* Posts by John Mangan

167 posts • joined 14 Aug 2007

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Ordinary punters will get squat from smart meters, reckons report

John Mangan

No, thank you.

Was there anything else?

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BT needs to ditch its legacy to be competitive, says chief architect

John Mangan

Re: "unfortunately that’s what makes the press"

"I'd like to see the ad world in a universe where companies had to advertise only their least appealing offering."

But then what you would see is companies just refusing to supply a service anywhere that their figures will look bad, There are seldom over-arching simple answers to complex issues.

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It's time for humanity to embrace SEX ROBOTS. For, uh, science, of course

John Mangan

Re: Is that so?

"even with Japan showing much lower numbers in cases of sex abuse than the west."

You have to be careful with claims like that because, yes, there may be less abuse but also it could be that the culture restricts people's opportunities to report or feel that the victim becomes blames. There are many confounding factors in a simple statement like that.

I don't know either way and I really don't know whether 'escape valve' or ''incentive' is the dominant response within any given set of humanity.

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Want a Windows 10 update? Don't go to Microsoft ... please

John Mangan
Trollface

@kraggy

I'me sure Microsoft has taken all necessary security measures, locked up their certificates, etc.

Nothing to worry about here.

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Still got a floppy drive? Here's a solution for when 1.44MB isn't enough

John Mangan

But . .

. . . does it make the genuine coffee-grinding noise when you access it?

If not, I'm not interested.

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New booze guidelines: We'd rather you didn't enjoy yourselves

John Mangan

Re: I'm

"I mean, what did we do BEFORE we had booze?"

No such time existed . . . . .

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John Mangan

A problem with modern medicine and government policy.

This all starts from the perfectly respectable desire to not have people die unnecessarily early. Along with hygiene, medicine and health and safety we all, in modern countries live longer, healtheir lives than our ancestors.

Unfortunately we have now moved from the 'small changes making massive differences' part of the curve to the 'incremental improvements' part of the curve where the accompanying consideration has to be 'quality of life'.

I have never smoked, rarely drink (just don't feel the desire usually) and have never taken any psycho-active substances but those are MY choices. What is the point spending an extra ten years on the planet if you spend a large part of that craving those bacon sarnies you can't have, or just wishing you could 'pop out for a drink with the lads'.

As others have said (better than me) living is risky. Perhaps the real problem is that people are not educated in assessing risk/reward especially in the context of unavoidable background risks.

On the other hand perhaps the real problem is the Daily Mail and its ilk.

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Ancient radioactive tree rings could rip up the history books

John Mangan

Re: Does it really matter ?

@Martin Moloney: they do but without any scientific justification (that I have encountered) for why that should be the case.

To be clear: I've seen a number of rationalisations and explanations for why what's out there may not be they way we imagine it to be (which is of course possible) but the reason for creating these rationalisations and explanations is NEVER (in my experience) a piece of scientific evidence that needs to be explained in this way.

It is always (in my experience) to allow one particular interpretation of one story written in a very old book which has seen transmission through oral history long before a long chain of edits, translations and sundry other human-common alterations.

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John Mangan

Re: "...God has *planted* the evidence."

@JeffyPoooh

I have made this exact point to a couple of young earth believers that once you allow a created moment with back-filled evidence then that moment can be just about anytime.

I may not in fact have read your post or even typed the start of this sentence . . . .

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Revealed: How a weather forecast in 1967 stopped nuclear war

John Mangan

But . .

Germany still had access to industrial products (and support) from less damaged nations to rebuild. That would not be the case in this scenario.

That's without even worrying about irradiated food, land, water, etc.

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John Mangan

Not so sure . .

"While it would take decades, perhaps even a century, humanity would be back on our feet."

I think it would take a LOT longer than that. Massive loss of infrastructure and know-how. Much information only available in irretrievable electronic formats (EMP, no power infrastructure, spares, transport, etc.) and all the easily accessible fossil fuels well and truly mined out with none of the knowledge, experience and industrial infrastructure required to access the rest. I think it would be a long, hard, millennial climb back from a new bronze or iron age.

And wiser? Humanity (en masse) has shown little ability to learn from much more recent lessons in where violence leads.

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Perlan 2: The glider that will slip the surly bonds of Earth – and touch the edge of space

John Mangan

Re: This makes me wonder . .

Thanks all. I knew about the 'going sideways' but I hadn't reckoned on how much more demanding (in energy terms) that is than getting off the ground and pushing through atmosphere.

Learnt something . . . another successful day!

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John Mangan

This makes me wonder . .

if it could be used to reduce the cost of sending 'stuff' into orbit.

I suppose the limiting factor is that for a greater payload you need bigger and bigger wings and presumably at some point there just isn't enough air mass at those altitudes moving fast enough to generate the necessary lift. But then you could, perhaps, use some hybrid large-wing, low-power engine for the 'last mile'. But then maybe the extra complexity negates the initial advantages.

But then it also seasonal so perhaps overall just not worth the effort. Anyone 'know'?

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UK membership of Council of Europe has implications for data protection after Brexit

John Mangan

Re: Brexit means Brexit

"Open borders were allowed before with the Nordic Passport Convention, so there's no real reason that it could not be done again to keep the Irish border open."

But in that case what is to stop EU nationals travelling to Eire and just walking into the UK (via NI) without let or hindrance? Are we going to have full border control between 'the mainland' and NI?

Otherwise EU still has 'free movement' into UK but we don't have the same privilege.

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What's Brexit? How Tech UK tore up its plans after June 23

John Mangan

Re: This is the nub of it . .

"There is no possibility to "take two" of your options, either of points one and two exclude the possibility of three happening."

I tend to agree with you but I was trying to imagine that because of economic fears/breakup of the EU/any other of the Brexiteer's suggestions for why we would get special treatment we *might* manage a "two out of three ain't bad" agreement but even on this (unlikely) basis I can't see the 'leavers' being happy.

And that only leaves a break with tariffs/visas/etc. (WTO or EU-agreed) which hurts everybody, <Very sad face>.

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John Mangan

Re: @ Doctor Syntax

"So no I dont want to plough on ahead regardless, I want out of that doomed wreck"

. . . even if your Brexiteer heroes can't get a good deal for that exit. We're not talking about eternity here; we're talking about making sure that out economoy doesn't fall off a cliff before world+dog trades equally/more profitably with us. Even on a doomed wreck its worth leaving with a lifeboat or two. The rest of your post is just diversionary hand-waving.

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John Mangan

Re: YAWN

Well done on answering all/any of the substantive points above. I'm convinced.

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John Mangan

Re: @ Doctor Syntax

@SmartyPants - although I am on the same side of the debate as on this and agree with many of your points the recent 'Post-Referendum Brexit Debate' (on ITV?) showed the results of a poll with no significant change of voting intentions from either the 'Leave' or 'Remain' camp so I don't think it is clear that the result would change if the referendum was held again.

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John Mangan

Re: @ Doctor Syntax

"Nope. Moving goal posts again just because a majority gave the 'wrong' result is not democracy. Saying X,Y,Z must be agreed minimums or we will ignore the people is again another tantrum against democracy."

So, if even committed Brexiteers can't get a deal that is not entirely crippling for the country you would rather just plough ahead regardless? Wow!

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John Mangan

This is the nub of it . .

"All are waiting to hear what the rebooted Conservative government under Prime Minister Theresa May means when she says “Brexit means Brexit"."

One month on and NOBODY knows what Brexit means. There seem to me to be three planks for the Leavers:

- No free movement (take back control)

- No EU 'subscription' (take back control)

- Access to the single market (don't want to reallly f@ck the economy before the world comes banging down the doors now that 'Britain is open for business').

I cannot see anyway there can be a three for three deal worked out. So will the anti-immigrant leavers be happy if their bete-noir is abandoned or will the 'money wasted' supporters be happy if the other two are the deal?

And if we lose access to the single market (on current terms) how bad an economic shock will THAT be?

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Google tests its own quantum computer – both qubits of it

John Mangan

I really didn't properly understand all of that . .

but I got enough to be impressed.

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Capita redundo staff: We are free at last, free at last… at the end of this month

John Mangan

Re: Outsourcing

I'm torn.

In principle I can see the benefits of out-sourcing to employers and employees; areas of competence, possibilities for career progression, efficinecies, etc.

In practice, what you said.

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EU cybersecurity directive will reach Britain, come what May

John Mangan

Re: The UK's withdrawal from the EU will take at least two years.

"if UK has not done so within that period, it is automatically excluded."

That's not quite true - the deadline can be extended if ALL parties agree.

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Science non-fiction: Newly spotted alien world bathes in glow of three stars

John Mangan

Where did the 16 million year planetary age come from?

Is it concluded from the composition on the stars?

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Paper wasps that lie to their mates get a right kicking, research finds

John Mangan

"paper wasp queens"

- Wasp stings Queen

- Queen wipes bum with paper

- Wasp gets wrapped up in paper and thrown in the bin

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Encryption, wiretaps and the Feds: THE TRUTH

John Mangan

Re: Russia Snoopers Charter

That's it.

A Prime Minister is never elected as Prime Minister and yet every time a conversation comes up like this somebody trots out about the 'unelected Prime Minister' line. All the candidates are elected MPs eligible to stand for the leadership of the ruling party and therefore become Prime Minister. End of.

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John Mangan

Re: Russia Snoopers Charter

I was with you right up until this ". . .without the people voting for her as PM."

No, just no! Downvote.

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What Brexit means for you as a motorist

John Mangan

Re: Yawn.

"what happens is we are out with no deal.

and can charge WTO tarriffs in European imports.

So boosting UK economy."

. . . and get charged them in return. Noone wins in that scenario.

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John Mangan

Re: Yawn.

You know, I believe that Boris is bright enough (whatever you think of his schtick) to have known that negotiating a sensible and beneficial withdrawal that 27 other national entities have all agreed to (in line with their own national self-interests) would be a hideous game of russian roulette which really does lend weight to the view that he never expected to win and only wanted to undermine Cameron.

If that is true then I would guess right now, rather than planning for said sensible and beneficial agreement, he is tearing around the hamster wheel in his mind wondering how he can still be Prime Minister without shooting his political career in the head.

I want to see him get the job and i will stand an applaud while he chokes on it.

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John Mangan

Re: Yawn.

"I dont think negotiations with the EU CAN last more than 2 years unless everybody in the EU wants them to."

Exactly, if someone doesn't agree to extend and the talks are not complete then WTO rules come into force; 10% tarrifs on cars, 35% on dairy, etc. and apparently the rules are 'not favourable' for financial services (alarm bells anyone?).

Greenland took two years to sort out essentially fishing and they were far less deeply embedded in the EEA, as was, than we are in the EU.

Shortened talks do NOT work in our favour.

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John Mangan

Yawn.

Nothing is going to change for a lot more than two years (assuming that no country - out of 27 - is suicidal enough to spike extensions to the talks). For the next 2-10 years we will be locked in unending horse-trading and politicking. In the meantime we will continue to be members of the EU (but with no influence), we will continue to pay our subscription, immigration will remain unchanged, there will be no new money for the NHS or any other bribe that was offered.

By the time this comes to pass most of the 'leavers' will have forgotten they voted for it and will have moved on to blaming some other entity for all of their woes.

Oh f@ck!

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You can be my wingman any time! RaspBerry Pi AI waxes Air Force top gun's tail in dogfights

John Mangan

Friend or Foe?

They better make sure the identification system is un-hackable.

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Sharing your work cubicle with robots may not be such a bad thing

John Mangan

<with more "person-to-person interaction," >

<<Shudder>>

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Let's grow a baby universe in a supercomputer, watch black holes collide

John Mangan

I have a question . . .

"They are predicted to have formed in the early universe from massive dense clouds that collapsed straight into black holes without forming any stars and galaxies beforehand"

I have seen this mentioned a number of times recently and I'm wondering how is this supposed to happen? My vague memories suggest that as the gas collapses it heats, nuclear fusion starts, radiation slows the inflow of matter (or dissipates it into the outer reaches of the 'system'. Does this model depend on matter falling in such large volumes and so rapidly that it snuffs out the nascent star?

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Why you should Vote Remain: Bananas, bathwater and babies

John Mangan

Re: "Let's not be that third" - Why not ?

Think . . neither can afford to get both hands out the others pocket but if they both keep one hand each in then they both have a hand free for the third party.

It's really not that hard.

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John Mangan

Re: "Let's not be that third" - Why not ?

Read the line - does not get plundered *separately*

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Gravitational waves: A new type of astronomy

John Mangan

Re: How powerful is a gravitational wave close to the source?

@Ken Strain - Ken, it is indeed I. And I'm very glad to see you haven't had to correct any egregious errors on my part. It's been a long time and the memory's not what it was. I re-read my thesis after the announcement of the first detection and it really brought home how much I had forgotten..

Oh, and congratulations of course to everyone in Glasgow!

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John Mangan

Re: How powerful is a gravitational wave close to the source?

It's an interesting question - and I don't know the answer - but you need to consider that such a proposed planet has to be far enough away from both black holes not to have been ripped apart by tidal forces (which will be far more powerful than the tidal forces of any gravitational radiation emitted by the system) so I am going to say - at such a distance - still pretty negligible.

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John Mangan

Re: What a time to be alive

"I wonder how they arrange it so that, say, a nuke going off in North Korea doesn't disturb the mirrors by such a tiny amount?"

Basically the nuke will generate 'ringing' at one set of frequencies and the detector will be sensitive at different frequencies. Also if there a coincident signal at two or more detectors in the right frequency range there are plenty of seismometers (including at the sites of the detectors) to throw up a 'just check this would you?' alert. Then you look at amplitudes, frwquencies, attack, decay, etc.

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John Mangan

Re: Poor science - @Dr Mouse

"However, aren't there quite a lot of other variables to consider? If there's a large sun between us and the event (a sun which passed across the wave front) then wouldn't that distort the wave? So, I would imagine that large events produce such enormous waves that other objects in their path have limited impact but I'd also imagine that there will come a point where it is like looking at the waves on the shore... so many that it's basically noise with no useful information."

Not really. The waves are quadropoles and therefore will be pretty well unaffected by a 'monopole' object (not the best scientific explanation but I think gives a clear image of what is happening).

Also for your second point the waves are incredibly weak to start with, energy falls off according to 1/R^2 as they expand spherically and therefore 'soon' fade into undetectability. Also there is no 'shore' for them to be reflected from (current modesl, etc.)

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John Mangan

Re: Poor science

@John Sager - "gravitational radiation has only been measured by one method". Not entirely true. If you are referring to direct measurement I will grant you the point. However I believe that the energy loss of certain pulsars has been calculated to match what would be predicted by GR for gravitational radiation - so an indirect detection and not for the same sources.

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Cold space gas? Sure, supermassive black holes can eat that. Nom, nom, nom

John Mangan

And another question . . .

"Cold gas raining in . . " sounds like a purely radial flow which makes me wonder what conditions give rise to gas with no angular momentum?

Also, as the gas gets closer to the super-massive black hole presumably it is accelerated and compressed and so becomes 'hot'. So wouldn't any gas actually seen falling into a black hole be hot and, if so, how can anyone know that previously observed infalls weren't cold gas as well (originally). What criteria are being applied here?

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Mars One puts 100 Red Planet corpses colonists through fresh tests

John Mangan

Re: Anyone see the program Ascension?

Yes, it was shit!

On so many levels and for so many reasons.

Thanks for asking.

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UK Home Office is creating mega database by stitching together ALL its gov records

John Mangan

Re: RE: "one database to rule them all"

I truly wish I could believe that.

I tend to side with the view that most of these people are doing the best job they can and are looking at efficiency, savings, etc. but if anyone of a totalitarian disposition every does get into power with these tools to hand then we are all well and truly f@cked on a scale never before seen in human history.

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Would we want to regenerate brains of patients who are clinically dead?

John Mangan

Re: ick, ethicists

Agreed with you right up to the reckless, ill-considered

" In the short term, we should be reviving bodies left and right despite whatever horrifying outcomes are encountered due to damaged brain tissue. Hopefully they signed consent forms beforehand, but that is just a courtesy"

No, there have to be checks, balances and forethought!

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NIST readies 'post-quantum' crypto competition

John Mangan

Re: NIST is being prudent

Sometimes stuff can arrive sooner than you think - and betting that it won't would be much more of a mug's game than putting in a little ground work in preparation.

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John Mangan

The trouble with 'random' ideas . .

is that they are no use for the frequent, reliable transfer of information. Although what you are suggesting would probably work very nicely for a single communication, or set of communications, with a known other (who knows what tricks you are pulling) it would not work as a widely available communications system where standards have to be created, agreed to, implemented and therefore become common knowledge and easily reversed.

The reason we rely on maths is because it provides a known method for reducing structured information into essentially random data together with a key that can be shown to be breakable only by the application of 'n' clock cycles and that 'n' can be adjusted to whatever level of security you require (bugs and implementation errors excepted).

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Mercury to transit Sun: Viewer discretion advised

John Mangan

Re: Can someone explain . . .

The magic of geometry . . a quick scribble reveals that little 7 degrees can throw Mercury up to 11 times the Sun's radius above/below our orbital plane. Apparently Mercury's orbit isn't as really, really close as I thought.

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John Mangan

Re: Can someone explain . . .

. . . or does a 'transit' demand it cross at least, say, 90% of the transited object?

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John Mangan

Re: Can someone explain . . .

But don't the relative sizes and positions allow for quite a lot of non-coplanarity and still let you see Mercury doing its dash?

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