* Posts by Brewster's Angle Grinder

1026 posts • joined 23 May 2011

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Comet 67/P CAKED in LIFE-GIVING RUBBLE, say astroboffins

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: .

But I never claimed it was frozen Greek yoghurt!

To decode this joke recognise that pre- comes from the Latin for before while pro- happens to be the Greek for, um, before --- specifically, according to my OED, "before in time, place, or order: proactive." Thus I feel the sophistry in my original pun out-smarted your pedantry. :P :P :P

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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'Finding the compounds listed has boffins excited: they're considered “prebiotics” '

So what we're saying is that comets aren't dirty snowballs -- they're frozen Activia yoghurts.

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How much of ONE YEAR's Californian energy use would WIPE OUT the DROUGHT?

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I'm not a Californian, but they have a rather complicated legal framework where people with water rights from before 1914 can mop up all the water in a river. That system needs to be sanitised.

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Alien dwarf 'star' flashes her dazzling brown rear at stunned space boffins

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@Little Mouse

Well one was made by some journalists (in order to sell their article) and the other was made to some journalists (and some scientists, who we don't care about) and then amped up to, uh, sell articles.

That difference in context is vital in determining which is acceptable.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Total Confusion

So are neutron stars actually stars? And what's the difference between a moon and a captured asteroid? :P

At the moment, I'd say that an object formed via cloud collapse is a (failed) star (which means if there's no companion, it's definitely a star) but if it accretes round a rocky core then it's a planet. At the low mass end, I would expect the different formation mechanisms to produce different properties, even for the same final mass.

Anyway plenty of stars don't actively fuse hydrogen. And most brown dwarf's generally have fused deuterium at some point in their life.

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UK.gov wants to stop teenagers looking at tits online. No, really

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There's nothing that gets the commentariat excited as a good porn story. :/

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Coat

>"It would be easier to set up a little Internet for Ravey Davey and his pals to play in, that only has the BBC, Daily Mail, and an official My Little Pony site..."

They're working hard at getting rid of the BBC, too.

Now, if you excuse me, I need to sell my shares in My Little Pony.

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I want to be reasonable but find myself foaming at the [BLANK].

I have no objection to making it difficult for under 18s to look at porn. But as ISPs are already filtering content, why do we need additional age restrictions on pornographic websites? Could it be the filters aren't that good? Could it be some parents aren't enabling the filters and the government nevertheless wants to control what their children see? Or could it even be that the government finds porn morally objectionable, thinks age verification might stop some casual viewing by over-18s, and is using children as an excuse to introduce it?

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And on that bombshell: Top Gear's Clarkson to reappear on Amazon

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: 12 Years a Wage Slave

Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.

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Windows 10: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE to Microsoft's long apology for Windows 8

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Just one thing left to make it good

"Is it that hard to remember that Visual Studio is in Programs->Visual Studio 2013? Is it hard to remember that you saved your spreadsheet in My Documents?"

Yes, I could remember that. But why should I have to when there's no need? I can still remember memory maps from 8 bit micros and yet I can't remember to pick up the shopping list before I leave. I would like my brain to delete the useless memories and reallocate the storage to tasks that matter. Since the brain doesn't apparently work like that, I don't want to be filling it up with ever more clutter when the computer can remember for me.

We need an icon for "old fogey's post". :/

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W3C's failed Do Not Track crusade tumbles to ad-blockers' Vietnam

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Joke

If the technical tools don't work then the next step will be the to turn to the legislature: outlaw ad blockers...

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Three-mile-high pyramid found on alien dwarf world, baffles boffins

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Ooh! Aaahh! Arggghhhh!

With all the oohing and aaahhhring over Pluto, it would be funny if the really ground breaking discovery turned up on Ceres.

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Are smart safes secure? Not after we've USB'd them, say infosec bods

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Joke

Re: Unbelievable

But how else are they going to run their diagnostics? They rely on Windows autorunning the on-disk tool and writing its results to the disk so that their engineers can examine the post mortem on their laptop.

I'm making this up, by the way. I'm sure, in reality, they use the USB port in a completely sane way.

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Slippery, slimy find: LEGGY, WRIGGLY fossil shows SNAKES weren't legless. Or ARMLESS

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Re: Eny fule kno

"...he was the last Christian poet of any significance before it all descended into hymn-writing; from then on the best poets with the best tunes were not very orthodox."

I thought this would be easy to refute, but you're broadly right. Big narrative poems on religious themes die out around that time. The romantics are very unorthodox (Coleridge nearly had a career as a Unitarian minister) or are areligious. And when the Tractarians trigger a resurgence in religion, those poets who write narrative works and are deeply religious don't reimagine religious stories.

I do wonder how much this is cause and effect. What poet would retread Paradise Lost unless they had a radically new vision?

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Gamers Steaming over dumb Valve password vuln

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It does make me feel better about the critical bug I've just uncovered in my code. It takes 700 words to explain what's gone wrong.

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NSPCC: Two nonces nailed by cops every day

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Black Helicopters

Re: Nonce?

> Another term? "Social Undesirables"

Or 'opponents of the regime'? *gulp*

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Get root on an OS X 10.10 Mac: The exploit is so trivial it fits in a tweet

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Re: Ayyy LMAO

I suspect the file is left open deliberately in case of additional error messages (e.g. from calls to <tt>dlopen(3)</tt>) but I may be wrong.

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SpaceX's blast shock delays world's MOST POWERFUL ROCKET

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Re: OK Say you get to Mars

To get the water you've got to be at the poles or have equipment a bit more complicated than "suck in air." Wikipedia is suggesting 4% water down to 60cm. That's going to take churning up soil and probably means a rover rather than a static base.

And correction, Wikipedia suggests 15 ppm H2. (And for those who were asleep in chemistry: you need hydrogen to make methane which is why we're talking about it.)

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: OK Say you get to Mars

"Mars has a Carbon Dioxide Rich atmosphere..."

But a very poor hydrogen one. H2O is at 210 ppm and HDO at 0.85 ppm. [Source] And forget H2 or H+.

You really need a source of water.

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PEAK PLUTO: Stunning mountain ridge snapped by New Horizons craft

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Re: More Plutonian mountains

Or liquid beneath the surface that pushes up as it freezes. (Same effect with rust on steel; you get lumps because rust has a greater volume.) Anyway, with perihelion at 30AU and aphelion at 49AU it's plausible something is melting and refreezing.

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Driverless cars banished to fake Michigan 'town' until they learn to read

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@Hollerith1

"...no actually, I am not one of those who validates by personhood by my vehicle..."

Well then you're accusing people smart enough to build a self driving car of being naive enough to think the world is entirely covered by trivial road layouts (while presuming it's designed entirely by Americans who are so insular they've never visited another country). Even if they really are that dumb, every time we have an autonomous automobile post, everybody points out these problems. I'm sure they have a full list of test cases by now.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Scotland?

We get it: you're only validated through your ability to drive a car. If that's taken away, you will be less of a human being.

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I cannae dae it, cap'n! Why I had to quit the madness of frontline IT

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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"Name a threat, I can architect you a solution."

A state level attacker who has the capacity to subvert the firmware on hard disks, routers and the like in transit, if not before they leave the factory.

Other than that, I agree.

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Greek PM Alexis Tsipras brings the EU to its knees

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Re: "This live broadcast cock-up is a failure of democracy by the EU"

Well, Paul Krugman opened a recent post by saying:

It’s now clear...that the Greek program was doomed to failure without major debt relief; no matter how hard the Greeks tried, austerity would shrink GDP faster than it reduced debt...

Then there's the graph in this post which shows that, if you control for all the variables, Greece has the biggest surplus in the Eurozone.

And while we're here, the graph in this post shows what the IMF predicted would happen to Greece (mild recession and then sustained growth) compared to what actually happened (massive slump that bottomed out).

The situation post crisis is not Greece's fault; they are victims of expansionary austerity. What they should have done was quit the Euro in 2009. By now they'd be doing fine. Of course, it would have shafted the Eurozone, but who cares about other countries' voters, right?

Personally, I think they're behaving like Germany's battered spouse. But if they want to stay they need first aid. They fell down the stairs and walked into a door to keep the Euro marriage alive. So give them massive debt relief and a sustainable deal.

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Dormant ALIEN SLIME LIFE frozen in SPEEDING comet will AWAKEN - boffins

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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"...experiments....suggest that it is rather difficult to get life going on its own..."

Exactly. And if life couldn't get started on this perfectly habitable planet then where in the solar system did it start?

"Frozen solid inside half a kilometre of ice would also nice..."

You're conflating comets with planetary ejecta (small meteorites).

FWIW I didn't downvote you. That was the downvote bot.

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Wikipedia: YES! we’ve SAVED the INTERNET again!

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"But on Wikipedia, being right means you can be outvoted by the ignorant or the narcissistic."

Happens outside Wikipedia as well; those that have the best story win. That's just demagogy democracy.

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Reddit meltdown: Top chat boards hidden as rebellion breaks out

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*facepalm* Network effect, Tim. Network effect.

Reddit's "service" is acting as the queen to a swarm of angry bees. If the queen becomes ill, then the drones are no longer able to coordinate as a hive mind; instead, each departs individually, searching the countryside for a new honey.

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Silly Google's Photos app labelled BLACK PEOPLE as GORILLAS

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Re: On the other hand, if I am included in their images database, ...

>So "racism" now extends to using a biased training set?

Let's read the first sentence of Wikipedia's current entry on racism: "Racism consists of ideologies and practices that seek to justify, or cause, the unequal distribution of privileges, rights or goods among different racial groups."

So we have the right---or perhaps privilege---of being recognised as an instance of H. sapiens sapiens apparently being caused to be distributed unequally via the use of a biased training set. QED

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Re: On the other hand, if I am included in their images database, ...

The charge of racism is directed towards the programmers for not having used enough photos of black people. But, obviously, none of us are in a position to judge since we don't know what it was trained on.

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YouTube is responsible for user content, says German court #1

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Re: GEMA

Since you're not a native English speaker, I thought I better inform you that you've misspelt "tuna". Your sincerely, a PRS rep.

Is there any point using a joke icon when half of you can't see it? *sigh*

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NHS IT failures mount as GP data system declared unfit for purpose

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Penny wise; pound foolish.

"They may have to pay the going rate"

But its tax payers' money -- so we can't charge the going rate!

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Crowdfunded beg-a-thon to bail out Greece raises 0.003% of target

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Re: Scottish solution

"The only difficulty would be inventing a flag for a united Germany-Greece"

And all the countries in between.

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Universal Credit white elephant needs 'urgent breakthrough' says MP

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Re: "It is still too early to declare it a failed IT project"

Osborne only wants to save £12 billion from welfare. If we'd not bothered with UC, there wouldn't need to be any cuts and we could spend another £3billion reducing, say, child poverty.

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Get READY: Scientists set to make TIME STAND STILL tonight

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Re: ...accurate for a period of 158 million years...

The 1880 act doesn't define GMT in any sense. (Which is unsurprising as it pre-dates accurate time-keeping and our realisation that Earth's rotation rate is variable.*) So there just isn't a GMT "standard".

If it came down to milliseconds, I concur that the pedantic interpretation would be UT0 measured on the true Greenwich meridian (not the WGS84 meridian). However if my learned friend insisted on that, I'd insist the measurement be made using a "second" that is 1/86400th the length of relevant day, since that was how the second was understood when the statue was written; and that the day be reckoned from midday, not midnight, since that was also the case in 1880; and furthermore, that the measurement be made using a clock appropriate for the period - i.e. one so inaccurate that milliseconds would be of no import!

In reality I would suggest that any British landlubber referring to GMT, including our modern legislators, could be reasonably presumed to mean UTC+0. Particularly since, as you note, every effective realisation of "GMT" is UTC (while noting that GPS doesn't actually transmit UTC, but TAI-19 and the offset of this time signal from UTC).

* Rather pleasingly, it appears to be de Sitter measured this - see the Explanatory Supplement to the Atronomical Almanac. 2.55

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: ...accurate for a period of 158 million years...

From the top. The number of UT1 days is the number of transitions of IAU 1976 equinox across the Greenwich meridian (calculated by the proper motions of the stars in the FK5 catalogue using the IAU 1980 theory of nutation). The length of the UT1 day can vary from 86400 SI seconds by a few milliseconds so midnight doesn't happen on a whole second boundary.

By contrast, UTC days are designed to occupy an integral number of seconds, generally 86400, with extra seconds added or subtracted to keep UTC within 0.9s of UT1.

According to Wikipedia, the UK hasn't made up its mind whether GMT means UT1 or UTC so is there some ambiguity. But in all non-nautical contexts, I would expect GMT to mean UTC.

FWIW, a linear regression of the bulletin-B data from October 2009 suggests the next leap second will probably be end of June 2019. (It could just creep in at the end of December 2018.) But the Earth has actually speeded up in the 21st Century (we're had 19 fewer leap seconds than predicted in the late 20th Century) so we could end up having to add a few in a flurry, if the Earth regresses to mean. On the other hand, if the speed up accelerated, then we might end up having to drop seconds in the next couple of decades.

And if anybody thinks I'm wrong, please correct me because I'm working on our delta-T code right now!

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Why OH WHY did Blighty privatise EVERYTHING?

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Re: A world run by money

If Tim's argument was correct, we'd see the market flooded with mutuals and not for profits; a "charity" isn't run by the regulator but should have lower costs than a for-profit corporation.

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Pirate MEP pranks Telegraph with holiday snap scaremongering

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Re: why stop there

If an algorithm can identify your face in an image, it could opt to pixelate it. So it's more likely you'll end up paying celebs royalties everytime someone views that selfie of you and them.

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BT: Let us scrap ordinary phone lines. You've all got great internet, right?

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Re: One big problem

"POTS is powered by batteries at the central office."

How many people have landline phones that can run without the mains? Mine can't anyway.

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Flushed with success: No bog standard Canadian goldfish these

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Re: Diversify!

Ketchup! (NO FISH) £5.00p

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Why is it that women are consistently paid less than men?

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@Craigness

You should have chosen a better wife! :P

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: The real stink

"It's not society who raises a child."

That didn't used to be the case. And it's perhaps a sign of where things are going wrong. But I understand why nobody wants to interact with other people's children.

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Facebook SSD failure study pinpoints mid-life burnout rate trough

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Re: Bathtub curve

It's called a "bathtub curve" for a reason: it looks like a bathtub. (The failure rate starts high, drops off and stays low for a prolonged period, and then picks up again.) So the second graph is not what I would expect. And the rest of the research sounds new, as well.

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Apple CORED: Boffins reveal password-killer 0-days for iOS and OS X

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Boffin

Re: What are all these papers good for ?

The paper does criticise Apple for not making developers aware of the vulnerabilities or providing ways to spot them.

But, skimming the paper, I saw two classes of problems:

1. IPC is public. You'd be castigated for allowing access to private website data without forcing the user to login. The same applies to an app's internal services: if the service allows an app to change something or read sensitive data, then verify the caller is who they say they are. This includes communication via any url-scheme; so, for example, if your app can be reached via anglegrinder:param1&param2&etc then any tom, dick or malicious app could do so. Also websockets, etc...

2. Impersonation. It's possible for one app to impersonate another. (They can register your keychain id and then steal your data. Or register your url scheme and intercept data before it gets to you.) The fixes for this are dependent on Apple, and will probably break apps. But avoid keychain until Apple have sorted it.

There wasn't a buffer overflow insight. These weren't programming errors, they were design errors. And for those of us who have been around the block, mitigation is plain common sense (AKA EXTREME PARANOIA).

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Facebook ditches HTML mobe future in favour of Zuck-style JavaScript

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Re: Bizarre

"...just to allow hackers to use PHP instead of taking a few months to learn a scalable language, engineering a solution, and implementing it - done deal..."

That leaves you with a poorly documented codebase of $x*1E6 lines (or, if you're a javascript programmer, `${x*1E9} lines`) which has got to be ported.

Secondly, programming PHP is easy; any jerk can do it. Programming a "scalable language" requires more expertise. So I suspect many of Facebook's existing "brogrammers" wouldn't be up to it and they'd have to buy in more expensive programmers. And, at that skill-level, programmers tend to be more interested in doing meta programming than writing productive code. (*cough* guilty *cough*)

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I block, you block, we all block Twitter shock schlock

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"One woman got a permanent ban for quoting Jessica Valenti - the Twitter feminists didn't believe one of their own could say anything so stupid,"

Jessica Valenti is the anti-feminists' secret weapon. She is the moment we hit peak feminism. After her every Graun groan, I'm left defending the tatters of feminism. ("Hey, don't throw the baby out with the bath water!") And I'm not a feminist.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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So, a tool that increases the number of Twitter accounts without increasing the number of users...

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INTERNET of BOOBS: Scorching French lass reveals networked bikini

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Re: There's a lot you can see when there's nothing to do.

Sometimes its even notarised -- generally by the git who writes a rude word on you in sunblock.

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Nobel bro-ffin: 'Girls in the lab fall in love with me ... then start crying'

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@Trevor

Have you got a source for those non Kilinefelter XXY? Noodling round Wikipedia doesn't seem to substantiate, although there is a nice table of the karyotypes which is more extensive than you list.

Anyway, while I recognise it's coming from the right place, I remain sceptical of the argument that says "we have the way hell than just two biological sexes". As best I can tell, we do have two (maybe three) sexes: one with testes, one with ovaries and perhaps one with ovatestes. That decision is driven by the karyotype (generally a functioning SRY gene). And if everything works through to puberty, then the gonads will deliver one of two phenotypes (with it being unpredictable which phenotype someone with ovatestes will end up with). Most people fall clearly into the phenotype associated with their gonads, but a few don't. Some people, for whatever reason, end up feeling they are the wrong phenotype. Those people would do anything to be be a "normal" man or woman. Multiplying the number of sexes doesn't help. You're saying "hey these people might be in another category entirely"; it's more or less like a cis woman who says to a non-cis woman, "you don't have my experience, you have your own experience". The argument can't be won by pointing at a gene or brain scan; the phenotype people feel is a subjective thing and that has to be accepted, before we even get to the performance of "gender".

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But... I... like... the... PAIN! Our secret addiction to 'free' APIs

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Asked and answered

And the point of this article was? It highlighted a problem, explained why it happens, pointed out the alternatives have flaws, and then stopped.

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So why the hell didn't quantitative easing produce HUGE inflation?

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Helicopter money

We've also had a really bizarre stimulus in the UK: a mandated transfer from banks to wealthy consumers. It was called payment protection insurance mis-selling.

That said, this was an enlightening article. I've read Krugman for a while and I got far more out of this; I understand what everybody was worrying about and why it wouldn't work. Thanks.

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