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Month: June 2017

Fermi vs. Fhtagn

There are things, Lovecraft hypothesizes, that Man is not meant to know. This paper is touching on these subjects: That is not dead which can eternal lie: the aestivation hypothesis for resolving Fermi’s paradox.

If a civilization wants to maximize computation it appears rational to aestivate until the far future in order to exploit the low temperature environment: this can produce a 10^30 multiplier of achievable computation.

We hence suggest the “aestivation hypothesis”: the reason we are not observing manifestations of alien civilizations is that they are currently (mostly) inactive, patiently waiting for future cosmic eras. This paper analyzes the assumptions going into the hypothesis and how physical law and observational evidence constrain the motivations of aliens compatible with the hypothesis.

So the Great Old starfaring civilizations exist, the paper suggests, but they are sleeping, waiting until the stars are, literally, right.

So much of Lovecraft is about astronomy and cosmology, and it did not stop with his death, if he actually died.


The Science of People Not Returning Their Shopping Carts

You can Science on Anything, really. Here’s a discussion of “What is the moral reasoning of people not returning their shopping carts?”:

I always return my shopping cart because I don’t want to think of myself as lazy or inconsiderate.


I don’t return my carts on principle. Although I also don’t block parking spaces – i put them on islands and curbs. My assumption is that if the cart wrangler could get a better job, he would. So I’m doing my part to keep him gainfully employed.

The question generated so many comments that the original site had to turn off comments.


Steam Summer Sale

This magical time in summer, when you simply sit, watching the accumulated Gigabytes idly float by and think of the poor people of #neuland.

13 GB done, fifty more to go. And Steam is overloaded, not giving out much more than 200 MBit/s.


Google Next 2017, Amsterdam Edition

On June, 21 there was the “Google NEXT” conference, 2017 edition, in the Kromhouthal in Amsterdam. Google had a dedicated ferry running to ship people over to the IJ north side, delivering directly at the Kromhouthal.
The event was well booked, about 1400 people showing up (3500 invites sent). That is somewhat over the capacity of Kromhouthal, actually, and it showed in the execution in several places (Toilet, Catering, and room capacity during keynotes).
The keynotes were the expected self-celebration, but if you substract that, they were mostly useful content about the future of K8s, about Googles Big Data offerings and about ML applications and how they work together with Big Data.
For the two talk slots before the lunch, I attended K8s talks. After lunch, I switched to the Big Data track. I did not attend any ML stuff, and I missed the last talk about Spanner because I got sucked into a longer private conversation.
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On cache problems, and what they mean for the future

This is a disk utilization graph on a heavily loaded Graphite box. In this case, a Dell with a MegaRAID, but that actually does not matter too much.

Go-carbon was lagging and buffering on the box, because the SSD was running at its IOPS limit. At 18:10, the write-back cache and the “intelligent read-ahead” are being disabled, that is, the MegaRAID is being force-dumbed down to a regular non-smart controller. The effect is stunning.

/opt/MegaRAID/MegaCli/MegaCli64 -LDSetProp NORA -l0 -aALL
/opt/MegaRAID/MegaCli/MegaCli64 -LDSetProp WT -l0 -aALL

and also, on top of that,

#Direct IO instead of cached
/opt/MegaRAID/MegaCli/MegaCli64 -LDSetProp DIRECT -l0 -aALL
#Force SSD disk write cache (our SSD has super-capacitors, so it safe to enable)
/opt/MegaRAID/MegaCli/MegaCli64 -LDSetProp -EnDskCache -l0 -aALL

What we observe here is part of an ongoing pattern, and we will see more of it, and at more layers of the persistence-stack in our systems.


IRC so: Stronger together

So, it’s Friday, I presume.

I> A: “Strong and Stable” !

A> I: Nee. “Stronger Together” was Rodham-Clinton.
A> Not that this makes it any better.

A> Is Trumpix a thing?
A> Making Linux Great Again!
A> We’re gonna have the best Linux. With many Apps. Great apps. And we’re gonna kick Poettering out. No more
systemd. Linux first!
A> And we’re gonna have a great firewall. DENY ONLY! And we’re gonna make the cybercriminals pay for it.
A> When Redhat send’s their init-systems, they are not sending the best. They are not sending openrc, they are not sending sysv. They are sending systemds that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems with them. They are bringing Segfaults. They are bringing CVEs. They are terrible. And some, I assume, are okay…




This is Neptune. It is the outermost planet of our solar system, full time or most of the time, depending on your view of the status of Pluto (Pluto has a very eccentric orbit, which partially resides closer sunward than Neptune’s orbit).

Neptune was discovered on 23rd Sept 1846, and completed an entire orbit back to the point of its discovery on 2nd July 2011. Right, we know of Neptune’s existence for slightly more than one Neptune-year.

Also, there is a 2:3 resonance between Pluto’s and Neptune’s Orbit, so for 3 Neptune-years there are exactly 2 Pluto-years.

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