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* Posts by Paul Kinsler

231 posts • joined 9 Aug 2007

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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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Paul Kinsler

Re: Lets not ruin space too.

Space is quite big. Even the most enormous galaxy-spanning human civilization of popular fiction would struggle to make even a slight mess of all space. Even blowing up a galaxy would scarcely dent Space.

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New Bluetooth tech lets you control 4 BILLION lightbulbs at once

Paul Kinsler

Re: control 4 billion

"I felt a great disturbance in the force, as if billions of lightbulbs cried out in terror, and were suddenly darkened"

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Journal that published Facebook emoto-furtle study: Proper boffins get CONSENT

Paul Kinsler

Re: Required:

Possibly also required, reading the study itself...

http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.full

E.g. "On Facebook, people frequently express emotions, which are later seen by their friends via Facebook's "News Feed" product (8). Because people's friends frequently produce much more content than one person can view, the News Feed filters posts, stories, and activities undertaken by friends. News Feed is the primary manner by which people see content that friends share. Which content is shown or omitted in the News Feed is determined via a ranking algorithm that Facebook continually develops and tests in the interest of showing viewers the content they will find most relevant and engaging. One such test is reported in this study: A test of whether posts with emotional content are more engaging."

The following paragraph is also informative as to what process was followed.

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Speed of light slower than we thought? Probably not

Paul Kinsler

Re: does heat bend light?

heat is energy, and energy bends spacetime, and light beams follow curved paths in curved spacetime. So yes, heat does bend light.

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Paul Kinsler

Re: I guess Franson must have assumed ...

If it's on the arXiv, you dont have to guess. You can go check it yourself. Or indeed you can check the open access article itself, using the links in the Reg article.

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Titan sprouts 'Magic Island', say astroboffins

Paul Kinsler
Joke

Re: how can an island just appear?

How? By magic, apparently. :-)

And before all you nay-sayers start off, it is well known that any sufficiently primitive magic is indistinguishable from technology (or, possibly, just indistinguishable from some not especially obvious physical process or other).

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Indian climate boffins: Himalayan glaciers are NOT MELTING

Paul Kinsler

Here's at cut&paste of the conclusion of the article...

... because how something is said is also useful:

The results of the present study indicate that most of the glaciers were in a steady state compared to the results of other studies carried out for the period prior to 2001. This period of monitoring almost corresponds to hiatus in global warming in the last decade[32] . It may happen that an interval of one decade could be smaller than the response time of glaciers to be reflected in terms of any significant change with 23.5 m spatial resolution of data. This point requires further studies using high-resolution data for a longer interval of time.

~

So, should we trust these results now, even though the authors themselves worry about the data resolution on which they are based? Or should we wait for a more solid confirmation before using them to inform our actions?

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We're from the SAME DUST CLOUD, BRO: Boffins find Sun's long-lost sibling

Paul Kinsler

"can be viewed even with low-power binoculars "

does this, for most of us, really mean "might be seen with binoculars, if only it wasn't for all the light pollution"?

(can be found in kstars, for those with KDE stuff on their system)

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anyone planning on a big network rewiring job?

Paul Kinsler

anyone planning on a big network rewiring job?

... maybe you should read this:)

http://arxiv.org/abs/1405.2185

Easily repairable networks

Robert S. Farr, John L. Harer, Thomas M. A. Fink

We introduce a simple class of distribution networks which withstand damage by being repairable instead of redundant. We prove a lower bound for the expected cost of repair, and show that for networks on the square and triangular lattice, this bound is achievable and results in a network with exactly three levels of structural hierarchy. We extend our results to networks subject to repeated attacks, in which the repairs themselves must be repairable. We find that, in exchange for a modest increase in repair cost, such networks are able to withstand any number of attacks.

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Truck-sized asteroid slips silently between Moon and Earth

Paul Kinsler

Re: LOHAN could be coming from 70.000 ft through a window very close to you ...

and will she be bringing some Milk Tray?

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Boffins tag Android app privacy fails

Paul Kinsler

Re: I used to have a small PDA device ...

I've got an old Zaurus I would sell you ... except I'm still using it. Otherwise couldn't agree more ... if only I could get Opie on my phone instead of android :-)

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London Tube has new stop at Azure Station

Paul Kinsler

Re: So what are the 'things'

Since this is the London Underground we're talking about, I think by IoT they mean either "Internet of Trains", or "Internet of Tubes"

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Microsoft: The MORE Surfaces it sells, the MORE money it loses

Paul Kinsler

Re: "If he were to sum up the quarter in two words it would be “execution and transition.”"

hah! - but to sum up in words of just one _sound_ is the best thing to do

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DeSENSORtised: Why the 'Internet of Things' will FAIL without IPv6

Paul Kinsler
Happy

the lightbulb moment...

pawlik: "all the very disappointed customers who say 'oh, I bought my lightbulb but now I can't switch it on and off anymore because I can't reach it on the internet.'"

Well, back to candles it is, then.

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Nothing's as SCARY as an overly aggressive SOFTWARE PIMP

Paul Kinsler
Happy

Re: planned obsolescence [...] Planet Linux does it too

Oh no! Are they going to retire the fvwm window manager now? Dammit, I'll have to switch back to twm!

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

Paul Kinsler

Re: Aha!

you might want to be careful: one newspaper claimed today that scientists had discovered a new (invisible) eighth colour of the rainbow. But they really had - over two centuries ago: see W. Herschel, "Experiments on the Refrangibility of the Invisible Rays of the Sun", circa 1800. http://www.jstor.org/stable/107057

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Paul Kinsler

Re: mining Bitcoins...

... and so some are already working on ow to maximise return, see e.g.:

Do Bitcoins make the world go round? On the dynamics of competing crypto-currencies

http://arxiv.org/abs/1403.6378

Stefan Bornholdt, Kim Sneppen

Bitcoins have emerged as a possible competitor to usual currencies, but other crypto-currencies have likewise appeared as competitors to the Bitcoin currency. The expanding market of crypto-currencies now involves capital equivalent to US Dollars, providing academia with an unusual opportunity to study the emergence of value. Here we show that the Bitcoin currency in itself is not special, but may rather be understood as the contemporary dominating crypto-currency that may well be replaced by other currencies. We suggest that perception of value in a social system is generated by a voter-like dynamics, where fashions form and disperse even in the case where information is only exchanged on a pairwise basis between agents.

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New IPCC report: 8 ways climate change will throw world INTO PERIL

Paul Kinsler

Re: thermometer reading at a rural weather station

... but how does that reading map onto the average temperature of the area in which it inhabits? Is it intended to represent a ground temperature or an air temperature? What if I want to use it as a measure of air temperature in a surrounding box of area A and height h? Do the thermometers have a changing response as they age? Can I trust what the manufacturer said? What about when they are replaced for new ones with different properties? How do we correct for the changing nature of the landscape around it? Thinks like this need to be checked and ironed out.

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Paul Kinsler

Re: much data manipulation

As it happens, here's a recent discussion of solar irradiance validation

http://arxiv.org/abs/1403.7194

(but published formally in Astrophysics and Space Science 350(2), 421-442, 2014)

Would you like the raw satellite data as well? I'm sure there are all sorts of ways the existing analyses could be challenged (apart from those covered in the paper already, of course).

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Paul Kinsler

Re: much data manipulation

It's important, however, to distinguish between types of "manipulation"

(a) that done with intent to deceive

(b) that done by mistake or carelessness

(c) that done as part of a calibration or compensation process to ensure the numbers output by the sensor correspond (to the greatest extent achievable) to what the sensor data is understood to mean (or is intended for use as).

This raw data you are so keen on may or may not be what you think it is, or may or may not be misleading (wrt your purpose) in subtle ways. For example, a few years ago, I happened to have a conversation with a physicist whose specialism was (IIRC) the calibration of satellite data related and needed for an estimation of the Earth's energy budget. Such things are not trivial.

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Paul Kinsler

Re: how to communicate

Those interested in the dynamics of social discourse may find the following article amusing:

Mental ability and common sense in an artificial society

Krzysztof Malarz, Krzysztof Kułakowski

http://arxiv.org/abs/1403.5970

We read newspapers and watch TV every day. There are many issues and many controversies. Since media are free, we can hear arguments from every possible side. How do we decide what is wrong or right? The first condition to accept a message is to understand it; messages that are too sophisticated are ignored. So it seems reasonable to assume that our understanding depends on our ability and our current knowledge. Here we show that the consequences of this statement are surprising and funny.

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Selfies are OVER: Welcome to the age of 'Sleeveface'

Paul Kinsler

Re: Years ago

Personally, I could quite imagine citizens of ancient Rome standing round so that they matched up with nearby statues or other representational art in some amusing way, let alone the reasonable likelihood boxes of old Edwardian b&w photos doing a similar thing with paintings or whatever; or someone or other doing this - with actual album sleeves - in the 70's.

No doubt someone might have some sort of priority claim over this kind of amusement, but I not only strongly suspect they have been dead a while, but they might even have been dead for millenia.

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