Posts by M. Poolman

101 posts • joined 19 Mar 2007

Meltdown, Spectre: The password theft bugs at the heart of Intel CPUs

What I don't understand

is how, given that this is the result of a flaw at the level of the chip design, how it can affect chips with different architectures. Even if all these chips have speculative execution, surely the in silico implementation must be quite different for the different chips?

Cloud-building alien space rays altered Earth's climate – boffins

Re: In what universe is this hard science?

I think that that is a rather simplistic view of the way in which scientific ideas develop. The reality is more nuanced, and indeed the authors of the paper state that:

"The mechanism could therefore be a natural explanation for the observed correlations between past climate variations and cosmic rays, modulated by either solar activity or caused by supernova activity..."

Furthermore, there was a degree of hypothesis testing. The authors, after having used some nifty mathematical modelling, raised the hypothesis that cosmic rays could increase the size of cloud condensation nucleii, and tested this experimentally, and in doing so failed to disprove the hypothesis.

Very few things are absolutely (dis)provable in science: hypothesis are put forward, tested and evidence accumulated. This leads to a "best current view" of the world, although what "best" is is rarely uncontentious, and most scientists would anyway acknowledge that their "best current view" is a best incomplete, and very likely incorrect in some aspects.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the data centre temp's delightful

That's rock and/or roll for you!

Probably best not to turn all of them up to 11. Flames, obviously.

FCC douses America's net neutrality in gas, tosses over a lit match

Re: Black arm bands for everyone

OK you got there first - have an upvote!

Re: Black arm bands for everyone

May I be the 93rd person to point out ...

"Imagine if in the plain old telephone days that AT&T owned a share of Pizza Hut. They easily could have blocked all phone calls going to Dominos or even rerouted them to Pizza Hut."

Funnily enough, it was almost exactly that scenario that led to autoamtion of telephone exchanges in the first place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strowger_switch

Amazing how what goes around comes around (with maybe a few extra clicks and beeps)

Baaa-d moooo-ve: Debian Linux depicts intimate cow-sheep action in ASCII artwork

Re: Hmm

Well I've looked hard but can't see anything, go on give us another clue!

Intel's super-secret Management Engine firmware now glimpsed, fingered via USB

Re: Tanenbaum?

Me too! Obviously a few commentards of a certain age on here.

I often think Andrew Tannenbaum is one of the most overlooked pioneers in computing history and deserves a lot more credit than he gets. IIRC correctly, he never really "got" the open source thing until much too late and MINIX had been eclipsed by Linux.

Anyway, I'll raise a glass to him

Ubuntu 17.10: We're coming GNOME! Plenty that's Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails

Re: Ch-Ch-Changes

You sure do live up to your name bombastic bob!

Hipster disruptor? Never trust a well-groomed caveman with your clams

Re: Turtlenecks, boybeards...

The Bible also mentions people living hundreds of years - like Methuselah at 956 years.

New testamant, written mainly in Latin and Greek: 3 score + 10 or if you're lucky 4 score.

Old testamant, written in ancient Hebrew: 956 for Methusala etc. Almost certainly mistranslation/misunderstanding by translaters whose knowledge of Latin and Greek was better than Hebrew.

Lenovo spits out retro ThinkPads for iconic laptop's 25th birthday

Re: And the best Retro bit is...?

" All Linux is "PROPER"!

Unless it's been infected with systemd that is... "

Yes of course, absolutely, have a thumbs up. It's something that I tend subconciously blank out and hope it will one day go away.

Re: And the best Retro bit is...?

"put a PROPER linux on it?"

Whadya talkin bout? All Linux is "PROPER"!

Ex-Harrods IT man cleared of stealing company issued laptop

Re: Eh? "it has his National Insurance number on it"

Erm, I think you'll find that HR and/or payroll very likely know your NI number already (how else does your NI get paid?).

Biochem boffins win the Nobel Prize for cryo-electron microscopy

Re: really?

Beat me to it!

Dimensions of proteins are at the nm level, human hair is about 100 um: a difference in scale about 10^5! C'mon el Reg. we expect better of you!

UK Prime Minister calls on internet big beasts to 'auto-takedown' terror pages within 2 HOURS

Obviously this is very much "Oh god think of the children!" territory, buuut...

I don't think that's an unreasonable point of view.

Firstly the technical difficulty doesn't absolve the big social media players from all responsibility for what is put out on their systems. In any event, solving difficult technical problems is supposed to be their forte.

I'm also not entirely convinced about the level of difficulty involved (although IANAE): YT and FB both have "no pron" policies, and it's hard to find much on those platforms (or so I'm told).

Python explosion blamed on pandas

Re: Execution speed...

@ BeakUpBottom (At some point ...)

That is an example of the social problem I mentioned. When I teach short course to non-programmers (for very secific tasks), the first thing I say is along the lines of "you will be learning to use a programming language, but this is NOT going to turn you into programmers" (and repeat several times thereafter!)

Re: Execution speed...

is it a "game changer"?

For me absolutely, for at least a dozen reasons, including resource management, the ability to use it interactively and the fact that you can easily interface to C (or other low level language) libraries. Although it's probably true that there's nothing you can do in python that couldn't be done in C, and the C would ultimately run faster, the development time in python is orders of magnitude faster, which in a scientific, especially research, context is far more important. Consider, for exanple, some real world data set which could be represented by nested dictionaries in which keys can either be real numbers or strings. This is trivial in python and can be taught to science students without a programming background, doing it in C would probably be a 2nd year undergraduate programming exercise.

Yes, there are potential drawbacks to Python, but in my view they are mainly social (untrained people tend to try run before they can walk), not technical

Hurricane Irma imperils first ever SpaceX shuttle launch: US military's secret squirrel X-37B

Re: Re. storms (can hurricanes be diverted)

DDT applied to that bloody butterfly?

Re: 2017 Year of the Linux Desktop

Do any come with a choice of systemd or not ?

I don't know, but Qt based desktops might well make it easier to get away from systemd. Gnome depends on it but Qt doesnt (iirc),

Slower US F-35A purchases piles $27bn onto total fighter jet bill Why 'so-called "escort" warships' ? They are escort ships, pure and simple. This isn't ISIS we're talking about ! DUP site crashes after UK general election Re: Conservatives + DUP = IRA? It's not all the nasty foreigners that means a hard brexit will lead to a hard border, it's smuggling. If there's a difference between tax regimes between NI and Eire, then the one or other govt will have to prevent tax avoidance by imposing import duties. People not wanting to pay them (or see a lucrative opportunity selling duty-free imports on the other side of the border) will simply avoid the official border posts, if the soft border remains. A hard border was a massive bone of contention in the bad old days and did a lot to fuel the violence. Please don't let's go back there. Paxo trashes privacy, social media and fake news at Infosec 2017 Re: Mind slip Yeah, but don't you just wish that a politician, ANY politician, would be so honest as to say "I don't know", instead of a) bulshitting, b) attacking the questioner, c) change the subject, d) trot out whatever bit of propganda they had come emit regardless? (Thumbs up to Paxo as well as the OP) VW's first US settlement nearly settled Dieselgate Please, please, pretty please with sprinkles on the top, It's been >40 years since Watergate, and appending "gate" onto anything describing some piece of political and/or corporate naughtiness is not big and its not clever: it's simply lazy and unimaginative to the nth degree. Here endeth this evenings rant. Softbank promises stronger ARM: Greater overseas reach and double the UK jobs Re: A week is a long time in politics Well yes, it has happened many times before, but the UK aviation industry in 1945 had been driven by, thankfully, unusual circumstances for the preceding 6 years. UK's climate change dept abolished, but 'smart meters and all our policies strong as ever' we are forced either to read it ourselves (and I can't for the life of me get it right) And yet you post on ElReg? Microsoft open-sources Sora software-defined radio Quick question How does this offering differ from the gnuradio sdr software in terms of capabilities offered to the end user? Is it essentially the same or something different altogether? I'm thinking of getting into sdr so I'm quite interested to know. Please don't reply if you simply want to start yet another utterly boring and pointless MS v Linux trollfest. Mighty CHASMS, craters FOUND ON MOON of Pluto This rock is anything BUT lifeless Is somebody _really_ suggesting that Charon has a teeming and vibrant community of little green men/women (other colours and genders may also be available) ? PLUTO SPACE WHALE starts to give up its secrets And another thing Photography by the moonlight of Charon?! Awesome, maximum respec ! Great, one of my favourite tunes of all time. I can hear Maggie Reilly's voice even as I type. Airbus warns of software bug in A400M transport planes Re: Fail Safe? May I suggest if ( statements = contradictory ) then System.Alarm := True if not airborne then Engine.Active := False; endif ; endif: if ( fire_status = burning ) then System.FireAlarm := True if airborne then AskPilotWhatToDo(InCaseOf = EngineFire) ; endif; endif; Cyber-scum deface Nazi concentration camp memorial website Re: Que? @ Martin Gregorie Spot on! I was going to post pretty much the same. I've been lucky enough travel to India as part of my job over several years and the impressions I get of the legacy of the British Empire is pretty much the same as yours. Many aspects of the Indian system are directly modeled on those of the UK, and the fact that these were retained after independence says it all. You could also mentioned the educations system! Sysadmins, patch now: HTTP 'pings of death' are spewing across web to kill Windows servers @ Destroy All Monsters There might of been a point in there which might have been worth thinking about. Shame you put it in such a way as to ensure that the people who had most to learn from it will completely ignore your comment and think that such mindless trolling is the way to discuss technical problems. GLOWING TAMPONS hold the key to ending pollution Re: Why use tampons? Sea water analysis is done microbiologically, which takes several days and can't be done in the field. This sounds like a quick, convenient and cheap alternative, although probably not very quantitative. 'Utterly unusable' MS Word dumped by SciFi author Charles Stross Re: Content and Style LaTeX + subversion does the trick for me. Both have a steep learning curve, but once you're past it all the problems associated with pinging word processor files between machines and co authors is a thing of the past. Some enlightened publishers even supply the appropriate LaTeX style file, what more could you ask for? Lenovo shipped lappies with man-in-the-middle ad/mal/bloatware Re: I Wonder @ OP Just what I was going to say but you got there first. I've had thinkpads for years now and always been satisfied with them. First thing I do is zap any preinstalled OS and stick Linux (other operating systems are available). Mozilla's Flash-killer 'Shumway' appears in Firefox nightlies Scylla and Charybdis That's a bit high-brow for a red top news site! Computers know you better than your friends Re: I know what I like Have an upvote from another old Genesis fan! Icelandic brewers knock up whale 'nad beer Re: Trolls Yeah, Trolls are a big thing in Iceland, which by a funny coincidence is also host to the worlds only Phallological museum (http://phallus.is) CURSE YOU, 'streaming' music services! I want a bloody CD Icon Says it all. I'd add a beer and thimbs up as well if could. Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole In the interest of fairness I should make clear that the BBC report I heard didn't actually mention Ebola, but the breathless excitement with which they described the (potential) impact of the "shellshock virus" might lead one to think that the two were comparable. It's getting worse According to the BBC R4 news it's not just a vulnerability - it's a virus, and judging by the report only slightly less serious than Ebola. 'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux Re: A little help required from somebody with a better memory ... Multiple work spaces (or screens - the concept was pretty similar) were built in, not a third party add-on, at least on the later (A1200ish) amiga models. I seem to remember that it wasn't as easy to jump between as it was on various *nix systems that followed. Don't panic! Japan to send nuke fuel rod into MELTDOWN in Fukushima probe Technical question To achieve meltdown you must first achieve critical mass, and a single fuel rod is much too small. Can anyone explain ? Los Angeles' weather is just like Mordor, says Brit climate prof Re: Don't think we need a spare planet Earth (@ NomNomNom @ AC) "If the hypothesis is that increase in atmospheric CO2 causes increase in temperature (the Anthropogenic Global Warming Hypothesis) and temperature fails to increase (over 17 years) despite a continuing increase in CO2, then the hypothesis is falsified*." No, because you won't know what would have happened had CO2 remained constant. This is one reason why there's so much interest in modelling. The fact that it's not testable is absolutely not to refute or support the notion. Personally I think that not turning as much fossil carbon into CO2 as quickly as possible is a rather sensible idea. Re: @ NomNomNom @ AC "That is a grotesque oversimplification of Popper." Grotesque is a value judgement, but of course it's a simplification - what do you expect - a 4000 word dissertation complete with references ? "There is no requirement that the theory as a whole must be abandoned the second a contradictory piece of evidence is found" Please distinguish theory from hypothesis. "Congratulations, you have just asserted that astronomy, evolution, paleontology, and every other science which cares about past events, is not science at all." Please re-read the relevant para in my orginal postg. Re: @ NomNomNom @ AC Popper's philosphy was that to count as scientific, then a _hypothesis_ must be _falsifiable_. A hypothesis cannot be proved correct, we can only fail to disprove it. For example, I might propose, on the basis of any, or no, evidence whatsoever, that gene X influences phenotype Y. This is still a falsifiable hypothesis, because assuming I (or anyone else) can knock out gene X we can determine whether or not phenotype Y has changed. In this sense (and this sense only) most hypotheses about climate change are not scientific, it is not possible to perform an experiment whose result would falsify the hypothesis (e.g.) increased atmospheric CO2 will lead to an increase in global temperature (amongs many other things, we don'y have a spare planet earth to try it out on). The same general problem applies to many other areas study (Anthropolgy, Archeaology and Astronomy all spring to mind). Whether or not we reject anything not meeting these rather stringent criteria is a matter of debate, but I find the idea a useful mental tool to asses exactly how useful a given piece of work might be. Re: WTF (@TheOldGuy) I dunno, ask him, or maybe write an indignant letter to the universtiy authorities and/or the Daily Mail. On the matter of shooting down Amazon delivery drones with shotguns Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives... The new Robot Wars - in glorious 3D ! (seriously beeb, have a think about it) 'Ultimate nerd chick’ prompts C64 clone cancellation Mutant Camels on the Starboard Bow All very strange. Guy seeks$150k but admits "he lacks the technical skill to design and build the machine," - what could possibly go wrong ?

And why does anyone want such things ? I (I'm sure like many Vulturistas of a certain age) cut my teeth on a C64, and I have fond memories of it. It's still in my loft, but for some strange reason I can't be arsed to fire it up. What I really would like to see, is some of the genuinely innovative ideas around at the time (ask SID about the title), implemented on modern platforms.

Mind how you go

Brit horologist hammers out ‘first’ ATOMIC-POWERED watch

Re: I happen to have experience transporting radioactive material across international borders.

I had a couple of those key-rings, both now sadly defunct. Could El Reg do them again ?

Hardware hacker unifies 15 retro consoles in format frenzy

Re: As an American...

"what is this Scart cable you speak of?"

what is this Scart cable \emph{of which you speak} ?

Yeah, the asbestos coated one thanks.