* Posts by Frumious Bandersnatch

2384 posts • joined 8 Nov 2007

Fake news? More like ache news. Grandma, grampa 'more likely' to share made-up articles during US election

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: Look At That Honey - Hillary Has Horns Under Her Fake Hair!

Yeah, but since her horns are actually just compacted hair (like: rhinos; not like: elephants), you're just saying she has hair under her hair. Fake gnus!

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: Made me laugh


Dark matter's such a pushover: Baby stars can shove weird stuff around dwarf galaxies

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

hand-wavy "theory": dimension crunching

I don't know if this has any basis in fact (maybe with superconductors?), but one way that might explain differences between our models of the Universe and observations might be some sort of local dimension lowering in certain systems. Absent singularities, we assume that the stuff of the Universe is smoothly differentiable and works in a field with a fixed, integer dimension number. But what if, when the curvature gradient of the mathematical space exceeds a critical threshold, the smoothness of that part of space breaks down and is replaced by a lower-dimensional lattice plus some effects that can be measured relative to that lattice's natural coordinate system? This would have to happen near a singularity, so perhaps it could be a basis for explaining how cosmic censorship works (nature abhorring naked singularities).

I'm not sure if, mathematically speaking, you can have regular lattices (or non-regular ones like Penrose tilings) embedded in fractal dimensions, but if so, this might offer an alternative place to look for models beyond those that break down by reducing the number of dimensions by an integer. Or perhaps there's an orderly transition process by which the number of dimensions is reduced by a whole number through an intermediate set of fractal-space tilings. Or maybe there's no need for fractal dimensions. If the singularity itself has characteristics of an aperiodic tiling, the breakdown of the "tiling space" of dimension n-1 could be a factor of the existing physical factors that are observable from outside and the size of the tiling space. So this exotic "ice-9" kind of space wouldn't be able to crystallise/convert normal space beyond a critical threshold.

I think that dimension reduction/crunching does seem to take place near black holes, since we appear to go from a 4d field to a system with fewer dimensions (eg, the "surface" of a black hole seems have one less dimension), but the problem which this explanation for more mundane systems is that we don't see singularities everywhere. So unless a kind of spontaneous "crystallisation" of pockets of space happens more commonly than we thing, then it's probably not a good explanation of dark energy/matter. However, maybe this is just an artefact of how we think about coordinate systems and instead of renormalisation in quantum field theory, we should maybe be treating infinities there as geometric objects, such as aperiodic tilings in one dimension lower than the main system, that can interact and evolve with each other in ways that provide an alternative mathematical understanding of the observed facts.

I know that this sounds quite crazy, but at least as an analogy, the idea of crystalline/lattice states isn't too far-fetched, and at least I can propose a concrete mechanism (some gradient metric exceeding a critical threshold) for normal states to spontaneously convert into the exotic state.

Suunto settles scary scuba screwup for $50m: 'Faulty' dive computer hardware and software put explorers in peril

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: not to be unsympelagic, but ...

Probably choose "The Tourist" from "OK Computer" and stick in "Feed The Tree" (Belly) after Grandaddy.

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

not to be unsympelagic, but ...

This whole saga seems ripe for a musical rendition on stage or film...

Thick as a Brick/Aqualung (Jethro Tull)

OK Computer/No Surprises/The Bends (Radiohead)

The Lucky One (Paddy "PADI" Casey)

Broken Household Appliance National Forest (Grandaddy, "The Sophtware Slump")

All Apologies (Nirvana) / The Apologist (R.E.M, "Up")

Scrubtastic end to 2018 as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Arianespace all opt for another day on Earth

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

gotta feel for the

ground crew behind the Chinese launch of that micro drill payload in that secret satellite launch. Why? Because they are obviously missing out on the cultural subtext in the exchange they could have had as they enacted their mission. To wit:

This is not a drill!

This is a drill!

An AI system has just created the most realistic looking photos ever

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

this new CSS file

needs bigger gutters.

The internet is going to hell and its creators want your help fixing it

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Fewer of those guys,

more of Ingelbert Humperdink Doug Engelbart. Any text should attract dissenting markup, with the best-thought-out revisions anchovying immortality.

It's a, it's a, it's a SYN flood: Quick, ditch that packet

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Shareholder fraud

I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to complain about your use of the phrase "from the week that was" as a sub-head for the article insofar as it relates to last week, on account of it seeming to be a deliberate attempt to up it too big.

For fax sake: NHS to be banned from buying archaic copy-flingers

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

I have a cunning plan

All I can say is that it's a good time to invest in the telegram service ...

Official: Voyager 2 is now an interstellar spacecraft

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Voyager 3 message

"The last unstable planet in this region has been neutralised. Nothing to see here, phenomenologically speaking. Please move along. Post addenda under the keyword "leopard" in a filing cabinet in your nearest electrically-deficient disused lavatory. Preferably underground."

Ecuador says 'yes' to Assange 'freedom' deal, but Julian says 'nyet'

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: Double down?

"double down" makes sense. You lose a bet, then place the same bet again... that's doubling down (probably soon to be "doubly" down).

'Say hello to my little vacuum cleaner!' US drug squad puts spycams in cleaner's kit

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Oh, what the hell ...


And why not some intertrepanation while I'm at it (since I mentioned Pi in a recent post):


BOFH: State of a job, eh? Roll the Endless Requests for Further Information protocol

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: Speaking of confusion.....

You're not fooling me, number 6!

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

"Look," the Boss sighs, "I just want to know where this job is at."

"Excuse me, my good man! Around here, we do not end a sentence with a preposition!"

"Oh, all right then. ''Where is this job at, fuckface?''"

Why millions of Brits' mobile phones were knackered on Thursday: An expired Ericsson software certificate

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

I see that...

Softbank in Japan is also experiencing problems, and since it's carrier for many other telcos, lots of similar problems are happening over there, too. Same reason?

Wow, what a lovely early Christmas present for Australians: A crypto-busting super-snoop law passes just in time

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: In other news...

and make both pi and e equal to 3.0.

Well that would save a lot of time.

Awkward... Revealed Facebook emails show plans for data slurping, selling access to addicts' info, crafty PR spinning

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: I give you...

Well, I am the slime from your video...

Thought black holes were donut-shaped? It turns out they're more like deadly fountains

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

I dunno about this report

Seems a bit thin in places.

Doctors join wombats in sh!tting bricks to help parents relax about kids chowing down on Lego

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

no pain like stepping on a D4

I have only one word for you, man: caltrops.

Big data at sea: How the Royal Navy charts the world's oceans

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge


It's funny because "boot" (eg, the film "Das Boot") sounds like "boat" in English. LOL.

Oh, and surly it's "hoved into view?"

(the old heave-ho, eh? I'll get my coat)

New era for Japan, familiar problems: Microsoft withdraws crash-tastic patches

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: year zero , all over again

Or also with a specific Unicode point. For example, 平成 has its own "hangaku" (half-width) rendering that squashes the two characters together: ㍻

I read somewhere (NHK News?) that even getting the new character into the official Unicode list is not trivial and it may not even be possible to complete until a while after. And then, all those OS updates for all those devices out there...

The most pragmatic solution (for programmers and the like) is to just pretend that it's still the 平成 era for a while, then go through a period where these non-existent dates coexist with implementations of the new naming. Quite a lot of work and scope for problems, but not quite as bad as a Y2k-style counter overflow problem.

Behold, the world's most popular programming language – and it is...wait, er, YAML?!?

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

“the good old days”

As a Perl programmer, I've been using YAML since .. forever, it seems. It's "interesting" (for low values, and all) that it's suddenly trendy.

I don't think it's a good language for user-editable config files, though, unless they're quite simple. For a start, I don't think users should be forced to look up syntax rules. Also, I like a config file format that allows comments so that you (or another user) can use to understand what's going on. YAML can have embedded comments, but if you slurp the file and then regenerate a new copy, those comments get lost. Compare this with simple key-value files that you can "source" in bash/sh (so regenerating or updating is just a case of changing specific KEY= lines, and passing everything else, including comments, through) and it's just needlessly adding complexity.

Where YAML shines for me, though, is when it comes to working with complicated data structures. A typical programming task for me is to collect data from some mix of sources (eg, web pages) and pull out salient information for later processing. If I was doing this in a project, my manager would probably ask me to document a schema, create some databases and so on. However, usually I don't know in advance what these schemas might be, so my scripts just evolve, adding new data fields and even entirely new structures as I go. I often add "pointers" (cross-references) from one structure to another. At the end of if, I can just dump all of these structures into a single YAML file.

Later on, I can write a second script that reads that YAML file and creates something more refined out of it, eg, turning it into a proper database, with referential integrity and all that stuff. Or, this being Perl, I can keep the YAML file as a first-class data/object storage format, even embedding it into a library file if I want to. If I ever decide that I want to switch languages, eg writing a C or Python application, I can either use the YAML import features of that language or write a simple code generator to, eg, output a set of literal C structs or whatever.

In summary, YAML is good for sloppy/fast development cycles with quite complex, loosely-defined data schemas, but if it becomes important to impose more structure (eg populating/updating a database with a more rigid schema, or embedding it into some other bit of code), then YAML is still a good stepping stone. Less end user, more rapid development aid.

Japanese cyber security minister 'doesn't know what a USB stick is'

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: He actually sounds...

Not just "theoretical". He did take a few years out of writing to bring us TEX

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

1 dunno

2 dunno

3 unlikely as there is a standard dictionary ordering based on phonetic spelling (A Kat Sat Thinking oN How Many Yakult (are) Rancid for one possible mnemonic)

I'm still a bit concerned about how many textbooks are still out there telling you that you have to learn the word 電報("telegram")

Yikes. UK military looking into building 'fully autonomous' killer drone tech – report

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

war is such a big wheeze, eh?

I'm sure the military are look forward to the droll-out.

Junior dev decides to clear space for brewing boss, doesn't know what 'LDF' is, sooo...

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Call me clueless, but is it

"Latter Day Fail?"

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Thomas Midgley Jr.

Posthumous awards are fine, but they're really just to make us feel good/special/whatever. Wouldn't it be nice if we could also admit that we're often amazingly stupid and doing great harm to ourselves and our planet?

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Hmm. Obviously Isaac Newton

I mean, come on... the cat flap. A work of pure genius... a door within a door!

Roscosmos: An assembly error doomed our Soyuz, but we promise it won't happen again

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Shouldda gone

to Ikea.

Great. Global internet freedoms take another dive as censorship and fake news proliferate

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

You walk into the room

with your pencil in your hand. You see somebody naked and you say "who is that man?" You try so hard, but you don't understand just what you will say when you get home. Because something is happening here, but you don't know what it is.

Pirate radio = drug dealing and municipal broadband is anti-competitive censorship

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge


Hmm. Originally I had complained here that the correct spelling is "O'Reilly". Otherwise it ends up being pronounced as above...

But now that I've looked it up, it appears that that's actually how he spells his name. Must be one of Orreally men.

Erm... what did you say again, dear reader?

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

reminds me of...

old Japanese man ranting about the national public broadcaster (NHK, like BBC) over loan-words entering the language. I did read an article pointing out some good arguments, such as that many of the "native" words he suggested are in fact imports from China, but I can't find it again.

London flatmate (Julian Assange) sues landlord (government of Ecuador) in human rights spat

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

and still, ...

... they come

Hunt for Red Bugtober: US military's weapon systems riddled with security holes – auditors

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

let's make love ...

and listen to death from a bug.

(Cansei de Ser Superior)

US may have by far the world's biggest military budget but it's not showing in security

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Nothing's gonna come of it...

... General GAO's chicken.

(Thank you... besides fortune cookies, I also do Bar Mitzvahs!)

Hunt for Planet X finds yet another planetoid, just not the right one

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: Planet X?

Pluto has never been a friend of Stalin. The pictures prove it.

Holy macaroni! After months of number-crunching, behold the strongest material in the universe: Nuclear pasta

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

I love physics

String theory in particular seems to be a case of "throw it at the wall and see what sticks". (same for dark matter, but I'm not going to root out the wine-dark honeyed centres here—it's a load of Bologne)

(oh, and yea, it was prophesied and so his noodly appendages came to manifest and such)

Where's my hat?

US govt concedes that you can indeed f**k Nazis online: Domain-name swear ban lifted

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge


Skype can now record your 'special moments' in front of the computer

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge


$ echo "Oh please do not touch me" |

perl -nale 'do { print join " ", @F, "\b!"} while pop @F'

Voting machine maker claims vote machine hack-fests a 'green light' for foreign hackers

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: Weasels!

clip clop clip clop ...

Viz Top Tip:

Bang two pistachio shells together to recreate the sound of a really small horse on the cheap.

Fire chief says Verizon throttled department's data in the middle of massive Cali wildfires

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

"appraised them of the situation"

It's "apprised."


Also... "reached out", "going forward", "1/200 or less than", "a mistake in how we communicated with our customer about the terms of its plan".

Only one way to deal with these: kill them with fire. It's the only way to be sure.

Self-driving cars will be safe, we're testing them in a massive AI Sim

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: Mundanity

Pedestrians will still exist. I imagine there will still be cyclists as well.

Pshaw! Not for much longer!

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: L5

And I wonder if we'd be so quick to cut down trees if they screamed? I think we might if they screamed ALL. THE. TIME. FOR. NO. GOOD. REASON.

Google Spectre whizz kicked out of Caesars, blocked from DEF CON over hack 'attack' tweet

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

And cracking jokes comparing burka-wearers

Well, niqab (which is what he meant) but heeeey, The Road to Mandalay!

Space, the final Trump-tier: America to beam up $8bn for Space Force

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Shhh! Keep it on the down-low

<whispers>They're finally building the B-Ark</whispers>

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

A rat done bit my sister Nell

... with Whitey on the moon...

Boffins build a NAZI AI – wait, let's check that... OK, it's a grammar nazi

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

hahahaha... parse this, AI fool!

I like The The. I can say that without a but. Therapy? is more fun, though.

Make Facebook, Twitter, Google et al liable for daft garbage netizens post online – US Senator

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: It's the easy way out...

Oops. I was obviously away with the fairies on that post. I thought I was commenting on this fine article.

Obligatory USA reference

Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

Re: It's the easy way out...

Well, no.

The problems are many, but the main one is that this kind of spread of misinformation falls between the cracks of traditional legislation. The SNS (social networking) companies aren't counted as traditional media, so no count is made of the amount of pound-euro-dollars that are spent on it during political campaigning. That means less accountability and less transparency in what is supposed to be a free vote. We presumably still have those.

The other, related, problem of this "social media as God" (of the gaps) situation is that if we want to regulate it, we quite reasonably want to do so in a way that causes the least amount of harm to the existing body of jurisprudence. That's what the proposal is mainly about: we don't want "proper" reporters (like on this site) to fall foul of new laws, but we do want to clean up the "wild west" situation where actors hide behind a flag of convenience (like "aggregator", "conduit", "advertising agency", "charity", etc.) that shield them from accountability when it comes to spreading political messages for profit and for their own vested interest.

Obviously, drawing a distinction between "proper" journalism and these "bad actors" isn't easy, especially given that much of the legitimate media is increasingly consumed online. Maybe this third class of "media organ" isn't strictly necessary. Maybe we just have to look into tightening up controls on how political funding is reported, which agencies can receive charity status, or improve across-the-board transparency of ownership and funding structures (and not just for political campaigning, though this is an overarching problem that is much more difficult to solve).

On the whole, though, I applaud the thinking of the report. It shouldn't be too hard for legitimate interests to engage in public conversation to explain why they shouldn't be tarred with the same brush as the kinds of bad actors that we know are out there. I think that they would be pushing against an open door with this particular committee/working group, and their public would no doubt also be receptive to arriving at some sort of workable solution.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019