105 posts • joined 21 Dec 2007
The US SSA benefits are a bit more complex than that; there are also survivor benefits for spouses and children under a certain age, as well as disability protections. That said, it's clear that US as well as UK government agencies are generally useless at managing large IT projects, for the reason stated in other comments that they don't have the right in-house expertise to define requirements, oversee the procurement process, and then manage the development, testing, and deployment. In the US, at least, they are generally debarred from the procurement process, so one can experience the best of US politics in action: during the previous administration, a presidential appointee managing one such procurement was from Texas, and he insured that whoever won the work would also be based in the great state of Texas. Such is payback. Needless to say, the vendor fell flat on its face.
Reaaly quite simple
There was no "blast." A CME is a vast, outward ejection of plasma and magnetic field, but at a density lower than the best lab vacuum on earth. For fast CMEs, and the 2012 July 22/23 event was a very fast one, the front is moving faster than the Alfvén speed in the ambient solar wind plasma, so a shock front builds up. The front contained higher densities (by a factor of two or three) and concentrated magnetic fields, as well as charged particles (protons and some heavier ions) accelerated to high energies.
Nothing about those conditions is likely to affect a spacecraft designed and qualified to work outside the earth's magnetosphere. As far as I know, STEREO-Ahead suffered only a tiny decrease in solar array outage coincident with the shock passage, most likely due to the energetic particle damage to the silicon.
CMEs get dangerous to life in space when they feature shock fronts that entrain high solar energetic particle concentrations, and CME interactions with planetary magnetospheres can induce currents in (in the earth's case) the oceans and solid earth, preferentially in certain geologies for the latter, hence the danger to electric power generation hardware in certain places (e.g. Québec, which sits atop the Laurentian Shield) at high geomagnetic latitudes. The potential hazard from an historically strong event is that those effects could be seen at lower latitudes, but that is not known from historical experience. The record from the 1840s is that geomagnetically induced currents were experienced in telegraph lines as far south as the low 40s of latitude, which is also about the southern limit of telephone trunk line damage in the 20th century during events with under half the current-inducing potential of the 2012 event. I think it's fair to say we don't know what would happen with a ring current as strong as the one Prof. Baker and co-authors predicted for a 2012-like event hitting the earth's magnetosphere. (And from what it's worth, it's a 50-50 proposition: if the magnetic field in the CME is primarily parallel to the earth's dipole field orientation, it's a dud; only if it's antiparallel, as in the case of the 2012 event, do things get exciting.)
Another reason STEREO felt little, if any effects, is that the analogy to nuclear EMPs is a very poor one. The shock fronts from nuclear detonations are much more concentrated (thinner and denser) than one driven by a fast CME in the solar wind, and the magnetic fields invalided are much weaker. And even EMP effects on electrical systems can be largely countered by existing surge suppression techniques if one incorporates faster responding suppressors than most household surge suppressors offer.
It's a big country, and customs as well as local laws vary considerably. In Boston (the US one), jaywalking is not a felony, it's a way of life.
Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.
No, Jake's point is entirely invalid. The change in sunspot number is a lot more dramatic than the solar cycle variability in total solar irradiance (TSI), that is, what the earth sees. That's more like ~ + or - 0.2%. Climate modelers and observers are still puzzling over whether that, or any other solar cycle effects (for example, the cyclic modulation of cosmic rays by the changing heliospheric magnetic field in turn modulating cloud nucleation in the upper atmosphere) have any measurable effect on climate.
A Maunder minimum it ain't, though some research appears to show we're having fewer groups of sunspots with fewer large spots and thus less magnetic flux, though that, too, is disputed. Since the measurements only started about an activity cycle (~ 11 years) ago, we're stick with the small number problem: for true statistics, you need quite a few solar cycles, and we don't have measurements of many things other the so-called sunspot number over that kind of time period. (We do have measurements of radioisotopes in core samples, but it's not clear if solar modulation is the only effect seen in that record).
You do know, of course....
....that these "statistics" refer to only half of the Sun, right? The half that we can see from earth?
Then again, things aren't looking that good for observations of the hidden side of the Sun for next year and a half or so:
The only thing 'all-colour" on the original, 128K Mac was the logo. The display, if memory serves, was one bit deep.
Never give up....
....never surrender: The effort is truly admirable, but wasn't that the motto in Galaxy Quest? Or am I confusing it with the Japanese defenders of various Pacific islands?
White on black
It's an option.
This is Apple's first time releasing a beta to the general unwashed at the time as devs. Think that just might be responsible for the different stats? Think Reg flacks ought to think a bit more critically when they pass on press releases?
Re: May I respectfully disagree
Most of the iThingie liftings in San Francisco and New York were carried out by agile dodgers, often with accomplices who gently blocked the startled victims while the thief got away with the quickly grabbed loot. Relatively few knockings down or other assaults.
My son had his iPhone nabbed on the NewYork subway a couple of months ago by a ten-year-old with fast feet but not much experience. Not only did the perp twerp not, apparently, know the phone would be bricked within minutes, but he tried the same thing on an older but very fit woman while the train was at an Upper West Side stop. She hoofed it up the steps after the perp, saw a police car sitting at a light, flagged them down, and two of New York's finest grabbed the erstwhile dodger. My son saw him in the less than friendly custody of his furious parents when he claimed the phone at the precinct house an hour or so later. Here's to bricking and the fitness of the wealthy.
My, my, did we get up on the wrong side of bed today? Someone's pretty cranky, that's for sure.
Most green lights in the States, at least, last a lot longer than 5 seconds, so the putative two fewer cars to get through an intersection per cycle will probably be not 20% but more like 5% fewer. And if all the cars in the queue start moving at the same time, or only a fraction of a second later, a lot more vehicles will get through the intersection than with drivers talking to passengers, checking their e-mail, texting, polishing their toenails, eating, .... and all the other driver behaviors that make motoring so much fun.
I'd be much more concerned about how good the software is when the first cars are released for real-life road driving. What will the vehicle do when the traffic lights are out? (That happens here often enough when electrical storms pass through that it's a common experience among human drivers.) What do they do in the case of animals on the road? Spill from trucks (sorry, lorries)? Humans crossing the road in the dark wearing dark clothes, on rainy nights? Semi-trailers changing lanes without signaling, and not seeing the wee people-pods?
I wish Google all the luck in the world with this.
Ah, the laugh lines of yesteryear
I can still recall the time, a couple of years after CD players became affordable to us hoi polloi, when a commission-based salesperson for an unlamentedly long since expired big box electronics chain tried to upsell me based on a unit's 88 kHz sampling rate. Wait, I thought, I know what the Nyquist theorem means, but how can I explain it to him? Much headshaking on both sides.
And now that I'm a geezer, I doubt I'd need music sampled at much above 30 kHz, even if I hadn't spent a decade and a half working in a corner of a server room.
Re: Ought to point out
That's true, but not relevant. The comparison was of cash on hand, not he issuance of paper (bonds). Apple can't print money, but they can issue bonds (with the help of a bank) if they want to, though I can't see why they'd want to other than taking advantage of near-zero interest rates. Governments, on the other hand, almost all issue bonds both to cover deficit spending (if they need it) and help pay interest on earlier bond issues.
And no, the US Treasury does not have the same amount of cash on hand all year round. The cash total includes the Federal Reserve Account (and remember, they get to print money if they want) and "tax and loan note" accounts.... which vary radically from month to month during the year. There are other categories of liquid assets, as well, but they tend to be smaller.
All these numbers are pretty small beer compared with the ~ $3.65T (as in trillion) total outlays planned for the next US fiscal year.
Ought to point out
....that the deadline for filing US tax returns is April 15, and a lot of people who owe taxes wait until the last minute to file, or even request extensions (which are usually grants automatically), so early is April is probably the time of year when the US Treasury has the lowest cash reserves of the year. Just sayin'.
Aliens over Alabama?
"[A] UFO fleet flying over Alabama?" I know a lot of folks dis 'bama, but calling it flyover country even for aliens is pretty low. Don't think I'd believe anything from that Website.
Re: Sleeveface at the MOMA?
And that's why this doesn't translate to the US.... we called 'em "album covers." But does anyone other than hipsters and grannies actually have 33 1/3 LPs any more?
Re: Proprietary loose canon code is all accidental?
Could it possibly be because of all the malware available for Android?
Even if the Russian governments own coders build their own Androidski, given the large number of excellent Russian programmers working for botnet purveyors, who _doesn't_ expect Kremlin mobe traffic to appear on the (BitCoin?) market for sale to the highest bidder?
Given the fraction of jailbroken iPads (a few thousand? ten thousand tops?) compared with the zillions[TM] sold, why would a serious botnetter bother? The only possible reasons I can come up with are: users of jailbroken Apple kit are simultaneously more likely to download crapware and more likely to have bank accounts worth lifting, and this is only a trial run for a version that breaks into the Walled Garden [also TM]. And the obligatory third explanation now required pro forma: the NSA/GCHQ is trying to keep tabs on those wascally jailbreakers. Erm, actually that one does make more sense.
Re: Here's more sensible analysis...
Occam's razor is always so much less pub-chat-worthy than a loony conspiracy theory involving stealing bullion.
All the wrong decisions for all the right reasons?
Did the UK need a computing industry giant unheard of outside the UK? Did it need the other enterprises Benn championed? Or was it just more outlay of taxpayer's money that would have been better spent in other ways? More admirable for his principles than his policies, but as many have said here, he's missed already.
Re: "If you want security-upgrade details, you'll need to wait."
*Cough* Apple started banning non-approved cables after people were seriously injured or had house fires thanks to dodgy charging cables. Are you saying that was a bad idea? Try Amazon Basics cables. They're Apple-approved, and cheaper than Apple's versions.
As for the details, they're at: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6162 .
Depends on the side of the Atlantic?
I guess you get the news media you deserve if you let your science stories be written by arts graduates. Whatever our other, manifold failings, the US at least still gets the occasional science reporting by people with technical educations, and the mainstream US media have been at pains for some years to report National Weather Service statements that the frequency and tracks of hurricanes do not appear to have changed much with global climate change, but that the intensity of at least some fraction of the storms appears to be increasing. Anecdotally at least, that appears to coincide with the storms the US has had over the last decade.
When did polycarbonate become "cheap?" And why wouldn't someone want to avoid having to buy an aftermarket polycarbonate case for a phone because their life/work/play was likely to include dropping or smashing the phone from time to time? (Or just because they were a klutz?)
So let me get this straight: Apple is evil when it only sells expensive bling, but also evil when it sells a mire durable, lower-cost product? Not like you lot are biased or anything....
Serious research, but....
....I can't help feeling they're trying for an Ignobel award.
Give me a break
The author's just having us on, right? Anyone who can see or feel a computer knows the difference between industrial design and just design for art's sake. La Cie's design buys me nothing in terms of storage performance or ease of use (except perhaps for throwing if the thing goes south because sit has a typical La Cie power supply embedded in it), whereas Apple's, like them or hate them, are at least nominally aimed at improving user performance (as well as cash-flow-inducing sexiness). Aluminum (as we spell it here) makes for a more rigid and less frangible laptop than plastic, even the first-yen iPad was thin enough to hold (vs. the first gen version of almost all other tablets) while using, and since the c. 1996 Power Macs, Apple's larger desktop boxes were always easier to work on than basic PC XT kit, particularly as measured by hand lacerations. Cost, of course, is an entirely different issue.
A record which shall stand....
....until the blokes on the Space Station chuck a paper plane overboard.
I suspect Apple's solution will be....
....to stick one of these in the box: http://store.apple.com/us/search/MD820ZM#!. Probably end up trimming their profit margin by a Euro or two, but will mean their IStuff will continue to be compatible with all the kit usable everywhere else in the world.
Re: Give some credit where it is deue [sic]
You have a strange – to me – idea of what the coercive powers of government are for. No doubt living in the US has led to my being bombarded by laissez-faire, capitalist propaganda, but I reckon governments have more important things to think about: clean air and water, safe pharmaceuticals and groceries, law enforcement, figuring out whom to kill by drone next, or figuring out when to shut down the government. Since there is no EU constitution, as in the UK, I suppose the regulators can regulate, and the legislators legislate, whatever comes into their collective heads. It just seems strange to this liberal (by US standards) that a government thinks its citizens can't be trusted to buy what they want — and note this is an economic issue (presumably less expensive micro-USB vs. more expensive proprietary connectors), not a safety one, as there's ample anecdotal evidence of people being incinerated by using cheap knockoff copies of either proprietary or "standard" connector chargers.
The US government is clearly not a role model for anyone, but at least they don't try to micromanage what should be an easy consumer decision: do I want to buy a phone with yet another proprietary connector, or do I want to pay more in return for some features/bling/whatever?
The real laugh here
....as evidenced on most Mac online tech forums, is that even when led by the hand or other appendage, most Mac users won't open a terminal window and enter a shell command if their lives depend on it, so ironically, they're almost all safe from this wheeze.
Jokes told in Linux just don't have the same punchlines when told to a native OS X-speaker.
....until the fruit company comes up with a patch for this issue, it's possible to go to full-disk encryption on OS X 10.7 and 10.8 systems:
This is yet another good reason to do so.
Can anyone tell my why
....so many PC laptops have the touchpad offset to the left?
Re: Will Apple still be around to see it's completion?
but more to the point:
You can bank on Apple's being around then; Wall Street certainly is.
My experience with Dell has been almost exclusively from working at a US government agency, and purchasing from Dell's federal Website. Unfortunately, that is an experience known to make grown men weep, and grown women want to throw their keyboards at their monitors.
Rather than list a litany of shortcomings of the site, or compare it to admirably simpler ones, such as Apple's federal site, I can summarize the repeated experience of not being able to configure what I needed (but knew they offered, somewhere), contacting a variety of sales personnel who were way for indeterminate periods and might or might not offer a substitute's phone number on their voicemail, dealing with sales personnel whose most frequent response was to shift my call to someone else, and finally getting to a sympathetic ear that was unable to help me, either, after several days for a simple server config as "You really don't seem to want our business, do you?" "[Sighs] It seems that way, doesn't it?"
I really hope they treat SMEs better than that; there's nothing wrong with their kit (other than a lack of USB 3 ports on their servers and an insistence on forcing more expensive SAS drives when cheaper SATA devices would be just fine).
Enjoyed the review, BUT....
.... no matter how much you want to trash Apple, the 5c is an LTE device. Don't know if that's not a selling point in the UK, but here in the States, you can't really sell much else and call it a "smartphone." All the carriers have or rent well built out 4G LTE networks now. Worth the difference in price? (Note that "no contract" is not that big a deal here.) No idea. The buyers will decide.
Another thing I didn't see mentioned was the case material. Having two kids who've dropped and mangled their phones, I appreciate that the 5c case material (polycarbonate) is decidedly more durable than some plastics I've had the misfortune deal with after dropping older phones. I can't find anything online that says what the case and optional shells for the G are made of – can you?
Re: The VERY definition of Android Landfill
@Andy Prough "I don't give a shit about how "popular" they are - there's absolutely no reason under the sun not to allow the user to easily replace a battery or increase storage."
And that's your honest opinion as a user, and not as a corporate exec who has to decide whether the extra cash to produce a phone with a removable battery – and maybe some slight extra bulk, which might mean smaller sales – affects the bottom line. The preceding comment that the great majority of users never replace their battery is correct. They throw that thing away before (or when) the battery fails to hold a charge. You would obviously not buy this phone; based on the review, I'm willing to bet that many others will.
I did replace the battery on a Motorola V3c some years ago.... with a larger capacity one, but the battery was in effect the back of the phone. Smartphones look and feel different from the "feature" phones of ten years ago.
....tell that to the Venusians, who've had a bit of an issue with greenhouse heat retention these last couple of billion years.
Re: if only...
Personally, I blame the consumption of Hot Pockets™ in the US and bratwurst in Germany.
Ah, so you're an expert, are you?
People with Ph.D.s in atmospheric chemistry disagree with you, overwhelmingly. Let me think a moment, whom should I believe....?
....preserving your investment in an older machine. The one serious advantage of the new generation of MacBook Pros (other than a Retina display, if you go that way) is the PCIe flash storage. It really is startlingly faster than the SATA SSD I stuffed into an earlier 13-inch MB Pro, at least on the MacBook Air I've been using lately. Now all we need is a competitive, third-party mPCIe storage market to bring down the prices.
Well, not all old sys admins....
We were running exclusively VMS machines at the time, and even those with TCP/IP were unaffected because the stack had different implementations of all those things than BSD did. We literally didn't know it was happening until we went home and watched TV news.
Privacy concerns are valid; spying ones are crocodile tears
Every nation with the wherewithal spies on every other one in which they have an interest, friendly or unfriendly. If Brazil hasn't caught up, it will.
Can't see the need for dictation software for the Mac
....as OS X comes with it built-in.
Using the online dictation in Mavericks, here's how Pages + dictation recognized my reading of the lyrics, no training involved:
"Pardon me boy is that the Chattanooga choo-choo track 29 boy you can give me shine I can afford to board a Chattanooga choo-choo I've got my fair and just a trifle to spare
"You leave the Pennsylvania station about a 3:45 read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore dinner in the diner nothing could be finer than to have your ham and eggs and Carolina
"When you hear the whistleblowing to the bar then you know the 10 that Tennessee is not very far shovel all the coal and got to keep it rolling in Chattanooga there you are
There's going to be a certain party at the station satin and lace I used to call funny face she's going to cry until I tell her that I'll never roam so Chattanooga choo-choo choo-choo me home Chattanooga choo-choo choo-choo me home"
Gotta love that "3:45" when I spoke, "a quarter to four."
Re: Windows RT
"Windows RT is to iOS...."
How very sad for Windows RT.
Erm, not the 45th meeting of the AAS
The American Astronomical Society has been around for over a hundred years, and nowadays holds two general meetings a year. The 45th AAS meeting was in New Haven, Connecticut in 1930.
I believe the press release being reworded here refers to results presented at the 45th meeting of the AAS's Division for Planetary Sciences, held last week in Denver, Colorado.
Obsessive-compulsive nitpicking, I know, but it makes the reader wonder what other details are not quite right.... or off by a Jovian diameter.
And mebbe not. There are undoubtedly people who buy iPhones because they like being seen with ones – thus the "champagne" color option on the 5S, but there are also people who like a phone that's part of Apple's software infrastructure (sorry, I forgot, this The Reg: "walled garden") and how seamlessly it hangs together across different classes of devices. As far as I can tell, they don't pay significantly more for that experience (in the US, at least) than people who buy top-end Android phones and deal with a different interface from every manufacturer that uses a different Android release.
And this discussion, and the original article, both appear to be missing something obvious: Apple still offers a smartphone so cheap it costs "nothing," except, of course, with most US carriers, two years of monthly bills. The phone, though, costs nothing (or US$0.99 from Verizon).
Re: Ah the original iMacs...
Erm, when did you borrow one? Obviously you never used one for much time. They were reliable, sturdy, virtually never crashed or hung. They banished serial ports and introduced USB and digital movie making to the masses. The only thing bad one could justifiably say about them was that replacing the CD drive was worse than pulling apart a 2013 model.
Sorry to sound like a Yank
But I prefer the marketplace to figure out the best charger connector, not overpaid bureaucrats in Brussels.
You know, this never happens for the annual Fall American Geophysical Union meeting, held during the first week in December in San Francisco. No discounts for anything. Wrong career choice?
Your WiFi is slower than 79.9 Mbps? Really? Haven't you lot heard about 802.11ac?
This will likely not be a unique event
The heliosphere "breathes;" that is, its extent varies in size with the pressure exerted by the solar wind, which varies over the roughly 11-eyar solar activity cycle. The boundary could conceivably catch up with Voyager again.
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