145 posts • joined 20 Apr 2007
Another robot story, more or less
The rubbish robots, Robot of Sherwood, the Skovox Blitzer, and now a long-dead soldier animated by military technology.
Anybody would think that DW's writers have abandoned their Sixties counterparts' anxieties about invasion and nuclear annihilation, and instead exhibit some more contemporary anxieties regarding weaponised drones and lingering antipersonnel mines.
Yes it was a clunker. So what? DW's commitment to real science has always been a bit shaky, even from day 1.
Real science? Courtney says she has a book in her bag with describing something about gravity; Commander Whatsherface dismissed this with "Great, does it have a word search?"
More real science: Courtney kills a spider-thing with a kitchen cleaner spray, and the Doctor rattles through a brief lecture about nuclear biology involving the word 'eukaryotic', then rapidly assesses and reassesses who present is expected to understand this.
Speaking of day 1:
any minute now, the TARDIS crew is going to be one irascible old git (played by an actor best known for a previous role that involved shouting at people) with occasional flashes of humour, plus a teenage girl, plus two of her schoolteachers. From Coal Hill School. Sound familiar?
I'll bet Courtney Woods is going to start calling him Grandad next.
petrochemicals -- just, not fossil fuels
Petrol and diesel are much more practical fuels for road vehicles than hydrogen. And paraffin for aeroplanes, and so on.
And we can burn as much of these as we like with impunity provided (a) we achieve clean burn, no nasty soot or carbon monoxide or hydrocarbon fragments and (b) we do not contribute to increasing atmospheric CO2 levels; need to be carbon-neutral, or better.
Now, if we had a surfeit of cheap electricity as our author seems to be implying one day we could if we wanted, then we could make better use of pyrolytic conversion processes, or even start with CO2 from fractional liquefaction of air, and synthesize lots of squeaky-clean hydrocarbons. Which we could use for purposes other than fuel, too. If we were really ambitious, we could even start making vast slabs of artificial bitumen and stack them in heaps, just to try to reduce the atmospheric CO2 concentration, aiming towards our target of 280ppm.
The technology already exists to do all that; but, as yet, the cheap clean electricity does not.
[And no, wind turbines don't cut it.]
Reanult has a problem, called 'marketing'
This article mentioned the VW Up!.
And it mentioned th Ford Ecoboost 1.0, as used in assorted small Fords I believe to include such as the current Fiesta and Ka.
It mentioned the 'manic Fiat Twin-Air', as per the FIAT 400.
It even mentioned the Porsche 911.
Each and every one of which I would rather own than the vehicle under discussion.
But then this does show my own biases. The Clio got mentioned, and I don't fancy one of those either. There are lots and lots of people driving about in the Clio 1.2 who don't incorporate my prejudices, and who I imagine would love to be driving a new Clio; but, being seventeen or a little older, it'll be up to their parents to deal with buying them a Twingo and insuring it. And this would neatly cannibalise existing Renault sales.
Unless it's cheaper to buy and insure than a prawn sandwich, well ...
Sapphire TV screen?
... perhaps a legacy research objective, from the CRT era, to make a TV that could survive the Steve flinging the remote at it in disgust?
I think that's a typo which is going to get fixed.
'HUMAN ABBATOIR' implies not just human, but four ... very specific ... Swedish people. Not that I'm necessarily opposed to that
... this is "Jipi and the Paranoid Chip", isn't it?
"If the battery is fully charged, no regenerative braking occurs."
... so I can go for the left pedal, and get much less than I expect based on the last time I braked? Don't fancy that much.
If not JJ Abrams, then who else?
I mean, take on a great space/western franchise like Star Wars, and do a good job, or, even a great job? Who is there? Who else could Disney have chosen?
Thinks: Firefly. Did Jos Whedon ever write or direct any films or TV that was any good? In the genre? Recently? One would love to think he was offered the job but had to turn it down on account of being too busy.
Re: Who are we talking about here?
Close but no cigar.
It was The Dam Busters. Dialogue?
Q: "How many guns do you think?
A: (The Dam Busters) "I'd say about ten guns"
A: (Episode IV) "I'd say about fifty guns"
and so on. This is not to say of course that the scriptwriters of 633 Squadron weren't lifting chunks of Anderson's 1954 masterpiece, because they almost certainly were.
Neil Young was an early, vociferous and persistent objector to digital audio, and as such it is reasonable to assume that when others adopted digital studio recording, he didn't, and instead persisted with the best available analogue tape.
"iOS staff hauled into Mac development, claim sources"
One would hope not just to work on the UI. OSX releases lately have had a whiff of "this was the B-team's best effort" about them.
Re: "Google's Android 4.1.1 is vulnerable"
Oh. So I could have my mobile phone connect to a TLS-enabled SMTP server such as Gmail, and in the short periond that that connection is open (read the Android developer docs about battery management) those dastardly people at Google could read up to 64k of core memory from my phone, and this represents a threat to me even 0.1% as serious as some geezer in China connecting to a Gmail server, never attempting to make SMTP authentication over that TLS connection, but snatching 64k out of that server, to which lots and lots of people have connected, and where in principle the private key might be visible to go with the public cert, facilitating impersonation?
Mmmm I don't think so. Yes the library inplementing the protocol has a flaw and there is a vulnerability, but the consequences to humanity at large of unsuspecting clients connecting to malicious servers (servers which will still be expected to present a valid SSL certificate) are rather than less serious than those from malicious clients connecting to unsuspecting servers.
"Google's Android 4.1.1 is vulnerable"
Vullnerable to Heartbleed exploits?
Is it? Really? Do many people run SSL/TLS-enabled servers on their mobile phones and such?
Does he have any ... evidence?
The reports I have seen elsewhere say his Geiger counter was detecting something. Detecting what, though? 18kV got mentioned somewhere, can the boy demonstrate that his electrostatic inertial confinement rig isn't oozing X-rays which are generating ionized particles, ionized particles that the average Geiger counter would notice long before it spotted any neutrons?
Wasn't an accidental double-paste
I have seen this, incredibly rarely, myself. It's something to do with Subversion; when committing changes to a resource that has non-conflicting changes, a single line can either be omitted, or repeated. I've seen this twice in a decade. This looks like a accidental double-paste; the two I saw did not. It's the sort of thing you don't discover for days or even months, so investigating what actually happened, testing for reproducibility, is ... difficult.
I'll admit it, you had me at 'Saul'.
"Each processor would proceed sequentially as if it had been better for them not to rise against Saul."
Re: "tide is lapping around our Cnutish feet"
Peotry? Are you sure?
I rather thought Verity was alluding to King Canute, he of sitting-on-a-throne-ordering-the-rising-tide-to-retreat- and-getting-wet fame. Or, equally, to King Knut, who ordered the sea to retreat to show his fawning courtiers that the temporal powers of kings didn’t amount to much compared to the forces of nature.
Though probably not to King Astroknut, who is believed to have led the Viking expedition to Mars in 976. Viking helmets as a rule did not have decorative horns on them. And certainly not Viking space helmets. But I digress.
Canute and Knut, yes, but ‘Cnut’ seems to be a spelling used only by those intent on provoking unfortunate misunderstandings.
"tide is lapping around our Cnutish feet"
Have a care Verity -- where I come from, calling someone a Cnut may lead to fisticuffs
Splash Wave. Yes.
I have been following the Antique Code Show articles, being reminded of a fair bit of my lost youth in the process. We haven't seen the 1983 Star Wars arcade game from Atari yet, and that was a lot of fun.
But Out Run was something else. I did try try several of the soundtracks; as I recall I liked Splash Wave the best. Never noticed any character animation inside the car and certainly not "... issues a good telling-off each time you crash".
The 3D rendering was unusually good. Far in advance of Atari's Pole Position for example. I do remember on one stretch finding myself sitting up straighter in the seat in an attempt to peer over the horizon. Didn't work though!
Something else, about all driving games then and now: does the brake pedal do anything useful?
Re: Down to just "4 per cent of its maneuvering propellant"
Don’t need to burn it, so don’t need oxidiser. Just need it to be exerting force in the rocket motor chamber. Could achieve that by boiling it with a nuclear reactor.
Re: Not without risk and cost
The world changes.
Remember what James Woolsey (boss of the CIA) said twenty years ago "We have slain a large dragon. But we live now in a jungle filled with a bewildering variety of poisonous snakes“?
Having serious antisubmarine warfare capability, to detect a launch transient and prosecute it, is generally the preserve of dragon-class opposition. There isn’t much of that about any more. If that’s likely to be a problem on the day, well, don’t launch the drone then.
The snakes tend to be messing about in skiffs and rhibs. You can hear those a long way away with decent passive sonar, even lying submerged in shallow water just offshore. Then you could launch the drone, fly it nice and high so the people in the skiffs never even spot it, follow the skiffs, then have some helicopter assault ships out on the blue water arrange a nasty surprise.
If you think Chris Mellor is being over the top about TV sound ...
... does your computer have a fancy sound system capable of bass tones?
It does? Head to iPlayer, find an episode of Dad's Army, and play the first minute or so, so you can listen to the theme tune.
What is that you are hearing? Is it a part for an upright bass that you've never noticed before? That's because your TV's speakers aren't up to it, nor all your previous TVs, all the way back to when Dad's Army first aired.
I can't help but think that's a NNSFW anagram of a portmanteau word involving fireproof trousers.
Meanwhile, Neal Stephenson's last novel "Reamde" features a character with a treadmill desk; a character who allegedly was once very very fat unfit etc etc, but who now has a PA to prevent him from overexercising.
does turning it off and on again...
... count as a reboot of the franchise?
not Bad Wolf...
... but Bad Wilf; Bernard Cribbins's character returns, having turned evil, in league with Davros, the Emperor Dalek, The Master, and the Caravan Club.
Or some other improbable nonsense.
Did you check the system clocks on the computers etc?
"boxes back to the '70s" ... or Aug 10 1945, or Jan 1 2001, depending on what you're looking at. Computers have realtime clocks on the motherboard being fed by a tiny dribble from mains current even switched off, or from a tiny battery. Now if the power goes down, and the UPS exhausts itself, and the computers are old and any motherboard batteries are dead ... well that doesn't matter does it, when the power comes back, the computers will set their clocks from NTP or Windows Time Sync, won't they?
No they won't; not if they are months out. Definitely not if they're centuries out. Which Apple bod was it who was born on Aug 10 1945 then?
Ummmm .... but why ...
... why was he looking for toms, when he had already found one?
not a balanced diet
Entirely lacking in eg uranium mine tailings
Re: Caveat Emptor
Go on, reread the article. You are suggesting that HR bods are lacking in a competency that O'Connor implies they are not even required to have.
Secrecy and aesthetics
Let's assume I have drunk far too many vodka martinis to be able to use PowerPoint efficiently. [I'm not sure, but the number might be 'none'.] I might then have somebody prepare some slides for me to explain how/when/why I lost the DB5, the exploding pen and so on.
And such information is, like, secret, as in SECRET Intelligence Service. [Unlike NSA, "Not Secret Anymore".]
Which office PowerPoint-wallah do I choose? Somebody who will try to show the world his work because he thinks it's beautiful, or someone who will try to hide his work because there's no denying it's ugly?
Why be bothered about 'the cloud' in particular?
[Er, hi to to all my fans in US domestic surveillance. I didn't have time to read any of my email last month, can you send me a summary of all the good ones?]
Various US institutions have decided to ignore the US constitution, and since I'm not a US citizen and don't live in the US, any safeguard provisions in the US constitution aren't going to apply to me anyway.
Forget about 'US cloud technologies'. Pretty much 60% (or is it 80%? does it even matter?) of all internet traffic gets routed via some major bit of infrasstructure in California, so pretty much every packet can be inspected. I think this means that anything travelling across the public internet can be Got At, whether it's on Amazon's cloud, or someone else's cloud, or no cloud.
If I send email, at some point someone's going to read the headers. It doesn't matter if message body is encrypted strongly, you can do a lot of traffic analysis with SMTP headers. Or even IP packet headers. But then strong encryption isn't really a help. Not when many ciphers have been designed with the assistance of the same agency we expect to be listening in.
Those of us that cared could in principle build our own parallel internet. From whom would be buy our switches? Huawei, about whom there are unsubstantiated allegations that they're in the pocket of the PLA and their equipment has back doors? Or from Cisco, about whom we might expect some even more spectacular allegations to be made (in the pocket of the NSA; back doors, etc) once the next round of revelations are made concerning Prism and who's been gagged using the Patriot Act?
Yes, but what _precisely_ were they up to?
I mean, after all, did he pull out without indicating?
Surely a Red Planet horticulturalist ought to be known as a Titchmartian?
Patent? prior art?
I recall driving through the Limehouse Link tunnel and then between some tall buildings along London Wall one day, in 2010 I think, and noticing the loss of satellite signal, and remembering that my then-new iPod Touch could tell which way up I was holding it because of digital accelerometers. I recall mentioning this via email to a TomTom engineer ... "with a couple of orthogonally-arranged accelerometers, you could achieve inertial reference navigation, as a secondary position source when GPS reception keeps dropping out", and the reply I got indicated that this was a newly-introduced feature on top-spec models.
In version 2.0 and later, yes. But not in version 1.0.
Re: Pound sign
Dr Alan Solomon
Go asteroid mining? Really?
And I'd like to be the king of all Londinium, and wear a shiny hat.
Mmmm. Sony laptop batteries
... would this count as a fire sale?
Tsk. Not propulsion at all
... so this thing would be used more or less like a radioisotope thermal generator, except you get more watts for less Pu-238, at the risk of having moving parts?
* CHAPTER I. Down the Rabbit-Hole
* Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the
* bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the
* book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in
* it, 'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice 'without pictures or
* So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the
* hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure
* of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and
* picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran
* close by her.
EE 'Doc' Smith? Larry Niven?
On El Reg, could we please confine our impressive grasp of fiction to official Government statistics?
Once upon a time, before the second coming of Steve Jobs, Apple migrated its desktop machinery from M68k to PPC. This appears to have succeeded. There was a compatibility system for running M68k binaries on PPC; I don't know how it worked. I do recall hearing that for a CISC processor architecture, the M68k series had fewer opcodes than most.
After the second coming of Steve Jobs, migrated its desktop machinery from PPC to PPC64, and i386, and x86_64. The Intel hardware could run the PPC binaries via a compatibility layer known as Rosetta, based on JIT compilation technology, licensed (or subcontracted to, or something ..) from [looks at Wikipedia] oh yes, "QuickTransit" from Transitive Corporation. In my experience this worked well. In terms of execution speed and reliability, you'd be extremely hard-pressed to tell whether something was running natively or via Rosetta. [I myself only tossed the PPC-only EyeTV 1.x software, and bought EyeTV 3.x software, when I upgraded my desktop to 10.7, from which Rosetta had been dropped.
There were a few bits of software that wouldn't run via Rosetta, usually because they were doing spectacular things in kernel-space. I only ever encountered one..
If Apple does transition Macs to ARM-architecture processors, I shouldn't be at all surprised if something like Rosetta reappeared to support Intel-architecture binaries, and I would expect it to work.
What would disappoint me would be the non-reappearance of PPC support in this latter-day Rosetta, support for which I could find a use even now.
"Mounsey may have a point" ho ho ho
"Mounsey may have a point" ho ho ho
The calculations suggest all 740 employees work 365 days a year. I find that unlikely. And while McDonalds does claim to use only premium ingredients, I'll bet it pays rather less than £70/kg for chocolate.
Despite having visited McDonalds several times over the past decade, I've never eaten a McFlurry and I've no idea how much it costs to buy one. And since I don't have any access to McDonalds business information, I have no idea how much one costs to make, or how many a restaurant of a given size might be expected to sell over the course of a year.
But I speculate that if doubling the chocolate content from 1g to 2g -- at a cost of 7p as per the article's numbers, or 3p as per my wild guess -- led to 740 test subjects wanting to buy one a day for a year, at a unit selling price wild-guess of £1.49, grossing £400k (additional chocolate cost either £18.9k or £8.1k), I wouldn't fire the employee who experimented with adding extra chocolate. I'd offer them a job in product development.
Equally, it a well-known factoid that the cost of ingredients amounts to a fairly small fraction of the cost of a restaurant meal; and I, like most diners, do not understand why anybody in any food business would skimp on something cheap at the risk of driving away repeat custom through being stingy. Even McD.
Britishisms in Cocoa dev documentation...
... almost certainly down to one Malcolm Crawford, widely known in the NeXT community as mmalc.
Why St Lucia, and not ...
... why St Lucia, and not Antigua, or Tobago, or ... Trinidad? Guess which one of those islands is biggest, has the most comprehensive road network, and an economy based on oil and financial services instead or agriculture and tourism.
I suppose we've discovered where TomTom's management goes for its holidays.
Or, as, "Numerical Recipes in C" has it...
"The practical scientist is trying to solve tomorrow's problem on yesterday's computer. Computer scientists often have it the other way around. "
I suggest that the reason people denounce reverse-osmosis desalination as carbon intensive is because they don't understand it. They do understand distillation, which is carbon intensive even with lots of fancy heat exchangers to reclaim heat where possible, and so there is a (numbers-free) idea in some people's heads that reverse-osmosis desalination must be as carbon intensive as distillation.
Which it isn't.
I drank water produced by reverse-osmosis desalination when on holiday in Tobago. It tasted funny.
I have read (non-authoritative sources) that there are health implications to persistent ingestion of demineralised water as produced by reverse-osmosis desalination. And (same Wikipedia article) it rots the utility companies' plumbing because it's more acidic. But (same etc) the lack of solutes make it really good for washing cars and assorted industrial processes.
230 million cups of tea per year!
I was watching Countryfile on telly on Sunday night, and John Craven or some such was introducing a piece about wind turbines, and produced a factoid "a wind turbine like this can produce enough electricity to make 230 million cups of tea per year". I got my calculator out to calculate how much electricity that was, and the numbers were big.
Unfortunately the corresponding numbers for the first tiny PWR I could think of were 80 times bigger, and when I started examining the assumptions in my back-of-an-envelope calculations, the numbers for the wind turbine got smaller, and the ones for the PWR got bigger.
I love it when the greenies rate wind turbines in terms of kettles. Suppose I did not want to sit in a yurt drinking tea, but stand in an office looking out of a window at people operating my aluminium smelter?
.. cast/director for the Hollywood reimagining of this tale of woe ...
Well, you want a big-name director, and you're going to have to turn a script-doctor loose on the screenplay.
How 'bout James Cameron? So the groom becomes a disenchanted researcher into robotics, biology, and physics (especially temporal plication), so some humanoid-looking cyborg killing machine arrives at the wedding to commit mass murder, and the movie climaxes with an H-bomb detonation at the reception?
[You *would* *not* *believe* some of the stuff that got cut from the first draft screenplay of "Titanic"; Sarah Connor's grandmother on the boat, iceberg under the control of Skynet, nuclear bomb plus kill-droids hidden in the coal bunkers, etc etc etc.]
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