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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2490 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Boffins step closer to steam-powered Babbage computer

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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In the words of Deep Thought

"The Milliard Gargantubrain, A mere abacus"

(RIP Douglas Adams)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Or just use Parson's steam turbine

The Babbage engine in turbo mode

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Faster-than-light back with surprising CERN discovery

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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The difference in hours is explainable in core-collapse supernovae, because light gets absorbed and re-emitted many times before reaching the surface, whereas neutrino zip through the dense core matter. The currently observed effect would result in 4 years difference even in a nearby SN in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"Someone actually gave you a thumbs up for that?"

May have hit the wrong button ;-)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

One problem is the 1987 supernova

The neutrino burst from this was detected 3 hours before the first light, which was expected because the neutrinos travel from the collapsing core to the outside much faster IN THAT MEDIUM than the light. This is because the photons are constantly absorbed and re-emitted by all the nuclei and electrons in the dense stellar matter, whereas the neutrinos move like ghosts through everything. If the current difference is correct, the neutrinos should have arrived 4 years before.

Now these neutrinos may behave differently than the ones observed in OPERA, but it shows not all neutrinos move faster than light.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Re:Dude

The Dirac equation is a Taylor approximation of a relativistic Schrödinger equation. The latter is a non-relativistic equation. QM arose independent of Relativity (see Planck), and it is still not possible to combine general relativity with QM.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

I gather the result was six sigma

60ns measured, vs 10ns error. They also repeated the measurement 15,000 times. I agree there is room for systematic errors in the OPERA experiment, and we should simply wait for confirmation (or the reverse) from independent experiments.

It ain't over till the fat lady signs

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Boffins play ping-pong with single electron

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice boffinry

It would seem fitting that a game of ping-pong heralds a new type of computer.

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Acer Iconia A100 7in Android tablet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Sounds interesting. I might give this one a more detailed look.

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Mars trips could blind astronauts

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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My thoughts exactly

Does require an even bigger craft and thus even bigger rocket. It does seem to be a simple problem compared to shielding against cosmic rays and the like.

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Mathematicians slam UK.gov plans to fund statistics only

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I always expect the world to be abnormal

mine is the one with the nonparametric statistics book in the pocket

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

What are the odds of politicians making sense of pure maths?

Apparently vanishingly small. If you look at many of the current innovative technologies, so many derive from other fields of mathematics than statistics and applied probability the mind boggles at the sheer stupidity of this policy. We are currently working (amongst other things) on diffusion tensor imaging. Tensor maths are quite hard to get your mind around, but of outstanding use in e.g. finding out how the brain is wired (cheap shot: politician's brains contain serious wiring defects), apart from being of use in general relativity (hands up who does not use GPS).

Shortsighted policy? Willfully blind more likely.

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Dinosaur-murdering space boulder family found innocent

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

There is tangible proof of a massive impact

exactly on the K-T boundary. Paleontology that, not climate science. You are right in saying that the exact mechanisms of the extinction and the climate change as a result of the asteroid impact are speculative, but there is proof of massive forest fires in the fossil record. The estimate of the asteroid size (approx 5-10km, estimated from the impact crater remains) combined with the fact that the iridium-rich layer at the K-T boundary is found all over the world is powerful evidence that something affected the whole world just at the point dinosaurs went extinct. Bit of a coincidence that.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

So the result from the break up could still be out there.....

RUN FOR THE HILLS!!

Oh, wait.

GET BRUCE WILLIS INTO A SHUTTLE,

Darn, that wont work

WE'RE DOOMED, DOOMED

always a trusty fall-back

Explosion, because well ....

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'Angry Bird in the Sky' spotted by astronomers

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

That is fairly automatic these days

The Earth's rotation is the big one, but even my little equatorial mount can correct quite nicely for that. I think the 2.2 m is also on an equatorial mount. Nowadays, autotrackers are available for amateur scopes, so this big kind of scope should be fine. The Earth's movement around the sun has very little effect, the parallax created in one night or a few days is smaller than the point spread function of the optics.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Actually, the hard thing is to get a wide field

No zooming required with a telescope, but a big (268 megapixel or so) camera to get this wide (OK maybe it was not the 268 megapixel OmegaCAM, but still a biggie). The other hard part is collecting enough data, as these objects are faint. Hours of exposure are needed, and postprocessing to remove artifacts introduced imperfections in the camera (dark-current, hot pixels, slight differences in pixel sensitivity, and shading by the optics), and finally dynamic-range compression to show both he brighter and fainter parts in one shot.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

yes?

unless you had fun smoking whatever it was.

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World's Smallest Camera gives big snappers the finger

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Ye cannae change the laws of physics capt'n!

The smaller the camera, the smaller its aperture, the smaller the number of photons reaching the sensor. This causes an increase in photon noise. Though of course noise reduction techniques have improved, there is no substitute for more photons, and therefore a cleaner input image.

Still a cool looking little device. Could even be used by a playmobil puppet. Could this be useful for LOHAN? ;)

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Stallman: Android evil, Apple and Microsoft worse

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Comparatively measured statement

by Stallman's standards

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Apple makes a hash of password security (again)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Unless like me

you have put in a bios password, and set the boot sequence to HDD only. It will then not boot from CD USB or (heavens forbid) floppy (remember them). You can still open up the PC, zero the CMOS RAM by shorting it and try again, but that is not trivial to do without drawing some attention.

I still prefer my Linux, but the missus and the kids want their windows.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Or

just drop a book on the keyboard. new password owrfqjerlkcsm, which will be displayed as *************

:D

Maybe the BOFH will now allow shiny NEW macbooks in the workplace. The possibilities, the possibilities

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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that is just excellent

and not only just

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How to go from the IT dept to being a rogue trader

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Neat article

Maybe I should make this mandatory reading for the new business computing track in our curriculum

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Hunt for long-lost Apollo 10 moon lander adrift in space

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Don't bother

the hills will be vapourized as well

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Imagine if they had landed

"Hello Houston, this is Tranquility Base. Snoopy has landed"

Doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?

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ScaleMP (finally) glues together 128 Opteron servers

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Latency?

I tried running a nicely parallel shared memory workload (75% efficiency on 24 cores in a 4 socket opteron box) on a 64 core ScaleMP box with 8 2-socket boards linked by infiniband. Result: horrible. It might look like a shared memory, but access to off-board bits has huge latency.

BTW, I once got 110% efficiency on two cores, because the problem did not fit into the memory band of one socket, so spreading the workload over 2 cores or more reduced the latency nicely. Weird but true.

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Online gamers strike major blow in battle against AIDS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Cheers to them

Now there is a game worth playing! Excellent manners to give the gamers full credit.

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LOHAN deluged with Reg readers' interjections in REHAB

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

We used a metal thermos-flask from a department store to transport liquid nitrogen quite safely (when we were running a test for an infrared spectrograph. Never encountered any problems

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Blue Screen of Death gets makeover for Windows 8

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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My Windows 7 install has not shown BSODs yet, neither has my XP install on my decidedly aged laptop done so for years. Having said that, a smiley like that would not go far to improve my temper once it did happen. Seeing one in a demo of a product is perhaps not too odd, as it is probably still in beta. I will give MS the benefit of the doubt here. If the BSOD is not likely to pop up at all in the final product, I don't much care what it looks like.

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BOFH: I'll get my bonus even if it kills, well, someone

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Absolutely!

Reports like that are a clear case of write only memory

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Sixty-seven WIMPs spotted in the wild, maybe

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Fair enough

Several researchers have been looking to change our theory of gravity, and many more sense there is a paradigms shift coming up, given mismatches between theories and observation. Whether M-theory is the answer is another matter. However, if someone actually finds dark matter (or dark energy for that matter) it would be of great interest. Looking for something predicted by a theory sounds good science, provided you are open to an outcome which rejects your own most cherished theory.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

So WIMPs may beat MACHOs yet?

MACHO = MAssive Cold Halo Object, an alternative source of dark matter

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Science, engineering PhDs to drop by a third

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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An ex PhD student of mine

and a very talented one at that, avoided applying for a job in the UK because the salary is a pittance compared to similar posts in many places in Europe. He is not in science for the money, but He does expect to make a decent living.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

When you apply for PhD project funding

as I have done several times, you have to show what the impact will be in your own branch of science, in other fields of science, and preferably also in society (even in the distant future). If you cannot make a case for at least one of the latter two, it is much harder to get a grant. So instead of letting politicians decide which fields are deserving, why not let anyone apply who can make a good case for the usefulness of their research, whatever the field.

And please note that usefulness can include giving people better insight into sociology, history, art and literature as well. Not all "use" can be expressed in a currency which has an exchange rate with the euro/pound/US dollar you can look up on the net.

BTW, if anyone knows someone with a recent MSc in Computer Science, and is looking for a PhD position in Computer Vision, please direct them to

http://www.cs.rug.nl/~michael/HyperGAMMA

The position is still open.

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Scientists discover Tatooine-style world 200 lightyears off

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

It's because we play cricket

Just that

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Galaxy Tab remains illegal in Germany

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I forget who said it, but it is true

"If judges and professors were really that wise, they would need no gowns to prove it"

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UK, US ink boffinry pact on laser fusion 'star power'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I remember doing a project at school

about fusion. The said it was just a decade or two (three on the outside) away. That was 1978. Still, lets hope someone get fusion going (and not in an H-bomb, please).

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Early Earth’s ‘golden shower’

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

True, but

They might be persuaded by the dolphins

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

That was one from Magrathea too

mine is the one with a trilogy in 5 parts in the pocket

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

If you want a planet made of gold

just order one from Magrathea

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Hey Commentards! [This title is optional]

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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but we need bodies, preferably heavenly ones

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Terminator

May do the kicking?

May I? May I? May I?

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE?

Icon, because, well, obvious, innit?

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HP plucks webOS team out of departing PC division

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I do not think WebOS is a pile of junk

Maybe you are right that good people will leave, but WebOS is interesting. The big question is what to put it on. If HP can license it to hardware makers they could be on to something. Do not forget that there is a far bigger profit (margin) to be made on software than on hardware.

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Jeff Bezos' spaceship self-destructs in test flight

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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You mean

Playmobil, or it didn't happen

don't you?

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Sweden rolls out invisible infrared tank

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Or:

How not to be seen

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Teen tags disintegrating comet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Scientists are usually enthusiasts as well

Rigour need not be questioned. And anyway, Twitter is not meant to be used exclusively for meaningless chatter, as far as I know.

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Samsung outs MacBook Pro lookalike laptop

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Oh Please!!!!

Now I have this image of Steve Balmer in turtle neck sweater (and BOY will it be sweaty) bouncing around yelling "Developer, developers, developers,......."

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Dell Alienware M18x 18.4in gaming notebook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

That is not a moon!!

Having said that, why does the styling remind me of the cylons in the early Battlestar Galactica series?

Cool specs, but what a monster. Must start weightlifting to handle that beast

Alien, because well,....

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Acer claims first Core-i7 Ultrabook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Acer running Windows?

Not when I have finished installing Linux.

Only I wouldn't because it seems to lack a good enough video board for my kind of OpenCL and CUDA code. Shame that.

Mine is the one with the OpenCL reference card in the pocket

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You like Flash, you like cache: Put 'em together to form ...

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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You like Flash, you like cache: Put 'em together to form ...

Clash ?

Mine is the one with the "London Calling" CD in the pocket

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