Re: "...and maybe some beach-front property in Switzerland."
There are beaches in Switzerland.
This is a big part of the reason I read el Reg. Its commenters are quite nicely aligned to where I live on the pedant-curmudgeon spectrum.
1327 posts • joined 8 Nov 2007
deckchair and popcorn please !
Please do step this way into our newly-installed walk-in microwave oven. (The popping comes later)
I'm using that one tonight, pure chat up gold!
Not as pithy as "does this rag smell like chloroform to you?", I'm afraid.
Nope... it's money. The writing clearly states "[1 A]ltarian Doll[ar]" (the text is clipped in the image). No wonder their currency collapsed.
Apparently there are quite a few computers there. There was a documentary on TV a while back that talked about (among other things) people smuggling in laptops and USB memory cards so the Norks can get news about what's happening in the world and get their fix of dubbed copies of things like Desperate Housewives. I think it was probably "Secret State of North Korea". Worth watching if you happen across the full documentary (link only has a short preview).
Also have a look at Arno's iptables firewall if you want something that's simple to configure. You do need to edit a config file but most of the common configurations are supported and each of the options is clearly explained within the config file. It looks to be even simpler than this gufw program since you don't even need to know anything about how iptables works to use it.
Perception bias (TLDR version): "I'll see it when I believe it"
(I don't know what you think the relevance is, though)
Idly wondering why they need to land the full craft back on Earth when they return.
Why not build a "lander" craft (or escape pod) for getting the astronauts and other stuff that they might have collected back on the ground, while leaving the rest of the ship up there in some sort of stable orbit?
I was thinking of a spaceship shaped like a barbell (or juggling club) with most of the mass (fuel, shielding and so on) at one end and a much lighter escape vehicle at the other end. When it would get near enough to home, they could turn off the main engines and use thrusters designed to set the "dumbbell" rotating end over end. If they could make the main shaft strong enough to survive the centrifugal force (and torsional force) then by releasing the escape craft from one end at the right moment it would get a slingshot effect and reduce its overall approach velocity, potentially enough so that the lander wouldn't need such big heat shields or the need for complex aero-braking.
I guess that whether this could work would depend mostly on whether the whole assembly could spin fast enough for the velocity reduction to be worth it. There's also the issue of extra fuel required to overcome the rotational inertia, but that could be somewhat offset by shifting the centre of mass closer to the middle of the ship while it's en route (in effect losing some forward thrust and converting it into letting the front part fall back into a more central position). With more of the mass concentrated in the centre, the moment of inertia would be reduced so it would be easier to set up the spin. I guess that another problem is that the re-entry craft will still be spinning when it arrives, but maybe the aerodynamics of a spherical pod attached to a long strut would be enough to right the orientation so that it will lose its rotation in the atmosphere and always land pod side down (like a dandelion seed).
As for the part that remained in orbit, its rate of spin could be reduced simply by redistributing the mass again (letting it fly out from the centre) and then using thrusters set in a counter-rotating direction. Solar-powered ion thrusters would reduce spin slowly, but it should be enough since there'd probably be long periods of time between returning and wanting to use the craft again, so the time taken to wind down shouldn't matter too much. Or have any docking ship match the rotation like the Coriolis docking sequence in Elite. The whole thing could be recovered later and re-used, with a huge saving in fuel since it doesn't have to be relaunched from Earth.
Maybe these ideas are just pie in the sky. I blame playing too many computer games (Thrust, Elite) as a kid.
Really? Then let me be the first:
Pi = 10 (in base Pi)
I can has Fields medal now?
Something cylindrical, with radius z and height a, say. When solving the problem of what volume of food to order, he'll also be reminded of what it's called.
Slug baits tend to be iron phosphate
Thanks for the correction; I was too lazy to go and find the thing to check the ingredients. Interesting PDF, too.
I've got some "organic" slug pellets whose active ingredient is iron sulphate. I think that it's supposed to work on them (ie, kill them) by doing something to their stomach/gut. Not sure what sort of concentration is needed, but depending on how much we need to dump overboard isn't it possible that there may be an unintended consequence of killing/harming the mollusc population in the area with all the resultant knock-on effects to the ecosystem that that might have? I know you said "desert zone" and all that, but most deserts are not devoid of life and it seems prudent to do research into what actually does live there before blanketing vast areas with something that could destroy unique ecosystems and species.
PS interesting to read that iron sulphate is a waste product. Those slug pellet manufacturers must be really minting it.
If you wanted to be dogmatic, you could argue that the correct word would be "mongrel" since it's of dubious pedigree.
were no dumber or intelligent than we are nowadays
In fact they might have been more intelligent in some ways. Plato bemoaned the invention of writing thusly:
For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise.
Taking modern inventions like Twitter, Facebook and the like in this context, I think it's safe to say that our capacity for maintaining attention and being able to commit details (such as oral histories) to memory are probably much reduced from ancient times. Maybe we make up for it with larger areas of our brains that deal with mapping since we travel much more widely now, but we've got other inventions for that too, namely GPS and sat nav.
Maybe Idiocracy was right?
I've seen things...
Me too. TBH I'd be more excited to see Rutger Haeur or someone of his calibre than Harrison Ford. I think that I've read that he improvised/wrote the whole "I've seen things" soliloquy himself.
Note to director: you could do worse than include "The Ballad of Roy Batty" by Grumbling Fur in the soundtrack.
I'm not actually (formally at least) acquainted with either form of epistemology, as you put it, but I think I know what you mean in your first paragraph.
The problem I had with what was said was with the context. Assuming something like:
1. formulate hypothesis that PV with bumps is more efficient than a smooth one
2. design an experiment to test it, with a smooth control and various different patterns
3. do the experiment and make measurements
4. compare observations to expected results:
4A result support the hypothesis
4B observations that Blu-ray seems to have best efficiency
The context of the statement seems to be about the need to explain 4B with the implication that it's not good science if it's left unexplained. In reality, they just went "that's interesting" and proceeded to try and explain it. If they hadn't, but instead just published the data and results with a note about the interesting Blu-ray results, it wouldn't detract a whit from how good the science of the paper was. They followed up because it interested them (and probably because they wanted to be the first to publish a possible reason "why"). The "it wouldn't be good science if we didn't" argument is spurious in this particular context.
but the man wasn't trying to provide a formal definition of scientific epistemology, so perhaps you should relax a bit
Yes, you're right. It was a throwaway line, but it irked me that it was delivered as a fact about the scientific method. If it were literally true, then we'd end up saying that things like the observation of the Mpemba effect isn't good science because it didn't come with a "why."
So repeatable observations are no good if you can't come up with a theory to explain them? Whatever happened to the idea of science being about observations trumping theories by falsifying them, among other things? Should we now throw our observations out if there are no theories available to explain them?
My ghast is truly flabbered.
Surely not just PR? Anyone with whit enough to read the source code, isn't stupid enough to buy the PR angle.
Might I suggest that the time you're spending looking over the code is time that you're not spending noticing or complaining about the other stuff they're doing? I think that calling it "PR" is totally apt (though of course, PR is just what PR calls itself; they'd never call it "public manipulation", now would they?)
But are they justified?
And is that really an ice-cream van driving around outside your estate in the middle of November?
(thumbs up for the KLF reference)
But obviously what we'd all really prefer (besides stopping spying on us) would be for them to work with software makers on a full disclosure basis so that we can all enjoy more secure software. The pretence that you're not hoarding vulnerability info and using it to your own ends has long ago worn paper-thin.
IPv6 will make it easier to identify individual machines too.
Not if you use the recommended protocol where the device randomly picks its own address. It's called (<clickety>) "stateless address assignment", apparently (SLAAC).
I had a longer reply here, but I deleted it. The short version is that you use rfc4941 to make each machine pick a random, time-limited address instead of basing it on its MAC address. For this sort of setup to work well, you need to have a /64 address space for each physical LAN you have. Most tunnel brokers only offer that as the default option, so you might need to ask for a larger address space if you need to segment your LANs (such as in my case where I separate gigabit from 100Mb segments).
I was ready to set up such a system (with a tunnel broker) until about 2 weeks of to-ing and fro-ing with my ISP's customer support finally ended up with them saying that they "couldn't" enable the two things that I needed on their side to get this to work. What two things? Bloody simple things, actually: respond to pings from the tunnel broker on their router and allow for forwarding of protocol 41 packets. I tried asking for someone higher up in the chain, but never got an answer. I have a dedicated server (with a single /64 IPv6 address range) out on the net, so I could set up a VPN on it and securely route one of my subnets out over it but in the end I decided it wasn't worth the hassle...
But then where will the next generation of bastards come from? (thinking of the children ofc)
Presumably, some form of handshake takes place along the way so ...
My equally ill-informed speculation was the opposite of yours. Instead of 2-way comms, I assumed thay were using what's called a "Digital Fountain". The Wikipedia article is a little bit dry, so in summary the sender periodically sends out a packet of data with a header that tells the receiver "this packet is the XOR sum of blocks a [, b, [...]] of the file"*. The receiver will eventually have enough packets to reconstruct the file. Being able to decode the file is probabilistic, with the probability tending towards 1 the more random packets you receive.
This is different from traditional error-correcting codes in several ways, but the main thing is that the sender picks a random selection of blocks each time it sends a packet and just XORs them together (technically, it's "stateless" because it doesn't need to remember what packets it has already sent). So long as the receiver knows how to decode the packet header, any sufficiently higher number of received packets will be enough to recover the full file. So it doesn't matter if you've got shitty reception or can't keep up with the sender sending stuff too fast; you just have to wait a bit longer until you've got the magic number of packets.
This seems like it should be a natural application for "Digital Fountains" since it means that the satellite (sender) doesn't have to engage in any handshaking at all with receiving sites (just a secure uplink from the satellite owners) and the ground boxes don't need transmitters (at least not pointing skywards, anyway).
(*) in practice, the header just consists of a seed value for a random number generator. So long as both sides are using the same RNG and algorithms, they'll both agree on which file blocks are being XORed in any particular packet.
One more thing: there's a daemon available for *nix systems called "flamethrowerd" that does something similar on multicast networks, although it doesn't actually use fountain codes.
Must be The C Programming Language
I think that _The Unix Programming Environment_ is better. Languages go out of fashion and C itself has lots of bad coders, but TUPE described a philosophy that's still relevant today. As someone once said, "Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly." If there wasn't Unix, there would never have been MS-DOS, which was a obviously terrible copy, but it did kickstart the PC revolution (and continues even though it's moved further and further from the Unix philosophy).
And what about the first novel ever written - Don Quixote or whatever it was ?
I think that the Japanese might have gotten there first. _Genjimonogatari_ was published "before 1021" according to Wikepedia, which would put it around 600 years before _Don Quixote_...
If we are of the divine and the divine abhors homosexuality then it simply must be a choice because if it is natural then either God made these people deliberately perverted and irredeemable or the believers are just plain wrong - one way or another.
That's the nub of most of the religious arguments that homosexuality is wrong, as far as I see it. It seems to me, as a non-religious person, that they have to trot out this line that it's a choice rather than being something genetically programmed because if it was the latter then it would logically mean that God made them that way. That simply isn't something they can countenance, any more than the idea that any of the other monotheistic (or polytheistic, for that matter) religions could (also?) be right.
It also seems to weird to me that religious types have so much revulsion around "non-standard" sexual identities and relationships, but not so much vitriol is afforded to people who eat lobsters or shellfish. Bear with me on that: the bit in Leviticus that religious types use to justify their homophobic views also includes an injunction against shellfish (and ungulates, I think; talk about arbitrary), calling them "abominations" (well why did He make them, and make them so tasty, at that?). Personally, I agree with the idea touched on by several posters already that rather than sex and gender being black and white or either/or, they are both very much on a continuum. IMO, the discomfort that many people (especially religious, it seems) feel about LBGT is that if they examined themselves they might find their own sexuality not quite black and white and the anger they're expressing is mostly sublimated fear about themselves and what they might be.
There was a documentary on C4 (I think) a while back showing the way that people suspected of being gay in modern Russia are being hounded and bullied by what are effectively vigilante groups. It goes without saying that it made me feel very sad for the victims, but I couldn't help but feel that the people doing the hounding/bullying are themselves victims. They're being duped by Putin's mob into attacking these convenient scapegoats. I feel really sorry for these "useful idiots", too. The whole thing is quite sickening and a sad reflection on what constitutes Russian culture these days:(
And now for something completely flippant (to dispel some of the gloom): "I'm on a horse!"
Drop trousers around ankles. Suddenly it's all "Can I help you sir?" Reinstall trousers.
Hmm... are you sure you weren't at the airport?
What, like a chupalope, you say?
In the spirit of thinking "horse" before "giraffe", I think it's more likely to be just a regular jackalope and not some weird cross with a chupacabra. Still obviously a vampire variety, though.
Another Halloween themed classic on the C64, Cauldron, well worth a punt
Absolutely. Similar difficulty to GnG but very satisfying because of it.
The "Druid" series of games were kind of in the same theme. Not quite as hard, but lots of fun.
You nearly managed to shoehorn in lyrics from that excellent Lee Marvin song...
What, he's going to hypnotise the Chinese?
I always figured that the conversation in "Untitled" on the "Miscellaneous T" album (two people apparently in a conference call) was accidentally recorded on their Dial-A-Song answering machine.
More like Spinal Tap. With realistic (if not life-sized) henge replicas.
...we erect a couple of giant tennis rackets around the equator that will deflect any incoming rock. We might even fit space elevators inside the hollow "handles". Come on, it's a win-win!
But what if out opponent is a giant blancmange? On second thoughts, that's probably no problem. Unless the blancmange is actually SCOTTISH...
(this is no fun any more)
Then we're going to need to genetically engineer some kind of enormous cats to take care of the birds...
Obligatory bit from the simpsons (via tvtropes):
Skinner: Well, I was wrong. The lizards are a godsend.
Lisa: But isn't that a bit short-sighted? What happens when we're overrun by lizards?
Skinner: No problem. We simply unleash wave after wave of Chinese needle snakes. They'll wipe out the lizards.
Lisa: But aren't the snakes even worse?
Skinner: Yes, but we're prepared for that. We've lined up a fabulous type of gorilla that thrives on snake meat.
Lisa: But then we're stuck with gorillas!
Skinner:No, that's the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death.
Wouldn't that involve messing with the number of protons and neutrons in the material, as in transmuting lead to gold? If "transmuting" isn't the right word to describe breaking of chemical bonds, I vote for "transmogrifying" in honour of Calvin & Hobbes.
Is that good, or not good ?
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?
(excellent article title, guys)
They just released an inflatable pig from a powerstation
So... still replacing the batteries in your copy of Pulse every few years, I guess?
/ΔMi−1 = −αΣDi[n][Σ Fji[n − 1] +F exti[n−1]]
Add green food dye to your milk. It tends to put the milk thieves off... :)
Nah... just write "milk experiment #339" on it and throw out the odd conversation about how fascinating various moulds and chemical reactions are. Bonus points for walking around in a white lab coat stained with ... something.
Green dye is just liable to get your milked flushed down the loo by housemates fearing an "it came from the fridge" scenario.
All this IoT stuff always makes me think of Michael Marshall Smith... and smile.
the time machine in "Primer". Resonant cavity and all that.
The only thing that will need a bit of calculating is the turnover point for deceleration
Off the top of my head, use a Bussard collector to pick up ionised hydrogen along the way, store it somehow (a tokamak since you're generating a magnetic field anyway? an aerogel-like substance?) and then use it somehow (mixed with LOX?) for the "descent" stage to provide more thrust than could be achieved by the outbound engine.
Nothing wrong with hybrid systems I guess. If you can make a solar panel that doubles as a sail (like a parachute, or perhaps a neat origami structure) you could probably get useful thrust for part of the journey out of that. Maybe if you could get LCDs working, you could vary the albedo of the sail so that you can transition between converting solar power to electricity and direct propulsion, depending on what you need at any point along the journey.
Anyway, this sounds very interesting. Let's hope that they can continue to test and maybe one day get something up there that can be tried out for real, and not just in the realm of sci-fi or "possible, but not practical" systems...
By "his", I assume you meant Marx?
Which obviously reminds me of the classic Tommy Cooper joke...
“I was cleaning up the attic last week, with the wife--filthy, dirty, covered with cobwebs (but she's good with the kids). And I found this old violin. This old violin and this painting--oil painting. I took them to an expert and he said to me "what you've got there--you've got a Stradivarius, and a Rembrandt."
Unfortunately, Stradivarius was a terrible painter and Rembrandt made rotten violins “.
New Scientist did an interesting piece a couple of years ago on what might happen if a large CME hit the power grid. Let's just say it wouldn't be trivial to recover from. China would probably be hardest hit due to higher voltage used in the transmission grid, but multiple cascading failures would take quite a while to recover from since we don't tend to have many spare HT transformers lying around and pumping oil tends to need electricity ...
...would I want my refrigerator talking to my sex toys?
You might be more convinced if your fridge had the silky-smooth voice of Pierce Brosnan.
(Mmmmm... unexplained bacon)
Yeah, sorry about that but I learnt what little latin I do have from the Asterix books which when I think about it might not have been the most accurate source.
In the same vein, how about "the sky will not fall today". A bit elliptic/tangential (being more Gaul than Roman), but it has a nice rousing feel, even if it's tinged with a sense of potential doom/failure. No idea what it is in Latin.
On second thoughts: "hic sunt Playmonaut!" (for a mix of Greek/Latin/Plastic)
Kind of like only detecting tanks when it's rainy:
A network learns the easiest features it can. A classic (possibly apocryphal) illustration of this is a vision project designed to automatically recognize tanks. A network is trained on a hundred pictures including tanks, and a hundred not. It achieves a perfect 100% score. When tested on new data, it proves hopeless. The reason? The pictures of tanks are taken on dark, rainy days; the pictures without on sunny days. The network learns to distinguish the (trivial matter of) differences in overall light intensity. To work, the network would need training cases including all weather and lighting conditions under which it is expected to operate - not to mention all types of terrain, angles of shot, distances...
(from a random page I Googled about neural networks)
In practice, this sort of problem is well known, so it's unlikely to be a factor.
William Gibson had an interesting spin on the use of mugshots to identify people in one of his novels. Observing that people are bombarded by the faces of celebrities on a near-constant basis and that we develop really good recall of what they look like, his fictional facial recognition is based on matching faces based on similarity to known celebrities. It might work, but I guess that there might be unconscious bias based on the kinds of roles played by those actors. So if you look like Alan Rickman, say, you're probably more likely to be hauled in than if you look like Ben Kingsley (more people would think of Gandhi, I guess, though if you've seen it, it would be hard to forget his performance in Sexy Beast).
Anyway, it's definitely in the realm of fiction, but I still couldn't help wondering whether it could actually work in real life...
I didn't follow any links, but I hope that they also include some OpenWRT, DDWRT and Tomato firmware in their challenges. Why should only the OEMs get some free security testing?
So it's that Tesla. I'm disappointed. I thought he'd managed to get Nikola Tesla's wireless power transmission system working.