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Given my own, and many of my friends, calling ourselves some variation on your friend's self-described political views, I think he's being pre-emptively, jokingly snarky, in order to fend off the kind of judgement implicit behind your, "Make of that what you will," from coming into the conversation. If he calls himself a "pinko" or whatever, he's taken its use as an epithet off the table.

That's no small part of why my friends and I do that, anyway.

I had an uncle unfriend me after I called out some of the racist, misinformed crap he was spouting in response to Prince's death. It's unfortunate, because I really want to like the guy, but his posts had really boiled down to one (or, rarely, more) of: sportsball fanaticism, "Immigrants are scary!", or "Why doesn't anyone care about Vietnam Veterans?!"

My feed is a lot less unpleasant now, but we're both that much more isolated in our echo chambers. Granted, I think the acoustics are much nicer in mine, but a breadth of discourse does, one hopes, help to keep one's mind ... if not more open, at least more aware of what other people are thinking.

Calling someone a racist is a quick way to get unfriended, yes. I've been blocking people who use that kind of personal attack on me and my life is better for it. His perception of your feed and your perception of your feed are likely very different.

Since he is your uncle, you have an inroad available of meeting him to hopefully patch things up. But be aware that you might have to try and understand his point of view rather than labelling it, and writing him off as a bigot.

I don't know the full story, but I've become somewhat skeptical when I hear things like this.

I didn't call him a racist, though I can see how my phrasing of what went down might imply that. I pointed out places where his beliefs about Prince were based on factually false ideas about the man and his life, and supplied information he was clearly lacking that gave context to the things he'd heard about him that inspired those mistaken beliefs.

E.g., "He was a druggie!" Yeah, no. It was Percocet, because his hip was profoundly fucked up from all the jumping around on stage he'd done for decades. As a Jehovah's Witness, drug abuse was strictly against his faith, and he didn't even allow guests at Paisley Park to drink or smoke tobacco. That kind of thing.

See how making an assumption about someone and proceeding with that as a premise leads to mistaken beliefs about the events in their lives?

Well... he did take a lot of drugs. Prescription pills are a hell of a thing, much stronger than street drugs, and he was taking them in excess. Not just doctor's prescription if you know what I mean. I don't want to talk about prince.

In your post you suggested that your uncle was saying racist things. You imply his racism and I bet it comes across quite strongly when you speak/type.

Worse than passing judgement on someone is passing judgement and then communicating it passive aggressively. Word games, used so that the other person can't properly address what was said.

Measurement error is a fine, and even necessary hypothesis in attempting to explain the observed effect. Multiple, independent replications tend to cast doubt on the ultimate viability of that hypothesis, however. How likely is it that all of these people at all of these labs are making the same measurement error?

And then, on top of that, when the observed effect comports with a theory that also predicts another, well-established observed effect?

It's been said that the most important phrase you will ever hear a scientist utter isn't, "I've found it!", but rather, "Well, that's strange."

This is very much in the, "Well, that's strange" class of things. Either way, we're going to learn something about how the universe works, or about our ability to measure it, or both. This should be celebrated, not dismissed as mere "measurement error."

People noticed an effect every time the Dean Drive was turned on... but it is just a stiction engine and obviously won't work in space. It could be this drive is actually generating magnetic forces or moving air around and thus "creating thrust" by pushing off its surroundings, which won't work in a vacuum.

... which was already tested for. vacuum or not seems to make no difference on the effect.

It could also push off the Earth magnetic field.

Then it should depend on the orientation (and altitude, geographical location). According to [1] this was tested for.

[1] http://emdrive.com/faq.html

The existence of the Unruh effect in it self is currently quite debatable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unruh_effect

You'll note that I didn't actually assert the existence of the effect. I observed that a theory which predicts the effect the EmDrive appears to demonstrate, also predicts the fly-by anomaly, and offers a unified explanation for both.

Yes, it requires more confirmation. Much more. I'm not a scientist, but I think that, taken together, it's interesting enough — "Well, that's strange" enough — to warrant further investigation, instead of being all, "Meh. Measurement error."

Am I mistaken in that belief?

It's worth an investigation because it can be done cheaply and there might be something there. We've also investigated ESP and quite a few other weird things.

Unruh radiation is weird under some interpretations it can be used to reduce the inertial mass of objects, the thing I take from this is that I hope the EM drive could prove it rather than the other way around because then we might say we've discovered the "Mass Effect" ;)

It's also quite possible that the theory was derived to fit these observations. This theory has yet to predict anything new that has been proven. Until it does it only amounts to a possible way of connecting two unexplained and possibly flawed observations.

Well I guess the ultimate test would be to put the whole contraption in space, turn it on and see if it moves. Then it would be undebatable, no?

"Sell[ing] people to advertisers" != "sell[ing] people to an oppressive regime."

That's one way to look at it. But Chinese view US regime as oppressive, and any opinion to the contrary would result in the downvote fairies of the 50-cent army slashing your karma to oblivion, in a similar way I lost about 25 points on this post.

Wat? Nothing you've said above or below would incite the ire of 50¢A. If anything they would upvote you.

I make a point of re-reading this story every several months to a year-ish. It reminds me to look at and engage with the world in a more compassionate way, and I like that.

Or, you know, just X-Ray them. Aren't most competition-level bikes using carbon fibre frames these days? For metal frames, ultrasound would work just as well.


X-Ray would work on the thing aluminum chassis of a low end racing bike too. You might have to crank the power up a little, but it's going to see those powerful little magnets clear as day.

I'm, personally, strongly inclined to discount the opinions on bullying and harassment and the like offered by someone who uses the phrase "outrage porn" unironically.


This is probably a far better solution than trying to make rm smarter about which kinds of files it's somehow either "safe" or "unsafe" to unlink. Even then, though, you'd still get people who invoke it with "--across-devices --yes-i-really-mean-it" set, with unexpected and disastrous consequences.

And then someone will come along and bitch that rm isn't safe enough yet again.


Well, the point is that --across-devices won't be a flag you use as a matter of habit, it's something you'll only use when rm tells you it won't cross the device boundary and you realize that, yes, you really do want to delete across a device boundary. So you'll only add it in the specific cases where it's warranted, and you'll have already tried rm without it (to verify that you're deleting the right thing).

Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever used rm to delete across device boundaries. It just doesn't seem like an action you usually want to take.


... so then you change it to be more safe yet again.

I don't understand this attitude. Of course software isn't perfect; it's not even close, it's pretty awful. But the best thing about it: it's malleable. When things don't work, you change them to work better.


When things don't work, you change them to work better.

I'd submit that adding layer upon layer of complexity to prevent all the myriad stupid things people might do using a particular piece of software isn't axiomatically "better".

Maybe if lives depend on its correct function, it's worth it, but that kind of strict requirements gathering and execution is well-understood by the people who live in that world.

Making sure that J. Random DevOps Dude doesn't foot-gun himself when he's paid to know better isn't that.


But J. Random DevOps doesn't foot-gun himself he foot-guns the whole Op. You can fire him because it turns out he didn't know better but it's not going to fix the problem he created, the problem now affecting the whole company.


Believe me, I know this. Entirely too well, in fact.

At my last job, the senior DevOps dude foot-gunned the entire company, by running a read-write disk benchmark (using fio(1)) against the block device (instead of a partition, which, while still stupid, would at least not have been actively destructive) on both my master and all of my slave PostgreSQL hosts. At the same time. And, of course, without telling anyone what he was doing, so the first inkling I had that there was a problem was about 20 minutes later, when I started getting a steadily increasing number of errors suggesting disk corruption.

How does one make such a tool drool-proof enough to prevent that kind of idiocy? Please, help me figure that out. And then give me a time machine, because that was a 16-hour day I'd really rather not have experienced.

And, no, the right move is generally not to fire the jackass who makes that kind of mistake. In my case, above, the company spent about three quarters of a million dollars (just in revenue, never mind how much time was burned in meetings about the incident, my efforts to fix the problem, as well as his and the rest of his team's efforts, and so on) teaching him never to do that again. You don't buy lessons that expensively and then let someone else benefit from them.

(That said, he did get fired several months later for telling the entire engineering lead team to fuck off, in so many words, for their having made a perfectly reasonable request, which was entirely within his responsibilities, and his skills, to satisfy.)


Table saws should never be used on flesh. rm(1) should always be used on files. How in FSM's noodly universe is the command supposed to intuit which files it should safely delete versus those it shouldn't?

> ...or administrative action.

You mean like, "sudo rm -rf {$undefined_value}/{$other_undefined_value}"? D'oh!


Two different people here have already figured out this wouldn't have happened in OpenVMS due to versioned filesystem w/ rollback. People also claim saner commands for this stuff but I can't recall if remove was smarter.

Anyway, pertaining to RM, here you go:



Make `--one-file-system` the default!


He really should not have made the first element of the path variable. Doing an "rm -rf /folder/{$undefined_value}/{$other_undefined_value}" would have made his day much better.

Also, never having all backup disk volumes mounted at the same time is good practice.


This might be my favorite data science post ever to grace the front page of HN.



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