* Posts by Steve the Cynic

546 posts • joined 28 Jul 2009

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RIP Eugene Cernan: Last man on the Moon dies aged 82

Steve the Cynic

Re: Pioneers of Space

Heck, to hear the rhetoric from politicians who are old enough to know better, we never knew how to make a rocket as big as Up Goer 5 (1). (Or, rather, they treat launching 120 tons to LEO as a new engineering goal, despite being alive when Up Goer 5 could do better than that.)

(1) See https://xkcd.com/1133/. It's noteworthy for showing that "thousand" is not one of the 1000 most common words.

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Balancing miners borks blockchains, say boffins

Steve the Cynic

Re: And in this day and age ...

Actually, the problem isn't quite what that sounds like. It isn't about whether *we* can trust *them* (although that is obviously an issue), but whether they think *they* can trust *each other*. (And the LIBOR scandals show that that *is* an issue, of course. As does this paper.)

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It's now 2017, and your Windows PC can still be pwned by a Word file

Steve the Cynic

Re: MS17-001

"Good luck trying to update Edge on any other version of Windows."

That was my thought when I read that line, although I suppose it's better for Microsoft to be explicit about it.

Personally, I'd like them to fix Edge so it actually remembers my Favorites / bookmarks for more than a week. (It worked OK, then blew its brains out and reinitialized itself, and ever since then it forgets what I put in the Favorites bar about once a week.)

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Binary star bash-up should add new light to Northern Cross in 2022

Steve the Cynic

Re: A new star in the sky

Dude, you derailed my brain. Thanks for that.

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Routes taken by UK prosecutors over supply of modified TV set-top boxes

Steve the Cynic

Takes two to conspire: seller+buyer?

I think we'd all agree that conspiracy takes two or more people (the Unreliable Source agrees, for what *that's* worth).

How long before this becomes the (lone) seller and the buyer rather than the seller and his mate?

(No "joke" icon because it's not meant as a joke, not much, anyway...)

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Fedora 25: You've got that Wayland feelin', oh, that Wayland feelin'

Steve the Cynic

"Aside from possibly making you feel old – yes, you've (possibly) been using Linux for longer than the lifespan of a US patent"

Yup, that's me. First touched Linux in 1995. As a development environment for $JOB, no less.

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US think-tank wants IoT device design regulated, because security

Steve the Cynic

"at the St. Regis"

Nice work if you can get it! (I used to work at a NY-based firm that would put up visiting staff from overseas offices in the St. Regis. Nice place.)

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HBO slaps takedown demand on 13-year-old girl's painting because it used 'Winter is coming'

Steve the Cynic

"I thought ELO had that one?"

Somebody has broken out of Satellite Two.

Look very carefully, it may be YOU (you you you).

Even sadder... I did that without looking on a lyrics site.

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RIP John Glenn: First American in orbit – and later, the oldest, too

Steve the Cynic

Re: Oh man, I'm approaching terminal age then.

> > after a short illness

> Yeah, nice circumscription for what must be "massively invasive cancer"...

It's usually shorthand for a heart attack or a stroke. (Of the sort that takes a day or two for you to actually die.)

"Long illness" means cancer or (perhaps) dementia. Even a massively invasive cancer usually takes months to kill the patient. (In my wife's case, it was seven months to death's door, then she got surgery to remove the previously undetected kidney tumour. At the moment it was removed, the tumour was bigger than the kidney, but of course it had metastasised by then, so she went back to queuing for another seven months before the bony guy let her in)

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Everything at Apple Watch is awesome, insists Tim Cook

Steve the Cynic

I don't have to press a button to light up the display on my iWatch. I turn my wrist to look at it, it lights up. You must be thinking about 1970s LED digital watches.

And the insults you mention must be a British (?American) thing. The French seem either disinterested or positive about it.

And the questions of performance are not, either way, any kind of influence on whether or not I get a Series 2. The Series 2 doesn't care if I dunk it. That's the key feature, and it's the *only* difference that matters to me. (Sure, I get that the Series 2 has its own GPS receiver, but I don't do anything with my iWatch that involves not carrying my phone, so ...)

But yeah, I'd like it to not burn down the battery quite so quickly. This, too, is important. (But, equally, the charger is light and sits on my bedside table, where I leave my watch (conventional or iWatch) at night, so the *cost* in "convenience" terms is low.)

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Here's how the missile-free Royal Navy can sink enemy ships after 2018

Steve the Cynic

Re: lack of stealth ?!

"+1 for the Mosquito. I bet it could be made to work. The thing is probably even strong and solid enough to mount a few modern weapons systems."

Well, don't forget the "Tsetse", a Mosquito built with a 57mm anti-tank gun. (Officially, and boringly, designated "Mosquito FB Mk XVIII".)

After the war, apparently, they tried something ... larger ... , the Ordnance QF 32 pounder, a 96mm weapon equipped with a novel form of muzzle brake, firing 32-pound AP shells at 877 m/s. They built one, and flew it, and even fired live rounds from it without problems. Then they scrapped it. (I hear a familiar refrain...)

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Sysadmin figures out dating agency worker lied in his profile

Steve the Cynic

Re: Enter == submit

If the user had learned touch typing, he wouldn't have been looking at the keyboard. (I can mostly touch-type, and have learned to do it on AZERTY as well as QWERTY keyboards. My late wife learned it at school, and tested one time at nearly 100 wpm. She could accurately transcribe documents while looking only at the document, and not at either the screen OR the keyboard.)

And yes, I remember back in the day using an IBM 3278 terminal, with the Return key going to the next field and the Enter key submitting the screen.

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UK's new Snoopers' Charter just passed an encryption backdoor law by the backdoor

Steve the Cynic

Re: Dad

"The masses may riot, but they will NOT rise."

Eric Blair wrote a book about that, published in 1948. 'Course he didn't write it under that name, and his timescale was a bit short, but one important observation in /1984/ was that the proles would never rise. The masses you mentioned *ARE* the proles he was talking about.

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BOFH: The Hypochondriac Boss and the non-random sample

Steve the Cynic

"I always wondered what MCP stood for"

Master Control Program, duh.

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It's time: Patch Network Time Protocol before it loses track of time

Steve the Cynic

'Course NTP is important. Especially if...

Well, like one place I worked around 2000. For ... reasons(1) ... we used SourceSafe. (Yeah, I know, Mistake Number One)

As you may or may not know, a SourceSafe repository is just a bunch of files on a network share somewhere. Events in the history, therefore, have timestamps based on the only possible time standard: client workstation clocks.

And, of course, the placement of a label is strictly 100% based on timestamps.

OK, we're almost there.

A spate of weird build failures (specifically, that official builds didn't pick up new code commits) was eventually traced to a time sync discrepancy between client workstations where we did our commits and the build-launcher machine that would create a label for the build. Relative to (some of) the client workstations, the build machine was about five minutes in the past, so it inserted the label "earlier" than the commits even though in wallclock time, the commits were made first.

We installed NTP software (Tardis on Win2000/WinXP) on all the machines, and this problem went away.

(1) All I'll say here is "reasons". I'm specifically denying that they were good reasons.

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Steve the Cynic

Firewalls? You have firewalls?

Heretic.

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Swedish prosecutor finally treks to London to question Julian Assange

Steve the Cynic

Re: Bah!

"a short custodial sentence for jumping bail and fleeing the country"

Well, no. Jumping bail, I'll let you have, but he's still *in* the UK.

The Unreliable Source informs us that the interior of an embassy remains part of the territory of the host country, although the host country may not send representatives into the embassy without permission, even to, for example, fight a fire.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomatic_mission section "Extraterritoriality".

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MPs want Blighty to enforce domestic roaming to fix 'not spots'

Steve the Cynic
Joke

Re: That's rather unfair

"forces networks to provide the coverage the same as is currently in place with Royal Mail"

So your first-class data packets are delivered probably tomorrow if the destination is in the UK? Or you can spend twenty times as much for it to be almost(1) definitely delivered tomorrow instead of just probably?

(1) On one memorable occasion, I sent something to a guy in Belfast from near Oxford by Special Delivery post, and it took a week to get there. This was a guy who, when I phoned him about the item, mentioned in his broad Belfast accent that his place looked like a bomb had gone off. Seriously. He did comment on how that must have sounded.

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NYSE halts trading in Violin Memory shares

Steve the Cynic

Fussy point: The OTC market is a *market*, not an *exchange*. (For a long time, NASDAQ did not meet the regulatory requirements for being an exchange either.) OK, it's a technical vocabulary (jargon) thing, but the SEC will jump up and down on you if you say, in material for shareholders, that you are listed on an exchange and it turns out to be any sort of OTC listing.

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Despite best efforts, fewer and fewer women are working in tech

Steve the Cynic

Re: Yup, women are smarter.

@Prst. V.Jeltz

"sombody made those 8080s in 74 - but this was around the time that industry experts were saying things like " there will only ever be a need four 4 computers on the planet" and suchlike - so not everyone had to learn them . it was only literally about 1995 when computers appeared in the houses of "normal people" for the purpose of doing stuff OTHER than pissing around with a computer"

Your timescales are a little off. The four-computers thing was Thomas J Watson, chief of IBM, speaking in *1943*, when working stored-program computers were still five years in the future, and he actually said "five", not "four".

And I would contest the 1995 figure as well, although the discrepancy there is more like five or six years, and depends a little on how exactly you define the edges of "pissing around with a computer". I myself used a (home) computer in 1984 as what amounted to an advanced form of typewriter (Scripsit on a TRS-80 Model III), although I wouldn't class my family as "normal people" in this context.(1)

(1) My mother worked as a programmer at LEO in the 1960s, and my father worked all his career in what amounts to IT support, sometimes outsourced, sometimes in-house. When some of the last LEO IIIs to be decomissioned were finally turned off in the late 70s, the aluminium honeycomb side panels from the racks made their way into our house as floor panels for the loft.

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Trump vs. Clinton III - TPP looks dead, RussiaLeaks confirmed

Steve the Cynic

My first thought...

" no fewer than 17 civilian and government intelligence agencies point the finger to Kremlin interference in the election"

When I read this, my first thought was that Senator Johnny Iselin had a list of 57 known communists in the State Department. Make of that what you will.

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GPS spoofing can put Yik Yak in a flap

Steve the Cynic

Re: Oh

Well, I looked it up in the Unreliable Source, and I found this interesting paragraph:

"An update in August of 2016 in which the app mandated the use of profiles and removed anonymity was not well received by the user base, and it now has a "1 star" rating on the iOS App store."

So I'd suggest that it is, indeed, no longer a thing.

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Do AI chat bots need a personality bypass – or will we only trust gabber 'droids with character?

Steve the Cynic

Re: by answering more questions

"Hmm, should that be "questioning more answers"? It is "Jeopardy", after all. I guess I'll have to leave it to the AI to decide which is more correct..."

I'll have to admit to having seen enough Jeopardy to know that this is, indeed, the right response.

For the unaware: Jeopardy is a quiz-format gameshow much like any other, with the twist that the questions given by the host are phrased as simple statements, while the contestants must phrase their answers as if they were asking questions.

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Nuke plant has been hacked, says Atomic Energy Agency director

Steve the Cynic

Re: "Try finding a virus that would both be capable of infecting a PDP-11"

I remember a conversation by email with my brother from ... oh ... at least 15 years ago now ... concerning his job writing an emulator to allow PDP-11 code to run on PCs of some sort.

And I, too, wrote PDP-11 code back in the day. In assembler, too. Uni course with the final project organised as a competition to see which of the four groups could get the best aggregate score for a sort of jigsaw-solving algorithm(1). The score was an aggregate based on memory used and time taken.

My group won the competition with the best time *and* the smallest program. Two other groups were close behind, while the fourth trailed far, far behind because they wrote a chunk of the code in Pascal, producing a result that used prodigious amounts of CPU time *and* memory.

(1) N by M puzzle, each piece was four integers to represent the four edges of the piece. A zero meant an edge piece, while a pair of zeros meant a corner. Two pieces were correctly adjacent if there was a particular arithmetic relationship between the numbers. The pieces were all aligned correctly (no rotation was needed), but arranged in no particular order.

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Command line coffee machine: Hacker shuns app so he can stay at the keyboard for longer

Steve the Cynic

Re: Why aren't they following the standards ?!

And he hasn't used avian carriers either.

https://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1149.txt

(I know the numbers of two different RFCs by heart. One is 7112, a deeply boring blither about IPv6 fragmentation as it applies to extension headers. The other is Avian Carriers.)

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Microsoft disbands Band band – and there'll be no version 3

Steve the Cynic

I agree. All I meant was that the whole "Mice By Microsoft" thing is still going, so they don't count as "defunct".

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Steve the Cynic

Other items for the list of defunct Microsoft hardware:

* I won't include the old mice because there are still new mice.

* I won't include the various Xboxes and controllers because there are still new ones

* I will include Mach 20. Read a teeny bit about it here: http://www.pcmag.com/slideshow/story/300240/the-secret-history-of-microsoft-hardware/10

* I will include Microsoft's very first hardware products, expansion cards for the Apple II. A couple are mentioned here: http://www.applelogic.org/PeripheralCards.html

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These diabetes pumps obey unencrypted radio commands – which is, frankly, f*%king stupid

Steve the Cynic

Re: Pumps have many challenges, security is certainly one.

And I haven't seen a syringe that size in a *very* long time.

And it wasn't an injection syringe, but a blood sample syringe, when I was first diagnosed with Type I diabetes in 1981. (At the age of 15, mind.)

For a while, I had a glass-walled syringe for injections (and a need to divide doses by two because it was for 20-U insulin and I had 40-U). The one in Pulp Fiction looks sort of similar.

Then I changed to 100-U insulin with 100-U syringes, which are skinny disposable plastic things, very vaguely similar, except much thinner and a bit shorter, to the one in the picture.

These days I use "pens" - pre-filled cylinders with screw-on disposable needles. Twist the cap to select the dose, push the protruding tube (that wound out as you twisted the cap) to inject. They are thicker than the disposable syringes, but *still* thinner than the syringe in the picture.

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Unlucky Luckey: Oculus developers invoke anti-douchebag clause, halt games for VR goggles

Steve the Cynic

:puzzled: What other kind of boycott did you think existed? :puzzled:

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BOFH: I found a flying Dragonite on a Windows 2003 domain

Steve the Cynic

Re: Not funny

"the GPO"

I saw this and had one of those moments where my brain seizes up. WTF does the General Post Office have to do with 21st Century IT?

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Patent trolls, innovation and Brexit: What the FT won't tell you

Steve the Cynic

"we can get rid of UK governments at regular intervals"

Pedantry strikes again! The intervals are not fixed. They are capped at five years, but they can be shorter. They are usually only a bit shorter than five years, but in 1974 we had two general elections in one year.

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Steve the Cynic

Re: Few problems with this....

"the US patent application was duly dismissed by the EPO as illegitimate"

I read this as meaning "The application in the EU by the US firm was duly dismissed by the EPO".

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Sophos U-turns on lack of .bat file blocking after El Reg intervenes

Steve the Cynic

Re: Hang on a second

"No, it doesn't. NTFS has ACLs, and Cygwin uses them to emulate POSIX permissions."

Well, when you look at the permissions on an ACL, there is one marked something along the lines of "executable". (On my system, whatever it actually says has been replaced by a French word ...)

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Steve the Cynic

Re: Hang on a second

"Like all Un*x variants OSX has an Executable bit in the permissions for a file"

Two bits of pedantry for you.

1. The executable bit is a property of the file system type, not the operating system.

2. NTFS has one, too.(1)

(1) I didn't know this either, until I did something unusual with Cygwin and ended up with a .EXE that could not be executed because it didn't have the Executable permission...

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Why does an Android keyboard need to see your camera and log files – and why does it phone home to China?

Steve the Cynic

Re: Why have 50 million people downloaded it?

"Is that not what the Darwin awards are for?"

They are only for *fatal* stupid. And even they don't *fix* stupid.

Side note: Many of the incidents that lead to people being shortlisted for the Darwin Awards are linked to an apparently innocuous molecule sometimes called methylcarbinol.

You or I know it by its full "scientific" (i.e. IUPAC systematic) name, ethanol. A distressingly large fraction of DA winners (and even runners-up and mere Honourable Mentions) were drunk to a lesser or, more frequently, greater extent.

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Space exploration: Are Musk and Bezos about to eclipse Gagarin and Armstrong?

Steve the Cynic

Re: Back to the Future

"considering a woman tall because she is four inches short of his six-foot height"

Even today, when people are taller than back then (better nutrition, duh), five feet eight inches is taller than average for British women.

And yes, novels often reveal much of their era. Day of the Triffids gives away the time it was written in an assortment of silly things:

* Bill Mason acquires half-tracks to move stuff. Good luck finding one these days outside a military museum.

* Bill and Jo stay for a while in a fantastically expensive flat, one whose rent totals *2000* pounds a year. I noticed this one when I reread the book in 2006/7, where 2000 pounds would have rented my flat for less than three months, and it wasn't really that expensive.

* There are significant stocks of food in shops.

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Pastejack attack turns your clipboard into a threat

Steve the Cynic

Re: Dangerous

"Then I remembered trying to get Linux to work. Everything's fine, and each time you try it it looks like they really have made it into a functional OS this time that one could get day to day work done on, and then you run into that essential piece of hardware you need, that simply won't function, but it's kindof like this other one, so maybe if you download this development software and a compiler you could compile your own driver and get it working."

I had something like this with Linux. ONCE.(1) And it was nearly 20 years ago. Since then, real hardware or not, I have had no such problems.

(1) OK, I'll tell you, since you insist. It was a PCMCIA Ethernet card, allegedly an NE2000 clone, by some cheap-ass Taiwanese outfit. The laptop in question, on a different hard disk, ran Windows 98SE, and that OS was perfectly(2) happy with the card. The relevant driver code in the Linux kernel checked the device IDs and such, realised that it was talking to that particular card, and refused to have anything to do with it as the silicon was too buggy for words. The conflict between the two attitudes was a bit startling.

(2) Well, no, probably not perfectly happy. More likely "sufficiently" happy. Better?

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US work visas for international tech talent? 'If Donald Trump is elected all bets are off'

Steve the Cynic

Re: "We'll see how well that goes"

"And then there's the inflatable tank, which helped the US save Europe's ass again in WWII"

Do you, here, mean DD (Duplex Drive) tanks?

They were a British invention... (Fussy: the inventor was Hungarian, living and working in Britain.)

Yes, the most successful DD tank was the Sherman - it was able to keep its gun pointing forward with the floatation screen up, while the British Valentine could not - but the DD system wasn't American in origin.

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A cracked window on the International Space Station? That's not good

Steve the Cynic

Re: Kessler Syndrome

In general, there would be a range of speeds and directions among the debris. Some would be steeply enough pitched and/or slowed enough to go deep enough into the atmosphere to be deorbited quickly. Others would, as you say, be faster than local circular-orbit speed, *but* from LEO circular-orbit speed to escape speed(1) is an increase of something like +50%, so actual escapes are unlikely.

So there would be a wide range of debris scattered "forward" from the collision (except in the case of a retrograde-prograde(2) impact, where all bets are off, but there would be a significant loss of speed), and some fraction of this debris would be at non-zero orbital inclinations and/or orbital eccentricities, and so would cross/touch the existing equatorial plane at significant delta-V and pose a significant risk to other satellites.

And yes, there have been collisions between satellites where the debris was tracked afterwards.

(1) It's a speed, not a velocity. Unless the path in a particular direction actually intersects the primary or some other orbiting body, it doesn't matter which direction an object that exceeds the escape speed travels - it *will* escape.

(2) Prograde: revolving(3) in the same direction that the primary rotates. Retrograde: revolving in the opposite direction to the one in which the primary rotates. A retrograde-prograde collision, then is head-on or close to it, and takes place at a much higher closing speed than a same-grade collision.

(3) Revolve: said of orbiting bodies, and describes their motion around the primary. Rotate: said of bodies in general, and describes their motion around their own axis.

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Bitcoin is an official commodity, says US gummint

Steve the Cynic

Re: Bitcoin discovers can't have cake and eat it

"Money has always been intangible"

Go back and reread your history lessons. Modern *fiat*(1) currencies, by definition, are intangible, and coins and notes are just physical representations, as you say, but of the currency, not a commodity.

However, historically, either the physical coins and notes were representations of a tangible good - the "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of five pounds" meant, historically, five pounds of silver, at a time when a pound coin was made of a pound of .925 ("sterling") silver, or they *were* the good in question. The silver in that pound coin (there are examples in a museum in the centre of Oxford - it is an effing big coin) *is* the currency, not a representation of the currency.

It is only later that people started to make exchangeable currency, where the physical currency represents a quantity of the relevant commodity (silver, gold, blocks of salt, cowrie shells, future tax revenues, whatever) rather than being the commodity, and it is only much later still that we finally abandoned that idea.

Much later.

Like, try 1971.

(1) The phrase "modern fiat currencies" contains a redundant element. All modern currencies are fiat.

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West's only rare earth mine closes. Yet Chinese monopoly fears are baseless

Steve the Cynic
Trollface

Re: Bad luck Estonia

Often you'll find that in US usage, "Western Hemisphere" really means "North America"...

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French Uber bosses talk to Le Plod over 'illicit activity' allegations

Steve the Cynic

Re: Banning Uber reduces you to third-world status.

"driven by people who [...], and rely 100% for navigation on a cheap satnav."

Some years back, I spent a series of weekends in and around Brum, getting trains up there, and taxis to get around. So far, so good, except that on trips where I wasn't going to obvious places, it was difficult to get a taxi driver who had even heard of the destination.

Then on one trip, I got in a cab driven by an older Irish bloke, and his response to my question was enlightening. I asked him if Brum had a Knowledge, because the other taxis I had had before that didn't show any sign of it. He said that yes, there is a Knowledge in Brum, and he had passed it properly many years before. Most of the drivers, he said, were [South Asians] who would take the Knowledge repeatedly until they remembered enough to pass it and get their taxi license. And that meant that for practical purposes that there were very few taxi drivers who actually knew where much of anything was, and as this was before the widespread distribution of easy satnavs, getting them to take you anywhere except between the New Street station and the main hotel strip was a, um, challenge.

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Apple Watch fanbois suffer PAINFUL RASH after sweaty wristjob action

Steve the Cynic

Re: In fact, warning does make sense

"Peanuts are a legume, not a nut,"

This is true, or not true, depending on whether you are talking to a botanist or a chef.

In botany, peanuts are, indeed, legumes and not nuts. A whole bunch of things we call nuts are not nuts from the botanical point of view, just as strawberries aren't berries, but grapes, tomatoes and oranges are.

In cooking, however, most of those things we call nuts are nuts, and some berries, e.g. tomatoes, aren't even fruit.

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BBC gives naked computers to kids (hmm, code for something?)

Steve the Cynic

"with the hope of inspiring them to learn programming or (perhaps more politically correct) coding."

You lot all know that they use the words "coding", "coder" etc. as a means of diminishing the significance of what programmers do, don't you?

Think about it.

Which sounds more important / more valuable / more skilled / more expensive to hire, a "coder", a "programmer", a "developer"? My vote *ISN'T* on a "coder".

Which of those three sounds more trivial, more unskilled, more interchangeable, etc.? This time my vote is *DEFNINTELY* on a "coder".

Which do you want to be?

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SCREW you, GLASSHOLES! Microsoft unveils HoloLens

Steve the Cynic

Re: Hope they truly work

"This has been the case since they first got into the HW business (which is when no-one would make a keyboard with a Windows key on it for them, I beleve)."

You believe wrongly, unfortunately. Microsoft's first hardware product was an expansion card for the Apple II, released in 1980. And even if you restrict it to PC-compatible hardware, their mice date back to before the Windows-key keyboards, and the Mach20 board does as well.

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FERTILISER DOOM warning! PESKY humans set to WIPE selves out AGAIN

Steve the Cynic

Re: More interesting than "The Big AI fear", but....

"Internal Combustion Engine"

Um, the internal combustion engine in some form was invented long before 1914. Even if we concentrate on the thing we recognise as an internal combustion engine (i.e. an Otto cycle reciprocating engine), we still find working engines produced in the last quarter of the 19th century. Even gas turbines predate this "critical" date of 1914 - the very first working models were produced in the 1903-1906 time frame, although they were unusably inefficient.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_internal_combustion_engine

Usual caveats about Wikipedian accuracy apply.

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Sacre block! French publishers to sue Adblock maker – report

Steve the Cynic

Re: "Les cochons vouloir de l'argent!"

@Neoc: Yes, indeed, it should. But the general standard of French in the sub-headlines on this august site is, um, not as high as it could be (see yesterday's howler: "Vous etes ayant un rire, n'est-ce pas?", a word-for-word-ism of "you're having a laugh" plus the standard French tag-question finisher "n'est-ce pas", but complete gibberish in French. It should, of course be something like "Vous déconnez, n'est-ce pas?" or maybe "Vous plaisantez, n'est-ce pas?" if you want to be less casual.)

(Spending nearly six years in France tends to make English-to-French literalisms extremely hard to read...)

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Mars was a WET mistress: Curiosity probes once-moist bottom

Steve the Cynic

Re: "Mommie, Can We Play Obombie Truth Origami"

You know, I've been reading ... stuff ... on the Internet long enough that I can't tell anymore whether this is just someone trolling us, or if the writer is truly sincere.

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MYSTERY Russian satellite: ORBITAL WEAPON? Sat GOBBLER? What?

Steve the Cynic

Not a new idea...

"Another would be kinetic pellets which shoot out at another satellite."

Salyut 3 had (or so it is claimed) such a mechanism, aka a 23mm autocannon (some sources claim 30mm). And it's a rather coy name for bullets, too.

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It's space WAR: Comet launches fireballs at space-invading EARTH

Steve the Cynic

Pedantry strikes again...

Article: "while Earth-grazers come into our atmosphere at fast, low angles that leave them streaming long tails as they burn up."

Earth-grazers don't burn up. They burn (whence the trails), but they leave the atmosphere before they have time to burn up completely.

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