* Posts by Paul Kinsler

277 posts • joined 9 Aug 2007

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That's a big 4Ker of a cosmos: 3D planetarium to open in Bristol

Paul Kinsler

Re: Software Defined Programmable City

... to me, that sounds rather like the basis for quite a popular game!

But I do hope someone hasn't thought of it first :-)

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NHS England has some sneaky plans for Care.data acceleration

Paul Kinsler

Re: The price of failing to cooperate...

From what I recall, it didn't seem to be vindictive. Just that (IIRC) if your record wasn't on care.data, it wouldn't (couldn't) be auto-checked for matches against risk criteria, and hence you wouldn't get flagged up as being a suitable candidate for screening.

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.Free domains at Amazon while Google says bye to .family

Paul Kinsler

Google has .phd??

Frankly, the only .phd domain thingy I might want is in a subdomain of the institution that awarded me the damn thing; even if just as an email redirection. Then you all could work out for yourselves whether or not you thought my phd might be worth anything. But Google? What have they got to do with it?

Consequently, I expect every university to sign up for institution.phd in short order.

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BBC gives naked computers to kids (hmm, code for something?)

Paul Kinsler

Re: teach some fun little Vb projects

Fun little Vb projects? What might they be? Most importantly, does your definition of fun, whether involving Vb or not, match up with the definitions of fun applicable to (currently) non IT-literate kids? I'm pretty sure "Vb projects" wont be on their list ... but perhaps a project - in Vb or not Vb - involving flashing lights might. Or, as the article stated, projects involving sensors.

My guess is that although making things change/move on a screen can be seen as (kid) fun, making a real light really flash, or measuring the temperature of the parental cup of tea is more likely to be seen as (kid) fun. Or possibly making the bloody thing beep intermittently, or play a really annoying tune, in the middle of the night.

Are there any educationalists, child psychologists, or even perhaps -horrors- specialist teachers, around who might give us an informed opinion? dConnor and aOlowsksi are all very well as columnists, but it'd be interesting to get some less idiosyncratic input from people who actually work with children, or study child behaviour. Perhaps there might even be some supporting evidence provided to back up the reasoning?

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Paul Kinsler

Re: haven't we already read about this?

... we have, but from a rather more negative point of view.

Can we stage a Dom=C vs Andy_O deathmatch please? :-)

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Ouch! Google crocks capacitors and deviates DRAM to root Linux

Paul Kinsler

Re: will you get the people involved in the website makeover to finish it off?

Two bullets or three? :-)

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Quantum computers have failed. So now for the science

Paul Kinsler

Re: analog analogies

Let me just strongly endorse the fourth paragraph above, namely "Similarly, if someone finds a physical model which mimics many of the facets of quantum mechanics, that doesn't mean that it can be used to predict or prove how things work in the quantum world."

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Grab your pitchforks: Ubuntu to switch to systemd on Monday

Paul Kinsler

Re: Can't there be a simple and effective Linux distribution?

er... Slackware?

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Boffins say Mars had ocean covering 20 per cent of planet

Paul Kinsler

Re: building a humoungous superconducting coil around the equator

hah - I once tried that out in a physics tutorial, getting the students to work through the numbers, estimate currents, power requirements, etc. Only for earth, mind, it'd obviously be much "easier" for the smaller Mars.

"First, assume a spherical Mars... " :-)

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Broadband routers: SOHOpeless and vendors don't care

Paul Kinsler

Re: e.g. ''pizzahad' or 'beerhad'.

Nice!

Although really I have a lot to do today & tomorrow ... I might just declare a sci-had until I get this calculation finished up...

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Paul Kinsler

Re: an unknown ganghad ...

I like this new "ganghad" coinage. Is it meant to be a sort of gang-on-a-jihad portmanteau?

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Is light a wave or a particle? Beaming boffins prove it's BOTH

Paul Kinsler

Re: how does the double-slit experiment demonstrate that light behaves like particles?

If you turn down the light intensity so that the rate of photons passing through is manageable, you can take a movie of the screen where the interference pattern will be seen. Each new photon that arrives makes a dot, and only after very many dots (photons) are registered do you see the interference fringes appear with their nice intensity gradients from dark to light. Those "dots", are often regarded as evidence of the particle-like nature of light (although strictly they only demonstrate the "countable" or energy-packet nature of photons, and the localization of whatever the dtos are - whether ccd or photosensitive molecule.)

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Paul Kinsler

Re: Either... Or...

Since light is massless, it can never be localised in the way (eg) an electron can. Consequently, it is never "particle-like" in the sense most people would mean. Light is (IMO) better described as a "countable wave" ... although you are allowed to count the photons (light excitations) in really quite exotic ways - hence light can not only be in (ordinarily countable) number states, but also coherent states, squeezed states, or might be bunched or antibunched ... or be in any kind of superposition or mixture or those.

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Assemblers were once people: My aunt did it for NASA

Paul Kinsler

Re: on the Sinclair /poke

I also did a bit of hand assembled code for my zx81 ... but, for the life of me, I cannot remember what for. "Fun", I suppose :-)

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'Utterly unusable' MS Word dumped by SciFi author Charles Stross

Paul Kinsler

Re: a writer sticking with WordPerfect

... wasn't that the Game of Thrones guy?

(nope, Wordstar apparently... might be what you were thinking of though)

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HAWKING ALERT: Leave planet Earth, find a new home. Stupid humans

Paul Kinsler

Re: many famous scientists ... start to pontificate outside

Or, after being famous for some time, they are very much more likely to be /reported/ after remarking on areas outside their scientific expertise; not to mention being more likely to be /asked/ for their opinion by reporters/passers-by in the first place.

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Doomsday Clock says 3 MINUTES to MIDNIGHT. Again

Paul Kinsler

Re: detonation of many tens of thousands of nuclear warheads

while we're on the on the subject, this in an interesting read:

"Environmental consequences of nuclear war", Physics Today, December 2008 (& note the updated predictions/knowledge of enviro impact therein)

http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/ToonRobockTurcoPhysicsToday.pdf

http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday

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Elon Musk: Wanna see a multimillion-dollar rocket EXPLODE? WATCH THIS

Paul Kinsler

Re: Failed video link

thank you kindly, good sir.

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You'll get sick of that iPad. And guess who'll be waiting? Big daddy Linux...

Paul Kinsler

Re: Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga: What will you show?

er ... some sort of customizable ui with buttons/icons/menus/whatever allowing the user to easily switch between profiles (e.g. per interface type)?

Then, even if the system's first guess (or last state) is wrong, it can be swiftly changed.

In a simple sense, I/we already do this on my home linux box where a quick ctrl-alt-Fn swaps between consoles and various resolutions of X and/or user accounts. Likewise, I could easily (I suppose) run a touch-based thingy on vt9 on my yoga, should I want to.

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You're late, Falcon 9: Look what you've done to NASA’s DSCOVR launch!

Paul Kinsler

Re: between 15 and 60 minutes warning ... to do what, exactly?

Presumably change network topology, connectedness, or similar? I'm sure I've read something about it but can't remember where. In the meantime, you might read this related article ...

http://arxiv.org/abs/1406.7024

"Assessing the impact of space weather on the electric power grid based on insurance claims for industrial electrical equipment"

Schrijver et al.

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Paul Kinsler

Re: between 15 and 60 minutes warning ... to do what, exactly?

Perhaps to keep the electrical power grid operational?

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Doctor Who's tangerine dream and Clara's death wish in Last Christmas

Paul Kinsler

Re: BBC propaganda

You may have got 6 downvotes, Dave, but have an upvote from me ... no doubt it would be your secret (xmas) wish...

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YEAR of the PENGUIN: A Linux mobile in 2015?

Paul Kinsler

Re: Linux mobile devices hit the shelves a long time ago.

True - in about 2004, I bought a Sharp Zaurus (still works, btw).

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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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