* Posts by Arthur the cat

105 posts • joined 18 Aug 2009

Page:

'Turn to nuclear power to save planetary ecology from renewable BLIGHT'

Arthur the cat
Headmaster

Re: Where's the Reg Precious Elements Desk when we need it?

That's Tim Worstall's beat, he often writes about mineral supplies. TL;DR version: if there's a demand the price will go up, causing more mines to come on stream, so the supply goes up and the price comes down a bit.

3
0

Deprivation Britain: 1930s all over again? Codswallop!

Arthur the cat

"an outbreak of black footie bags"

I think you might be confusing Spode's Blackshorts from PG Wodehouse's stories with Moseley's Blackshirts from a far less funny occasion.

The book that brought home just how different the mid 20th C was from today is Raymond Briggs' "Ethel and Ernest", a cartoon biography of his parents. Worth reading for perspective.

3
0

El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Arthur the cat
Thumb Down

Only possible comment

500 The Bees They're In My Eyes!

4
0

EU law bods: New eCall crash system WON'T TRACK YOU. Really

Arthur the cat
Flame

Re: CIF3

"Is that the latest kitchen surface cleaner?"

Oh yes, it will definitely clean your kitchen surfaces. Then the kitchen. Then the foundations of the kitchen. It'll be spotless.

5
0

Hominid ancestors beat humans to the drinks cabinet, say boffins

Arthur the cat

Alcohol tolerance

"About half of all Japanese people for a start.

One I know turns bright red and gets completely hammered on a pint."

From experience I wouldn't put it as high as 50%, but yes some Japanese and Chinese people (actually anyone from a culture which historically purified its drinking water by boiling it with tea leaves, rather than brewing beer with it or adding fermented mashed grapes) react badly to alcohol. The problem is that although they have normal alcohol dehydrogenase, they have a less efficient form of aldehyde dehydrogenase, which handles the second step of metabolising alcohol. The result is a build up of aldehydes in the system, which causes the red flush and an evil hangover in short order.

However, getting drunk on small amounts of alcohol is mainly a cultural effect, just as other cultures get morose, look for a fight, sing or get maudlin (or all of the above). If you're a salaryman you have to treat your boss like god during work, but you then go for a drink after work and say exactly what you think of him because you're "drunk". It lets off steam, gives the bosses valuable feedback and is all done in a social environment where normal rules of politeness and deference are suspended. For a westerner trying to do business in Japan it's often the only time you'll get an honest opinion rather than the usual "Yes means maybe, maybe means no" politeness.

3
0
Arthur the cat
Pint

Re: Only the pleasure of eating?

"Tolerance to lactose certainly opened a whole new range of foods for humans yet we don't get drunk on milk"

Yes, but we've only been dairy farmers for 5-7,000 years, which is overnight in evolutionary terms. Large chunks of the world population are still lactose intolerant as adults, including about half of Europeans over the age of 50. I know of few people who cannot tolerate alcohol biologically rather than having a cultural aversion.

3
0

I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations

Arthur the cat
Boffin

Re: Re. Forget the film..

Palimpsest by Charlie Stross

0
0

Greening the copper with NFV, lower power optics from GreenTouch

Arthur the cat
Thumb Up

Re: Hell no!

Indeed. Putting your firewall in the cloud - what could possibly go wrong?

2
0

Amazon hiring drone flight ops engineer in Cambridge, UK

Arthur the cat
Black Helicopters

Re: Nerf gun….

I think you mean HERF (high energy radio frequency) gun. A Nerf gun would fire foam darts at the drone. Of course, that might work, depending on lightweight the drone was.

0
0

Kryder's law craps out: Race to UBER-CHEAP STORAGE is OVER

Arthur the cat
Pint

I'm old enough to remember

when electricity was going to be too cheap to meter, when the stock market was going to rise forever and when we'd abolished boom and bust. Oh, and when you could always trust policemen, doctors and the government.

Halcyon days.

21
0

'Bill Gates swallowing bike on a beach' is ideal password say boffins

Arthur the cat
Happy

George W Bush sucking a chainsaw

Not a passphrase, just a wish.

5
0

Adobe spies on reading habits over unencrypted web because your 'privacy is important'

Arthur the cat
Pirate

Wouldn't it be a great shame

if ne'er-do-wells were to flood the Adobe servers with well formed but totally bogus data? Not that any of us would condone such behaviour, of course.

2
0

Echopraxia scores 'diamond cutter' on the sci-fi hardness scale

Arthur the cat

"the tone is rather unremittingly despondent"

The standard joke is that if you're finding your joie de vivre too much to handle, read something by Peter Watts.

1
0
Arthur the cat

Re: That Ancillary Justice looks very interesting

Well worth reading. It's just won a Hugo as well.

1
0

True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS

Arthur the cat
Devil

Why the Beatles anyway?

Surely bastards like this should be named after a bad death metal band?

If that last phrase is not a tautology.

0
1

Boffins brew TCP tuned to perform on lossy links like Wi-Fi networks

Arthur the cat
Headmaster

Re: @ Brian Scott (was: Broadcast?)

The article and original proposal are about TCP. UDP is a completely irrelevant red herring. UDP packets are allowed to be dropped on the floor so there's no retransmission involved and no redundancy needed.

3
0

African samba queen: Don't cut off pirates' net connections – cut off their FINGERS

Arthur the cat
Headmaster

I thought it was "goolies" that were to be cut off, not "balls"?

3
0

You 'posted' a 'letter' with Outlook... No, NO, that's the MONITOR

Arthur the cat
Alert

Re: Telephone calls

Last time I had one of those, I got bored with stringing them along after about 15 minutes, and pointed out we didn't have a Windows box in the house. At which point he accused me of wasting his time!

1
0
Arthur the cat
Facepalm

Re: But these are actually intelligent people ....

"Mother-in-laws are great at it."

Add sisters-in-law as well. I've got two, finally managed to get both on to Mac OS as it's somewhat more non-techie friendly, still get really dumb questions. Pointed remarks along the lines of "I've never used Mac OS", "Google is your friend" and "first hit on Google tells you exactly what you need" get treated as so much background noise.

0
1

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

Arthur the cat
WTF?

Either my maths is wrong, or Tim's is

"If you put the right doohicky on the side of this plant then you get the gallium out. It's at about 100ppm, 100 grammes per tonne of bauxite processed. Some 8,000 tonnes a year passes through those plants, which is useful because only a few of those BP plants have the doohickeys and globally we only use around 400 tonnes of gallium a year."

100 g/t * 8,000 t/yr = 800,000 g/yr = 800 kg/yr = 0.8 t/yr of gallium with 100% doohickeys fitted.

That's not going to cover 400t/yr. Have we lost or gained a thousand somewhere? Given that world-aluminium.org reports primary (i.e. non-recycled) Al production last month was 4,169 kt maybe that should 8,000 kt of bauxite a *month*? That would need only 5% doohickeys.

1
0

How to catch a fraudster – using 'top cop' Benford and the power of maths

Arthur the cat
WTF?

The R link is daft

R the programming language is very good for statistics hacking, but the "for example R" link points to an article on IBM's System R which was a relational database. Both data related, but not the same thing.

2
0

Source code for world's first MUD, Essex Uni's MUD1, recovered

Arthur the cat
Joke

Re: Ummm PLATO did it first

Of course Plato did it first. He originally came up with the concept of a bunch of people in a cave in the 5th century BCE.

5
0

Fix capitalism with floating cities on Venus says Charles Stross

Arthur the cat

Re: "may make a good sci-fi writer"

Halting State was written in 2nd person singular because it's about gaming. How did the original computer games describe what was going on?

"You are standing on a road. There is a cottage to your right. There is a fork in the road.

> Take fork.

You pick up the fork."

The sequel, Rule 34, was also in 2nd person singular, but for a different reason that also made sense when you realised why.

3
0
Arthur the cat
Pint

Re: Weights and Measurements

"It suggests though that the guy is an illiterate economist at best and therefore would never make a very good writer."

Actually Paul Krugman has praised Stross' Merchant Princes series of books as being one of the few works of fiction that actually understand economics - the whole series is founded on ideas from development economics, specifically why aid from advanced societies given to feudal ones doesn't work.

Charlie is also prone to intellectual trolling and downright flights of fancy. As an example of the latter, see his latest post on "books he won't write", which has a plot with Vladimir Putin marrying Sarah Palin and the two of them winning the US presidential election in 2016.

1
0

Japan plans SEVEN satellite launches to supercharge GPS

Arthur the cat
WTF?

Is there a rocket scientist in the house?

Who can explain how there's always one satellite out of four over Japan all the time? What orbit are these things in?

2
0

Schoolkids given WORLD'S CHEAPEST TABLETS: Is it really that hard to swallow?

Arthur the cat
Windows

"was well into my teenage years before the birth of the web"

Jesus, I'll just crumble now. I'd done two degrees, been married and divorced and had set up my own startup seven years before the birth of the web.

I remember when it was all fields round here. Field 1 was columns 1-5 of the punched card and contained the statement label, field 2 was the continuation mark in column 6, ....

4
1

Straight to 8: London's Met Police hatches Win XP escape plan

Arthur the cat

Unfortunate incidents at the Met

as several hundred Win 8 machines accidentally fall down the stairs and get broken on the way to the cells. "The different interface confused our officers, who were thus powerless to prevent these tragic accidents" said a Metropolitan Police spokesman.

12
0

Scam emails tell people they have cancer to trick them into installing a money-stealing Trojan

Arthur the cat
Megaphone

I'm normally a pacifist but ...

some people should simply be beaten to death with a baseball bat. I've got a sick relative who has days bad enough to open one of these without thinking about it first.

13
0

Eight EXCELLENT languages for the fondleslab-friendly Intranet of Thingies

Arthur the cat

Re: Please God no

I'm voting for <script type="text/haskell">. That way every web developer will end up spending their entire day worrying over what a monad is, and the rest of us can get back to the real world in peace and quiet without interfaces that change every bloody time you fire up the app.

7
0

Oi, bank manager. Only you've got my email address - where're these TROJANS coming from?

Arthur the cat
Unhappy

Santander are very good at ignoring you

I've had this problem, although nothing has arrived in the last week or two. I'm with Cahoot, Santander's online bank, and most of the trojans I've received have been supposedly from Fedex or other large carrier claiming they were unable to deliver a parcel, details in the zipped attachment. The sole entry in the zip file has a long name so the extension(s) are probably invisible to most, and end .pdf.exe. The mails might be a tad more plausible if the source addresses weren't scattered round the world but claiming to be from the UK.

On several occasions I've complained to Cahoot, but my emails just get ignored. I've never been arsed to keep trying as I don't run WIndows, so the mail is a mere nuisance rather than a threat. One of these days I ought to change banks, but how the hell do you choose a good one? I had been thinking about switching to the Coop ...

3
0

Hear that? It's the sound of BadBIOS wannabe chatting over air gaps

Arthur the cat
Alien

Gaps

Looks like people who want seriously secure systems are going to have to replace air gaps with vacuum gaps. I can just see the job adverts: wanted, sysadmins. Must be familiar with Linux and Orlan Ms.

1
0

Want to BUILD YOUR OWN Tardis? First, get a star and set it spinning...

Arthur the cat

Re: No mention of Frank Tipler's time machine design?

"isn't one of the limitations of such time machines that you cannot go back further than when the time machine was constructed?"

It's a problem with any frame dragging based time machine and AFAIR with wormhole based ones as well.

1
0
Arthur the cat
Boffin

No mention of Frank Tipler's time machine design?

Tipler's 1974 paper "Rotating Cylinders and the Possibility of Global Causality Violation" is a time travel classic.

All you need for a time machine is an infinitely long cylinder of something denser than neutronium that's spinning at rates that mean its surface speed is about half light speed. Just a small matter of engineering. You could probably get funding on Indiegogo with no trouble.

5
0

Nookie becomes, um, a virtual reality for Oculus Rift gadget gamers

Arthur the cat
Happy

Novint Technologies

I notice that the linked Wikipedia page for the haptic control has an image with the caption

"A pair of black Novint Falcons. The nearer one has the pistol grip attached, and the further one has the standard ball grip."

If the ball grip is standard then they were obviously intended for this use from the start.

0
0

Hyenas FACEBOOK each other with their ARSES: FACT

Arthur the cat
Joke

Helping elderly relatives

So the next time an elderly relative asks me what this Facebook thing is that everyone talks about, I can say with a straight face "it's like a collection of hyenas' bottoms".

17
0

Facebook fans fuel FAGGOT FURY firestorm

Arthur the cat

Re: This is disturbing

Actually the full online OED at www.oed.com does have an entry for the meat(-ish) product, it's in section 5 (out of 9).

1
0

Young? Been online five years? Congrats, you are the ELITE MINORITY

Arthur the cat
Happy

Re: TBL

"I'm expecting Tim Berners-Lee to pitch up in a minute and pwn the lot of you!"

Actually TBL is younger than me and started programming later. I'm not sure he had access to Arpanet like I did either.

The icon is the nearest thing to a smug grin that ElReg offers.

0
0

Sun-seeking Cambridge boffins chase Solar Challenge car crown

Arthur the cat
Facepalm

UPDATE: they've crashed the car

According to the Cambridge Evening News web site, the team have rolled the car and buggered the canopy and some of the PV cells. They've got two days to fix it.

Those cells cost about a quarter of a million. Ouch.

0
0
Arthur the cat

Re: How effective?

Again, from talking with the team.

Firstly the PV cells are gallium arsenide, which can AFAIR run hotter than silicon, and secondly the canopy material is opaque to infra red but passes almost exactly the visible and near UV spectrum that the PV needs, so there's less heating than you might expect. Their major worry was the driver overheating, and the car is designed to have an air feed passing over the driver and then over the PV to supply some extra cooling for both.

1
0
Arthur the cat

Re: Why GPS to work out where the sun is?

I talked to some of the team a few weeks ago, and at that point the tracking was going to be controlled from the support vehicle, with the tracking angle set by dead reckoning, not feedback in the car. When I asked why, they said there's already a couple of feedback loops controlling the motor speed and battery charging in order to maximise performance and adding another control loop for sun tracking potentially made the control theory a nightmare and risked reducing overall performance. Given the nature of the road they decided tweaking the tracking angle every few minutes was good enough.

0
0

BBC releases MYSTERY RIDDLE poster for Doctor Who anniversary episode

Arthur the cat
Happy

Re: Big earner

"Look at Eastenders - why on earth is the BBC doing this?"

Apparently so Glaswegians learn to speak in a way that Londoners can understand.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-24021961

2
0

That earth-shattering NSA crypto-cracking: Have spooks smashed RC4?

Arthur the cat
Trollface

Re: It doesn't have to happen sometime

"for example, there is no O(n) or O(1) sort"

Radix sort is O(n). Algorithms 101.

"I don't know what the theory is behind encryption"

but I'll make comments about it anyway, because this is the internet and that doesn't require informed debate.

1
2

Three axes data-roaming fees in SEVEN countries

Arthur the cat

Re: Tethering will be blocked

Question for those who know more about the subject than me: how do 3 know you're tethered if you have an unlocked phone? Active connection count? I'll be very miffed if they can check what apps I'm running.

0
0

Report: Secret British spy base in Middle East taps region's internet

Arthur the cat
Black Helicopters

The more I think about Miranda's detention ...

the less it makes sense. Why was he transiting through Heathrow when he could have flown Rio to Berlin direct? If he was being an errand boy for the Guardian, why didn't they advise him not to carry anything sensitive on his laptop or memory stick? Even I know that's stupid and I'm not a journo with copies of classified documents. If he was picking something up from Berlin, why wasn't it sent over the net in encrypted form instead?

Unless everyone involved is mind bogglingly stupid about data security and antiterrorism laws, the only explanations I can come up with is that either May et al are lying through their teeth, an obvious assumption, but why isn't the Guardian saying Miranda was carrying nothing significant in that case, or the whole lot's some sort of theatre cooked up between the Guardian and the government, and that way lies tin foil helmets and other lunacies.

Black helicopter icon for obvious reasons.

0
0

Your encrypted files are 'exponentially easier' to crack, warn MIT boffins

Arthur the cat
Black Helicopters

Re: random.org

Who in their right mind would trust random numbers from a complete stranger sent over the net? Even if the site is genuine, how do you know you've not been spoofed by a man in the middle attack? Sure, it's fine for picking your lottery ticket numbers, but not for anything you want to be secure.

5
0

German guardsmen growing mono-boobs from drilling with Nazi-era rifles

Arthur the cat

Re: Umbridge

Surely Umbridge is where that well known soap opera, the Urchers, happen?

0
0

Signing out of a broken Britain: The final Quatermass serial

Arthur the cat
Alien

Re: From what I heard Kinvig was *weird*

"The Adventures of Don Quick."

Dear God, I'd forgotten that. Broadcast in 1970, Don Quixote in Space, written with acid trip sensibilities. Seriously weird.

1
0

Laser-wielding boffins develop ETERNAL MEMORY from quartz

Arthur the cat

Re: "Ultrafast"

It's a few days since I read the paper, but IIRC they were writing at ~1MB/s, so it would take 3.6e8 seconds (11.4 years!) to fill a 360TB disk. This is the lab prototype however, we're probably 5-10 years off commercial versions.

0
0

Lasers to carry 622 Mbps Earth-Moon link

Arthur the cat
Coat

pictures from the farside observatory

Oh, Gary Larson is working for NASA these days?

1
0

Tweet like escaping Hell depends on it, Twitter Catholics told

Arthur the cat

Isn't this simony?

Trading of indulgences or other spiritual goods by church officials for temporal gain, in this case twitter following. According to Dante that gets you into the 3rd bolgia of the 8th circle of hell, stuck upside down in a hole with fire burning your feet, until the next sinner comes along and you get pushed down to make room.

Hmm, I've just realised - Dante invented stack architecture.

6
0

Page:

Forums