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* Posts by Francis Boyle

1021 posts • joined 29 Jul 2007

Minecraft maker plots ultimate videogame for coders

Francis Boyle
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Billions of years into the future

They promised me a matrioshka brain and all I got was a lousy 16 bits.

Do I at least get a hologram for company?

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Arizona bill makes it illegal to 'annoy or offend' online

Francis Boyle
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Re: Read the ANDs and ORs

So basically it's a law to ban ODFO.

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Fake cop Trojan 'detects offensive materials' on PCs, demands money

Francis Boyle
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What have you got

against footcare implements.

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Francis Boyle
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I don't

live in Iran.

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Scientists plan 3D printable robots for the home

Francis Boyle
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Origami Robots?

I will be awaiting the rise of the machines - with a large bucket of water.

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Parents shocked by priestly PowerPoint pr0n

Francis Boyle
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Re: Self-righteous hypocrisy

Are you seriously suggesting that protestants never feel that they're entitled to tell others what to do? Have you been paying any attention to what is happening in the US lately. Rick Santorum may be Catholic but I can assure you that his brand of self-righteous arrogance comes straight out of the fundamentalist protestant playbook.

Now I don't want to get into a Catholic versus protestant debate (the differences are far smaller than the similarities to my mind) but it strikes me that your comment is a good example of something I've frequently observed. When someone, religious or not (and these days, it seems, more often they are not), criticises atheists for lacking understanding of religion what they are really saying is "your criticisms don't apply to my experience of religion" as if the fact that there are some nice CoE vicars somehow cancels out the existence of the Taliban.

The thing is, critics of religion generally have taken the time to acquire at least a passing knowledge of the full range of religious practices. They're arguing from facts not personal experience. Questioning their "understanding of religion and their critical faculties" on the basis of unexamined anecdotal evidence is the rhetorical equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting "I can't hear you".

As for the tired "critics of religion are like religious fanatics" canard - XKCD

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Francis Boyle
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Re: Wow...

It's like this. So many Father Ted Jokes. So little time.

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Sir Isaac Newton's life rendered as KML

Francis Boyle
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Casanova

would be more interesting. Does the resolution go down to individual house level?

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Tripleton touts telephone for double-ohs

Francis Boyle
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Hey everybody, I've got a spy phone

Do they make one that fit's in a shoe? You can't afford to be too conspicuous in the spy game.

(Yes, I know - it's really targeted at the Ms rather than the Bonds but someone had to do the Maxwell Smart joke.)

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Brazilian cops hunt pillaging 'gang of blondes'

Francis Boyle
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Worked in telemarketing

Let her off. She's obviously working towards going straight.

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Toshiba outs monster 13in tablet spec

Francis Boyle
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Re: Couldn't they have given it a wipe

Shouldn't demo units have a porn blocker installed?

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6,000 sign e-petition to put Turing on £10 note

Francis Boyle
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And what exactly

is the "understanding" of an anonymous person worth? If you have evidence, present it. Otherwise keep your slurs to yourself.

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So, what IS the worst film ever made?

Francis Boyle
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Burn After Reading

Just looked it up. How could you not like a film in which Brad Pitt gets shot point blank in the face?

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Francis Boyle
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Probably, yes

but I have been known to reference the gentleman in question int terms of the Slakan vloskan.

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'Now we understand what's required to explode a supernova' - NASA

Francis Boyle
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Red matter is bullshit

Everyone knows you use trilithium to blow up stars.

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GiffGaff gaffe charity spaff to quell miffed riffraff

Francis Boyle
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<Neddy Seagoon voice>

"I don't wish to know that"

</Neddy Seagoon voice>

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Francis Boyle
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I'm not sure what a "spaff" is

but great headline (though it could do with more underground virgin penetration).

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Jupiter and Venus get cozy in revealing late-night display

Francis Boyle
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Quick proof

In the plane of the ecliptic points 93 million miles from Earth form a circle passing through the Sun and out beyond the orbit of the Earth. Since that circle intersects the orbit of Venus, at some time, Venus will be 93 million miles from Earth. It's just a a matter of waiting long enough.

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Netherlands plans to make 'copyrighted material easier to use'

Francis Boyle
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Does this mean

we can have our Hitler parodies back?

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Europeans turn backs on Ultrabooks

Francis Boyle
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@ Kyoraki

No idea why you were voted down for stating simple facts. (Well, actually a few.) My netbook's never run Windows and I've never missed it. Next step: Linux + Arm so I can ditch the oversized extended battery and I will have a true notebook (the paper things, I mean) replacement.

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Lego builds Lord of the Rings collection

Francis Boyle
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Coat

Surely

LOTR should remain Legoless.

Sorry, but it had to be said.

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Japanese robot mirrors master’s movements

Francis Boyle
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Good going

Now all they have to do is scale it up one hundred times.

Japan: for all your (giant) robot needs.

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ESA's first Vega rocket blasts off without a hitch

Francis Boyle
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At least you still have

Skylon.

http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/news_jan12.html*

*how the hell do you do links?

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Car crash model cushioned by 38KKK Bulgarian airbags

Francis Boyle
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Off her tits?

She's lucky they're not off her.

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Pentax Q compact system camera

Francis Boyle
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Don't knock it

The Q is as they say in Japan "kawaii" (cute). It should sell bucket loads to the sort of people who post videos to Youtube in the wrong aspect ratio (i.e. clueless wannabee geeks). If that's what it takes to keep Pentax alive and producing brilliant, affordable cameras like the K-5, I'm all for it.

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Space: 1999 returning to TV?

Francis Boyle
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I saw that a while back

Not bad considering that everything by Lem that I've read would be pretty much unfilmable. (Solaris excluded - I haven't read the book and the Tarkovsky film is pretty much pure Tarkovsky - beautiful visuals combined with a dreary mysticism that hasn't much to do with Lem's sharp-minded satire.)

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Francis Boyle
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Might work

if they ditched the silly nuclear explosions thing and replaced it with say mysterious alien technology (black monolith anyone). The thing I loved (as a teenager) about the show was its sense of wonder about the universe (inherited no doubt form 2001). What I didn't like was the fact that it too often spilled over into mystical mumbo-jumbo and sometimes plain anti-science. If they had stuck to Clark's Third Law it could have been a great series instead of just an enjoyable one.

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Francis Boyle
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A demonstration that the Eagle is practical

Years ago, I created this slightly modified version of the Eagle for Orbiter* using only reasonably realistic assumptions about near future tech. If you dare you can try flying it into lunar orbit (difficult but not impossible). If you can land it, you're Alan Carter himself (or a computer). Hint: you use the underside engine to rotate to the correct orientation then fire up the big ones at the back which makes sense when you realise that the moon isn't exactly littered with vehicle assembly buildings.

Merlin Transporter for Orbiter : http://www.orbithangar.com/searchid.php?ID=2234

(SpaceX ripped me off - I'd sue but I can't afford Apple's lawyers.)

*Orbiter Space Fight Simulator: orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/

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US Navy preps railgun for tests

Francis Boyle
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Re: Re : there isn't much energy in a bullet

My laptop battery has an energy density of just over one half a megajoule per kilogram and it's not exactly military spec. So maybe 250 shots per kg assuming no losses. (Yes, there will be losses but on the other side battery tech is still improving rapidly) I don't exactly think a 1kg power pack would be a problem for Arnie. On the other hand I do have this image of a young Stallone with dozens of little phone batteries tucked into his bandolera.

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Jackpot: astronomers tag Goldilocks planet

Francis Boyle
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Porridge

No thanks. I've just finished the blancmanges

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Indonesian train roof fare-dodgers given the brush off

Francis Boyle
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The Register - for all your IT* news

* Indonesian train

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Koala food may power US Defence force

Francis Boyle
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That's just my back yard.

Admittedly there not as common as they were. Apparently birds have learned how to kill and eat them. What's a bit of poison when you're Australian wildlife.

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Toshiba releases 'world's thinnest' Android tablet

Francis Boyle
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Seriously, WTF

is wrong with letterboxing. Is a black bar in your field of vision so much worse than a bezel? I'm looking to buy a new monitor but everything's bloody 16:9. Now the size is limited by the available space on my desk, so by going widescreen I'm actually losing screen real estate. Likewise with a tablet the limiting factor is primarily the larger dimension (and 16:9 is horrible vertically). Now, I hate to agree with the sainted Steve (check my posts if you like, you won't find any Apple love from me) but he got that one right.

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The IEEE and the Electric Universe

Francis Boyle
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Not to mention that idea that gravity was once a fringe concept

is just plain wrong.

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SpaceX successfully tests SuperDraco rescue rockets

Francis Boyle
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If there is a leak

and toxic vapours manage to reach the crew I think the crew might already have had problems - like not being able to breathe in the vacuum of space. And yes, if there are two leaks there could be an explosion. If I were designing the system I would separate the tanks for the component fuels. And since the SpaceX people are smart I suspect they have come up with something even better.

Hypergolic engines are a tried and proven reliable technology, widely used without problems (the Apollo Lunar module main engine was hypergolic for a start). I'd certainly rather have eight of these things around me than a singe rocket above me as in conventional launch escape systems (or nothing as was the case with the shuttle).

This is impressive stuff - if they keep it up the Martian Alliance may have to consider breaking cover.

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Boffins crack superconducting graphene's melting mystery

Francis Boyle
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You love Britain so much

yet you can't spell its name or even be bothered to capitalise it properly.

That aside, this is fundamental research where the limiting factor tends to be the researchers not the equipment so if you really want to keep the research in Britain you can't just throw money at it. (How many tunneling electron microscopes can one team use?) And yes this research is going to be exploited by all the world - that's how fundamental research works. If Edison made more money out of electricity than Faraday it wasn't because Faraday was under-appreciated. (It was probably because Edison was a thieving bastard.)

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JEDI alliance: Jellyfish overlords won't rule Earth after all

Francis Boyle
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Just what we want you to think

Regards - the Rutan Host.

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Serial killer PYTHONS stalk Florida's Everglades

Francis Boyle
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Snakes on

Lake Pontchartrain. OK, wrong state but not far off.

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Star Trek tractor beam to save Earth from asteroid Armageddon

Francis Boyle
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Alternatively

just fit them with peril-sensitive filters.

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Nikon compact, only $AU100k

Francis Boyle
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but shirley

They're offering $100k to take it off their hands.

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Boffins one step closer to invisible shed

Francis Boyle
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"plasmonic cloaking"

Didn't Spock invent that. Or maybe it was Scotty. I'm sure it was one of them - having to escape certain death before the end of a TV hour is the mother of invention.

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BBC's images of murdered infant did not breach privacy, copyright

Francis Boyle
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Different issue

different court, different country. Both sensible judgments, though.

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Big stars give birth to little stars in new WISE pic

Francis Boyle
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That puzzled me too

(And supernovae may be quick but they belong in a funeral home. The process of recycling their material into new stars takes a little bit longer.)

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Spammers hit mobes with QR code junkmail jump pads

Francis Boyle
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Easy, it ends in

.ru

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Boeing backs biofuel boffinry

Francis Boyle
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On the other hand

Oil has never been polluted by something as dirty as politics.

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Francis Boyle
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I agree about the corn

I don't advocate the use of food crops for biofuel. But that's for economic/politcal reasons.(Sugarcane is exception - it's high yield and if you're living on sugar you're doing it wrong.) A ratio of 1.5 for energy in to energy out may look bad (and is bad compared to 8 for sugarcane) but apart from pollution/land use concerns it really doesn't matter since you're producing energy. You might as well complain that you're "only" getting 50% return on you're investments!

But again, I'm not advocating the use of food crops for biofuels. I am advocating serious research into non-food sources such as switchgrass and algae. If they can be made to give the yield of sugarcane without it's environmental impact (cane farming tends to be fertiliser intensive and produce nasty runoff) we will have a viable alternative to oil.

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Francis Boyle
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Hang on

" The fuel required to transport biomass to a processing plant, covert it to fuel and transport the fuel to an airport is about equal to the fuel created from biomass."

I see this claim again and again. Yet we manage to transport crude oil half-way around the globe for a net energy profit. Is the energy density of biofuels so much less or is this an economic argument in disguise?

Now I can't find precise figures but according to the Wikipedia "oil tanker" article "the average cost of oil transport by tanker amounts to only two or three United States cents per 1 US gallon". (Yes there's a citation for that.) With crude oil at 1$100 per barrel (42 gallons) three US cents buys something like one hundredth of a gallon. That's a ratio of 100 to one even assuming no other costs.

OK, if you transport the raw biomass rather than processing it on site the ratio would decrease significantly but why would you do that? You harvest the material, process (or refine) it and ship it out in a concentrated form.

Sorry, but these efficiency arguments are just a red herring. There is no theoretical constraint. At the moment oil is cheaper because it's cheaper (an economic constraint). But it's not getting cheaper and never will while biofuels certainly will.

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Did Vatican commit Cardinal sin over Wikipedia bios?

Francis Boyle
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I love how

they translate even the names into Latin. Nialus Armstrong FTW.

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Whale versus shark in KIWI DEATH MATCH!

Francis Boyle
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Trouble is

if the sharks had FRIKKIN' LASERS!!! the Orcas would respond with SMEGGIN' TACTICAL NUKES!!!11, they're that hardcore.

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