Simulations of black holes eating one another

holes

Black holes swoop around one another in a slow, elegant dance, their orbits mo—THWUP! *belching noise*

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Traffic Simulation lets you create jams and experience the joy of abstract human misery

CARS
Traffic-Simulation.de is exactly what it says it is: a depiction of traffic that you can toy with and bend to your will. A useful reminder that no matter how easy you make it for humans (at least modeled ones) they will turn even the most benign cooperative herd activity into a snarling mess of opportunism and incapacitating self-interest. Read the rest

Elon Musk thinks we're probably living in a simulation

sluggo_dreaming

"Either we're going to create simulations that are indistinguishable from reality, or civilization will cease to exist," Musk says. (Recode)

More on the Simulation Argument here and here.

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Mathematician Edward Frenkel on whether the universe is a simulation

Regular BB readers know one of my favorite head trips is the idea that we're living in a simulation or control system of some kind. Decades before The Matrix, folks like Jacques Vallee, John Keel, Stephen Wolfram, Rudy Rucker, Hans Moravec, and Ed Fredkin explored this notion. And of course it's also been the subject of countless science fiction novels. In recent years, Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom developed a mathematical argument to support the mind-bending theory. A week ago, UC Berkeley mathematician Edward Frankel, author of Read the rest

Building an indoor hurricane at the University of Miami

This is how Hurricane Isaac looked on Tuesday, as it made landfall on America's Gulf Coast. If you've never been to the Gulf of Mexico, here is a key fact you should know: The water there is warm. While Pacific coastal waters might be in the 50s during August, and the central Atlantic coast is pulling temperatures in the 60s and 70s, the water in the Gulf of Mexico is well into the 80s.

And that makes a difference. We know that water temperature affects hurricane strength. But we don't understand the particulars of how or why at a detail level. To learn more about this (and other factors that make each hurricane an individual), researchers at the University of Miami are building a simulation machine. When it's complete, it will be a key tool in improving forecasts.

Peter Sollogub, Associate Principal at Cambridge Seven, says the hurricane simulator is comprised of three major components: The first is a 1400-horsepower fan originally suited for things like ventilating mine shafts. To create its 150mph winds, it will draw energy from the campus's emergency generator system, which is typically used during power outages caused by storms.

The second part is a wave generator which pushes salt water using 12 different paddles. Those paddles, timed to move at different paces and rates, can create waves at various sizes, angles and frequency, creating anything from a calm, organized swell to sloppy chaotic seas.

The third aspect of the tank is the tank itself, which is six meters in width by 20 meters in length by two meters high.

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