Feeds

* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2527 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

'Angry Bird in the Sky' spotted by astronomers

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
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.

1
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

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.

0
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

yes?

unless you had fun smoking whatever it was.

1
0

Mathematicians slam UK.gov plans to fund statistics only

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
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.

9
0

World's Smallest Camera gives big snappers the finger

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

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? ;)

2
0

Stallman: Android evil, Apple and Microsoft worse

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Comparatively measured statement

by Stallman's standards

3
0

Apple makes a hash of password security (again)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

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.

0
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

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

0
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

that is just excellent

and not only just

0
0

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Neat article

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

1
0

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Don't bother

the hills will be vapourized as well

1
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Imagine if they had landed

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

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

3
0

ScaleMP (finally) glues together 128 Opteron servers

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

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.

0
0

Online gamers strike major blow in battle against AIDS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

Cheers to them

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

3
0

LOHAN deluged with Reg readers' interjections in REHAB

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
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

0
0

Blue Screen of Death gets makeover for Windows 8

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

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.

0
0

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Absolutely!

Reports like that are a clear case of write only memory

0
0

Sixty-seven WIMPs spotted in the wild, maybe

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
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.

3
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Boffin

So WIMPs may beat MACHOs yet?

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

0
0

Science, engineering PhDs to drop by a third

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

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.

0
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
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.

0
0

Scientists discover Tatooine-style world 200 lightyears off

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Alien

It's because we play cricket

Just that

4
0

Galaxy Tab remains illegal in Germany

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

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"

4
0

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

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).

1
0

Early Earth’s ‘golden shower’

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Alien

True, but

They might be persuaded by the dolphins

0
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

That was one from Magrathea too

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

1
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Alien

If you want a planet made of gold

just order one from Magrathea

11
0

Hey Commentards! [This title is optional]

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

but we need bodies, preferably heavenly ones

0
0
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Terminator

May do the kicking?

May I? May I? May I?

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE?

Icon, because, well, obvious, innit?

0
0

HP plucks webOS team out of departing PC division

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

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.

0
0

Jeff Bezos' spaceship self-destructs in test flight

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

You mean

Playmobil, or it didn't happen

don't you?

1
0

Sweden rolls out invisible infrared tank

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Or:

How not to be seen

1
0

Teen tags disintegrating comet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
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.

1
2

Samsung outs MacBook Pro lookalike laptop

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
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,......."

0
0

Dell Alienware M18x 18.4in gaming notebook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
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,....

0
0

Acer claims first Core-i7 Ultrabook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

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

0
0

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

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

Clash ?

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

0
0

Sharp shows off 8K4K hi-res prototype telly

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

I saw a similar high res machine on display

It was a 6k3k demo AFAIK. The models on display on it did not really like the result, as it showed all kinds of blemishes on the skin ordinary HD does not. Make-up artists will have to go to new lengths to keep Hollywood stars looking picture perfect (silicone skin anyone?)

2
0

Post-Jobs Apple: New research shows Cook will do fine

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

I would have thought

a big mouth and loud voice would do.

0
0

A Farewell to Oates: Adios, El Reg

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

So long and thanks for all the fish!

Raises glass

8
0

'Devastating' Apache bug leaves servers exposed

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

So what is the name of this Apache bug?

Geronimo?

Mine is the one with the Karl May books in the pocket

0
0

Woman in strop strip for Bermuda airport customs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Playmobil?

Or it did not happen

7
1

Nervous Samsung seeks Android Plan F. Or G, H ....

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Nah

There are plenty of Parks and Lees too.

0
0

Argentina: home of Bavarian lager

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Boffin

Yeast spores could potentially travel far

even by wind. So maybe this species of yeast is more widely spread than was thought.

1
0

Ofcom mulls smackdown for rogue religious TV channel

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

That could be seen as an instance of evolution in action

but then they would not believe you

and anyway, by NOT allowing this atheists (often) do have a strong sense of ethics, and thus show that atheism != satanism. This confuses the hell out of the more mindless type believers (which are the ones "self-selected" by this channel).

Note that I have quite a number of Christians, Jews, Hindus and Muslims as friends, and none are mindless (mindless believers (or atheists) I tolerate, rather than befriend)

0
0

Amateur balloonists hit record 40,575m above East Anglia

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

But they did get to the pub to finish their "work"

good planning, that

Beer icon, obviously

0
0

Boffins build powerful yet 'table-top size' atom-smasher

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

So we could have sharks

with frikkin' particle beams instead?

sounds cool

0
0

God particle back in hiding

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Just like quarks quirks have flavour

disappointment, in this case (also known as "rock bottom")

1
0

Afghan coppers trained with Playmobil

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Brilliant

You just cannot make up this kind of stuff!

0
0

LOHAN rival to inflate bulging orbs with hydrogen

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Mushroom

For added bang

fire the rocket payload straight up through the balloon.

I just like things that go WOOOMP

3
0