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* Posts by Nigel 11

2560 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Top Canadian court: Cops need warrant to get names from ISPs

Nigel 11
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As to bullying ...

With respect to cyber-bullying, what's the problem? The police have a complainant who is being bullied, and an internet service provider who can tell them where the bully is. They'll just have to get a warrant for that disclosure in future. Is it being suggested that a warrant would not be granted in these circumstances?

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The cute things they say

Nigel 11
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Re: Cute people work for tech support too

Digression

Back in the old days when a disk drive was the size of a washing machine and required an engineer from the computer company to install one ...

He turned up, un-crated it, and asked to borrow a phone. "Not working?" "No, and it won't. I need to call the shipping company and our loss adjusters ... go and take a look at it ..."

I did. There was a neat rectangular hole in the side. The exact size of a fork-lift-truck's prong ... right through the controller (about ten foot-square circuit boards).

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DINOSAUR BLOOD: JUST RIGHT, as Goldilocks might say, if drinking it

Nigel 11
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Re: Temperature control

Perhaps worth commenting that some insects can also raise their body temperature above ambient. Bumble bees are furry for the same reason that mammals are furry: to avoid excessive loss of body heat to a colder atmosphere.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Say what???

Aren't dinosaurs the link between reptiles and birds? From the completely cold-blooded, to the creatures with (probably) the highest metabolic rate on the planet?

Dinosaurs were around for a long time. Plenty of time for evolution to get from cold blood, through cool, to hot. Pretty straightforward, compared to evolving feathers (a true miracle of biology, and perhaps the only radically new bio-structure since plants evolved wood? )

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IPv4 addresses now EXHAUSTED in Latin America and the Caribbean

Nigel 11
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Re: Wasted IP ranges - tax them!

There's surely a good case here for an IPV4 address tax! Someone with a /8 block is likely to rapidly relinquish most of it, when a tax demand for 2^24 pounds/dollars/euros per annum arrives (about 4 million). Whereas the /30 block I have at home would cost me (via my ISP) an extra £4 per annum, which I'd happily pay. Heck, several times that wouldn't hurt much for any addresses actually being used.

Might even make ipv6 popular. People used to live in darkness rather than pay a windows tax. (NB, small W, 17th century).

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MIGHTY SOLAR FLARES fail to DESTROY CIVILISATION. Yes!

Nigel 11
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Re: Stone Age?

My understanding is that it's only long (50km+) wires that are seriously vulnerable. Your rooftop solar panels are OK, and your inverter isn't directly vulnerable. I think you may be confusing a solar storm with an atomic-weapon-induced EMP.

What happens ina solar storm is that a large DC current is induced in long wires. Conventional 50Hz or 60Hz AC mains transformers can't transform that DC current, instead they dissipate it resistively, meaning they heat up. If the circuit is not made open-circuit pretty soon, the transformers then melt down and catch fire. HVDC transmission is immune - the solar storm either adds a bit more DC juice or subtracts a bit. Short urban-grid-scale wires do suffer induced curents, but less so proportional to their shorter length. The risk to them is a disorderly shut-down or melt-down of the long-distance grid, causing voltage surges, local overload conditions, etc.

Telecomms is similar, except that it's rarely copper and even more rarely DC coupled these days. Most of the long-distance internet is optical fiber. Long-distance copper is probably found only in very rural parts, connecting one farmouse or hamlet to the nearest town's telephone exchange many miles down the road in the old-fashioned way.

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Nigel 11
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Survival

It's probably fair to say that if we'd been hit by a Carrington event in the 1920s through 1990s, our civilisation would have crashed.

Two things have changed / are changing. Firstly, the danger is recognised, and we now have satellites watching the sun that would give us a few hours' warning. That's long enough to prepare the grid. Controlled shutdown instead of fatal melt-down. Of course, whether they do enough "solar safety" drills to actually avoid getting the electricity grid fried, is an unknown until it happens.

Secondly, we are moving from a synchronous transformer-coupled HVAC grid (vulnerable) to HVDC long-distance electricity transmission (more efficient and not vulnerable). Likewise telecomms are moving from copper wires (vulnerable) to optical fibres (not vulnerable).

If we don't get hit by another X-unprecedented flare in the next couple of decades, we're probably OK. Except, we don't know what is the biggest flare our nearest star is capable of! The upper limit is only that it was never powerful enough to wipe out all land-based life (and there have been a few extinction events when something wiped out *most* land-based life ...).

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Nigel 11
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A wimp?

A wimp, as these things go. The Carrington Event is estimated to have been X22 (on a scale that only officially goes to 20). So that's almost 1.5^20 times this one (around 3300 times bigger).

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Urine a goldmine for fuel-cell materials: boffins

Nigel 11
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Re: Costs? (@Pen-y-gors)

Good Platinum ores are graded at grammes per tonne. You have to dig up, crush and chemically process a tonne of rock to get a few grammes of Platinum. This is one reason why it's so darned expensive.

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Piketty thinks the 1% should cough up 80%. Discuss

Nigel 11
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Re: Salary versus Equity

Bad management gets the unions and workforce it deserves. (Those who can leave, have left).

As an organisation at the other extreme, I'd cite the John Lewis partnership. Unions? Why? Everyone has an equity stake in the business, and it goes from strength to strength in a very competitive sector.

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Nigel 11
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Salary versus Equity

I think that a very solid line should be drawn between those who are paid a salary regardless of whether they perform excellently, adequately or badly

And those who founded a business and own some or all of the equity in that business.

Frankly, I don't see much evidence that many (any?) of the fat cats paid six- or seven-figure salaries are worth any more than the employees several levels below them. Indeed, it's usually the lower levels that do the real work, and can see how the self-perpetuating clique of fat cats more often than not have zero or negative value. They give themselves 10% or 20% pay rises, while the staff that do the work get 0%. They aren't working for a living, they are parasitising those who do!

In contrast, someone who put his own money and time into a business that is now thriving, should be allowed to enjoy whatever degree of success he is able to achieve, just as long as it is by way of dividends paid equally to all equity-holders, or sale of shares in that equity.

So (for example) I'd be in favour of higher levels of income tax on very large salaries, but not the same levels on capital gains (especially not on long-term capital gains, and especially not capital gains made by founders of businesses on equity that was worth nothing at all when they started). Anti-avoidance rules would clearly be needed to stop the fat cats playing the system.

Also there should be an outright ban on any salary greater than the Prime Minister's salary in any part of the public sector (including universities, quangos and suchlike -- not just the civil service). If a corporation wastes its money, it will sooner or later go bust. That's a crude self-correcting mechanism that eliminates the very worst excesses. Whereas if an organisation is funded by the taxpayer, its fat cats can and will carry on leeching off society effectively forever. (In the rare cases where such an organisation needs a specialist who really can command such a large salary in a free market, it should obtain that service by competitive tender, with payment under the laws governing commercial contracts, including appropriate penalty clauses. Never by employing that specialist on a salary. )

Controversial, I know. Asbestos jacket in place ....

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China blocks Google ahead of Tiananmen anniversary

Nigel 11
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Anyone under 35 years old won't remember. Those who do remember, can be intimidated into not talking to anyone who doesn't. Those who won't shut up, are in jail or exiled.

Never under-estimate the human ability to ignore anything that isn't aimed directly at oneself. Remember Pastor Neimoller:

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.

"Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

"Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.

"Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."

The technology of censorship and repression is probably as well ensconced here in the West, as in China. For now the sinister "they" lack the will to use it to completely destroy our freedom. Post-Snowdon, I fear the question is, "for how much longer?"

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AMD tops processor evolution with new mobile Kaveri chippery

Nigel 11
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TDP

TDP is important. It determines the type and size of heatsink the system needs. It's especially important if you are trying to build a passively cooled system (no fan, no moving parts (SSD), no noise).

It's nice to know your system can turbo for a few seconds, relying on thermal inertia to avoid meltdown, and then down-clocking itself when not busy or in thermal distress to allow the heat to dissipate. But TDP, as the maximum long-term-average amount of power that a busy system will ever need to dissipate, is a critical parameter for designing it.

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Please be seated at your FOUR-LEGGED PC

Nigel 11
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Re: Next project, build one of these for <$100

Of course, no reason it actually has to BE glass topped.

Marble or Basalt (if heavy, hard and shiny floats your boat). Easier to source any size than tempered glass (and you really don't wan't to think about untempered)

I've just run into the annoyance of a worktop so black that an optical mouse cannot "see" it, and for the first time in my life I had to find a mouse mat (OK, a sheet of A4 paper). Give me wood or wood-effect laminate any day.

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IBM, HP, others admit products laced with NORK GOLD

Nigel 11
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Desiring the impossible

The assumption here is that if these companies didn't buy gold known to come from NK, NK would not be able to sell its gold, or would have to sell it at a huge discount.

A moment's thought should tell you that's not the case. A minuscule discount will suffice to sell their gold to a country or person who doesn't care, and once their gold is melted with gold from scrap jewellery or scrap computer parts, nobody will have the faintest idea where it came from. (Not that the Chinese even care).

Sanctions can only work for lower-value stuff, especially ones where the refineries are few and specialized. We can probably avoid buying Tantalum ores from war zones where it is dug out by slaves. We can track tankers full of Iranian oil and force them to sell it to customers further away than Europe, causing Iran a small percentage loss (at the cost of increasing global CO2 emissions!) For gold, there's no chance of anything like this working.

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Apple: We'll tailor Swift to be a fast new programming language

Nigel 11
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Re: @Nigel 11

No - saying C is not the simplest or sparsest language. That honour surely goes to LISP, and B was simpler than C. Simplest and sparsest is not the reason C is very popular in some programming communities. Like most successful languages, C has a niche, which is the writing of operating systems and realtime systems. I'll also grant that until computers became fast enough that interpreted languages weren't "too inefficient", C was probably the best general-purpose compiled language. (FORTRAN was and remains better for numerical coding, but only for numerical coding. Pascal, PL/I, and Ada never really caught on. I'll let someone else talk about C++ if they want to, because personally I loathe it).

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Nigel 11
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Re: No need to be so special, Apple

I think it's a mistake.

Dealing with a small set of foreign glyphs that are universal in a global programming community, is far better than the fragmentation that arises if every programmer uses their own script for their variables. It'll compile elsewhere, but it might as well be object code for all the use that the source will be outside that linguistic domain. I'll add, anyone who studies mathematics, gets to learn the Greek alphabet, and a few letters from the Hebrew one, and a handful of symbols not taken from any alphabet (eg union, infinity, ...). It doesn't give Greeks or Israelis any mathematical edge.

I can imagine an alternative universe in which North America was settled by Russians. In that universe, the Cyrillic alphabet might be used globally by programmers. I'd be able to go along with that: learning to recognise a handful of new glyphs isn't hard.

But learning 6000+ traditional Chinese glyphs in order to code: no way. I'd rebel and create a programming language based on the Latin alphabet. As for those in the far East ... well, China, Japan and Korea have all chosen to map their languages onto the Latin alphabet. Because we got to IT first, or because there are intrinsic advantages to our small alphabet over their huge ones? Don't know, but in China, this happened under Mao when the West was the Enemy, and before IT arrived there.

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Nigel 11
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Re: ...without the bagage of C

C is one of the most simple and sparse languages there has ever been. That's why it works.

Oh really? So why hasn't it been universally trumped by LISP? (And for that matter why did they ever do C, given B? )

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Nigel 11
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Re: Is it a proper programming language?

PRINT*,"Swift"

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Nigel 11
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C

C is one of a small set of languages in which it's possible to write a useful operating system kernel. Don't knock it. But also don't use it, if you're not writing something that requires OS-like control over the fine detail of the generated code. And for heaven's sake don't teach it as a first language.

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Nigel 11
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Re: No need to be so special, Apple

Oh, and the last time someone decided to make semicolons optional, it didn't work out too well (JavaScript).

Works out pretty well in Python. Given tuple assignment you don't often need semicolons, but you can put multiple statements on a line if you want to.

As for Swift, I lost interest the moment I noticed that variable names are unicode strings not ASCII-alphanumeric strings. Bleugh. Immediate fragmentation of the programming world into human-written-language-script communities. I can process code written by (say) a Frenchman or a Finn. The variable names may be less helpful than ones created by a Canadian or an Ozzie, but at least the necessary processing skill is there in my visual cortex. Which it is not, for a string of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tamil, or umpteen other possibilities.

To say nothing of the fact that there are multiple unicode strings that generate the same visual representation (such as an e with an acute accent). It's bad enough dealing with O and 0, 1 and l and I. FAlL.

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DIY IoT computer smaller than a square inch

Nigel 11
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PORN?

Anyone notice that one of this beastie's pins is designated PORN?

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Samsung, with this new 3D NAND SSD, you're really spoiling us ... or perhaps a rival?

Nigel 11
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Re: As a 1TB flash drive ....

Thanks. That's what I wanted to know. They have cracked vertical stacking on a single piece of silicon. Call that stage 1: gaining access to the third dimension.

So the stage is now set for stage two: work out how to stack more than 32 deep, and how to stack smaller cells. Neither is up against physical limits, so Moore's law ought to get a second chance, and the Terabit or Terabyte SSD chip may be only a few years away.

Unless HAMR comes to the rescue (i.e. 100Tb drives), it looks as if spinning rust drives may go the way of the horse and cart in not much more than a decade.

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Nigel 11
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Re: As a 1TB flash drive ....

On the other hand -- if they've really cracked fabricating 32 devices stacked vertically (as opposed to making 32 separate devices and merely assembling them into a vertical stack), the price of large SSDs may be set to fall something like vertically?

Which is why I'd also like to know more. One thing for sure, I wouldn't much like to be in the hard disk business these days.

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Microsoft's NEW OS now runs on HALF of ALL desktop PCs

Nigel 11
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Joke

No - these stats are based upon browser agent strings visiting a broad range of sites.

Someone, please. please write a benign virus that alters these strings! Wouldn't it be fun to watch Windows for Workgroups rising from the grave?

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Nigel 11
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Re: Cue...

Microsoft doing that would create an opening for "Business Linux" (possibly hidden behind a non-Linux name, just as Linux's conquest of the mobile world goes by the name "Android").

Microsoft has jettisoned its CEO just in time, now to see if it can also jettison the business plan made out of FAIL.

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Google Glass? Feh. Behold Dyson's 2001 pocket 'puter techno specs with own 'Siri'

Nigel 11
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Re: well very few products are competely new designs?

almost every device i think of already existed in some form or another before it became popular with the masses.

The original Sony Walkman? (Yes, miniature tape recorders pre-existed, but not for playing music to consumers as they went about their lives).

The E-cigarette?

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It's Google's NO-WHEEL car. OMG... there aren't any BRAKES

Nigel 11
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Coat

When these things hit the road, the "drivers" won't need to see out. So maybe they'll go for privacy instead, and paint over all the transparent bits. Blue, maybe.

Giving "BSOD" a whole new meaning?

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Amazon turns screws on French publisher: Don't feel sorry for Hachette, it's just 'negotiation'

Nigel 11
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Pity the poor authors

While the elephants duel, it's the authors who are getting trampled.

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2014/05/amazon-malignant-monopoly-or-j.html#more

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Watch this! RHEL 7 - The new release preview

Nigel 11
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Re: Embarrassing...

Not really embarassing for Red Hat. They do servers. They don't really claim desktop Linux (although personally I'm happier with my Linux desktop atop a Red Hat clone like Centos, than atop Ubuntu or SuSE).

BTW if you do run Redhat or similar on desktops, when you migrate them to 7, I'd recommend overriding the new default to keep ext4 as your root FS. I wouldn't entirely trust XFS in an environment where the electricity supply is unreliable (ie, where lusers have fingers on the power buttons).

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Fat-fingered admin downs entire Joyent data center

Nigel 11
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Re: # rm -rf / tmp/foo/no-more-rubbish_here

Tab completion: Yes. To which I'd add,

# rm / tmp/foo/no-more-rubbis [TAB]

and add the -rf at the end of the line, if and only if it does tab-complete, and after you've mentally checked for the very last time, "do I really mean this"?

BTW if your command isn't amenable to this sort of rearrangement, an open-bracket will accomplish much the same for other commands. Add ) CR after you've thought hard.

# ( dangerous_command

>

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Nigel 11
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Re: Apocryphal ?? There but for the grace ..

#1. Someone needed a Mollyguard clue.

(Out of interest, what do the military call Mollyguards? You know, the ones that stop you accidentally launching an ICBM when you sneeze, or blowing the bridge before your army has retreated over it, things like that? )

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You know all those resources we're about to run out of? No, we aren't

Nigel 11
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Re: Not quite

technology cannot outpace [energy] depletion for ever

In human terms, yes, it can. Dare I say fusion power?

Please don't laugh. We may even be able to get it working down here on Earth, if we really try hard enough. But if not, it's already working up there in the sky, keeping us all alive, and we now know how to harvest it. Just cover a smallish fraction of the Earth's deserts with solar panels (or with mirrors and systems for turning the capured heat into electricity - the jury is still out on whether solar-thermal might beat solar-PV).

Solar power will be as good as it is today for a lot longer than the Earth will remain habitable.

(BTW that's not a prediction of man-made eco-doom. It's just the fact that the sun is naturally getting hotter as it oh-so-slowly uses up its Hydrogen. The Earth will turn into a Venus clone a long time before Sol finally goes nova. Maybe as little as hundreds of My hence).

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Nigel 11
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We can make diamonds pretty well as large as we want. The scientific and engineering processes are solved, but it's just not cost efficent - despite the wholly artificial scarcity brought about by monopoly.

Not sure that's true for large gem-quality diamonds. The problem is making anvils that can maintain sufficient pressure and temperature for long enough for a large flawless diamond to crystallize. It's certainly a problem where the difficulty comes close to the edges of what is physically possible with known materials.

There are all sorts of rocks which in chemical terms are similar to other rocks available by the gigatonne, but which have unique aesthetic properties. Blue John is one. Opal is another. But if they weren't rare, it's probable that they'd come to be seen as common or vulgar, and something else would come to be seen as beautiful and desirable. Fashion is arbitrary and fickle. Why do rubies have to be natural to be valued as gems? In a big laser, you'll find artificial (and therefore completely flawless) ruby disks many inches across. Could one fake them with natural-looking flaws? The gemologists claim not ... I have my doubts. Could you manufacture statue-sized chunks of flawless artificial marble? I suspect there's just not a big enough market for anyone to build the plant to make it.

On the aesthetic front, there are also new discoveries to be made. Tanzanite is a new gemstone (and one that will soon run out!). As for marble, at some point it may be worth someone's while to go out and core-drill some of the vast known deposits of metamorphised calcium carbonate that don't naturally outcrop. Find a beautiful one near enough to the surface, and open a quarry.

BTW someone mentioned Unobtanium. I think it's been obtained in very small quantities and christened Lonsdaleite. It's yet another carbon allotrope, considerably harder than even diamond. It's formed naturally as very tiny crystals by large meteor impacts on graphite deposits, which mercifully don't happen very often!

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Nigel 11
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Re: You can recycle energy as well

Surely the best way to recycle low-grade paper is to burn it to generate green electricity? (CO2 goes up the chimney. New trees grow and absorb the CO2. The trees are made into paper and the cycle repeats)

Landfilling paper generates methane by anaerobic decomposition. If that leaks into the atmosphere it's a rather more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. Yes, a well-built landfill site can trap the methane and feed it into a generator, which may be less polluting than burning paper directly -- but there's always going to be some methane leakage in that process.

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Nigel 11
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Re: I divide recycling into three types

f colours are mixed in the waste glass it's a problem.

Not exactly. Slightly contaminated clear glass comes out green. Worse contaminated glass comes out brown to black. You see all of these being used as packaging. We use far too much clear (virgin) glass in order to advertise its contents. Things keep better in brown glass - it protects the contents from photo-degradation.

There are also good uses for the lowest grades of contaminated recycled glass. It makes the coloured chips that are used to mark roads (bus and cycle lanes) and the high-grip surfaces in locations where sharp braking is most likely to be required. It's also blended into insulation materials (rockwool).

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Nigel 11
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Re: I divide recycling into three types

We can recycle absolutely anything if we expend enough energy on it. We could turn old tower blocks back into virgin Portland cement if we wanted to. But that would be insane. Better to go dig up more Portland and put the rubble into that nice new hole we've got.

Was that meant in jest? Seriously, living next to a site where an old concrete building is being replaced by new concrete buildings, I saw the old concrete being crushed(*) (to reclaim the scrap iron rebar), screened into appropriately-sized rubble, and used as ballast in new concrete.You can't recycle concrete 100%, but they do a lot better than they used to.

(*) first stage was more like "eaten" by something that looked a lot like a robot T-rex.

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Nigel 11
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Re: I would argue the situation was even worse

So mandatory voting and a box labelled "none of the above" please.

No and Yes.

My view is that the vote of a person who doesn't want to vote is not worth counting, and at worst they might distort the results. Not voting means they've chosen to accept whoever is chosen by those who do vote. I'd go further. Postal votes are too easily stolen or cast without thought. Return to the old system where you have to walk to a polling station unless you can show why you can't (away from the constuituency on polling day, or infirm. I would add being over seventy, and living more than a mile away from your polling station, as acceptable reasons for obtaining a postal vote).

But when I choose to exercise my vote, I'd definitely like to have "none of the above" as a choice. Further, if "None of the above" won the election, there would have to be another election a reasonable time (say two months? ) later, in which none of the candidates who were rejected the first time would be allowed to stand.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Ahem. @ BlueGreen

Other forms of transport will still need some form of oil, and battery technology is unlikely to change that, due to the energy density needed for lorries, aircraft and shipping.

Sorry, there are no fundamental problems here, just a need to migrate to new technologies as and when they become cost-effective (mostly here, because the old ones become more expensive because of fossil-fuel depletion).

Lorries can go electrical in the same way cars can go electrical. The "problem" in both cases is recharge time. We need batteries that can recharge at a higher current, or a standardised battery-swap technology with recharging being done slowly at the fuelling stations. The latter could be done with today's tech. Both would need a huge investment in infrastructure which is unlikely to happen while oil remains at its current price. (There's also compressed natural gas, which is already replacing diesel to some extent in the USA and elsewhere where NG is cheaper than diesel, but that's a short-term work-around).

Oh, and if you segregated freight from cars to a degree, trolley-lorries would be another viable approach. Wire up the M-ways and main A-roads, build pull-overs for HGVs to unhitch themselves, their batteries would be fully charged after an hour or so travelling along the wire, for an onward local delivery. ISTR this was actually implemented somewhere in the FSU.

Shipping could use liquified natural gas. Post fossil fuel it could revert to "sail". Modern wind technology wouldn't look anything like the square meters of canvas of yore. Think vertical powered rotating cylinders (Bernoulli effect) and/or huge computer-controlled kites, plus energy generated from wind to charge battery banks for use in close-quarters manouvering or escaping port during dead calms. (Low tech batteries: sail ships need heavy ballast so they can tack, may as well be lead-acid batteries? ) Finally add in modern weather forecasting and telemetrics. The sail ships of tomorrow would never become becalmed because they'd know where the calms were going to be, and navigate elsewhere. Really BIG ships, if needed at all, might be nuclear-powered.

Which leaves aircraft, and the simplest (only?) solution there is that we go back to the 1920s. The very rich or those sent by rich employers fly in craft powered by (necessarily expensive) biofuel. The rest of us stay on the ground. Mass air tourism and most air freight is not a necessity, it's a luxury.

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Google: The Internet of Things to become the Internet of ADVERTS ON YOUR THERMOSTAT

Nigel 11
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Nightmare: Google will use Optimization by Vector Space Methods

Suppose this is done without it being a vector for advert targeting. A really good idea? NOT.

It's one of the SF-inspired nightmares that haunts my imagination. A society optimised too close to the edge of chaos. Then some small thing goes wrong, and it crashes via a set of un-anticipated interactions. Crashes hard. Crashes so hard and with so many interlocks and interactions, that it can never get back on its feet before 90% of the population are dead.

Maybe we're there already, with JIT delivery and internet and computers replacing people in finance and sales. World CyberWar One may be worse than a nuclear WW3. But it could get an awful lot more fragile in the future, if the warnings are not heeded.

Fact. Half of the USA's electricity grid was once knocked out by a suicidal squirrel carbonising itself. But at least there was enough resiliece in that system, that they could (manually!) re-boot the electricity grid over the next twelve hours or so, before the rest of society crashed.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Smart' Traction

Not remembering logos doesn't mean that they don't influence your purchasing subconsciously

Is the majority of the human race really like that? For my part, I certainly do remember the logos consciously. If the advert is intrusive enough for me to notice it, it's a positive reason why I won't be buying anything displaying that logo until I've forgotten the intrusion. Same thing happens if I feel that a company's product or conduct has been particulrly heinous. I haven't bought anything SONY since they deliberately inflicted malware on the computers I was looking after, and I haven't had any cause for regret.

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Nigel 11
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Fridge doing advertising?

How??

Visual - just cover the panel with a sheet of something opaque

Audio - stick a sponge over the noisemaker, or mangle it to non-functionality.

Or is it just going to phone home to tell advertisers what you are buying and running out of? In which case, surely tinfoil over its aerial will fix it? If it won't refrigerate without an internet connection, it's clearly unfit for purpose, so return it and demand a refund.

(Personally, I'd go all out to confuse the advertisers. Cut the RFID tags off everything you buy, and let the fridge report back that it's full with half a tonne of clothes, DIY supplies, and foodstuffs five years past their sell-by date! )

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E-cigarettes help you quit – but may not keep you alive

Nigel 11
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Re: Stop banning things!!!

Broadly speaking, I agree with you.

Not about trains, though. People are packed at very high density in trains and ought to show consideration for fellow travellers. Wilfully creating ANY strong odours is a sign of a selfish person. I'd rate Essex girl perfumes, Essex Man aftershaves, and eating hot food, and e-cigs, all as unpleasantly anti-social in that environment.

To all the women who take offense when I start sneezing next to them, a gentle hint - IT'S YOUR BLOODY PERFUME THAT'S TRIGGERING MY ALLERGY!

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Nigel 11
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Re: 'vaping' == drug paraphernalia

It's beginning to be said that nicotine is more or less equivalent to caffeine, it's a mild stimulant which in itself does no real harm.

Which can't be held as proved until a lot more research is done. For starters, what's the ratio between the effective pleasurable dose and the LD50 for Caffeine and Nicotine? Then, what are the long-term effects?

Smokers have elevated rates of cancer and heart disease. The tar explains the cancer. Does it also explain the heart disease? If not, what does?

Despite my skepticism, I'm all in favour of vaping, since it appears to allow a majority of smokers to break their addiction, and many of the rest to substitute a seriously harmul product by a far less harmful one. Just saying "safe" is overstating the case.

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Microsoft walks into a bar. China screams: 'Eww is that Windows 8? GET OUT OF HERE'

Nigel 11
Silver badge

I'm still hoping that "Elephants never forget", and that IBM is going to take its revenge on Microsoft at some future date. Possibly if/when Microsoft announces EOL on Windows 7 with no business-appropriate replacement in sight.

I'm told IBM uses Linux on a large scale internally, including on desktops.

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Nigel 11
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Linux

Linux alternative?

China may not have many alternatives to Microsoft, though, given that the country's homegrown OS "Red Flag Linux" apparently shut its doors and fired all staff in February.

the question there should be "what did Red Flag Linux offer, that the commonly used Linux distributions do not?" The common distros all come with Chinese Language support. Not being Chinese, I cannot comment on how good or otherwise that might be. But maybe they simply felt there was nothing that Red Flag Linux offered, that Ubuntu or Fedora or Centos could not also offer. They can read all the source code. They can modify or add packages to their own requirements. Linux isn't all-or-nothing in the way that Windows is.

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BEAM ME UP SCOTTY: Boffins to turn PURE LIGHT into MATTER

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Gooooooowld

A gold+research lab story.

Some years ago, I heard a story about how a company resolutely insisted on wasting the not insignificant cost of about three ounces of gold.

One of the many research uses for gold is vacuum deposition onto objects prior to scanning electron microscopy. The gold blank in the heavily used gold plater had finally been used up. (Most of it deposits on the bell jar that maintains the vacuum, and then gets washed down the sink a few milligrammes at a time, because you don't want a shiny gold opaque bell jar, you want a transparent one.)

A replacement gold blank made of ultrapure 99.999 gold cost several times the gold content. The cheap approach was a Krugerrand, which happened to be the same diameter. Of course it's less pure gold, but that didn't matter.

But could these guys get an order for a Krugerrand past purchasing? To cut a long story short, no, No, NO!!. Expensive ultrapure overpriced gold blank it had to be. Laboratory equipment suppliers good. Bullion dealers bad.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Get your tin-foil hats here -- at these prices I'm cutting my own throat

There's a rarely-considered particle that is created by all high-energy physics experiments. They violate causality, because they always appear before the experiment is carried out, and never afterwards.

They're called Trolls.

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Chip and SKIM: How dodgy crypto can leave shoppers open to fraud

Nigel 11
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@Irongut

Isn't definition 4 appropriate?

BTW It struck me that definition 4 also leads to definition 3, if used in the context of a lynch mob.

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'Executed ex' of Norkers' bonkers Kim Jong-un rises FROM THE GRAVE

Nigel 11
Silver badge

The real truth is that they won't allow independant verification of their version of "truth". Also, that they are now issuing official denials of what has previously been reported.

Draw your own conclusions.

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