* Posts by Frumious Bandersnatch

1362 posts • joined 8 Nov 2007

Boffins find Jackie Chan's SUPERCOP is good for something

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: "If you don't understand why, it's not good science"

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."

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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WTF?

"If you don't understand why, it's not good science"

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.

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NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: motive

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?)

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Re: All bull.. naive people will believe this crap.

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)

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Nice PR move

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.

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'Snoopers' Charter IS DEAD', Lib Dems claim as party waves through IP address-matching

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Static addresses

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...

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BOFH: An UNHOLY MATCH forged amid the sweet smell of bullsh*t

Frumious Bandersnatch
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marriage? sacrilege!

But then where will the next generation of bastards come from? (thinking of the children ofc)

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The IT Crowd's internet in a box gets $240k of crowdcash for a cause

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Eh?

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.

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Bible THUMP: Good Book beats Darwin to most influential tome title

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: The Bible? Which one?

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).

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Important

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_...

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Russians hear Tim Cook is gay, pull dead Steve Jobs' enormous erection

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: As I previously stated

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!"

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REVEALED: Apple fanbois are 'MENTALLY UNSTABLE' - iShop staff

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: The Apple Store is weird

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?

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Oh, dear! Scientists uncover Afghan VAMPIRE DEER

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Photoshop or genetic mangling?

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.

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One hard ghoulie: 1985's Ghosts 'n Goblins

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: C64 version for me

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.

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Spooky GHOST LIGHT reveals DEAD GALAXIES torn apart over 6 BEEELLION years

Frumious Bandersnatch
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wand'rin' stars: heaven in goodbye forever shocker

You nearly managed to shoehorn in lyrics from that excellent Lee Marvin song...

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Chinese hackers slurp iCloud passwords, Apple's CEO jumps into his jet for China

Frumious Bandersnatch
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demon headmaster?

What, he's going to hypnotise the Chinese?

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Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape

Frumious Bandersnatch
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answering machine works both ways

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.

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Stonehenge's HUMAN ABATTOIR was just a prehistoric Burning Man hippyfest site

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: U2

More like Spinal Tap. With realistic (if not life-sized) henge replicas.

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Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: I propose ...

...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)

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BAT-GOBBLING urban SPIDER QUEENS swell to ENORMOUS SIZE

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: We're going to need to breed some kind of Big Bird to take care of these spiders

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.

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TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company

Frumious Bandersnatch
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transmutation?

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.

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Xen to practice art of motor vehicle embedded development

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: And Mr.Pirsig quietly puts the wrench back.

Is that good, or not good ?

Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

(excellent article title, guys)

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Tor-rorists get sneaky Aphex Twin album peek in dance guru hypegasm

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: In my day

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]]

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It's WAR: Internet of Stuff firms butt heads over talking-fridge tech standards

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Lactose larceny

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.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Happy

toasters and fridges and washing machines. Oh my!

All this IoT stuff always makes me think of Michael Marshall Smith... and smile.

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NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Sounds an awful lot like

the time machine in "Primer". Resonant cavity and all that.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Boffin

Re: Questions for rocket scientists:

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...

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Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Maybe his photos weren't very good?

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 “.

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DAYS from end of life as we know it: Boffins tell of solar storm near-miss

Frumious Bandersnatch
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power grid

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 ...

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Internet of Stuff my Pockets: Investors plough 1 BEELLION dollars into IoT

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Re: And why...

...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)

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That stirring LOHAN motto: Anyone know a native Latin speaker?

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: to the pub

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)

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Cops nab suspect using CREEPY facial recog system

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: chav spotter

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.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Separated at Birth

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...

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L33t haxxors compete to p0wn popular home routers

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open firmware

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?

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Chinese biz bloke builds his OWN 3,500-mile Tesla charger network

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Grrr

So it's that Tesla. I'm disappointed. I thought he'd managed to get Nikola Tesla's wireless power transmission system working.

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Japanese artist cuffed for disseminating 3D ladyparts files

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Manco

Then there's "mushi, mushi"

Eh, you mean "moshi, moshi". Mushi is an insect and mushimushi is an onomatopoeic word for hot and humid.

If you start a phone conversation with "mushimushi" instead of "moshimoshi", my bet is that you're a kappa.

Also, 'manko' really is a pretty crude word. I like 'manjuu' as a euphemism.

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Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery

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Re: "Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage"

Were they fish tacos? Inquiring minds want to know ...

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IBM's $3bn bet on next-gen computers: Carbon nanotubes, neuro chips

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Re: O tempora, o mores...

re: "outside of"

People having been using that for quite a while, viz.:

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read" --- Groucho Marx

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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how about this for a solution?

A quite significant amount of space has to be devoted to lines for carrying the clock signal. Instead of etching lines to carry this signal on the silicon, what about using radio emissions in selected bands to keep individual parts in sync with each other? In fact, why stop there? Tiny directional antennae would give near-perfect fanout and it might open up new parallel processing capabilities. Throw in a few diffraction gratings (created by etching regular logic areas on the silicon) and you could claim to have some quantum-level processing available too.

Of course, I know next to nothing about these things, so this idea is almost definitely a crock of shit.

Anyway, for the real reason I wanted to post: thumbs up for "scrying". Take that, spell-checker!

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True fact: Your CAT wees ... like a racehorse

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Impossible, I say

re: Guinness

There's a relativistic time dilation effect going on when you first order the pint and you're watching it settle and waiting for the barman to get around to topping up the head and serving it to you. No matter what the true length of time taken by this, it always seems longer. This effect always occurs in close temporal proximity to the act of Guinness flowing through the pipes, so it will naturally occur when it's coming out the other end, too (even in diluted/semi-metabolised form).

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: "... a long and wider urethra results in faster flow ..."

laminar flow?

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MPAA, meet the Streisand effect: Picture ass. slaps Reddit with takedown

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Re: A completely different Ass

It might be a different Ass., but it IS the same mindset.

OK, I'll have to climb down off my horse and agree with you ... it is an ass of the same colour.

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Re: I guess the MPAA forgot.

Their mindset is still in the 'home taping is killing music' era.

That would be the RIAA. A completely different Ass. (as per official el Reg abbreviation standards).

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Streisand Effect? Nah.

More like a flash in the pan. Quite like Hollywood "movies" (note: they're also "talkies"!) in that respect.

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Physicist proposes 1,000-foot state-sized walls to stop tornadoes

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Re: If we are going to build a wall

Lets build one about 50 ft high at our southern border

A noble sentiment, but it's still not going to stop people from the US entering Canada.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Might I suggest a better way?

If mixing of two massive amounts of hot/cold air is the problem, then why not build big air ducts with pumping stations at appropriate locations? Obviously we can't expect to be able to mix huge weather fronts, but we might be able to "pre-mix" enough of it so that the larger twisters simply don't have a chance to develop.

As it is, if the solution is to build a wall, then surely it's just moving the problem somewhere else? Unless you build it long enough that the warm fronts will have dissipated by the time they get around, I guess...

Also, wasn't there a Russian who thought you could stop hurricanes by flying around them backwards?

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Drone-assisted Swiss construct virtual 3D castle

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have a look at insight3d

For a free system for stitching the photos together and producing the 3d point cloud. As far as I know it doesn't use telemetry data (such as location and angle of the camera when the shot was taken) to stitch together the various photos. Also doesn't come with drones.

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Titan sprouts 'Magic Island', say astroboffins

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Islands appearing as we look at the planet*

Isn't that what happened in Solaris?

(*well, ok, moon)

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AMD details aggressive power-efficiency goal: 25X boost by 2020

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power arbitration

They're free to steal my idea of a "power arbitration bus" that I mentioned in another thread about a year and a half ago.

(also: gating is cool. Just came across this idea when reading the broadcom docs for RPI GPU today)

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re: NOT ALL programs use gpu properly

Or all O/S's. My graphics card runs noticeably hotter when I boot to Linux than when I'm in Windows. So much so that I had to install an extra fan to keep the machine from freezing randomly (pretty sure the north bridge was failing because of extra heat rising off the graphics card into that general area). Of course, if AMD wanted to prioritise power savings, they could totally help out the guys making the free drivers by providing a patch (or sufficient documentation) to fix this.

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