1617 posts • joined 12 Mar 2007
@Lester, Re: Possible physics miss
You *are* mistaken, I'm afraid.
On the ground, the plane sits on its belly, and the wings are supported by the structure underneath them. So stronger struts in the fuselage under the wings will hold the wings up. In the air though, the fuselage is dangling from the wings. So since the wing struts go through the fuselage, you need strength *above* the wing struts to keep the fuselage attached.
Think of David Blaine twatdangling in a box. On the ground, the box base rests on the ground, the sides (and David Blaine) stand on the base, and the roof is propped up by the sides. But mid-twatdangle, the box is hanging from a hook in the roof. The sides are then suspended from the roof, and the base (and hence David Blaine stood on the base) is suspended from the sides.
Or for the ultimate twatdangle, consider a paraglider or parachute. The pilot hangs off a bunch of strings attached to the chute above. The chute is not pushing down on the strings - the pilot is hanging off the strings which are pulling *down* on the wing above it. Pushing on strings tends not to be a profitable exercise.
Of course, if your paper straws are strong enough then this might not be a problem. But it does show up a worrying lack of familiarity with flight and basic mechanics, and suggests that no-one at El Reg remembers any of their O-level physics lessons about forces (apart from the bit in the lesson where you flicked a pellet at Jessie Smith in the row in front).
Any satnav that tells me "Meesa turnee right in two hundreddee yards" will make Humpty Dumpty look like a 10-piece kiddie's jigsaw, after me and my lump-hammer have finished with it.
Sure, there's increased operating/maintenance costs as the old clunkers reach the end of their life. But politically it's easier to postpone it.
For one thing, delaying until after the next general election is tactically useful. If things go badly for them at the next election, then the next crowd are stuck with this bloody great albatross round their necks. And if things go well then they're ready to jump in the chosen direction at a time that's as far from the following election as possible. It also pushes out a decision about major expenditure until after a time when everyone's hurting financially.
Financially, axing Trident completely is the best plan, of course. This would be extremely unpopular with NATO cold-warriors though (who are still obsessed with being able to nuke Moscow), and would likely cost the UK its top-table place. But letting the Trident subs slowly decay would be a neat move there. First one needs to be mothballed for safety reasons, then another, and the more this goes on the less they'll cost overall. And that way the UK hasn't made a definite commitment to axing its nuclear deterrent. They could also be crossing their fingers that the US (or specifically Obama, and hopefully his successor) getting real on nuclear disarmament will make it easier for them to properly axe (or at least majorly reduce) Trident over the next decade.
If the dead are rising from the grave, I suspect that smut is (briefly) not going to be the biggest concern on the internet.
Although if the zombies are marching through the mall moaning "WEBBBCAAAAMMMMSSS" instead of "BRRRAAAIIIINNNSSSS", you're probably safe.
Of course you know what people will call him now
Welcom to civilisation, more like.
The problem isn't that it's offensive to someone. The problem is that he *intended* it to be offensive to the specific people he targetted.
Same with Russell Brand. Saying "I shagged Andrew Sachs's granddaughter" on your radio show is one thing; actually ringing up Andrew Sachs is something else entirely. Hence the complaints. Most people don't care who Russell Brand shags, or what language he uses on his show, but *do*care that he's decided to leave obscene messages on an elderly man's answerphone.
The guy is quite likely off his head on PCP, and you reckon the cop should have tried manhandling him?! Are you completely out of touch with reality?
"People do not become cackling maniacs simply by being born in a particular geographic area."
I see you've never walked around Sloan Square then.
Dead right. Privatisation is the biggest lie ever perpetrated by any government ever.
Do we get better service? Perhaps, because a business intent on making money can't be stuffed full of dead wood and timeservers. But is there any reason a government couldn't require the normally-expected standards of work from its employees, and back that up with firings (after the mandatory numbers of warnings, etc., of course)? Absolutely not.
Instead we end up paying what we'd have paid anyway under a government-run service, *plus* a nice fat wodge to the shareholders. Shareholders would mostly be extremely unhappy with less than a 5% return on investment, so that means we're all paying 5% more for our services. Deep f**king joy.
@xeroks: Alertness? Oh yes
I'll set you another challenge. Next time you're a passenger in a car, watch out the windscreen for events about to happen. The kiddie starting off on a bike, the person reversing out of their driveway, the pedestrian reaching the level crossing, etc..
Assuming you've got normal vision and you're paying attention, I *guarantee* that you'll spot the event before the driver does, by at least a second and maybe more. As a passenger, you've got nothing to do except look at the scenery. The driver has a shitload of extra processing to do when they're driving and that slows down response time for everything else, so handing the easily-automated parts to a black box is *definitely* a good thing to do.
Sure, you get bored on a long drive as a passenger. So does the driver, which is another good reason for automating it. (I don't care how good a driver you think are or how experienced you are, you get bored and your reactions slow down. Fact.) Maybe the driver won't react in time, but at least there's a chance the black box will do it for him, instead of guaranteed death and destruction.
I'm sorely tempted to go for a FoTW, but I don't feel like looking as stupid as Tim Worstall does.
Sure, rain and other water will eventually dissolve all this gunk and reduce the pH back to manageable proportions. Trouble is that it *will* kill every damn thing it manages to coat with the stuff. So every single plant in that area will be dead. Every fish in that water will be dead. Almost every insect, fungus and bacterium in that area will be dead. In other words, the entire ecosystem will be wiped out in this area.
Given time, the pH will reduce and other stuff will come back to populate this dead zone. But it takes a long time to get a working ecosystem back up and running, especially when the damaging crap is still around - check out Prince William Sound (Exxon Valdez oil spill).
So if you're defining "short term" as in "within a few hundred years or so", then fine. if you're defining it as "within a year", then things aren't quite like that.
First sentence could be a tongue-twister
So Lester - is it all go, down at the PARIS headquarters?
Or is it all go down, at the PARIS headquarters? Which in turn, gives new possibilities to "headquarters"...
If the latter, we need Playmobil! Actually we might not believe the former without Playmobil either, but never mind.
@AC, company makes me encrypt
No you wouldn't, any more than you'd have a conflict between your company asking you to attend a conference by a certain time and the police pulling you over on the way. Your company might penalise you for having been speeding, but they can't tell you to force the cop cars off the road.
Employment law is absolutely, totally, without-a-shadow-of-any-kind-of-doubt clear that an employer cannot tell you to do anything illegal. You can tell the cops all this, and you can call your company's lawyer in. But if the cops insist on it being decrypted, they get it.
Guess he didn't think they'd actually do it. Oops.
@Pikeydawg and protective clothing
Have you seen the typical firefighters outfit? They're not going to callouts dressed like in those calendars, you know. ;) Heavy coat, heavy gloves, helmet and facemask. Perfect for tackling a manic moggy.
Actually, never mind. Call it natural selection for temperament - if you don't want to be nice to the person pulling you out of a fire, you can stay in there and get toasted. I know a fair few moggies and nasty little terriers who'd be better as barbecue.
... why I started reading Gibson. If that passage doesn't do anything for you, definitely don't try Neal Stephenson, Stephen Donaldson, Poul Anderson, Brian Aldiss, Charles Stross, Philip Dick, Robert Silverberg, Alfred Bester or Ray Bradbury (picking a few of the more literary SF writers). Asimov or Heinlein might be OK. Otherwise the Star Wars tie-ins are a safe bet.
SF books can be just a paper version of a Michael Bay film - and if that's all you want, then fine. The Stainless Steel Rat series is great fun. But there's no reason that SF can't be more that that.
Why it's small
Not sure you're necessarily right there.
If you've got a TV that size, it's going to be handheld by a single person, with a viewing distance of about 2 feet (3 feet at most, if you've got very long arms). At that kind of range, a dual-view screen (where every other pixel has a little prism in front of it sending the light left or right) will work fairly well.
But this simply doesn't scale up to larger distances, or to multiple people sat in front of it, and no amount of R&D will change that.
Basically, if you've got several people watching it who need 3D, either you need some way of stopping one eye seeing what the other eye should see (e.g. glasses), or you need to beam the picture direct to the eye. Read "Snow Crash" for one way of doing the latter.
How about Ovi?
As the owner of a Nokia E72, *any* apps would be a step forward.
"cetacean mucus harvesting chopper"
Judicious word ordering there. "Cetacean chopper mucus harvesting" could be a whole new problem. A real mouthful, in fact.
You guys got there just before me. And I disagree on the "not scary". Perhaps at home, sure. But I saw it at the cinema, and it creeped me right the hell out. Particularly the lights fading up and down - you *know* something's going to happen, but the light effect keeps going for long enough that you're not prepared for it when it happens. And the kid airlocking himself was simply amazing - not for blood and guts, but bcos you *absolutely* believe him, both when he's under the alien influence, and then when he comes back to himself and realises he's about to be ejected from the airlock.
There are lots of films I'm glad I saw but I don't want to watch again bcos they didn't really do anything for me. Event Horizon is the only film I'm glad I saw but I don't want to watch again bcos it'll just screw my head up for a second time.
That's why Jaws is horror, incidentally. Horror isn't what you see, it's what you think. If it messes with your head, it's horror all the way.
Reality check, slight return
Evocative writing, but factually pretty rubbish.
Stained-glass wasn't unknown to the common people back then. Maybe their own church might not have had it, but chances are pretty good that a larger church nearby might have done. The lord, priest and a few richer merchants would probably have a few glass windows in their houses. As a carpenter - a skilled artisan - he'd likely be in contact with other artisans from other professions too, so even given the lack of communications technology he probably wouldn't be more than 10 years behind the state-of-the-art in Europe.
And whilst he might not have been able to read and write (although as a member of a guild it's quite possible he would), he'd still be a very technically competent, meticulous and intelligent person. After all, if you want to build a three-storey wooden house, you don't just clag it together and hope. He'd be well familiar with making plans and scale drawings.
The "bereft of graphic images" thing is also 100% wrong, at least for Britain and almost certainly for France too. Every church would be covered floor-to-ceiling with painted plasterwork in the brightest colours possible. Think of a religious-fanatic graffiti artist let loose on the inside with pots of the brightest colours they had (every colour except blue, incidentally) and you're somewhere in the ballpark. And a moderately-well-off artisan would almost certainly have some kind of art present - as a carpenter it'd likely be carvings done by him, but painting has always been democratic in who gets the ability, so chances are there'd be at least one person in a village able to paint. Paintings back then would have been done on wood (supplied by our carpenter for free if he's getting the painting, no doubt), and would have used natural pigments (no cost beyond the time to find them), so no huge cost there.
The big deal for a cathedral, then as now, was simply the massively oversized scale of it. A JPEG certainly can't capture the effect of that, but this is hardly news, is it? Bit of a disappointment really - some nice (if factually-incorrect) writing to start with, but leading to a blandly-obvious conclusion.
Teensy, teensy bit of wiggling on the wingtips. Yeah, that's going to do something. Not.
It may well be the first glider where the pilot can contribute a little extra energy by flapping the wings. Why is the first? Answer: because simple mathematics shows you get sod all return for the energy you put in, compared to using a propellor.
I doubt there's a record time for pogo-sticking from Land's End to John o'Groats either - and even if someone did manage to do it, this doesn't magically turn the pogo-stick into a practical form of transport.
The sooner the better
Having personally given the BSA full details of someone I knew to be selling pirated software on a seriously commercial basis (after receiving a dodgy burned CD off eBay) and receiving absolutely no reply from the BSA beyond the automated "thank you for your email, someone will read it later", I've no idea why any software manufacturer would even consider membership.
Winds, gasbags and mileage
A number of years ago now, Dickie Branson got across the Atlantic in a completely unpowered ballon. It had a slight amount of difficulty on landing (touchdown in water was not too clever), but it covered several thousand miles in one shot with absolutely no need to tie up to a mast at night.
The reason to moor up at night is to *stop* it going anywhere. If you actually do want to be going somewhere, then no worries. Like satellites, the problem is not so much keeping them going - it's keeping them going in the direction *you* want them to go. So all that fuel will be used solely for manoevering you into the right airstream (up/down/sideways). I can see this working out very much like the round-the-world yacht races, where the most important thing is predicting what the wind's going to do.
Hang on, it's a Vulture and it won't get to a pub for 5 years? I can't think of anyone at El Reg who'd stand for that.
I really don't think so. Not unless the people eating it are Chatham-clotheshorse anorexics, which frankly is unlikely given that it's a pork pie. A big pork pie serves 4, provided there's sufficient salad, spuds and other stuff. i've been known to scoff one in a single sitting though (but to be fair I felt rather ill afterwards).
Anyway, Melton Mowbray pork pies are crud. Sure they're an improvement over Tescos Value, but compared to a proper pie made with real meat and pastry that doesn't taste like it could double as underlay, Melton Mowbray pies are properly awful.
Reasonable singer. The balls to do this. And the tics are on the beat too!
Pirates because of the salty language...
@Destroy All Monsters
Not quite. A thousand years ago, would anyone have said "oh sure, getting the power of 200 horses into something the size of a cart is just a matter of time"? Of course they wouldn't - they simply didn't know the technology was possible. Once the problem is understood well enough to make it an engineering issue, then of course it's just a matter of time. But until (a) the problem is understood well enough, and (b) your engineering is sufficiently advanced, it's not at all obvious that it's possible. A ladder to the Moon is an engineering problem, but it doesn't mean it's likely to happen. (Even a ladder to geostationary orbit, AKA a space elevator, has only been even theoretically possible with the discovery of carbon nanotubes.)
Without full stereoscopy, depth perception relies partly on comparison with known-size objects so that distance can be estimated based on how big they look, and partly on recognising individual objects from only seeing part of the object when multiple objects occlude each other. This can be done statically, but a major part of how humans do it is by watching the scene change and recognising objects by the fact that their various component parts move together.
So far as I'm aware, getting software to do any of this even slightly reliably is currently the bleeding-edge in vision research. It certainly couldn't run in anything like real-time, even with lots of ultra-fast PCs doing the number-crunching, and it certainly hasn't done a fraction of the tricks that the human brain uses for depth perception and object recognition. Hell, even figuring out *what* tricks the human brain uses is still a matter of serious research. So this isn't just an engineering issue - it is (or was, if these guys have cracked it) still a matter of figuring out what needs to be done.
So if these guys have managed to do it, they've produced a fully-working answer to something where everyone else is still trying to figure out what the question should be. And yes, a large part of that answer *IS* intelligent behaviour. That's a big deal.
...demand extraordinary proof. Far too many false dawns on this from the AI fraternity. That said, if they've solved this then I'm massively impressed.
Awesome - I salute you, sir!
Nothing can move it?
Well, no - it's part of the pattern on the tile, you Hungarian muppet. A hammer and a new tile would fix the problem nicely.
Yeah, I thought that too.
One thing I found in the States though. Your average civvie doesn't get irony, so just don't bother. But everyone I met who'd been in the US military, OTOH, did straight-faced irony to a degree which makes us Brits look like Jim Carrey in comparison. This means you really have to know the guy to figure out whether he's subtly taking the piss or whether he actually means it.
Ovi Maps on my E72
It's not bad. But it's a long way from perfect.
If I turn it on whilst driving to work, in the next village along it wants me to do two half-mile-long sides of a triangle instead of taking the quarter-mile straight-line road on the other side of that triangle.
There's also some woes with the E72 where it takes forever to get its GPS up and running, which is a PITA.
Not the problem
AFAIK from family members who tend to be clothing-optional in hot weather, having other people seeing isn't really the problem. The real problem, as the bloke in the news recently flagged up, is that people could buy houses or flats overlooking known-knudist places and then complain to the police about how shocked they are to see naked bodies. The naturists have put up nice big screens so that no-one can currently see in, but those are not designed to cope with a 5-storey tower block (or a 3-storey house, in the case of the bloke in the news). So they're likely to be criminalised for doing what they've been doing for decades, in spite of doing everything physically possible to avoid offence to the public and the real cause of them being visible is the folks building the new houses.
I spose some people might ask why anyone wants to be clothing-optional, but then some people (e.g. the Catholic church) might also ask why two people want to have sex. In the privacy of your own home, it's generally accepted that what two consenting adults get up to in bed is their own business, and also that getting up to the same thing in the middle of the town square is not acceptable. (And yes, that does include getting drunk and falling asleep. ;)
But suppose someone invented X-ray glasses and handed them out to the world. Should sex then be made illegal, because someone could look through your walls and see what you're up to? That's rather the situation that the naturists find themselves in. Like a thistle in a nudist camp, it's a prickly situation that can easily become a real pain in the arse.
(Yes, that's me checking my clothes in.)
I'm not usually PC, but...
Given that "Strange fruit" has a rather specific meaning of black Americans lynched by the Ku Klux Klan, perhaps this isn't the headline you were looking for?
James Dyson releasing his second generation of dual-cyclone vacuum cleaners in Germany under the name "Zyklon B" would be a similarly bad idea.
Depends what you want to do
If you want something that works like a big mobile phone (a Moby-phone?), get an iPad.
If you want something that works like a cut-down PC, get a netbook.
If you want something glossy and money's not an issue, get an iPad.
If you want something that's cheap and gives you value for money, get a netbook.
I suspect the one word answer is "money". Outside the UK you need some way of making sure that it's going to someone who's paid for it. I'd be very surprised if the current iPlayer had any hooks for checking that. And this doesn't just mean DRM-ing the stream - you also need the whole integrated package of servers to sell you rights, passworded download-starting, accountant-friendly billing systems, etc..
Multiple wrongs certainly make a Far-Right
America's propping up Israel financially and militarily. American troops are busy shooting Muslim civilians and taking ears. And now some nutjob American preacher wants to burn the Koran to make sure the Muslims are good and pissed.
And then Americans wonder why the Muslim world isn't exactly happy with them. Go figure, as they say over there.
The problem isn't this particular nutjob - if it was just one loony then no-one would really care. If he decided to burn a Torah, Israelis are not going to protest in the street. The trouble is that this loony is just the cherry on the top of a particularly large sh*tty cake as far as Muslims are concerned.
Lindsay Lohan illegal?
And there was me thinking there was nothing good about the Taliban.
Devil Steve, because I'm sure he could get a horn with the help of that lot.
How not to do it, by Trevor Potts
"We decided unilaterally to change the software on everyone's machines. For our own convenience we didn't just do this as part of PC refreshes - instead I trashed everyone's working environments in one go. We didn't train them on how to use the new software, even though every piece of software is radically different from what people had previously used. Some of this software is incompatible with what was previously used, so that some users will be unable to carry out business-critical tasks. We didn't [I assume] check that there were no deadlines or other important events which would be adversely affected by users being unable to use their PCs efficiently. We didn't properly assess how long this was going to take or ensure we had adequate assistance, so we ended up working stupid hours to get it done.
"And here's an article saying that we're heroic and my users are clueless idiots for complaining about their IT staff screwing them over."
Jeez, get a clue, man.
Problem is that McKinnon has admitted hacking into computer systems. There's your crime right there. How much damage he caused is a separate issue - and that's a matter to be presented in front of a judge and jury. But he's committed a crime and publicly admitted carrying it out. Oops.
@David Perry 2
Obvious question, but have you asked them?
My understanding is that if the police take something off you, they are required to give you a receipt for it. There then follows a long chain-of-custody paperwork so that they can show where they got it and where it went (otherwise the drug dealer's lawyer could easily stand up in court and say "so how do we know the £20 note contaminated with cocaine which the lab checked was the same £20 note taken from my client?"). So if you wave your receipt at them, there's a fair chance they'll be able to do something.
Depends if you can be arsed or not, of course. A 5-year-old memory card might not be worth the time to wander over to the station.
And there's the added bonus that the milk tastes of pizza...
Ultimately the laptop is the thing at fault. However the company is at fault for supplying its staff with dodgy equipment - if a wire falls off a freezer in Tesco and someone gets a fatal shock, it's Tesco who would be liable. And they've compounded the problem by having a responsible person in the company tell her that it's not faulty and should be left on.
As Pterry said
"Money doesn't buy you happiness, Gytha."
"But I only wants to rent it for a while."
Keeping in time
The problem for most drummers isn't hearing their kit, or even the other instruments. The problem is keeping time. With the honourable exception of Charlie Watts, most drummers suck at sticking to a tempo. Our drummer plays with a metronome wired to headphones, so he's got a click track at the right tempo. Maybe he'll drift off the beat occasionally, but he's got the click there to get back to. These things are just a bigger version of it.
I liked the Stallone one
Except for the obvious problem that Sly Stallone and Armand Assante were supposed to be identical twins, I thought it worked great. I mean, look at Dredd. Single-minded musclebound killing machine. Stallone even comes with the curled lip built in. How much more perfect casting do you want?!
Sure, if we were talking about a comic with a bit more depth like a lot of the Marvel stuff, then maybe the fact that it was a fairly mindless blowing-sh*t-up-fest would be an issue. But Dredd (and indeed most of the 2000AD stuff) was never really big on existential angst - if there's a problem then you kill it, and that's about as far as it goes. Perfect match for a dumb summer movie.
"Not fair to compair"?!
To keep with the taxi analogy...
Taxi firm A says "I've built my own road to the airport. We'll be there in an hour and it'll cost you a tenner."
Taxi firm B says "We're going through town at rush hour. We're advertising that we'll be there in half an hour, but we've never done it faster than two hours ever, and if roads are busy then it might take more like four. And it'll cost you twenty quid. AND IT'S NOT FAIR TO COMPARE US WITH THE OTHER GUYS..."
Wise up, feckwit. If I'm paying money for a service, I can damn well compare how much I spend and whether I actually get the service I've been sold.
Too right. Go to a club full of bearded bikers with serious decibels pounding out the PA, and chances are you're going to have a fun, safe evening. Go to a club full of Stella'd-up lads, and chances are there's going to be at least one fight during the night.
@Jaitch and Boris
"Another benefit of paper is their survivability"
Look up "Library of Alexandria" and then repeat this idiotic statement with a straight face. (Hint: look at the icon.)
One Repository To Rule Them All has never been a good storage system. Multiple repositories is the only safe way to go - you can then keep your repositories up-to-date and error-free. And electronic repositories are the only way of making that process automated, fast and low-error.
Contrary to people moaning "BBC Master - laserdisk - obsolete media", there *are* plenty of existing BBC, C64 and other games around today, playable through emulators such as MAME. They've been format-shifted to another storage medium, that's all. You may also notice that the original Gutenberg press plates for Shakespeare's plays no longer exist, but the plays are still being printed...
It also rather depends on how long you want to wait between updates. With an electronic version you can pick up all the latest updates as they're added - no need to wait 28 years for a version of the OED containing the word "email", or new definitions for the words "mobile" and "text".
- Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
- BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
- Review You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
- DINOSAUR SLAYER asteroid strike was DEVILISHLY inconvenient timing
- Russia: There is a SPACECRAFT full of LIZARDS in orbit above Earth and WE control it