# Posts by Marvin the Martian

1518 posts • joined 2 Mar 2007

### Shuttleworth heir opens up on Ubuntu biz

#### OK, other editorial issue

"judging by its employee headcount, Canonical is growing like crazy" should be corrected to "Canonical's employee headcount is growing like crazy" --- the first is a guess the second a factual statement.

### Street View plays spot the army numberplate

#### This would mean...

This would mean that all tourist plates don't get blurred, because they don't have standard UK lettering/colouring? Even if their homecountries have G StreetView with blurring and all?

### Man gets 30 months in prison for taping nude sportscaster

#### I'm wondering about the logistics

(1) How do you get an adjacent room 2 our of 3 times, without a clear reason (like travelling together). "I'm her agent" shouldn't work if you book and pay on totally different dates.

(2) When I'm in my hotel room, the fraction of time I'm naked in front of the peephole is quasi nil. Maybe the odd passage between shower and bed, yes, but the beds most certainly aren't in view of the door. So how many hours as the guy been standing at the door, taping? What about witnesses?

I think we need to be told. All in all there must be some talent/intelligence involved here, and hours of persevering work. Maybe not enough to deserve to sell it as you suggest... But it would be interesting info, to avoid similar stuff happening.

/Paris 'cos confused + hotel

### 'The LHC will implode the Moon or PUT OUT THE SUN'

#### Spectacle will be lacking

If the black hole escapes, the chance of it striking the moon or sun are just ridiculously tiny: draw a sphere around the earth, that just includes the moon. Let's use spherical coordinates. The moon typically occupies 1/2 degree of the sky, so in our spherical coordinates that's 1/720th along the phi-axis and 1/360th along the theta-axis, or roughly 4 chances in a million of striking the moon. The sun has about the same half-degree appearance in the sky, so similar chances of being hit.

Most of space is empty.... hence the name.

### Jobcentre ejects Jedi Knight

#### No, the hoods cannot be taken off.

I distinctly remember all six Star Wars film long, all the jedi had their faces obscured and were talking from under the hood. Definitely never saw faces of any of them. Fact.

### Nikon D3s

#### So the news is...

So there's apparently only 30.000 essentially different pictures that exist in this world?

### 'Health and safety killjoys' kill cheese-rolling race

#### RTFA

It's not like you've read the article, really? Just the title and it's whingeing time. Bla bla bla bla...

The message is feel free to break your legs and/or neck running after some stupid cheese, Health&Safety have no problem with that. You deserve what you get I suppose. It's the 10k too many people invading a village that cause the problem, people that have been turning up only the last few years because of all these "odd news" items about it. A local fete is now just 15000 drunken strangers mulling about.

### Tories on cyber war: Waffle, mutter, waffle. Um, vote for us!

Like "conservative tory party" (what, there's a duplicate progressive one?!) and "Military seekurity intelligence".

### Home Secretary swats away calls for Mosquito ban

#### Brilliant if true.

Does the mobile's speaker output at such frequencies? Would be bad construction.

Just like a phoneline cuts off low frequencies (e.g. cat's purr) as that's mostly background noise.

#### 85% sold in the UK

Because the british hate children: fact.

#### Favourite colour?

Green! Oh ahr no blue! (falls into chasm of doom)

--

The colour question is easily correctly remembered (and hard to guess) if you actually have a favourite colour. For example, #993333 (in HTML) or {.39 .13 .13} (in PSTricks/LaTeX) or whatever. Just use your favourite coordinate system, being RGB, CMYK, HSV, or other, with numbers 0.0--1.0, 0--256, 00--FF, or other. The problem is to invent a favourite colour and stick by it --- probably easiest is the colour code of your car's paint, as needed for small repair jobs.

#### Helps more if you can think

@Alyn: "Aardvark" is bad if you expect a dictionary attack --- and a dictionary attack is exceedingly unlikely (and very stupid) on a "maiden name" question.

Possibly a directory attack there (let's start with Patel and Smith as likeliest surnames) but nobody named Aardvark exists in the UK, and that was the point. Also note the "strange word like" and "or similar" in the sentence, as in "no, mine's not Aardvark but Beerwolf, actually factually".

### Y2.01K hits Garmin satnav

#### On the other hand

Getting to the gully in whiteout conditions would put redundancy into perspective, though. So it's life-affirming, unless deadly.

#### And your proposed alternative is?

Not making downloads available, will that solve the problem? It's not like a GPS works both ways, and Garmin could track you down to personally upgrade your device.

So *if* you know of the problem, it's not that hard to ask an acquaintance with a pc (or visit local library) and search for explanations and hopefully update the problem away --- not using windoze I have to do the same once in a while. The problem is whether you invested in a data cable to make the connection, but once again: it's not like out-of-warranty problems get usually fixed for free, internet or not --- not making things available for free is not a solution.

/I'm dictating this via megaphone, as I also have never been on those intertubewebs.

### Underground mole-satnavs to work off lightning strikes

#### Drowning sharks?

Maybe you've mistaken lovable cetaceans or pinnipeds for evil squaliforms, and stuck your laser to a dolphin or seal, but the idea that sharks are so primitive that they drown if they stop swimming is mostly a myth (as seen from large numbers of sharks sleeping at seabottom, like nurse sharks and wobbegongs etc).

### Zero* welcome for 200 Welsh TV shows - in Wales

#### Community

What?! No! Being fluent in Klingon means self-selecting you out of the regular community, to mutual gain.

It's like the open prison system called academia (where people work on average 59h/week, since decades), 'coz you wouldn't want them running amok in the real world, would you?

#### And holland's even better

(well, little surprise there:) The dutch cyclists' league has a great door-to-door cycle route planner, with choices for touristic or speedy etc. It's based of course on the extensive cycling infrastructure there, with lots of road signs only for bikes: http://www.fietsersbond.nl/fietsrouteplanner/

### Nazi-doodlebug-powered father of all paintball guns patented

#### So you're all thinking inside the wrong box.

Given this is useless in recreational and competitive paintball --- too high fps --- the application lies elsewhere.

Crowd control.

At the point where the police has to fire baton rounds, tear gas and rubber bullets at football hooligans, you know they can limp off acting all innocent bystanderish. With say 400 fps paintball they will limp off clearly marked (maybe give one colour to each police foursome, to help identification). It works both ways, police cannot claim somebody else's fault when an innocent gets hurt, and claiming to have been elsewhere will not work for those hit.

#### Policemen's helmets

I think you'd more rightly blame books in general and PG Woodehouse in particular --- Bertie Wooster stealing these beauties is a recurring theme.

### Mystic Met Office abandons long range forecasts

#### Bring in the frog ponds

Let's get rid of all these pluviometers and tech thingymajiggies. Surround all weather stations with the right combination of frog ponds, rook-and-cone filled pine trees, and sundry other tools, and let the forecasting begin.

Probably quadruples the necessary staff, good news in these times.

### Hacking human gullibility with social penetration

#### I use a similar recipe

You overlook the fact that quite a lot of passwords are limited to some arbitrary length, often 8digits. Meaning you have to vary the "website" part (so you may forget what you did), and the "fixed" part has to be short.

Still, as you use this approach to all sites (from relatively secure well-designed things via the ones that email you your password plaintext to whatever shoddy thing), it's not unthinkable that you get sniffed one or two --- and from that the attacker knows your recipe and can systematically try access to all.

I combine it with a security level system: I trust anyone that I borrow my bike to with my phone as well --- so my numerical bikelock (a wtf in itself) and phone have same access number. So my bank cards and logins have the same password, as they're equally trustworthy; and my computer and email do too. But borrowing my phone (old nokia, has no sensitive info outside phonebook) and my bank access are very different things, so those pass digits are different.

### Naomi Campbell bitchslaps NY limo driver

#### American?

Please look at her full job title, "Streatham clotheshorse".

### Brass necked suspect swallows USB evidence

#### Careful with that argument.

I had a car drive over my foot and nothing happened, no bruises or nothing. So that example is a strawman --- cars have a relatively well-distributed mass (plus suspension), so anything that doesn't stick out too much will remain relatively unharmed.

I agree with the difficulty of breaking the USB stick while semi-supervised though. He should've used an SDcard + adapter, and only try to break the SD.

#### If you're going to quote TSG

Then I'd expect you to report on the vaguely-IT related "programmer masturbates midflight" article from TheSmokingGun. A bit sad the FBI has to spend their time on such cases.

### Forget SETI, this is how you find aliens: Hefty prof speaks

#### Yes.

Even Scott "Dilbert" Adams proposed one of the plans --- he remarked that "junk dna" may contain the creator's signature, so dna based life might turn out to be a show&tell project for some stellar student. [Ok Ok, junk DNA doesn't exist anymore.]

The "beacon" approach seems to suffer from its high success rate --- if it's likely to strike a planet with the signal, it's equally likely to miss the planet hidden behind. [And the gassy giants have a good chance of covering the rocky, inhabited worlds.]

### Woman called Window joins Apple

#### And that surname?

The surname means "cutter" in Dutch (from where it comes), so it's "Window(s) cutter" actually factually.

### Asus goes small on aluminium, big on Bamboo

I'd vote for a four fan system --- two backward for summer (y'know, those 2-3 days without rain in blighty), and two forward for chilly winter days.

### Mozambican goat rapists face shotgun wedding

#### bbc story

I bet the whole "dowry" side comes from reading the "man forced to marry goat" story that's periodically in the BBC news site's top-five most-mailed since about a year or more.

### Jobs: I'll decide what to do with Apple's \$40bn cash pile

#### Why?

Just, why? This post must be telling us something about your psychology, but I'm not convinced any of us wants to know.

### NatWest suffers calamitous online banking breakdown

#### Marketing genius

It's an ingenious idea to claim it's not unresponsive, just a relay delay --- students could use this when finishing time looms.

### Bulgarian airbag absorbs semi-automatic rifle round

#### Yeah but, no but @@mobifan

The point of the (originally silicone, now salt water?) implants is to mimic human tissue. Corrolary: similar resistance etc (but different taste, colour, conductivity, whatever).

Alternatively, 2 birds 1 stone solution: kevlar implants.

### Google execs protest Italian guilty verdicts

#### What on earth are you smoking?

"Start saying trisomy 21 again"?

<wiki>John Langdon Down, the British physician who described the syndrome in 1866. The disorder was identified as a chromosome 21 trisomy by Jérôme Lejeune in 1959. </wiki>

Are you going to tell me people have been saying "trisomy 21" until the late victorian times, when the "Down's" became in vogue? Of all topics to throw a wobbly about, this is far offbeat.

### Google Books loses lions of literature

#### Archer the giant lion?

I once had the misfortune to be stuck in a house with only a short stories collection by the Archer fellow. It's title was wrong, it should have been "plots of movies I've seen," as each of them was a half-assed retelling of a story that was familiar. [Well, I can only vouch for the first few, sometimes boredom is preferable over annoyance.]

### Dell Inspiron Zino HD

#### Comparison time

Come on, where's the river of "Mac is always so overpriced, and luxury brand Dell has now shown how to do the same for a blindingly cheap 20% more" comments? Bet you Mac fanboi editors are hiding them!

### Global warming worst case = Only slight misery increase

#### Nice analysis

And some reported as distorted as the best of what the IPCC has to offer, well done.

The peasants who have it so go are those that are (a) not subsistence farmers by definition [as those cannot sell what they have, higher or lower prices] and (b) oh, not actually those who lost their crops [because someone has to lose their crops for shortages and pricerises to occur].

That added to the obvious observation that the problems lie mostly in the disruption [like the worst famines are not characterized by the least calories available, but by problems in distributing those due to local security situation, typically warlords] as the individuals cannot control timing [what good is a suddenly valuable crop if the neighbours cannot pay for it and you cannot store or transport it].

Another nicely avoided issue is that a change in local climate means a change in optimal local produce/seed type [against local culture/recipes, and against availability]. So even if it gets milder and wetter and theoretically more productive, fat lot of good it does you if your own seed crop becomes useless and you have to import expensive new types of grains [presumably having become useless in a neighbouring zone]. Since it takes a few seasons of underproductivity before you give up on the produce type your family has grown for generations, and choosing an unknown alternative for which you don't have the expertise, even a hypothetical exchanging of locally-obsolete-elsewhere-suddenly-useful seeds will be only on a fraction of the local needs.

### Kipping at your desk is highly productive, say boffins

#### Metaphors and koans

The "inbox" simile seems an awkard updating of the old zen "teacup" story, where you cannot add tea to the cup until you have drained it.

A more appropriate comparison would be, thanks to Tom Lehrer, that the brain "is like a sewer --- what you get out of it depends on what you put into it". But some brains are more like sewers than others.

### Argentinians invade Falkland Islands website

#### Span-yards displacing local populations?

Consider it your own fault: if Spain wasn't so full of british grave dodgers they wouldn't have to.

#### Yes that would

That would indeed be a easy way to do it. The normal approach is to import a vast quantity of your own onto your disputed territory --- say, Han chinese to tibet; but also many regions in france and spain earlier, parts of russia and the baltics, etc etc.

In short, asking the "locals" will not show you who/what's right, but who's locally dominant enough to control the demographics. Which is in itself also some information, as it's a fait accompli usually. But that's the way reality works --- if not, it's all of the USA to the native americans, all of Europe to the Basques probably.

Let's not consider Israel, where your proposed questioning of locals would have given us some different results in 1947.

### Where does Mozilla go when the monopoly witch is dead?

#### Hm... nope you're not

Expressing a coherent opinion with a modicum of logical argumentation means you're not in the astroturf camp. Try again: your options are more CAPS, spurious and hilariously incomprehensible claims (e.g., firefox interface is by default unusable, whereas clearly fantastic experiences follow a browser they stopped development on for years and then took about a decade after opera to copy tabbed browsing), whatever --- be creative!

### New cig peril: Third-hand smoke coats puffers in poison

#### Organic pesticide

Yes, tobacco would be an organic pesticide, but that's backwards to use as an argument: the whole organic thing is fundamentally nonsense. It's some 19th century antroposophy blather, built on the same stable fundament as homeopathy. So even if well-intentioned, the protocol is unscientific (and proudly so).

"If it's from nature, it's OK; if it contains chemicals, it's bad" (what chemicals? Which molecule is free of chemistry?!). Say that loud in the seconds after you've been bitten by a mamba or gaboon viper.

### Jedi chapter seeks leader after master resigns

They're probably calling you sadd, actually.

### Canadian cops taser 'naked and agitated' man

#### "Were obliged"

How so, and not "felt obliged"?

Even if they come to the conclusion they have to do it after following procedures, it's usually an interpretation, as there is enough leeway to use professional judgement.

### OpenOffice is the new David Hasselhoff

#### StarOffice -- an OpenOffice derivative?

Seems the other way around, wasn't SO a Sun product that got opensourced into OO?

### Microsoft kills FAST's Linux and Unix search biz

#### So it's not like internet explorer all over again?

Maybe they realized FAST on Linux is so market-leadingly good that a limit has been reached. MS does not fear the Mozilla's of the search world.

### Bishop Hill: Gonzo science and the Hockey Stick

#### Had the same experience, after starting interestedly.

So the point is that the (frankly stupid-sounding) teleconnections has the word "tele" in it and thus reminds us of telepathy (as clearly the telly and telephone must do to this nonscientist). Genius.

For realists: the teleconnection pattern is the collection of similar consequences of one large scale cause. It's been a cold winter in the south of england, as well as the north of scotland and the bits in between. Oh, and holland, france, germany, italy, etc. So our brave antiestablishment blogger says that anyone observing all trees suffered more this winter than last is a homeopathic nutjob? Genius, nothing more or less.

### Carly Fiorina unleashes 'demon sheep'

#### What does it even mean?

Anyone care to care to explain the line

"... literally set the stage for the decline of California."? What, literally? California's shrunk? Its population fell? What, literally?

### Sony to revamp movie classics for 3D era

#### Good point.

And in deference to our blind brethren we'll outlaw television. And radio with a view (oops) for the deaf.

#### For the mathematically inclined?

Ugh, what an atrocious title: "The Three-Dimensional Matrix".

But everybody knows a 3 (or higher) dimensional matrix is called a tensor, so yes, "The Tensor" with Keanu Reeves I'd go watch.

### Directgov kids' site apes explosive gay porn brand

#### As a Belgian I can see the logic behind it.

Get 'em early, get 'em often, I guess.

### Vodafone Twitterer takes aim at some beaver

#### Greengrocer's apostro'phes'

Should they apologise for their spelling or for the contents, or both separately?