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* Posts by LeeE

140 posts • joined 12 Apr 2012

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Echopraxia scores 'diamond cutter' on the sci-fi hardness scale

LeeE

I don't think the author really understands the Coriolis Effect

Disclaimer: I haven't read the book but the Coriolis effect, as described in the quoted excerpts, doesn't make sense.

The Coriolis effect operates in the plane of rotation and on the basis that the spacecraft is rotating to simulate gravity (because if you've already got artificial gravity then rotating the ship is pointless and just makes things difficult for yourself) then the Coriolis Effect will only be a real problem to any jugglers on board i.e. in the perceived up-down axis.

In the first quote, where something is thrown 'across the compartment' , the effect of rotation wouldn't turn it into a curveball; it would still follow a straight path _across_ the compartment, but instead would just appear to fall or rise at a different rate, depending on the direction in which it was thrown.

The second quote makes a bit more sense because Liana is dropping i.e. moving across the plane of rotation, but even then the result of the Coriolis effect would be to make anything fixed to the ship, such as a ladder she might be descending, just appear to move sideways relative to her; perhaps it's just a bad choice of words but 'fending off Coriolis' suggests she's being pushed or pulled against something when what she'd really need to do would be to hold on against the apparent sideways drift.

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Jokes of no more than 2 lines

LeeE

...Ooer...

What do you call a one-eyed dinosaur?

A 'Dyouthinkesaurus'

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LeeE

...???...

How do you know that elephants have been hiding in your fridge?

Footprints in the custard.

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LeeE

...sigh...

What's red and comes in tubes?

Underground train disasters.

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LeeE

...oh noes...

What goes "Bip, bip, bippity-bip, bip, bip, bippity-bip-bip, bip, bip, bip, bip, bippity...?

A ping-pong ball in a tornado.

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LeeE

Umm...

What goes "Yelp, leap, bong, splash, yelp, leap, bong, splash, yelp, leap,bong, splash...?

A frog in a pressure cooker.

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LeeE

Another old one...

A man woke up on the beach of a desert island and realised that he'd been painted dark red...

...He'd been marooned.

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The cute things they say

LeeE

Re: Braille

Nothing to do with topic...

"I am blind -- but I am able to read thanks to a wonderful new system known as 'broille' . . . I'm sorry, I'll just feel that again."

Peter Cook (one of Secret Policeman's Balls, I think)

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NASA's Curiosity rover brought Earth BUG to Mars

LeeE

Re Sunday Sport Headlines

My favourite was:

"WORLD WAR 2 BOMBER FOUND ON MOON"

... followed a week or two later by:

"WORLD WAR 2 BOMBER FOUND ON MOON VANISHES"

Clarse.

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Microsoft's Online Exchange fixed after going titsup for NINE HOURS

LeeE

Re: 2 hours - wimps!

My place in the queue was handed down to me by my father, and it was handed to him by my grandfather...

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MIT boffins build 36 core processor with data-traffic smarts

LeeE

Re: So Amdahl's law alive and well.

Largely agree re the Transputer. Considering the technology of time though, it was a pretty good effort and if it had achieved take-up in it's intended field of GP/MPP/HCP instead of ending up in embedded, I reckon the problems and omissions, like the MMU, would have been addressed - bare in mind that an MMU for a Transputer, being designed primarily around large-scale parallelisation ideas and concepts, would be a bit trickier to design than an MMU for a Von Neumann architecture CPU.

Interesting that no specific architecture was mentioned in the article - might give some idea of power-draw. Guess a bit of digging to find if any of the major chip companies are sponsering the work might give an answer, if they're licensing one of the common architectures.

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ARG! A GHOST SHIP! Pirates sunk by UK cops return from watery grave

LeeE

And let's not forget...

Police operations and actions concerning copyright theft are performed on behalf of the entertainment industry, but funded by tax payers. Can you see what they did there?

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Cold War spy aircraft CRASHED Los Angeles' air traffic control

LeeE

That sounds like one of the 'Aurora' conversations. Several conversations between unidentified aircraft and ATC along those lines i.e. pilots alerting ATC that they were _descending_ to a Flight Level way above the capability of known aircraft have been reported by various plane spotters and cited as evidence for the Aurora spy plane. Other variations include F-4/F-15 jocks reporting ascending to FL600+ to ATC in a boastful sort of way only to be 'trumped' by an Aurora pilot reporting that he's descending to an even higher FL.

None of these conversations can be verified though, so they don't really count for anything.

On the other hand, there has been some pretty good evidence for an Aurora type aircraft. Amongst the best evidence is a sighting over the North Sea by someone who had been in the Royal Observer Corps International Aircraft Recognition Team. Also, a series of sonic booms recorded by the USGS seismic sensor array in Southern California which, when analysed, indicated an aircraft, smaller than the Shuttle, flying overhead at ~90,000ft @ Mach 4-5. Then there was a photo taken by a geosynchronous weather satellite that appeared to show a very high-altitude, high-speed contrail starting at Groom Lake and extending directly East across the Atlantic Ocean (it had to be created very quickly, i.e. by a very high-speed aircraft, otherwise it would have started to disperse at the start of the contrail). Not sure if this photo was ever verified though. Most of this evidence dates from the late '80s, through the '90s to the early '00s. However, there have been some reports of more recent sightings over Kansas and Texas, with photographs, earlier this year, in February and March, which might tie in with Aurora missions associated with the on-going Ukraine/Crimea situation.

Probably the best evidence against an Aurora type aircraft is that if it does exist then it won't be entirely unknown to the military forces of the rest of the world, even if they don't know its full capabilities, and the only people to whom it's existance is actually being kept secret are the general public, who don't really count, so what's the point in keeping its existance secret from the public when the rest of the world's military know about it?

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CERN team uses GPUs to discover if antimatter falls up, not down

LeeE

Re: Antimatter is going backwards in time

"There is another possibility. The Big Bang we measure in the past is an echo of the Big Bang we foresee in the future."

If so, what has the echo hit to be rebounded?

Didn't understand the relevance of the rest.

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LeeE

Re: Antimatter is going backwards in time

The problem with this explanation is that it requires the future to be pre-determined i.e. fate/destiny.

From our point of view, a particle going 'backwards' through time would appear to get younger as (our) time progresses - so far, so good, but this means that as we continue our course 'forwards' through our time we must reach the point where the observed particle reaches an age of zero, or in other words, its origin.

So when we scrollback to the point where we first observed the particle we would know right then that its creation event must have already occurred in our future. Thus, our future must be pre-defined.

This is not to say that at the Big Bang there wasn't also an opposite direction to time but if so the 'now' in our temporal direction won't be in the same place as 'now' in the opposite temporal direction...

<ascii_diagram>

y<--------|-------->x

The BB is at the bar char, our 'now' is at x and the opposite direction 'now' is at y, so whilst they can both exist they're in entirely different places; we can only be aware of things that are at 'x'.

Adapting this diagram to illustrate my initial point would give us:

|-------->x

y<--------|

...which implies that the Big Bang has occurred both in our past and in our future. However, the trouble with this is that if the the BB is the _single_ origin of both temporal directions it can't be in more than one temporal place.

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UFO, cosmic ray or flasher? NASA rules on Curiosity curiosity

LeeE

Re: Is there... (Interpolation/scaling used in the enlarged image)

"It's flat at the bottom and the rest is diffuse."

That was the very first thing that struck me. The second thing was that there's no pixelisation in the enlarged image - whoops!

If you look at the source image from JPL (jpeg - bah!) the brightened region is just 3 pixels wide by 6 pixels high, so the diffuse appearance in the enlarged image is due to interpolation being employed when the enlarged image was blown up - doh!

What _is_interesting is that only the lower 4 pixels of the central column have been burned out, with the upper two pixels of the central pixel column and both of the two side columns being much less bright, so that you can actually make out the background through them.

I'd say that this isn't a good match for a cosmic ray striking the detector because although the halo pixels could be the result of internal reflection within the layers of the detector they don't spread below the bright column as they do above it; the bright region, even in the raw image, cuts off uniformly across the bottom.

So I had a look at the other image that's referred to and this does have different characteristics; instead of a line of burnt-out pixels there's a 2x2 block, which in itself is not significant because it could indeed be due to the incidence at which the cosmic ray hit the detector, but more importantly, there's a 1 pixel halo of brightened pixels on _all_ sides of the burnt-out region, which is a better match for a cosmic ray striking the detector.

Going back to the first image, I don't think it's a reflection either, because the bottom pixel, for sure, and possibly the one above it as well, in the burnt-out 4 pixel column appear to be coming from a bit of the ground that's in shade - the camera is pointing almost directly towards the sun with the bright region appearing to originate just this side of a ridge, on a slope that's falling towards us.

All things considered, and baring in mind there's aparently a one second time difference between the images from the left and right cameras, I'm more inclined to think that this might have been a small meteorite strike.

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5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

LeeE

I think you & Wikipedia are largely correct but I'd be a bit surprised if there weren't a few stations off the south coast of Australia/Tasmania; targets detected in the northern Atlantic and moving south would be followed by a western sub but you'd also want to keep an eye on subs entering the Indian Ocean from the East via the South Pacific. I certainly agree that there won't be any SOSUS sensors in the Southern Ocean itself; there isn't really anywhere for the sensors to be linked to, apart from Australia (I don't think that political relations have been good enough for stations to have been set up on Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Luck).

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LeeE

Re: Of course it's military...

I think it's unlikely to be military because there's not a lot of point in surveying, spending valuable limited bandwidth and analysing thousands of square miles of the strategically and tactically unimportant Southern Ocean.

Spy sats are good for surface targets, like ships, but the Southern Ocean is a very hostile place for surface vessels to operate and whilst it may be a good out-of-the-way sort of place for subs to loiter subs aren't good spy sat targets, which are better tracked by other systems, such as SOSUS. There just aren't really any targets from where the Southern Ocean is the best place to operate; apart from loitering to waste time there's just not a lot of point in having military resources in the Southern Ocean so there's little point in having spy sats survey it.

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O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Friday is Pi Day

LeeE

FWIW...

..never found a use for it myself, but if you ever need to calculate the side 's' of a square having equal area to a circle of radius 'r' you would normally do...

s= (pi * (r**2))**0.5

... which is a relatively heavy calculation if you have to do it a lot of times.

Instead, you can reduce this overhead quite a bit by first precalculating an alternative constant 'k' to use instead...

k= (pi**0.5) - 1

...which works out to 0.7724538509...

The side 's' of the square can now be calculated by...

s= r + (r * k)

...which is a fair bit easier to do.

And while we're talking about Pi...

To keep my daftness muscle in trim I once wrote some distributed(*) code to calculate Pi by using random numbers. Generate a pair of random numbers between 0.0 & 1.0, treat them as x/y coordinate vectors and sum them: if the sum of the two vectors is > 1.0 they fall outside a quadrant of circle radius 1.0 whereas if they sum to <= 1.0 they're inside the quadrant of circle.

Do this a lot of times and keep track of the total number of pairs (t) and the the number of pairs that fall inside the circle (i)

Pi = (i / t) * 4

It's probably the least efficient way of calculating Pi but it works.

(*) distributed because you really need to do trillions of pairs to get any accuracy.

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Object to #YearOfCode? You're a misogynist and a snob, says the BBC

LeeE

Waste of time

Personally, I enjoy coding but I can see that there's no long-term future in it.

In the not-too-distant future all s/w will be written by AIs, which themselves will take the place of Operating Systems.

At the most basic level, s/w could be developed by copying the method that got us here: Evolution. An AIOS could simply randomly mutate existing s/w at a binary level and then see if the s/w still works and then assess if there's any improvement. Very inefficient, of course, just like the real thing, except whereas evolution of life has taken a few billion years doing it in silicon would be considerably faster. The same basic process could be made more efficient by moving up a level to working with logic blocks instead of binary bits but in practice I suspect that directed mutation, as opposed to random mutation, would be even more efficient.

For this to work though, it'll be necessary for the individual AIOSs to be able to communicate with each other, to compare and share results: Skynet anyone?

Naturally, the big s/w houses won't be at all keen on the idea of being made redundant so when this eventually emerges from academia they'll be spreading a lot of FUD about it, and probably even pushing for legislation against it.

Time scale: less than twenty years.

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Million-dollar new disk tech could be USELESS for array vendors

LeeE

Re: Wow...so intriguing...

Notwithstanding the problem of head levitation, I believe that it is actually easier to maintain a vacuum than to store Helium.

The problem with storing Helium is that it's monatomic i.e. it's normal state is in the form of single atoms, whereas Hydrogen, for example, is molecular and is normally found bound together in pairs. This means that the individual atoms of Helium are smaller than the individual atoms or molecules of any of the other elements with the consequence that Helium will eventually leak through any physical container, regardless of what it's made from and even if it's hermetically sealed.

Maintaining a vacuum, on the other hand, is easier because the size of the molecules present in the air that you're trying to keep out are much larger than the monatomic Helium atoms you're trying to keep in.

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Hot naked Asian racks in Cali: El Reg snaps Open Compute servers for all

LeeE

Horizontal mounting only makes snese for small enclosures

I wish you get get rack mounting kits that would allow you to mount 19"/21" units vertically in full/half-height cabs.

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ARM lays down law to end Wild West of chip design: New standard for server SoCs touted

LeeE

It doesn't take much time to trim a kernel

I compile my own kernel images for my x86/64 systems and it's not terribly onerous or time consuming. They're typically about half the size of a stock kernel image and still include a lot of usb drivers for stuff I haven't actually got. Whilst the reduction in size is nice the main reason I roll my own is that less code = less potential to go wrong (I also always install a stock kernel as well but that's really for just in case).

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Reg reader crafts 3-axis GoPro 'Stubilizer' for skull-mounted cameras

LeeE

Nice idea...

...but you're having to move the entire bulk of the camera instead of just the sensor. If you were just moving the sensor you'd have a lot less mass to deal with, both in terms of the sensor payload and the mounting itself. This would considerably reduce its mass, size and, as a consequence, its power draw, as well as making it more comfortable and safer to use.

Once you've proved your initial/Mk 1. version you'll really need to sort out either a supply deal for the sensor and electronics, sans casing, or a licensing deal for manufacture by the camera makers (which I think would probably be your best bet).

One good thing is that you've got some publicity, via this article, which strengthens your negotiating position re supply/manufacturing deals; I notice that there's no mention of patents in the article but I believe that having gone public means that it's now unpatentable due to prior art, so whilst anyone could now take your idea and start churning out their own 'Mk 2.' version the goodwill they'd get by not ripping-off your idea would probably make it worth their while to reach an agreement with you.

Btw, what's the problem with PID controllers? Sure, they need to be tuned for any specific application, which can be a pain, but that's a one-off task. On the plus-side, digital/sw PID controllers are extremly simple and efficient, and (joke alert) they can even be implemented in analogue.

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WORLDWIDE SELFIE: Cosmonauts finally get ISS cameras working

LeeE

Looks like that's taken from the Met Office...

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/satpics/latest_uk_vis.html

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/satpics/latest_uk_ir.html

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Spot the joints: You say backup, I say archiving

LeeE
FAIL

Fail

I don't believe I've ever disagreed quite so strongly with a Reg article before, with what both BB and the marketing droid have said.

Simply put, a backup is a copy of current data whereas an archive holds historical data i.e. old versions of current data and deleted data that is no longer present in the current data.

And furthermore, if you can't easily and reliably identify and retrieve any particular item from a backup or an archive then you don't actually have either; simply putting a copy of something somewhere, with no means of identifying and retrieving it is equivalent to deleting it.

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Boffins find ALIEN WORLD orbiting the Sun's LONG LOST TWIN

LeeE

Re: It does not add up.

I think it's fair to say that most people were surprised when the first of these close-orbiting gas giants were found but they probably retain most of their gaseous atmospheres due to their gravity and magnetospheres.

Jupiter is a smidge under 318 times the mass of Earth, so even for the two very close gas giants we're still looking at planets with ~100x the gravity of Earth. At the same time, Jupiter's magnetosphere is ~14 times stronger than the Earth's, believed to be caused by convection currents in its liquid metallic hydrogen core, so it wouldn't be implausible for these close-orbiting gas giants to have even stronger magnetospheres due to their higher temperatures resulting in even more vigourous convection currents.

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Microsoft to RIP THE SHEETS off Windows 9 aka 'Threshold' in April

LeeE

There's an interesting aspect to the comments so far

Apart from the brief mentions of the Sharepoint and Exchange superstructure products that run upon the OS infrastructure all of the other comments, up to the time I posted this, are purely concerned with the GUI shell and I think this probably reflects the fact that the GUI shell is synonymous with the OS in most user's minds.

MS could easily get away with releasing a 'new' Windows9 product by simply changing the GUI shell for W8, which would basically be money for old rope.

Expect it soon?

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Suffering SPITZER! Boffins discover Milky Way's MISSING ARMS

LeeE

Nice artist's impression...

...but I would have said it shows a barred-spiral with only two arms.

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G.Fast startup readies silicon as standard signed off

LeeE

One man job?

“We've spent about 2,000 man-hours a year doing field trials with service providers – going down the holes where the rats are,” he said.

2000 man-hours per year sounds a bit underwhelming - it's just one full-time worker.

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Linux Voice journos hit crowdfunding target

LeeE

...and not only does it look a little suspect, but have you tried wiping your bottom with one when you realise the paper's run out?

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Universal Credit: £40 MILLION and counting's been spaffed up the wall on useless IT gear

LeeE

Everything's working perfectly to plan...

Not only is that another £100m+ of tax-payer money channeled in to the hands of the already wealthy but it'll also reduce the amount of benefits paid out by simply not working.

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Blighty's winter storms are PUNY compared to Saturn's 200mph, 15,000 mile wide HEXACANE

LeeE

Re: Why a hexagon?

I stand corrected - you're probably right: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn's_hexagon

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LeeE

Re: Why a hexagon?

A very good question.

From the article: NASA explains that the storm "folds into a six-sided shape because the hexagon [in the image] is a stationary wave that guides the path of the gas in the jet".

Which essentially says that it's six-sided because it's a Hexagon! I've added the omission/qualifier because without it the statement appears to be redefining the meaning of "hexagon" to mean a "stationary wave".

So why is it hexagonal? Well, I suspect that it's just an imaging artifact due to the photo being a composite of six images; the entire polar hemisphere can't be photographed in a single shot because half of it will be in shadow and two thirds of what isn't in shadow will still be significantly darker than the middle third that most closely faces the Sun; to get an evenly illuminated image, as shown, you need to take multiple photos and stitch them together.

So there are not six nodes but just one, which is probably due to solar heating at the boundary of the storm facing the Sun with the result that it shifts a few degrees of latitude further away from the poles but which stays in the same place i.e. facing the Sun, as the planet revolves.

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RIP Comet ISON: ???-2013. We hardly knew ye

LeeE

Re: Please!!! Won't somebody think of the children?

How can you express annoyance at peoples' inability to understand the difference between the omissive and possessive apostrophe yet enjoy eventuate?

Ahh... I think I understand now.

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LeeE

Please!!! Won't somebody think of the children?

I'm not often moved to spit fire but "EVENTUATE" ??? FFS!!! What's wrong with occur?

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First 3D map of Great Barrier Reef created – still can't find Nemo

LeeE

Satellite bathymetry sound complicated...

...except it essentially just means extrapolating water depth from surface colour.

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'FELSIC materials' find on MARS could rewrite Red Planet's history

LeeE

Oops!

"...the Red Planet may be have been more volcanically active than originally believed."

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Want to BUILD YOUR OWN Tardis? First, get a star and set it spinning...

LeeE

Re: But faster than light time becomes imaginary

The Lorentz formula for relativistic time dilation, which is basically just the summing of space and time movement vectors using Pythagoras's right-angle triangle formula, tells us an awful lot of really interesting things about space-time.

Perhaps the most important thing it tells us is that it shows that our movement through space and our movement through time are similar enough phenomena that the two vectors can actually be summed: space and time are not two entirely different things, for if they were then the vectors couldn't be summed to reach a meaningful answer. Relativistic time dilation has been proved to work in accordance with the Lorentz formula, probably the best known example being the timing allowances that need to be built in to the GPS satellites to account for both gravitational and relativistic time dilation.

The nature of the Pythagorus/Lorentz formula is such that there is no scope for discontinuities in the curve produced with the consequence that it sets upper and lower bounds for the rates of movement through both space and time: we term the fastest you can go as 'c' and the slowest is zero. This means that your individual vectors through space or time can't exceed 'c', or go slower than zero within the dimensions being summed, or in other words, you can't exceed 'c' in this universe because, as far as we can tell, Pythagorus/Lorentz always applies.

For anyone who's interested, take the Lorentz formula, simplify it to produce a factor by removing the relative terms, and then, using normalised values (0 = 0, 'c' = 1), punch it in to a spread sheet and plot the results - you'll get a quarter-circle arc of radius 1 ('c'). So whilst Lorentz proves to be true we exist only on that one-dimensional arc, curved through space-time; never inside or outside.

Once you've done that, you can then start speculating about the rest of the circle ;-)

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Classic telly FX tech: How the Tardis flew before the CGI era

LeeE

Re: Well, someone will have to mention the SFX in 2001...

Nope, I didn't mean the slit-scan sequences but the model and instrument display graphics work, which still don't look dated and which made early real CGI attempts look pretty poor in comparison (compare the high-res instrument displays in 2001 with the relatively low-res efforts in Star Wars etc.).

Thanks for the explanation on slit-scan photography but I actually coded some stuff to churn out animation frames a few years ago.

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LeeE

Well, someone will have to mention the SFX in 2001...

...so I just did

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Forget invisible kittens, now TANKS draped in INVISIBILITY CLOAK

LeeE

Not quite invisibility

This isn't really invisibility because whilst it may cancel reflections it doesn't substitute a replacement image. To use the Harry Potter analogy, when he put it on you'd see a pitch-black silhouette instead of what's behind him. As far as radar goes, well, it would probably be ok for above-the-horizon targets because you wouldn't get a return from the sky anyway, so the 'hole' wouldn't be apparent, but for targets below the horizon, where a discriminator is needed to pick the target out from the background returns then that 'hole' might be noticable, at least at relatively short ranges.

Re. "bypass[ing] obstacles" yes, it could certainly act as a repeater in the radio spectrum, and by messing about with phasing it could make itself appear to be bigger or smaller, or in a different place, but then that's not making it invisbile.

As for making it work in the visible spectrum? Well, I think they've got their work cut out there. With enough processing power you could make it work for _one_ point of view, but not for many points of view because the system would need to simultaneously project different backgrounds, not only for different directions but also for different perspectives, which isn't simply a processing issue; each single (re)emitter in the array would simultaneously need to send different signals corresponding to all the possible viewing positions. For example, if we imagine we're using an array of LEDs to display a visible spectrum replacement image then each individual LED would need to appear to be a different colour and brightness depending upon where it's being viewed from.

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Alien planet is just like EARTH - except for ONE tiny detail

LeeE

Re: There's science and then there's wild guesswork

I don't think we need to question our understanding of how planets form to answer this; all that's needed is a sequence of interactions with other bodies in the system.

In fact, the solution is implicit in the question: if the planet formed further out from its star, as we believe it must have, then what caused it to migrate inwards? The only plausible* explanation is that an interaction with another** massive body in the system disrupted the planet from the stable orbit in which it formed and sent it inwards towards its star. Whilst on its way then, it must have interacted with a third body in such a way to have its course changed for a second time, leaving it in its current orbit. Incidentally, due the the equal-and-opposite etc. the second interaction would have also left the third body in a modified orbit, either moving it further out or further in and if inwards, considering the distances, it probably collided with the star.

Its currently considered highly possible that the bodies in our system didn't originally form in their current orbits: the gas giants in particular are now thought to have been formed much closer to Sol and have subsequently migrated outwards to their current orbits.

* plausible = non-artificial

** There's a small chance it could have been a 'run-away' extra-system body just passin' through.

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Torvalds suggests poison and sabotage for ARM SoC designers

LeeE

Re: He's right.

I'm _guessing_ that perhaps Linus's annoyance with undiscoverable cpu features isn't that they're not documented but that he can't use a small number of methods or functions to identify them and instead needs unique code for each one. I'll swiftly add that this isn't due to lazyness but because of the increased amount of code that needs to be maintained, and with more code you have a greater likelyhood of errors.

In coding terms it's a bit like having a line of code for every data record you need to process instead of processing all data records in a single loop.

However, this is all nothing to do with what the article was about, which was, essentially, is he getting too stressed out?

Well, there's no doubt that he's in a _very_ stressful position: the Linux kernel runs on a wider range of h/w than any other other bit of s/w that's ever existed and trying to coordinate, collate and implement the correspondingly wide amount and variety of code modules submitted by an equally wide variety of code submitters, from individuals to global corporations, can be nothing but stressful.

So is he getting too stressed out? No, what he said was was not to be taken literally and was clearly a tongue-in-cheek gesture to express his annoyance, the severity of the gesture indicating his degree of annoyance. This is something that every human being does from time to time: someone does something a bit stupid or thoughtless and the person who is annoyed by it replies with a deliberately irrational, out of proportion and over the top response. It's no different to that young chap who threatened to blow up an airport because of repeated delays due to the volcanic ash cloud or Jeremy Clarkson suggesting that certain people who had annoyed him should be shot in front of their families.

Personally, I'm more concerned with the mental wellbeing of people who appear to be either incapable of discerning the real meaning of these gestures or, even more worryingly, use them as the basis for an attack on someone. Why even more worringly? Because if you feel entitled to launch an attack on someone whom you don't know because of something they said to someone else whom you don't know then you must be _really_ fscked up.

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Boffins: Tireless star spurted deadly jets for half an hour at a time

LeeE

Umm...

"In small stars, the gamma rays created in the explosion take a short time to reach the edge of the star, where they are propelled into space. With huge stars, the explosion takes much longer to travel through the star, meaning the gamma ray burst is longer."

Not quite right, I'm afraid.

It's correct that the larger the star, the longer it will take for the effects of an 'explosion' (not really the right word to use) at its center to propagate to the star's surface, but what we're talking about here is the duration of that 'explosion', or in other words, how long the 'explosion' went on for.

Whilst it's possible that the passage of the initial effects of the event changed the characteristics of the star as it passed through it, it's extremely difficult to imagine what sort of change could have occurred that would've slowed the effects from the final part of the event to the degree observed; in short, it would've taken roughly the same time for both the first effects and the final effects to make the journey.

To be sure though, a larger star will be required for a longer event; a smaller star would not have enough matter to sustain a longer event.

As no mention of the relative intensities of the gamma rays from this long burst, compared with a more typical short burst, adjusted for distance, of course, was made then assuming the intensities were similar it means that the rate of matter-energy conversion was about the same, which means that more matter had to be converted, over a longer period of time, which means a larger star. If, however, the intensity of the longer burst was relatively greater it means that a higher rate of matter-energy conversion was going on, and as the period of time remains unchanged it means that the star must have been even bigger.

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Canonical announces Mir display server to replace X Windows

LeeE
Mushroom

Re: QNX Photon microGUI

If RIM could be persuaded to open-source QNX it would certainly shake things up.

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LeeE

QNX Photon microGUI

Anyone remember the QNX Photon microGUI that was part of the QNX demo floppy?

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Six things a text editor must do - or it's a one-way trip to the trash

LeeE

Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

...A journal. I remember (I blame the COBOL thread for making me reminisce) the 'full-screen' editor on a DEC VAX 11/780 that simply journalised every editing action. Was fun to crash out of a long editing session, restart the editor and sit back and watch it re-apply every key-stroke up to the point of the crash. Did rectangular-block copy&paste too.

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Uni profs: Kids today could do with a bit of 'mind-crippling' COBOL

LeeE

Re: 'mind-crippling' COBOL

Whilst I'd agree that 'writers cramp' wasn't such a problem after terminals, that was pretty late in the day; for years it was writing your source on box-paper, to be handed over to the punch-room where, although likely as not, the punch-girl would spot that you'd missed a full-stop in the Identification Division but was forbidden to correct it, your opus would be faithfully rendered, over the course of a day or two, into a monumental stack of punch-cards which, when compiled, produced a goodly quantity of processed trees, manuscript style, telling you several thousand times that there was a compilation error.

I still like COBOL though, a lot: it's a pretty damn good language for collating data. Loved Redefines in the Data Division. Although the source is very wordy and precise, it compiles small and efficient.

(Oh goodness - just remembered Segmentation - actually had to use it once!!)

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ARM servers: From li'l Acorns big data center disruptions grow

LeeE

Re: Hmm...

Debian has supported Arm since 2.2 'potato' released 2000-08-15. Debian is a lot more 'major' than you might think.

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