1554 posts • joined Wednesday 10th June 2009 11:28 GMT
Re: Hyperbole much? @Dave 126
I'm sure you're right about "Malnutrition, death, and horror" in some parts of the world. That's basically the same view Thomas Mathus espoused.
I'm also sure that you're wrong about large other parts of the world. 50 years ago, you'd surely have predicted the worst for Latin America: poor, run by dictators, and overwhelmingly Catholic, a religion that opposes birth control. Since then, population growth has slowed dramatically. The best extrapolation has it reaching zero by 2050.
There's also the Chinese approach, where having more than one child was criminalized. We can never know whether the Chinese would have curbed their fertility voluntarily, given female education and access to birth control. Also we will never know whether it saved (or will save) China from population control by famine.
Re: Erm, magnetic charges?
I've always thought that Maxwell's equiations should be written with a term for the density of magnetic monopoles. They are far more symmetrical and elegant that way. Add a statement that magnetic monopoles have never been observed, and that for all everyday purposes this density is everywhere equal to zero, leading to the common formulation of the equations.
On the other hand, cosmologically, in a universe having 4-spherical topology, there must be at least one monopole somewhere, or else magnetic fields could not exist at all.
Re: Historical record
If it was something naked-eye visible and of duration >24 hours, it would have been seen globally and recorded by quite a few civilisations more advanced than the Europeans at that date. China, for example.
Unless, possibly, it was in the Southern hemisphere near the (celestial) South pole. Could that have escaped notice?
Re: Terrestrial origin
If so, one would expect many other radio-isotopes to be anomalous. I'd rather expect someone to have noticed the evidence of atmospheric H-bomb testing during the dark ages in (say) skeletons, but I guess it might be masked by the evidence of atmospheric H-bomb testing during the cold war.
Re: Gamma ray burst ?
Would have had to have been a very small one. we don't know enough about GRBs to know if a small one is possible. A regular-sized one, of the sort we observe from cosmologically distant galaxies, would sterlilize the entire galaxy within which it occurred. The biosphere-killing mechanism is atmospheric ionisation, leading to the creation of huge amounts of Nitrogen Oxides, followed by deadly acid rain and ocean acidification.
A GRB in Andromeda?
Re: Won over? Really ?
We never did get to find out what would have happened if it was ME or ditch Microsoft.
We never did get to find out what would have happened if it was Vista or ditch Microsoft. (Yes, I know Windows 7 is pretty much Windows Vista properly debugged. XP had a fairly Vista-like start as well.)
This time? Who knows. DEC managed to kill itself, at the third or fourth try.
Re: Just Geddit People!
Not true. Linux is a lot cheaper than half the price, and a lot more than half-decent, so it should have put Microsoft and Apple both out of business.
Win 7 UI works as well as XP. It P*ssed me off simply because it was different, so I had to spend time out from thinking about the work and start thinking about the s*dding interface again. I'm over that now. Same as learning to drive a new car, but worse, because a desktop UI has a lot more controls than a car.
Metro is far, far worse. It's an enforced paradigm switch. That can only make friends when everyone who uses the old one is crying out, "there has to be a better way", and you supply the better way. And even then ... everyone knows what is said about better mouse-traps, and that it's not true.
Metro fails at the first. It's not better. It's a huge leap backwards. It's the equivalent of taking away the pedals and controls that are universal on all modern cars, and re-introducing the pedals and controls from a model-T Ford.
Re: for users equipped with mouse and keyboard this feels wrong...
Indeed. Note that Apple have a different UI on the iMac compared to the iPad. They know that they are two completely different classes of devices and users. The iMac one is not unlike "classic" Windows XP or 7.
(Amazing. Microsoft has managed to make me say something nice about Apple! )
Truth in naming
ME - a nasty debilitating illness. Yup.
Vista - means excrement in Sanscrit (allegedly). Yup.
Metro - anagram of Morte. Dead. Yup.
Is this the same RBKC
Is this the same RBKC that two or three decades ago, demolished its old town hall building in the middle of the night when it heard that the folks trying to preserve this attractive and historical piece of architecture might manage to get it listed?
Of course, that was when RBKC was going to benefit by selling the site to a property developer. Wonder who else benefitted?
You'd have to be the CIO of a company worth billions to get past his e-mail filter. You'd probably have to add another order of magnitude to get past his PA.
Anyway, it's completely clear from MS's strategy that HE thinks WE are fucking nuts. We'd do better mailing the Microsoft analysts at the big investment houses. Get rid of Ballmer before he kills the golden goose!
Can I mount a Rasberry Pi in Duplo blocks?
Gnome 3 really p*ssed off Gnome 2 users because it went against the whole Open Source ethos by denying them CHOICE. The Choice to stick with Gnome 2, or to instal both Gnome 2 and Gnome 3 on the same system until they decided which they liked most. It's as if Microsoft had inflicted the Metro UI on us not as a new product (which is bad enough) but as an automatic upgrade to Windows 7. Gnome should have forked Gnome 3 and looked for a new maintainer or developer for the Gnome 2 project.
However, although Gnome made life hard for Gnome 2 users, there is still choice. Scientific Linux, Centos and RHEL6 all stuck with Gnome 2. There's Cinnamon. There's Trinity Desktop (which is derived from KDE 3, but I believe that it can happily coexist with KDE 4). There are more than a few other window managers.
In the Windows world, there's no choice, just whatever UI Microsoft supplies.
Doomed to failure?
Microsoft are not doomed until their customers realize that there's nothing left for them with Microsoft, and start moving to Apple or to Linux. So far they're only at ther stage of bitching loudly and hoping, praying, that someone at Microsoft will listen.
Microsoft will be doomed the day they announce the Windows 7 support termination date with only Windows 8 as an upgrade path. On that day IT departments all over the place will commit to their plan B and it'll all be over for Microsoft.
If Microsoft shareholders are smart, Ballmer will have been sacked before then, and the new boss's first pronouncement is that Windows 7 will be maintained until there is something acceptable to replace it with.
Don't go OTT. It's slightly less than half a Saturn V.
Re: Fedora is all very nice and all...
The nice thing about Linux is that if you don't like a UI, you can choose another one. It's easier with some distros than others, but there again one has a lot of choice of distro.
Think I'll be checking out Mint shortly. Also on my list are Trinity (UI derived from KDE3) and Cinnamon (classic Gnome UI implemented with Gnome 3 libraries). The reactionary distro is Scientific Linux (or Centos or RHEL6) which still use Gnome 2 and promise several more years support.
Still think that whoever inflicted the Gnome 3 "everything is a tablet" interface on us ought to face a long time in purgatory. About as much time as he or they wasted of other people's lives, preferably forced to work 24/7 with a truly diabilical ever-shifting omni-awful UI that looks a bit like Metro, but works less well.
Re: the EULA is worth jack shit
Does the USA allow one to waive one's legal rights in this way? Or at all?
Also given the nature of lawyers in general and USA lawyers in particular, I wonder if Microsoft won't be facing a class action lawsuit from the legal profession concerning this nefarious attempt to prevent citizens from asserting their legal rights, thereby depriving lawyers of their right to profit thereby? Sooner rather than later?
What the UK should have done
Why haven't we (the UK) obtained an assurance from the Swedish authorities that Assange will be returned to British jurisdiction if he so desires, after he is found not guilty by a Swedish court, or after he serves his sentence in Sweden if he is found guilty?
That would kybosh all the conspiracy stuff about it being a front for extraditing him to the USA, and clear the path for an allegation of sexual misconduct to be dealt with in the proper way. (I don't say "rape" because what I've read suggests it isn't. Statutory rape, maybe). It could also have been done in days.
If course if the Swedes refused this, it would prove the conspiracy!
Smart Geeks also don't do work that gives anyone a reason to kill them.
I can't remember where I first read it, but the all-time classic along this line involves pure mathematics. If you were to find a fast algorithm to factorize a huge number into its only two prime factors, your only hope (other than keeping it secret to your grave) would be to spam your paper as far and wide as you could, and then go into hiding for a few months until the powers that be worked out that it could not ever be suppressed.
Most mathematicians believe such an algorithm to be impossible. If there are any that justifiably think otherwise, they have good reason to keep quiet about it!
Not that bad, probably
As far as we know the density of gram-sized dust in interstellar space is low enough that one wouldn't hit one (to a high degree of probability).
Much smaller dust would be dangerous. Carrying your reaction mass as ice frozen into a long thin cylinder with the crew quarters at the back end ought to work, as long as none of the incoming dust generated enough energy to blow the whole mass to pieces, or enough gammas to fry the crew.
Re: A journey to Alpha Centauri
Or, we discover a way to tap zero-point energy. The Casimir effect proves that this is not an outright impossibility. We just have to do it very many orders of magnitude better (or find out why it's not possible).
SF: "Songs of Distant Earth", A C Clarke.
Re: What I really don't want to imagine
History would repeat. the colonists would want their independance. Classic SF: "The Moon is a harsh mistress" (Heinlein) and "A Fall of Moondust" (A C Clarke).
Earth would lose. We're at the bottom of the gravity well, they're at the top.
Actually, not. You use inverse-squares. Keep the crew quarters a good long way away from the (unshielded) reactor. With micro-G acceleration, a boom can be very long and very thin. Or you use an unmanned nuclear tugboat and a very long string.
If you meant rad-shielding against solar flares, that's a bigger problem. Although with nuke propulsion, you can probably afford a large cylindrical mass to put between the crew refuge and the sun.
I'd suggest hobbyists, or anyone else who doesn't actively want to restrict their software to Windows 8, take a look at an open widget kit. Qt is awesome. WxWidgets is easier to get started with. There's also Tcl/Tk.
While you're at it, dump the MS languages and learn Python, or some other open scripting language.
Then your app should work on pretty much any flavour of Windows or Linux or Mac, and you won't be helping Microsoft to lock anyone else into their walled garden/ prison.
Please, PLEASE someone post a link to the draft standard with all the possibilities in it!
I wonder if there is a huge list of $ANIMAL on road for all likely and unlikely values of large mammal, bird or reptile? I wonder if there is one for the peculiarly English "Police holding up traffic so mother and baby ducks /swans can cross the road"?
Re: Deja vu from recent Reg headlines
Did he ever say he hated styli? Or just that he hated devices that needed a (device-specific) stylus?
If the latter, I'm with him. One should be able to use any not-very-pointed stick. I find a Bic Biro with the cap on almost perfect, and cheap enough to lose one daily without caring.
The thing I've never understood is what's wrong with an ordinary stylus?
Its key advantage over a finger is very simple. It has a point. Not sharp enough to damage the touch-screen, but sharp enough to interact to millimeter precision. For some modes of use, an un-augmented finger is too blunt an instrument.
And its disadvantage? It gets lost.
I 'd solve this problem the same way I solve it with everyday writing implements. Make them cheap and make there be lots of them lying around. In fact with my (not-very-smart) touch-screen phone, it's a biro (with the cap on) that I use to control it most of the time, reserving the pull-out telescopic stylus for times when there's no biro to hand. The phone is supposed to be finger-operable, but I find it so much easier using a biro.
I can see that the haptic stylus might be a plus for certain minority categories of usage and user. For most of us, a biro will suffice. You can also use it to write on paper!
Mr. Biro should be proud. His invention may outlast the everyday using of paper.
Re: The problem is kiloWatt-hours
Emphatically not. Energy = Power times time. Kilowatts times hours for this unit. It should help remind anyone with a few brain cells to spare that the cost will relate to the power of the appliance multiplied by the amount of time it's turned on (or unnecessarily left on).
It's not a metric unit, but it's a useful one. Are the metrication fanatics seriously contemplating abolishing the hour, day and year (and birthdays!) and measuring time exclusively in kilo- mega- and giga-seconds? If not, they should accept the logical consequences, that units with time measured in hours or days may make a lot more sense in appropriate contexts.
Even scientists do this. When it comes to the distance of stars and galaxies, they work in Light-Years, not petameters (and exa- and zetta- and yocta- ). Why? Because the light-year makes perfect sense in cosmological terms. Ten billion light-years means what you are looking at happened ten billion years ago, when the universe was much younger.
FTL Travel and Time travel are effectively the same thing (if General Relativity is right). Both are impossible, at least for anything larger than a subatomic particle, if current physics is correct.
Uploading consciousness is not believed to be impossible. We simply don't know. Perhaps there is a fundamental problem (consciousness *may* be a quantum phenomenon). Perhaps not. It may be a mere technological problem, that will be solved within decades or centuries.
The "hardest" SF doesn't wilfully break the generally believed laws that govern our universe. It runs with them.
Energy / Power isn't complicated
It's just taught badly.
Everyone has an intrinsic feel for water, so do it this way. Energy is the total amount of water that goes down a pipe. Power is the rate at which it does so.
A toilet is high power, but flushes don't last long. A dripping tap is low power, but over a day will expend more water than flushing a toilet.
Electrical power relates to the flow of electricity rather than water.
If the height that the water descends is fixed, then there is an exact analogy (stored water has potential energy). Electrical voltage is analagous to pressure (which is determined by height).
Water also has the advantage that kids can muck around with it in a "lab" with no risk of anything other than getting wet.
Re: I could have told the US stock market something ...
Tulips ... or Jesuits?
"Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man". I hope I'm wrong.
Re: I suspect
Firefox + Adblock Plus? Doesn't come with it, but it's a plugin just a few clicks away, and works just fine.
And a free idea, Adblock DoublePlusGood. the same, but behind the scenes it clicks on all the adverts that you don't see, and sends whatever comes back to the bit-bucket.
Er ... buy some FB shares and then write a script to "click" on FB ads? Then call it the FB share-price pusher and persuade all the other FB shareholders to download it? Or just embed it in an "Angry Birds"-alike app?
What about lawyers employed by the real owners of "Angry Birds"? Can't they find a way to "encourage the others"?
Can do / can't do
the USA won the space race, and just about everything else in the 1950s and 1960s, because of a can-do attitude. How times have changed.
Today, the West is tying itself up in ever-increasing tangles of bureaucracy and red tape run by people whose attitude is 100% can't-do. If it's not explicitly allowed in the rulebook, it can't be done, so there's no point trying and it's our job to stop you if you disagree. My feeling is that the USA's version of this is rather more agressive than the UK/EU version, but both impede progress most successfully.
I expected the can-do magic to pop up somewhere else in the world. Russia?!
Big or little endian? We could always try both!
It started with a redundant "www.", will it now all end with a redundant ".www"?
Wonder if anyone wants .mafia, and if so, who and why?
Re: Maybe because
I wonder whether the folks buying these new TLDs have thought it through, or whether it's just a dot-vanity project costing what's less than petty cash to a large ego's corporation?
I have trouble remembering URLs and extra TLDs won't help at all. Google doesn't forget and doesn't care.
328 Pb is 328,000 Terabytes. This is territory where maximizing the surface area of the storage medium is paramount. Tape does just that, by rolling it up.
One day we may be able to do true 3D solid-state storage. Until then a roll of flexible 2D storage will have to suffice.
Re: New and intuitive
I completely agree, but why anonymous? The one I use, there's an option somewhere to optimise by shavings dispersion. It really matters when the shavings are Plutonium.
(note to MI5 - this is a joke)
It's all a ghastly plan ...
... to make sure that anyone suffering from any, er, embarassing condition, takes himself or herself to a private clinic rather than getting treated on the NHS. Because it will soon be common knowledge that anything you've been treated for on the NHS will be public knowledge available to your spouse or to your prospective employer in exchange for a few tenners in some dodgy pub.
But if you think them knowing about your easily cured STD is bad enough, just think about the possibility of being made unemployable for life because one of your parents has been diagnosed with a slowly fatal incurable disease that you have a one in four chance of having inherited. Or that you're the parent, and you want to spare your kids until they are a bit older.
Happy goldfish bowl ....
Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now
Speak for yourself, and read what I said. I have nothing against uncompressed or losslessly-compressed bitstreams on whatever media, and these days you can put tens of uncompressed CDs on a cheap memory stick. But if you can enjoy the sound of a C-major chord polluted with random C-sharps and E-flats and other tones that are not even a part of the twelve-note chromatic scale, then you do not have an ear for tonal music.
It's not a whole lot worse than TLC flash!
With decent controller architecture and a lot of spare bits, you could today make a decent memory stick or SSD out of this. OK, you'd not want to use it as cache or index storage for a busy database.
If it has small pages instead of huge ones like flash, and if that 3000 is worst-case not average life, it might actually be better than TLC already.
A way forward
This probably wouldn't work with popular music, but if one of the large music companies offered me a way to listen to anything in their entire classical catalogue whenever I wanted for a monthly subscription fee in the Sky-TV ballpark, I'd jump at it. If it used DRM to prevent me making copies I'd still take it. I'd rather listen to a different performance every time, than revisit the exact same one I'd bought.
Provided - PROVIDED - it was an uncompressed or losslessly-compressed bitstream hitting my DAC.
It'll never happen. Well, not unless the world's musicians get their tech act together and tell Sony et al to go jump in a volcano.
Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now
I don't listen to compressed music at all. Digital compression creates non-harmonic distortion: frequencies in the output that are non-integer multiples of the input frequency, that have no musical relationship whatsoever to the source. For anyone with a liking for tonal music and a decent ear, this is fairly close to torture.
It's nothing to do with headphones. Even a cheap pair of 'phones is quite a high-fidelity reproduction device, and if they distort at all, it's harmonic distortion unless you have the volume up dangerously high. As for vinyl vs CDs, one can prove by measurement that the vinyl introduces the greater distortion. However, it's pleasant-sounding low-harmonic distortion, so it's understandable if some folks actually prefer it ito a CD.