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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2490 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Google Glassholes, GET OFF our ROADS, thunder lawmakers in seven US states

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Hmm,

This depends on the optics used. HUD and similar systems can produce images at infinity. HUD are considered safer than using the dashboard in Mach 2 fighters, it should be safer on the road, in principle. The Google glass display is well inside the 20-25cm near focus of most people, so it must use a similar "focus at infinity" optical solution as well.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Hmm,

Fair enough, there should be strong safeguards.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Hmm,

I could imagine making computerized goggles (google-goggles? (sorry)) which include night-vision, and which might assist the driver in paying better attention to dangers. It would be a shame to oust those. A HUD could be used for this as well, of course.

Banning ALL wearable computers sound a bit knee-jerk to me.

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This tool demands access to YOUR ENTIRE DIGITAL LIFE. Is it from GCHQ? No - it's by IKEA

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Schrödinger's needle?

The needle is only there when they observe it consciously, before that, the needles' waveform is spread out over all possible haystacks.

Sorry, couldn't resist. Mine is the one with the original manuscript "Towards a Quantum Mechanical Interpretation of Homeopathy" in the pocket

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Big Data? Yeah, nice buzzword. Give us the nuts and bolts this time

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Interesting piece

At the moment we are using a small group of 64-core Opteron compute servers just to develop new algorithms for big images, we also have a 3280 code cluster we use for testing distributed memory algorithms. This is our research side, production computing will be done elsewhere.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Interesting piece

We also run into problems of processing the data rapidly once they are in the processing nodes. Our big data typically consists of fewer HUGE chunks (gigapixel and even terapixel images), compared to many applications where the number of chunks is huge, but each chunk is fairly modest. In all cases there are big issues in feeding the data efficiently to the processing nodes, but in our case there is an additional problem parallellizing the actual processing, once it gets there. Fun problem, really.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting piece

Sounds like an interesting event. I have been a bit tired of the "big data" and "data mining will solve all your problems" hype. A more realistic discussion on aims, possibilities, difficulties, and limitations, that is very good news.

We have been doing some fairly big data work (in astronomical data sets and remote sensing), but until now did not use the term "big data". If people start using the term sensibly, I might start using it.

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Volunteers slam plans to turn Bletchley Park into 'geeky Disneyland'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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World class attraction

That phrase immediately sets of alarms. If you have a world class historical site, WHY do so many idiots feel the need to foist their vision of "a world-class attraction" on it. Sure, you can add meaningful entertainment to historical sites without spoiling it (I remember a castle in France which had installed a series of games in the courtyard, all either old, or meaningfully linked to the history of the place (like a simple game with toy crossbows, or an old variant of skittles). Really good sites allow at least a degree of exploration, allowing you to make up your own mind, and don't force one particular vision and one particular style down a visitor's throat. Why should Bletchley Park have problems with the different approach and attitude of the museum.

Someones ego needs deflation

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Stephen Fry rewrites computer history again: This time it's serious

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Somebody put it far better than I could...

Is Stephen Fry an AI?

He is, if AI stands for Amiable Idiot

(at least when it comes to many things technical)

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Behold the world's first full-colour 3D printer

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

So can they print rainbow ice-hockey helmets

In time for the Winter Olympics?

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China's Jade Rabbit moon rover might have DIED in the NIGHT after 'abnormality'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: In the words of Arnold J. Rimmer

Quagaars!!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

I ATEN'T DEAD!

Yutu might recover, lets keep our fingers crossed. A few comments to those trashing the Chinese effort:

1. I personally have yet to put anything on the moon, so therefore, I feel I am in no position to criticise their effort.

2. If you have achieved anything similar, and you know what the reason for the failure is, then I am sure you have something interesting to contribute, please do so!

3. "Simply copying" technology is rather harder than people think. Many think it is as easy as the copy-paste method of writing essays many students try (and all too frequently get away with).

4. Lunar dust is very, very nasty stuff. I have seen how very fine desert sand can get into anything and foul up even very well-built camera equipment. Lunar dust is worse.

5. The mission has been a pretty decent success so far: they landed successfully, they managed to get the lander working well in a very hostile environment, and they got good data and some nice images to boot. I'll drink to that any time

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Elderly Bletchley Park volunteer sacked for showing Colossus exhibit to visitors

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Appalling!

I feel like banging some heads together to make them see sense. Stop squabbling, stop acting like 5-year-old kids in a playground, and be of service to the community. Colossus and the H-blocks are an essential part of world history. They should be open to the public, they should be part and parcel of computing history as well.

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Altcoins will DESTROY the IT industry and spawn an infosec NIGHTMARE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: This one will run and run....

Tulip? Where's mister Pin then?

Where's my -ing coat, the one with "The Truth" in the pocket?

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A real life Romulan-Klingon alliance: Google, Samsung sign global patent pact

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Warp and cloak?

I prefer SEP field and bistromathics alternatives

Mine is the one with "Life, the Universe, and Everything" in the pocket

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Facebook debunks Princeton's STUDY OF DOOM in epic comeback

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Precisely. If the method of a scientific paper is shown to be wrong, the paper is wrong, i.e. its conclusions are flawed or unfounded. Once you have shown a conclusion is unfounded, you can safely ignore it, because it has been demoted from conclusion based on scientific method to opinion. The opinion could be right, of course, but without scientific backing it is just that, an opinion.

Attacking poor methodology is good practice in science. Much as I hate to come to the defence of anything Facebook, the data scientists are correct in attacking the method

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Snowden speaks: NSA spies create 'databases of ruin' on innocent folks

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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@ Charles Manning

I always tell my students when they have to do pattern recognition that adding hay does not make finding needles easier. Instead, use a magnet.

In almost all machine learning (or data mining if you will) good features that give a good (wide margin) boundary in the first place are what you should aim for. A few good (targeted) features in a simple machine learning tool generally give far superior results to poor features combined with more advanced machine learning methods. One key problem in this particular case is that you do not want (m)any false positives, (i.e. false accusations or suspicions), not just because of the risk of jailing or at least harassing innocent people, but also to prevent loads of unnecessary work for people following up on these false leads.

Thus any way in which you can reduce the probability of false positives is welcome. The simplest is to reduce the number of people under investigation in the first place. Using methods equivalent to the much reviled "wall-of-death" fishing methods, the risk of "collateral damage" as they might euphemistically call this is very real indeed.

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NASA's Opportunity rover celebrates 10 years on Mars with a FILTHY selfie

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Poor dusty rover

But what a tough little fella!! Next solar powered rover should be equipped with a shower (or blower or vacuum cleaner).

I'll celebrate its tenth anniversary in style this evening

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MPAA spots a Google Glass guy in cinema, calls HOMELAND SECURITY

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Overreaction indeed

They should simply have called the fashion police

Sorry, couldn't resist. I'll get me coat

No not the Armani one, the cheap one next to it please

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Mystery 'doughnut' materializes in front of Mars rover: 'OH MY GOD! It wasn't there before!'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

Re: If it moves again....

Moving would not necessarily be mysterious. If something took a bite out of it that would have people running for the hills (or rather, have Opportunity slowly trundling up the nearest slope).

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

10 years ...

Out of a planned 3 months. Hats off to the engineers!

(the Barmah again)

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CERN boffins fire ANTI-HYDROGEN BEAM

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

Re: Antimatter information that is newsworthy:

True, but you MUST reverse the polarity of the neutron flux!! Otherwise the described method is dangerous, and could lead to the end of the universe (again, sigh)

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Botnet PC armies gulp down 16 MILLION logins from around the web: Find out if you're a victim

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Überprüfen ist sehr einfach!

Ich hab es schon gemacht. Alles ist klar. *

But then I was taught German at school (mandatory subject here in the Netherlands).

The fact that the German government encourages use of PGP does not surprise me. Sceptics (or realists if you like) might argue this just means they can crack that, but the German government's attitude to privacy appears to be better than some others.

*= Checking is very easy. I have done it. All is clear.

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HP sticks thumb in Microsoft's eye, extends Windows 7 option for new machines

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: I'll wait for Windows 9

Could I have a dry keyboard please?

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Pint-glass-flashing FISHNAPPERS strike at Firefox daddy Mozilla

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: Taken for a Ride?

Not if they're large enough to bake.

I prefer poaching in white wine or a good fish stock

Mine is the one with Rick Stein's "Seafood" in the pocket

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Lenovo Yoga 10: Mediocre tech, yes, but beautifully fondleable

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice idea indeed. I still get by nicely on my Transformer pad with 1280x800. Higher res is nice, but not essential for most of my needs. I would miss the keyboard of the ASUS if I switched to this tablet, however.

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ESA rejoices as comet-chasing Rosetta probe wakes from 3-year nap

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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The money spent here is WAY less than on, say, a single B2 bomber.

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Good news: 'password' is no longer the #1 sesame opener, now it's '123456'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: It's not just about websites though is it?

Reminds me of the BOFH episode in which he recalls setting the minimum required password length to 32 and required users of said VMS system choose a new one each day (which meant they really had to use the password generator which gave results described as "vaguely pronounceable line noise". Now that's trying!.

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EE BrightBox routers can be hacked 'by simple copy/paste operation'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: EE?

Extremely Embarrassing also fits

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Look out, Earth! Here comes China Operating System (aka Linux)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: nice comment

Peruvian Operating System would have lead to a completely different comment of course

Sorry, I'll get me coat

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Rosetta comet chaser due to wake up for final rendezvous on Monday

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: Harpoons, eh?

Yes and the person who designed the harpoon was called Ahab

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MANIC MINERS: Ten Bitcoin generating machines

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Is it me?

I have this feeling that the safest way to make money out of bitcoins is to sell mining gear. Bit like selling mining gear during the gold rush of 1849. Sure, some miners struck it rich, but the people selling gear were profiting from all mining attempts, successful ones and flops alike.

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Mexican drink-driver shopped to cops - by his own gobby parakeet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: One Parakeet Fajita coming up

If you can make Fajitas de Pollo you can make Fajitas de Periquito. Bit fiddly to get all the bones out, unless of course you like your Fajitas de Periquito to be crunchy.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

One Parakeet Fajita coming up

It might be best for that bird to disguise itself

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Boffins find ALIEN WORLD orbiting the Sun's LONG LOST TWIN

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

They may be distant, but I'll give them a wave

The next time I look at M67 in binoculars (or through the scope).

It's the thought that counts

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Tales from an expert witness: Prior art and patent trolls

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Very interesting read!!

Thanks for that

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Modern spying 101: How NSA bugs Chinese PCs with tiny USB radios - NYT

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

To quote the king of the swamp in the Holy Grail

"Let's not bicker about who killed who"

Good guys or bad guys? I counsel impartiality: Do not trust any politician

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ASSAULT CORSE: Eager Walking Dead heads get a second series

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Corse?

With it's capital Ajaccio? Lovely seafood there

Sorry, mine is the one with the tourist guide to Corsica in the pocket

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Bloke hews plywood Raspberry Pi tablet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Brilliant idea!

Love the idea of having a wooden case. I have some birch plywood lying around which should be great for such a casing. Now to find a CNC router.

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Chinese Moon rover, lander duo wake up after two-week snooze

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Open question

It's called an alarm clock, made in China (just like the one next to my bed)

Sorry, couldn't resist. They could simply detect the end of the lunar night by the increased power of the solar panels. No clouds to get in the way.

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Coffee a memory enhancing drug, say boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Re: More important drink in the UK - Italian coffee?

Come and say that to my Italian PhD student (or my missus for that matter), you might get a response as depicted in the icon. ;-)

Curiously, people say I make very good coffee, but I will still opt for my tea (Keemun black for preference, or a good Assam or Darjeeling).

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: More important drink in the UK

Can't be too bad, given that tea also contains caffeine. I do not drink coffee, unless the alternatives are on a par with the poetry of the Azgoths of Kria (i.e. to me coffee is worse than Vogon poetry). Last time I drank coffee was 1986, around Xmas. It was Italian coffee, which according to all others present was excellent coffee, so apparently coffee is just NOT my thing. I do drink gallons of tea (Olympic swimming pools?) and apparently have very good memory (anecdotal evidence of course, I know).

The positive memory effects of tea and coffee can of course be negated by that other favourite drink, depicted above

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Hubble 'scope snaps 600-LIGHT-YEAR-wide pic of star-spawning nebula

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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It is really the scale that makes the Tarantula unique

An absolutely awesome image from Hubble again. The Tarantula Nebula (seen quite easily with binoculars from the southern hemisphere) is spectacular in its scale, but several other star-forming regions in our galaxy are of course much closer (the Orion Nebula, for example).

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Light, fast ... and pricey: Toshiba's Portégé Z30 – now THIS is an Ultrabook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Like the fact it sports Windows 7

and the fact is is so light. Other than that I much prefer the (beefier) Sony Vaio S series (the ones with nVidia graphics and 1600x900 res (CUDA user, and all that)).

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Woman whipped gun from vagina in SPACE ALIEN spat, reports Officer Zook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Never Mind The Bollocks

That sir, is a classic remark!

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Intel and Asus put the dual boot in, offer 2-in-1 lapslab WinDroid

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I am tempted

to strip out the win 8 and install a full-blown Linux on such a hybrid. My experiences to date with my transformer pad have been great, but a full LaTeX install and C(++) compiler would be nice on the road. My experiences to date with the Win 8 laptop have been less than stellar.

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Thought sales were in the toilet before? Behold the agony: 2013 was a PC market BLOODBATH

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Worst. Year. Ever.

For a given value of "ever". PC were pretty tough in the late iron age. To paraphrase Terry Pratchett: Try getting a druid to upgrade his 33 MegaLith system

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Two white dwarfs and superdense star. Yup, IDEAL for gravity lab in the sky - boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Interesting stuff

Also good to see the old Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope still going strong after so many years (first light was in 1970). It has undergone some major upgrades, of course.

As for quantum gravity, I am always a bit uncertain about that

Sorry, I'll get me coat

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ALIEN WORLD Beta Pictoris snapped by Earth's Gemini 'scope

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Great stuff!!

We live in wonderful times. I will lift a glass (or two) of Caol Ila malt whisky to that team tonight

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Intel ditches McAfee brand: 'THANK GOD' shouts McAfee the man

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Re: Worst software on the planet?

Ah, yes, should of thought of the various thermite variants (though a blow torch or lump-hammer are also choice stalwarts).

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