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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2553 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Update Facebook by thrusting your hips to, er ... 'Like' things

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Should one submit this

For an Ig Nobel prize in engineering?

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NAO: British bobbies wasting £80m BlackBerry stash

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

I thought they stored comms gear in their helmets

OK, it's Friday, innit?

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Eurocom Panther 2.0 Core i7, SLI notebook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Oh dear

Finally a note book which can just about handle one of our smaller satellite images (1.0 GIGApixel). Now I want one.

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Newt Gingrich wants Moon to be 51st US state

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Not at all!

Lord Sutch made good sense (occasionally). And he had a better dress sense

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Boffins one step closer to invisible shed

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I made an invisible shed once

I sent MIT some photographs but they wouldn't believe me.

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The Pirate Bay torrents printable 3D objects

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Think bigger

What about the Bismarck, HMS Hood, or Yamato.

Full scale might mean refilling printer cartridges from time to time, of course.

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Scientists shift electron orbits for atomic storage and quantum computing

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I thought that involved chaotic computing involved students making arbitrary changes to code to see if it works now,

or is that chaotic programming?

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Two million-degree matter from SLAC laser

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Maybe they wanted to play dice at 2 million K

Man that game is hot

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

X-ray does not penetrate many metal surfaces well (which is why old amalgam fillings wreak havoc with older CT reconstruction algorithms). Tank armor could absorb a hell of a lot before melting. A picosecond blast might be a tad short to do damage.

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Groupon banned from selling SNAKE OIL

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Neat, because every cosmetic has only temporary effects

because most people die well before the sun becomes a red giant.

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Loyal NASA rover Opportunity enters 9th year of Mars boffinry

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

the speed limit may be 0.0003 mph

(how much is that in furlongs per fortnight?)

As a guest to planet, it should stick to the local traffic rules

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Super-powered 'frankenmalware' strains detected in the wild

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

What?

Nobody has welcomed our Frankenmalware chimeric worm-virus overlords?

I am astonished!!

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MIT boffins devise faster Fast Fourier transform

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Again, there may be something important in there, I have yet to study the paper in detail. However, there is a ton of literature on removing low energy components (we have a few papers on other compression techniques, so I have been keeping up with much of it), so that in itself is not new. I also question whether the global sine/cosine basis used by Fourier is ideal for this work. More localized basis functions (local DCT/ wavelets/curvelets/insert your favourite over-complete dictionary of functions here) are often used. This is why the MIT paper uses a local transform, rather than global, as I understand it from the Reg report.

So again, it is not really an FFT, but it may be another kind of lossy compression technique. If they compress or analyse better than others kudos to them!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

So it is not an FFT, it is an approximation

Fourier Transform allows exact reconstruction of the image, not an approximation. It is a variation on the theme of lossy image compression exemplified by JPEG (which uses the discrete cosine transform), or wavelet compression. The idea is the same: decompose the image into some basis function and discard unimportant ones.

I do not doubt the MIT guys may be doing this in a clever way, but FFT it is not.

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Teen net addicts pee in bottles to stay glued to WoW

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Childcatcher

OMG, internet is addictive??!!

It should be banned!!!

Won't somebody think of the children????!!!!

A will e-mail my MP at once......

Oh, wait.

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Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime Android Tablet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Very, very interesting

I was really tempted by the transformer, so I should really check this one out.

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Boffins dig up prehistoric popcorn in Peru

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Popcorn near burial mounds?

Maybe someone was celebrating a rich relative finally snuffing it and leaving them a load of dosh (llama skins, sea shells, livestock, whatever) or that lovely piece of pottery she always promised me, what ever aunt Hoxtatl says!

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Blogger bully site yanks MPAA's chain in poison-pen letter

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Reminds me of Heinrich Heine

He wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper which read (in translation):

Dear Sir,

The censors ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------------------idiots--------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yours faithfully

Heinrich Heine

Said it all

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Modeling-clay iPads foisted on unwary Canucks

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

That's inflation for you

I am amazed $695 worth of clay fits in a box that size. Last time I checked prices they brought a truckload of the stuff for that kind of money.

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Boots Philosophy cosmetics

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: Yes but philosophy, is really about beer

Or other alcohol. Plato's Symposion is a get together to drink (literally the meaning of Greek symposion). This is why I always point out to my PhD students that having a drinks together with other scientists is what an international symposium is about (despite the Latinised ending).

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Nice quote to start the day. Thanks!

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Windows 8 hardware rules 'derail user-friendly Linux'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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The ARM exception is curious

This is the domain where MS has least leverage, as the tablet market is dominated by iOS and Android. Windows is very much a latecomer. Whatever the quality of Windows 8 on these devices (I really do not know one way or the other), being late makes life harder when trying to penetrate a market. How many tablet makers, who seem happy to ship Android, would want to sell locked in Windows 8 Tablets? At the same time, how much harm would that do to people wanting to run Linux on their Tablet. Just pick any old Android tablet that does allow a Linux install.

Regarding the rules for x86 kit, in that arena the new measures might raise eyebrows (Steely Neelie's would have been raised), precisely because Windows is dominant in that arena. In legal terms, it does not matter that only 1% of desktop is Linux, in fact quite the reverse: Because they own 90%+ of x86 desktop (forgive me for forgetting the exact OSX share), they can be accused of leveraging their monopoly in anti-competitive ways. Thus, they may have felt comfortable putting stronger restrictions on the ARM kit precisely because they do not dominate that domain.

Just my 2 euro cents

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Zombie Olympics ticket resale site resurrected TODAY

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

When zombies throw hammers, they really need to be careful about when to let go.

Reg Shoe should be on standby with his sewing kit.

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Phages: The powerful new bio-ammo in superbug war

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

This is different from Russian use

I did some mathematical modelling of the use of phages and predatory bacteria (such as the wonderfully named Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus) as antibiotic, in particular in the gut. All research I know of is aimed at viruses or bacteria killing the pathogenic bacteria.

There are many problems with this approach (one of which I modelled), and one is the build up of resistance to phages (e.g. by mutating the surface feature the phages use to gain access to the cell, or by restriction enzymes, which cut the viral DNA to pieces).

The proposed method tries to sneak new DNA into the cell, negating the resistance not to the phage, but to an antibiotic. I am not sure the same resistance mechanism as mentioned above could not cause problems.

Still, very interesting research.

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McDonald's punters offered sex in exchange for Chicken McNuggets

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

She took "I'm lovin' it" the wrong way

apparently.

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Darwin's lost fossils found down the back of a cupboard

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Reminds me of a "scientific correctness survey"

Posted in Mini-AIR in response remarks from Alabama governor Fob James on evolution ("just a theory"):

Did human beings evolve from

ape-like creatures?

__Yes __No __Not in Alabama __Other (please specify)

Results can be found at:

http://www.mail-archive.com/futurework@dijkstra.uwaterloo.ca/msg01419.html

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Brilliant! I will drink to that.

Unless it is a Cabinet of Curiosity, in which case all fossils must be returned in 14.14 hours.

We shall soon find out ;-)

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Olympics volunteers urged not to blab online

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Black Helicopters

We are not allowed to tell you what Game Makers aren't allowed to tell you

Or if we do, you must first sign a paper you will not put it on El Reg.

The rules may well make sense, but if they do, what is the problem about showing they make sense?

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Wikipedia to shut down Wednesday in SOPA protest

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

A conversation coming Thursday

Student: "I could not o my homework because Wikipedia was down"

Teacher: "They announced that early enough, you could have started earlier."

Student: "What? You expected us to finish our work BEFORE the last minute?"

Adults can have such unrealistic ideas about kids ;-)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I could never get the hang of Thursdays.

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The Sons of Khan and the Pascal Spring

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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You mean the Great Prophet Zarquon?

Was his second coming due yet? I thought we still had time!

Mine has the USB stick with the H2G2 radio plays in the pocket

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Pollution-gobbling molecules in global warming SMACKDOWN

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

New improved Criegee!

Gaia's own spring-cleaning solution!!

Seriously though, really interesting work. Anything that improves our understanding of the climate is great.

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Busted Phobos-Grunt in harmless splashdown

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Phew!!!

that's all

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Tiny frog claimed as smallest vertebrate ever

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

And filleting them is out of the question, of course.

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Imagination uncloaks 'over 20X faster' smartphone GPU

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Of course the numbers are real!

Performances figures could hardly complex numbers, could they?

The question is whether they are accurate.

Mine is the one with the calculus book in the pocket

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Banana war: Velvet Underground shoots holes in Apple bag

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

OOK!!

as the librarian of Unseen University said when asked to comment.

I could not agree with him more

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US killer spy drone controls switch to Linux

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

So is this now a "killer app" for Linux?

Couldn't resist.

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Hubble probes star death blast clue to universe riddle

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Awesome!!

And last year I was already happy about seeing two type Ia supernovae at 69 and 21 million light years respectively from my back garden. Granted, I only have 8 inches of aperture at my disposal, but 9 billion light years puts things into perspective.

Nuclear blast, because a supernova puts nuclear bombs into perspective.

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Doomsday Clock ticks one minute closer to annihilation

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

As private Fraser used to say:

We're doomed! Doomed!! DOOMED!!

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Patients to access NHS records via web by 2015

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

To paraphrase Lord Vetinari's comment of crime (and its organization):

"As we know they are going to get things wrong, we might as well do it efficiently"

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Nokia sheds light on latest Lumia

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Mango followed by Tango?

Next up Quango!

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Ubuntu Linux shop reveals 'TV for human beings'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

for cats, as anyone with an unadulterated cat knows.

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iPad SURVIVES FALL FROM SPACE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Like the BOFH might

But then he would let it drop on something soft (the head beancounter, the head of IT, the Boss, or the CEO, or anyone else who had got in the way of his plans (or just ticked him off)).

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iPad typos are Apple's fault, not yours - new claim

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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@ PC Paul

somehow that one never affected me

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Now that would true BOFH style

or maybe PFY

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Maybe the BOFH installed his own kind of predictive texting on this one

I remember there was an episode where he replaced the standard spell checker with one that introduced errors.

On a serious note, I think he did that on the machines some of my students are using at the moment.

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HSBC pinpoints branches with sub-atomic accuracy

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

But does it update the information every time a gnat sneezes?

People have a right to know!!!

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Kodak heading to Chapter 11

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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But they did make some excellent CCD chippery even then

We used one of their early KAF chips in image analysed microscopy 23 years ago. The KAF series of CCD chips is highly regarded, but their use is mainly in the astronomy market (small niche), and in medical imaging cameras (smallish but lucrative niche). Some of their chips found their way into digital cameras (an early digital Nikon as I recall). Quite a few astronomers are seriously alarmed that only one big player will remain in the CCD manufacturing business (Sony). CCDs are more sensitive (through larger fill factor) than CMOS chips, but this is only really of concern in seriously low-light conditions (such as astronomy and fluorescence microscopy).

The problem seems to be they did not see CMOS chippery replacing CCDs as the norm on regular cameras. So apparently they fumbled in (at least) two ways: they did not judge the full impact of digital photography on their film business, and they kept focusing on CCD chips more than CMOS.

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Lunar mineral turns up in Oz

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Tranquillityite: Love the name

Can we also find narrativium in the same deposits?

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Boffins glue self-righting ROBO-VELOCIRAPTOR tail to car

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Why not go for the Ankylosaurus wrecking ball. Just for the extra oomph!

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