* Posts by Nigel 11

3152 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

The Steve Jobs of supercomputers: We remember Seymour Cray

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: It's a shame

It's become far too easy to mass-produce complexity these days. Also, almost nobody writes in assembly language. That said, the ARM instruction set is quite elegant, and any RISC architecture (just about anything today except x86) owes a lot to Cray who designed the first one.

6
0

It's the white heat of the tech revolution, again!

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Because things are so great right now

Actually maybe there is something that's never been tried. A rational form of libertarianism. Government, not anarchy, but as little of it as possible consistent with not arriving at anarchy.

Very hard to see how you could get there let alone maintain "as little as possible". Those who have power, don't want to give it up, and sooner or later want more of it. Democracy lets you boot them out when they become corrupt, but whoever you replace them with install themselves in all the old niches and continue expanding them.

7
1
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Because things are so great right now

more of the same or something new?

Please spell it out. Is there really some new form of government that hasn't already been tried? (With results ranging from poor to absolutely hellishly terrible)

"Democracy is the worst form of government, apart from all the others".

8
0

Herbie goes to a hackathon: Mueller promises cheatware fix

Nigel 11
Silver badge

If the governments do what they should they will protect consumers - that's car buyers in this case - from the effects of this mess. But they'll probably protect the industry first.

Politics is the art of the possible.

It's not possible to fix all those cars instantly. If this is an industry-wide problem and not a VW one, any proper fix will take a ten-year view (average life of a car is about ten years).

It's not sensible to drive the EU car industry into bankrupcy, and end up having to import all cars from countries which care less about air quality than we do. To that extent, the motor manufacturers may get off lightly.

OTOH a good start would be to tax petrol and diesel by the Megajoule, not by the litre. Diesel contains more energy per litre: it's somewhat cheaper than it should be (not hugely so). So cut the tax on petrol. (BTW no self-interest - I drive a diesel).

And once the facts are known, change the VED regime to reflect typical on-the-road emissions of all pollutants, not just CO2 emission in a very flawed lab test. Better, scrap annual VED. Put a one-off charge on new cars to reflect their likely lifetime emissions, and add enough tax on petrol and diesel to ensure government tax-take is unaffected. That'll put more pressure on drivers to minimize fuel consumption, both in new car choice and all car usage, and emissions will look after themselves if they're largely proportional to fuel consumption.

In ten years time we'll be where we should have been today, with the cars on the road reflecting the best achievable pollution levels. This is a scandal that may yet become a much larger one, but it is not a catastrophe.

2
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: In the long run spinning off the VW brand is not a good idea

If you really want to address diesel pollution you'll have to tackle HGV traffic, and I wish you luck there.

Unless the HGV engines are cheating as badly as the car engines, I doubt it. The problem with HGVs is that they last longer than cars. There are some horribly old soot-belchers still on the roads. Banning them from city centres may accelerate their replacement.

On the technical front, I think it's easier to clean up a larger engine. Less exhaust in contact with metal surfaces. Also HGVs aren't judged on their 0-60 acceleration.

Finally there's no alternative. Something has to burn the diesel fraction of the raw petroleum, and we can't do without trucks.

2
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

The general rule here in the UK is that a vehicle is tested against the criteria which applied when it was new. So VW drivers can probably refuse any "fix" that will reduce their vehicles performance. The car passed its MOT test once without that fix, so it still will. It's the car that cheats, not the owner.

Ethically, there's a dilemma. The pollution that such cars emit is hurting people, especially if the car is used for commuting into city centres. Also traders probably won't be allowed to sell unfixed cars. So the secondhand values of VW cars will fall. Sell your car for ££££ less than it was worth a few weeks ago, buy a better one, sue VW?

Also the government might insist that the (car-crippling?) fix is applied, by enforcing it at the next MOT test. Not an admin nightmare. just something that won't win them any votes!

I'd steer clear of buying any diesel until the extent of the problem is known. If all manufacturers have been cheating along similar lines, there may be a serious backlash against diesels, akin to the almost-banning of smoking/smokers.

0
0

Adblock farms out acceptable ad policy to independent reviewer

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: When's the tipping point?

It started open source, so there is of course a fork. I am running Adblock Edge.

However, I'm not immediately dismissing what Adblock is doing. I would happily allow adverts in order to allow sites that I favour to derive revenue from those ads. EXCEPT ...

I'm not prepared to tolerate ads which jump up and down, play movies, make noises, pop up on top of my work, try to install malware on my computer, eat really significant amounts of bandwidth, force me to play hunt-the-dismiss-icon, and numerous other abuses which are fortunately impossible in printed media. Until or unless there is a way to restrict the ads which make it onto my screen to ones which behave no differently to printed ads, I'll be forced to block all of them.

The advertizing industry really ought to work out that annoying potential customers is not in their interests, and anything which breaks the rules that print media impose, is annoying this particular customer. In fact I'm offended to the extent that I pop the offender onto my mental "don't buy" list until a worse offender or forgetfulness intervenes. So advertisers, you have reason to thank "Adblock Edge". At least your rep with myself remains zero or positive, rather than going negative.

24
0

Herbie Goes Under Investigation: German prosecutors probe ex-VW CEO Winterkorn

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: High Risk Strategy

Confuzzling the Management is a worthwhile skill, but it has to be used with considerable caution.

And one explanation is that there's a rogue engineer at the bottom of this, who thought that he could get away with it, or who didn't think at all beyond the pay-rises and promotions. If a rogue trader could be allowed to bring down a bank or finance house (and we all know that story), how much less likely is a rogue techie?

2
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Please make it stop

Nobody died or even was wounded.

No. Thousands will have died of asthma, lung cancer, heart attacks... It's just impossible to say what percentage of the much larger number of deaths over the last few years might have been averted and for how long, had levels of pollution been reduced in the way that following the regulatory rules would have achieved. No grieving widow can say "you killed my husband" and sue VW, but I have no doubt that some widows' husbands would still be alive had this cheating not taken place, and many more would have enjoyed a few more months of life before their lungs or hearts failed.

5
2
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: he was unaware of the "defeat device"

If VW is the only company that's been doing this, and all the others are complying with the test regime without explicit software cheating, then I'll be surprised if VW is still in business ten years from now. Why would I buy another VAG car, when their engines are five years behind their competitors rather than the five years ahead that they were suggesting until recently?

But if they've all been cheating in much the same way, that makes protestations of high-level innocence harder to swallow. None of the CEOs knew??!

Watching with interest.

3
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: he was unaware of the "defeat device"

He is the CEO, and ultimately the buck stops with him.

Which is why he resigned.

However, that's not a reason to jail him, and what this article is about is criminal liability (if any).

2
3

The pachyderm punch: El Reg takes just-over-a-ton Elephone P8000 to tusk

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Hmmmm

Just maybe, batteries are now good enough that you really won't need to swap it. Saving 30p(?) on a battery connector in a £100 phone is significant, less so in a £500 phone that ought to be built to much higher standards. There's also the question of whether a replacement battery would be available when you needed it several years down the road (and the cost of making spares available ... that's another saving from fixing both the battery and the customer's expectations at the start).

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Trunk calls?

Telephant

Sounds like a good keyword for El Reg to use for the govt. of the PRC. (Choose your preferred pre-installed spyware. Telephant or Uncle Sam? What, cynical, me? )

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Pocket Computers

I was thinking along similar lines. Not so much a phone as a mini-tablet. It's not exactly expensive and that's a lot of pixels for the money.

2
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: I'm curious...

The obvious comparison is with a well-used elderly Samsung that you can buy unlocked and secondhand for around the same price. A feature comparison and year-on review done that way really would be interesting.

1
0

HP's Mad King Léo ignored Autonomy iceberg, emails claim

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: No chance of a fair hearing in a US court

In this case Autonomy has been purchased by HP. So it's an all-Americal dust-up between HP and its shareholders.

2
1

NOxious Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal: Chief falls on sword

Nigel 11
Silver badge

@Lusty

Yes, but in UK law your legal remedy is against whoever sold you the offending item. That party can in turn sue whoever supplied them, and so on up the chain.

You can instead choose to ask the item's manufacturer to honour its warranty instead, or to accept compensation from them, but if this route fails you have to take action against the party that sold the item to you.

So it's the dealers that will be suing VW for the compensation they pay to their customers, and it's the lawyers that will be the principal beneficiaries of the whole sorry mess.

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: As CEO

If you are taking this idea seriously, at least review what happened to BP after they spilled some oil off the Florida coast and killed a few penguins. OK, a lot of oil, though I still think it was Transocean and Haliburton's fault. The courts disagreed.

In this case there is no question that it's VW's fault. There's no third party to blame.

I think you'll decide that the share price could have a lot further to fall.

2
1
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Very unfortunate

Clean Diesels make sense to all except the tree huggers, Obama and the electric vehicle purveyors duping consumers.

Except, is there such a thing as a clean diesel? I await the results of tests on the other makes. I hope that this is a VW-only scandal, and that urea injection works as well as is claimed.

If everyone in the industry has been cheating, the "clean diesel" may be to internal combustion engines, as a unicorn is to horses.

Just saying, wait and reserve judgement until the full facts emerge.

For the record, I drive a 2002 diesel, which never claimed to be particularly clean. Since 2002, much has been learned about NOx and particulates, which reveals them to be more of a health hazard than was realized back then. It's cities, and particularly city centres, where this pollution is a major problem. I rarely drive in cities and the last time in a big city centre was 2009, so I can just about square my conscience with keeping it running.

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: "even though I am not aware of any wrong doing on my part"

@Pascal Monett

Careful - that's close to libellous. It's not established that he knew anything about how his engine design people were progressively "improving" the performance of the engines. There's no reason he should have known, he could have been as much deceived as the government's regulators. I'd fault the regulators to a greater extent, because their remit should have included catching out any cheats.

Somebody fairly high up the company must have known, and not passed any concerns up the chain of command. The chief resigned, because the buck stops at the top. He's resigned, because he clearly didn't sufficiently instill the importance of ethical behaviour in his underlings. He's resigned, because the board has lost confidence in him. The next CEO must find out who knew what, and fire those whose decision-making embraced wholesale deception as legitimate.

3
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Industry spokesperson

@dan55

All that stuff is an open secret, and constitutes a level playing field amongst manufacturers (albeit one that progressively reduces the value of testing, as the car's preparation further diverges from real world motoring). No reproducible lab test is ever going to replicate all car owners' on-road experiences. Driving conditions and driving styles are far too disparate. Car reviews give one a fairly good idea of how the published figures relate to reality.

The ECU software issue is different, because it's equivalent to supplying one sort of car engine for testing, and a completely different one to the car buyer. The environment suffers from cars that pollute far more than they have regulatory approval to do. If these cars are now locked down into test mode, the owners' experience will suffer. The car they own will no longer be in any way like the one they test-drove. This was not an open secret. It was a very well-kept secret, and the intent was to defraud governments and car owners alike. It was precisely analagous to drug-cheating in sports.

3
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Industry spokesperson

@BobRocket

In future, the regulatory authorities need to be allowed to "conscript" any car off the production line, at the point where it's ready to be delivered to a customer. Yes, someone is going to be unhappy about their new car arriving late, but that happens for all sorts of other reasons in any case. In this case "force majeure" will apply.

Also, dealers need to be made to swear, on oath, that they are not under any instruction from the car company to re-flash all ECU softwares before handing the keys to the customer, and that they don't routinely do this. The penalties for perjury (criminal conviction, possible jail time) would mean that any such secret tinkering would soon become known.

It's not rocket-science. It's like catching sport doping cheats. Assume the worst. It's now proved that the auto industry cannot be trusted to police itself.

2
1
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Has anyone got any real details?

@bonkers

The point is that VW diesels don't use urea to clean up the exhaust. VW claimed that their technology was so advanced, urea injection was unnecessary. But they were cheating the tests. The ECU was injecting fuel in a special test programme, that will severely impact on the cars' performance if it is now inflicted on motorists who bought VW cars based on a test drive experience. Also, it's not a minor discrepancy. In the US, VW diesels were discovered to be emitting seven times more pollution on the road, than they did in the tests. That's illegal, by a factor of at least five.

If other manufacturers are cheating but only by not injecting Urea as much as they do when they detect a test situation, it'll be less serious for them. They'll have to turn on "test mode" for ordinary motoring and supply free urea to motorists. Possibly, they'll have to retro-fit a larger tank, if the supplied one holds less than a ~500 mile supply. Luckily, urea is cheap (and about as non-toxic as a chemical can be). OTOH if test mode cripples on-road performance for other manufacturers' cars, this will become the biggest scandal since the bankers almost crashed the entire global economy.

2
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Why would I let them retrofit anything to my car?

At present you don't have to. However, if (when?) the government decrees your car to be illegal because it emits too much pollution, then you'll have no choice.

So, you'll sell it (at depressed value) and buy another car, and have a very good case to sue for the lowered resale value that VW inflicted on you. Assuming VW isn't bankrupt by then. Interestingly, your case is probably against your car dealer, not against VW. It's the dealers that'll sue VW.

I'm really glad to be driving a 2002 model, though I live in fear of my car being retrospectively legislated off the road. Nobody except me thinks it's worth more than £1000, and that only on the day after it passes an MOT.

2
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Win Win

Nah, an old enough Merc will be a luxury car until the sale of distilled petroleum products is banned. Old enough, because back then they built them to last forever, and many of them are still going strong with multiple light-seconds on the clock. Shame about the fuel consumption, but if you can afford luxury, do you care?

Or get a 'leccy car and enjoy the music system and the 0-30 acceleration.

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Not all need to be recalled.

@iansmithedi

There's something wrong with it, if it blows a cloud of soot. Get it fixed. I've got a pre-DPF diesel and there's never any visible soot (except for a brief puff when it's started from very cold).

Or do you just mean that it accelerates in 5th gear at a rate that few ordinary petrol cars can match?

3
0

11 MILLION VW cars used Dieselgate cheatware – what the clutch, Volkswagen?

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Where's the red line?

A real-world test should simulate city stop-start driving, because it's cities where the pollution levels are at their most dangerous to the most people. Add in an element of busy motorway: 70mph, but with frequent speed adjustments and occasional full stops, like any busy city ring route. I doubt whether any car that did well in those two real-world situations could be seriously poor for suburban or rural usage patterns.

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Confused…

"Plug it in, see if it catches fire."

Or, hold this under the fire alarm, and see if it goes off. Also whether someone has remembered to disconnect the alarm being tested from the rest of the site's alarms ....

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: "Wide Open Throttle"

I am wondering what the implications would be of 11 million cars that can never meet the US emissions regulations.

Are they Federal regulations these days, rather than state ones? I was going to guess, "Cheap cars for citizens of Wyoming and Montana". In Montana the state speed limit once was "safe and prudent for the circumstances" and they treated the Federal 50 limit with utter contempt. Have times changed?

Well, if they have, I guess the answer is "cheap cars for Mexico", or countries further South.

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: steering-column not being moved

Won't surprise me if someone discovers an accelerometer "hidden" in the ECU.

It might even be documented and necessary for normal operation. It would be "unhelpful" if the ECU adjusted the engine's power or braking output while the driver was attempting a high-speed cornering manouver having left himself zero safety margin.

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Where's the red line?

There's a grey zone. I'd fault the regulatory authorities for failing to make sure that the tests were as fully representative of real driving as possible, and for failing to cross-reference lab results with on-road results and demanding explanations when a divergence first emerged. Which it would have done, a long time before now, if they'd looked.

It' s just like the doping scandals in sport, but easier to catch the auto industry cheats if you bother to look for them.

3
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: New car

Keep an eye on "Which" and similar consumer groups. Now they know what to look out for, they'll be testing, followed by the agencies.

I expect the next iteration of vehicle testing will include on-road exhaust monitoring as well as improved lab tests, with any great divergence between the lab numbers and the road numbers requiring further testing and full technical disclosure if a discrepancy persists.

Politics is the art of the possible. Immediately scrapping and replacing half the cars under 5 years old isn't possible, so I expect you'll get special license to carry on driving something that's more polluting than it should be through no fault of your own.

2
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: What were they thinking?

(And yes, you can do that: I did (walked)).

So did I, when I finally lost patience with management taking over my life. Best decision I ever took.

I didn't know anything that needed the whistle blowing. That's the much harder decision. The malign "they" will do their damndest to make sure you never work for an employer again, if you do.

2
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: I thought the difference

Electric - true, if the infrastructure exists by then in my part of the UK. I now live in a rural location, which will probably be the last bastion of diesel cars (many 4WD and for good reason in many cases, not "Chelsea tractors!" )

2
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: What were they thinking?

I don't want to think that people that stupid might be designing cars.

Oh, they're not designing any cars. They wouldn't have even half a clue. British Leyland was the last time management took any hand in the automotive design and engineering processes. No, they're being paid hundreds of times more than "mere engineers" to run the car companies with their "unique management and leadership skills", or other similarly barf-inducing verbiage.

"You can't get top people without paying top salaries". How many times have you heard that particular big lie? Who decides who is a "top person"? Answer: a committee of other "top people".

Well, this is yet another example of what these self-proclaimed "top people" are really like. Incompetent jumped-up middle-managers who can fake sincerity at best. Psycopathic narcissistic spawn of Satan at the worst.

15
1
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Well, let's summarise this.

Stop selling diesel cars? Just because you don't notice it, doesn't mean it's not there. Before any decisions are taken we need plenty of data about what is being emitted by current-best diesel and petrol cars in ordinary use on the road. There may be things coming out of Petrol cars that are far more toxic than anything coming out of a diesel. (I'd wager larger amounts of benzene to start with, which is a lifetime-cumulative carcinogen. Catalytic converters aren't perfect. )

However, this has to be Christmas coming early for Tesla and other e-car players.

BTW my observation of diesels is that <10% of them emit >90% of the soot, and presumably fail their next MOT. Even as a diesel driver I'd accept a 4-monthly 10-minute mini-MOT to check emissions, which might accomplish more than all the new-car regulations combined. If you failed you'd have two weeks' grace to get the car fixed or to find a new car.

3
1
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: For Sale

63 plate VW Golf 2.0 TDI, 20,000 miles, silver. £2.50 ONO.

I'll take it. Whatever happens, the politicians aren't going to order the sudden scrapping of millions of cars at their owners' expense. Too many votes at stake. If the manufacturers can fix the problem they'll be ordered to do that. If they can't retro-fix the cars, they'll be given special license for the next ten years, apart from in large city centres where the pollution issue is most serious. There may well be an auto-industry (or offending-company) scrappage scheme meaning your VW may become the cheapest way to obtain a new car.

This fiasco might be the best thing one could imagine for the future of e-cars. Anyone thinking, buy Tesla shares?

2
2
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: I thought the difference

his does strike me as slightly odd, based on the US normally not giving a toss and us being a nanny/protective-continent

It varies enormously from state to state., depending on prevailing climate and geography. I was in LA in the 1970s when the smog was seriously bad. I'm not the least bit surprised that public pressure to fix that level of pollution was impossible to ignore, just as London pea-soupers in the 1950s brought about the clean-air acts over here.

Now more is known about the health hazards of lower levels of NOx and smog, large EU cities are starting to react much as LA has done. Today's city smogs are more dilute than LA's back then, but more dangerous than was realized until quite recently.

I drive an old (2002) diesel. I salve my conscience by rarely taking it into cities and effectively never into an inner city. Back to petrol when it dies.

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: "Wide Open Throttle"

If it's not economically feasible to clean NOx from diesel exhaust, this will be the end of the diesel car. Thoughts and questions:

Firstly, is urea in the quantities needed to clean the exhaust particularly expensive (and just how much is needed? ) Could diesel cars be made with an easily owner-filled urea tank, so that owners just have to tip a bottle of the stuff in when the low urea light comes on? (A bit like tipping engine oil into engines of 1960s vintage that ate oil at quite significant miles-per-liter rates even when new).

Secondly, if it's a problem only under light loads when the engine runs very lean, it's a good match to hybrid technology. Don't ever run the engine lean. Shut it down and run on the battery until more electricity is needed. Then restart the engine and run at the emissions-optimized power output until the battery is recharged.

One other thing: diesel fuel is taxed less than it should be in comparison to petrol. If the tax reflected the energy content of the fuels, then modern petrol-engined cars would look better value even to long-distance motorists. Diesel would once again become something used almost exclusively by off-road vehicles and goods vehicles.

8
4

Backblaze beats Bezos: Backup biz boasts bettering AWS bit bucket

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Looks good

Google Backblaze and you'll find all you want to know. This company is the most open about the technology it uses than any other cloud outfit that I know of. Here, for instance, is details of the latest iteration of the Backblaze Storge Pod. https://www.backblaze.com/blog/storage-pod-4-5-tweaking-a-proven-design/

The company leverages commodity (and desktop-grade) hardware to the max, combatting the intrinsic lessened reliability with very large degrees of redundancy. FWLIW, IMO, that's the smart way to go.

3
0

Cisco shocker: Some network switches may ELECTROCUTE you

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: only for stupid users?

If I were designing a case I'd make sure that no screws that a user can insert from the outside are co-linear with a mains voltage source. Assume that even if the supplied screws are 5mm long, somebody will try to use 50mm screws, and that removing him from the gene pool won't be good for corporate profits even if it does improve the average IQ of the human race.

OTOM, making sure that one of the screwholes is co-linear with the master CPU or switch chip might work wonders for profit margins ....

1
0

Microsoft has developed its own Linux. Repeat. Microsoft has developed its own Linux

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

They missed out Windows 9 and you wondered why. Now the fog is clearing. MS Windows 10. MS Windows X. MS X Windows? Coming to a desktop near you soon, in your dreams. Or nightmares.

9
0

Brown kid with Arab name arrested for bringing home-made clock to school

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Is there any case in the real world

Actually, isn't the obvious way to make a time-bomb to connect the detonator to the beeper of a digital kitchen timer, perhaps via a current-boosting device and a larger battery?

(I've no idea, beyond suspecting that if someone with the intelligence of the average terrorist recruit can make one, then it can't be very hard).

(I do know that in WW2, SBS attached mines to German warships and the delay timer was an aniseed ball that slowly dissolved. That's the way clever guys make an underwater time-bomb).

3
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Lesson to be learnt

Now now, don't be giving the Winphone guys any ideas ....

0
0

Fed-up sysadmins beg Microsoft to improve pisspoor Windows 10 update notes

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Microsoft is a scam company now. The CEO is the worst...

Be fair. He hasn't had any realistic chance to make his mark yet. Most of what we're seeing was set in motion by the former CEO. Not that I'm confident things will get any better.

"When a management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact." (Warren Buffet). I think you can substitute "software" or "engineering" for "economics". A kluge today is a kluge until it dies.

0
0

The ONE WEIRD TRICK which could END OBESITY

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: It's a convincing finding

With regard to fizzy drinks, the drinks manufacturers shouldn't care much if the government puts a whopping great tax on sugar-filled ones. There are "diet" formulations that are calorie-free. There are natural fruit-flavoured drinks which are almost calorie-free and free from any unnatural chemicals. Give consumers a strong nudge through the price mechanism, and they'll buy something cheaper and healthier.

It would be a good start. And any legal challenge would surely fail - there's a long history of governments taxing anything and everything, with far less justification.

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Smaller portions will not work.

glucose fructose syrup

Now on my won't buy list, along with margarine/ hydrogenated fats (trans fat sources).

Name one natural source of sugar that is 50% glucose. I don't believe there is one. When a plant wants to store energy in the short term it packages glucose up into sucrose or other di- and poly-saccharides. For the long term, it uses long saccharide polymers we call starch. When a plant wants its fruit to be eaten, it sweetens it with (mostly) fructose (which is a sort of cheating: it's six times sweeter than sucrose, so the plant only has to give away one-sixth as much of its energy stores! )

Glucose is immediately accessible for metabolism, and ingesting any significant amount of it is a serious whack to your metabolism. Sucrose or starch is less damaging because your body has to process it to release glucose (and fructose), which is what they do in a factory to make that syrup out of corn or similar starch.

There's also the possibility that chemical-plant processing of starch creates significant quantities of other saccharide stereo-isomers that are rare in nature. Same problem as trans fats in margarine. Stereochemisty *matters* to life, a fact which the public health authorites were very slow to wake up to.

I expect that when they get to the bottom of the diabetes epidemic, glucose or artificial saccharides will prove to be the cause, rather than just any sugar, just as trans fats were the source of much heart disease, rather than just any fat.

1
1

US court kills FBI gag order slapped on ISP... 11 years later

Nigel 11
Silver badge

More likely he's been told what an ECTR is, and that he's not permitted to provide this information to any other person! Sort of like signing the official secrets act, but not voluntarily.

(And what he's been told may extend way beyond what is legal, which may well be why he's not allowed to tell anyone else ....)

5
0

Microsoft's 'anti-malware Device Guard' in Windows 10: How it works, what you need

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Many core processors

Isn't this just the next iteration of the Microkernel architecture (as epitomized by the Gnu Hurd)? In the past, efficiency penalties were always too high for this approach to OS design to take off. Today, with CPU power benefitting for more from Moore's law than other constraints of the overall system, it has a chance.

The problem I forsee, is that if somebody does manage to subvert the hypervisor / master control process / whatever, it'll be far harder for ordinary users to do anything about it. A dream for the NSA? Until China also breaks in to the party? then North Korea? Followed by private industrial espionage funded by reclusive billionaires?

There's no such thing as nontrivial bug-free software. Even the hardware has bugs these days!

1
1

The 'vampire squid' wants a bankers' blockchain

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Questions?

Another "Tragedy of the commons"? Make something free and it will be abused? Bitcoin needs a Tobin tax, so that it is used only for financial transactions. 0.05% would probably suffice. But there's no mechanism for doing that, so eventually it'll bog down under the weight of non-financial transactions and trivially-small transactions. Or even get DoSsed by a hostile entity.

If Bitcoin (or something similar) is ever to replace cash, it will probably need to be organised as a large number of interconvertible pools with different fungibilities (minimum denominations) and various geographical restrictions on smaller transactions (because financial transactions will tend to cluster within a country or city). What I don't know, is whether it's possible to do this sort of partitioning while maintaining a single digital currency (exchange rate = 1.0 between all pools for all time).

0
1

Forums