36 posts • joined 1 Jul 2009
Graph slightly misleading
Looking at he graph I was surprised some people were able to nail the game in a couple of attempts, the distribution doesn't look right.
However reading the guys blog linked in the article it seems that the graph is generated from data over about 4hours of play. Thus the points in the "zone of skill" may have been playing for many hours beforehand in order to achieve the good scores at the time the data was taken, and conversely those in the "zone of colossal failure" may improve later.
Another graph labelled "Increasing Score With Practice" probably gives a better indication of how people progress.
Not played the game myself though.
Re: Needs moar bricks!
Does different colours, click on the, initially, red square for a selection.
Does need some more brick types though and you can't push things around on the model (eg open the door) as far as I can work out.
I think they're more like tiny tuning forks carved out of the silicon substrate. They are then made to oscillate (electro statically), then turning / moving them causes distortions that can be measured.
Mass and energy are equivalent from E = m c^2
I think high energy physicists regularly interchange the two.
For sane amounts of energy you won't get much mass increase but in these types of systems I guess it'll be significant.
I think it's more like where you can use Newtonian gravity to calculate the solar system interactions but this becomes inaccurate when you try to follow Mercury over a longish period where you need to use general relativity. Thus it is said that Newtonian model of gravity breaks down when influenced by a large mass (like the sun here).
Here they are trying to find circumstances where the predictions given by general relativity start to break down. We already know it's incomplete because it doesn't work at quantum scales for example.
The trick is to be able to test the theories and if it fails it can then point out which newer theory has a better fit. The problem is that you need extreme examples to push the boundaries of general relativity, this system is fairly extreme and as it contains a quasar it contains an accurate clock that we can take readings from.
It doesn't really mean the old theories are wrong but just incomplete. Like we can still use Newtonian gravity so long as we understand where the limits are.
Timing variations in the pulsar pulses give you its speed (sort like Doppler effect). As time pieces pulsars are very stable so any changes are due to relative motion over short time scales.
Integrate speed to get size of orbit (simplistic analogy I'll admit)
Keplers laws then give you relative masses (possibly need relativistic corrections?).
Re: Regardless of the merits of the Apple patent
The point is that in Europe you have to patent something BEFORE making it public, in the USA I believe this is not so much the case. Thus Steve Jobs demoing it to all and sundry made it public and as the idea was not yet protected by a patent, in Europe, it meant that anyone could copy it, in Europe.
Re: Calling Roadside Assistance
The Hubble telescope was serviced from the Space shuttle, I believe the orbit was more or less at the limit of what the shuttle could cope with. The Space shuttle is no longer flying so we couldn't even service the Hubble telescope now.
The Kepler telescope is not in an earth orbit, it trails along in a solar orbit following the earth at a slowly increasing distance.
Even if the shuttle was flying now it would have had no hope of getting there and back.
We just don't have the technology to do it.
Re: Battery Shorting?
The text mentions a fuse being blown by the timer at the end. I guess the fuse is between the battery and the rest of the circuitry.
Re: I am going to indulge myself in one of my pet peeves.
A 0.9 increase on 3.7 gives...
0.9 / 3.7 * 100 => 24%
Although I do agree with your point about the difference between percentage points and plain percent.
However as it is the proportion of the whole that is more interesting here, quoting the 0.9 rather than 24 makes more sense in context. I guess the author could have put "rising 0.9 percentage points" which would have been more correct but it's more verbose and most people here know what is meant anyway.
Public / Private keys
Not sure what's happening here, I would have thought the firmware would only need the PUBLIC key for SSH logins. Certainly if the PRIVATE key is also embedded then that's a major cockup as the firmware does not need to know this, indeed that's the whole point.
Re: Mmm..Anti Gravity, Higgs and Magnets
It's really hard to get things to fall into a black hole. Basically if you chuck a rock at a black hole it'll end up orbiting around the hole unless you are very accurate, things in space really like to go into orbits around each other. In order to get to a lower orbit you need to 'lose' some energy and for a black hole that means a LOT of energy.
For an active black hole you end up with a rotating disc of matter, mostly in the form of super-heated plasma. This creates magnetic fields which also get twisted up as the whole lot rotates around, these then funnel the highest energy particles (the hottest and fastest) towards the 'poles' and then out along two beams or jets. Sort of opposite to the earth where solar wind particles are funnelled in at the poles.
This effect along with emitted photons in the form of infra-red, light, X-rays and so on robs the system of some energy allowing the slowest particles to get in a bit closer and eventually disappear beyond the event horizon.
The main point here is the particles in the jets are escaping BEFORE they get to the event horizon, the higgs boson is not required. Indeed by having mass and high velocity they take a nice lot of energy with them as they go.
Quick search on google ...
Tappity tap ...
Hmm. OK, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliath
Image on right captioned "David and Goliath, a colour lithograph by Osmar Schindler (c. 1888)"
Porthcurno Telegraph Museum
Don't forget the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum down in Cornwall.
Not just undersea cable stuff, all sorts of communications technology, actual working spark gap transmitters too. It's all housed in a shielded nuclear bunker so can demonstrate stuff that is not possible (legally) elsewhere.
And while you're down there there's the Goonhilly satellite ground station.
And if you're into steam engines there's a working one at one of the tin mines on the north coast. I forget the name for the moment though.
Re: Electrical properties
The article states that it is as conductive as copper (and 10x the tensile strength of steel). Capacitance is a function of the spacing of the conductors, so not really much different for a given arrangement and you'd probably want to keep twisted pairs due to the interference cancelling properties (emissions as well as signal corruption).
On the plus side it would be harder to break.
Re: Something not quite right here...
Don't worry, It's kinda non-intuitive.
It's not that the galaxy itself is moving away from us, it's the universe expanding that is causing the galaxy to become further away due to there being increasingly more 'universe' between us and the distant galaxy over time.
It gets worse because it is possible to view distant galaxies that are actually moving away from us at (apparent) speeds greater than that of light, the light will have spent years travelling towards us but actually getting further away before reaching a point where it 'overtook' the universes expansion and could carry on to reach us now.
Despite all this, in that galaxies local bit of the universe the galaxy is moving much slower than the speed of light (if indeed it still exists some 13billion years on!).
<-- One of these will help you get over thinking about the crazy physics.
Re: The article is way under the normal standard of el-reg
According to the BBC website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18959399) it IS a rift valley and goes on to say the east and west halves are moving apart causing said valley. Just happens to be full of ice, so thumbs up to El. Reg. here.
Good news really
If that's the worst security flaw that the researcher can come up with, it means I can happily carry on using it safe in the knowlage that it's generally a reliable bit of software.
In addition it is encouraging that the developer is patching this, either in 3days or as originally planned given the difficulty to exploit the bug.
Re: Descent vehicle
The only potentially useful thing the descent vehicle will do after dropping the rover will be to make a nice bit dent in the ground as it crash lands.
To land the descent vehicle as well would probably require more fuel which in turn would mean less stuff on the rover so dumping instrumentation or somthing. The mass on these trips is very tightly constrained and they want as much as possible do be doing the most useful work it can.
It's a bit like the platforms spirit and co. rolled off, they didn't do anything afterwards.
<= Photo of descent vehicle at instant of touchdown.
Re: A word of caution
Most of the time my 'Note' manages on a single charge each day (I just plug it in overnight) and even then it's nowhere near fully discharged when I do so.
However sometimes it can get a bee in its bonnet and it drains the battery, I suspect it's a misbehaving app running a service in the background or somthing not letting the thing go to sleep. I find power cycling cures this.
Packet radio can be a drain if you're in an area with bad signal as it struggles to get even the small amounts of data through that happen when on the network, turning it off is best in this situation.
The screen does sap power though, when playing games it seems more power goes to the screen than for processing but running with lower brightness helps, not as pretty though.
Re: Won't somebody think of the black holes
The two black holes will eventually merge and you'll have one rather more massive black hole. If Triangulum also joins the party then its black hole may well get ejected at great speed as it will be the smaller of the three and three body systems are unstable.
Theoretically when two black holes merge you get lots of gravitational waves which scientists have been trying to detect (unsuccessfully so far), a close merger on this scale would be a good test for the instruments.
The BOFH meets Dilbert
Check out this Dilbert strip...
So reminded me of the BOFH!
A few years ago they had bank clerks doing this as they are good at counting lots of bits of paper.
That's a lot of collisions
From our friend Wikipedia...
One inverse femtobarn is equal to around 70 million million (70 x 10^12) collisions
From Sony Vaio Control Centre...
Battery life will be about 80% of the one of the fully charged battery, however, this mode prevents battery degradation and is more effective if you usually use the computer with battery power.
I'm using this feature as I spend a lot of time at a desk and only time will tell...
On my previous laptop (a Rock Pegasus) the battery was OK after a year, after 2 years it didn't last quite as long and after 3 years it fell off a cliff. Sadly the video then went titsup so I've had to replace the whole thing :-(
It's filed under "Biology" so no IT connection required.
In any case I kinda like these odd off the wall reports, keep up the good work guys.
I've been using Webmin to manage the servers here at work for years now, works a treat.
Its Aluminium Oxide
Synthetic Sapphire is relatively cheap to produce
The image will be computer generated, you'd never optically resolve anything this small at this distance.
The data showing how the system is behaving will come from high resolution spectrometer observations showing the doppler shifts of light emitted by the various objects and gasses involved over time. The image will be based on this with a good dollop of artistic license.
I think the jets are due to the rotation of the black hole 'corkscrewing' its magnetic field lines which then catch some of the inflowing ionised material and accelerate it back out before it reaches the event horizon.
The event horizon will be relatively small for a solar mass black hole, about a third of the diameter of the sun if I remember correctly.
1rock => Lots of rocks
The trouble with 'nuking' an asteroid is that even if you do succeed in fragmenting it you end up with several smaller asteroids all in the same orbit and the same combined kinetic energy.
So you are not really any better off because it's the total energy released in the impact that causes the damage. 1big bang vs. several smaller bangs.
What you actually need to do is shift the orbit of the asteroid without breaking it up (too much) so it doesn't hit the earth in the first place, this could be done with a nuke if you vapourised a chunk off one side to give it a hard nudge. Trouble is some asteroids are actually more like piles of rubble than single solid rocks so giving the sharp nudge will just break the thing up without changing the orbit so much.
What you really need is a gentle push over a long period for the most reliable and predictable results. Hence "gravity tractors", ion engines and the like.
That's why you need to spot'em early, so you've got time to do the gentle push over, preferably years.
I mean which brain dead idiot thought that one up. It fails to work on so many levels that I just don't know where to start counting!
Oh yeah, PETA, as you were.
Bet they don't work weekends though, meaning the backlog increases by 2000 as each week goes by.
Even if they did work the full 7 days the backlog will not be cleared until the applications rate falls.
CN Tower in Torronto
I went up the CN tower in Torronto a few years back, that had "Airport like" security checks before you could go up, nice views once you were up there though. I guess something similar could be done for the BT tower.
Lighter - hotter - bigger
Have less matter but heat it up so it expands and occupies more volume.
Check out http://www.spaceguarduk.com/ for info on the UK's efforts in tracking objects.
Also quite a few of these are being initially found by amateurs, the smaller end of the range being harder though as you need a bigger 'scope == more money.
The money is needed to do the accurate tracking required to accurately predict if the thing is going to hit or not.
If an object that's going to hit the earth is identified early enough then there are things that can be done to shift it to an orbit that misses. A gentle push over a long time, using for example "Gravity Tractors", is much better than trying to nuke it (you just get hit by lots of smaller objects, same total energy though).
Aliens cos they'll help us out (or are they the ones pushing them our direction?).
@The Same Genuises
I recall reading somewhere that pencils are a BAD idea, graphite conducts electricity and if you broke the tip off in zero g it could drift off into the control systems causing all kinds of excitement.
- Vid Hubble 'scope scans 200,000-ton chunky crumble conundrum
- Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?
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- Interview Global Warming IS REAL, argues sceptic mathematician - it just isn't THERMAGEDDON
- Windows 8.1 Update 1 spewed online a MONTH early – by Microsoft