78 posts • joined 25 May 2007
I see the Reg is still grinding its axe
The Register seems to have some kind of a bee in its bonnet about Wikipedia. These complaints about Wikipedia being unreliable, Jim Wales having once been a pornographer, etc., have been a regular feature here for years now. We get it, you don't like Wikipedia. Perhaps the next time you report on it you could try finding something new to say?
And by the way, it's a bit rich for a publication that regularly distorts climate science in a rather desperate effort to discredit it to accuse another publication (of a kind) of unreliability. At least on Wikipedia, distortions of the sort Lewis Page engages in have a short half-life.
A bit of advice: stick to technology reporting, and try to keep your personal biases under control a bit better.
A good summary about the current direction of IT.
Re: Welsh diacritics
All these other coding systems are being relegated to the dustheap of history, hopefully sooner than later, by the increasing popularity of Unicode and the coding system UTF-8. Unicode defins a certin "code point", or number, for each and every character of each and every language used by humankind, plus ones for many symbols, too. I'm not sure if they've gotten around to making codepoints for the most obscure languages, but you can be sure all characters of all the living European and Asian languages are included.
UTF-8 codes Unicode characters. Each Unicode character (or "code point") is converted to one or more bytes, the number of bytes depending on how obscure the character set that the character belongs to is. An ASCII text file is already the correct UTF-8 encoding of the text.
More here: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/Unicode.html
Re: Windows 8 Consumer Preview is great!
"Do this and all the recent uncertainty surrounding your future will be cleared up once and for all!"
Well, that's one way of putting it....
Re: Unity will sink Ubuntu over time
You can use Ubuntu without Unity: Kubuntu has the KDE desktop, and Xubuntu the XFCE desktop, which I've heard praised. I've avoided upgrading my Ubuntu distribution since 10.04, and now plan to get Xubuntu for the 12.04 release.
Re: Internet a human right?
There, there, now. You don't _have_ to go to the holodeck.
"GMT was also used as the name of a time standard prior to 1928, when the time standard's name was changed to UT1. The time within the GMT zone is set at UT1."
Not exactly. "GMT" is nowadays synonymous with "UTC+0". UT1 is the mean solar time on the Prime Meridian at Greenwich, which is not used as the civil time in Britain (or anywhere else) anymore.
"Unless you're running an atomic clock, UTC = GMT. The name was changed to appease our French amis who were sulking because the world runs on London local time and meridians and not Paris (as they wanted in 1884)."
You know, not everything in the world is about the French vs. the British, and Britons blaming things on "the sulking French" or whatnot is getting just bloody tiresome. (I'm neither French or British, in case that matters.)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coordinated_Universal_Time tells us:
'The official notation for Coordinated Universal Time is UTC. This notation arose from a desire by the International Telecommunication Union and the International Astronomical Union to use the same notation in all languages. English speakers originally proposed "CUT" (for "coordinated universal time"), while French speakers proposed "TUC" (for "temps universel coordonné"). The compromise that emerged was UTC, which conforms to the pattern for the notations of the variants of Universal Time (UT0, UT1, UT2, UT1R etc.).'
'UTC was officially initiated at the start of 1961 (but the name Coordinated Universal Time was not adopted by the International Astronomical Union until 1967).'
Re: Which is why......
"Why not just have one time worldwide UTC0 and then work around whatever hours happen to be daylight where you are?"
We do; it's called UTC, which is the planet's official time.
For instance, in civil aviation, times are always expressed in UTC, in order to prevent misunderstandings concerning the timezone being used.
Re: Russia abolished these stupid twice-yearly clock changes
"Write to your MP!"
Is that your Minor Putin, then?
Re: Hire dumb developers - get dumb software
OK, I'll bite. What did happen to F-22s when they crossed the International Date Line for the first time?
Very well, then, I'll Google:
DailyTech, 26 Feb. 2007: Lockheed's F-22 Raptor Gets Zapped by International Date Line
Six Lockheed F-22 Raptors have Y2K-esque glitch of their own over the Pacific
Lockheed's F-22 Raptor is the most advanced fighter in the world with its stealth capabilities, advanced radar, state of the art weapons systems and ultra-efficient turbofans which allow the F-22 to "supercruise" at supersonic speeds without an afterburner. ...
But while the simulated war games were a somewhat easy feat for the Raptor, something more mundane was able to cripple six aircraft on a 12 to 15 hours flight from Hawaii to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. The U.S. Air Force's mighty Raptor was felled by the International Date Line (IDL).
When the group of Raptors crossed over the IDL, multiple computer systems crashed on the planes. Everything from fuel subsystems, to navigation and partial communications were completely taken offline. Numerous attempts were made to "reboot" the systems to no avail.
Luckily for the Raptors, there were no weather issues that day so visibility was not a problem. Also, the Raptors had their refueling tankers as guide dogs to "carry" them back to safety. "They needed help. Had they gotten separated from their tankers or had the weather been bad, they had no attitude reference. They had no communications or navigation," said Retired Air Force Major General Don Shepperd. "They would have turned around and probably could have found the Hawaiian Islands. But if the weather had been bad on approach, there could have been real trouble.”
Re: "a strategic approach to advocacy"
"Public", I mean. The public relations industry.
"a strategic approach to advocacy"
"The Heartland Institute does not pretend to be conducting scientific research, only policy research, and is likely not using public funds. It is no scandal to have a strategic approach to advocacy on an issue ..."
It seems the term "a strategic approach to advocacy" is the pubic relations industry's cutting-edge euphemism for "lying".
Thanks, I didn't realize that. Yes, it would be a good idea to make it more obvious, like naming it "permalink" or something.
In science, there is no such thing as "absolute proof", but there is a point where the evidence so overwhelmingly supports a hypothesis that it can be accepted as the truth for all practical purposes. Climate science is now at that point with regard to anthropogenic global warming. Yes, of course there are still lots of details to be filled in, and when one of those details is corrected -- by the scientific community! -- then eager denialists, such as Lewis Page of this august publication, rush to point to it, in order to cast aspersions on the main point.
The main point is this: carbon dioxide, and some other gases, trap some of the Sun's radiation within the Earth's atmosphere; humankind is putting huge and increasing amounts of these gases into the atmosphere; the result is that more radiation is trapped, therefore increasing the total energy within the atmosphere-and-oceans system, therefore increasing the average temperature, which has various effects, many of which will obviously be bad for humankind. The rest is filling in the details.
For a further response on your accusation, I point to a previous letter of mine, the second at thread http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2011/07/01/lunar_camera/, titled "@Norfolk 'n' Goode".
(El Reg: It would be nice to have permalinks to posts, and the possibility of inserting hyperlinks at letters.)
winters don't mean there is no global warming
It is now the middle winter in the northern hemisphere, so snow in Austria is to be expected. It's getting to be a pretty threadbare joke to point to snow on the ground and say, "What global warming? Ha ha!"
However, if you like anecdotal evidence, here's some: the past autumn was the warmest here in Finland for decades, with no permanent snow anywhere in the country at the end of October, and no permanent snow in Helsinki until after the New Year. I hear that the autumn in UK was pretty warm too. These things in themselves doesn't prove or disprove anything, of course; for support of the theory of anthropogenic climate change, you need to look at long-term trends in temperature -- and those indeed do support the theory.
The fact that the _average_ temperature of the Earth is rising doesn't mean that seasonal changes will disappear, nor that the usual random variation between years will disappear. It does mean that the frequency of incidences of low temperatures will decrease, and conversely, the frequency of incidences of high temperature, i.e. heat waves, will increase. Other extreme weather phenomena will also increase in frequency.
"I particularly enjoy the way in which CO2 (remember that?) is skirted around, barely mentioned, as the rush to embrace ocean warming (yay!) as a new climate culprit is engaged with considerable enthusiasm."
Where in the article is it implied that ocean warming is a "new climate culprit"? Increased greenhouse gases tramp more solar radiation, and that radiation will warm both the atmosphere and the oceans. The article was about new measurements telling us more accurately how much the ocean has warmed. That is, the article is about one of the effects of global warming, not about its causes. (Of course, warmer oceans can act as a *proximate* cause of atmospheric warming, when they release a part of their heat through warming the air above them.)
"I particularly enjoy the way in which CO2 (remember that?) is skirted around, barely mentioned,"
Have you considered the possibility that the writer of the article might have thought that it's wasn't necessary to mention the well-known prime cause of anthropogenic global warming in every single article that deals with the issue, especially if the article deals with the effects, not the causes?
In your hysteria to dismiss the article, you failed to understand it even superficially. An outlandish expression rage does not an argument make.
what, straight reporting on climate change in The Reg?
I was also surprised to see an article simply reporting a new item of climate science, without the denialist spin that Lewis Page and Andrew Orlowski usually give this subject.
Lewis might know a bunch about defence, and Orlowski about IT, but they don't seem to be especially well informed as to climate change. Actually, I don't really understand why an IT-oriented publication needs to follow that subject -- or defence, or space probes, or whatever -- but if it chooses to do so, it might behove the writers to get some sort of a passing familiarity with the its basics, just to retain credibility. A good to start might be "The Rough Guide to Climate Change", 3rd edition, by Robert Henson, which I recommend to anyone who's interested in learning about the subject.
It's getting to the point where denying the fact of anthropogenic climate change is about as informed as denying evolution, though that doesn't stop plenty of people doing one or the both.
You are either extremely pessimistic or suffer from a failure of imagination.
Maybe if we were living in the year 1000, change in human conditions might seem non-existent, and we could well expect the drudgery of life to continue unchanged forever. However, from our current position we can extrapolate from the ever-accelerating progress of science and technology over the last 500 years or so.
Given that, why should humankind not be able to continue this progress, and in the process, over the next billion years or so, terraform other planets, send many more probes into interstellar space, or send colonies to other solar systems? Indeed, given the time scale involved, why should we not be able to survive the death of the sun?
Regarding Olkiluoto: indeed. See my previous post on the matter, in this thread.
The latest delay, announced here in Finland a couple of days ago, takes operational power generation by OIkiluoto 3 to 2014, a delay of five years from the original date.
Many of the delays have been due to the detection of substandard work, as you note, and one to the fact that a crucial part of the safety plan wasn't yet ready [*]. The long chain of subcontractors has complicated matters, and there has been at least one strike at the plant due to lowest-in-the-chain workers being paid a pittance. I'm sure that encourages quality work. Not.
And this was supposed to be a shining (no pun intended) prototype of a modern nuclear power plant which Areva hopes to sell many more of. After the fiasco of Olkiluoto 3, I wouldn't be so sure of that anymore.
Oh by the way, is the Register now of the opinion that climate change is, in fact, happening? This article was missing the usual snide comments on the matter, and in fact repeated the standard concerns of increased carbon output. Or is Lewis Page The Register's only denialist? And why isn't he doing his thing anymore?
[*] http://www.ecology.at/nni/index.php?p=site&s=207 says:
The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority Finland (STUK) has asked Teollisuuden Voima Oyj for further clarification of the overall design of automation systems for the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant by 31 July 2009. This request for further clarification is related to the decision made in summer last year by STUK, in which it demanded that TVO revise the architecture of the plant's automation systems.
In its inspections early last year, STUK observed several deficiencies in the automation system design of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant. From a safety point of view, the most significant deficiencies concerned the mutual independence of automation system components that back each other up. In July 2008, STUK issued a decision, in which it presented comments on the automation system design and demanded that TVO revise the documentation. STUK particularly emphasised the significance of the overall architecture of the automation systems.
TVO submitted a revised plan for the inspection of STUK in December 2008. Although the plan had been improved, the documents still contained weaknesses and contradictions with earlier documents. STUK asked for further clarification and, through a separate decision, presented demands for a protection system for the reactor. The reactor's protection system is part of the key section of the automation system, the protection automation system, the function of which is to start up the plant's safety systems in case of accident or malfunction.
In March 2009, TVO submitted a new version of the plan concerning automation system architecture. Both the automation system design and its related documentation had been improved, but they still contained deficiencies, resulting in STUK having to request for a third time greater precision and revisions. STUK is now requiring TVO for updated documents by the end of July. In addition to the documents in question, STUK has also asked TVO for further clarification concerning the validation of individual automation systems and devices.
First, it wasn't an "Angry Birds them park", but an installation in a theme park.
Second, an article in today's Helsingin Sanomat reports that the Angry Birds installation has already been closed down because of the copyright violation.
@Norfolk 'n' Goode
It's odd how different people can use the same words to mean different things.
For you, a person is apparently a "fanatic" for pointing out that climate change is an established scientific fact, as confirmed by tens of thousands of working scientists, and as summarized in several reports of the International Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC.
Fanaticism is, according to the dictionary definition, behaviour marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion. One of Churchill's pithy statements was that "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject". I think both are good definitions.
People such as myself who do have trust in the efficacy of the scientific method, as proven over the centuries, and in the consensus opinion of the vast majority of the world's climate scientists, are able to change the subject. Those involved in the actual research are naturally vocal about their field of study, and since they can see the danger the Earth's biosphere is in, are quite "enthusiastic" in beating the drum about the dangers. Perhaps to you that is "fanaticism", but I invite you to consider the possibility that they are acting in good faith, and are vocal for a good reason. I'm not trying to change your opinion here, but if, for the sake of argument, you concede that these scientists actually do believe that the Earth is in danger, would you not say that being enthusiastically (or perhaps a better word would be "urgently") vocal about the causes of the danger is not excessive?
You also use the word "dogma", which means (again according to Merriam-Webster) "1 a : something held as an established opinion; especially : a definite authoritative tenet ... 2 : a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church". Now, I'm guessing that you mean "dogma" in sense 2, as a religious truth handed on from high, and that you think anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is some sort of a new religion invented by scientists for who-knows-what reason. (Yes, I know, one of the standard propaganda points perpetuated by the deniers is that all these scientists are on some sort of a mutually supported gravy train scam, which just goes to show how little they know of the mechanisms of doing science.)
Even though in principle, every scientific result is provisional, there are some scientific facts that are so well established that one might say they do fit under definition 1a: for instance, no serious scientist really doubts the existence of atoms, of the different elements, of magnetism, of electricity, of gravity, nor of some more complex scientific theories (careful now: the scientific use of the word "theory" is different from the everyday one) such as the theory of evolution, because the evidence in favour, and the explanatory power, of such theories is so overwhelming. So, perhaps some such knowledge could indeed be said to be "held as an established opinion".
But let's assume you mean definition 2 instead of definition 1a. Now here is someone who calls the consensus opinion of tens of thousands of actual experts in the field, and the actual data of a world whose average temperature has been warming even faster than the worst-case predictions, "dogma", and presumably thinks the opposite of that is the truth. And based on what expertise, I wonder?
Again, I'm not trying to change your mind, but trying to make you see why those who do have trust in the scientific method and its results have exactly the opposite opinion: that you and the other climate change deniers are the ones who, ironically, believe in an unfounded dogma.
If you really are interested in the reason that experts in the field hold the opinions they do, you could start educating yourself. There are numerous books and online articles available in the field. For a start, you could go to this collection of links: http://www.grist.org/article/series/skeptics, which is a series of articles called "How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: Responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming".
But I'm guessing that you're not even interested in looking at that, because you really, really do not want any facts to intrude upon what you really, really want to believe, namely, that there is no AGW.
It is only human to want to deny threatening things. You know the classic stages of dealing with grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Deniers are stuck in the first two steps. It does not help, of course, that there are powerful economic interests, such as oil companies, that correctly see the steps necessary to mitigate the effects of AGW as potentially harmful to their profits, and have thus started propaganda operations that have seeded the public conversation with the sorts of tropes that are then enthustiastically parroted by the deniers. (See, for instance, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/jan/27/environment.science and http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/sep/20/oilandpetrol.business.)
It is interesting to note that most people do not, in fact, believe certain things because they have been presented with evidence and arguments for different viewpoints, have weighed these, and then made a considered judgment among them; and if new evidence is presented, are prepared to consider that, too, and might even change their beliefs as a result. That is not how human nature works, but that is approximately the way the scientific method works. Since scientists are only humans, how can the scientific method work? It works because scientists are each others' worst (or best) critics, and subject all new hypotheses to harsh criticism. (A "hypothesis" is the scientific term for what laymen call a "theory".) All new scientific information goes through the mill of peer-review, and for a hypothesis or theory to be generally accepted, it must hold up very well indeed with all the available data and with the existing body of science.
But most people form their opinions of complex phenomena based on guesses, wishes, hunches, or on what people they trust for one reason or another tell them, and then have a hard time changing their opinions. (Just following ordinary conversations on various subjects is enough to show that there are plenty of people for whom almost complete ignorance of a subject is no hindrance to holding forth at length on it.) The human mind did not evolve to follow the scientific method, but to survive through instinct and hunch in the pre-technological nature. (See article http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5491, "People Believe What They Want".) I suppose that is why so many people, such as yourself, have such an aversion to accepting knowledge gained through the scientific method, especially if such knowledge feels threatening: the brain sometimes rejects threatening information until forced to deal with it. And in the case of AGW, humankind simply cannot wait until every last living person has been forced to see the consequences for himself before starting to mitigate them.
As for "burning the heretics" and "silencing different opinions": oh please. Where, I ask you, has anyone wanted to burn anyone else, or to silence anyone? Criticism, even strong criticism, is not "silencing". Climate change deniers have had the opportunity to give their point of view out of all proportion to the weight of their arguments, partly because most journalists are not scientists, and cannot judge the weight of scientific evidence. This is of course a phenomenon used to advantage by the denialist lobby; if they can keep the "controversy" alive through astroturf organizations, a couple of bought "scientists" and various fools, they can keep up the impression that the facts of the matter are still unsettled.
You say: "And you have the unmitigated gall to use the word science." Oddly enough, that also suits very well as my answer to you.
Oh well, you probably haven't even made it this far. I just thought I'd try.
"Sad to report that Apollo 17 LMP Harrison Schmitt -- a geologist who trained all the other Apollo crewmen in geological fieldwork -- is now a climate-change denialist"
It's also sad that the The Register employs as a reporter one Lewis Page, also a climate-change denialist -- especially sad given that his bailiwick is Science.
I hope it fixes a bug an earlier firmware upgrade introduced to my E72...
...namely, when editing calendar entries, the line you're editing suddenly goes blank, so you can't see what you're doing. Great quality control there, fellas.
Want to know the real reason OS/2 failed?
Because it was only half an operating system!
"My post here lacks the vulture logo"
Errr, no it doesn't.
Before moving to gmail, I had had several differing e-mail accounts: university, various employers, then a couple of ISPs. Now I have a permanent, free, and reliable webmail account which I've been quite happy with.
Oh, and those of you worried about Google or the US government or whoever reading your e-mail: you basically have little security with any e-mail address, unless you've set up end-to-end encryption with all your correspondents, so in my mind, that's a moot point.
You probably mean "Moscow oblast", meaning the Moscow region. Wouldn't it be simpler to say that the element is simply named after Moscow?
is the length of a generation five years or something?
So Hubble has "inspired generations of schoolchildren to study math and science" while it "has been documenting the history of our universe for 21 years"? I didn't know that generations were so short these days.
Joking aside, Hubble is certainly a grand success.
why the tortured language?
"Employees have gone over to the offices of rivals in Microsoft's back yard of Washington State as well as in other geographies."
"Geographies"?! When I walk from A to B, I'm not going to another "geography". I'm going to another place.
"Microsoft shares are not a growth commodity, ..."
No stock is a commodity. Why not simply say that Microsoft's stock price is not growing?
Glad you liked it!
a great review
Here's a very entertaining review of the film -- and one I completely agree with, having seen the film:
'All of that adds up to an awful lot of information. NASA explains the AMS will "collect data 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year".'
Is saying "collect data continuously" or "collect data all the time" insufficiently impressive?
It seems a bit atavistic for modern-day Europeans to keep going on about military victories, or lack of then, when we're supposed to be past all that. But if you care about the matter so much, France's military history includes plenty of victories. For instance, you might have heard of a fellow named Napoleon?
As for that list of French achievements above: it does seem a bit chauvinistic.
While France has certainly achieved a lot, it's perhaps unfair to demand the same from a country of 10 million as from one of 60 million. For its size, Sweden has been quite an achiever, too.
Anyhoo, we Europeans a common, interconnected European home, and we're all supposed to love one another, and let go of our petty parochialisms! Right? Right?
I suppose no one noticed the date this was posted?
re: Glass house stone-throwers?
Exactly. It's funny how the Register has completely made up its mind that climate change is some kind of a massive fraud by scientists hungry for more research funding (a standard lie perpetuated by the oil-industry funded "research" groups), despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real, and that the globe's real average temperature curve has been following, or even exceeding, the worst-case scenario predicted by climate scientists. Extreme weather effects are increasing, consistent with the climate change predictions. And 2010 broke the record for the hottest year on record (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Temperature_Anomaly_1880-2010_%28Fig.A%29.gif).
What's sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander, no?
I write this as a supporter of using nuclear power as an interim measure while renewable power sources are perfected and brought on line to replace both fossil and nuclear energy.
at least the third Nokia font
This is already the third corporate font that Nokia has introduced in the past ten years or so.
I worked for Nokia in 1998 to 2006, and remember font number 2, "Nokia Sans", being launched just a couple of years after font number 1, whose name I forget. I've often seen font #1 being used in displays, advertisements, etc., that have nothing to do with Nokia. So, I wonder if Nokia made a mistake with registering the intellectual property for #1, somehow letting it escape to the public domain, or at least failing to buy it exclusively for their own use. I don't see font #3, "Nokia Pure", being obviously superior to #1, even though Pure also looks quite nice, in my humble opinion.
Anyway, to all those complaining about how Nokia should focus on other things: it is one of the world's top consumer electronics companies, with over a billion customers. Good industrial design -- and to a lesser extent, a consistent corporate image -- are pretty important when competing in the consumer electronics market.
So, one can debate the merits of the particular font, or the need to change the corporate font so frequently, but it's a bit silly to imply that it's a waste of resources for Nokia to pay attention to their main corporate font. It's not like the rest of the company's over 130,000 employees were waiting on the font decision.
By the way, the wide font used in the NOKIA workmark is Eurostile Bold Extended: http://www.fontshop.com/search/?q=eurostile+bold+extended+. The wordmark is at least some decades old.
re: Data Integrity
But the author assures us that they haven't: "The vegetable dyes used to colour the threads have kept their colour for nearly one hundred decades". How can he know this?
could we possibly get over silly national sterotyping, already?
"Plus, anything you read about the English that has been written by the French (whether 1000 years ago or yesterday) has to be taken with a smidgen of suspicion"
How utterly refreshing.
What, you still use cheques where you live?
Fancy a Briton using utterly threadbare national stereotypes.
thanks for the Plinkett link
Sarah, thanks for the link to the Plinkett review. Utterly hilarious.
The money used in space exploration is only a tiny fraction of the money used on weapons and militaries. If you want to point out to unconscionable waste of money, please look elsewhere.
Another point: a lot of the money put into space nowadays goes into the vital infrastructure of communications, weather, and land-use satellites, which are helping to avoid unnecessary deaths, for instance though better weather reports.
Space exploration is neat and everything, but I don't think there's a need to treat it with this sort of near-religious awe.
Space isn't going anywhere, the International Space Station is still flying, and space exploration will continue. If not by Americans, then by someone else.
Nokia is not moving its HQ
Wherever did you get that notion from? Elop has explicitly stated that Nokia has no intention of moving its headquarters anywhere.
why is such a short article divided into two pages?
It's especially silly as the asterisk on the first page refers to a note on the bottom of a second page.
Encumbering readers with this sort of unnecessary bother is a travesty, I tell you! A travesty! I've half a mind to delete The Register from my bookmarks.
re: 150million copies of windows 7 sold
As it's difficult for private persons to purchase PCs that don't come with a preinstalled copy of Windows, those numbers include many that are overwritten by Linux immediately after purchase.