Re: Mihail, change the status to "Brown Trouser Time"
Sure that's the derivation? It's the same instinctive reaction, but I'd have thought that the "sickness" related more to the human who is legging it with a bear in angry pursuit!
3133 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
Sure that's the derivation? It's the same instinctive reaction, but I'd have thought that the "sickness" related more to the human who is legging it with a bear in angry pursuit!
Surely some of the (now radioactive) detritus would stay on the same relative path
If that detritus is now small enough to burn up in the upper atmosphere then it'll be a small radiation dose deposited globally, small in comparison to the results of atmospheric H-bomb testing (which we did in the past, and survived with few casualties). If it still reaches the ground the radioactivity will likely be far less of a disaster than the consequences of megatonnes (or gigatonnes) of kinetic energy, which in turn will be a fraction of the original disaster if we had not used the nuke.
Of course, if we started planning now to get a nuclear-powered ion-drive tug on standby in orbit, we would not have to resort to desperate measures at some unknown time in the future. It would not be a significant radioactive re-entry hazard until its core had been powered up for some time, at which point it would no longer be in earth orbit. If virgin enriched uranium fuel got vaporised in a launch accident and/or lost in the ocean, that would not be any sort of radiological disaster.
I was thinking of (non)-detectable amounts of radioactive isotopes in the water at the surface. Such pollution will of course will be high close to the site of the accident/dump on the ocean floor once the containment vessels dissolve, but will remain undetectable a kilometer or more above. The stuff from Chernobyl is dispersed over a thin skin of the earth's surface, and has been less of a catastrophe than the doomsters said it would be. Anything lost in an ocean ultimately gets dispersed in water kilometers deep, so far more diluted, plus water from the ocean floor mixes only slowly with the ocean's surface water (and far more slowly still if it's the stagnant Hadean depths of an ocean trench, rather than just the ordinary ocean floor with slow deep circulation).
As I understand it, in a Thorium fuel cycle you have to start the cycle with a reactor fuelled with enriched Uranium. You use that to irradiate Th232 fuel which breeds fissionable U233. This then fissions in situ. Over time the U233-enriched Thorium fuel becomes capable of sustaining a reactor and breeding further U233 without needing any further enriched uranium as input. At that point the world could shut down all U235-enrichment operations.
Plutonium is bred in significant quantities in any Uranium fuelled reactor and can be separated from the used Uranium fuel by purely chemical means. This is a significant nuclear proliferation and terrorism risk. In contrast no significant amount of Plutonium is bred in a Thorium-fuel cycle. Uranium-233 is fissile and could be separated from Thorium by purely chemical means, but it would be heavily contaminated with other highly radioactive but non-fissionable Uranium isotopes which would make what was separated very difficult to handle and weaponise. The longer Thorium fuel is used, the more difficult it becomes to separate usable bomb material from it.
And yes, you could put natural Uranium rods into a Thorium reactor core to irradiate them and thereby generate Plutonium for bombs. Which is why civil nuclear plants would need to be regularly inspected and audited by an international agency so everybody can be as sure as possible that's not happening. Ultimately there's no way to have nuclear power without the possibility of a malign government making bomb material. But it is completely possible to have nuclear power without making large amounts of bomb material as an unwanted by-product, that has to be kept safe against misuse for many millennia!
"We're very sorry to announce the ship carrying 700kg of nuclear waste to the US has unexpectedly sunk in the deepest bit of the Atlantic..."
Which would be far less disastrous than doom-mongers will tell you. Even in the worst case if the whole lot dissolves within a decade, the dilution factor is so great that it might never be even detectable at the surface of the Atlantic. They've lost a good few nuclear-powered submarines down there. Nobody can tell you where(*) or point at any nuclear pollution caused thereby.
Personally (see above) I think the best place for nuclear waste is glassified and dumped in the Hadean zone at the bottom of a deep ocean subduction trench.
(*) unless they have access to top-secret military data, of course.
that's why we have light water reactors burning enriched Uranium instead of a Thorium fuel cycle. The latter doesn't produce much of any use for making bombs.
But what we now know about global warming and CO2 pollution indicates that we desperately DO need nuclear reactors. Also, that we are overly paranoid about radiation. The worst-case accidents have already happened and have been orders of magnitude less harmful than the nuclear doom-mongers have predicted. Whereas the worst-case non-nuclear accidents (melting Antarctica, acidifying all the oceans) may still be possible to avert.
Yes. The nuclear industry is prevented from even contemplating several solutions to the nuclear waste problem, though it is now apparent that even the non-CO2 emissions from coal-fired power stations pose a greater threat. (Mercury, etc.) We've had the worst-case nuclear disasters (Chernobyl, Fukushima) and it's now clear that consequences are orders of magnitude less serious than the anti-nuclear propagandists said. (Not that we want to encourage any repeats! )
What solutions to the waste issue? The obvious one is to glassify the waste, clad the glass in further layers of containment, then dump it into a deep ocean trench where it will first get covered by sediment and then drawn down into the Earth's interior by geological subduction. The bottom of such a trench is the Hadean zone. There's little life down there, none of which could survive near the surface because the immense pressure alters its biochemistry, and no ocean circulation exists to mix water from down there up to the surface in less than geological time.
If you do the sums, should the inconcievable happen and all the waste manage to dissolve out of the glass matrix, the volume of water in a deep ocean trench is great enough to dilute it to harmlessness long before it reaches even the normal ocean floor depths.
But that's banned by international treaty, and will stay that way until Antarctica starts to melt and the true folly of burning coal and oil is revealed. That will be far too late.
I presume, given that it is coming from Dounreay, that it is used fuel rods out of the profotype fast breeder reactor that once operated there. in which case they are highly enriched but also highly radioactively contaminated. Perfect material for a terrorist to construct a nuclear-fizzle radiological bomb from, assuming he doesn't much care about his long-term health.
If the USA can either store it in long-term security or reprocess it into less-enriched Uranium (ie dilute it with U238) then surely we are better-off for them taking it off our hands?
unless they want a dodgy patch in their CV ...
I'd have thought "Recruited by XYZ inc. Discovered after a few months that I simply hated working there because of a mismatch between their culture and my own. Left for ..." was acceptable provided it's not repeated too often (preferably not repeated at all).
Of course it guarantees that no company that is trying to emulate XYZ's culture will offer you a job, but that's a job you really don't want in any case.
XP ... PCs that run mission-critical software that won't run on any other platform.
A related group is PCs that run control software for some really expensive lab or factory hardware which is still useful to the organisation. Replacing the equipment is out of the question (often because it's not mission-critical, just useful) and would cost a six- or seven-figure sum.
So we stick to running XP (or even Windows 98, Windows 3.1) until the day when the controlled equipment breaks down in an unfixable way, or until we can no longer fix the computer. (yes, we have two or three spare ancient PCs in stock, so provided they don't die in storage we're set for a good while yet).
And if such a business has to fork out half a million because the supply of obsolete PCs has dried up before the obsolete widget-spangler dies, that's a half-million's worth of guaranteed anti-Microsoft sentiment.
Rename the road ...
Spinal Tap way?
Fascinating. I'd never heard of the Royston cave. And when I searched for images of the cave, I found this. Which isn't actually of the cave itself, but of another rock in the middle of the road, a mere stone's throw from the cave. (Sorry, couldn't resist).
So there is precedent for turning a rock into a (remarkably tasteful) traffic island.
Very many junctions have a plastic thingy with a keep-left logo on it in the place where this rock is sitting. Often the plastic thingy is on a raised island with kerbstones and a brick or concrete interior. Some are in the middle of busy A-roads. So why is this rock an obstruction, when millions of traffic islands are not?
I'd suggest painting an area of white cross-hatching around the rock thereby making it officially part of a traffic island. Any motorist who hits it after that will have been contravening the highway code and not giving due attention to the road markings, and can be told to FOAD. I'd also suggest that at the same time, painting a give-way line at the actual junction would improve the road for all of its users.
France might be a dubious example. They seem very keen on no encryption just now.
China would be fun. "We cannot unlock it here. It is locked using Chinese technology which we are not permitted to export from China. The phone must be physically transferred to our facility in China".
There are other jurisdictions which would be even more fun.
In the near future such a facility might be the first business to relocate off-planet.
10Mbps is enough to access all the services which the government increasingly insists that you use. It would be a far better thing to give every household in the country the right to be connected at 10Mbps without any extra(*) payment being demanded, rather than some weasel-worded pseudo-right to demand a 100Mbps service provided you are willing to fork out £££(£) to have it installed.
10Mbps is something that realistically could be provided almost everywhere using existing copper infrastructure, merely by installing extra signal processing equipment in junction boxes and occasionally up poles. Which is why it could be the subject of an unconditional universal service obligation, and I hope that it soon will be.
There are significant numbers of people living in rural parts (and I do not mean the Outer Hebrides) who dream of getting 10Mbps. One person I know gets 2Mbps maximum, providing it's not raining hard, degrading to no service at all when it's really wet. He is only a 20-minute drive from Coventry. I count myself lucky to have 8Mbps degrading to 4 in bad weather.
It will be interesting to see if there is now a flood of completely open BMW i3 go-faster software, and what effect it has on the car's hardware components and the insurance industry. (c.f. go-faster chips in engine ECUs).
which in this case could be construed as attempted murder.
It is virtually certain that people are dead because of these scum. Proving it would be hard, but doctors make life and death decisions every day, and being unable to access some vital piece of data about a critically ill person is almost certain to have tipped the balance away from the decision that would have given him the best chance of survival.
Only the fallability of human justice holds me back from suggesting that ransomware scammers should be treated as organ banks when convicted. Certainly they should be ranked well below honest hit-men and only marginally above IS suicide bombers.
Sadly, it will take some huge infrastructure failure consequential on ransomware, like a mid-air collision between jumbo jets or another Fukushima, before this is realized.
It would of course be illegal, but here's a nice fantasy.
Malware scammer wakes up in a white room. His lower body hurts. Pulling back the bedclothes he notices a pair of new surgical wounds with neat stitches. His eyes focus on the brightly coloured screen opposite. "Warning. Your kidneys have been impounded. To regain access, please use the terminal to pay us BTC 10000. Should you leave this room, it is likely that cessation of life will follow within 48 hours, and that two people awaiting transplants will be made very happy by your unwise decision."
Hasn't IBM won any damages? If they have, then why can't they send in the bailiffs to sieze absolutely everything that the bankrupt SCO owns in lieu of payment -- most especially its claimed intellectual property rights? Since IBM won't be pursuing legal action against itself, that would be the absolute end of this farce.
I'm guessing that USA law is broken in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine.
If the choice comes down to a suspected backdoor owned by your own government or a suspected backdoor owned by the Chinese government, which do you choose and why?
I'm sure they do. It was extremely profitable for lawyers (on both sides). Probably far more so than running a real business.
Which is one reason why I don't trust biometrics. The other being that if it needs my real finger, there are plenty of bad guys who will detach my finger from the rest of me.
I just use a cable tie. Serves the same purpose - if someone has rummaged in my luggage I'll probably know. (Depending on whether they replace it with one the same colour with the same little scratch on it).
Everyone now knows that obsolete iPhones can be hacked. Current ones?
Law-abiding people probably don't want Apple or anyone else to make their phones as utterly unbreakably secure as they could. I'm quite happy with the idea that the NSA and suchlike could break any phone provided it was a matter of several days work in a forensic hardware lab costing tens of millions of dollars. I just don't want my phone to be an instantly open book to any slightly curious government employee. There's probably some degree of collusion behind the scenes between Apple and the NSA.
I don't know about the USA, but in the UK what would happen if I was still alive, would be that they would simply tell me to unlock my phone for them to investigate. And I almost certainly would, after a greater or lesser amount of protest and delay depending on the circumstances. Because if I outright refuse, they will jail me. There are some safeguards here compared to electronic backdoors, although many don't see it. The threat is ineffective in the hands of a single rogue policeman. More importantly they can't do this without me knowing that they are doing it.
There will never be a perfectly secure device
If it is possible (even in theory) to eavesdrop on key distribution via a quantum communications channel , then the universe does not work the way that we think it does.
And I'm pretty sure a device can be designed which will destructively erase itself as soon as its password has not been re-input for x hours, where x is smaller than the minimum amount of time required to reprogram it because of engineered-in slowness of its programming interface. Fail-destroyed rather than fail-safe. Whether anyone other than secret agents would want a "Mission Impossible" phone, is quite another matter.
Also a surprising problem.
1200 x 1080 x 8 x 3 x 90 bits/second is a raw, complertely uncompressed 2.8 Gbit/sec. Surely a local wireless interface with a range of a few feet is completely feasible? (I almost said "trivially").
Why wasn't it designed to be wireless from the start?
Not all books are copyrightable in all aspects. Books which implement well-known "APIs" are not copyrightable in respect of the patterns commonly established by the API.
Tor example, anyone can publish a calendar with one month per page, with months and days having the canonical names in your local language, with seven columns representing the days of the week, with the week-numbers, the public holidays and the phases of the moon marked, and so on. These details will be (and must be) the same in every competitor's calendar.
All that stuff is the API for a scheduling entity called a "Year".
This has also been thrashed out in other areas of human endeavour. For example, there is one and only one pattern of pipes and brackets and holes of particular heights and diameters that allows an exhaust pipe to fit any particular model of car. Copying that pattern in all details is necessary in order that a replacement exhaust pipe can be fitted to that car. The courts have established that auto manufacturers should not have a monopoly on the supply of spare exhausts by virtue of copyright over the external details (the Car to Exhaust API). They retain copyright on the internal design of their design of exhaust system, because there exists a near-infinity of designs all of which can perform the same function, and competitors can and should design their own internals.
I had hoped that the eventual demise of Caldera's claims over the Unix API was the end for lawyers claiming copyright over software APIs. Sadly, it seems not to have been.
@Locky Do the Russians still use incredibly simple avionics based on pea-sized thermionic valves?
Google's own Artificial Idiot generating targetted advertising seems to need a lot more, er, training, if it is ever going to be a boon to consumers rather than yet another reason to install ad-blockers.
What does it tell you, if someone does a fair bit of searching for information about kitchen worktops and wall-mounted spot lighting, and then stops? The AI seems to think that I will be buying another worktop and more lights, months after I ceased searching on those topics. Anything (or anyone) smart would realise that the cessation of searching meant that I had placed my orders, and will now be rather less likely than a random Joe to be buying either of those products again for the next few years.
AI Ops? Will it turn out any better than outsourcing ops to script kiddies in Bangalore did?
I tangled with Acer customer service (over warranty repairs) many years ago. The result was that I swore that I would never buy anything again from Acer if there was a sensible alternative choice.
I wonder whether the brand-name is now a liability rather than an asset? They would not be the first large consumer products company to discover the cost of poor service.
I then handed it to one of the technicians to run as a test...
Someone once asked me why he could not type a file (on VMS: think "cat" on Linux). QVX was not a well-known file type. The error was a well-known VMS error message which I am reproducing from memory, perhaps not quite correctly
$ TYPE myfile.QVX
%SYSTEM-E-FNF, File "myfile.QVX" not found.
I was starting to worry about a possibly corrupt filesystem (we'd recently had disk drive troubles) when the penny dropped as to what was really going on.
It's one of the recommended ways of getting out of a deeply nested structure in any well-structured programming language. Was the problem with a lousy language that did not allow an all-but-infinite number of distinct user-defined exceptions which can be handled while allowing other exceptions to propagate unchanged? If not, raising exceptions is a perfectly sane thing to do. Often the best.
@joeW My thought the same. Cut-and-paste coding where the coder got interrupted halfway through, before the crucial replacement of one of the #img
Lesson to be learned? Maybe "Let the phone ring. If it's important they will call back later".
My knowledge is clearly out of date. So now it's just the UK refusing to sell Naproxen OTC. Ibuprofen was invented in the UK, Naproxen in the US.
That's because Ibuprofen is prescription-only in the USA. Pop down to your USA pharmacy for OTC Naproxen instead. Naproxen is prescription-only in the UK. Care to guess where Ibuprofen and Naproxen were invented?
I hope it is a result of perceived risk/reward amongst criminals. If you effectively destroy data you make yourself a greater target of the law's ire. If you merely force somebody to copy their data and reload their PC, you may stay at the bottom of the pile forever. Should you get caught you'll receive a lesser sentence.
If I'm wrong, it means that the effort involved in catching crypto-ware criminals and the sentences imposed when they are caught both need to be increased, several times over if necessary, until I'm right.
Sort of like the difference between burglary and shiplifting, or kidnapping and blackmail.
Any closer than 100 Light-years would be worrysome. Anything closer than 30 Ly is probable extinction-level event. Luckily there are no red supergiants within 100 Ly of Earth at present. Betelgeuse will be spectacular but safe when it explodes some time well within the next million years.
The eight should secretly toss some coins to decide who gets to be indisposed on the day that they consider this case. Although if the Supreme court can be as much relied upon to always split along political party lines as the US government can be, that ain't going to happen. It also means that the USA has bigger problems than I realized.
Do the better surfaces on motorways improve fuel efficiency?
Near where I live I can choose to do 70mph on the M40 or 60mph on the B4100 (which used to be the main road before the motorway). The odd thing is that I get better fuel economy going faster on the motorway rather than slower on the scenic route. Both routes are fairly flat and straight.
Stupid machines indeed. Last generation things. Scrap.
Google Maps seems to be smart enough and well-informed enough to use the current average speed of the traffic rather than any unrealistic estimate. (Turn on "Traffic" display to see in glorious techicolor what it knows). It is also more accurate with its estimated journey times than it has any right to be! Better than some train services I have known.
BTW I drive to work on various back roads where I can do 55-60mph on a fine day. The average is quite a lot lower because you have to slow down to 30 through the villages and 15 at some bends. One section is a main road with a 50mph limit. I don't know why. 95% of drivers on that road do 60-65mph anyway. If you insist on 50 cars will overtake you and you'll soon have an HGV driving two feet behind you. Wonder if Google maps routes using average traffic speeds or legal maximum traffic speeds?
with a downside: they funnel everybody onto the same congested route.
Not if you are navigating using Google maps on your Android.
I recently got taken on a tour of Coventry suburbia by my phone. I did wonder what it was up to until I re-emerged onto the main road about fifty yards past a major accident.
On the minus side it introduces other people to various unclassified Northamptonshire roads which I'd far rather remained known only to myself and the locals. So please ignore your phone. Has it warned you about the potholes? They eat tyres out here, you know.
Denmark is a very small country and a member of the EU. So if you are not happy in Denmark, there is pretty much nothing stopping you from moving elsewhere. So unhappy Danes move out leaving the country "happiest" by their self-exclusion from the sample.
Based on a sample of one Dane who found his homeland the most boring place on Earth, moved to the UK and married an Englishwoman.
You can just yank it out if you're sure that nothing is writing to it.
But can you be 100% sure that there is nothing cached and not yet flushed to the device? On Linux you have sync. On Windows ... well, lots of kids do mostly get away with it. But I have to wonder, how many of the corrupted USB sticks that despairing students have asked me to try to salvage got mangled by being unceremoniously yanked out of the socket?
This is the Audi-VW-SEAT-Skoda model
More like the Maserati model. Looks great, goes great on a track, but does it survive much contact with the real world of speed humps and tyre-sized potholes and multi-storey car park spiral ramps?
Cat-5 (and 5e, 6) cable has four pairs but 100BaseT uses only two of them (1000BaseT uses all four). So this new standard is saving just one twisted pair.
you just wouldn't reprogram an FPGA at each context switch
I was wondering about that. Conventionally, reprogramming FPGAs is rather slow because they are using some sort of non-volatile PROM to store the programming in the absence of power. But I cannot think of a reason it has to be that way. If the programming is RAM-fast, it becomes a matter of how many kilobytes of programming state have to be saved and how often. Every context switch would be excessive, but maybe rescheduling of the FPGA resource ten or even a hundred times per second might be OK. Most processes will not be using the FPGA so scheduling them won't involve saving the FPGA state - the OS will just not let them access it. The ones that do request the FPGA will be in FPGA-specific scheduler queues.
Some work to be done on schedulers and resource queues but I cannot see any fundamental difficulty, neither for Linux nor for Windows.
More than a few current desktop motherboards still have a PS/2 port, or even ports. Why force people to throw away perfectly good or better optical mice and KVM switches just because the interface isn't the latest?
Also there's the original IBM PC "clicky" keyboard which some insist is still the best keyboard ever made. Certainly they'll never make one like that again!
Have Apple made more recent iPhones so that they simply cannot be forcibly unlocked? In other words, programming them so that they require the unlock code to be entered before they will reload the operating system?
If they haven't, are they going to?
If they aren't, I wonder what is the point of all the legal manouverings?
But is the cost of printing and distributing a paper book less than the 20% VAT on an e-book? I need convincing, especially at the low-cost end of the market.
. In the rare cases when you need to code against a kernel-internal interfaces, you may be in trouble but this is equal to the use of undocumented APIs on Windows which is always a gamble.
No, much less of a gamble. The linux kernel that you have forced yourself to require will remain available forever. As will its source code. So you will have the option to restrict yourself to using an obsolete kernel until you can make your code work with a new one, and you will have the option to port the obsolete interface you require up to a more modern kernel. (In some cases that may not be do-able without unreasonable amounts of work, but at least you can study the source codes to arrive at a well-informed decision! )