Ford, The Reader

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2/2/2014

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4/7/2020 2:37 PM

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3478

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271 wins / 188 losses

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Rated 80.1% of all Stories

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Recent Posts

MS DNA Cloud Storage | Ford's Articles Of Interest on 4/7/2020 2:37:29 PM
Microsoft Has a Plan to Add DNA Data Storage to Its Cloud

Microsoft is researching DNA storage and coming out with statistics to make it a viable storage medium. For now they’ve said some interesting things like all the movies ever made could be stored in a sugar cube worth of DNA strands and that they stored 200MB in DNA at 400bps - which, using the sugar cube analogy, is like a fine grain of sand in terms of size. Indeed DNA is the ultimate high density storage medium but there’s concerning statistics surrounding the cost of it all. Things need to get a lot cheaper by several orders of magnitude in order for DNA storage to be commercially viable - and MS thinks if the industry wants it, it’ll happen. The problem with that is that it won’t happen because the industry doesn’t want a thing that costs so much. It’s a cool idea though, and MS says they’ll probably just show it off in a sort of promotional way without committing to any technology.

They use a sequencing machine on steroids to do read operations but my concern there is that they’re using an electronic device, with data memory, to read DNA that stores data. It’s not a particularly efficient system. DNA is also fucking expensive as hell so that would need to go down in cost or manufacturability by a fuckton to be economically viable as well.

I was surprised, as the “semiconductor experts” were, to find that DNA will outlast a silicon device by two or three orders of magnitude. The density is the real advantage though. Until we figure out quantum limits and begin working towards quantum storage - DNA is the best we got for keeping data. It’s just not economically feasible right now.

5/8 article. Good overview, kind of meh rounded statistics.

Deep Down Things by Bruce Schuum on 4/6/2020 10:58:24 PM
“The characteristic of any particular object, known as its ‘charge,’ that determines how severely the object is influenced by the given force.”

I’ve underlined this excerpt from the first part of chapter 2, before Schuum gets into the fundamental forces, because I wish charge was explained to me in this way before I became interested in particle physics and had to learn the hard way that charge was not necessarily electrical. Schuum continues the chapter moving through the fundamental forces of nature, the ones commonly taught in high school level science, but allows the reader to peep through the curtain of physics. He describes how, in the past, electric and magnetic forces were thought to be separate and we now know they are related into a fundamental force known as electromagnetism. Where he allows us to peer into the depths is when he mentions the electroweak force, which incorporates the weak nuclear force as yet another intertwined phenomena once thought separate from electromagnetism.

Of course many physicists, particle physicists in particular, are continually working at great lengths of thought to find a universal theory of everything which Einstein could not complete in his life (held back by the knowledge and tools of the time, most likely).

Schuum describes a fun little experiment I’d also like to share: get a faucet going such that a small but steady stream is made and rub a plastic comb through your hair a few times. The static electrically charged comb, when brought near the water in preferably dry conditions, will bend the stream from vertical to possibly more than 45 degrees. The other forces of nature, barring gravity, are not so easily observed.

Gravity has what can be called a positive charge - mass. The influence of gravity is directly affected by an object's mass but there is no such observed thing as negative mass and so gravity seems only to be positively charged. Gravity is also the worst force. It not only creates the most problems but offers the least amount of solutions as well. I could go on about how I hate gravity for days, but we’ll leave it there.

The strong nuclear force binds neutrons and protons in the nucleus of an atom together. However protons and neutrons have neutral charge in regards to the strong force. It is the quarks which carry the strong force charge and they are either “up” or “down” quarks which ironically also have electric charge - the sum of which balances the electron outside the atom.

Schuum also goes into the color charge of the strong force, which I cannot adequately explain here. All you need know, in essence, is that the strong nuclear force deals in charges unlike electromagnetism where one might have positive and negative, one instead has red, green, and blue charges. Just keep in mind this is a way of saying how much each quark is affected by or carries the strong force. He also mentions leptons, indivisible particles that carry no strong force charge. It is not known why they don’t have any strong force charge yet. For now, it was simply nature that they ended up this way.

The weak nuclear force is the gravy - it’s the most obscure and odd force out of the bunch. Particle physicists fuckin love it though due to its interesting properties and illusory nature. I have a feeling a lot will be said about the weak force in this book.

The weak force violates many of the other fundamental laws of nature and the forces in order for the universe to take shape and go on as it has. Schuum briefly touches on the concept of spin, positive half spin and negative half spin, which I find may lead to unresolved and advanced questions that do not make the book as accessible as he intends. I look forward to how he goes about explaining color, spin, charges, and other aspects of the weak force in detail.

Quasar Tsunamis | Ford's Articles Of Interest on 4/6/2020 10:02:20 PM
It's a double-edged blade for me because I would like to know the deeper science/math but at the same time I respect making it accessible to a wider audience and enjoy the simplistic descriptions of phenomena.

Quasar Tsunamis | Ford's Articles Of Interest on 4/6/2020 9:36:07 PM
Quasar Tsunamis Rip Across Galaxies

Quasars rip apart galaxies with fuckloads of energy - I’m not surprised they are highly remote objects. Anything that gets near these dense balls of supermassive black holes gets fucked. Fun fact: the biggest black hole we know of is 78 billion miles across and since most people can’t comprehend that number, we say it can roughly consume 40% of our solar system and since most people can’t comprehend that properly we say if the sun was a baseball in the center of one of those big sportsball stadiums the black hole would cover the green easily and leave only the stands while having more mass than several million suns. Anyways, back to quasars.

Quasars are basically blakc holes that suck hard but can’t quite get it all so a lot of the surviving matter just gets crushed and heated near the black hole and shoots away via gravity shot. The ensuing heat awesomely emits light and other EM frequencies. The article says the mechanical energy created by these things could definitely overpower, break, and probably melt a 2008 hyundai elantra engine.

In conclusion, the article would agree that quasars are probably derived from gigantic galaxies that got too fat for their own good and ended up dummy thicc obvious as shit slapping out massive hot matter at over 2 speed across the universe.

Good article. Fairly educational, but not inaccessible. Not very deep into the science. 6/8.

Hatter's Hat Review: Edition I on 4/6/2020 6:04:59 PM
The last hat is actually gold.

Dialogue Punctuation | Ford's Articles Of Interest on 4/5/2020 6:47:47 PM
Punctuation in Dialogue

Right off the bat this article starts with a lot of rules and I feel like it’s not going to stop throwing rules at me about punctuation and dialogue. They mention dialogue tags which I’m intuitively led to believe is an HTML term but I know this person could not possibly be talking about something like “” and me putting quotations around that is probably incorrect. Maybe I need to capitalize the word dialogue there.

I guess I’m supposed to just know all the terminology right away and this article is more of a review for people who already know what they’re doing. The article is just a list of examples that I don’t understand because it doesn’t explain what the fuck a dialogue tag is and a lot of the examples have exceptions. I think I prefer gower’s article about dialogue punctuation even though I haven’t read it.

I think I’ll stick to the school of thought defined as “If it makes sense to the audience in the context, then it’s fine.” Just as I’ve done for those quotes, which undoubtebly break several of the arbitrary stupid rules in the article.

2/8.

History of Flavor | Ford's Articles Of Interest on 4/4/2020 8:34:24 PM
A Brief (and Biased) History of Flavor

As interesting as it is to find out the political history of ancient china revolved around food, the first quarter of the article seems to not go about flavor too much. What odd philosophies are presented in the article are quite fascinating and would make for a good set of central ideas for a story. Whether the culture believes food to have healing properties on par with medicine or is treated as a metaphor for the society it is in, there’s a collective mix of ideas about food stemming from these ancient cultures and societies that could be utilized as a replacement for direct exposition in a story.

Instead of a random npc saying “the people of this town value the simple things and focus within the confines of our community” one could say “our food may seem bland, root vegetables and milky soups define us after all, but the care each mother takes to bring the flavor out of each ingredient is something to behold.” bringing to light the idea that although these are rural people, they are expertly intertwined with the land and find value in digging deep both in food and in people. The philosophies presented in the article can be used in this way - providing further levels of depth to the culture and morals of townsfolk in this example; but I digress.

The article continues, making ancient cooks out to be alchemists and potion sellers; and rightly so - the cultures do not seem to deviate so far as we have today and they use fragrant concoctions for all manner of perfume, food, or hygiene. It most reminds me of how we use mint in modern society. The intricacy of the use of ingredients and their instruction is a large point in this article, and shows that humans were no dumber than they are now - but had different specializations. Food has been a craft since the agricultural age and perhaps sometime before. In those ages just the same as ours, there is always someone out there dedicating their life’s hours to beating on their craft; food, fragrance, drug, it’s all an attractive and easily available form of craftsmanship.

I don’t like the random hyphens in words throughout the article. “Em- pire,” “voy- ages,” and “in- cense” to name a few that occur mid-paragraph and the words are used elsewhere without the hyphen.

Modern english food is so bland because some french royal preferred subtle flavors as opposed to strong ones and then that trend got out of hand when restaurants became a thing. The English seem to have taken this to an entirely different level, almost worshipping bland food.

The 1% of the time also didn’t like spices much because they were widely available due to trade and therefore they were for poor people. I take back what I said about people not being dumber back then.

The article’s final act is fairly boring as it pertains to the modern culinary world but seems to only complain about how processed and terrible food is nowadays and how the FDA is involved. Very boring stuff.

Because the article was 3/4ths interesting and fairly educational and inspiring, I’ll give it a 6/8.

Deep Down Things by Bruce Schuum on 4/4/2020 8:34:09 PM
Chapter 1: Introduction

Schuum introduces us with a review of human thinking, our perceptions of the world have changed due to new facts coming to light and we’re still in the process of discovering new things and reforming our theories to better fit the world around us. He also comments on the mathematics involved in the book, stating they are

“not the calculation-mired pursuit that confronts one in introductory college-level courses but rather that of the abstract mathematician whose tools are more of those of logic and generalization...”

This harkens to practical mathematics or “farmers’ thinking” some might even know it as “hillbilly engineering” where the numbers may not particularly matter outside of physical dimensions but the goal is to get it to work and be able to explain, in general, how it seems to work to someone else. For example, a farmer may be teaching his son how to fertilize crop and makes a rule of thumb from experience that says “peas require about four more bags of fertilizer than soy beans and every few rows of peas will need a top off to finish that section of field.” It’s this kind of logical thinking and mathematics that I believe Schuum looks to achieve in this book. Exact equations will certainly be used in some places, but to make physics from start to finish accessible to a public that largely dislikes math, more layman's thinking will be applied.

The introduction also notes that the book is written from a particle physics standpoint and we’ll be ending on some aspects of the standard model with an intro to gauge theory, the higgs field, and spontaneous hidden symmetry; all of which I know to be quite advanced topics in physics and I look forward to how Schuum describes them in a way that makes it easy for the average person to understand (assuming they’ve read the previous chapters of the book).

Poetry prompt: Narrative poetry on 4/2/2020 9:56:47 PM
you must not be american

Poetry prompt: Narrative poetry on 4/2/2020 8:11:19 PM
thanks me too. Guessing you did now like the poem very much? :^)