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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2544 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Stanford boffin is first woman to bag 'math Nobel Prize'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: She a genius 'cos she's a genius

True, it shouldn't matter. However, given the relatively small number of female scientists (certainly outside life sciences) that hit the headlines, it is good to have a new role model for aspiring female scientists. I have a feeling that many girls (certainly here in the Netherlands) are turned away from certain fields of science exactly because there are prejudices in society as a whole about what areas are suitable for women. Extra role models can help change those ideas. I do not mean to say more women must enter science, but rather that they should not be deterred by old-fashioned ideas about what they should be doing.

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Naughty NSA was so drunk on data it forgot collection rules

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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To paraphrase Heinrich Heine

The NSA [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] bastards [REDACTED][REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED]

Yours sincerely

Michael Wilkinson

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Hollywood star Robin Williams dies of 'suspected suicide' at 63

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Very sad to hear

Bitter inrony that a man who could make so many laugh suffered such depression. A loss to all, but most to his family.

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NVIDIA claims first 64-bit ARMv8 SoC for Androids

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

"Performance equivalent to some CPUs found in PCs."

I like that kind of precise statement of performance, a.k.a. markerting speak: It sounds nice, but then some PCs might be construed to include our old 80286 processor running at 12 MHz. We even did image processing on that PC. Still use some of that code today, and it runs like the clappers on new kit. Somehwere in the corner of my office lurks a 80486 at 60MHz. I do not think anybody would like that kind of performance in their tablet or phone.

It would sound better if they had used the phrase "some current PCs, or actually stated which processor they meant.

Still, chips with better performance at lower power are always welcome.

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German brain surgeon flies in for vital LOHAN operation

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: Sysadmin huh?

Cattle-prod proof? He wields one, more likely

I'll raise a Hefe Weizen as well

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LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Just a couple of thoughts from a complete non-expert in this area

The same number could well occur in a random sequence, but not the same sequence of numbers. In the old (and often still (ab)used) linear congruential PRNGs finding the same number would mean the exact same sequence would be generated again, because the entire state of the linear congruential generator is the last number generated. Modern PRNGs have states with much larger bit counts than the pseudo-random numbers they generate.

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Huge FOUR-winged dino SPREAD LEGS to KILL – scientists

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Seen a wedgetail eagle lately ?

"At least use the correct name - it is from the Counterweight continent. Now that really makes sense (provided that you do not ask the library for a list of all the dangerous animals in there)."

Fourecks, methinks. Some of the sheep are safe, however.

Still: no worries!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: Changyuraptor

Is she that aerodynamic?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Arrg The Falconer

You means Hodgesaargh, whose birds dreamed of eating his other ear?

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MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

And so freedom is eroded, not by a torrent, but

DRIP, DRIP, DRIP

I'll get me coat

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Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

In the unlikely event I ever get to meet this guy

I just HAVE to say: "Finally we meet, mr. Musk"

But he will probably be tired of that joke by then. You just have to love his attitude (witness the wry humour "AKA KABOOM") and results

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Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Password Entropy

The problem is so many people now use "correct horse battery staple" as their password that it is the first thing tried after "password"

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Give an exoplanet a new name: Fill in this form and hope these astro-boffins pick your $input

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

Vogsphere?

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Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Plastic cases

Agreed, people are never sensitive to all natural substances, like pollen

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Not entirely limited to Apple products I would guess. Any metal casing containing nickel would set off the allergy. Designing products with allergies in mind is something easily overlooked by those who have none.

I have worked with Mac Pros and MacBooks when I visited a university in Paris, and found them perfectly usable. After all, when you write your own code, all you need is a usable editor/compiler or IDE, oh and MatLab for rapid prototyping and testing if you do image and signal processing. Phone and tablet-wise I stick with Android (because I am/they are cheap). Seriously love my ASUS Transformer Pad, and would not readily swap it for anything else.

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US authorities round up ILLEGAL DINOSAURS for repatriation

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Poached Dinosaur eggs

Have one of these for breakfast on a regular basis, and "morbidly obese" will soon seem too slight as a phrase to describe your problems. No wonder US immigration doesn't want them in the country

Still wonder what they would taste like

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Man FOUND ON MOON denies lunar alien interface

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Some of those redditors...

I suggest we build a B-ark. Tickets will be made available to all those who believe whatever outrageous theory we put up (mutant star goat etc). Should rid us of a significant portion of conspiracy nutters.

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Dead letter office: ancient smallpox sample turns up in old US lab

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Unused?

How exactly is a section of a storage room "unused" if it contains a box.

Mix this message with Storage Wars, and you get something REALLY creepy

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In space no one can hear you scream, but Voyager 1 can hear A ROAR

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Thumb Up

In the best spirit of human endeavour

Absolutely awesome the way these craft keep performing. I watched their launch on TV when I was at school, and followed their travels past the planets (mainly through National Geographic magazine, no internet in those days). Amazing that they are still operational, despite Voyager 2 not responding to many commands. Slightly odd that; bit late for puberty, bit early for age-related deafness, and it couldn't have sneaked a walkman on board, because that came out well after its launch.

Still, big thumbs up to all who worked and still work on this project

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Panic like it's 1999: Microsoft Office macro viruses are BACK

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I'm not dead yet! I don't want to go on that cart!!

I remember thinking "Isn't that a security risk?" when I first heard about VBA. We did not have to wait long for confirmation. It is worrying that they still haven't put a sufficiently tight sandbox around VBA. I can see reasons to use macros within a document (I have used for loops and while loops in LaTeX at times), but I see no reason why code within a document should ever be allowed to alter template files or indeed any other file on disk (except the printed, postscript, or pdf output) which outweighs the security risks involved.

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It's finally happened: Bloke builds BOFH-style goofing-off cattle prod

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

To stay with the Hitchhikers' Guide: Maybe he is a masochist on a diet (but then he would have made a nutrimatic machine)

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'BIGGEST BIRD EVER': 21-foot ripsaw-beaked flying HORROR

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: Just imagine

We once had a grey heron drop a load dead centre on a tea table outside. Only amusing well after the event. One of these Pelagornithids could take out an entire village fair with one salvo. One dreads to think what a flock might have been able to do.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: The BBC reckons it's the largest bird ever....

Bones of flying birds are thin. Last time I looked at an ostrich it flew about as well as a brick. Tasty, however, very tasty

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Booze in SPAAAACE! Brit rocket boffin preps bold stratobeer mission

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

Now that is REALLY raising a glass

Mine never reach the stratosphere, but on the way back, they always reach my mouth

Never got the hang of quaffing, it seems

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LIFE on Titan: If there's one thing aliens HATE, it's a SALTY BALL

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Alien

Re: there's klingons on the starboard bow

And in th emean time, nobody is looking for super-intelligent shades of the colour blue

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VC who wants to split California REVEALED as Silk Road Bitcoin slurper

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: Splitting California

Just wait long enough and California will be split. Along the San Andreas fault line, possibly.

Sadly, this is not entirely a joke, and certainly not for people in California

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Brazilian baddies bank Boleto billions

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Alliteration Alert

Title totalled by trying too much

Accept my ample apologies for an appalling attempt

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Brit SPACE HEDGEHOG team flies student Mars payload

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Somehow, all these yellow capsules make me go

Beedo beedo beedo beedo beedo beedo beedo beedo beedo beedo

Seriously, though, thumbs up to this project

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New research: Flash is DEAD. Yet resistance isn't futile - it's key

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Top boffinry by the sound of it

Time will tell what will become of the technology, of course, but having thumb drives that are faster, have larger capacity, and do not wear out is something I would love to see

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SPACE: The FINAL FRONTIER. These are the TEN-YEAR images of star probe Cassini

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

Superb piece of engineering!

Excellent stuff by NASA (and ESA, Cassini-Huygens was a joint mission). Great example of international collaboration as well.

And of course it gives us yet another reason to raise a glass

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BOFH: You can take our lives, but you'll never take OUR MACROS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Re: Cruelest Ending!

Cruel and unusual punishment. Love the neat and understated style

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: I beg your pardon...

No, the only two spreadsheets I maintain for personal use are one to log the deep sky objects I have seen through my scopes or binoculars, listing catalogue/number,alternative names, type, constellation, date observed etc, and one in which I list the number of species of fish and seafood my kids have eaten (79 for the youngest (10), 80 for the eldest (12)), listing English and Dutch common names and who ate them. The first helps me select new objects to tackle, the second encourages the kids to try more different kinds of food.

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'Sterile neutrinos' re-ignite 'we found dark-stuff' debate

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Very interesting stuff

Direct evidence of dark matter would be great. Not quite there yet of course.

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Coulson GUILTY of conspiring to hack phones between 2000 and 2006

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Rebekah Brooks innocent?

Much as I would like, "incompetence" is not on the statute books as a crime. The legislative bodies probably omitted it for several reasons:

1) Prisons could not handle the volume of offenders

2) Incompetence was considered a given for anybody in high office (Peter Principle and all that)

3) Sir Humphreys actually prefer incompetent ministers

I was considering a "joke" icon, but then reread the post and thought the better of it. Now I will get my coat

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Glastonbury debuts festival wide Wi-Fi network - fitted to COWS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Why fibreglass cows?

Darn, fibreglass. I was hoping for a whole new meaning of "roaming internet", and "roaming (dis)charges"

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Firefighters deliver trapped student from GIANT GERMAN LADYPARTS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Always practice safe sex.

I jutht thought you were couthin Igor

Yeth, marthter, I'll get my coat marthter

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Titan sprouts 'Magic Island', say astroboffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Let's call it Leshp!

That immediately explains the way it appeared too, and nothing to do with Kraken (but a curious squiddy connection remains)

Mine is the one with Jingo! in the pocket

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: The Kraken wakes.

No, those aren't Kraken wakes, they have a distinct V shape

Sorry, couldn't resist

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COSMIC BELCH from supermassive black hole stuns boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Interesting stuff, once more

Bit borderline magnitude for my scope, but I should try to hunt it down if I get a chance. As Seyfert galaxy, it should have a bright core (they are not JUST bright in X-ray and UV).

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DON’T add me to your social network, I have NO IDEA who you are

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Couldn't resist adding "Improbable Research" to my list of skills. Well, I do have 3 papers in Annals of Improbable Research to my "credit"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

Swirling JDs??

Jack Daniels? Was there no whisky available? (sorry, couldnae resist!!)

Of course, after a couple few people appreciate the difference, but mine's a single malt whisky any time (Islay or Speyside, depending on my mood), but that may be my Scottish forebears whispering in my ears (or just random voices in my head, of course)

Fancy connecting over drinks, anyone? Loads more fun than LinkedIn

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LOHAN in FIGHT to DEATH with brace of cantankerous canards

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Phew!

Which might still happen on the last leg of the descent

Mission control to LOHAN: DUCK!!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Teflon is just wonderful stuff

I have used it so often in building telescope mounts, and it just gives a thrill to see things suddenly move smoothly, without wobble or stiction. Not surprised it got the canards sorted. Smoke from servos and sticky canards don't mix, unlike smoke from apple wood and marinated magret de canard.

\

Darn, hunrgy now

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Facebook goes TITSUP across WORLD! Who will look at your cousin's baby NOW?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Who will look at your cousin's baby NOW?

Your cousin?

Sorry, couldn't resist

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Elon Musk: Just watch me – I'll put HUMAN BOOTS on Mars by 2026

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

But

Has he got a white Persian cat?

Kudos to Elon, though, he has the balls, and business mind to do stuff I dreamed of as a kid watching the Apollo programme unfold. I got my kids very excited when I pointed to Mars in the sky, and told them two robot cars made on earth were trundling around there. I do hope at some point I can point there and say there are people on that red dot in the sky.

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YouTube will nuke indie music videos in DAYS, says Google exec

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Sounds like

"That's a nice independent label you've got there, it would be such a shame if something happened to it"

Monopolies are OK according to the law in most places provided you do not abuse that position. I would say the indie labels have a case

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Missiles-on-rooftops Brit spy Farr: UK gov can slurp your Facebook, Twitter ... What of it?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Where are the Register's servers located?

Can GCHQ spy on Register posts? Well, I can see them, so at a wild guess, they can.

I therefore do not see any reason for them not to have a look see

Corollary: Do not mention "plans for the revolution" on the Register

Oops

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Microsoft 'Catapults' geriatric Moore's Law from CERTAIN DEATH

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: Interesting stuff

Maybe SIMD is not the best turn of phrase. As I see it, FPGAs could work well if the processing steps are fairly predetermined. I do not see FPGAs working on the data-driven processing order required for my kind of image and volume filtering work, but then I haven't got much experience with FPGAs, so maybe I am wrong

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Here's a Lesson Learned (from SDR) for anyone going down this road...

Absolutely true. Reprogramming FPGAs is a bottleneck to many. A software platform which could ease that pain would help, but I trust that might be as difficult as compilers which "automatically" recognize how to parallellise code. I have seen examples of the latter which handled quite a few situations admirably, but feed them e.g. a queue based algorithm and they are stuck. Many challenging problem require real originality.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting stuff

FPGAs do offer interesting ways to extend the power of computers, especially for SIMD type situations (and there are loads of these). I will see if our library has that paper available.

I thought Moore's law was not so much an assertion as an observation. I gather he observed a trend in the data so far, and suggested the exponential growth might go on for a while yet. I do not think he envisaged it to last as long as it has.

I do tire of people who still suggest Moore's Law will come to the rescue of their pathetically slow algorithms. I always like to point out that even if Moore's Law continues unabated, the amount of data their quadratic, cubic, or even exponential complexity algorithms algorithms can handle will not grow in the same way. Instead, the amount of data will grow by the square or cube root of two for each doubling, and in the exponential case you can add one data item per doubling of speed.

The end of Moore's Law might put an end to this form of sloppy thinking

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