1386 posts • joined Monday 5th March 2007 21:42 GMT
Given that the closest star is a mere 4 light years away and assuming you have sufficient fuel and thrust to reach 99% of light speed, figure maybe six months or a year for the mission itself, that's an 8 or 9 year round trip earth relative time. So they'd age a year or two, we'd age eight, everyone would still be here.
It's when you're off flying to Lave or Achenar that you have to worry about whether anyone will still be around when you get back.
<-- Uhm... yeah, the one with the NERD FAIL tag on the back thanks.
Surprisingly hard to cool in space
It's a lot harder than you think to cool off in space. Whilst the vacuum of space is damn cold, it's also lacking one thing that makes cooling efficient: air. On earth, it's possible to efficiently cool your computer using a combination of radiation and air convection. In space you only have radiation, which isn't particularly efficient. The use of radiators in shady spots mitigates the situation, but placing the computer equipment "outside" wouldn't really help matters much and would have the additional problem of requiring the equipment to be rated for use in a vacuum.
"simulating an atomic explosion is a simple task with limited variables?"
Actually yes. It may be surprising, but the big thing about simulating a nuclear explosion isn't the variables, which are relatively few and well understood, but the volume of interactions. Pattern recognition is a whole different ballgame and is something computers are still pretty much crap at, in part because pattern recognition requires a certain amount of abstract understanding of the world. It requires context. Computers can't do context (which incidentally is why we're getting all this crap about the semantic web being reduced to people sticking tags on everything to provide a substitute for context), at least partly because, however massively parallel they might be, each processor thread is isolated from the others. So whereas a nuclear simulation might have each thread controlling the evolution of a single particle, you can't apply that model to the recognition of an image and expect to get the same performance as an actual brain - simply because the brain doesn't work like that.
Hung parliament, not anarchy
There's no actual law requiring the majority parliament to form the government. We elect MPs, allegedly to represent us in parliament and the convention is that the majority party forms the government. However, the Queen is the person to "asks" the leader of the majority party to be her Prime Minister and form a government of ministers ash so chooses. Were the independents to become the largest block of MPs the Queen could simply say "this is the largest party" and ask one of them to form a government. Or she could ask the leader of one of the other parties to form the government. If she wanted to be really cruel she could pick the party with the least number of MPs and ask their leader to form a government. Imagine Broon being made PM again without even enough votes to decide what's on the Stranger's Bar lunch menu. It'd be poetic, if nothing else.
Not to argue the main point of your post (which I somewhat agree with) but it seems like you might not be that involved with autism spectrum disorders yourself. Am I wrong?
Well I'm assuming you aren't for the sake of argument.
My wife is aspergic and was diagnosed quite late because at the time, in Sweden, the condition wasn't generally well understood in the medical community. She shares that much with McKinnon, who was also as far as I'm aware not diagnosed until he was somewhat older. This creates a couple of problems.
First you have the fact that aspergers tends to produce a mentality that simply doesn't consider the consequences of actions. It appears to be "selfish", because the aspergic mind tends to be very inward looking and insular, concerned more with the gathering and processing of information than with the consequences of the activities. It's almost like the stereotypical "science at any cost" sort of image of the mad professor.
It's been theorised that people with autism spectrum disorders have a much harder time processing and filtering out distraction so in an effort to remove distraction they learn to be obsessively focussed. And, as I said, they have less ability to comprehend the consequences of their actions.
People with aspergers do tend to congregate in mathematics and the sciences, or any area of study that involves lengthy time away from crowds and surrounded by large piles of information that can be categorised and obsessively studied in an orderly manner. They love to learn new things about their chosen area of subject, but that learning has to take place on their own terms.
Simply put, people with aspergers can't cope with information supplied in a highly disordered state. They have an innate need to control it, and tend to develop obsessive behaviours in an effort to restrict the information they're receiving, often without understanding the effect those behaviours have on other people. With a late diagnosis and consequently little support McKinnon wouldn't have been able to learn coping mechanisms that would allow him to understand and act on the potential consequences of his actions - he simply wouldn't be able to understand that his activities were wrong or, if he did understand that, wouldn't be able to understand that there would be consequences for him from continuing those actions.
This isn't "it's the fault of society", except insofar as people are unwilling or unable to undersatnd the fact that people with autistic spectrum disorders do actually think in radically different ways to everyone else. It's an unfortunate coonfluence of events that could have been easily avoided.
He probably understood at an intellectual level that his actions might have consequences, he just couldn't relate those consequences to himself in anything other than a very abstract sense and so didn't intuit them. It probably came as a huge shock to him that something would actually happen as a result of what he did.
Except the comparison is becoming very apt.
Sure, the government isn't killing jews and gypsies but, the indoctrination of youth into the service of the state, the increasing state control of private capital and the constant chipping away at anything that isn't "healthy" (As defined by the state) are all consistent with the national socialist program. Hitler also dropped in a massive state-funded stimulus package and had an obsession with environmental affairs (it's often remarked that the nazi party was the first environmentalist movement to gain traction).
None of these things on their own make someone a nazi. I'm not saying that. I would even consider myself a conservationist. Being "Green" or supporting the idea of some level of state intervention or "stimulation" doesn't make anyone a nazi (there are sound economic arguments for and against each of these positions). It's the convergence of interests that leads to the totalitarian state, with its inevitable descent into absolute control of every aspect of the individual's life, potentially up to the "removal" of undesirable elements by force, which produces valid comparisons to nazi germany.
Try and argue that our government *isn't* trying to control every aspect of our personal life. And despite the argument I can hear brewing, democracy is not incompatible with the totalitarian state. In fact it can tend to produce it if you aren't careful - as a wise man once observed the democratic state ceases to function when the electorate realises they can vote the wealth of the treasury into their own pocket - to which I would add, at which point the totalitarian state is almost inevitable. Once the totalitarian state has begun to coalesce then democratic elections mean nothing, as the state acts in spite of the wishes of the electorate and continues to consolidate its control through legislation ostensibly aimed as "undesirables" and newly defined criminal activity. You can vote for the new guy who will promise the earth, but when the state continues along the same path as before, proscribing activities that were seen as a natural right just a few years ago, then it is a totalitarian state.
Successive governments in this country have, directly or via the chambers of the EU, continued on the path of proscribing activities that were, up to that point, natural rights, shielded by the use of high profile "issue" legislation that allows them to slip their restrictions through almost unnoticed. These activities are not immoral or unethical. They are merely against the law. The state we live in has acted, up to this point, over the last fifteen years, to produce a situation where everything an individual does is potentially illegal, so that each of us can be forced to live our lives according to the direction the state wishes. Therefore we live in a totalitarian state.
Eating children would destroy potential future revenue streams, and so would murder. You could make a marginal case for rape because it might produce future consumers, but in all likelihood they'll be a net drain on company resources over time because they'll be more likely to engage in criminal behaviour and therefore more likely to steal your product rather than purchase it. The potential benefit of seeing this subset of consumer using your product is outweighed by the negative image promoted by the use of your product in gang/criminal culture.
Thus no valid business case can be made for rape, murder or eating babies.
"A frequent justification for frigates and destroyers is that you need them to protect carriers, but the fact of the matter is that carriers can protect themselves on their own far better than the escort ships can."
You kind of had me up to there but, no. Just no. A carrier needs a protective screen. It is actually a very vulnerable ship, even with a combat air patrol, because most of its hull is filled with things for the planes it carries rather than defensive weapons. Every defensive weapon reduces its effectiveness in its primary function of being the place where planes come and go. Back when we had real carriers the doctrine was that the support group served as a sort of mobile ablative armour that could vastly increase the effectiveness of a carrier by allowing it to perform its primary function without the distraction of also having to be a heavily armed cruiser.
Frigates do serve a purpose and that purpose is to be cannon fodder, pretty much. Up to now frigates have been relatively cheap, high speed combat vessels that served as a general purpose screening patrol for carrier groups, or which would operate in pairs as a peace-time sea patrol, maybe with a destroyer on hand to bulk them up a bit. They're like the interceptor to the destroyer's fighter-bomber.
Now you could have come from the direction of the MOD being terrible at procurement and driving up the cost with daft practices and requirements. You could have, and that would have been all you'd need to do, but you went off on this bizarre rant against an integral component in an effective naval force. I don't get it, unless you're just saying these things to court controversy and get comments, in that case mission accomplished, I guess
These aren't contradictory positions, though.
It's entirely possible to say that you support patents and IP *and* point out that the system as it stands is completely broken.
Besides, different reporters = different views. unless you want the Register to push a rigid editorial line on all its contributors? But who's like would it be?
... is that Apple patented it, therefore it can't ever have existed before and was pulled directly from the ear of the Almighty, the Lord and Saviour of all mankind, Steven of Jobs.
I actually had an honest to god argument with an apple fanbo the other day. Apparently the smart phone didn't exist until Jobs gave birth to the iphone and now every other phone is just a knock-off.
Use of terms
"Piracy" is not theft. Piracy is unauthorised duplication. Unauthorised duplication is not theft, it is unauthorised duplication. Theft is removal of someone's property without permission and the result is that they no longer have it and consequently lose an investment they made in that property. If they were going to sell that property they then lose the potential sale of that property.
You can't pirate someone's chair.
Piracy doesn't involve physically removing stock from a shop. No "five-fingered discount, no physical loss requiring the expense replacement, no loss of money from a sale that can no longer be made. The argument of potential lost revenue is also incorrect, as the potential revenue is still sitting on the shelves of retailers in the form of physical stock.
It may be wrong, but it isn't theft. Calling it theft simply makes you look stupid.
Constitution? Magna Carta?
Ooh, a chartist!
Magna Carta isn't a written constitution, though it does contain elements that would later be incorporated into the constitution of the United States and many of their state constitutions.
We don't have a written constitution. We have several documents and treaties that together form our constitution: magna carta, the acts of settlement, the Act of Union and the parliamentary Bill of Rights, which several of our erstwhile representatives have recently tried to resurrect in order to avoid prosecution for fiddling their expenses. Our constitution is largely statute-based, which is why it's often referred to as unwritten.
The big problem is that people don't know about this. Ask the average person on the street what they think about magna carta and they'll ask if it's that classical music record label *if you're lucky*. They might think it's a spanish football team. Without that knowledge of how our government was established, it is impossible to prevent the government from going beyond the bounds set for it by those documents. The Bill of Rights is a good example, as it guarantees certain things (including the right to own guns as long as you aren't a catholic, and the limitation on unfair taxation without legislation enacting that taxation - bye bye nearly every non-criminal penalty charge in existence!) that have subsequently been overridden by successive governments. The problem is that the Bill of Rights establishes Parliament, and isn't an Act of Parliament but a treaty. Overriding it removed the constitutional basis for Parliament to legislate, which means that current moves to use the concept of Parliamentary Privilege as established in the Bill of Rights means that either the Bill of Rights is supreme, in which case nearly every piece of legislation for the past 100-odd years is invalidated, or that the Bill of Rights must be struck down, in which case every piece of legislation since 1668 is invalid.
As for the US Senate, as per their constitution that body was meant to represent the States, not the population as a whole. The house of representatives represents the people. The Senate was meant to act as a brake on populist legislation, a body of oversight similar to the House of Lords (probably the only marginally functional part of our own legislature left) and was meant to consider bills produced by the House and re-write them, or block them, before they went to be signed by the president. This is why their constitution includes a requirement for the senate and house bills on any subject to be worded identically before they can be signed into law.
A constitutional amendment requires two thirds of both the house and the senate, but even that would just call a constitutional convention. Constitutional convention then requires a two-thirds majority of all the states.
You see the constitution governed the Union of the States, not the sun-total of the population, which is why it was originally so small. The individual states governed their own populations as they saw fit, as long as they didn't breach the articles and amendments of the Bill of Rights, which restricted the state to the smallest possible functional level by intention. The Federal government was meant to function as primarily an arbiter of the collective position of the States towards common problems and international issues and so in the constitution its powers and roll were very strictly limited. The expansion of the role of the federal government since the 1890s has resulted in a situation where the federal government has already broken past its constitutional limits many times, which is why you often hear references to the constitution being a "living document", not to mention a great deal of resentment amongst the elected representatives of the people and the states that a document written by a bunch of "dead old white guys" still has enough potency to limit their aspirations for absolute power.
Our "unwritten constitution" has lost that potency. Most criticism of the US from our side of the atlantic seems to be blinkered by an inability to understand how little freedom we have left compared to them, or perhaps a profound case of denial at just how restricted our lives are. Yes, their government is moronic these days, and they are pushy and loud, but they still have their constitutionally guaranteed rights. What do we have? Mandelson's muppetry and Ms Hillier's ID cards. I personally break the law several times a day doing things that are still considered to be inviolable rights in any functional society, but which have been rendered illegal here simply because the government of the day decided that it could do so. Criticism of America for problems that are even worse here smacks of a little bit of projection, I reckon, especially as we have no mechanism for restricting the activities of the state when it reaches too far. Think about that next time you're criticising the US. They may not exercise it all the time but they have that option to declare acts of the state unconstitutional. Do we? No. Even the much vaunted human rights act is filled with so many caveats and contradictions to make it useless for anything other than forcing people to comply with whatever positivist "rights" are the current politically correct whim.
Face it. We're fucked.
I imagine the part of the process where we all briefly and terminally turned into rather messy spaghetti would give it away.
National politicians do like to use the EU to bypass their own legislatures when they can. The whole thing is completely undemocratic.
Part of the problem _here_, though, is that the executive has managed to completely neuter Parliament. Apparently it goes back as far as the 1890s and something called Standing Order 14, which states that government business always takes priority in the chamber. Revoke that and the people we elect might actually have a chance to do their job.
Not wanting to absolve our government, who like to add to the pile whenever they get the chance, but as nearly all of the areas covered by the phrase "business regulation" are an EU competence now, most business regs are sent directly from the EU without reference to Parliament, which merely gets to write the press release and the fancy little booklet explaining how we're being screwed this time. Even when one comes down as a directive the deadline for implementation is so short that MPs usually don't get to read it properly before voting on it.
Of course nobody in parliament wants to admit how little power they have left, so they throw their weight around making badly written and unenforceable law in the few areas where they still retain the authority to do so, whilst taking credit for everything the EU does and would do so even if it was a new directive requiring babies to be put on spikes.
Cable isn't always a choice
I remember watching, nearly fifteen years ago now, as the workmen came down our road installing trunk and cable for Nynex. They went all the way along the opposite side of the road and then... well, then Nynex folded and was bought by C&W. Who never came back.
So no cable for us.
Yet still it prosecutes...
The truth is no defence here in the UK. Our libel law is pernicious, and can be used to silence people who are telling the truth simply because a "reputation" may be "damaged" by those statements of truth. Under English libel law the person accused of libel is considered guilty until they can prove themselves innocent.
There is a very good reason we're becoming infamous for so-called libel tourism. It's because our libel law *does* consider the truth to be libel, and so acts accordingly.
He may have a hard time doing that these days. I hear it's hard to think when your brain has been preserved and sliced up into wafer-thin pieces.
This is where that whole theory of relativity comes into play. Acceleration is just a change in velocity and direction over time. In the glass's frame of reference it is standing still and the ground is, in relative terms, moving towards it at high speed, thus when the ground impacts with the glass it is suddenly accelerated in a different direction relative to its own frame of reference.
On the other hand...
Mythbusters also did an episode that showed high velocity rifle shells disintegrate on impact with water, as I imagine they would do with human flesh. The difference is that the water would quickly leech out the energy of the bullet by squirting out of the hole it made, whereas flesh doesn't tend to do that. The water would also absorb most of the initial shockwave and thus reduce the amount of damage the bullet could actually do. The combined effect could theoretically remove enough energy for the bullet to merely embed itself in the chest cavity with relatively little damage, rather than passing right through it and shredding everything on the way.
A high velocity bullet to the breastbone at point blank range = dead. It would shatter like glass.
Parliamentary privilege stems from...
... the Bill of Rights. If they're going to hide behind the Bill of Rights, then I want back the right to be free from unlawful taxation in the form of parking fines and just about any form of payment made to the state not authorised by legislation and named as a tax (and so legislated and authorised, not being excessive).
And as a practising protestant I want back my right to own a gun and shoot catholics.
"All Jailbroken iPhones I've seen have a gazzilion apps, none of them paid for."
Nice, you're implying that they pirate software from the apple store when they're actually putting on software that apple refused to allow in their store. Puts a very different light on things, I reckon.
Yes, they may have gazillions of apps that weren't paid for. I didn't pay for the OS running on my computer, or any of the apps running on the OS. Reg readers can presumably guess why. Does that make be a bad person?
Statistical data trawl proves black is actually white!
Rubbish! They're just poking and prodding the results of their studies, dividing them into ever smaller boxes until they get the return they want. What's the relative risk? Was it a double-blind trial or just a trawl through observational study data?
All this statistical rubbish is why we keep getting stories about how wine/coffee/chocolate/sex is good for you one month and bad for you the next. They don't actually demonstrate any significant risk and they're often working with a relative risk (or risk ratio) of less than 1, which is statistically insignificant, and using just a fraction of the population initially claimed for the study.
Given those conditions it's easy to prove just about anything you want, and these alleged scientists usually do.
You should be bothered.
You can't set aside rights you don't like just so you can catch people you've decided are guilty in advance. It's that sort of attitude that ultimately leads to the way Labour are acting right now.
confusing terms now?
In the parlance of the debate, a "denialist" is someone who refuses to accept the AGW hypothesis (not theory - it is, by and large, not falsifiable so it doesn't qualify). Nobody on the sceptical side and very few people on the "warmist" side (See I can throw epithets as well!) believes that the climate never changes - though you might think that the AGW promoters do believe it based on their characterisation of the last few thousand years and their talk about climate stability and equilibrium.
From my position all the "fudging" seems to take place on the pro side. Just this week, FOI requested material from NASA has demonstrated that their climate researchers have pretty much adulterated their data to meaningless, replacing actual temperature data with grid-averaged data points that have no relation to actual temperature data. And, it's fairly easy to demonstrate that the temperature data itself is suspect, with very few long-term records of any reliability. The entire AGW hypothesis is based on little more than wishful thinking and stubborn refusal to accept that the idea might be wrong.
Now, a moment before I said that AGW isn't falsifiable. This isn't strictly true, there is a single falsification available. In the IPCC AR4 section 9 there is a description of various expected temperature profiles expected to appear in the troposphere depending on what particular mechanisms are affecting modelled changes. The models, without fail, show an easily verifiable hotspot in the troposphere., This is called a unique effect of AGW, and its presence is definitive proof. If the hotspot isn't there, the warming isn't man made. And, you know what? No hot spot.
And @Douglas Lowe
Yes, really. How did the BBC cover the reported release? At as much distance as they could for as little time as possible. They initially refused to report on the issue at all, and then reported it only as a criminal act. As far as I'm aware their coverage of the actual content of the documents and e-mails has been near enough to minimal as to be non-existent and for most of their coverage they simply repeated the CRU's line that it was a "hack" and that the content didn't matter, without actually reporting what that content was. Other major news reporters have also refused to cover the issue, initially for fear of falling foul of the law and later because the debate has been turned away from the content toward the alleged criminal intent of the release.
Feeling a bit frazzled? Maybe you should take your own advice and clock out early.
Hey, it's friday! When did that happen?
Nick the stuff and you're up the duff?
"hack" that wasn't
I don't understand why people continue to refer to this incident as a "hack" when it is blatantly obvious that it was an internal leak. A hacker wouldn't have been able to collate the necessary files in such a short time - and the files themselves are pretty much what was asked for in numerous foi requests. The released zip containing them was even named foi200- something. 9 I think. Anyway, the point is that refering to it as a hack feeds into bizarre daily mail-style conspiracies that it was the Russians or Chinese wot did it - when in reality both stand to gain massively from the current state of the agw debate. Why would they jeopardise potentially huge revenue streams that would simultaneously drain the west of wealth and power? the fact that it was initially released on realclimate and only later uploaded to a Russian FTP points to a researcher who may have been disgusted with the unscientific behaviour of his collegues, or may have been trying to score points in some sort of academic spat.
Regardless, hack it most certainly was not.
Of course the language support sucks. They've gone for the largest language groups on the planet first. I can see why they did it, it's easier, and if I've learned anything from Google it's that if something is worth doing, it's worth doing a half-arsed job of it.
Or was that Microsoft?
Has anyone spotted a beta sticker on the thing yet? I'm sure it'll be there somewhere.
I recall the same thingwas said about bees
Granted, bees are physical entities that can be empirically studied, whereas angels are spiritual noncorporeal beings that are only represented in certain ways in art because it looks pretty. No biblical or religious account of angels ever mentions wings.
Assuming angels exist and assuming they take on the popular appearance, that doesn't mean they can't fly. It just means that if they were an actual physical creature they wouldn't be able to fly. but they aren't an actual physical creature. Any appearance they might hypothetically adopt would be just that - an appearance. A mask. A persona.
What I'm trying to say is that angels as depicted in popular imagery don't exist.
Now, a more important question that needs answering is, does a Balrog have wings?d how many politicians can dance on the tip of a wind turbine blade?
TO use an absolutely terrible and highly offensive analogy...
Where would we be. Think about it... motorways, affordable cars, more and cheaper land, the rocket, the jet plane...
Fro this end of history we take all these things for granted, but in another era, not so long ago, all of this was brand new and all of it was promised for only a small price of an entire nation's soul.
Granted the analogy isn't perfect, however the point remains: allowing what might be loosely termed bad behaviour, or the "evil" of allowing one corporation to be the final arbiter of what information you are allowed to find on the internet, in exchange for a few trifles and trinkets is at the very best short-sighted and at worst wilfully ignorant of how these sort of things turn out. When a single entity controls your access to information, as Google is trying to do right now, you are no longer free.
I was shite,
It required a plugin,
The plugin was also shite - THREE things...
Finding the ruddy great crane they used to lift it would be fairly easy. It's not like these things can just be pushed up a pair of planks.
What if they don't have a warrant but just wander in one day because you had your door slightly ajar and then demand to look in the box? That's what this law amounts to. The police.security services, under this law, have the power to demand anything from you without actually having any particular reason for it. They can demand you hand over the keys to the box, so to speak, and then arrest you when you refuse to do so, and take your DNA for their database at the same time.
But, it's been the right of the English to refuse that demand for centuries. This is just another case of the government criminalising something for the sake of making a new crime. You get a shiny new criminal record for something that IS NOT A CRIME, no matter what "the law" says. The law is simply wrong.
Energy is never created or destroyed, you're right, but it does become less useful as time passes. Energy is only useful as long as there's a gradient, with areas where there is high energy and areas where there is low energy. Once the gradient disappears and the energy is evenly distributed everywhere, you can have all the energy in the universe and not do a thing with it.
In realistic terms that isn't a problem for us. We have sources of energy that can be prompted to release that energy with very little hassle.
One area these things might come in useful is extracting solar energy. Every exposed rock and lump of concrete soaks up the sun's energy during the day and radiates it again, as anyone who's leaned on a building that faces south in the later afternoon will be able to tell you. Especially in the summer. Imagine being able to harvest all of that heat energy. Of course it would only work most effectively in the summer and in hot countries.
Is that why they stuck with IE6 for years and then went from six to eight before Vista was even released? Three browser releases on a single OS release. Granted, 8 was a beta but, even so, I don't recall there being two desktop operating systems in between XP and Vista. Of course I might be missing something...
Actually, now the Lisbon constitutional-in-all-but-name treaty has been signed, Whitehall *is* redundant. Whilst I oppose the EU in principle I have to say, if we're stuck in it, at least lets acknowledge the fact and get rid of the useless show-parliament. No more Brown, no more Cameron, no more expenses fiddling. Well... none *here* at any rate.
- It's true, the START MENU is coming BACK to Windows 8, hiss sources
- Pic NASA Mars tank Curiosity rolls on old WET PATCH, sighs, sniffs for life signs
- How UK air traffic control system was caught asleep on the job
- Google embiggens its fat vid pipe Chromecast with TEN new supported apps
- Microsoft: Don't listen to 4chan ... especially the bit about bricking Xbox Ones