* Posts by Brewster's Angle Grinder

1454 posts • joined 23 May 2011

Cosmology is safe and the Universe is one giant version of the Barbican

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Pedant alert

I get what you're trying to get at. But think it through a bit more.

Once the detonation is over, any explosion will cool as it expands. So that's nothing special.

The normal definition of a detonation is a supersonic chemical reaction in which molecules release energy as they go from a high energy state to a low energy one. Again the big bang took matter from a high energy state to a low energy state at superluminal rates, releasing energy.

The only real differences between the big bang and a regular explosion is that regular explosions don't create spacetime and the temperatures were so high molecules couldn't form.

(Well, I say molecules couldn't form. Really I mean temperatures were so high the laws of physics couldn't form.)

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Windows 10 backlash: Which? demands compo for forced upgrades

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@Adam

I kept batting away the upgrade dialog till I could find time to prepare. Then, one morning, my machine forceably shut down and started upgrading. I imagine I selected the wrong option. But you get asked the same damn question several times a day and, sooner or later, you'll screw up.

As part of the installation, Windows 10 inserted another partition which confused grub, and left my machine unbootable. And because I was unprepared, I didn't have a working Linux USB pen I could boot from. Cue, a couple of lost days.

Also, I had no recent backups. Fortunately, nothing much was broken, although a couple of apps have been reduced functionality, and I'm now largely a happy Windows 10 user. But the upgrade was an unasked for shitstorm.

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Zombie Moore's Law shows hardware is eating software

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Re: Nothing wrong with the chips.

All a "proper dev" needs is switch. The machine code is inputted, bit by bit, by toggling the switch.

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Legend of Zelda cracked with 6502 assembly language glitch

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Re: Nit Pick

I didn't know that about the 6502. I never did much 6502 programming and just thought DAA was another thing that had been RISCed away.

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Pass the 'Milk' to make code run four times faster, say MIT boffins

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Re: Software? Or maybe hardware. @Brewster

I started out writing assembly, and it was very easy to write code that was smaller and faster than a compiler. These days, not so much. This sounds like a step down that road for parallel programming. (And people said much the same about experienced programmers then. In fact, I think I said it...) Yes, it does sound like it's automatically doing things an experienced programmer would do. No, the elite HPC guys may not see the performance gain advertised. But HPC aren't the only users of OpenMP and in the world of Big Data I don't imagine they have time to optimise code to that level.

In time, it will probably match what the HPC guys. And there are benefits in code maintainability and the time it takes to write this code in having it done automatically.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Mmm, chocolate.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Software? Or maybe hardware. @Brewster

> It also says nothing about "common algorithms".

*cough* Press release, fourth paragraph, first sentence: "In tests on several common algorithms, programs written in the new language were four times as fast as those written in existing languages." *cough*

You engage in some nit picking about the dumbing down. I have no problem with that, although, to be fair to El Reg, it's right there in the press release. And your final two sentences are fair comment; in fact your penultimate one probably nails what's going on here: they've expanded the range of situations in which OpenMP can sensibly be used. But challenging the veracity of the underlying research went beyond cutting down sensationalist hypebole: I think we can reasonably expect the researchers to have done what they've said they've done1, even if they've magnified its significance.

1. Okay, there was that whole BICEP2 thing. And those superluminal neutrinos. And......

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Re: Software? Or maybe hardware.

Researchers: "We've developed and tested a a feature that makes these common algorithms four-times faster."

Commentard: "I haven't a clue what they've done but obviously it'll slow things down."

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Map to the stars: Gaia's first data dump a piece of 3D Milky Way puzzle

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It didn't earlier. So hold off the downvotes smartarses.

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"Variable stars have fluctuating brightness and can be used as cosmic yardsticks to measure galactic distances."

Some of them can. (Cepheids.) Some can't. (Long Period Variables). It depends on whether there is a reliable relationship between the frequency of variation and the brightness of the star.

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Ad flog Plus: Adblock Plus now an advertising network, takes cash to broker web banners

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IANAL, but if that's possible I'd imagine AB+'s contractual arrangements would pass the liability on to the advertiser. It would be stupid not to. But the bigger damage will be we'll all uninstall.

As to "when" verses "if". At the moment, advertising networks aren't under much pressure to block malware -- it's reputational damage. And they have to deal with complex iteractive ads.

AB+ will only have to deal with static images or text, so the pool of undiscovered exploits must be diminishing. And there users are technically literate and willing to switch to competition so they are motivated to block these things. Getting out malware should mean hacking into AB+; or hacking an advertiser and pushing out an add with a zero day. This should be more than an exploit kit or a scam company can achieve.

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Holmes

The proof will be in the pudding. If the ads are genuinely non-intrusive and no malware gets through, then maybe. El Reg should certainly sign up.

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VW Dieselgate engineer sings like a canary: Entire design team was in on it – not just a few bad apples, allegedly

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Goedel says you can't cheat.

Well, there is still a 100% right answer: "This question can not be answered given the inputs".

No, that's wrong. The question always has an answer. (To quote Wikipedia, "For [a qualifying system], there will always be statements...that are true, but that are unprovable within the system.".) So it could be a statement's unprovable within the system or it could be the proof hasn't been found yet; there's no way to tell. So if you say "a question cannot be answered given the input" you can't be sure I won't come along and show you it can.

It's the same as the halting problem. An algorithm must terminate after N iterations. (Where N may be infinite.) But there's no general process for determining that, except running it and waiting.

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Student charity's ex-IT boss in the cooler for stealing $1.3m through fake tech contracts

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Or will you say it is not the same and perfectly acceptable? Let us see what you're thinking.

@aMfM

*applauds*

I think we have some people who've failed the Turing Test. And It's not aMfM.

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Double-negative tweet could be Microsoft Surface Phone hint

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Re: Surface Phone?

"...but when you plug it into a monitor and provide it a keyboard and mouse/trackpad..."

And they could adjust Windows10 so it acts as a docking station -- even if it just screen shares on a virtual desktop.

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Airbag bug forces GM to recall 4.3m vehicles – but eh, how about those self-driving cars, huh?

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Re: What about an OTA update??

"Can't they do an Over The Air update"...?

Only if they have a bumper sticker that says, "Hack me!"

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Petulant Facebook claims it can't tell the difference between child abuse and war photography

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Re: Facebook can do what they like.

"It's no different from the BBC..."

The BBC has competition; you can switch to other news providers. Nor do you need to read the same news site as you friends and family.

However, if you want to participate in social media, you have to go where all your friends are. And Facebook has no competition; it's become a monopoly.

"FB's customers can then decide if the network still has value to them or whether there is an alternative."

A brief reminder that the customers are the advertisers.

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Inside our three-month effort to attend Apple's iPhone 7 launch party

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Re: The Fruity Cargo Cult

The list of insults is long and should be repeated in a new article for our entertainment.

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Sex is bad for older men, and even worse when it's good

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WTF?

Has anybody seen the ban hammer? I'm sure we left it around here somewhere.

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Re: Evolution

A parenting failsafe would reduce fertility to zero 15 years prior to end of life. Killing men, possibly after ejaculation, is not much of a failsafe unless "nature" thinks grumpy old men shouldn't be left alone with their progeny.

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Second 'dimmer switch' star spotted

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This was good science journalism. I felt I got the essentials without needing to read the paper myself.

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Universal Credit: 'One dole to rule 'em all' on verge of recovery – report

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Hadn't he worked out ideas along those lines in opposition? Was he a useful idiot who said yes to a necessary 20-25 year rationalisation while convincing his political masters it could be done in under five?

I increasingly have qualms about how necessary it is. But that's down to (a) screw ups that leave people without all their money instead of one chunk and (b) the ease with which it allows ministers to adjust all benefits.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: New elReg Metric?

Femto Universal Credit.

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Could the change in fortunes be in any way related to the change in minster? Inquiringly curious minds want to know.

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'Hey, Elon? You broke it, you bought it' says owner of SpaceX's satellite cinder

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Joke

Re: Going nowhere

"They probably had insurance, but the insurers insist it's a wear and tear failure and not covered"

Or the insurance only covered the launch, not the pre-launch tests. ("Hey, it's a test. What can go wrong? Don't check that box.")

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Australian geoboffin discovers 3.7 billion year old fossils after ice melts

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Gyr, GA or variations work well, though.

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Missing Milky Way mass blown away by bingeing supermassive black hole

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Re: Teethed vaginas etc.

"There is this mathematical infrastructure called "Einstein Gravity"."

The edge of a black hole can only be accurately described by quantum gravity. At the moment, we have a bunch of conflicting paradoxes predictions. So while you can say the event horizon is marked by no discontinuity in spacetime, I can say "firewall". Anyway, you'd incinerate before you reached the event horizon of Sgr A*.

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Re: "a million-degree gaseous fog permeating our galaxy"

"Actually, O6+ is more like it, which is an oxygen atom with six electrons removed (leaving two)."

You're right. I wrote O6+ first, too. Late night brain fart. It's OVII to astronomers.

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Re: "a million-degree gaseous fog permeating our galaxy"

"If that is the case, isn't that "fog" also made of baryonic matter ?"

Yes, the "fog" they mapped was oxygen ions (O6- in the chemical notation you learnt at school).

The problem, amped up for the press release, is that there's less baryonic matter observed in the galaxy than the Planck satellite said we should see. But hot gas is quite hard to identify so it's possible it's been overlooked. The researchers dug out 31 data points, applied a lot of statistics and concluded the extra matter is indeed in the hot gas, and that there is a shockwave at 6kpc from the galactic centre.

And that, is pretty much the entire paper. You can read it here.

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SETI Institute damps down 'wow!' signal report from Russia

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Re: Have they thoroughly analyzed it?

"Maybe it has a secret message modulated onto it,"

We can't tell because the bandwith of the telescope is so huge it would have the carrier and every sideband between here and Alpha Centauri.

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Replacing humans with robots in your factories? Hold on just a sec

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I think you need to look at the business side of this. Nobody will be able to buy products if they're unemployed. So if we fire everyone, we can skip that expensive investment in robots and the technicians needed to maintain them, and keep the money ourselves. In fact, I understand all you have to do is add a little yeast to your cash, put in the airing cupboard, and it will multiply on its own.

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Larry Page snuffs out ‘too expensive’ Google Fiber project

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Re: Actually an argument for a public utility to own the last mile

The important point about the public paying to lay the fibre is we can then privatise it, getting back a fraction of the cost, but allowing corporations to make loads of profit!

I'd add the joke icon. Except it's what we do.

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Oracle reveals Java Applet API deprecation plan

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@patrickstar

LOTS is probably relative. If you stated life coding assembly it's not so hard, but you do have to understand what the compiler and the browser are doing behind the scenes.

We do a lot of maths (e.g. Chebyshev polynomials with hundreds of terms) and even four years ago, raw javascript was within a factor of two of C++. That was why we made the decision to switch when we moved to mobile.

We also have a javascript raytracer and performance there improved dramatically when I switched from object access to closures and when I understood the compiler could spot integers and adjusted my code to work with them wherever possible. So the typing is there under the hood (Safari will show you the types of variables). However I miss it every time a bug formal typing would have caught gets through,

But you have to remember to declare classes in the same order or they become different types, that calling functions with different types reinstantiates it (i.e. treat every function as a template) and that functions that catch aren't compiled on V8. I've just read the post mortem on strong mode and it looks like the new features will be slow for some time to come, too (avoid @@species).

And in everyday javascript, the DOM remains a bottleneck in general and triggering layouts in particular. The garbage collector is getting much better but still can be an issue at times. And we still have to do too much on the main thread.

I would imagine it's much easier for cross-compiled code to stick within the rules.

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They seem to have given up on using it as p-code (asm.js) and are working on a genuine p-code (web assembly) that will be able to call into and out of javascript.

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NIST spins atomic gyroscope to allow navigation without GPS

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Re: "......and the kit to do this is huge."

@SkippyBang Thanks.

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@Primus Secundus Tertius

Largely is not totally. It didn't seem inconceivable that smarter minds than mine had managed it with the right technology, perhaps aided by some quirk of the frequency response of water.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: "......and the kit to do this is huge."

I'm impressed subs can pick up a GPS signal underwater at all. Though, I admit, I've never calculated the attenuation for the frequencies involved.

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Top facial recognition algo joins the dots and sees pretend people

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Re: So

The right one of the four looks like a face.

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NASA tried turning lost spacecraft STEREO-B off and on again... but it didn't work. True story

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The thought of Windows 10 written in Fortran has just made my stomach curdle.

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Systemd adds filesystem mount tool

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Re: re: 1970 thinking.

Nobody's mentioned SIMD yet. Surely that counts as doing multiple things at once?

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Snowden files confirm Shadow Brokers spilled NSA's Equation Group spy tools over the web

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Re: NSA = Narcissistic Security Anathema

You seem to be assuming that all these backdoors are just queer coding blunders which the "clever" NSA people then quietly exploit, rather than malicious code secretly planted by decree of the secret "courts" of a malignant government.

If that's the case, they won't be able to patch them till the "secret court" orders are revoked. So it will act as an inverse warrant canary: the longer a bug takes to fix, the more likely it was placed there.

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Physicists believe they may have found fifth force of nature

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@Destroy All Managers

I'm not sure I understand that much of it either. But they only seem to have written down an obvious Lagrangian for one possible particle ("We consider a massive spin-1 Abelian gauge boson X that couples nonchirally to standard model (SM) fermions...") and then fitted it using an effective theory. And, as they admit themselves (in the 3rd sentence you quote), that was the easy bit.

It's good that somebody's done the work. It's interesting to know this fits the data. It's an interesting direction. But it's not as ground breaking as the headline claims.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: @Brewster's Angle Grinder -- WHO ORDERED THAT!

This is more bikeshedding than garden shed boffinry. The "tradition" is that of a cottage industry of HEP guys who will build particles to fit any bump in your data. It's glorified curve fitting, and it doesn't even produce a unique curve.

The justification is to explain dark matter or give us insight into a complete theory. And there's nothing to say this X doesn't mark the spot where a Nobel prize lays buried. But these are physicist gold panners; staking a claim and digging away furiously. If they've struck gold, congratulations to them: the hard work paid off.

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Re: WHO ORDERED THAT!

Yeah, a quick skim of the paper makes it look like ambulance chasing of the 750GeV variety: they're reliant on the Hungarian experimentalists' results. So it's not physicists saying this; it's a handful of physicists.

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Re: paywall on linked article

Thanks for digging that out; it'll give me something to enjoy tomorrow.

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Tim Cook's answer to crashing iPhone sales: More iPhones

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Re: More than one

"..its not ultimately good for Apple since both devices aren't Apple."

It's better for Apple that we have an iPhone and another phone rather than picking between Apple and Android.

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Re: More than one

A rugged phone for every day use and a flash phone you pull out when you want to show off?

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Joke

Depends on whether or not Tim Cook was dressed as Lilly Savage.

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Adblock Plus blocks Facebook block of Adblock Plus block of Facebook block of Adblock Plus block of Facebook ads

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Re: I find the best way to avoid adverts on Farcebook...

Being an old fogy (at least, that's my excuse for not using FB), anyone who wants to contact me is "forced" to use txt or email or heaven forbid, the phone.

Fair enough. And somebody else can say, "The only way you can communicate with me is via Facebook" leaving you with the choice of either using Facebook or not communicating. Given that situation, some of us may value a relationship enough to communicate.

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