* Posts by Primus Secundus Tertius

520 posts • joined 31 Oct 2010

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Fed-up Colorado man takes 9mm PISTOL to vexing Dell PC

Primus Secundus Tertius
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@Rich 11

Who said anything about faith? He was selling the stuff, not believing in it.

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Something's missing in our universe: Boffins look into the SUPERVOID

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Does there have to be a reason for it?

@boltar

Yes.

The very early universe went through an "inflationary" phase, when everything was smoothed out: the geometry, and the distribution of photons and other particles.

The reported temperature deviation is about four standard deviations, so is worth investigating.

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Thank heavens for the silicon chip: A BRIEF history of data

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Perhaps interesting

Maybe this was an interesting article, but I am not prepared to wade through four pages.

PLEASE bring back the "print as one page" button.

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Google drives a tenth of news traffic? That's bull-doodie, to use the technical term

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: How many of these are using Google as their address bar?

Duh?

Am I the only one who just clicks on a URL in my favourites list?

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Scummy transients FOUND ON MARS by NASA rover

Primus Secundus Tertius
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@boltar and generally,

What puzzled the people who before ca 1930 speculated on the origin of life on Earth was, how could life get started in an oxidising environment?

Then astronomers realised the universe was mostly hydrogen - had to be to explain our sun - and people realised that life here began in a reducing or at least neutral environment.

I cannot see how any kind of life could survive a perchlorate environment, unless it is at most a trace component.

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RELICS of the Earth's long lost TWIN planet FOUND ON MOON

Primus Secundus Tertius
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@sureo

Even if it had been so placed at one time. perturbations from the other planets would have moved it.

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Saturn's rings, radio waves ... poetry? At home with Scotland's Mr Physics

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Not measured

Apols in advance for tips & corrections in these comments, but my email is down while I rebuild my main computer. But, as others have said, interesting article.

1. "The breakthrough was his measurement of the speed of electromagnetism".

It was not a measurement but a prediction: a formula based on known electromagentic constants, arising from his equations.

2. "(Principle's) daughter". No, principal's.

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Virgin Media goes TITSUP, RUINS Tuesday evening

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Whose fault?

I thought it was no longer Beardie's fault, but some American: name of Malone.

The Mal One indeed!

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It's the FALKLANDS SYNDROME! Fukushima MELTDOWN to cause '10,000 Chernobyls' in South Atlantic

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Had a good lunch?

It seems that Team Register had an energetic lunch the other day. The hot curry was descending from the entrance aperture to the exit, but was countered by violent body movements and got into some kind of oscillation. No amount of beer could cool it down, but the beer made them start thinking.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Afterwards?

@DropBear

That would give a whole new meaning to the phrase "blue ocean water".

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Ding Dong, ALIENS CALLING

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: A baseball can do 30 megatons of damage?

More likely is that the ship will hit a speck of galactic dust, perhaps one micron across. So 10**-18 cubic metres, or ca 10**-15 kg. The rest mass energy is therefore 90 joules, so its kinetic energy at relativistic speeds will be similar.

Suppose there is one such dust grain per cubic metre. At the speed of light, each square metre of the ship will hit 3x10**8 such grains, releasing at least 2x10**10 joules.

The ship will rapidly be reduced to galactic dust.

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Hated biz smart meter rollout: UK.gov sticks chin out, shuts eyes

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Let Downing Street lead

I propose that the first "smart" meters be installed in Downing Street, numbers 10 and 11.

If that does not make the occupants smart (i.e. flinch), nothing will.

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Mature mainframe madness prints Mandlebrot fractal in TWELVE MINUTES

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Re: Pi in the, er, print

Why use BCD?

Answer, there were no 64-bit computers in those days. Few people had a 60-bit CDC6600.

24-bit was common, allowing +or- 8 million. 36 bit would give +or- 32 billion.

What we did have were COBOL compilers allowing very large numbers to be specified. But to compute them efficiently BCD was the way.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Pi in the, er, print

The IBM 1620 I once programmed used binary coded decimal arithmetic. That meant one could manipulate very long numbers. I used it to calculate pi to 300 places.

Part of that calculation involved finding the square root of three to 300 places, which entailed a loop in which a 600 place number was divided by a 300 place number. A single hardware divide instruction took about one second to do that, as shown by the flashing lights.

The real use of BCD is in finance, to represent billions of dollars to the nearest cent without rounding errors for simple addition and subtraction. Percentages and currency conversions still have to be rounded, of course. VAX computers included BCD instructions for use with their COBOL compilers and variables of type COMPUTATIONAL.

Nowadays this long-length arithmetic would be useful for cryptography.

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HUGE Aussie asteroid impact sent TREMORS towards the EARTH'S CORE

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Joke

Re: Devonian?

@Voland RH

OK, you and I have problems with chicklechub. It all depends what language you grew up with. And whether you like using two prepositions to end a sentence with.

Just ask ze olientals.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Devonian? @ ~Spartacus

@Dewix

I would have thought that pottery and reinforced concrete would survive. Have not heard of any being found, though.

Also remnants of diamond jewellery.

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UK.gov shovels £15m into training new quantum engineers

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Time to market

Dr Anderson: "advances made by scientists might take twenty years before appearing in the market".

Consider the transistor, invented in 1948. It did not show its full importance until the late 1960s when integrated circuits became available. But the quantum mechanics that underlies the transistor was developed in the 1920s.

So that was a gap of some forty years between scientific research and major pay-off. The moral is that a short term approach to science funding will not spend money wisely.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Cable's fables

@Dr Syntax

Long ago, I interrupted Vince Cable with a point of information during a debate at the Cambridge Union Society. He is a courteous debater, but that is the only positive thing I can say about him.

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Blighty's 12-sided quid to feature schoolboy's posterior

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Re: Homage to the old 'Thrupenny Bit'...

The original seven-sided replacement for the ten-bob note was sometimes called a Wilson - cheap, nasty, and unpopular.

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Kaspersky Lab hits back at Bloomberg's Russian spy link hit piece

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@croc

No, They are are not concerned with you as an individual; you are just a statistic.

What They are interested in is statistics by the million, just like the ad agencies and supermarkets look at the millions. Snowden has said little or nothing about Big Statistics. Maybe he is not a statistician, or maybe that is where the real secrets are.

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Rosetta SNIFFS molecular nitrogen on Comet 67P

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Mostly as hydride

Given the overwhelming abundance of hydrogen in the universe, one might expect carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen to be present as hydrides: CH4, NH3, OH2.

So the existence of molecular nitrogen needs to be explained. Cue hand waving about evolved planets.

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Noobs can pwn world's most popular BIOSes in two minutes

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Trollface

Re: Cut to the chase

There many be many layers of "open software that's simple enough". That's where the complexity will be.

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Re: Maybe the operating system shouldn't use the BIOS.

@AC

Or even "Whom do you trust?".

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Dark matter surveys turn up new satellites … orbiting the Milky Way

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Get it right

As I understand it, many a globular cluster has more than "a few hundred stars".

How about exo-cluster, rather than some sort of downsized galaxy?

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OpenSSL audit kicks off for post-Heartbleed strengthening program

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Types of error

The Heartbleed bug was not a subtle cryptography error but poor interface design, with two variables representing block size. Even if both variables were desirable, there should have been an 'assert'.

So we may need a redesign rather than a review. Also a zero-tolerance policy for compiler warnings.

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Quantum computers have failed. So now for the science

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Joke

Re: We'll see...

Can anyone field an answer to his question., perhaps with the ring of truth in a suitable group?

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Indeterminacy enters, with difficulty

Point 1.

So the oil drop system he describes behaves like a quantum system. This means that somewhere, quantum indeterminacy, aka the uncertainty principle, has been introduced. The article says this is the result of the wide area forcing field.

Presumably, then, this can be modelled on classical computers.

Point 2.

Surely what he calls the "failure of quantim computing" is actually the technical difficulty of mustering enough qubits with current technology. This does not sound like a failure in principle.

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Sick of Chrome vs Firefox? Check out these 3 NEW browsers

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Refresh be damned

I loathe those websites that automatically refresh their web page every two minutes or so. Specifically the Daily Telegraph with its front page and section header pages. I am reading the teaser line below the headline and it refreshes, slowly. I am about to click on a headline to go to the full story and it refreshes, slowly. I have complained but have been ignored.

Sure, I want an up to date page when I click on it. But when I've got it, I actually want to READ it, an idea that seems alien to the Telegraph's web department. No, I do not want to spend all day looking at glitzy moving adverts, changed every two minutes.

Lets hope El Reg remains a site that is good to read.

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Windows XP's market share grows AGAIN!

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@Steve 114

Just to add to your stats.

I have a mere five computers: 3 on XP, 2 on Win7.

Apart from my 'main' Win7 machine, the others sometimes run Linux or more exotic systems.

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I, ROBOT ~ YOU, MORON. How else will automated news work?

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Lying recognition

I gather computer scientists have proved that it is impossible to write a program that will accurately recognise another program as a virus - some kind of extension to Turing's Halting Theorem.

I conjecture (like a mathematician; scientists hypothesise) that it is equally impossible to recognise every kind of lying.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: auto task list

Dartmoor retirement, more like it. (An infamous British prison.)

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Reckon YOU can write better headlines than us? Great – apply within

Primus Secundus Tertius
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MS Word

I do most of my proofing with MS Word. Shows you the typos and many other simple mistakes. Red squiggles, green squiggles, and blue squiggles make a colourful/colorful day. You don't have yo agree with all of them.

But can El Reg afford MS Word, or are they as impoverished as the BOFH company and their z-mail (retarded email)?

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Lenovo: We SWEAR we're done with bloatware, adware and scumware

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Ingredients

Not a random distribution, then.

If there are 10^11 bits within the supplied software, the standard deviation will be ca 1.6E5, so even 51% - 49% would be suspiciously large.

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Snowden's favourite Linux - Tails - rushes sec-fix version to market

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Secure and stable?

@cantank

I am 70. You are more likely than I am to see it.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Secure and stable?

All this 'security' lark would be more convincing if the software remained stable for a few years.

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Why does the NSA's boss care so much about backdoors when he can just steal all our encryption keys?

Primus Secundus Tertius
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We have RIPA

Who needs a backdoor when the authorities can demand the password on pain of imprisonment?

This happened in the UK a year or two back. An Islamist who had 'forgotten' his password realised he was facing prison, and then 'remembered' it. Too late though: the offence was committed when he refused the original demand, and to jail he went.

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Lenovo CTO: Hey, look around – we're not the only ones with a crapware infection

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Just take off...

How to get ethernet or wireless drivers when you don't have them already?

I have a USB wireless dongle, plus a CD for windows drivers. Most modern Linux releases seem to support it anyway. So I can then get to the PC maker's website.

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Re: MS Might Share Some Blame

In Windows 7 you can create restoration DVDs that will install on to an empty hard drive, or one overwitten with penguinware. I have done that: there is a bootable start DVD/CD, then one or more system image DVDs.

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Google offers 'INFINITY MILLION DOLLARS' for bugs in Chrome

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Simple infinity

I am surprised hat the 'infinity' image at the top of the article is not a Möbius strip.

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Who uses the Universal Credit system? ALMOST NOBODY, says report

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Re: I struggle to know how seriously to take this...

The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee is traditionally an opposition MP. This report looks like crude party political sniping.

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Debian on track to prove binaries' origins

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Trusted code

I have sometimes wondered whether one of the shadowy governemnt agencies maintains code that it can trust. And, indeed, as Jimmy Page notes, whether they have chips they can trust.

In Britain, possibly not, because it all costs. In the USA, perhaps they do.

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Man the HARPOONS: YOU can EASILY SLAY ad-scumware Superfish

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Other Lenovo machines

I wonder whether this exploit was the money raiser that paid for the real sneaky software on Lenovo professional market computers.

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BLOOD STAR of the NEANDERTHALS passed close to our Sun

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Alien probes

What the article didn't mention was all the alien space probes planted in the Oort Cloud, disguised as comets, which drop in to take a look at us every so often.

There's an awful lot of monitoring power packed into what looks like a 100 metre ball of rock.

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IT knowledge is as important as Maths, says UK.gov

Primus Secundus Tertius
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...The teaching vocation trade needs to turned into a profession...

FTFY

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@Peter Christy

No. It makes them representatives of the Great Unwashed, especially of the 50% of the GU who are of below average ability. Er, that's democracy, said by some to be the least worst form of government.

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NASA plots methane-detecting laser in SPAAACE

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Water, water, everywhere...

The most important greenhouse gas is water vapour, the result of the sun shining on the oceans.

What are the greenies going to do about that?

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ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds

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Look for the EMP

@Bob W

If there have been nuclear wars on exoplanets, perhaps we should have detected the Electro Magmetc Pulses associated with those bombs exploding.

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UK official LOSES Mark Duggan shooting discs IN THE POST

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Re: And still using DISCS IN THE POST

Yes, indeed.

An inconspicuous outer envelope contains an inner envelope marked SECRET. That will keep the hoi polloi at bay.

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Google forced to – wah! – OBEY the LAW with privacy policy tweaks

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Re: FFS the images on your site are getting ridiculous !!

The Telegraph has become very bad, too.

Why have all the media come

To think that we are all so dumb?

Answer: look at some of the comments on the mass media sites. Makes El Reg look loke a philosopher's drawing room.

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Ugly, incomplete, buggy: Windows 10 faces a sprint to the finish

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Re: I still shudder...

The bookmakers at the old chariot races could have used computers for updating the odds rapidly.

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