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1996  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Less than absolute zero??? on: January 05, 2013, 04:32:51 PM
It might be better to think about energy rather than temperature for a moment.  Temperature is a parameter which describes a statistical distribution of energies.  It only has meaning in an ensemble.  Energy is a bit more universal and more easily understood.

In a system at absolute zero, every single particle is in its ground state.  That means the energy of the system is the smallest it can possibly be (that's kind of the definition of a ground state).  So there is no way for energy to decrease from the absolute zero system without introducing some sort of exotic (and completely hypothetical at this point) negative energy or something (which I guess is what the author of the original link thought was happening here...).  That's why absolute zero is typically viewed as an absolute limit.

But that's in terms of energy, not temperature.  Again, temperature is a parameter that describes a statistical distribution.  In turns out that for some distributions, it is possible to have a well-defined system in which that parameter is negative.  The shape of the statistical distribution is quite different from a positive temperature, but make no mistake here:  there is no question that the "negative temperature" system has more energy than at absolute zero.  The distribution is different, but there are still particles not in their ground state, and nothing has somehow gone below ground state energy.

So is this just semantics?  A funny definition of temperature?  Well, it's not quite that simple.  You might ask why the shape of the energy distribution is so important in the first place.  Certainly it is possible to artificially construct a system with a different energy distribution, but such a system is not stable.  It's not in equilibrium.  Turns out that the mathematics behind temperature are quite universal, and given enough time to reach equilibrium all systems will eventually reach a thermal distribution.  So it really is a special distribution.

So here is a system that's stable and just happens to be described by a thermal distribution with a negative temperature.  It's very hard to think that's just a coincidence, thus describing this system as having negative temperature isn't unreasonable.  But it probably differs from people's intuition about temperature quite a bit.
1997  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Less than absolute zero??? on: January 05, 2013, 02:49:47 PM
So I read the actual paper and now I want to smack the author of that link silly.  He wrote, "For example, while atoms are usually pulled downward by gravity, those below absolute zero float upwards instead."

There is no mention of anything of the sort in the actual paper.  This is complete fiction.

So what do they actually mean by negative temperature?  The definition they are using for temperature is that the probability of being in a state i with energy E_i is proportional to exp(-E_i / (k_B * T)), where k_B is Boltzmannís constant.  You might note that since we're talking about discrete energy states this is an inherently quantum mechanical definition, but the idea is simply that there is a decaying exponential distribution that favors lower energy states.  So what if T goes negative?  Well, it's not a decaying exponential anymore, and for that to make any sense you need a system will a well-defined upper bound energy, which the paper spends a while talking about.

But is this "negative temperature" distribution the same as being cold?  Actually, no.  The paper even says, "...emphasizing that negative temperature states are hotter than positive temperature states, i.e., in thermal contact, heat would flow from a negative to a positive temperature system."

So is this just semantics?  Maybe in some sense.  It's interesting because the negative temperature state is actually stable (under the right conditions), not some rapidly-decaying pseudo-state.  They mention some potential applications in the paper, but this isn't anything that's going to change the world.  But I guess that's less exciting than antigravity...
1998  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: January 04, 2013, 11:30:02 PM
It's definitely more "inspired by" than based on, but there are a lot of Shakespeare references.
1999  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: January 04, 2013, 06:10:08 PM
Hmm, I wonder how much of the show they had actually seen before writing that.  I'll freely admit that the first couple of episodes weren't really anything special.  But the things that make this show shine take time to develop.  It's a complex web of lies, deceit, and betrayal.  Nothing is really as it seems at first glance.

But I think my favorite thing about it is that there's really no clear villain.  Everyone has plausible motivations for what they're doing (even though one group seems obviously 'evil' at first glance, you eventually find out that things aren't that simple), but there's a deep philosophical divide.
2000  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Thread -- Making people crazy since 1987, kupo! on: January 04, 2013, 04:59:37 PM
Fav female is gonna be an interesting one.  Usually demonstrates what Japan likes in women compared to NA a bit (in saying that, I think Yuna might rank quite high).

You think Yuna wouldn't rank high in NA?
2001  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Atelier Ayesha on: January 04, 2013, 04:56:34 PM
Finally a bit of news on the western release.... so its coming but they don't know who is providing it?

Who's 'they'?  I certainly hope the publisher knows who's publishing it, they just haven't announced it yet.

.... This confuses me a bit as I didn't know the designing team behind a game switching hands had anything to do with who localizes it and by the same token I also thought the publisher was a different question entirely....

It's quite relevant when a developer is acquired by a company that already has their own localization and publishing branch.  It's only natural they would want to keep things in-house.  On the other hand, NISA already has quite a bit of experience working on these games and a good relationship with Gust (or so it seems, anyway...despite Ar Tonelico II...).  I'm certainly interested in how Tecmo wants to treat this property, though.  It's pretty niche in the west.
2002  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: January 04, 2013, 01:40:53 AM
Goddamn Blast of Tempest is good.  I feel like an idiot for not starting it sooner.  Looked kind of generic so I skipped over it at first, but then there was a drought of titles at the end of the season and I decided to check it out.  Wow.  It is anything but generic.  Still in the middle of the first season but I have no idea how what is going to happen.  This show constantly keeps you on your toes.

This is probably the best show of last season.  I can't believe I almost missed it...

Edit: Aaaand, just finished watching the second half of the first season in one sitting.  I guess I'm sort of glad I waiting before starting this show, because though it takes a couple eps to get going, once you're into it every single episode ends on a friggin cliffhanger.  It's extremely addictive, the kind of show you really do want to watch all at once.

But holy crap, the cliffhanger at the end of season 1 means I can't wait for season 2...

But seriously, why is it that I haven't heard any buzz about this show?  Forget being my favorite show of the season, it might be my favorite show of the year.  And yet nobody is talking about it...
2003  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: January 03, 2013, 10:31:58 PM
Been a couple days now and my resurrected-from-a-YLOD PS3 is still going.  Played some Tales of Graces f this evening and got past the part it crashed on when my problems all started.  Very satisfying feeling.

I guess I can never been sure if it's going to die again, but damn if it ain't looking promising.  And in theory at least if the solder reflow did a good job it ought to be good for a while.
2004  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, The Last 13 Days on: January 02, 2013, 07:29:27 PM
Type-0 did a lot of interesting things with the FF formula, including some of the things Humbert Humbert is asking for.  On the other hand there's also an almost a Persona-esque aspect to it with regards to how you manage your time between missions.  Very cool game.  Too bad we'll never see it here...
2005  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: January 01, 2013, 07:21:15 PM
Personally I didn't care for "A Certain Magical Index" at all.  I agree with Klyde that the main guy is a terrible character, but Index is just as bad (if not worse).  There is some interesting lore in the setting but they never do anything interesting with it.  I found it very generic and forgettable.

But oddly enough I enjoyed the spin-off "A Certain Scientific Railgun".  Better characters and better plot development.
2006  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: 2013: New Years REVOLUTION!! on: December 31, 2012, 10:20:13 PM
Dice's resolution is getting drunk?  Setting the bar pretty low there, Dice.
2007  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: December 31, 2012, 07:24:57 PM
Well, I borrowed the heat gun from work today to try and fix my PS3 again.  This time I did it for a lot longer than the first time and I also added some Kester 951 flux so hopefully the fix will last longer than a day.  I'll keep my fingers crossed...

Edit: Passed the first test, it boots again.  It's still half-unassembled so I'll see how much I want to reassemble it before trying long-term...

Edit 2: Things are looking good.  Everything is working right and I put the case back together.  Played some games on it a bit and there weren't any problems.  Looks like the YLOD really was fixed, just a question of how long it lasts now.
2008  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: 2013: New Years REVOLUTION!! on: December 31, 2012, 01:26:08 PM
I resolve to finally finish my goddamn PhD.  I remember thinking I would surely be done in 2011 at some point...
2009  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Best Anime No One Has Seen on: December 29, 2012, 12:53:26 PM
Mostly passed it off as a simple comedy with no strong interlinking plot - I'm not a fan of those kinds of shows. Any chance that's an incorrect assessment? It's hard to tell by looking at the ANN and Wikipedia pages.

Nope, your assessment is spot-on.  There is very little plot in that show.  The comedy can be pretty good, though.
2010  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki on: December 27, 2012, 10:54:52 AM
They're doing PSP remasters (it's not really a port, more like emulating the PSP environment on the PS3 with some higher res. art) of the first three games. Sen was announced for PS3 and Vita, not PS3 only.  And Falcom hasn't done a PC version since Trails TC.  Both Zero and Ao were PSP exclusives, though Zero got an enhanced Vita port.
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