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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2569 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Space Station ready to SWERVE sat junk hurtling towards it

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Navigational Deflectors?

And what about jet-packs, I want a jet-pack! It does not even need antigravity, for goodness' sake (or slood for that matter)

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Hobbyist star-gazer cops amazing eyeful of Jupiter's space ball

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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It's an 11" Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain

Even without the image on his website, the aperture of 11" tells you it is the Celestron C11, one of the only 11" scopes out there (and the big brother of my C8). Excellent planetary imaging scopes. You do not want a DSLR for this work, a decent webcam (CCD-based for preference) or a specialized planetary camera, which can maintain 30-60 FPS at VGA resolution is generally best.

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Blazing new comet may OUTSHINE THE MOON in 2013

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: "Or not."

Same here in the Netherlands.

Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake were pretty good though. And anyway, a comet like this would be visible for quite a long time. Time to get that astronomized DSLR ready.

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NZ bloke gets eel stuck up jacksie

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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At least it wasn't an electric eel

That would have been shocking

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Berkeley Lab proposes 4D clock

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Infinity is a very long time indeed

The authors do assume the nuclei have infinite life span. This might not be correct. And anyway, some klutz in a lab coat is bound to drop it at some point (he might even be called Ponder Stibbons).

Interesting work, otherwise

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Google promises autonomous cars for all within five years

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Future consequences

I have this sudden sense of deja vu

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Brave copper single-handedly chases 'suspicious' Moon

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Calling Sgt. Angua

Mine is the one with "The Fifth Elephant" in the pocket

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Samsung slams Apple patent jury, wants new trial in US

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Jury was fatally flawed.

Interesting reads. At the end of the first, the phrase "Sulk Hogan" sprang to mind,

I wonder why?

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Half of Milky Way's mass found in million-Kelvin gas cloud

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting.

Similar clouds have been known to surround galactic clusters, but not around our own. That is of course hard to do, and has been likened to "drawing up a map of the city whilst standing in the market square." A more accurate analogy would be "drawing up a map of the city whilst standing on a playground somewhere in the (unfashionable western) suburbs"

Thumbs up to the scientists for attempting perhaps not the impossible, but at least the very, very improbable!

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Christian footie match ends in almighty brawl

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Maybe they were followers of the Holy Shoe and the Holy Gourd!!

HE IS NOT THE MESSIAH, HE IS A NAUGHTY BOY!!

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NTT demos petabit transmission on single fibre

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Cool, seriously cool!

I visited their lab with two dozen students eleven years ago. They do a lot of seriously cool things there (like transistors that switch based on a single electron on the gate: talk about low power). The students were suitable impressed, even the guy who tried to do a limbo dance underneath a manipulator arm of a vacuum chamber set-up. Needless to say, our host was seriously relieved that I grabbed this student by the shoulder and gave him a very severe reprimand (think sergeant-major Shut-up Sahib).

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Ig Nobels 2012: Physics of ponytails, chimp arse-cognition and more

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Proud!!

I am proud the Dutch managed to get another two IgNobels!

Here's to research that makes you think and laugh (I am not picky about the order)

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'Apple's iOS 6 maps app is SHOCKING, rushed and half-baked'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pirate

Biggest thing??

"Windows 95 was certainly the biggest thing in the last 20 years until now. I think Windows 8 certainly surpasses it."

What is Balmer smoking? Windows 95 the biggest thing in what? Computing? I would think other things in computing have been bigger (or at least better) in the last 20 years. The world-wide web, for one. OK that made its first wobbly steps in 1990/1991, so outside the time frame, but it only really took off the years after. The Mosaic Browser (1993) was a seminal event in computing. Windows 95 was not.

In my view, Windows 95 improved upon Windows 3.1(1) in that it camouflaged the fact that it was a graphic shell overlaid on MS-DOS rather better. It did a bit more than that, and popularized the WIMP-style (windows, icons, menus, pointer) GUIs still with use today. Yes I know MS did not invent them, but W95 did bring them to a big audience, and took the MS-DOS crowd away from the command line.

Pirate icon because I was ill on "Talk like a pirate day"

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'Programming on Windows 8 just like playing bingo' - Microsoft VP

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

On the photograph

Soma seems to be doing an impression of a flounder. Is this to suggest Microsoft are floundering?

Darn, I'm hungry now

Mine is the one with Rick Stein's "Seafood" in the pocket (OK, in the backpack).

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Win8 tablets may cost MORE than iPads – AND LAPTOPS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Seriously?!

Absolutely! Can anybody explain to me why an $800 device (including keyboard) with Windows RT would be better than the latest incarnation of the Asus Transformer, with its much higher resolution (1920x1200) and roughly the same price point down here (just shy of 700 euro)?

OK it has a version of office. Big deal!

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Memo to openSUSE 12.2: More polish, less angst

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Neat!

I'll upgrade my home system shortly!

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Microsoft bod dreams up 'Star Trek holodeck' games console

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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The description of a device or method is enough for a patent

The US government patented ships with nuclear propulsion before they got it working. The description as to contain enough technical detail to show it is inventive.

Countless patents have been awarded on perpetual motion devices (now no longer allowed), and there are patents for algorithms that compress any bit string (including its own output) by at least one bit without loss of information. This is clearly impossible, but it has been patented.

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Opportunity finds new patch of 'berries' on Mars

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: It depends on whether you can get it to stay onna stick.

Jam will stay "inna bun"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Get your Martian Blueberry Jam right here!!!!

Lovely! Rich in iron!

C.M.O.T. Dibbler would try that.

These old rovers (hopefully) never cease to amaze. I once pointed out Mars to my kids, and added: there are two robot cars driving about on that planet. Now they want to be space scientists

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I spy: Drug drops and foxy couples

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Of course

Real men carry binoculars like these

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Reg hack uncovers perfect antidote to internet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: BTW, what is a diving rod?

Oh really?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

BTW, what is a diving rod?

I cannot find any in the nearest scuba shop.

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HTML5 isn't Facebook's 'biggest mistake'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: HTML5 is actually a mistake

MInE is tHe oNE WitH The booK ON ProPeR raNDom CApITALiZatiOn

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BT gets postcode knickers in twist, plants Shoreditch on Mount Everest

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

This was brought to you by

The expedition to scale both peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46btEgKmCTo

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One more try: Metro apps are now 'Windows Store' apps

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Ikea catalog[ue]

"HAHAHAHA!"

No that is a lamp, not a chair

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Ikea catalog[ue]

Alternatively as

Bålmer Prøjektil

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Humanity facing GLOBAL BACON SHORTAGE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Doooooomed!

As you were, private Fraser!

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Hate the Windows 8 touch UI? Try Kinect-like finger shaking instead

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

I have given various programs two-fingered salutes

Not that they respond

But then I usually give the salute when the %$#@ software is not responding to keyboard and mouse either.

I also think that gesture-controlled, just like voice-controlled software, is a really good idea for open-plan offices. Methinks the BOFH would have a field day.

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New guide: Bake your own Raspberry Pi Lego-crust cluster

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Lovely idea!

I think I will show this to my students when next I lecture on parallel computing

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The iPHONE 5 UNDERMINES western DEMOCRACY: 5 reasons why

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

People doing irrational things with money?

Shocking

Makes you wonder what fashion is all about

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Sony focuses on full-frame snappers with tasty tech

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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SLT?

Does this not mean that the amounts of light reaching both the viewfinder and the sensor is cut roughly in half? In dim light, this would be a drawback. Though we do not need a bright viewfinder to focus any more, framing an image nicely in dim light might be a problem. Less light hitting the sensor lower the signal-to-noise ratio.

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Facebook wunderkind admits share price Zuck-up on stage

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: "Facebook's troubled float onto Nasdaq was "not the first up and down that we ever had"."

Facebook floated? I thought it sank?

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Dreaded redback spider's NEMESIS: Forgotten Captain Cook wasps

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: The list of non-dangerous creatures in Oz:

"X X X X

Good on yer, Mate!"

Thanks!

But unfortunately, my name is Michael, not Bruce

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

The list of non-dangerous creatures in Oz:

Some of the sheep

Or maybe that was another place which just happened to be very, um, Australian?

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LOHAN straps on satellite comms capability

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Cheers to them!

Anyone who contributes to LOHAN deserves a pint!

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Dutch unleash intelligent robot bins: No ID, no rubbish

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

May I welcome

our intelligent rubbish-bin overlords?

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Swedish cops contain fermented herring menace

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Sounds even worse than durian fruit

Eating durian fruit has been described as being like eating the food of the gods with your head over an open sewer.

Normally I am quite happy to try local dishes, but some local dishes are local for a very simple reason: nobody else in their right mind would consider eating it. Alternatively, the locals are masochists on a diet (to quote Arthur Dent speaking to a nutrimatic machine). I think I will give this Swedish "delicacy" a pass.

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Airbus predicts catapult takeoffs and formation flying by 2050

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Catapults

Darn, my kids would have loved a high G catapult take-off, judging by the sizes of their respective grins the first time they took of in an airliner (cries of "COOL!!!" clearly communicated to other passengers it was their first time). A really high G take off would have had them hooked.

A low-G catapult would leave them very disappointed.

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Judge: Apple not liable for dropped, broken iPhone screens

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Should that not be iDiot

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I'll get me coat

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Edgy penguins test-fly Ubuntu's Quantal Quetzal

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Linux

Re: am I a luddite ?

I think it is quite an irony that Unity is so divisive. Clearly people either like it or hate it.

I have never used it (we use KDE at work, and therefore I use it at home just to have the same environment), so have no opinion on its merits (or lack thereof).

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Climate denier bloggers sniff out new conspiracy

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Black Helicopters

Must resist, must resist!..... Cannot resist

Just because you are paranoid, does not mean they are not out to get you

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DARPA builds faster-than-Usain-Bolt Cheetah robot

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Run, Run AWAY! Really fast, OR

Just run fast enough to exhaust the thing's battery, or invest heavily in tripwires

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ENCODE’s ‘junk DNA’ claims spark biological bunfight

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: As one DNA strand...

Nice one, wanted to get a new keyboard anyway

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IBM's z12 mainframe engine makes each clock count

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

I have to wonder

Could you fry an egg on those chips? I like mine with crispy bacon (and "sunny side up", as they say in the US).

Oh bloody hell, I am hungry now.

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NASA captures mind-bogglingly gorgeous solar video

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Awesome

Really awesome images and video. There was a load of activity on September 1 and 2, as seen through my little H-alpha scope (our first-year students had a look and were very impressed). It is of course typical that the best fireworks took place when it was clouded over over here.

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Torvalds bellows: 'The GNOME PEOPLE are in TOTAL DENIAL'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Blame

I do not see it as a problem that Linux has made it to roughly 1% of the desktop. One percent of all desktops is still a huge number of machines, and apparently many people are happy with it. Transit vans are are a minute proportion of all cars sold, but that does not mean the Transit van is not considered a roaring success. The same could be said about Porsches and Ferraris. Seen like this there is no need to blame anyone.

It does of course pay to see if you can do better. In my book that means: Do not break APIs! If you need to change something, do it in the form of new functionality, but do not change old system calls, unless you are absolutely certain that there is no legacy code that needs it out there (not much chance of that, is there?). That at least is what we try to teach our students.

Linux is very good at certain things, for certain people. These people are neither superior or inferior to others, they just need, or like to use a different toolbox. End of story as far as I am concerned.

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'Immortal cancer' found in Australia

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Reverse the polarity of the Neutron flow.

Beware what you wish form, you might get it.

I have this image of an ageing, degenerating brain, and a mind bereft of all joy, in a perfectly healthy body, which stubbornly refuses to die. As brain cells tend not to divide, and are typically not replenished (which may or may not be an adaptation linked to our long memory, and intellectual abilities), I doubt whether it would benefit from the same rejuvenation treatment as the rest of the body.

Scary thought that.

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Global strategic maple syrup reserves hit in Canadian mega-heist

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: Burn the heretics!!

In Quebec you should not just try the beer. I have VERY fond memories of the food in Quebec City when I was there. Really, really, really very good indeed. I'll toast to the thought of returning there and having an 'Assiette du Pecheur"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Burn the heretics!!

Actually, I find that a properly made galette (buckwheat pancake, Bretonne style) with crispy fried bacon and maple syrup works very well. It is a culinary version of the Dutch "spekpannenkoek" (bacon pancake) which is usually served with treacle. Despite the reputation of Dutch "cuisine" in general, the spekpannenkoek can be really nice.

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Elon Musk says he's planning a 'supersonic, electric hover jetplane'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Love the audacity and vision of this guy. Exciting stuff combined with a good business sense.

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