1x31: Would you do it in the pouch?

No physicicst I have ever met has ever thought that. I nominate Enrico Fermi.

  • Prototyped Nuclear reactor
  • Also atom bomb
  • Lots of thermodynamics

I do not like pop scientists, and their distillations of rather complex and contetnious topics.

I was a little horrified by your treatment of this guys. Artificial Intelligence is a field in very poor standing now. Machine learning does NOT equal artifical intelligence, and you know it. I am very, very surprised you did not make the distinction. The world will not be taken over by a nueral net, or genetic algorith no matter how many GPU’s you give it. These algorithms are heuristics, and in no way even attempt to model the brain.

That conversation was also very frustrating. Here’s the thing no one mentioned:
The reason everyone is so concerned about getting their code into the official release, is that is the way that you get credit with the developer community. Yes, I can make my own extensions for Ubuntu, but you know what - I don’t want to slap on Canonical’s branding on to it unless I get official credit. I may as well put my branding on it, and leave Cannonical out in the dust if I am going to my own unsanctioned additions. Mine forever.

Think about the kernal. Yes, everyone on earth can fork the kernal and put in whatever they like. But they don’t! - you know why? Because we want to be involved in the movement. Programmers need recognition, we don’t just do this for our pleasure. I wont slave over some kernal mode driver, with zero chance of anyone ever using it. I might do that for music, but I wont do that for code. Official means a LOT

I wish you would have covered the “real name” policy a little more. That is something which is driving people away from facebook. I agree, Ello isn’t very good, but I’d love to not have my real name on facebook.

This interview was very good, but one area of tech journalism that I think is extremly wrong is that tech journalists are fully complicit in tech hype. I don’t mean advertising, or puff pieces. What I mean is, certain areas become an echo chamber with few dissenting voices. There have major issues with 3D printers, and the companies that sell them, for years. No journalist I have ever met has ever done any more research or reporting that “Squee! How cool!”

I want more muck raking, and less glorified unboxing video.

The thing about the gone in 60 seconds segments, as that I find them interesting, and I wish you guys would have used this topic for a full on discussion.

Thanks for the great episode! Frustration or not.

Yeah, physics maybe but this is computer science, why would we assume he knows his way around it. It’s like saying the world’s greatest chemist or historian or painter should also be listened to on matters of cutting edge CS. Doesn’t make a lot of sense. “greatness” isn’t very horizontally transferable.

Also the whole thing is weird, Vinge proposed the Singularity like over 20 years ago, it’s made its rounds thoroughly through fiction and is now being debunked by the leading minds in computers a bunch and now lately people from totally other fields like physics or in Musk’s case, business, space, cars and batteries, are hearing about it and weighing in.

It should carry about as much weight as celebrities from hollywood (good at acting, maybe) espousing their political opinions, which is very little

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Bobbins and wheelhouses? Has BV become the Bad Voltage Knitting Circle and Paddle Boat Company? I blame Jono!

As for greatest physicist … ENRICO Fermi is a pretty good candidate. At Chicago’s EFI (world’s first nuclear pile in the ball court there) there are quite a few stories about the guy (ala Feynmann in some cases). Certainly in the last couple of decade I can’t think of anyone who quite measures up: string theorists and screen-scraping cosmologists (see Bicep 2) don’t measure up.

I believe that Hawking’s position was a political statement. It’s important to be able to distinguish between some of the actions which Israel the state takes (some good, some meh, some shitty) and ones position w.r.t. jews (who are so far from being a monolithic population that to take a position on “jews” only serves to demonstrate what a dipshit one is).

  • k


Here’s a gem on Fermi:

Ok, it might be a myth, but legendary people inspire legends.

Speaking of which, @bryanlunduke, where is your evidence of Hawking’s anti-semitism? :slight_smile:


I’ll admit that I’m rather thick at times. Okay, most times. Please reword this so a simpleton (I) can understand (specifically “w.r.t. jews”). :smile: Thanks.

w.r.t. == with respect to

A jew is conservative or liberal or ultra-orthodox or non-observant, or does or doesn’t believe in JC as the son of god, is rich or poor, is white or black or yellow, etc. etc… Some of these beliefs seem to correlate with others (conservative with ultra-orthodox) but even then its far from 100%. So you can’t say what a jew is, you can only (if you have lots of time) say what he/she might be. Jews are about as monolithic as Americans (yanks) and only a mis-informed idiot thinks all `muricans think and act alike.

Ahh, that was quite simple. Thanks.

FWIW, I’m not jewish and really not well informed on the “subject”. (Typical bastardized mish-mash liberal american from the west coast with no religion of his own and no desire to have one.)

Come on @bryanlunduke, you have had enough time to collect your thoughts on this.

It is time to either justify your claims regarding Hawking or to apologise for claiming he is anti-semitic.

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In the interest of peace, love and harmony, it `tis the season … time to give it a rest (ie, as someone (Langridge probably) would possibly say, one kick in the spuds is worth doing just to see what happens, two is simply villainy).

I just started this conversation because I seemed to be missing something regarding Mr. Hawking. It would be good to know if the man is truly a bigot or not. So, if @bryanlunduke has information about that, I would be interested. Not that it would affect my opinion of Mr. Hawking if he is not a bigot, for personally, I find the man to be arrogant. But, that is just an opinion.

Okay. So the Hawking / Antisemitism opinion… How best to address this. It’s such a huge topic (almost deceptively so) and I totally understand that this notion raises red flags (and ire) of many. I’m going to make an attempt at distilling it down to the simplest form I can… if anyone feels like they need more information on any point in order for it to make sense, by all means just let me know.

[ Just know that it may take me a while to respond… Hanukkah kicked off last night and I’m partying hearty and eating loads of fried food. That has most of my attention. :smile: ]

Hawking has never, to my knowledge, said something like “I hate those darned Jews”. Hawking’s actions are more in line with what many (myself included) consider to be “New antisemitism”. He has chosen to boycott an entire country (Israel) and – by doing so – has declared that he agrees with the BDS. The BDS is, in large part, motivated (and organized) by antisemitism and antisemitic organizations (and bears extreme similarities to the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses).

Does all of that make Hawking anti-Jew? Not necessarily. But it does mean that he is anti-Zionism (in other words, he disagrees with Einstein) and agrees with the organizations that have declared that they are not only anti-Israel but also anti-Jew (and, in some cases, seeking the death of all Jews). Which is as close to being 100% “anti-Jew” as you can get… without actually coming out and saying “darn those Jews”.

Amusing Side-Note: Hawking voiced his opposition to Israel (and support of the BDS)… by using technology developed and produced in Israel.

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Whatever he is, I hear he’s very smooth with the ladies.

At any rate: What about this artificial intelligence vs. machine learning foul up?
huge oversight.

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This is what Mr. Hawking did say: “I have received a number of e-mails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference. Had I attended I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster.”

So the following questions come to mind:
Does this sound like he is supporting efforts to end the state of Israel? Or does it sound more like he is more concerned about the policies of the Israeli government?

Has there been any dialog with Mr. Hawking about this matter? If not, has there even been any attempt to do so? If not, why?

Regarding this “New antisemitism”, it makes me think of this quote: “Once you start calling everyone you don’t agree with an anti-Semite, we are in trouble.”–Rabbi Levi Shemtov


Thanks for clarifying, @bryanlunduke.

I am, it has to be clearly noted, spectacularly uninformed on this topic, but it seems that there are two qurstions here:

  • Does he oppose Jewish people?
  • Dos he oppose the notion of a Jewish state?

I would personally consider the former to be anti-Semitic, and from what I can tell, there is no evidence to suggest that Hawking has expressed views along those lines. In fact, I would go so far to suggest that most people’s definition of “anti-Semitic” is probably the former too, thus, I think calling him anti-Semitic on the the show was probably unfair.

With the latter, it seems you are suggesting there is evidence that he opposes a Jewish state, primarily because he didn’t show up at a conference. This a seems a pretty weak argument to me: he may have decided to not attend for various reasons - did he specifically say he was not joining because of opposition to a Jewish state?

Further to this, I am unsure whether a disagreement with Israel is by definition an anti-Jewish perspective. People may disagree with Israel for other reasons, such as politics.

I guess what I am driving at here is that it feels to me like branding him an anti-semite based on this evidence seems unfair as it is drawing conclusions without concrete evidence. Again though, I am pretty limited in my knowledge of this subject, so if there is damning evidence to suggest he definitely has anti-Jewish views, let’s see it.


Without actually hearing more from Mr. Hawking, stating what his motives are is pure speculation. A possibility is that he used this call for a boycott as an excuse to make his own feelings about the direction of the Israeli government known emphatically. That would not necessarily mean that he agrees with any or all of the views of the ones calling for the boycott. But, that is pure speculation also.

Again, what did he voice to indicate this? The only thing he has said, regarding this, that I have found so far, is quoted in my post above. To extrapolate the motives, that he is accused of, from that is quite a leap. As far as I know, @bryanlunduke has explained it exactly as it is, but I’m with @jonobacon here in wanting more information, for, from what I’ve seen, so far, is hardly even close to adequate.

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I think the inclusion of the words “Jews” and “Israel” is clouding the simplicity of this topic. Let’s use a hypothetical scenario to make this a bit easier to discuss without emotional or political baggage.

A number of years ago a group of people formed a political party for the express purpose of getting rid of any member of the Bacon family (Jono’s grandparents, etc.). They started a campaign to boycott all parties thrown by the Bacon’s. They called themselves the “Anti-Bacon-Party-Party”.

This campaign proved effective. So they stepped it up a notch and murdered every Bacon they could find.

Flash forward a few years. The last remaining members of the Bacon family have settled in a small town in Oregon – and they have decided to throw a big party. This time it is going to be a donut party. A Bacon-Donut Party. The organizers of this, most triumphant, donut-y shindig invite Stuart Langridge to be a guest of honor. This makes sense, because Stuart has never (not once) turned down a donut.

A new Anti-Bacon movement has formed with the stated goal of isolating all members of the Bacon family and, if possible, destroying them once and for all (by any means necessary) – in order to stop them from throwing their famous Bacon Parties. This “New-Anti-Bacon-Party-Party” (The NABPP) sends a quick email to Stuart suggesting that Bacon is bad.

Stuart responds by releasing a statement saying, “Hey guys… I got an email from the NABPP. So… uhh… yeah. I’m not going to the Bacon-Donut party… even though donuts are my favorite. In fact, I won’t step foot in Bacon town. I don’t want people thinking I might agree with Bacons.”

Now. What is Stuarts stance? Is he anti-Bacon? Or does he totally love Bacons and want to be their BFFs?

@bryanlunduke thank you for explaining your views. I do not however believe you can justifiably call Stephen Hawking anti-Semitic.

It seams clear that his actions are political and directed at the state of Israel. To disagree with the actions of Israel may be an attack on some Jews but it is not the same as an attack on all Jews.

By that definition I am anti-Semitic but I think this is unfair. I have no desire to get rid of Israel as a Jewish state nor do I oppose Jewish people but I am strongly opposed to Israel’s refusal to accept borders and occupation of foreign land. Does that make me an anti-semite? I don’t think so, I have Jewish friends and I’ll be happy to buy you a pint if we ever find our selves in the same bar.

I don’t see how Mr Hawking’s position is any different from mine. You are attributing motives to him which you have not provided any evidence to support.

I’m happy to argue the politics with you if you want but if we disagree on the politics, we simply disagree on the politics. My argument with Israel is an objection to some of its activities. It is not an attack on being Jewish and I don’t believe you have provided enough evidence to suggest Stephen’s motives were or are anti-Jewish.

If you can provide evidence to backup your claims I will be happy to examine it.


I disagree quite a lot.

Disagreeing with specific policies of the Israeli government does not make one antisemitic. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single Jew on the planet that doesn’t disagree with at least one Israeli government policy.


Hawking chose sides with an organization and movement that, in part, seeks the death of all Jews (this is a stated, repeated and well documented goal of the Palestinian government… a goal that they do not shy away from shouting from the rooftops).

Hawking did not state specific issues with the Israeli government. He stated that he will not set foot on Israeli soil (which is funny, since he relies on and uses Israeli medicine and technology every day… which simply makes him a profound hypocrite) and chose to take the side of a movement that is fueled by rampant bigotry and hatred.

Let’s add in another, more extreme, hypothetical that also applies here rather simply…

It’s back during the middle of WWII. There is a technology conference happening that you are invited to in Washington DC. An organization called “America Suxorz” – which is funded, in part, by the Nazi party and is seeking the isolation and ultimate destruction of the USA – sends you an email saying that you shouldn’t go because America is bad.

You decide not to go and make an announcement that you don’t want to go to the Washington DC based tech conference… because you don’t want people thinking you like America.

Now. In that scenario… are you anti-America? Are you pro-Nazi?

Yes. Of course you would be. Or, perhaps, you are not… bu that is the message that you are either:

a) Deliberately sending. In which case it would be freaking weird if you didn’t actually believe in that message.


b) You failed (rather spectacularly) to communicate your point of view – in a way that make many of your colleagues, fans and friends think you are anti-America and pro-Nazi. Which would make now a good time to correct the impression that you created.

All of which means that Hawking is either antisemitic, a terrible communicator or he’s playing a strange practical joke on everyone. I suppose the fourth option is that he is profoundly uninformed on both the topic at hand and on basic human nature.

But, honestly, it stinks of antisemitism. The worst kind… the kind that cloaks itself in pretending to not be antisemitism. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. That view is widespread at this point.

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