My History Caffeine

Aug. 21st, 2017 05:13 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
History

As a teenager I never drank tea or coffee. I must have tried them at some point, but never felt the desire.

At university I started drinking both. I can't remember exactly, I remember having them as a ritual something to do when hanging out with friends. IIRC I drank instant coffee, and real coffee tasted too bitter.

And I think I reached a point where I needed coffee and got dopey and too tired to get up without it, either at university, or after I started working. Unrelated to the caffeine (I assume?) I also had student-y programmer-y sleep patterns, always wanting to sleep a bit later. I don't know how much that was inbuilt physiology and how much it was putting things off, including going to bed and doing things in the morning.

At some point, I started drinking real coffee for preference, and instant coffee tasted bad.

When I started dating Liv, I drank a lot more tea, because we'd usually make a pot together. And I started to feel like coffee was too abrupt, and tea gave a slightly slower caffeine release, and gradually switched to drinking tea almost entirely: I'd happily drink coffee if it was served somewhere, but didn't usually drink it at home or at work.

When I started dating ghoti, I started drinking coffee again, because she drank coffee more often and I liked companionably drinking the same thing. I started with mostly instant coffee, and to date, still mostly drink instant coffee, although I also like real coffee when I have it.

Now I tend to switch, drinking instant coffee at home (because it's quicker), tea at work (because I want a break from the screen to faff around in the kitchen for 10 min), and whichever I feel like if I drink something out.

I never really learned to like espresso based coffee, espressos taste much too strong, and all the mixed drinks taste weird. I used to like mochas occasionally. I usually like plain black tea with milk, or plain coffee, with milk.

Except when I'm abroad, I generally drink whatever's common locally if I'm ok with it at all.

I don't track how much I drink. It's probably quite a lot, because I drink it whenever I feel like, not at fixed times. But I used to feel like it was doing something weird, when I'd be completely wrecked when I *didn't* have caffeine, whereas now, I definitely need some, but if I get a drink within an hour or so of getting up, I don't feel completely zombified until then.

So I used to toy with the idea it'd be healthier to give up (ie. awakeness juice was just borrowing future awakeness and immediate gains were offset in future losses). But now it feels like, the status quo is doing ok.

ADHD

A couple of people have commented that they have ADHD or suspect they possibly have subclinical ADHD or something related, specifically that mild stimulants make them feel calmer, even right before sleeping.

That's very me. I've never tried to avoid late-night caffeine have haven't noticed it having any affect on my sleep. Which inclines me to think the status quo is possibly fine.

Away

The one big inconvenience in needing caffeine used to be when I'm away, especially at a con in a conference centre, but also, just anywhere on holiday where I'm out all day and don't have decent tea or coffee facilities where I'm staying.

I found it a big faff needing a certain amount of coffee or tea, but that not always syncing up with when I want to sit down and "have a coffee". And a crapshoot whether there'd be somewhere providing bog-standard coffee or tea cheap, or if the only source was a fancy coffee place. Especially if I'm in a rush, or it's all in a foreign language, or whatever.

At some point, I experimented with bringing caffeine pills. I'd studiously avoided them before since having caffeine without the ritual of drinking it seemed like it would only exacerbate the feedback loop of taking more and more to make up for potential caffeine-crashes. I still avoid them when I'm *not* away somewhere.

But I actually found it really helpful, it basically solved the problem for me. I usually need a couple of actual hot drinks throughout the day, usually one or two in the morning with breakfast and one sometime during the day. But otherwise, having a couple of pills in the interim, either physiologically or placebo-y, made me feel fine. I also remember to drink liquid. It made the whole thing a lot simpler.

I can't help other people though, especially tea drinkers in places where there's not much tea.

Questions

Which bits of those experiences resonate with you and which don't?

Most of my friends seem to default to tea *or* coffee, even though I remember by parents drinking one or the other depending on the circumstances. Do other people drink both at different times?

What is the relative caffeine in a cup of tea, a cup of coffee, and caffeine pill?

Does that status quo sound sensible or is there something else you'd recommend?

Amsterdam trip - day 3

Aug. 21st, 2017 09:17 am
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
I did not sleep especially well on Sunday night, and woke up with an explanation for why I’d been so sleepy during the day in the form of an unpleasantly sore throat. I threw painkillers at it until it subsided and decided that I would give up on any silly ideas about morning runs until I was feeling back to 100%.

By the time I woke up properly and we’d eaten breakfast, Ramesh realised that he was also feeling quite under the weather, and decided to treat it with spending a while longer in bed, so I set off into town alone to spend some time in the red light district. Naturally, I spent that time looking at churches. Why, what else did you expect? First I went round the Oude Kerk, which was originally a Catholic cathedral, but became protestant during the reformation. There was a very good audio guide, which managed to personalise the experience without being twee. It had been left very austere by the iconoclasm, but in recent years has been used as a space for new art, sacred and secular. Afterwards I went on to Our Lord in the Attic, a house church which has been reconstructed to be very similar to how it was in the seventeenth century. Catholicism at that point was not exactly tolerated, but the authorities would turn a blind eye if people weren’t too blatant about it, and despite looking like a normal house from the outside it was impressively spacious and opulent inside.

After an ecclesiastical morning I went and had lunch with [personal profile] ewan (because what foreign holiday would be complete without running into someone who lives down the road and just happens to be visiting the same city). We met at the Foodhallen, which had a good range of choices, including several for the vegan. After lunch I gave Ramesh a call to see if he was feeling up to coming out, but as he wasn’t I went for another attraction he was less interested in - the Zoo! I hadn’t been to the Zoo for about 25 years or so, and wasn’t expecting to enjoy it nearly as much as I did. There was a panther who was very stealthy, sea-lions who were very loud and playful, lions who were very sleepy, a gorilla and a capybara who were both completely uninterested and much smaller and much larger than I expected respectively.

By the time I got back to the hotel Ramesh had rested sufficiently and we went out looking for dinner. We had foolishly assumed that on a Monday evening we’d probably be able to just walk into somewhere, but after the first three places we tried were fully booked, didn’t have any veggie options, and fully booked we decided to go back to the sushi place we’d liked on Saturday, and make a couple of bookings in the places that were popular enough to be fully booked.

Arrival ranting

Aug. 20th, 2017 11:44 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
So, Arrival (the film, adapted from the Ted Chiang story). I didn't have a lot to say about it. Aliens, were great. Linguist, was great. Kind-of-sympathetic kind-of-antagonist military were a bit gratuitous, but generally good. But I did have thoughts about a few specific things.

And, yes, I'm annoyed it wasn't EVEN MORE like a Ted Chiang story than it was, but please do adapt as many Ted Chiang stories as you can. The tower-of-babel one would be amazing...

Spoilers )

Generation Ships & morality

Aug. 20th, 2017 02:43 pm
juliet: (waveform tree)
[personal profile] juliet

Mirrored from Juliet Kemp.

I went to a panel at Worldcon on the morality of generation ships, and have been thinking about it since.

(I’m also going to take this opportunity to recommend this Jo Walton story set on a generation ship, which is great and has something to say about choice and decisions.)

So, the question under discussion at the panel was: is it morally acceptable to board a generation ship (i.e. a ship that people will live on for multiple generations on their way to another planet), given that you are not just making a decision for yourself, but for your future children, grandchildren, etc etc. The two main categories of moral problem that the panel identified were:

  • the risk of the voyage itself;
  • the lack of choice for every generation after the one that gets on the ship in the first place.

The ‘risk’ issue seems reasonably strong. It’s very unlikely that anyone would have a really clear idea of what the planet was like that they were going to. If you’re using a generation ship at all, then you probably don’t have any other form of fast travel, so any information that exists about the planet will be scanty, very out of date, or most likely both. (See Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora, which is also great.) So it’s not at all a reliable bet that your descendants will truly be able to settle where they’re headed to, even if it looks good from here.

There are also the risks of the voyage itself, including but not limited to radiation issues, the possibility of running into something else, and the likelihood that the ship will genuinely be able to maintain a workable ecological system. We don’t have good on-Earth comparisons for small closed systems; what experiments have been conducted have been very short-term and not terribly promising. What about the social dynamics? What are the risks of, say, a totalitarian system arising? If the risks on Earth are very high, or humans on Earth are facing imminent disaster, then this might be an acceptable trade-off, but how high is ‘very high’ and how disastrous does a disaster have to be? Does it need to be Earth-wide? If your current home is, for example, sinking under rising waters, and you know that any alternative will mean becoming a refugee in poor circumstances — how much risk is ‘reasonable’ to accept then?

Which brings us on to the issue of ‘choice’. One could argue that a kid living in a refugee camp without enough food or warm clothes has, notionally, some future ‘choice’ or ‘opportunity’ to escape that. A child on a generation ship is stuck there.

But why is “can’t leave generation ship” morally different from “can’t leave Earth”? Which is of course a situation into which all children are currently born and which we do not consider morally problematic. And how realistic is the ‘choice’ that the average Earth-born child has? This was where I thought that the Worldcon panel fell down a bit. They threw the word “choice” around a lot but didn’t at all interrogate what realistic “choice” is available to which children in which situation on Earth. There are many kids born without very many realistic ‘choices’; children who are unlikely to go more than a few miles beyond where they were born, children whose projected lifespan is short, children whose lives are likely to be very difficult. How different is that, in reality, from a generation ship? In fact, if the generation ship does work, it might be a better life than on Earth: guaranteed food, shelter, and useful work (making the ship run).

The panel talked about limiting the choices of children born on the moon, because they might not be able to go back and live on Earth — but why is Earth necessarily better than the moon, or Mars, or the asteroid belt? Why isn’t it immoral of us to have children who are stuck down here in the gravity well?

More generally: we’re constantly making choices for our children, and through them for generations beyond; we’re constantly giving them some chances and removing other options, every decision we make. Is that immoral? It’s not avoidable, however much privilege you have, although most certainly more privilege generally means more options.

Would I get on a generation ship? Well. Not without a really good perusal of the specs. But I’m not convinced that it’s immoral to do so.

In chirpier news

Aug. 19th, 2017 10:19 am
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
The day after we got back from Helsinki, I was mucking out Bugsy's stable when I heard a lot of chirping and noticed that there were swallows flying around.

Having raised their first clutch, they've built a second nest. This one is in the rafters above the tack room (and, thankfully, above an open area of floor rather than anything that will take harm from having bird poo all over it!), which they're accessing by flying into Bugsy's stable and through the roof space.

I'm glad they're doing so much better this year!

While I am moaning...

Aug. 18th, 2017 11:05 pm
lovingboth: ([default])
[personal profile] lovingboth
.. my earphones seem to be broken on return from BiCon: there's a problem just before the socket end that doesn't look to be fixable without the sort of soldering I can't do and which would cost more than their replacement cost to have done.

Given that they're seven years old - they were the set that came with the HTC Desire I bought after BiCon 2010! - I perhaps shouldn't complain too much. The average life expectancy for a pair of L's is a lot closer to seven weeks, rather than seven years, but that means she's worked through all my spares.

The main reason for moaning is that the 'foam cover, held in by the shape of your ear' type have become a lot harder to find thanks to the rise of the 'silicone mushroom, in your ear canal' type.

Which I really don't like.

When Amazon had a very good price on them, I got a pair of SoundMAGIC ES18 ones back in 2014. While the sound is good, every time something taps on the cables, you can feel it in a way that you can't with the proper :) sort. I don't like the feel or the increased noise isolation. They're also harder to protect because, as I'm sure many people know thanks to the sort of other things that gets BiCon sessions of their own, once silicone is torn, you can't repair it.

So I'm currently looking at the Sennheiser MX 375. I've had another pair of Sennheiser earphones that weren't nearly as comfortable as others, but I can't remember which they were - L broke them.

Any other suggestions?
vvalkyri: (Default)
[personal profile] vvalkyri

I went to go to post that OMG I FOUND MY KEYS I FOUND MY KEYS and realized that my further annoyance about lyme and doxy and stuff I thought had posted on probably Monday or Tuesday in fact did not post. Hence no forthcoming comments. Anyway, that's below, and somewhat old news since my current whining is about eating with doxy. But!

OMG I FOUND MY KEYS I FOUND MY KEYS the main keychain that had gone missing in a 5 min run in and out of the apartment that had my bikeshare fob (fortunately can use credit card but more cumbersome) and that had my MAILBOX KEY (far more important; I had my mail held at the post office the last couple weeks lest it get sent back) and less importantly but still annoying, my music quality earplugs.  As well as someone else's key who wouldn't be happy. In my final packing for Missouri visit / eclipse I decided to grab my normal binocs for during totality presuming we aren't clouded. And the keys were somehow next to that shelving, only visible with me sitting on the floor looking into the bottom part of the shelving. I've been using my backup house and car keys since the end of the Fringe Festival, and fortunately had made a new dup of the car a week prior.


I'd just yesterday come close to buying a new bikeshare fob, and did make another dup of my house key. Timing, we has it. 

Re the lyme stuff, tired.    Been on the doxy since Monday night; i don't remember it being nearly this annoying re timing of eating before, but I was keeping different hours then and probably not sweating the empty stomach quite as much.  And didn't know that green smoothies are full of calcium then either.  I think I'm going to buy some probiotics.   Figure tired (have had my share of Mandatory Nap Land) in the last couple weeks is a combination of actually starting to do the for reals Lyme thing some time in between "no I don't have symptoms i want a titer anyway" til now; learned in the past week that feeling crappy with some fever maybe 4 or so weeks out is pretty classic, and if you look a few posts back I had that right on time. 

Have sent a note about that back to doc's office; don't hugely care how they respond, as I'm currently treating appropriately.  It doesn't look like the ID society has particularly different guidelines, but <a href=https://www.hopkinsarthritis.org/arthritis-info/lyme-disease/lyme-disease-treatment/>Hopkins does</a> and updated theirs to 20-30days as of 7/29.  Interestingly, their info seems to consider single dose prophylactic doxy to be quite effective; then again if something's 99% effective (it isn't) there's still 1 in 100 times for which it's not. 

OneMed responded last night that they'd forward to my PCP (the one on record I'd been thinking to change, who hasn't seen me in rather some while). I'll decide in the next couple weeks whether there's much need to try to seek any official second opinion.   IDDocFriend reminded me that most people treat and it's fine, and even if it isn't fully fine it isn't standardly Ruined His Knee or Tried To Eat Her Brain - I seem to just know a bunch in that subset. 

Gotta finish packing. 


Original post, that I'd been mildly surprised nobody was saying anything about: 
Subj: Y'know it really bothers me



- that I had to argue to get a lyme titer in the first place, with the assertion being that the 200mg doxy i took on the way down the mountain should have handled it.  Because Oh Noes I Might Then Have to Rx for a couple weeks [the same antibiotics in the same dose that dermatologists put people on for months and months, and that I used for similar purposes for months and months before getting sick of the food restrictions]
- that the titer came back as indicative of recent infection
- that while CDC recs apparently say 10-21 days, other research indicates an at best 50-80% success rate at 21 days or less 

- that seriously, they want to dick around with, no joke, potentially my entire future health over a week or two of an antibiotic that I had a month's worth in my fridge, originally written with 3 refills, except it was filled in 2013 and doxy is one of the few things that maybe becomes toxic when too old.   (It'd been written by a dermatologist when I was breaking out a lot; I'd balked at the price, but later filled it in order to have it available for the prophylactic dose after camping.)

Fortunately there are other ways to acquire a more full course, but of course that means pointing out this is fscking insane is something I can't actually do, because then I have to admit going around them.   Or maybe not; I suppose i can have some of this argument in the next few weeks. 

dancefloorlandmine: DJing at B-Movie Nov 04 (DJ)
[personal profile] dancefloorlandmine
On Saturday 12th, I loaded the car and set course for Leeds, as I'd volunteered to do a DJ set for BiCon 2017. Arrival, loadout, help set up the venue, shower, change, back down in time for the ball (with thanks for Fred for feeding me, as I'd missed a step in my plans!), enjoy sets by Katy and Lucy of DJ Frabjous, and then onto the decks. The venue was, to say the least, quite warm. OK, it was baking up there on the stage, and I was dripping by about half an hour into my set. Although that may also have had something to do with the stage being large enough to dance properly behind the decks.

The ball's theme was 'A Beach Ball', resulting in some varied decorations (and some remote-controlled helium fish), and some inspired costumes (which included the first time I'd seen a beach hut waltz to 'The Impossible Dream').

With the planned end of my set coming up, the organiser re-arranged the schedule so I could keep going for another half hour. And then the bar staff announced that they'd be open for longer than we'd thought they would be, and I could add another half hour (which explains the slight false stop and the sudden grab for any CD to keep things going).

So, what did I play for two, no, two-and-a-half, no, three hours? (Some of the tracks were drawn from, or in other cases, vaguely influenced by, the extensive crowd-sourced Spotify request list that attendees had added to in advance - although quite a few of those might have got played anyway. Others were entirely my fault.)

2200-0100 )

And thank you to the dancefloor, for trusting their DJ, and keeping going to tracks they'd probably not encountered before, like Heartsrevolution or Ferocious Dog.
lovingboth: ([default])
[personal profile] lovingboth
I've been using Firefox as my primary browser from before it was called that, so rapidly approaching fifteen years.

The two things that have kept me using it rather than a Chromium-based browser are:

a) It can cope with having many hundreds of tabs open. Unlike Chromium-based ones, opening a new tab does not lead to creating a whole new instance of the code and so greatly increasing the memory footprint.

b) The add-ons library, some of which - like Tab Mix Plus - are essential for having hundreds of tabs open.

Most other browsers have add-ons, so you can run the essential uBlock Origin* in them, but they're still way way behind in terms of the size of the Firefox library.

And Mozilla are about to piss that advantage away by, from v57 due in November, not loading the large majority of them any more. All add-ons will have to use a relatively new API. This will make it easier to port them between browsers, but while I know that Mozilla don't care about being #1 in browser usage, this is ensuring that more people will move away.

For example, I do not like the layout that Firefox moved to a few years ago. It's less efficient in terms of screen space and speed, and while there are some people who think it looks a bit prettier, I don't want my browser distracting from the content.

I am not the only one who thinks this way and, fortunately, one of them wrote an addon to use the classic layout (or twiddle in about a hundred ways with it). You could probably do the same by playing with about:config, but this makes it easy. And it's not down as having been ported to the new API.

There is at least one browser that is based on the free Firefox source and isn't going to do this, but relying on a browser with a very small developer base is.. risky, both in terms of getting caught by a security issue because of a delay in patching, and in having it still maintained long-term.

Grrr.

* The ad blocker of choice ever since AdBlock Plus sold out.

Worldcon Recs

Aug. 17th, 2017 02:28 pm
juliet: (waveform tree)
[personal profile] juliet

Mirrored from Juliet Kemp.

Here is a list of the recs I picked up from various panels I attended at Worldcon. (These are likely not complete, but they’re the ones that I wrote down.)


In Defense of the Unlikeable Heroine:


  • We Who Are About To – Joanna Russ


Non-Binary Representation In Fiction:


  • Transcendent: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction – ed K M Szpara (anthology)

  • The Black Tides of Heaven / The Red Threads of Fortune – JY Yang (forthcoming in Sept)

  • Provenance – Ann Leckie (forthcoming, but read some on her website)

  • Jacob’s Ladder – Elizabeth Bear

  • River of Teeth – Sarah Gailey

  • Pantomime – Laura Lam

  • Killing Gravity – Corey J White

  • Interactive fiction Craft phone games (Choice of Deathless/City’s Thirst) – Max Gladstone (you can play an nb character)

  • “Masculinity is an Anxiety Disorder” (essay) – David J Schwartz

  • Rose Lemberg

  • Foz Meadows

  • A Merc Rustad


Beyond the Dystopia


(This one should be complete as I moderated the panel and made a point of writing them down to tweet afterwards.)


  • Two Faces of Tomorrow – James P Hogan

  • Culture series – Iain M Banks

  • Dragonlance

  • Too Like the Lightning and Seven Surrenders – Ada Palmer

  • The Postman – David Brin

  • A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed And Common Orbit – Becky Chambers

  • Hospital Station – James White

  • Malhutan Chronicles – Tom D Wright (panelist)

  • Orbital Cloud – Taiyo Fuji (panelist)

  • The Goblin Emperor – Katherine Addison


Older Women in Genre Fiction:


  • All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses An Eye – Christopher Brookmyre

  • Blood Songs series – Anthony Ryan

  • Remnant Population – Elizabeth Moon

  • Barbara Hambly


Also, Catherine Lundoff keeps a bibliography of books with older women protagonists.


Colonialism and the Space Opera:


  • Praxis – John Williams


Moving Beyond Orientalism in SFF:


  • Black Wolves – Kate Elliot

  • Vixen and The Waves – Hoa Pham

  • Isabelle Yap

  • Ken Liu

  • Stephanie Lai

  • Zen Cho


(Plus one from Nine Worlds in which the MC has Borderline Personality Disorder: Borderline – Mishell Baker)

Helsinki and Worldcon

Aug. 17th, 2017 01:34 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
I went to Helsinki for worldcon.

It was lovely to see osos and liv.

I always find travel a little stressful but I have got better at not worrying. It's still feels like more of a hurdle than travelling locally, even if it shouldn't, but less so.

Helsinki was nice. I didn't do a lot of exploring, but some. I love water, and enjoyed going to another city based on the sea. Helsinki itself isn't on as many islands as Stockholm, but the harbour is covered with them and several tourist attractions are on one island or another.

We went to the zoo, and I went out to the island fortress Suomelina, both nice ferry rides. Suomelina was originally fortified by Sweden when Finland was part of Sweden, and later controlled by Finland and by Russia, with modern fortifications added to the older ones. The original fortifications are incredible to see, vast stone walls dozens of feet thick with tunnels at the bottom surrounding grassy courtyards, and at the main entrance, stone steps swooping down to the sea from a giant gate that frames the sun.

When we flew back, I realised what Liv had already told me, but not previously realised the extent of, that there really are continuous islands all the way from Finland to Sweden.

Zoo pictures are slowly being uploaded on twitter :)

Food was expensive but fairly easy. Few places had good vegetarian options already on the menu, but everyone I spoke to was eager to to be flexible and make up a cheaper price for a plate full of all the side dishes, without me needing to explain or anything.

Part of the expense is being in a foreign conference centre when the pound is getting weaker, but as I understand it, Finland *is* typically more expensive. I don't know enough about it, but my impression is, partly due to needing to import more food, and partly due to higher taxes and wages. But I wish people would acknowledge that latter part when complaining.

Worldcon was fun. Registration was incredibly quick with a computerised "scan barcode and print label" system, and everything was well organised apart from being over-full on the first two days.

Most of the panels I went to were decent but none stood out to me as amazing.

I loved seeing authors I cared about, at the steven universe panel, at the wild cards panel (and winning hugos). The quantum computing panel didn't tell me a lot about the theory but was fascinating for telling us about what computers had practically been built -- and apparently IBM have one you can run programs on online!!

I had a better balance between different sorts of things, I did some panels, some meeting people. I met up with people, but didn't feel like I was constantly missing out on fun things just round the corner. I got some books I was excited by but not too many.

Culprit identified....

Aug. 16th, 2017 09:11 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
While weeding the back garden (this time with gloves on), I found another mystery plant, this time with white flowers, and Mike identified it as self-seeded nicotiana, the sap of which the internet confirms can cause skin irritation.

Fortunately, my diagnosis of the blisters as big but minor was correct: they've come off, and the skin underneath is undamaged. I'll have to remember that in future!
wildeabandon: A glass of wine with text "Moderation is a fatal thing.  Nothing succeeds like excess." (excess)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
Last night [personal profile] borusa and I went for dinner at Counter Culture in Clapham. It was bloody brilliant. We sat outside, overlooking the common and enjoying the summer night air.

The restaurant has a short menu of small plates, and the waiter said that for two people they recommended one of everything, which was exactly what we'd just decided on. As it turned out, the combination of the quality of the food and the fact that we're both quite hearty eaters meant that we ordered seconds of some of them, and there wasn't a single dish that wasn't delicious. We were especially pleased by the plate of salami, which were lovely and piquante and aromatic, the parmasan and chive gnocchi, which somehow managed to be both rich and comforting and light and summery at the same time, and the pork cheeks with smoked aubergine and barbequed pickled onions, which was expertly conceived and balanced. We were also extremely taken with the cheese course, which was a soft goat's cheese, not too pungent, not too mild, served with slices of peach, firm but not so underripe as to be sharp.

Given the short menu, it probably wouldn't be the greatest dining experience for veg*ns, or people with other major dietary restrictions, but if you're mostly omnivorous, I can't recommend it enough. Dinner for two hungry people, including service and drinks (three beers and two soft drinks, but they also offer BYO at £10/bottle corkage) came in at a very reasonable £115. Also, unlike so many of these new small restaurants, they take bookings, so no annoying queuing.

Marrow mountain...

Aug. 15th, 2017 08:59 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick


Sigh. And the early tomatoes have blight (although the later ones, farther from the polytunnel door, seem clear so far).

Home now, all well (other than Mike coming down with a cold). Will catch up on email over the next day or so....

Slightly worryingly, just after coming in from picking veg I noticed a couple of big-but-minor blisters on my fingers. I did pull a couple of weeds (without gloves) while I was out there, but I'm now wondering which of them were noxious.... There was something unfamiliar with purple flowers. Hmm.

Pilot Wave Theory

Aug. 15th, 2017 07:45 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Does anyone understand pilot wave theory even a little bit?

Prodded by several recent articles, I've been trying to follow what it says, and am still quite unsure of the realities.

The analogy usually presented is, if you have a small oil drop on the surface of water, and the water container is subject to a regular pattern of vibration, the water forms standing waves in shapes affected by the edges of the container and any obstructions in the surface of the water. And the oil drop tends to move across the surface of the water following the paths in those waves.

If you look solely at the oil drop, you can't tell which of two equal paths it would follow, but you can predict it will take one of them with equal probability, and predict its motion probabilistically. And if you couldn't see the standing water waves, you could deduce something in that shape exists.

You can even get some analogies for weird quantum behaviour like the an electron passing through two parallel slits and experiencing interference with itself: the water waves form possible channels for the oil drop, and the oil drop goes through one slit or the other, but ends up only at certain places on the far side.

However, the analogy to actual quantum physics is still unclear to me. Not whether it's true, but even what people are suggesting might happen.

Are people suggesting there's some underlying medium like the water? In that case, isn't there some propagation speed? The water waves exist in a steady state once all the obstructions are set up, but they don't respond to changes instantly. If the water trough were miles long, the oil drop would set off following water wave paths that existed at the point it passes through, not the paths corresponding to the obstructions that are going to be in place when the oil drop passes through them.

And yet, as I understand it, no-one expects a propagation delay in quantum experiments. People keep checking it out, but there never is: it always acts like an electron propagates just like it is itself a wave.

I agree, if there WERE some delay, if you changed the slits at this time, and got one result, and changed them at another time, and got another result, that would be massive, massive, evidence of something, possibly of something like pilot wave theory. But AFAIK proponents of pilot wave theory aren't advocating looking for such delays, and don't expect to find any.

Contrariwise, if this is just an analogy, and the quantum equivalent of the water waves (equivalent to the wave function in other interpretations of quantum mechanics) propagates at "infinite" speed, then... that is undetectable, indistinguishable from other interpretations of quantum mechanics. But it raises red-flag philosophical questions about what "infinite speed" means when all the intuition from special (or general) relativity indicates that all physical phenomena are local, and are influenced only by physics of nearby things, and "the same time" is a human illusion like the earth being stationary. Even if you don't expect to detect the pilot wave, can you write down what it should be in a universe where physics is local? Does that in fact provide a way to make QM deterministic and independent of observers, even if you change the reference frame? Because it doesn't sound like it will work.

FWIW, those are very superficial objections, I don't understand what it's saying enough to actually evaluate in depth. But I don't understand why these don't show up on lists of "common objections and rebuttals". Common objections have confident rebuttals in several places, and I've *seen* articles about them, but not understood well enough. Can anyone explain better?

Digression

I do agree, the idea that QM equations are an emergent property of something else, ideally a statistical interpretation of a deterministic underlying reality, would be very nice in clearing up a lot of confusion. But AFAIK, the closest candidate to that is Many Worlds, which doesn't appeal to many people who want to get away from QM unpleasantness.
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