* Posts by Paul Kinsler

254 posts • joined 9 Aug 2007

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Unlock your mobe by STROKING it with your PEARL

Paul Kinsler

Re: And rocket motors. BIG rocket motors.

... well, you picked the right day to say "big rocket motors": ... http://xkcd.com/1461

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Terror bomb victims demanding Iran's .ir will appeal US ruling

Paul Kinsler
Joke

Re: ".us" is the ccTLD that belongs to the USA.

... hmm... anyone want to try to raise enough money to register .them, then??

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Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray

Paul Kinsler

Re: I like toys but... ton of car?

Thing is, even the idiots understand that half a ton of dangerously driven car is dangerous (even if they might not care). So only dangerous idiots drive dangerously, and not (so much) the well meaning "idiots" (or "people", as they are often known)

But a bright (non-eyesafe) laser is just seen like some sort of "super torch" to a much greater fraction of people than just dangerous idiots. Consequently, even mostly well meaning people might use such a laser in a dangerous manner, simply because they do not understand the danger of lasers - even if they understand the danger of cars, and so try to use cars non-dangerously.

Also, and on a more instinctive level, I (or we) probably tend to imagine that we are mostly going to get better after even a non-trivial car accident (that broken leg will heal....), but blindness is permanent and very likely seems more difficult to live with than (e.g.) a missing foot/leg/arm or whatever. For myself, I just think about how reading will slow to a crawl, and that the benefits of multiple monitors will be utterly unavailable. Are there even screen readers for complicated mathematical equations? What about diagrams and figures?

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ESA's spaceplane cleared for lift-off in February 2015

Paul Kinsler

Re: reinvented

There's nothing wrong with reinventing stuff, if the result turns out better or more useful.

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NASA launches new climate model at SC14

Paul Kinsler

Re: please substitute either @FB

I was just providing information of the way "numerical experiment" is typically used in science, by scientists.

Also note that the phrase "thought experiment" (as used by scientists) is something else again - the most notable being Einstein's "if I was sitting on a photon...".

Do, though, substitute whatever what you like - I'm not trying to control the vocabulary of anyone. Just, as I said, reporting on usage in one context (ie science).

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Paul Kinsler

Re: Running equations through a computer does not constitute an experiment

In my experience (as a numerical/theoretical physicist), there are two main usages relevant here:

(a) "experiment" on its own always refers to a real world experiment

(b) "numerical experiment" (sometimes "computer experiment") refers to a simulation done in order to test ("experiment on") the numerical model in some way. Perhaps, if the numerical experiment is encouraging, to motivate a real world experiment; perhaps to see if the numerical experiment matches (existing) real-world measurements.

I suppose if the computational model was actually the system under investigation - i.e it was not only a proxy for some real-world system or specific mathematical model - then one could even experiment on it in the true (a) sense.

It would be interesting to know when Stanley Miller made that remark - these days, numerical experiments are an invaluable tool, and I think that most would assert the primacy of real-world data over numerical models with a different phrasing.

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Lights OUT for Philae BUT slumbering probot could phone home again as comet nears Sun

Paul Kinsler

Re: kicked off by outgassing?

addressed in the 15th's press conference - iirc something like "no chance" of being kicked off by outgassing - the probe is too heavy. Presumably outgassing is way more feeble than we tend to assume...

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I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm

Paul Kinsler

Re: an appalling error of judgement in a professional setting

The professionalism of a scientist has precisely /nothing/ to do with how they dress.

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BOING, BOING! Philae BOUNCED TWICE on Comet 67P

Paul Kinsler

ok...

... who let an Australian onto the design team?

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SUPER-JAMMY Philae comet probe got down WITHOUT harpoons

Paul Kinsler

Re: Cor.

I too remember that ... and there's a nice movie made from all the frames at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUzn_BtldUI

Just like old times... :-)

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'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P

Paul Kinsler

Re: Haha

I have to say I was a bit worried that the (lander) mission would go as erratically as the live streaming :-)

Brilliant.

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Doctor Who trashing the TARDIS, Clara alone, useless UNIT – Death in Heaven

Paul Kinsler

Re: could have been Zygon Osgood.

Do zygons smell bad? there some references to body odour... perhaps it was of earth & iron, not just being a bit unwashed...

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Texas boffins put radio waves in a spin

Paul Kinsler

Re: allow full-duplex operation of a phone on a single frequency

Note that angular momentum modes can be distinguished from each other by their spatial structure, even if they have the same frequency. They are not "circular polarization modes", ie ones based on photon spin.

However, you have to line them up properly so they hit the receiver in a way that enables the spatial structure to be distinguished; i.e. more or less dead centre. This is why they use a waveguide (I assume), and also why it makes them tricky to use in a mobile device (unless you have some amazing phase-array transmitter which not only knows where the receiver is, but can dynamically tweak its output so it the signal is always aimed just right ... which would seem quite a challenging task).

However, it's worth noting that the wave circulators reported here are not using photon AM or spin; they are just isolating incoming signals from outgoing ones, but with a different technology to usual --

https://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Circulator.html

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CERN: 2015 restart causes tech rethink

Paul Kinsler

Re: unlimited?

Good news, that - the LHC could start keeping all the data their instruments generate, rather than just the tiny fraction of interesting collisions. Could be fun... :-)

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Met Office: 2014 was FIFTEENTH WARMEST UK SUMMER on record

Paul Kinsler

Re: should not even have been mentioned.

I tend to agree - one wonders at which institution, and when, and how far he got. That said, Brian May had an unfinished PhD thesis for some decades, but did finally get around to completing it.

I'm not sure what Bob Ward's "phd" story is -- and couldn't find it -- but IMO he'd be better served by a phrasing like: "He started a PhD in geophysics at the University of Somewhere, but gave it up when he realised he was more interested in science communication than palaeopiezometry" ... or some more accurate version along those lines.

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Paul Kinsler

Re: Which PHD thesis?

IMO, To count as "unfinished" you really have at the very least to have been enrolled as a PhD student, and have actually written a substantial draft. Whether it should be mentioned or not is an interesting point for, discussion; perhaps it would be better to say instead that (eg) "was enrolled as a phd student but gave up after X years", which might give a better indication of the background in question.

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Who wants to be A MILLIONAIRE? Not so fast, Visa tells wannabe pay-by-bonk thieves

Paul Kinsler

pay by bonk?

but with the right sort of embedded vibration sensor, they could have made it a pay-by-tap card,

where the transaction would have to be done within a short (enough) time after the tap ... and where the tap would have to be within some suitable parameter range as well.

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ICANN, ICAN'T, IWON'T: uWHAT? How the internet is actually run

Paul Kinsler

Re: "balkanisation " - not normally a word associated with good things.

mmm ... perhaps "decentralization" might be better...

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That 'TECH-FREE' Nophone? It was already out years ago

Paul Kinsler

Re: Because it's hip

... and on that subject ...

The hipster effect: When anticonformists all look the same.

http://arXiv.org/abs/1410.8001

Jonathan Touboul

In such different domains as statistical physics and spin glasses, neurosciences, social science, economics and finance, large ensemble of interacting individuals taking their decisions either in accordance (mainstream) or against (hipsters) the majority are ubiquitous. Yet, trying hard to be different often ends up in hipsters consistently taking the same decisions, [...]

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Bona-fide SCIENCE: Which forms of unusual sex are, um, mainstream?

Paul Kinsler

Re: Actually you have no idea at all how much I know ...

Well, having read your third paragraph, I assumed that your knowledge of theoretical research physics wasn't as much as you thought. I took this egregarious liberty on the basis that since I am actually a theoretical physicist, I could make a reasonable stab at assessing the accuracy of your para 3, which looked to me rather like the sort of thing someone largely reliant on media science reporting might write. Further, it doesn't represent the majority theoretical physics community I am a part of, or the more applied physics community who - in the same building as me - are trying to improve chemical/bio sensing, medical imaging, or laser/led/light sources, amongst many other things.

Still, if you care to explain the basis of your beliefs as stated in para 3 some more, perhaps you could convince me to change my mind, or we might find some common ground.

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Paul Kinsler

Re: Theoretical physics at the moment is ...

... investigating a much broader range of things than you seem to think, most of them being testable to some degree. Note that "String theory", exotic comological models, and the like make up a tiny fraction of what theoretical physicists (taken as a group) do with their time. It's also worth noting that media reporting of science, theoretical or not, is very skewed and only representative of what the media think you want to hear about.

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Remote code execution flaws fixed in tnftp and wget

Paul Kinsler

Re: wtf is a boilerplate response?

typically, a standardized response with little or no new content.

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Radiohead(ache): BBC wants dead duck tech in sexy new mobes

Paul Kinsler

draining the battery

Hmm...on the face of it, it would seem to be less computation to convert digital radio to sound, since a radio-listening device hasn't got to do any networking stuff - either computation (or firing off wifi signals for that matter). So a well designed dab receiver - at first look - would seem to need to do less work (and hence require less power) to operate than an IP receiver.

Can anyone familiar with the technical details clarify?

.

Lastly, one minor DAB advantage is that the tinfoil hat brigade can listen to it w/o requiring tor-like contortions when avoiding letting anyone know their listening preferences :)

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SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION

Paul Kinsler

Re: Iran's huge gas reserves

Not sure about your last para here - although buying some cheap foriegn gas for a bit might hurt local shale producers, it leaves that unused shale gas in the ground in the US. So it will still be there to help US energy independence - to whatever extent it can - if/when needed.

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Doctor Who becomes an illogical, unscientific, silly soap opera in Kill The Moon

Paul Kinsler

unlikely anyone is reading this thread any more ....

... but by chance last week I just (re)read the prior art for the space chicken: i.e. "Born of the Sun", Jack Williamson, 1932

(Posting now because I only just watched the episode.)

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ESA's comet-chasing Rosetta eyes up 67P's vital statistics

Paul Kinsler

what I really want to know ...

... is has anyone got it added as an extra to oolite yet? :-)

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Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER

Paul Kinsler

Re: Isn't the output totally predictable ...?

The output is deterministic (detemined) by the input data, true; but that doesn't mean you can predict it. "Predict" implies knowing in advance of the event (or in this case, the calculation). The computation isn't a prediction of the results it's acutally getting the result.

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Colias robots SWARMING out of the lab

Paul Kinsler

robocode?

I don't remember any "robocode", but I do remember Corewars & Redcode.

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Want a Tizen phone to build apps for? Now's your chance – provided you don't need it to work

Paul Kinsler

sounds like a handy replacement for my Zaurus!

... although actually the Z hasn't died yet,

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Mathematica hits the Web

Paul Kinsler

Re: (Matlab)

I find Scilab a perfectly good (and free) replacement for Matlab

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US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux

Paul Kinsler

Re: I'm not yet sure what the hell OAM actually is ...

Ahem:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_angular_momentum_of_light

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Paul Kinsler

Re: Sceptical

An ordinary beam with rotating polarization has no interesting transverse behaviour, and in most systems whatever the spatial profile is, it is ignored. So with both polarizations you get two channels not one.

These OAM beams have a nontrivial transverse spatial modulation; and that spatial structure can carry extra information, if the receiver can detect it.

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Paul Kinsler

Re: the receiving end has to be aligned

Yes; hence the "along the same spatial path" remark. The axis of the beam would have to hit inside the outline of the receiver so that the different OAM could be distinguished.

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Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around

Paul Kinsler

Re: assume "that a battery charges fairly uniformly"?

As a scientist, I have to say that that's exactly the sort of simplifying assumption I'd start with. Not that I would "know" or even believe that it was actually true, just that it made building a model of $WHATEVER a little bit simpler. Later on, when it's clear that the model isn't good enough, you revisit all those convenient simplifying assumptions and decide which ones need to be de-simplified. Usually, trying to build a complicated model straight off is a recipe for confusion. Would you rather be asking yourself the question "which bit of this really detailed and complicated model isn't working?", or "which bit of this fairly simple model needs to be improved?".

That said, other scientists may differ in their approach.

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Scottish independence: Will it really TEAR the HEART from IT firms?

Paul Kinsler

Re: argue that it's united [...] and it's a Kingdom,

How about we just promote both Wales and NI to Kingdoms like England is, and become the UK of E/W/NI? :-)

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Boffins: Behold the SILICON CHEAPNESS of our tiny, radio-signal-munching IoT sensor

Paul Kinsler

and best of all ...

... attach them to a bit of fluff - a la dandelion seeds - and you really could do cloud computing!

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IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres

Paul Kinsler

ok then

so what's the non-euphemical translation of the famous linux kernel message, now sadly departed, "lp0 is on fire"?

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You are here => Earth is in 'the suburbs' of an IMMENSE HEAVEN

Paul Kinsler

Re: just one guy created all this in six days, 6000 years ago ...

Well, he says "created". I think maybe he just eventually decided to comb his beard, and all this just kind of fell out in the process.

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Rosetta's comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is one FUGLY space rock

Paul Kinsler

Re: rosetta data

From the Rosetta/ESA faq at http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta/Frequently_asked_questions

"The principal investigators head up the teams building the Rosetta instruments and will have the exclusive right to work with the data for six months. After this period, the data will be stored in ESA’s Planetary Science Archive and made freely available to the world's scientific community."

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Stephen Hawking biopic: Big on romance, not so much with the science?

Paul Kinsler

Re: Mr Hawking – Over-rated - Big Bang Mythology

Regarding your fourth sentence specifically, you are right in that Hawking is neither an Einstein or Newton; his scientific output simply doesn't have the widespread implications and/or impact of either - but then neither do the results of most scientists, however eminent.

Nevertheless, his personal circumstances, what with the wheelchair & robot voice do give the media a nice hook with which to sell stories about his work and/or life to the public. Thus the public have heard of him, and since the public generally admires and trusts scientists, his public profile exceeds his scientific impact.

But I don't think that outcome is a reason to be quite as negative about him as you seem to be; especially as he is neither responsible for the (cosmological) Big Bang theory, or any scientific CO2/climate predictions that I'm aware of.

No need to downvote, a reply is more useful.

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ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water

Paul Kinsler

Re: Neat.

You can do quite interesting things with water waves - even make an expanding ripple pattern reform back down to a point again ... and again and gain and again.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1206.0003

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Multiple user accounts coming to Android phones 'n' slabs

Paul Kinsler

Re: I'd rather have user-defined system-wide granular app permissions

I'd rather I could just run android as a UI choice on top of a reasonably standard linux install of some kind.

I expect to be waiting some considerable time. :-)

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Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart

Paul Kinsler

Re: How would the 'smartphone app' work without changing the meter?

Perhaps by taking a dated photo of the meter, and sending it to the energy supplier? :-)

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Come close, dear reader. Past those trees you'll see a non-Microsoft Nokia Oyj in the wild

Paul Kinsler

Re: An R&D division that [is] not only not a money loser, but actually turns in a profit

It seems to me that a good R&D division should lose money in the same way a good venture capitalist loses money: there might well be frequent losses on things that don't work out, but the (few) winners more than make up for those losses.

Whether the "win" project profits get attributed to the actual R&D division is another matter.

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The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots

Paul Kinsler

Re: Could those who downvoted please explain why?

I didn't downvote, but since the authors seem to have plotted the daily data as well, they could hardly have said to have "destroyed" data - any level of "falsity" induced by their smoothing was evident to the interested reader, as indeed the artefact you mention was to you.

More generally, smoothing may be an imperfect process but it can be very useful for extracting trends, if appropriate care is taken. Ideally, you would make sure to plot the original data along with the smoothed curve, for comparison :-)

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Paul Kinsler

Re: Fortunately, human activities helped to counteract the lower solar output

Note that the interaction of extra atmospheric CO2 and glacials has been looked at, e.g.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1406.4728

Damping of glacial-interglacial cycles from anthropogenic forcing

Jacob Haqq-Misra

Climate variability over the past million years shows a strong glacial-interglacial cycle of ~100,000 years as a combined result of Milankovitch orbital forcing and climatic resonance. It has been suggested that anthropogenic contributions to radiative forcing may extend the length of the present interglacial, but the effects of anthropogenic forcing on the periodicity of glacial-interglacial cycles has received little attention. Here I demonstrate that moderate anthropogenic forcing can act to damp this 100,000 year cycle and reduce climate variability from orbital forcing. Future changes in solar insolation alone will continue to drive a 100,000 year climate cycle over the next million years, but the presence of anthropogenic warming can force the climate into an ice-free state that only weakly responds to orbital forcing. Sufficiently strong anthropogenic forcing that eliminates the glacial-interglacial cycle may serve as an indication of an epoch transition from the Pleistocene to the Anthropocene.

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Dungeons & Dragons relaunches with 'freemium' version 5.0

Paul Kinsler

Re: Any suggestions

Hang on, what was that rpg with all the clones, and some kind of repeating "The Google is your friend" motif..?

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Programming languages in economics: Cool research, bro, but what about, er, economics?

Paul Kinsler

If this was such a dull & almost-pointless paper ...

... why didn't you choose to write about an interesting one instead? I mean, we all do like to sneer at economists a bit, if even only for entertainment, but actually I was hopng for something fractionally more informative.

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NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years

Paul Kinsler

Re: See the Drake Equation.

The problem with the Drake equation is that although it partitions all the unknowns into types, it doesn't make them less unknown. It's better to think of what a pututative spacefaring civilization might get to do, and under what circumstances - see e.g.

http://www.brin-l.com/downloads/silence.pdf

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