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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2529 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

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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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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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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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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2012: The year when smartphones become smart?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Megaphone

Sirius Cybernetics anyone?

"All the doors in this space ship have a happy and sunny disposition, it is their pleasure to open for you, and their satisfaction to close again with the knowledge of a job well done!"

I do not want chatty doors, intelligent elevators, and a computer who will get "one hell of a kick out of any program you choose to run through it." I want my machines to do my bidding, and not guess what I want, and then do it without my say so. Smart phones should look smart, but not try to be too clever for their own good.

I would rather have a chat with Marvin the Paranoid Android than have robots and computer like me.

RIP Douglas Adams

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KIBOSH 'non lethal' sticky-bomb hits a car, fills it with gas

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Black Helicopters

PTFE spray on your windows?

might be a countermeasure. Best simply not mess with the black ops guys.

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Man convicted of murder gets retrial after virus eats transcripts

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Facepalm

New excuse for kids: the virus ate my homework!

So they did not back up properly, and they did not have adequate anti-virus protection. Methinks Ms Cowart is not the only one who might be fired.

Monumental cock-up indeed.

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PayPal dispute ends in 'violin destruction'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

inimitable, that man!

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Microsoft celebrates the death of IE6

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Good riddance!

We had a website for a conference we were organizing, when people mentioned they could not read certain bits. We checked and rechecked our HTML (which we had run through various validators etc). We then asked what browser they were using: answer IE6. I forget which W3C standard made IE6 bork, but we could not be arsed to change it.

We simply added a statement stating that our site was optimized for Firefox/Opera/Safari/IE7 and left it at that. As it was a conference for computer scientists, we assumed they would be able to install a decent browser.

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Whale versus shark in KIWI DEATH MATCH!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

What the sharks really want is

FRIKKIN' LASERS!!!

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Humans, insects set to OBLITERATE frankincense supply

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

I'm incensed!!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I am actually allergic to the smoke of frankincense (a good reason to avoid certain churches and temples), but that does not mean I would like to see it disappear.

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Ofcom maps out what 'psychics' are allowed to do on TV

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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@Chris Miller

If you can afford that kind of kit, fine! Still, seeing a supernova with my own eyes beats googling for images of it (making your own images is a thrill, I know).

Alternatively, you move to southern France, where skies are clearer and frost is rarer (a man can dream).

A good remark I heard on stargazerslounge.com:

"There are people whose sleeping patterns are profoundly disturbed by the positions of moon and planets. Such people are called astronomers."

LOL

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Wishing on a star is astronomically stupid!

Lovely reading from the ofcom PDF:

“Advertisements for personalised and live services that rely on belief in astrology,

horoscopes, tarot and derivative practices are acceptable only on channels that are

licensed for the purpose of the promotion of such services and are appropriately

labelled: both the advertisement and the product or service itself must state that the

product or service is for entertainment purposes only”.

As an astronomer, I thoroughly endorse the notion that astrology is suitable for entertainment purposes only. Astronomy is better entertainment still, in my opinion, but I understand that not everyone wants to freeze their nadgers off while looking through a telescope.

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Plastic semiconductor makes solar cells more efficient

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

So zey are uzink ze dark quantum state, are zey?

Next, zey will be uzink ze dark light itself!!!!!!! (cue roll of thunder)

It vill all end in tears!!!

Otto von Chriek

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Duff Mars probe's flaming shards to rain down mid-January

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

And so it ends

not with a grunt but with 30 or so bangs.

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Nearest supernova since 1986 blasts boffin off her chair

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I observed this supernova for weeks

I got it with my 8" scope when it was at magnitude 11 (100x fainter than what the eye can see) and climbing, followed it through its maximum at mag 10 (visible in binoculars), and back down to just mag 13 (630 fainter than the naked eye kan see). It was amazing. The kids also had a peak and did their best to wake the neighbours with their shouts of "We've seen a supernova! We've seen a supernova! We've seen a supernova!"

Really neat to see such a bright one. It is odd to think all heavier atoms in your body were forged in the furnace of the core of a star, and that everyone is a supernova remnant.

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Woz's key to success: Burn the tie, wear T-shirts to work

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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@Ken 16

Woz said: "let people wear what they like" he did not say: " everybody must wear T-shirts". If you feel good in a suit, wear it! If you don't, no worries. That is pretty much the attitude in our research school. I only wear a suit at BSc, MSc and PhD graduation ceremonies. Suits are to warm and stifling for me, others like them.

Authority is obtained through force of personality, prior achievements, and (most importantly!!) through the quality of arguments given, but not through suit and tie. Again, this is a research setting. Quite a few businesses work differently. They should make up their own minds whether an informal dress code would suit them.

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Paul Allen latest plan: Space rockets on MEGA PLANE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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And only call off the lawyers when they promise to call it

LOHAN-2

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Codefinger: Brilliant

Elon Musk has the better Bond-villainesque name however.

Now where has that white Persian cat gone?

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Google gives £550k to Bletchley Park

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Good for Google

Given the importance to code-breaking history, should MI5/6/insert number here not contribute. Or maybe they did but want to keep that secret (force of habit, presumably)

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Google promises 0.001 of revenue to free the slaves

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Agreed

They did not have to do that, but they did. Well done.

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Nokia exec: Young fashonistas 'fed up' with iPhone

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Precisely

And the Windows brand is the first name that comes to mind when "security" is mentioned.

I wonder why?

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Jimbo Wales ponders Wikipedia blackout

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Wikipedia on strike?

Why does this remind me of the national philosophers' strike proposed by Vroomfondel and Majikthise. Deep Thought's answer is memorable:

"And, pray, who will that inconvenience?"

In this case the answer must be school kids and students who now have to look for original sources themselves (tip: try the library, you know, the place with all them books ;-) ).

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RIM execs chewed through restraints after in-flight fracas

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Maybe it was RIM's equivalent of the BOFH and PFY

they hacked into the navigation system before they were completely pissed out of their skulls. They would also go on junkets for the express reason to become plastered

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Because many of us can handle it

I have regularly had a beer or wine with a meal, or a little night cap before sleeping on a plane, and never thrown any kind of tantrum on board. Why should I be denied that because some goons in suits get plastered?

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Churlish gadget cusses those who use it

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Reg Hardware Award Candidate?

See title

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Beeb rescues old Who episodes

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

But, couldn't they just ask the doctor?

........................................

What!? You mean it's not real?

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Dell XPS 14z 14in Core i5 notebook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Looks like a candidate

to replace my aging Vaio SZ. Quite compact but with a decent (NVidia) graphics card. Could do some CUDA/OpenCL stuff on that.

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