* Posts by Brewster's Angle Grinder

1312 posts • joined 23 May 2011

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Old, complex code could cause another UK banking TITSUP – study

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: "Even if something has been written in Java in 90s that is still 20 years ago."

As any fule kno: software documentation wasn't invented until 2003 so the code will be undocumented.

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One black hole, three galaxies, four BEELION solar masses – found by accident

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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@Rich11

I can construct solutions to the Einstein Field Equations which bridge between causally disconnected patches. Or those patches could be brought into contact again if space contracted superluminally. Neither can be completely ruled out, although both are very unlikely.

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Docker hired private detectives to pursue woman engineer's rape, death threat trolls

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Troll mentality? - a story of abuse

Someone got a bit obsessed with me on Twitter: they invited me to their home, wanted my address so they could come visit (thank $deity I don't use my real name) and made suicide threats. I talked to them sympathetically but unemotionally until they realised I wasn't interested, and then they moved on.

I suspect, but can't prove, they became a voluminous and slightly incoherent commenter on the popular blog of a well-known sf writer.

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Good enough IT really is good enough. You don't need new hardware

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: why is everything Javascript these days?

@Skoorb Which is why you use '==='.

But PHP has an equals operator that coerces. And if you've come from, C++, you dumbly expect a == b to call decltype(a)::operator==(decltype(b)) (If you implemented std::string yourself, you could alter operator== to get some of those behaviours, if you wanted.) And while we're on the subject of C, how well do you know the promotion rules in C/C++? Because they make the above look straightforward.

All languages have misfeatures.

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Hackers so far ahead of defenders it's not even a game

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: I will openly admit

You could write a bot and single handedly bury them.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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ηβπ

(See title.)

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Vanity dating site BeautifulPeople popped

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: I'm the only HOT Reg reader?

I was tempted to down vote you out of pure spite.

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If Android’s wings are clipped, other Google platforms may gain

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: people shown they like app(lication)s, not browsers

"They are the ones that took more than others to start, and don't have a native UI."

A blank web page starts quicker than any other app I've got on my phone. I agree start up time is a huge problem, but that's true of native apps as well: they've got to load quickly because it happens so often, whereas a desktop app can take minutes and nobody cares. That's one of the adjustments you have to make when coming from the desktop.

And, as for UI, none of the apps I have here seem to use a native UI; they all seem to invent their own. And none of them appear to be web apps.

What we have is a network operator writing a crud app shocker. If they'd written it as a native app, it would still be crap. But I wrote my first commercial app in 8086 assembler. I've written apps in C++. And I've not felt more limited by web apps than by native ones; so far, everything I've needed is there.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: people shown they like app(lication)s, not browsers

*cough* phonegap (cordova) *cough*

Also embedding native webviews.

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'Impossible' EmDrive flying saucer thruster may herald new theory of inertia

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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@Chemist

"Which you shouldn't really AFAIK. A particle of zero rest mass has no increase in mass with velocity - indeed it is constrained to travel at c at all times in a vacuum."

No, he's right. GR has no notion of mass; its defined in terms of energy and momentum (cf the Stress-Energy tensor) and it's the energy that shapes the metric ("distorts spacetime"). So every particle and non-gravitational field distorts spacetime. (And if the gravitational field itself could distort spacetime then that might explain dark matter.)

The reason we talk about rest mass is precisely because a particle has an "effective mass" or "relativistic mass" that depends on the relative speed between it and you. It's that effective mass that means two observers travelling at different speeds end up agreeing that a particle has the same total energy, even though they disagree about its kinetic energy (speed).

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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@frank ly

"...if they are affected by gravity (attracted to matter) when they are fairly stationary?"

Photons are never stationary; however much you confine them, they'll still bounce around at the speed of light. Being massless means travelling at the speed of light; no ifs or buts.

"If you're equating the energy of a photon to an 'effective mass'...then you'd have a situation in which X-ray photons...should be deflected more by gravity."

This argument turns out to be the same as arguing heavier masses experience greater acceleration than lighter ones, which Galileo disproved. Do the full calculations and you'll see the angle of deflection is independent of mass. (And we can check this by looking for chromatic aberration in gravitational lensing which, AFAIK, isn't seen.)

However Bob is right inasmuch as photons do distort space time. If that wasn't the case, ~90% of the mass in a proton wouldn't count for gravity (since only ~10% of the rest mass of a proton is due to the rest mass of its constituent quarks). But the distortion caused by a photon is negligible: we can't even measure the gravitational interaction between protons, and they have a rest mass of ~1GeV.

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Chrome lives in dog years: It's seven years old but just turned 50

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Re: Those damn poorly coded sites

I take it you're using the definition of "poorly coded" that means "has greater than zero bugs"?

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Mitsubishi 'fesses up: We lied in fuel tests to make our cars look great

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Coat

Re: Only 10%?

The grading above "A" is "@". The grading above "@" is "?". The grading above "?" is ">". And so on.

Mine's the one with the ASCII chart in the pocket, thanks.

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Prof squints at Google's mobile monopoly defence, shakes head

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Partial Order vs Total Order

"Android is the more open eco-system."

That's a false dichotomy. A system can be open in some respects and closed in others. I love developing for Android because of how open it is to me as a developer; Google doesn't care what technology I use, because Google doesn't make money off the hardware I buy.

But if I were a developer of location services, Android would seem very closed: Google's solution is baked in and there's no option for me to compete.

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Clucking hell! Farcical free-range egg standard pecked apart by app

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Pirate

Re: And the information is...

"...it won't be the App developers who get sued no matter what."

You don't have much legal experience, do you?

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UK authorities probe 'drone hitting plane at Heathrow'

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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The weather balloon that launched a thousand saucers.

Definitely, given that UFO simply means "Unidentified Flying Object".

"Unidentified Alien Object" is a different TLA..

If you believe UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object then you're putting words into my mouth by assuming I'm using it to mean something different. And the fact that you assume I mean "UAO" probably means UFO really means UAO, even to you. And, opening up the OED on my desk, I find UFO defined as "a mysterious object seen in the sky for which it is claimed no orthodox scientific explanation can be found, popularly said to be a vehicle carrying extraterrestrial." No other definition is given. And it's not defined as an acronym, although it notes that was the origin of the word. (I note that a UAO would qualify for your definition of a UFO provided it was airborne.)

By and large, I tend to be generous to bug reports: the user saw something. But a user's analysis can often be suspect; even pilots can be confused about unexpected events. Google returned a page of pilot reports: the top one being a mile wide object seen over Guernsey. I believe the pilots saw something; I will refrain from believing any analysis they provide.

And, as to this incident, if the drone is on the ground then it's cut and dried. And, if I not, I will still believe the pilot hit something. It may even have been a drone. But I'm not going to give him magical authority by virtue of being a pilot -- unless this pilot has experience of hitting drones.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Kudos to the idiot responsible

"...I think we can trust a pilot to know the difference too."

I presume, then, you believe all the UFO reports made by pilots?

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Job ad promises 'Meaningless Repetitive Work on the .NET Stack'

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Re: I was cross training legacy COBOL programmers 30 years ago...

Well that explains all the buggy C we've spent decades fixing.

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Flaw-finding Ruby on Rails bot steams past humans

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Devil

Everybody in

I can't speak for python programmers, but Rails coders hate PHP coders and they also hate node coders. And PHP coders hate node and Rails coders. And node programmers hate PHP and Rails programmers. But there's one thing guaranteed to make us put aside our differences and unite in a common cause: and that's a smug Java programmer proclaiming the superiority of their language.

I'd include perl programmers in the anti-Java coalition. But they have been extinct for the last 300 trillion milliseconds.

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Linux command line mistake 'nukes web boss'S biz'

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Re: Top trolling

It does appear to be fake. Unfortunately, I can easily imagine such a person getting into such a position. All it takes is a little skill and a lot of money.

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Google yanks Chrome support for Windows XP, at long last

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Joke

Re: Performance on XP was already unusably poor...

Google's last XP machine broke.

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BT hauled into Old Bailey after engineer's 7-metre fall broke both his ankles

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Re: The three-week trial

"...how do you expect the company to enforce it if the engineer is working on his own and does something stupid?"

I don't. But I do expect them to do everything reasonable. Which, to repeat myself, means reprimanding employees caught breaking the rules, and terminating the contracts of anyone who persists.

But if this was a single engineer who did something stupid I doubt it would be in court. A three week case suggests there's plenty of evidence to be heard. So perhaps a disagreement about whether the procedures were adequate. Or perhaps there was a management culture that pressured people into ignoring the rules.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: More than reported here?

"But my question is, why are they spending on three weeks worth of lawyers, rather than what I suspect wuld be the considerably cheaper option of admitting "

Because, presumably, admitting liability means they'd have to change their practices, which would impact their profitability. Or it could just be because they're huge arses. But either way, it'll be about the bottom line.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: The three-week trial

But you can expect a company to make sure their employees are properly trained, to make sure the correct equipment is available and that there are enough staff to do the job safely, and to give anyone who breaks the rules a bloody good bollocking rather than turning a blind eye or, worse, cajoling them into breaking the rules. Roughly this can be summed up by saying a company has a "duty of care".

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Prof Hawking to mail postage-stamp space craft to Alpha Centauri using frickin' lasers

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Mushroom

"heard above all the other noise out there at that distance with the path loss."

Noise dwarfs path loss. It's got to be heard over a pair of omnidirectional transmitters broadcasting 1027W spread over every frequency band from RF to X-rays.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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"At 20% of the speed of light even a small amount of tenous gas or dust will turn the craft into high temperature plasma."

The Local Interstellar Cloud contains both Sol and Alpha Centauri and is about 0.3 particles/cc. Iff the energy from all those hits was fully absorbed, it would result in a few millijoules per second of heating. (I've assumed the atoms were stationary -- i.e. ignored their thermal energy.)

But heating is not going to be a problem because those particles are protons with tens of MeV: they will punch through the wafer-thin probe, taking most of their energy with them. The sail is expendable, once accelerated. But the electronics needs to survive a billion cosmic rays per second for decades. Expect to find more of your electronics on the outside that the inside. As I said, evaginated.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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"They've been able to hit mirrors on the moon as part of the Lunar Ranging Experiment since the 60s, so there's no reason why not with today's technology."

LLR targets are about ~0.5m wide. But by the time the beam reaches one, it's ~6km wide. And the amount of energy reflected is not enough to be seen by the naked eye. It's hitting it and hitting it with enough energy that's the problem.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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They're aiming for a metre-wide sail and it's suggested the lasers will use adaptive optics. They admit they can't afford the lasers (about $1-trillion), that the array would be a handy ground based weapon, and that we have no material that can be used to build the sail. They even acknowledge there is no way for the probe to communicate back. The $100-million is to research these problems.

They don't mention that getting the probe to hit Alpha Centauri will be really tricky; small errors add up over a parsec. Nor do they talk about cosmic rays which will evaginate the unshielded silicon -- they're going to have to fire a lot of probes in the hope one gets there.

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Universal Credit at high risk of cyber-attack, fraud from the outset

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Mmmm... brains....

"...and senior people not engaging their brains."

The person who, at the time, was most senior doesn't seem to have had a brain to engage.

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The future of Firefox is … Chrome

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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I'm in mood for collecting downvotes...

"...I'd prefer Firefox not change...."

And there we have it: the reactionary face of IT. Nobody wants change for the sake of change. But progress requires change, and, if you're stuck in a local minima, that can lead to things getting worse.

For the record, I hate retraining as much as the rest of you.

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Graphene solar panels harvest energy from rain

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: lightbulb moment...

But how much energy would it generate? My guess is there's more chemical energy that gravitational energy and that's its easier to harvest. (A raindrop will bounce so it will retain most of its kinetic energy.)

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Citrix asks you, yes you, to write its certification exams and courseware

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Trollface

The answer they're counting on is, "Happily, because I like showing off."

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Microsoft rethinks the Windows application platform one more time

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Microsoft made it clear that security has taken a back seat

"...the process of installing Windows apps wasn't a problem before, anyway."

There speaks someone who's never had to write a windows installer.

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Android gets larger-than-usual patch bundle as researchers get to work

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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"...if they performed the same level of testing..."

What do you mean "same level of testing"? These bugs are being reported by independent third parties not affiliated with Google. The devs and QA folk at Google have performed testing to the limits of resources available. Then the outsiders (or even insiders) stumble onto something.

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Your pointy-haired boss 'bought a cloud' with his credit card. Now what?

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Paris Hilton

Re: "IT by magazine"

Paris, because she's a "shoot me now" icon.

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Carving up the IT contract behind £500bn of annual tax collection is a very risky move

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: This is IT picking up the pieces again

No, what we need are massively simplified human beings. In this context, massive simplification means removing all the body except the head, and then redistributing the remaining mass into a sphere.

Look, "...risks and costings..." are "...drawn up..." by the treasury "...and presented to parliament..." for the existing system. Here's one here. We have the OBR and various independent think tanks who analyse the budget too. And despite that, we've grown a banana republic system.

There are obvious things that could be done to improve it. It would be sensible to eliminate NI, but it would be a brave politician to close backdoor income tax. And VAT is a mess, but David Cameron has just won plaudits for complexifying it further (eliminating the "tampon tax"). And there are no doubt many loop holes for high earners and big coporations, but fixing them means shoving a wedge in the revolving door between accountancy firms and the treasury.

It could probably even be simplified a bit for us peons. But, like the welfare budget, any tax system that is fair will have hair because we are not simple. And shaping the tax system is a good way to shape the economy and make us pay for our negative externalities. So I don't think there are massive savings in IT to be made from a tax system, unless you're in to some libertarian nonsense of a single flat-rate tax for us all.

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'Planet nine' theory boosted by Kuiper Belt Object with odd orbit

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The really exciting bit would be getting to see what a planet of ~10 terrestrial masses looks like. Earth is the heaviest of all the inner planets and the lightest gas giant (Uranus) is about 15 Earth masses. So is Planet IX a (frozen?) gas giant or is it a rocky terrestrial planet? It would have implications for models of solar system formation, too.

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Android's unpatched dead device jungle is good for security

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Re: Security by obscurity...

You need to research the difference between "obscurity" and "diversity". It's well understood in security circles that monocultures are bad.

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Bash on Windows. Repeat, Microsoft demos Bash on Windows

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Re: How is this different?

@hellwig I've no idea why you've got so many downvotes. I can only apologise.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Facepalm

Re: How is this different?

It means Windows intercepts the linux "API" calls (sycalls) and translates them into the equivalent Windows ones.

Please tell me that working with computers is a hobby and not your day job.

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'No regrets' says chap who felled JavaScript's Jenga tower – as devs ask: Have we forgotten how to code?

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Perls of Wisdom

I always took "hubris" as implying we should dare to attempt tasks that a saner mind would retreat from. I mean, how many of us have thought "that would be easy" and several years later are still working on the damn thing? That's as pure a distillation as hubris as you'll encounter.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Writing your own is NUTS

Javascript has at least two ways of telling if an object is an array. The array example appears to be a polyfill for browsers (*cough* IE 8 *cough*) that lack such a function.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: left-pad

A proposal is at stage 3 so I presume it's on track to be released in the new version.

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Is iOS 9.3 Apple's worst ever update? First it bricks iThings, now Safari is busted

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Re: Just Wow

I wonder if the hardware is as locked down as Apple claim. Perhaps apparently identical versions of an iPhone end up with different components under the hood.

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Japan loses contact with new space 'scope just weeks after launch

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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But by far the most likely scenario is something felt off the scope.

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Cosmic bonks, breakups led to birth of Saturn's moons as dinos died out

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Re: Phew

Yeah, think of the tides.

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How one developer just broke Node, Babel and thousands of projects in 11 lines of JavaScript

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Re: Left padding

"What's wrong with a repeat string function then right(lengthNeeded)?"

String.prototype.repeat didn't officially exist until last year. Yes it can be done more efficiently than repeatedly adding a single string together. (Mine takes no more than 2 × log2(N) concatenations to produce N repeats.) But typical paddings are a handful of characters, so that's probably as efficient as anything: remember we are on 64 bit machines where you can have 8 utf8 characters in a single register; concatenation is just bit shift and bitwise-or.

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Apple mulled gobbling its Brit GPU designers – but didn't like the taste

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Black Helicopters

Apple are waiting for Imagination to go bust before buying the juiciest bits off the receivers.

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Google debuts Node.js beta on its App Engine

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Re: Make work for idle hands

My first Commercial app was written in x86 assembly. These days if I really need performance, I write C++. But generally javascript is fine.

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Champagne supernova in the sky: Shockwaves seen breaking star

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Re: Safe distance

"Any closer than 100 Light-years would be worrysome."

As I said, nobody noticed the effects of Vela Junior, which was at ~60 light years. The ~300pc claim sounds like the dubious Firestone paper which predicts atmospheric effects many orders of magnitude stronger than we would observe in reality.

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