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The likelihood is dead, long live the likelihood (cern.ch)
69 points by nabla9 4 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments



OT: if you (like me) always saw this kind of title but never bothered too much to understand where it comes from, check this [1] on Wikipedia.

[1]: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_king_is_dead,_long_live_...!


The concept applied to particle physics, courtesy of Sir Terry Pratchett:

"The only thing known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Wheedle. He reasoned like this: you can't have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles -- kingons, or possibly queons -- that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed."


In romance languages, these monarchy carriers aren't particles, but reyes.


I'm not saying this to be pedantic (I loved the joke), but to share the coolness of special relativity to others who may read your post.

The fundamental particles, kingon, queons and republicons, all travel at the speed of light, and are presumably massless. In the timeframe of the photons, and other politicons, they travel instantly from point A to B; so they communicate the King swap instantly.

The solution of the paradox is that each object has a unique inertial frame. Therefore, the King is not dead until the light cones of the dying King and his subject intersect. If the Queen of England dies in London, she's still alive to her subjects in Auckland for 4 hundredths of a second until the news reaches them through the center of the earth.

That's 40ms for light to travel through the Earth. Lag in New Zealand must suck.


Living in New Zealand I can tell you that in reality it's much worse - we usually get > 300ms ping to game servers in europe, best to stick with US west coast where it's more like ~150ms. A straight line right through the earth would be great.

Luckily a lot of really big games have servers in Australia now though. I miss the days where player hosted dedicated servers were the norm and you didn't have to rely on the publisher deeming you important enough to have one close to you.


I feel like there is still a "three-body problem" information paradox in there involving the heir.


Thanks for illustrating that aspect of space time!


What is the theoretical treatment of relativity of simultaneity for kingons in Minkowski spacetime? Or worse, what if spacetime is curved?


Thank you, I got a good laugh out of “republicon”


It's interesting and frightening that we are now developing and using systems that perform complex computations for which no analytical expression exists. I saw something similar a while back here: https://www.livescience.com/ai-solves-three-body-problem-fas...


Now? The three body problem in Newtonian physics is not analytically solvable.

Analytically solvable problems are rare, simple unicorns that have even more rare practical application.

Almost no practical system is analytically solvable.


Surprised they didn't mention energy-based models, which are a fantastic option to handle intractable likelihoods. How is this approach related to EBMs?


That was a fascinating read. I have no idea how to deal with models of that complexity but can appreciate the difficulty.


I find it (not) surprising that there is so much interest and/or noise about AI or algorithmic "bias", and little to no noise about the decades of similar "bias" from the application of likelihood in fields that apply traditional "statistics"




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