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* Posts by Dr Patrick J R Harkin

646 posts • joined 22 Jan 2008

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Google-funded boffins figure out age-busting facial prediction system

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"How do they propose to tell from a photo of fresh faced 3 year old me that from age 19ish I would have a full beard?"

That's a very good point, Sue.

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NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I'm impressed at the standards

They wear hairnets and full gowns just to put the phones into the boxes. IMAGINE what the assembly facility must be like!

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Time is on their side: NIST's new atomic clock accurate for 300 MEEELLION years

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Please tell me...

...that the scientists announcing the world's most accurate clock were late for the press conference.

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'We’re not SNEAKY, we're DADS from the MIDWEST'

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Dropbox magic

Perhaps they calculate the hash during the upload where they have to have process the data, rather than go back and examine it later.

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'Software amplifier' boosts quantum signals

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I hereby resolve...

....never to read any article with "quantum" in the headline.

It's just embarrassing how little I understand.

Mind you... Could these quantum scientist guys be bluffing? I mean if it gets you funding to play with lasers - you'd stretch the truth a bit wouldn't you? And who peer-reviews it all? OTHER QUANTUM PHYSICISTS! Mighty convenient, if you ask me.

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Dutch doctors replace woman's skull with 3D-printed plastic copy

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Headmaster

"by carrying out the first skull transplant using plastic parts built in a 3D printer."

May I point out that this is an implant, not a transplant? My membership of the British Pedantic Society (soon to be renamed British Society of Pedants, as it's the members who are pedantic, not the society itself) is up for renewal.

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Brit 'naut Major Tim could carry YOUR name into SPAAAAACCEEE

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

As he's British and leaving the country to spend time with a group of male colleagues and get high, may I suggest "ISStag Night"

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GRAV WAVE TSUNAMI boffinry BONANZA – the aftershock of the universe's Big Bang

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

ANOTHER cosmological wager from Hawking?

I'm beginning to worry that the man has a bit of a gambling problem. Come to think of it, isn't he playing poker in his ST:NG cameo?

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Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Congratulations to the team ...

"Barraco Barner" Hate to own up, but back in 2007, on the first few times I heard his name on the radio (before I saw it written down) I thought the man running for president against John McCain was called Barry Cobalmer. And I can still never be quite sure whether it's McCain or McClane who was in a Die Hard movies.

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iPhone 6 FEELS your heat, wetness... and it'll TELL Apple – report

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

A barometer? That's pretty useful.

Oh. Wait. It DOESN'T tell you how good the beer is before you go into the bar? That's disappointing.

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Soliton makes its way across silicon in CUDOS experiment

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Thank heavens it's not just me. I have now read the Wikipedia article "In mathematics and physics, a soliton is a self-reinforcing solitary wave (a wave packet or pulse) that maintains its shape while it travels at constant speed." but feel I should point out that "read" and "understood" are not synonyms.

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Finally! Some actual, novel tech: Apple patent to revive geriatric gear

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I... I... I don't know what to say.

It's an Apple patent.

But it does seem (to this non-expert) actually useful.

Is this a glitch in The Matrix?

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Steve Jobs statue: Ones and ohs and OH NOES – it's POINTING at us

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I assume this is the staue with its iOS 7 skin

It'll look better after they release iOS 8.

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Apple patents touch-sensitive controls for MacBook

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

How visible will these buttons be?

Or have Apple just patented "Screen you daren't adjust to reduce glare for fear of losing all your work"?

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Mathematicians spark debate with 13 GB proof for Erdős problem

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I have discovered a truly marvellous proof of this,..

...which the margin of this internet is too narrow to contain.

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Magnets to stick stuff to tablets: Yup, there's an Apple patent application for that

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

A pedant writes...

You say "After all, the USPTO is a bit of a black box – pop something into it, and you never really know what will come out the other end."

Surely the point of a Black Box is that you generally DO know what th eoutput will be for a given input, you just don't know exactly one leads to the other.

None of which advances the argument one iota and probably has equal numbers of people saying "he's right, you know" and "What an idiot". So I think that's a perfect internet posting.

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Mars Orbiter spots FRESH IMPACT CRATER

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I have a strange suspicion...

...those two dots in the crater are a whale and a bowl of petunias.

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Hadron Collider urinal cake tale wins El Reg's LHC book giveaway

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: @ Arnaut the less - "I am thoroughly nuts in the minds of several engineers"

Yes - and dem wheel nuts get wheely wound up about dat sorta fing!

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Boffins measure 27 quantum states of light

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I've said it before and I'll say it again...

I understood every word of that.

The actual sentences, on the other hand...

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What is the difference between a drone, a model and a light plane?

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Headmaster

" apparently you're talking upwards of 160mph (320kmph) for the jets"

Um, isn't 160mph nearer 256kph?

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Creepy US spy agency flings WORLD SLURPING OCTOPUS into orbit

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

That's a rather judgemental comment

"Sucking the life out of our world".

There isn't enough information in the logo to reach that conclusion. It could just as easily be using its fangs to inject some form of neurotoxin.

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Google patent: THROAT TATTOO with lie-detecting mobe microphone built-in

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

For pets too?

For all I know my cat has one already. He doesn't shave often.

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Microsoft store staff to hold all night vigil for Surface 2

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I hate these launch events.

I went to one in London for Excel 5 (yes, that long ago.) with swirly dry ice smoke, enormous product box rising out of the stage, "I GOT THE POWER!" repeatedly blasted from the speakers. Demo guy selected some numbers, drew a 3D chart - yells of approval from crowd! Grabbed 3D chart and rotated - the crowd went wild!

Two weeks later, I went to the Yorkshire launch event. No smoke, no rising pack, no music. Same demo. Demo guy selected some numbers, drew a 3D chart - no reaction from crowd. Grabbed 3D chart and rotated - total silence! "They got really excited by that in London", he whined. From the back of the room, in broad Yorkshire came the reply "It's only a bloody spreadsheet."

This is only a bloody tablet. It'll still be there after breakfast tomorrow.

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New Terminator-style 'bots can self-assemble, leap, climb and SWARM

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I was worried we were heading into grey goo territory...

...but they've had the good sense to make these in nice bright colours, so that's OK.

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Boffins offer ROUTER DEATHLIST for software-defined network builders

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Nope

Not a word.

OK, I did actually understand the words. It's the sentences which threw me.

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Ex-Sun journalist charged with handling a stolen mobile phone

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Is it wise leaving comments open on a live crown court prosecution?

You didn't have reason to believe it was stolen and you had no intent to deprive the legitimate owner of possession so I don't see an issue. If you'd kept it for a month before handing it in - grey area. What bothers me is - does turning it on to see in the lock screen has contact info count as "using it without authorisation"?

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Apple wins patent for entrance to retail store

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Apple better be ready to give me a big payout.

I've applied for a patent for "as system by which a sovereign state may grant a set of exclusive rights to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time, in exchange for the public disclosure of the invention."

I've patented the patent.

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Chap unrolls 'USB condom' to protect against viruses

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Excellent place to hide malware

And the cable even provides the antenna to send the lifted data home. Make these things reassuringly expensive and only people with data worth nicking will buy them so you won't dilute your datastream with worthless rubbish!

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Qualcomm reveals 'Toq' smartwatch

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

But what happens...

...if you use it to phone the speaking clock?

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NASA: Full details on our manned ASTEROID SNATCH mission

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: The world

"yet they want to bring one closer in than ever before?"

Sure. that's how we got dogs, after all. We got a small wolf, brought it into the camp and trained it to protect us from its wild brethren. I'm sure that'll work for asteroids too.

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Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Xenon fuel?

Perhaps I'm a pedant, but do you mean "xenon reaction mass"?

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Snowden journalist's partner gave Brit spooks passwords to seized files

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Coat

I wonder if...

...they read him his Miranda rights? (yes I know that's US jurisdiction only, but Heathrow comes under that, doesn't it?)

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Curiosity looks up, spies Martian double-mooning

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

" Fun Fact: Earth's Moon, Luna, is moving away from Earth at the rate of about 1.5" per year."

Which means 65 million years ago, it was only 25ft away. Which explains the extinction of the dinosaurs (or the tall ones, anyway).

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Google goes dark for 2 minutes, kills 40% of world's net traffic

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I know what must have happened. And it's not like we weren't warned.

"If you type 'Google' into Google, you /can/ break the internet."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqxLmLUT-qc

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Think your smutty Snapchats can't be saved by dorks? THINK AGAIN

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I see a market for my new app

SecureSnapChat - not only does it prevent the recipient taking a screenshot, but it he tries to use another camera to take a picture of the screen, it shoots him. (I know the technology exists, Thunderbird 1 had it over 40 years ago)

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World's FIRST TALKING SPACE ROBO-CHUM BLASTS OFF to the ISS

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Is the ISS vast?

Surely this thing is going to take up a lot of room - if it's just someone/thing to talk to, wouldn't a computer monitor or even a disembodied voice work just as well?

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Roses are #f00, violets are #00f. This witty code is a boffinry breakthrough

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I like my women like I like my coffee...

Cold, and bitter.

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Apple files patent for iPhone enabled auto-adjustable auto interior

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

My car does this...

...via the key for me & SWMBO. I can just about see "translation" working for radio stations and climate control, probably for seat and wheel position and not a hope in hell for mirrors. In other words, the more important, the less well it'll work.

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Beam me up? Not in the life of this universe

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

There are ways to reduce that load.

You don't need to send bowel and bladder content. And on one trip you could leave the appendix behind too...

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German engineers demo ROBOT APE

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: i

Agreed. iCan'ttakemuchmore.

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Julian Assange: I'm quite happy to sleep on Ecuador's sofa FOREVER

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

"There is a 99.97 per cent chance that I will be indicted."

I bet he's rounding up...

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#Facebook: Now all your hashtags ARE BELONG TO US, Twitter

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: I am very disappointed by this.

I bow to m'learned friend's correcter understanding.

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Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Headmaster

I am very disappointed by this.

As a grammar pedant, I feel I must point out that the phrase "it is now using the symbol to better organise content shared on the network." should of course read "it is now using the symbol to gooder organise content shared on the network.:

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AMAZEBALLS: Buy a doomed Apple TV, get a replacement free

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Re: Avoid the Apple TV 3...

If it ain't jail-broken, don't jail-fix it.

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Entangled matter the next big thing in qubits

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Alien

"We have a wonderful new teleportation device which can transmit 0.1% of your atoms! Wanna have a go?"

Why am I thinking this is more Galaxy Quest than Star Trek?

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North Korea releases first computer game

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Needs a new name...

How about "Grand Collaborative Effort For The Good Of The State Auto"?

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New iMac in shop windows FRIDAY but you'll wait to take one home

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
WTF?

"5mm thick at the edge"

That's an odd way of describing it. Is it a foot thick in the middle? I've got a nice slim waist - if you measure it at my ankles...

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Apple Maps too good for Taiwanese military

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

I compared the sat photos on my house on iOS6 and Android maps last night

The Apple pictures are newer, but much blurrier. Perhaps my street contains a secret Taiwanese missile bunker.

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Steve Jobs resurfaces in Hong Kong

Dr Patrick J R Harkin
Coat

Hmm...

It looks good, is very expensive but doesn't actually do anything the other waxworks don't. I think they've nailed it...

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Einstein's brain FOUND ON APPLE iPAD

Dr Patrick J R Harkin

Speaking as someone who has had occasion to dissect brains - why not 170? You need to bits to be small enough to fit on a microsocpe slide, and while neuropathologists do traditionally use bigger slides than the rest of pathology, they're still not vast.

The reassembly (as has been mentioned) is a wonderful jigsaw puzzle. If ALL the slides from each of the 170 locations are available, it should be feasible to rebuild in software each chunk. Now, I know from experience that the distortion the tissue undergoes in processing means we won't get neat pseudo-cuboid chunks, (this problem totally defeated my one research attempt at 3D reconstruction using an IBAS machine many years ago), it should be possible to assign chunks to brain areas more precisely.

The big question of whether it's worth the effort, however, needs to be addressed first! No matter how finely you slice a smartphone, you won't be able to tell which software ran on it while it was still functional...

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