I love interchangeable parts. This kind of feature guarantees not only that the potential of intentional development is nearly fully utilized, but that the efforts of miscreants fools and misguided souls can be put to good use by society. While anything requiring LISA to be observed doesn’t really qualify as good use, I have no qualms with GR in general.
As every time you skype transatlantic and get seamless connection, who do you thank? CERN? Telcoms? HEP is a marginal part of Internet development these days, and Telcoms are guilty of preferentially throttling traffic in order to cut their costs. Thank the pirates and pornographers, who arguably accounted for about 75% of Internet traffic in 2007. If it wasn’t for these bitpushers compulsive need for pop songs, pre-releases and peepshows, Telcoms wouldn’t need those nice wide switches, and wouldn’t pay for them.
Why do I think of this now? Because when armies of pre-teens of all ages want absurdity crammed in their senses in a highly aggressive market with razor-thin profit margins, what are they doing? When they demand that programmers weekly crank out something that not only is new, but looks new as well? They’re relentlessly pushing advances in computing. This requires fast and loose programming, with lots of layers of indirection to encapsulate objects for team collaboration. This requires more triangles, color and shading than a person with a mid-range output device can detect. This requires big, evil processors, processors like a pack of rabid jackals. This requires the PS3. I haven’t owned a gaming system since the Genesis, and probably never will again. I don’t care about how “real” some stupid game looks or feels, but when I see someone take one of these computational warheads and jams it full of hardcore science, I get a bit misty.
In El Reg today, they write about how Sony donated 16 PS’s to U.Mass for numerical relativity. On the project page they write “Overall, a single PS3 performs better than the highest-end desktops available and compares to as many as 25 nodes of an IBM Blue Gene supercomputer.” Get some. These aren’t modded. The code was optimised for the processor, but any good numerical mage does this. This isn’t some feasibility study. This is a potential signal if LIGO can drop their noise floor. This is taking a toy, and using it as a research machine. This is taking humanity’s undying love for wasting time, and redirecting it towards advancement.
I wonder what St. Augustine would have called misdirected sloth…