* Posts by LeeE

292 posts • joined 12 Apr 2012

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Looking good, Gnome: Digesting the Delhi in our belly

LeeE
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Re: Did they fix the *REASONS* why Mate was forked from 2?

"Gnome 3 made it NOT possible to cram 20 icons on the panel, along with 6 system monitor thingies, the date and time, the menu, and some extra white pace between groups of icons arranged *MY* way, not *THEIR* way."

Snap! For precisely those reasons, I ended up with TDE (Trinity Desktop Environment) on all my systems (except for the RPis, which run XFCE). I actually have eight customisable ksysguard monitor thingies on the panel on this particular workstation (CPU load, RAM, network, swap, system load, disk IO, temps & fans). Yeah, I could probably drop the swap space graph, but don't really need to; all the clicky stuff is neatly and compactly grouped together in the rest of the panel to minimise mouse travel. My choice.

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LIGO team may have found dark matter

LeeE
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Plausible/worth

As Dark Matter is pretty much defined by the fact that it only interacts with baryonic matter via gravity then it is plausible that it might be detected by LIGO. However, whilst all we know about DM so far has been gained from astronomical observations on very large scales, which means very low-frequency time-period data, LIGO might be able to add to our rather minimal definition of DM by capturing relatively high-frequency time-period data.

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Genes take a shot at rebooting after death

LeeE
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Activation or stopping of suppression?

"It looks almost like genes making a last-ditch attempt to keep things going"

I agree with SRS that, rather than the genes being activated in an attempt to combat death, they become reactivated because the processes that suppresses their activity ceases; rather than an attempt to keep things going, it is a sign that things are terminally broken.

Hmm... now what does that remind me of?

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Surveillance, interrogation and threats: Behind the Nest witch-hunt

LeeE
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Memes???

"...posting memes from Google's internal noticeboard..."

Did you mean memos?

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Supermassive black hole devours star and becomes X-ray flashlight

LeeE
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Discovery Channel Science

This article is a bit like a typical Discovery Channel science program - oversimplified, factually wrong in some respects and ultimately misleading.

"...a dormant black hole will awaken and start a feeding frenzy..."

Black Holes are neither dormant and nor can they 'awake' - this suggests a change in activity or a change of state of the BH. They are, like their name suggests, essentially a hole in space and any activity or dormancy occurs in the material around the BH, not in the BH itself.

"...if anything ventures past its event horizon..."

If anything ventures past the Event Horizon of a BH then any consequences are unobservable to us, or anyone else. Once again, the clue's in the name - events are not observable beyond the Event Horizon; we can only observe events occurring outside the EH.

Btw, the plural of 'spacecraft' is 'spacecraft'.

@AC: "Could dormant black holes be the Dark Matter we seek?"

A very small proportion could be but overall, no. BHs are formed from baryonic material and insufficient baryonic material was formed in the Big Bang to account for the total amount of Dark Matter required to explain what we observe. In addition, if all of the DM were in the form of BHs then the microlensing effects we see due to DM would have different characteristics.

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You lucky creatures! Mammals only JUUUST survived asteroid that killed dinosaurs

LeeE
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Re: it is the volcano that will kill you

Yes, although bolide impacts get more coverage, being more exciting for those who like their science to be simple and dramatic, there's some good evidence that the dinos were dying out before the Chicxulub event occurred, coinciding with the Deccan Traps flood basalt eruption, which would have globally devastating consequences just on its own. Similarly, the earlier and larger Siberian Traps flood basalt eruption is associated with the even more severe Permian-Triassic mass extinction event, which is the only known mass extinction event where the mass extinction of insects occurred.

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Microsoft cancels Remain speech after death of Labour MP

LeeE
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Debrief?

"The senior politician was to debrief the local workforce on the benefits of staying inside the EU today"

I think you really mean brief, as this was to be before the event, and its purpose would have been to inform actors and involved parties of factors pertinent to the forthcoming event; a debriefing occurs after an event, to gain information from the actors and involved parties about what actually happened during that event.

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FBI expands code theft charges against Chinese national

LeeE
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Re: "Stole"?

No need for a new word; the term 'copied' is appropriate in cases where what has been copied is protected by copyright. The relatively recent usage of 'steal' in this context is just an attempt to deceive, by employing emotion, in an attempt to make the crime (of copyright violation) seem worse than it is.

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Fiber optic cables prove eyes of glass squids are like invisibility cloaks

LeeE
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Pint

Fibre Optics - reflectin of refraction?

I was once told by one of the scientists working on Kao's team at STL that optical fibres work by refraction and not reflection; the refractive index of the fibre increases with distance from the center of the fibre with the result that light travelling down the fibre is 'bent' back towards the center of the fibre before reaching the internal walls, rather than reflecting off of the internal walls of the fibre, which would degrade the resolution of the light pulse. However, this was a pub conversation (icon) about 40 years ago so I can't absolutely confirm this, and it does seem to contradict the generally accepted mechanism.

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Boffins send encrypted quantum messages to spaaaace – and back

LeeE
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Re: @King Jack Curious question...

'Alice can't say: "I'll measure this and get a 1, and therefore send a 1 to Bob" but she can say "I measured this and got a 1, therefore Bob got a 1'

That's more or less my understanding of it too.

You can have a pair of entangled particles but their state is unresolved and therefore unknown until you examine one of them, at which point you know what the state of the other particle will be when it is examined, even though it may be arbitrarily far away.

An analogy would be to have two people, separated by distance, flipping coins; neither person knows whether they'll get a head or a tail until they flip their coin but once they have they'll know how the other coin will land when the other person flips it.

It would be possible to devise a protocol to make use of this, but not to convey information directly. For example, let's say the two coin-tossers, Alice & Bob, have agreed to send an encrypted message between them and have a choice of two encryption keys, 1 & 2. Alice & Bob agree that if Alice tosses her coin and gets a 'Head' then they'll use encryption key 1 but if her coin lands as a 'Tail' they'll use encryption key 2. When Alice tosses her coin and gets a 'Head' she encrypts the message using encryption key 1, and once Bob has tossed his coin he'll know he has to use encryption key 1 to decrypt the message; they haven't needed to transmit the information about which key to use. However, the message itself, once Alice has encrypted it, would still need to be sent via classical non-instantaneous methods.

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US military tests massive GPS jamming weapon over California

LeeE
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Re: Ground Bound?

Yes, I'm pretty sure you're correct; the shape of the affected volume of air-space indicates a ground-based system.

GPS operates on several frequencies between 1.17645 - 1.57542 GHz and requires line-of-sight to receive a signal so any jamming system would need to operate in the same frequency range, give or take a few harmonics, and will also be essentially line-of -sight. As a consequence, if you move away from a ground-based transmitter/jammer, it will fall below the horizon and out of line-of-sight. This effectively raises the floor-elevation of the signal as distance from the transmitter/jammer increases, which is what the map and numbers show.

However, an even worse faux-pas, than getting the basics of the system wrong, in this article is the pathetic attempt at sensationalism by making the ridiculous claim that the FAA are grounding all civil/commercial aircraft in the region concerned, for six of the busiest hours of the day, when the tests are running...

Quote: "The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) is warning aircraft to stay a few hundred miles away from the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake"

Yes, it's clarified in the next paragraph... Quote: "The FAA has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) warning [PDF] that on June 7, GPS readouts will be unreliable or nonexistent for..."

But that's not the same as saying that aircraft shouldn't fly in the region, which is what the first quote above says.

Whilst I can forgive the journalist's ignorance regarding the nature of the system being tested, the pathetic attempt at sensationalism is simply insulting in what is supposed to be a tech/science journal; just because your readers enjoy the informal and light-hearted 'tabloid' format it doesn't mean they're stupid.

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Home Office U-turns on surveillance camera review muddle

LeeE
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Why the confusion?

A politician has answered a question that they wanted to be asked, not a question that they may or may not have actually been asked. This is normal.

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Flying filers and Game of Thrones: Jon Snow? No, latency is dead

LeeE
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I/O or compute?

"With latency mainly due to the sluggish render farm performance, the artists couldn’t work as the files were just not available fast enough for them.”

That quote seems to be saying that the bottleneck was in producing the increased number of ray-traced CGI image-frames, which is down to compute, not IO. Sure, each scene/frame to be rendered will need the scene/frame data to be loaded before rendering can start but the render time will be far greater than the IO time.

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Ultra-cool dwarf throws planetary party

LeeE
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Re: Fusion?

Hydrogen is the easiest element to fuse and so yes, all stars start by fusing Hydrogen.

Briefly, as the gas that is to become a star collapses and compresses under its own gravity it reaches a point where the Hydrogen at the center of the gravitationally collapsing gas becomes heated and compressed sufficiently for fusion to occur. The outpouring of energy from the the newly started fusion process then counteracts further collapse due to gravity but once most of the Hydrogen in the core is fused the out-pressure from fusion drops and the star resumes gravitational collapse until the Helium in the core, produced by the fusion of the Hydrogen, can start fusing. The Helium fusion, along with the renewed gravitational collapse, leads to Hydrogen fusion in a shell around the Helium core (which is when the star starts its giant phase). This process may repeat several times, depending upon the characteristics of the star, with successively heavier elements fusing in the core, surrounded by multiple fusing shells of progressively lighter elements.

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LeeE
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Fusion?

"not massive enough to sustain hydrogen fusion"

If it was not sustaining Hydrogen fusion then it wouldn't be a star; it would just be a gas giant. It does, in fact, sustain Hydrogen fusion but via Deuterium fusion, which is the second stage of the Hydrogen-1 proton-proton fusion process that powers larger stars.

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Russia poised to unleash 'Son of Satan' ICBM

LeeE
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Not solid

Interesting that they've gone for a liquid-fueled motor rather than solid, not withstanding the greater efficiency and controllability of liquid-fueled motors.

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Tabby's Star's twinkle probably the boring business of calibration

LeeE
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Re: But why would it show a consistent decline over 100 years?

I can't buy the idea that the apparent reduction in light, over time, from Tabby's Star is because "The problem with using a hundred years' of observations, the group argue, is that the source data from “Digital Access to a Sky Century @ Harvard includes half a million glass plates shot between 1885 and 1993, using a number of different instruments and cameras."

Going even further than MartinG, I'd expect the SOP would be to only consider plates that include sufficient additional stars to allow the entire plate to be calibrated, comparing every star (and galaxy) in the plate being calibrated with every other plate/image in which any of those stars and galaxies appear.

This wouldn't eliminate the problem with variations in the sensitivity of the emulsion across each plate but as the plates would have been prepared specifically for scientific measurement purposes I'd expect the 'noise' variability across each plate to be pretty low, and certainly way below 20%, which the team seems to think is a typical noise level (is 20% noise even science?).

Fwiw, Kepler's noise floor appears to be around 80 ppm, whilst two of the measured variations in brightness from Tabby's Star, in recent times by Kepler, were by 15% & 22%.

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DARPA wants god-mode attribution platform to pin and predict crime

LeeE
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I wonder...

...if it'll exclude .gov actors from its results?

Perhaps that's why the statement says it "would generate, anonymise, and share threat data" instead of 'collate'.

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NASA, USGS publish topographical map of Mercury

LeeE
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Take a walk on the hot planet

Mercury's not as hot as Venus so 'Take a walk on a hot planet' would be more accurate.

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Intel has driven a dagger through Microsoft's mobile strategy

LeeE
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Logic & Gui

I think that the real problem here is combining both the logic and the gui in the app, not whether it runs on x86 or ARM. If the gui is split from the app logic then re-compiling the app logic to run on a different architecture or platform is relatively easy; you then just create whatever interfaces you need to control/talk to the logic in the app.

A lot, even a majority, of server software already works this way.

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First rocket finally departs Russia's Vostochny cosmodrome

LeeE
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Trees

All those trees around the complex == firewood?

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Nanoparticle boffinry could boost battery life

LeeE
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Hmm...

"The engineers found that icosahedral nanoparticles, which have 20 different sides, stored less energy than cube- or pyramid-shaped nanoparticles."

This seems sort of predictable - the Hydrogen will react with the Palladium nano-particles via the surface of the nano-particle and, for the same mass/volume, an icosahedron will have a lower surface area than a cube or pyramid shaped nano-particle.

But I guess that's why they were testing them in the first place.

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You Leica? P9 certainly is a Great Leap Forward in imaging... for Huawei

LeeE
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Re: Is there a "best" phone camera out there?

"More light means more detail can be captured. The more pixels, on a sensor that is smaller than a larger sensor with less pixels is going to struggle with noise"

It doesn't quite work that way around; the more light, in terms of quantity of light, that a lens can collect, governed by its aperture, in combination with the sensitivity and dynamic range of the sensor, dictates how much noise there will be, whereas the resolution of the lens and sensor dictates how much detail can be captured.

The size of the sensor is pretty irrelevant, in terms of noise, but given that there's a limit to the minimum size for each pixel, a larger sensor can have more pixels. However, a larger sensor needs a longer focal-length lens to get the same image proportions, and the longer the focal-length of the lens, the further away it needs to be from the sensor e.g. a 50mm lens will produce a ~46 deg image on a 35mm sensor, with the optical center of the lens being 50mm from the sensor, but you need an 80mm lens to produce the same image with a 60mm sensor and it needs to be 80mm from the sensor (sorry for using old film sizes - couldn't quickly find typical focal lengths and sensor sizes for phones). The upshot is that with increasingly thin phones, it's not possible to move the lens further away from the sensor, to allow a larger sensor & lens.

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IT freely, a true tale: One night a project saved my life

LeeE
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Re: Priorities and empowerment

Getting your workload prioritised sounds simple enough but doesn't always work.

I was once in a situation, working for a large London Borough, where I had ten different projects on my work list. When I asked the management to prioritise the ten projects, six of them were assigned priority one, three priority two and one priority three, which didn't really solve anything.

The situation wasn't helped by the fact that the effective prioritisation scheme that the management used was to pacify whichever client made the most fuss/noise; each day it would be "drop everything and work on client X/Y/Z's project". So although I could try to plan work, to make the most effective use of my time, it was pointless because any plans I made were more than likely to be overridden on a daily basis.

It finally reached the point where, on arriving at work one day, my manager told me to visit four different clients, in four different locations around the borough, and "pretend to work on their project" (and he did say "pretend" because he knew that after having to drive between the different locations and then back stuff up before doing anything I wouldn't actually have any time left to do any proper work).

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Glum, depressed ... and addicted to Facebook, Twitter? There's a link, say medical eggheads

LeeE
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Re: Get a Life!

It seems axiomatic to me that if people had something better to do, as in terms of more rewarding/satisfying, than social media then they'd be doing it, so the fact that they are resorting to social media indicates that they haven't.

In some ways, social media is a bit like religion: a crutch for those who need it.

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Dodgy software will bork America's F-35 fighters until at least 2019

LeeE
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Re: A boondoggle through and through and now ejection seats are also a problem?

The funding and the go-ahead for the F-35 project would have been on the basis that it was a necessity. However, the project's delays and lateness rather seem to indicate the opposite.

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If Jack Sprat ran an IT department

LeeE
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Sponsored content

I remember when it was just proper news articles and features 'round these parts.

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Hackers turn to angr for automated exploit discovery and patching

LeeE
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Which countries?

The article says that the Shellphish team has members in the US, France, China, Brazil, and Senegal but the flags shown in the team photo seem to indicate that they're from the US, Italy, China, Senegal, Russia, Germany and India.

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Linux fans may be in for disappointment with SQL Server 2016 port

LeeE
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Re: linicks

"Raised a few eyebrows" would've been about right.

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LeeE
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Excitement?

"Microsoft's decision to bring SQL Server 2016 to Linux caused great excitement in the open-source world this week."

I found this announcement quite, but not totally, surprising, and rather more interesting, because of some of the possible implications for the future, but exciting? No, not even mildly.

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Airbus' Mars plane precursor survives pressure test

LeeE
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Re: Bernoulli's Principle?

"Any object being pushed through the air with a positive aspect ratio will push the air it displaces down and forwards."

I assume by "positive aspect ratio" you mean positive Angle of Attack (AoA), but the problem with this explanation is that, as the AoA increases, the lift vector would reduce and the drag vector would increase, and stalls due to upper airflow separation wouldn't be an issue because, in this explanation, all lift is generated below the wing. In practice though, both the lift & drag vectors increase with higher AoAs until upper flow separation leads to a stall and loss of lift.

It's also worth considering a non-symmetrical aerofoil with positive camber; such an aerofoil can have a completely flat lower surface but will still generate lift at zero AoA.

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LeeE
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Re: Bernoulli's Principle?

It is not simply Newton's Third Law; if it was just down to Newton's Third Law then delta-winged aircraft, such as Concorde, wouldn't work. The downwash from an aerofoil occurs at the trailing edge of a wing which, in a delta-winged aircraft, is right at the rear of the aircraft, so if the lift came from downwash then it would produce a turning moment about the CoG/CoP, not a lifting moment through it. Furthermore, the direction of airflow over a wing isn't simply from the leading edge to the trailing edge but also along the wing to the wingtips, where quite a bit of energy is wasted in producing tip-vortices, hence the incorporation of winglets.

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Cloud sellers who acted on Heartbleed sink when it comes to DROWN

LeeE
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Potentially?

"One-third of all HTTPS websites were potentially vulnerable..."

Either they're vulnerable or they're not vulnerable.

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E-borders will be eight years late and cost more than £1bn

LeeE
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Re: Soon!

Some people don't get irony.

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NASA funds new supersonic airliner research

LeeE
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Re: Now if there was a way to talk to people in far away places...

"IIRC most of the UK air space is reserved for the MOD"

Not so. Around the world, with a few local/national variations, airspace is divided into seven Classes (A to G) in accordance with ICAO specifications. The major difference between the classes with regard to access is the degree of ATC control. Entry in to ICAO class A - D airspace requires ATC clearance under all flight rules, entry in to class E requires ATC clearance under IFR & SVFR but not for VFR. ATC clearance is not required to access classes F & G. Broadly speaking, classes A to E are referred to as Controlled Airspace (with the exception of VFR flights in class E) and classes F & G are Uncontrolled Airspace.

However, within these classes and zones, there are a number of relatively small areas where further military/security restrictions or controls apply e.g. AERE Harwell in the UK and Thurmont, Maryland, the site of the Presidential retreat Camp David.

Military aircraft, when not operating within one of the military/security areas mentioned above must comply with the appropriate rules for the ICAO class of airspace within which it is flying.

I believe, that these days, in the UK at least, most military aircraft stay in controlled airspace, in part because there were a couple of mid-air collisions between fighters transiting in VFR i.e. at low-level and light/GA aircraft, which also generally operate in VFR; the speed at which the fighters were travelling didn't leave enough time for the 'see and avoid' VFR rule to work.

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California methane well leak filled a Rose Bowl a day

LeeE
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Potential problem...

A potential problem with using stadia as a measure of quantity of methane is that, when in use as stadia, they will be producers of methane.

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Hands on with Xiaomi's Mi 5: Great smartphone, but when do we get it?

LeeE
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What's in a name?

Probably be a good idea to rename it before putting it on sale in the UK.

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New NASA theory: Moon radiation drops so HULK RIP MOON LIKE SHIRT

LeeE
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apparently?

Quite. It's difficult to see the point of the lower image because it just seems to be the ordinary image with a height-map overlaid upon it using an alpha channel. The problem this causes is that the shadows and highlights in the underlying image are distorting the height-map colours and the height-map colours are burning out areas of the underlying image. Just the height-map, on its own, would've been more meaningful.

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Na na na na na na na na bionic-BATMAN! Boffins build bat-like electro-stimulated drone wings

LeeE
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Inspired by bats?

Can't see the connection at all.

Ok, they've incorporated a polymer, the rigidity of which can be altered by passing an electric current through it, in the wings, which is interesting in itself. However, this has nothing to with the patagium of bats, flying squirrels, pterosaurs or whatever, where the intrinsic flexibility/rigidity of the patagium membrane doesn't change.

Sure, the aforesaid animals can (or could, in the case of the pterosaurs) alter the flexibility of the patgium, but only by stretching it, in the same way that a sheet of cloth is less flexible when stretched and under tension than it is when loosely supported.

Seems a bit weird that they feel they need to make this spurious comparison when what they're doing is already interesting enough on its own. Mind you, it's also a bit weird that they've chosen a Wing-in-ground-effect vehicle to do their testing.

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What would happen if Earth fell into a black hole?

LeeE
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Re: Spaghettification - not always

Here are some numbers using the mass of Earth (M) as a guideline...

c= 299792458 m/s

G= 6.6740831e-11

M= 5.97237e+24 kg

Key: Schwarzschild Radius = rs, Escape velocity at rs = evrs, Escape velocity at rs + 2m = evrs+2m

I give the evrs+2m i.e. two metres out from rs to give an idea of the relative escape velocity, and thus the gravitational gradient that a tall person would experience.

Mass= 5.97e+024 kg, rs= 0.0088700671 m, evrs= 299792458 m/s, evrs+2m= 19920866.79 m/s.

So the Schwarzchild radius for an Earth sized mass is a smidge under 9 mm and the difference in escape velocity 2m from its event horizon is about 279871591 m/s - that's a pretty steep and unhealthy gradient.

At ten times the Earth's mass...

Mass= 5.97e+25 kg, rs= 0.088700671 m, evrs= 299792458 m/s, evrs+2m= 61779736.59 m/s

The Schwarzchild radius is now a little under 90 mm and the +2m escape velocity difference is now about 238012721 m/s - still far too steep.

At one hundred times the Earth's mass...

Mass= 5.97e+26 kg, rs= 0.88700671 m, evrs= 299792458 m/s, evrs+2m= 166172922.8 m/s

...the ev difference has come down to 133619535.2 m/s - still too steep... In fact, it's not until we get to around a mass of 5.97e+35 that the ev difference is less than 1 m/s...

Mass= 5.97e+35 kg, rs= 887006709 m, evrs= 299792458 m/s, evrs+2m= 299792457.6 m/s

...the Schwarzchild radius is now 887,006.09 km and whilst you might survive the difference in ev it would still be uncomfortable. To get to less than 1 mm/s difference in escape velocity we need to increase the mass by another factor of 1000, to 5.97e+38 kg, at which point the Schwarzchild radius becomes 887006709435 m, or 887,006,709.4 km - that's pretty big. In fact, that radius is about 44 times greater than the current distance of Voyager 1 from Sol.

However, the estimated mass of our galaxy is between 1.15e+42 kg and 1.69e+42 kg, so it would seem that a sufficiently large BH would be between about 1/1930th and 1/2829th of our galaxy.

Proviso: I think I've got the numbers right but wouldn't mind someone checking them.

As DNA said "Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space..."

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'Hobbit' heads aren't human says bone boffin

LeeE
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Just to clarify...

"'Island-dwarfing' is a known evolutionary phenomenon that sees species isolated on islands shrink."

There's also the phenomenon of 'Island gigantism' that sees species isolated on islands enlarge.

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ESA's Sentinel satellite to ride converted ICBM

LeeE
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Re: What does happen when an ICBM launch fails?

The firing mechanism of modern nuclear bombs consists of an array of shaped explosive charges arranged around a hollow fissionable core and depends upon all of those shaped charges being detonated at precisely the right time, to within extremely tight limits, for the bomb to 'work'; premature detonation of one or more of the shaped charges, or failure of any one of the shaped charges to detonate at precisely the right time will result in the fissile core, along with the rest of the bomb, being blown apart. The biggest bang you'll get in these cases will be from the shaped charges detonating and the biggest problem will be the local radioactive pollution from the destroyed fissile core.

Whilst there are other safeguards preventing the premature arming and ignition of the firing mechanism, there's not really a need to be able to disarm a nuclear bomb in the event of a launch failure.

Edited to add: pretty much what Nigel 11 says above - started typing before he posted but got called away, so ended up posting after him.

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Thanks for the extra memories, folks: Say hi to GridGain

LeeE
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Editorial? Seemed more like an advertising brochure to me.

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Computer Science grads still finding it hard to get a job

LeeE
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I can endorse your observations regarding getting work when you're older. I started my first job in IT a few weeks before my 18th birthday and I'll be 59 this summer. Haven't been able to get work in IT since my mid-forties and now arthritis and arterial disease means I can't do much in the way of manual jobs either.

At the last interview I got, two or three years ago via a 'Job Fair' where I had a good face-to-face chat with the director of a small IT service provider, he eventually admitted that whilst he'd like to employ me because he thought my experience would be valuable he could get two 'IT apprentices' for less than it would cost him to employ me on the minimum basic wage.

To be honest, I actually quite enjoyed the simplicity and lack of BS in the warehouse work I ended up doing for a couple of years, until I could no longer do it, because work finished at the end of each day - no worrying about phone calls in the middle of the night because a system had gone down and other stuff like that.

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LeeE
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"Writing software did not exist in any large number until the late 80s, when two major events happened - ANSI C and 80386 with an MMU."

WTF? First programming I did was in 1970/71, at school, using 2B pencils to code BASIC on cards. By around 1974 I was working in COBOL, as were a considerable number of other programmers. In fact, I'd wager that there were many more programmers back then than there are now because there were no off-the-shelf 'packages' for businesses to simply buy; most companies had to write their own systems, combining utilities, such as sort programs that were part of the OS, with their own original programs in 'batch' jobs to produce printed reports on fan-fold manuscript. This also lead to doing quite a bit of JCL/SCL to control the batch jobs.

It was quite a few years later before UNIX became viable for more than just research; the usage of C outside of research and OS development just wasn't really needed until GUIs arrived, which was around the mid 1980s.

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Is tech monitoring software still worth talking about?

LeeE
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SNMP

I wouldn't say that the problem with SNMP is that it's horribly complex, because you can't have a solution that's flexible without some degree of complexity. The biggest problem I've had with SNMP is with OIDs that aren't persistent between reboots.

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App for homeless says walking on water is the way to reach services

LeeE
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Australian compassion and support

"a country that is known for its [...] compassion, for its love and support for those less fortunate"

And that compassion, and love and support for those less fortunate is expressed through Operation Sovereign Borders.

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I love you. I will kill you! I want to make love to you: The evolution of AI in pop culture

LeeE
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Re: Directors... [Dan O'Bannon]

Your mention of Dan O'Bannon called to mind Bomb #20 in Dark Star.

"Let there be light..."

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How to build a starship - and why we should start thinking about it now

LeeE
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Re: Sad reality

"...a dive toward the sun, then use (rather large) magnetic fields to catch a ride on a solar ejection..."

I think not. Some numbers from Wikipedia: "The Sun has a magnetic field that varies across the surface of the Sun. Its polar field is 1–2 gauss (0.0001–0.0002 T), whereas the field is typically 3,000 gauss (0.3 T) in features on the Sun called sunspots and 10–100 gauss (0.001–0.01 T) in solar prominences."

...and...

"The Sun's dipole magnetic field of 50–400 μT (at the photosphere) reduces with the inverse-cube of the distance to about 0.1 nT at the distance of Earth."

For comparison: the magnetic flux density at the surface of a neodymium magnet is about 1.25 T

So, even discounting the issue of finding the energy to generate a large magnetic field for the probe, it's not going to have much of a field from the Sun against which to operate, even within the Solar System, let alone between the stars. And that's assuming that, instead of using high-mass radiation shielding, you can use the probe's magnetic field to protect it from the intense radiation it'll experience when it passes close to Sol.

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LeeE
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Re: Sad reality

The sad reality isn't that "We've become too shallow to seek the stars any more" but that it's just not possible without fusion energy, and although fusion research is still on-going we're still quite some way from a working solution.

Without a high efficiency energy source, where efficiency equates to duration, there's just no way a probe could accelerate for long enough to achieve a high enough % of 'c' to reduce the journey time to less than millennia before it ran out of fuel.

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