield them… now with just 80K they can get them with a 95% probability.

Thanks for the heads up Ars…

ReactOS – Finally an Open Source OS for the masses?

ReactOS is my favorite new open source project. What is it? Well, it’s nothing short of a COMPLETE REWRITE of Windows XP. Yes, you read that correctly. From their FAQ:

“The 9x family of Microsoft Windows is based on DOS, and shares many of its weaknesses, which is the primary reason why Microsoft Windows has such a bad name. The Microsoft Windows NT family of Windows, however, has a solid design. Not everything is perfect, but without access to the source code, there is no way to fix it, so a compatible operating system must be built from the ground up.”

Yup. An XP-compatible OS built from the ground up. I can barely fathom the size of that task. Just so we’re clear, this is not a Linux/WINE project. This is an operating system that will allow you to run Windows apps *natively*. You can use drivers written for XP. It’s not a port of anything or an emulator. Even if these guys fail outright, they get my respect for even *trying* to tackle this project. Something tells me though that they won’t fail… they’ve already got alpha code out there – and this will end up being one of those open source projects that EVERYONE will want to work on. There will be a LOT of talent working on this.

In the end though, I wonder if it’ll end up being “mostly functional” like OpenOffice – an app doomed to never being more than a backseat competitor to MS Office – or if it’ll flourish in it’s own right and develop it’s own feature sets.

Either way, one thing is for sure – I’ll be keeping a build of this running in MY lab. Already got the box picked out to run it.

“In-Game” advertising is here to stay

I don’t have a problem with advertising in a game as long as it stays on the subliminal level and dosen’t jump out and make you look at it.  For example – if you were walking down a street in, say, Half-Life2, then it wouldn’t be *unordinary* to see a sign or a billboard for McDonalds.  Hopefully game designers won’t cross the line – because games that have overt advertising in them are supposed to be FREE.  I’m not going to pay for a game that is an explicit advertising platform.