* Posts by Joe Gurman

149 posts • joined 21 Dec 2007

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Get READY: Scientists set to make TIME STAND STILL tonight

Joe Gurman

Re: Phoenix

Arizona and Hawai'i don't go on summer (daylight savings) time, primarily for astronomical and economic reasons having little to do with golf courses. Arizona, for instance, is economically linked to neighboring California, which is one time zone to the west. Hawai'i is at such a low latitude that there isn't much summer-winter variation in day length.

Indiana used to make DST a local option, so suburban counties near Chicago could match its time, while downstate farming counties could stay with something closer to mean solar time. In 2006, they switched to everyone following DST, but placed some counties in the northwest (Chicago suburbs) and southwest parts of the state in the Central time zone.

Oh, and the huge Navajo reservation in northeastern Arizona (as well as parts of New Mexico and Utah) does observe DST.

It's a big country,

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Joe Gurman

Re: A single, consistent time standard... where?

There is one. It's called TAI, the French acronym for International Atomic Time, which ticks on, oscillation of cesium atom by cesium atom, until the last syllable of standards-keeping boredom.

Why we think human-usable time standards have to be that uniform, and not include leap seconds, is probably based more on shoddy programming for those GPS/GLONASS/Galileo systems than actual issues. At my shop, we've been dealing with leap second jumps in the UTC - TAI offset for 21 years, with no problems of which I'm aware. And there used to be more frequent leap seconds. Guess the earth's rotational slowing down is slowing down.

As for GPS satellites traveling in different directions, don't worry; that's all in the time standards calculation.

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Scientists love MacBooks (true) – but what about you?

Joe Gurman

Not just scientists, of course

Even respected industry analysts, including one who eventually headed Compaq back in the day when it was a big deal in the industry:

http://www.benrosen.com/2011/10/memories-of-steve.html

From: Benjamin M. Rosen

Subject: 30 years later -- from Ben Rosen

Date: June 4, 2007 9:06:02 AM EDT

To: Steve Jobs

Hi Steve,

When you created and then showed me the Apple II in late 1977, little did I know how much it would change my life -- to a much more exciting one.

Well, after a 20-plus year interlude with that other OS (necessitated by my Compaq involvement), I thought you'd be pleased to know that for the last few years I've returned to my roots. I'm once again an avid Apple user and evangelist.

Imagine, Ben Rosen, former Compaq Chairman, now a Mac enthusiast!

Warm regards,

Ben

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What an eyeful: Apple's cut price 27in iMac with Retina Display

Joe Gurman

Not likely

I don't.

In a small Mac shop (seven users), one person here uses Windows. That doesn't qualify as "everybody," and of course they do it because some corporate drones but "solutions" for timekeeping &c. that only run on Windows – despite corporate policy that all Web apps must run on Windows, Macs, and Linux.

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Joe Gurman

Re: Good idea

The iMac comes with two internal connectors: a SATA one for and HD (or a brave user-supplied SSD) and a sort-of proprietary one for PCIe flash memory (https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/PbQAPKwGOYbMTIqh) – using "SSD" to refer to only standard form factor devices. Apples uses both, of course, to implement its "Fusion" hybrid drive.

Unless the third-party SSD comes from Angelbird (an Austrian firm that appears to have filched Apple's secret TRIM sauce), enabling TRIM involves modifying a kext (driver) that gets replaced every OS upgrade — and interferes with upgrades.

For those (such as the gentle readers of this site) who are not frightened by a command line interface, booting into single-user (text interface) mode on a Mac with a third-party SSD will perform TRIM when you issue an "fsck -ffy" instruction. This is not such a great imposition, though, because most TRIM work occurs on SSDs when the system has been largely idle for a while.

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BRAIN STORM: Nine mislaid cerebra found near railway line in New York

Joe Gurman

Re: It wasn't zombies who left them...

Abbie, Abbie.... Normal.

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NASA snaps first full family photo of Pluto and its five moons

Joe Gurman

The heliosphere

Since "heliosphere" refers to that part of space which is primarily influenced by the Sun's stellar wind and magnetic field, New Horizons has never been anywhere but the heliosphere.

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Apple Watch is like an invasive weed says Gartner

Joe Gurman

Re: Before it kills again

My, we do have issues, don't we? No one's forcing you to buy or use their kit, are they?

People with money burning holes in their pockets will determine whether the Watch, or the MacBook, or whatever the next piece of  bling will sell, not the tech- and business-savvy readers of this site. While it may cause heartburn to the readers, I'm going to take a wild guess, based on not on southern US nuisance plant analogies, but past performance of both sales and stock price, that Apple will continue doing quite well for a while. People buy the stuff because (for whatever reason) they like the stuff. A company that sells stuff people like will usually do well. Nothing to see here, move along.

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America was founded on a dislike of taxes, so how did it get the IRS?

Joe Gurman

Each state differs in how it bases its property taxes

Outside of the Bay Area join California and few other tho property markets, the annual property tax on anything short of a real mansion is much less than $14K.

In most states, the rate is something on the order of 1% of assessed values, with assessments being arrive out every three years based not he sale prices of similar homes in the area. If house prices have dropped precipitously, as they did in the US after 2007, one can generally apply for a reassessment, which if granted, results in much lower tax bills.

Many states also have "homesteader" rules, that prevent the absolute rise in property tax bills from exceeding some percentage (say 10%) if you've lived in the home for a few years.

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Joe Gurman

Nail -> head - missed totally.

I paid off my mortgage in the US 12 years ago, and still enjoy police and fire protection, the higher property values that come with a decent if not stellar educational system, a good public parks and recreation system, and a public library system. And they even occasionally patch the potholes on the roads. They can do all that because other homeowners and I pay our property taxes. Time for some people to grow up and realize their homes would be worth nothing if they lived someplace where no one could afford to pay the property taxes (q.v. Detroit).

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Joe Gurman

Except.... wrong.

People left Detroit because jobs in the city and in towns adjacent to the city vaporized as the automotive industry packed up and left for overseas and non-unionized or less unionized ares in the American South. They couldn't afford to pay property taxes, or keep their homes from falling apart, because they had no money. The city would have been bankrupt and empty regardless of its sources of income because no one could afford to live there who needed a job to make ends meet.

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Joe Gurman

Speaking of myths

A lot of people, including David, appear to have been taken in by the Tea Party (the political organization paid for by some very wealthy people indeed) and their cant about the US being founded on a dislike of taxes. The American Revolution started as a reaction against actions taken in Council with no representation of the taxpayers (In the Colonies) upon whom the tax acts were being levied.

In some colonies, such as Massachusetts, where the spark finally hit the powder, the residents could elect their own legislature, which had the power of taxation. The colonial taxpayers may have grumbled about those taxes, and for all I know about the rates each town imposed on its residents (including tithes to support the local Congregationalist minister), just as everyone everywhere grumbles about taxes, but it never rose to the fervor of hatred and resistance to the Acts passed by the North government (the "King's party" at the time). And the tax on tea at the time of the Boston Tea Party was totally negligible.

I don't know of kids in UK schools are taught about the American revolution or not — obviously few here are, or retain what they've been taught — but to claim the American Revolution was about a dislike of taxes is like saying WW II came about because of a strenuous disagreement about how the name of the city of Gdansk's name was spelled.

I know it doesn't fit with the Marxian theory of revolutionary classes to claim that a class could be revolutionized by an argument over constitutional principle, but in fact it was.

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The Walton kids are ABSURDLY wealthy – and you're benefitting

Joe Gurman

The argument went awry

....when it shifted from net wealth to the ability (and desire) to buy Chinese-made tchotchkes.

Perhaps, to compare apples with similar fruit, we should compare what the Waltkiddies will have as disposable wealth when they retire with what the workers or unemployed in the lowest n% will have --- which would be, as you imply, a fairer comparison. I contend it would be worse than the current comparisons, given the inability of most working Americans to save anything for retirement beyond their Social Security income benefits, which were taxed out of their paychecks (and which the wealthy, if they pay at all, only pay on the first $117K or so of earned income). Why do they have no savings? They wanted their kids to go to university, and all universities use a federal formula for determining who "needs" financial aid.

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NASA probe sent to faraway planet finds DWARF world instead: Pics

Joe Gurman

Re: Clyde Tombaugh

Mr. Tombaugh died in 1997, so if he's looking back, it's from very far away indeed.

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Bonking with Apple is no fun 'cos it's too hard to pay, say punters

Joe Gurman

Re: I'm puzzled by these attempts.

Yes, you're missing something here. Since Apple implements Apple Pay only in those phones/tablets with Touch ID, unless your phone is stolen by German computer enthusiasts with a large supply of Gummi bears and access to your thumb, the thieves can't use Apple Pay with that phone.

Was this survey in the UK or US? I've had no trouble with Apple Pay so far, other than the limited number of actual shops with the right kit to accept it. And every merchant I've used it with has offered a paper receipt.

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Dear departed Internet Explorer, how I will miss you ... NOT

Joe Gurman

In the US, at least, Spartan suggests a once popular brand of prophylactic. At least they didn't call it Trojan, which is still on sale here.

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Doh! iTunes store goes down AFTER Apple Watch launch

Joe Gurman

Pretty much says it all.

Mr. Munroe nails it, as usual:

http://xkcd.com/1497/ .

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A gold MacBook with just ONE USB port? Apple, you're DRUNK

Joe Gurman

Almost accurate

Exct that companies with high market caps plus a pile of cash have a very easy time indeed borrowing money, as Apple has done.

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Joe Gurman

Re: Not a universal view

This comment is spot on, and the article is written from the viewpoint of the "power" (or is that "nerd?") users who actually do employ multiple laptop ports at once, and carry around the mess of cables, mains adapters, and USB peripherals that reflect that usage – but not from the vantage point of the target audience.

You've probably never seen the target demographic, US college students, in their native environments. They charge their laptops overnight, and don't even take their chargers to class/library with them. They use a multi-gesture touchpad, not a fussy and old-fashioned pointing device like a mouse, and they never, ever bring USB cables with them. (Ask campus tech out if you don't believe me.) They pop their laptops in rucksacks, and that's it. And a startling percentage of them already have MacBook Airs, so this is aimed at the same demographic.

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'Camera-shy' Raspberry Pi 2 suffers strange 'XENON DEATH FLASH' glitch

Joe Gurman

Re: Bizarre, but in the interests of science...

Sorry, but I must cry "Bollocks." Surrey satellites are protecting their chips from energetic particles (e.g. in the Van Allen belts around the earth); the protection from light could be accomplished by something much flimsier. My guess is that the packaging of the chop is to some extent permeable to UV or EUV light, with an energy (h*nu) similar to the work function of the semiconductor.

And by the way, lead make a terrible energetic particle shielding: it spells more secondary ions than it stops primaries. Indium or tantalum, that's yer stuff.

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Smartphones merge into homogeneous mass as 'flagship fatigue' bites

Joe Gurman

25%?

Are we looking at the same statistics? http://www.statista.com/statistics/263401/global-apple-iphone-sales-since-3rd-quarter-2007/

There have been a raft of articles bemoaning the fact that a solid percentage of people who get Android smartphones in the US do so because the phones were pushed (often with very deep discounts) by the mobile provider on customers who have no need for, desire for, or understanding of smartphones --- as opposed to iPhones, which appear (on the basis of mobile-based sales, clickthroughs, app sales, and general LTE usage) to be used 3 - 4 times more than the average Android smartphone. Literally Apples and oranges.

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Apple CEO: Fandroids are BINNING Android in favour of IPHONES

Joe Gurman

Landfill

"Where Apple is still not playing is in the low end market, with nothing to challenge the Landfill Androids"

Erm, did you not read the rest of the financial statement, say the part where the gross margin, across everything the Cupertino Fruit Factory makes, is 39.9%? And according to various "analysts," would have been as much as 5% higher had it not been for the recent nosedvies of various non-US currencies? If Mr. Rockman knows how to achieve that kind of margin on burner phones, I will be posting a check for his next startup tomorrow.

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You'll get sick of that iPad. And guess who'll be waiting? Big daddy Linux...

Joe Gurman

Erm....

Got my first iPad in March of 2011. On an iPad Air (first gen.) now. Guess I'm just a stupid wanker, because I haven't gotten bored yet. Most useful computing device I own or use.

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The Reg's review of 2014: Naked JLaw selfies, Uber and monkey madness

Joe Gurman

US retirement age

There isn't one. People Larry Ellison's age could have retired with nominal Social Security income assistance when they were 66, but the could also have retired with demographically reduced payments as early as 62. The payments max out for those who retire at age 70; no adjustments after that.

Still, it's hard to believe Socisl Security figures in Larry's financial plans even at his reduced compensation. I suspect his gardener makes considerably more than the US$30K a year or so Larry will get from Social Security when he decides to retire.

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HP breaks for Xmas week - aka 'staff hols' - source

Joe Gurman

Fairly traditional practice

Large firms in the area such as Lockheed Martin have been doing the same for decades. Ironically, those who have work on mission proposals to NASA, which are often due just after New Year's Day, end up writing on their holiday leave, and the company gleefully saves the cost of bid and proposal work.

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Apple v BBC: Fruity firm hits back over Panorama drama

Joe Gurman

It's nice....

....to see someone holding Apple's feet to the fire, even if it's easy to take a pot shot at the biggest target around. Imagine if they'd found a large tech corporation without an activist policy to reduce and monitor labour abuses in its supply chain.

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Assange's WikiLeaks: Give generously this Xmas – for STATUE of our DEAR LEADER

Joe Gurman

A statue of Assange?

Good to know London's pigeons will not go homeless.

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Oh BOY! The MICKEY MOUSE Apple Watch is no heart-throb

Joe Gurman

"More money than sense"

Odd, I always thought that applied to anyone who voluntarily coughed up their own cash to use Windows. Value for money and price are rarely correlated one to one.

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Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs

Joe Gurman

Top heavy?

Why would the descending booster be top-heavy? Surely all the weight would be in the remaining fuel and oxidizer, which is at the bottom of the respective tanks, and the motors themselves, which are at the very bottom.

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iPhone sales set to PLUMMET: Bleak times ahead for Apple

Joe Gurman

Apples to Apples

Just to keep the comparison on par, the 2015 January - March quarter is Apple's fiscal year 2015 second quarter. In 2013, Q2 iPhone sales were 37 million units; in 2014, Q2 iPhone sales were 44 million units. In what way is 49+ million units bad news? According to the arithmetic I learned during the late Jurassic, that's an 11% increase over last year, if it indeed comes to pass. Do you know any business, anywhere, that would be unhappy with an 11% increase in sales in their historically worst quarter of the year?

To get a better grip on the "analysts" who predict doom and gloom every quarter for Apple (c'mon, they've gotta be right soon for later, right?) see Macworld's Macalope column almost every week for an hilarious collection of poor prognostication, e.g.: http://www.macworld.com/article/2061188/macalope-stories-we-tell.html .

And Apple retail Store employees will continue having to make do with ramen noodles, unless they have a second job. Shareholders, on the other hand....

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SCREW YOU, net neutrality hippies – AT&T halts gigabit fiber

Joe Gurman

Not going to happen, but....

....not going to happen with a Republican Congress, but this would be the perfect argument for liberating Gbit Internet from the private corporations and making a massive public works project out of it. Worked for the Interstate highway system.

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LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2 – dual SSD sizzler

Joe Gurman

About those ports....

"The RD MacBook Pros have two Thunderbolt 2 ports and, just to make the point, the Mac Pro has six of the blighters although it’s likely several will be taken up for DisplayPort monitor duties in a video editing suite."

Even though Thunderbolt 2 aggregates two 10 Gbit/s channels into a single 20 Gbit/s one, according to Wikipedia, "Intel claims Thunderbolt 2 will be able to transfer a 4K video while simultaneously displaying it on a discrete monitor." Well, maybe not read it at quite 1375 Mbyte/s = 11 Gbit/s, but close.

So there's very little hit in putting even a Thunderbolt 2 RAID array in the same daisy chain as a (single) monitor. You could even do it on a late model Mac mini, which has two Thunderbolt 2 ports.

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Pixel mania: Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display

Joe Gurman

Re: Bad Apple

Really much simpler than that: Apple sells nothing else that can drive this display, yet. Look for the feature to reappear when they do.

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Apple, Google take on Main Street in BONKING-FOR-CASH struggle

Joe Gurman

Well, there's this

Maybe in the UK, there have never been any card info harvesting exploits, but here in the backward, as yet card chipless States, there's a continual litany of Target, Needless Markup, Home Depot, &c, &c. handing over millions of customers' PII to "resellers." If MCX in fact requires bank account access and Social Security Number, Apple Pay is better for my primary concern: not sharing personal financial information and possibly access to my bank account with criminals. All the other considerations are invisible, compared with that. I hope Google and other competitors offer similar anonymization of credit transactions, and will happily dig for my phone in my trousers pocket every time I purchase something to insure that level of security. And unlike chip-and-pin, I can use Apple Pay online as well without worrying about interception of a PIN or password.

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Joe Gurman

Re: Plenty of retailer incentives for MCX

"What exactly is the incentive for consumers to walk around with a phone in their pocket when there are payphones everywhere?"

In what country, or perhaps what time machine, was this written?

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City council thinks what we're all thinking: 'Comcast is terrible – and NOT welcome here'

Joe Gurman

There's a "New" in that England

Outside of Vermont, which has a couple of French names (such as Montpelier), New England place names are a nice mix of UK and native American. In Maine, there's Portsmouth and Bangor, and Wiscasset and the Kennebunk River, for example. In the Dorchester Lower Mills neighborhood of Boston (Massachusetts) where I grew up, the river a couple of blocks away is the Neponset.

And here's to the Worcester (MA) City Council, for representing the concerns of its constituents, rather than the money of a corporate monster.

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Protesters stop ground breaking on world's largest telescope

Joe Gurman

Re: Once again...

I wouldn't put it down to religion. Shaking down the haoles who want to build telescopes on the tops of sacred mountains for cash and government support of their organizations is pretty much a Hawai'ian tradition, at least for part of the native-Polnesian population. This, of course, is after the local university ecologists have shaken them down for environmental impact studies.

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I sold 10 MILLION iPhone 6es at the weekend, says Tim Cook. What did you do?

Joe Gurman

Re: If my company sold 10m on Saturday

Don't know about the UK, but in the States, many, if not most people who have any Samsung phone have it because their carrier subsidized the purchase to the point that the phone is at least $100 cheaper than a comparable iPhone. Nothing much to do with features or Android vs. iOS.

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Joe Gurman

Enjoy my 6 so far

A big jump from an iPhone 4, and had decided the only way I could stuff a 6 Plus in my Levis' pocket horizontally was if I wanted to extract it with a forceps. I like the fingerprint recognition, and am looking forward to ApplePay. Presumably Android and others will have similar implementations down the road, but a payment system that involves neither physical cards nor merchants' access to my PII is A Good Thing.

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Weekend reads: Tales of Madchester in Chapter and Verse plus Shark and Ring of Steel

Joe Gurman

For a balanced, first-person account of WW I

....try Peter Englund's "The Beauty and the Sorrow," which consists of excerpts of letter and journals by individuals at the front, on the home front, in POW camps – on both sides.

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Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK

Joe Gurman

Re: And after you have splashed out so much cash..

Clearly you do not live in the parts of the so-called first world where violent electrical storms are a matter of course. Some of us do.

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Flurry of solar flare-ups sets off COSMIC PLASMA EXPLOSION

Joe Gurman

Uh, no.

CMEs are not caused by flares, though they may, for all we know, be linked to a common disruption of the magnetic field in a solar active region. A small fraction of CMEs have no apparent, associated, flare. A large fraction of flares are associated with no CME whatsoever.

Flares are high power events (lots of energy released in a short span of time), and are purely radiative events, though they may be associated with eruptive phenomena such as sprays, surges, erupting prominences (filaments), and CMEs. CMEs generally display higher total energy, in the form of kinetic energy, than flares. The largest CMEs are generally associated with intense flares, but not necessarily vice versa.

Correlation does not imply causality.

OK, @SysKoll, how'd I do on not insulting your intelligence?

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Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy

Joe Gurman

A US perspective

....or at least a US East Coast one. I don't often have the occasion to to take cabs, but when I do, I find that they often don't arrive when booked by phone (or if they do, 20 to 30 minutes later than the booked time); that they are rarely available for being flagged in large cities when the weather is poor (good old supply and demand, right?); and they are often driven by people who speak English poorly, if at all, even if they do know their way around a GPS device. The vehicles, at least in New York City, also appear to "feature" obnoxious, large video screens a few inches from the customer's face advertising I don't know what all, at high volume. (That's where being able to communicate with the driver that you;d like the damn thing turned off entirely is a help.)

Contrast this with my experience to date with Uber, in NYC and Boston: the car, whether a black car or UberX (ordinary vehicle, usually a hybrid) arrives on time, I know where the car is from the moment of booking, the driver knows in advance what his/her tip will be (tipping being a very big deal in the US), and so far, 2 for 2 on being able to communicate verbally with the driver – not that Uber rides have obnoxious video ads in them, either. (I'm guessing the last is due to recent immigrants' being less able to navigate the odd requirements from establishing themselves as independent operators, vs. receiving help from other members of the same community who have established taxi businesses.) And finally, the unholy taxi monopolies (a small number of companies, who sit on municipal taxi regulation boards as well as providing the "service") resist requiring the acceptance of credit cards for taxi service.

Given all of the above, in this area of this country at least, yes, Uber delivers a distinctly superior product for only a small premium in price. That said, the competition between them and Lyft appears, in some markets, to be of the Wild West variety.

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Roll up for El Reg's 3G/4G MONOPOLY DATA PUB CRAWL

Joe Gurman

Interesting, but....

....is this really a test of anything more than how well Galaxy S4s do in London? What about all other marks of 4G phones? Different chipsets? Antennas? Plastic vs. metal enclosures? Inquiring minds &c.

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US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'

Joe Gurman

Re: Amateurs

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.

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

Joe Gurman

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.

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NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'

Joe Gurman

Don't generalize

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.

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The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots

Joe Gurman

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).

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Joe Gurman

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:

http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/stereo-entering-new-stage-of-operations/ .

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Why has sexy Apple gone to bed with big boring IBM?

Joe Gurman

All-colour?

The only thing 'all-colour" on the original, 128K Mac was the logo. The display, if memory serves, was one bit deep.

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