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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2356 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

LG G Flex: A new cheeky curvy mobe with a 'SELF-HEALING' bottom

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Rulers obsolete

"It will make a great (if rather expensive) desktop catapult."

Note to self: Mustn't read this kind of thing when sipping tea behind the keyboard

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Do Not Track W3C murder plot fails by handful of votes

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: The N in DNT is NOT

Which bit of DO NOT TRACK don't you ad-monkeys understand?

The word "NOT", apparently (or at least not in this context)

None are so deaf as those who do not want to hear

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Cinnamon Desktop: Breaks with GNOME, finds beefed-up Nemo

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting to see the separation from Gnome

Might give it a shot on my Linux machines

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I am a recovering Superwoman wannabee

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Also Don't forget!

Very true.

I (like many men nowadays) take quite a big share in housework, getting the kids to school, helping them with homework, cooking, besides working full time. My wife also works nearly full time so it can become a rat race for both of us. At some point you simply need to say: there are 24 hours in a day, and not all of them should be filled with duties. I have learned to say: "Hang this, I have done as much as could humanly be expected or more, I am now taking time off for my own hobbies" (stargazing: superbly relaxing, it really puts things in perspective). What helps is to focus on what you have accomplished, not on the list of chores that still has to be done.

Not always easy.

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Only a merciful BULLET can really save a RHINO, say Texas hunters

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Alternatively

they might be encouraging evolution in different directions such as

- the ability to dodge bullets

- better armour plating

- the ability to stalk Texans with guns and trample them before they had a chance to turn around

- better camouflage

- the ability to play dead, wait until some bastard tries to take a snap with his foot on your head, and then POUNCE

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Texans propose solution involving guns

If you had told this story as a joke people would say (quite rightly) you were stereotyping Texans. It just goes to show, truth is at times stranger (and more stereotypical) than fiction.

I have seen an interview with the proposers on the Colbert Report. The interviewer didn't have to ridicule the interviewee, as the interviewee was doing such a sterling job of making a fool of himself already.

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In a meeting with a woman? For pity's sake DON'T READ THIS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Sorry, could you repeat that story?

I wasn't paying attention

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SEX CRAZED FISH keeping hapless Southamptonites awake

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Re: @Joefish

Depth-charges anyone?

I am wondering if the humble gurnard might be to blame. Their Dutch nickname "knorhaan" (grunting cock (seriously!)) refers to their habit of making quite loud noises under water.

Quite tasty, and excellent in bouillabaisse.

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Coding: 'suitable for exceptionally dull weirdos'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Mushroom

That guy doesn't even know what an ID10T error is

I code,

I teach,

I even teach coding, if you must

I actually teach programming, which only needs coding the way a car designer needs to know the best shape for a wheel. Coding is a tool to turn algorithms into programs, or put differently, to turn your thoughts into actions. The real hard work is to crack a problem, to define exactly what must be done to solve it. This is a skill that everybody needs at some level. Turning the result of that analysis into code is comparatively easy (but also teaches a high degree of discipline in execution, which isn't a bad lesson either).

Regarding the idea of being an exceptionally boring weirdo:

I have been called exceptionally loud/weird/funny/smart/tiresome and a whole lot of other things

But never boring, never boring

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Vulture 2 paintjob: Four-year-old nipper triumphs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Excellent selection!

I tip my hat to the little felt-tip prodigy who came up with it (it's the roo leather Barmah again (the hat, that is))

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Swedish teen's sex video fine slashed: Unwilling co-star girlfriend furious

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: Or perhaps the judges are a little more discerning about videoing their sexual romps

Possibly, but some of us old fogies also know the interwebs, plus we might have paid someone to do a background check on the web (quite common these days). If her name comes up in the newspapers (not sure about that) even stuffy old gits who still read only broadsheet newspaper (i.e. newspapers as the Lord intended them ;-) ) might catch on.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Or perhaps the judges are a little more discerning about videoing their sexual romps

I also have difficulty with the argument given by the court. Arguing that modern youth in Sweden is quite relaxed about these matters is largely irrelevant, as the video is posted world-wide, and not just to her own age group. If she wants to seek employment in Sweden, she will typically be interviewed by older people, who do not necessarily hold the same views.

This gets worse if she wants to seek employment abroad (this apparently does happen, although certain judges might not be aware of it). I cannot imagine employers from the US (to pick a country totally at random) having the same tolerant attitude to this kind of thing as they might have in Sweden.

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Hey coders – get a sense of hUMA: AMD to free GPU from CPU slavery

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Sounds very interesting

Anything that allows more flexible access to all this compute power would help extend the raneg of algorithms you could run on them.

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Bacteria-chomping phages could kill off HOSPITAL SUPERBUGS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Boffin

Interesting, but...

As others have stated there is a host of prior research on this.

I have done some modelling and simulation research, which shows that the presence of non-host bacteria (i.e., not the target of the phage) can scupper its attempts to fight the pathogen. I called this effect the "decoy effect". In complex bacterial ecosystems such as the intestines, the harmless bacteria can easily outnumber the harmful ones by a huge factor.

There are quite a few observations support this idea, showing that phage treatment, or treatment with bacterium-eating bacteria such as the wonderfully named Bdellovibrio bacteriovorax (there is also a Vampirococcus) help most in those cases when the host microflora is absent or is outnumbered (see M.H.F. Wilkinson, Predation in the presence of decoys: an inhibitory factor on pathogen control by bacteriophages or bdellovibrios in dense and diverse ecosystems. J. Theor. Biol., (2001) 208:27-36. Pre-print version available in PDF (292 kB)).

This does not mean the opportunities offered by phages should not be researched. We should not expect them to solve every (bacterial) ailment. Personally I think we will keep having to find new antimicrobial strategies. It is a case of what in evolution is called the "Red Queen Effect": you have to run just to keep in the same place, in terms of fitness.

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Last living NEANDERTHALS discovered in JERSEY – boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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People share 96% (or so) of DNA with bonobos, so everybody shares more with Neanderthals. I think what is meant that around 1 - 4% of DNA of people outside of Africa has similarities with Neanderthals which people in Africa lack. Several recent studies claim that the similarities stem from a shared ancestor, rather than hybridization. The alternative is that the similarities stem from a mixture of both.

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METEORITES, not MEN, are FROM MARS: NASA rover's shock discovery

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Boffin

Do women really want to be from Venus

I wonder if women putting forward that men are from Mars, women are from Venus have thought this one through. It suggests men are from a planet which is fairly cold, has a thin atmosphere, but is not totally inhospitable. Various robots set down on its surface which work for years on end, it is that hospitable.

By contrast, Venus is a positive hell: the atmosphere is highly acidic (containing sulphuric acid), the temperature is high enough to melt lead, and the pressure is high enough to crush any probe sent there. Thus, saying women are from Venus associates women with acid, molten lead, and unbearable pressure.

Is that really the message they want to send? ;-)

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Now that's real science: CYBORG MONKEYS with PROSTHETIC ARMS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

For some reason

I am reminded of words I heard ever so often in my childhood:

"Steve Austin, a man barely alive..."

Am I the only one?

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WhatsApp crypto snafu drops trou on users' privates

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Facepalm

Hey, guys! There is this thing called TLS!

Let's not use it and develop our home-brew crypto. That's bound to be safer

Encryption 101: don't think your roll-you-own solution is going to be better than strong ones others have already thought about; 999 times out of 1000 you are dead wrong. Sure, there may be weaknesses in existing crypto, but who says there aren't worse weaknesses (not to mention gaping holes) in yours. When you develop something new, it is up to you to prove it is better.

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Gates, Zuckerberg to deliver free coding lesson

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: @jake @WhoaWhoa (was: One hopes ...)

Old git 1: What's all this talk about newfangled ideas such as programming languages?

Old git 2: When I was a lad, all we had was assembly

Old git 1: Luxury! All we had was machine code, and we loved it!

Old git 3: Machine code! We would have loved to have access to machine code! We had to wire up our computer correctly to get anything done!

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Snowden: NSA whacks US in the WALLET, slurps millions of contacts books

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Thanks NSA, you're smashing

Doronron, that is brilliant! I raise my hat to you (the roo-leather Barmah today)

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MS Word deserves DEATH says Brit SciFi author Charles Stross

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Re: @LDS (was: Yes, Word is the worst word processor....)

LaTeX indeed

I was forced to use Word for a scientific conference recently. I sent two colleagues the last version I edited, and all equations are promptly scrambled (by saving from Office 2010 in .doc format as required by the conference). I then import the file in an old 2003 install, and save again, my colleagues now get the whole thing more-or-less right. I submit, and various bits get screwed up in the publishing process. AARGH!

I now bin any request to write a paper in Word instantly. With LaTeX, I can collaborate with people all over the world, and it just works! The typesetting is also WAY better. For version control (also for ASCII) use Subversion or any source-code version-control tools you like.

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Twitter-mad twits trade 14 million shares in BANKRUPT zombie biz

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: "BANKRUPT zombie biz"

no, No, NO!!!

Zombies like people with BRAINS!!!!

Twitter likes people without

as do many salesmen

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COMET DIAMONDS from SPACE found in Libya's glass desert

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: I call hypegasm

Agreed, collecting pristine cometary material is far removed from stuff that entered our atmosphere and was subjected to a tremendous pummelling.

After all, scientists want to do the pummelling themselves. Much more fun (and you can control the pummelling).

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Wheels literally FALL OFF solar race contender

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

No wonder the Dutch know how to make the most of sunlight

They have to make do with so little at home

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Down with Unicode! Why 16 bits per character is a right pain in the ASCII

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Getting rid of UTF????

Hmm, EBCDIC

Now that takes me back

Back to the days of our CDC computer with its 6-bit bytes organized into 60 bit words using A STUPID FORM OF ASCII MORE-OR-LESS BUT WITH ONLY CAPITALS

Bliss? no, not at all. At least we no longer had to work with punched cards

Icon? Closest thing to "old git in reverie mode" icon

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: ... their half dozen terminal sessions.

HALF dozen? HALF dozen??

I trust you mean half dozen on each desktop!!!

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BOFH: Welcome to Helldesk, ma'am, may I take your bags?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

"

summary execution as the preferred method of sorting out paper jams,

Ah, if only...

"

You mean, there is another way?

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You put up with CRAPPY iOS 7. You can put up with Obamacare too, says prez

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

Brilliant, Velv!

Darn, do I have keyboard insurance?

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Britney-obsessed Ubuntu 13.10 DUMPS X Windows-killer Mir in desktop U-turn

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

No 3D Gestures in Wayland?

Why is the first 3D gesture that springs to mind a two-fingered salute.

Maybe something to do with that short message from Intel to Canonical about Mir

Just maybe

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Bang away – just not 'with friends', Zynga tells naughty hookups app

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Mushroom

Can you be voted "Best Bang since the Big one"

or does that title firmly belong to Zaphod Beeblebrox?

Icon, well, because I like things that go bang

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So sad about the NSA web-spying bombshells - but think of the MONEY!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Puts a whole new spin of the Trusted Computing Platform

doesn't it

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NASA's search for habitable planets maps ALIEN CLOUD-WORLD

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

The stable cloud patter might be due to some form of tidal locking of the planet, so the same side always faces the star, but maybe that does not work on "hot Jupiters" as they are known (I thought Jupiter was always hot (or should that be "had the hots", given his mythological exploits with the opposite sex).

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LIVE, my beauty, LIVE! Nokia revives dead phone with LIGHTNING powered Frankencharger

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Devil

BOFH time

Let the boss blow up his mobile phone by assuring him that the cattle prod (beefed up) is the latest charger. Ultra-fast on the go for busy executives who cannot afford to wait for their phone to charge

Darn, still no BOFH icon.

Oh well

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'Modern warming trend can't be found' in new climate study

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

May be we should not blame CO2

Hot air emissions by politicians might be far more hazardous!!

Maybe the Eastern Mediterranean and European Lowlands have suffered from this type of emission for longer.

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Our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane: Intimate snaps

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Regarding the efficiency (or not) of the rough surface...

It turns out that what you really need is a tiny layer of turbulent flow, that more-or-less acts as a layer of ball bearings for the laminar flow layer above, to lower drag. Getting the layer thick enough to work, but thin enough not to cause severe turbulence which may lead to much worse resistance is indeed not trivial at all, and the correct roughness also depends on speed. You would probably need extensive (and expensive) wind-tunnel testing to get it right.

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ZERO-G DINOSAUR made from bits and bobs by space station flight engineer

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Next project...

Sounds like a job for dr. Bunsen Honeydew

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NSA in new SHOCK 'can see public data' SCANDAL!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

They could use Lord Vetinari's argument

He stated that it makes more sense to spy on friends than on enemies, because you already know what your enemies think of you. By contrast, understanding your friends better by spying on them makes you even better friends.

So really, the NSA want to be your friend

Really

Honestly

We are only spying on you for the best reasons possible

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LOHAN rocket motor igniter goes pop at 20,000m

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

Love these reports

Great stuff from the special projects bureau

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WET SPOT found on MARS: NASA rover says 'high percentage'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

I might consider going

If they find Martian beer (or vodka)

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Douglas Adams was RIGHT! TINY ALIENS are invading Earth, say boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Boffin

Diatoms, its full of diatoms!

That picture is definitely a diatom. We did a project on automatic identification of diatoms together with a number of diatomists, and I have seen loads of these creatures. The specimen is too damaged fr our software to handle, but I bet the people we worked with could tell you which species it is.

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Cold-blooded, INHUMAN visitor hitches ride on NASA moon rocket

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

"Likely to be injured"????

Likely to be toast, with that amount of fire.

Poor fritter, I mean critter!

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Massively leaked iFail 5S POUNDS pundits, EXCITES chavs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Hatstand

Great word, isn't it. As an alternative, you could use the Dimwell Street expression "cup and plate", as in

"He is a bit cup-and-plate in the head" (attributed to senior postman Groat)

Mine is the one with "Going Postal" in the pocket

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NASA: Humanity has finally reached into INTERSTELLAR SPACE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

Re: They just don't build 'em like they used to.

I watched its launch on TV, followed its progress past the planets, had a whole set of NatGeo magazines devoted to Viking, Pioneer, and Voyager probes. Great days, and still these probes carry on. Hats off and raise our glasses to all those people who made this possible

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Steelie Neelie calls for TOTAL BAN on EU mobe roaming charges

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Her actions so far have lowered my bill considerably, while using more data abroad. If she keeps up her track record, she gets my thumbs up!

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Should Nominet ban .uk domains that use paedo and crim-friendly words?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Childcatcher

Hmm,

So admirers of hobby hawks are suspicious.

Deary me, what has the world come to.

If you ban innocuous words which are used by some as code words, they will simply use other code words. Ban those, and you will iterate the whole English Dictionary away very soon

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Brit and Danish boffins propose NSA-proof crypto for cloud computing

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: For All of your Secret Intelligence Service Security Needs and Feeds ......Ab Fab Fabless Seeds

I think you're hiding something

;-)

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400 million Chinese people can't speak Chinese: Official

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Big Brother

We have ways of making you speak Chinese

I bet you do

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Kamikaze Moon mission on track as NASA grips its tumbling LADEE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Mushroom

PLEASE

Don't let the tinfoil-hat brigade now say that the faint glow on the horizon spotted by astronauts can be seen on images and proves that the moon landings were faked.

I nagged my parents at age 7 to be allowed to stay up late to see the landing on the moon. They allowed me to see it, and it was awesome to see it. I positively loath the deniers, despite all the evidence from non-NASA sources (ask people at Jodrell Bank and others). It is so annoying to hear these narrow-minded idiots deny one of mankind's greatest achievements.

</rant>

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Five SECRET products Apple won't show today

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Next

the iCannotBelieveItsNotAnApple

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Vulture 2 autopilot reports for duty

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Reprogramming

Methinks somebody forgot the tinfoil hat

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