* Posts by Christoph

2786 posts • joined 24 Dec 2007

Drama as boffins claim to reach the Holy Grail of superconductivity

Christoph
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Re: Extraordinary claims—

"delivery of vast power from far away, e.g. from solar concentrators in the Sahara to Europe"

Which would make all those barren stretches of Sahara desert suddenly extremely valuable. Which would promptly provoke robust discussions as to who owned them. (Hint: Not the people who actually live there.)

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When's a backdoor not a backdoor? When the Oz government says it isn't

Christoph
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" the powers would only be invoked for “serious crimes” involving sentences of three years or greater."

And we know that they will stick to those limitations, because?

If nobody is allowed to know what they are doing because any whistle-blower gets a 5 year sentence, then they will misuse it. Any time some group gets completely unsupervised power, it gets misused.

This is well known - the Snowden revelations showed that security agencies go way past what they are theoretically allowed to do as a matter of routine every day operation.

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Bank on it: It's either legal to port-scan someone without consent or it's not, fumes researcher

Christoph
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So will they have no objection if I run a full penetration test suite on their site to make sure they are secure enough for me to consider becoming a customer?

Oh, and I'd like to check that they can cope with a DDOS attack so I don't lose access if someone attacks them.

For Security, you know.

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Has El Reg been hacked?

Christoph
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Has El Reg been hacked?

I've just had a spam to the email address I used to sign up to The Register - an address which I created for just that purpose and have not used anywhere else.

(And no, while it's not massively complex like the one I use for my bank, it's not one that could be found by chance).

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Grad sends warning to manager: Be nice to our kit and it'll be nice to you

Christoph
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Sometimes it's the user

Physicist Wolfgang Pauli could break equipment simply by being in the same room. Or even by happening to be changing trains at the local railway station. See 'Pauli effect'.

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Build your own NASA space rover: Here are the DIY JPL blueprints

Christoph
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Alien

Re: Optional...

Add the Infra-Red laser (aka Heat Ray) from the Curiosity rover.

Then take it for a drive on Horsell Common.

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Hey, don't route the messenger! Telegram redirected through Iran by baffling BGP leak

Christoph
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Re: Backronym alert

Or the Power PC opcode EIEIO

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

Christoph
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"making AI algorithms subject to verification and transparency;"

That will ban very large numbers of algorithms which simply cannot be verified - they've been generated by evolving, on an enormous data set.

You might be able to test them for built in bias (though you have to suspect it before you can test for it) but you can't verify them or explain how they work.

Whether banning such algorithms is a good thing is a different question.

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Early experiment in mass email ends with mad dash across office to unplug mail gateway

Christoph
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I've heard of a US tourist asking the way to Key-app-siddy. While already standing on Cheapside.

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Well, well, well. Crime does pay: Ransomware creeps let off with community service

Christoph
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"be confident that not only will the decryption tool appear"

Unless you get one of the really nasty ones which generate a new key for each victim and discard that key after a certain time.

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Sad Nav: How a cheap GPS spoofer gizmo can tell drivers to get lost

Christoph
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Re: Luckily

"Real men navigate with a lode stone, feldspar crystal and a cross staff."

Real men navigate with a bulldozer. There will be a road there!

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Christoph
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Re: To be honest

A friend woke up one morning to find that according to his satnav his house was doing several hundred miles an hour across the North Sea. Though that was the morning after the 9/11 attack so probably intentional scrambling.

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Salesforce ‘Einstein’ now smart enough for customer service

Christoph
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"those people quickly tire of dealing with grumpy customers and leave in droves."

Possibly they also tire of lousy working conditions. Of having to exactly follow a script no matter how obviously inappropriate it is. Of not being allowed to put the phone down on an abusive customer. Of having all their calls monitored and being bollocked for any trace of human reaction rather than robotic rules following.

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Open plan offices flop – you talk less, IM more, if forced to flee a cubicle

Christoph
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One thing the story doesn't mention

is what the peasants workers thought about it. Cranking up the theoretical efficiency a couple of points is bloody stupid if staff morale plummets.

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Imagine a patent on organizing computer files being used against online shopping sites. Oh, it's still happening

Christoph
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It goes back further than that

You don't even need a computer - you can select all the punched cards which have a particular hole punched in them. By electronic read, or simply sticking a rod through.

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Science! Luminescent nanocrystals could lead to multi-PB optical discs

Christoph
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I'd expect that there would be a lot of feedback involved in the positioning. Given the quantities involved you could use something that would otherwise be far too expensive. For instance, given the insane accuracy in gravitational wave detectors, you might be able to make something similar but far cruder that would be affordable in massive quantities. (And given the rate of increase in stored data, the quantities would be massive!)

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Universe slipped Milky Way a sausage galaxy to grow a big belly bulge

Christoph
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But was it

inna bun?

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US Declaration of Independence labeled hate speech by Facebook bots

Christoph
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"the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions"

And guess who they learnt that from? The colonists not only massacred whole tribes, they deliberately spread lethal diseases.

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UK.gov IT projects that are failing: Verify. Border control. 4G for blue-light services. We can go on

Christoph
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Don't worry, the government reckon that they have very nearly agreed on what their negotiating position with the EU will be. Probably.

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CIMON says: Say hello to your new AI pal-bot, space station 'nauts

Christoph
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Does it have a Genuine People Personality?

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Labour MP pushing to slip 6-hour limit to kill illegal online content into counter-terror bill

Christoph
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Wait until this is all settled in with a fixed time limit in which they have to respond. Then organise a mass reporting where huge numbers of bots make near-simultaneous reports of different items. What are they supposed to do, other than simply delete every single reported item without checking it?

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Christoph
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Re: Who decides what is illegal?

"The defence that Google, FB and the rest put up is that there's so much content that they couldn't possibly be proactive and therefore it's too hard and they can't do it. No other industry gets away with that approach and neither should Google, FB, etc."

Have you actually looked at how many people would need to be employed full time to watch every video uploaded to YouTube?

I had a quick google, and what seems to be a recent estimate says that 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

So you would need 18,000 people full time doing nothing else. At least 3 shifts a day. Weekends. Holidays. And how long could anyone stay doing that job? So you'd need constant replacements.

You'd need people who understood all the languages being spoken, including colloquialisms.

Then you've got all the other social media.

It is impossible.

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A volt out of the blue: Phone batteries reveal what you typed and read

Christoph
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"surely you would have better options than the battery, like maybe the screen?"

If it's a replaceable battery it only takes a few seconds to switch. It's trivial compared to replacing the screen. Always carry a burner phone when visiting the USA, and maybe put identifying marks on the battery so you can tell if it's been swapped..

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National ID cards might not mean much when up against incompetence of the UK Home Office

Christoph
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Of course National ID cards are the answer

When the Blairites were pushing ID cards they repeatedly made it abundantly clear that National ID cards were the answer.

No matter what the question, no matter if it had anything whatever to do with ID, no matter how ludicrous it obviously was, the problem could be solved with National ID cards.

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ICANN pays to push Whois case to European Court of Justice

Christoph
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This one could run and run

Are they trying to outdo the SCO / Linux case for extended legal farting about?

Or are they trying to outdo Jarndyce v. Jarndyce?

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... Aaaand that's a fifth Brit Army Watchkeeper drone to crash in Wales

Christoph
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" The MoD tried to hush those crashes up, saying nothing publicly until the news accidentally leaked at a defence trade show."

So that's five crashes that we know about so far, plus an unknown number of other crashes that haven't yet leaked.

Perhaps they should patch out the lithobraking option in the software.

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No fandango for you: EU boots UK off Galileo satellite project

Christoph
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That's terrible - we've insisted that we leave the EU and get rid of it completely, and now they're not letting us say "Ah, except these bits here that we want to keep".

Anyone would think that they're negotiating on their own behalf instead of trying to give the UK whatever it wants in the best possible deal even at great cost to themselves. How dare they - bloody foreigners!

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Crappy IoT on the high seas: Holes punched in hull of maritime security

Christoph
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Re: mV^2

Now hack a ship in the Thames estuary and send it on a collision course with the Richard Montgomery

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Christoph
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"an attacker could change the rudder command by modifying a GPS autopilot command "

Set command to "Left hand down a bit".

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NHS England fingered over failure to forward patient correspondence

Christoph
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"However, as the Capita contract did not include redirecting correspondence, all such material arriving at Capita was stored, but not processed."

They just bunged it in a cupboard and didn't bother to tell anyone about the problem?

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UK military may recruit wheezy, alcoholic keyboard warriors

Christoph
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But can you join the military if you've been convicted for littering?

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RoboCop-ter: Boffins build drone to pinpoint brutal thugs in crowds

Christoph
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Re: I'm wondering

"The 5.9% ambiguity won't matter in situations like this."

"Kill them all. God will sort them out."

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No lie-in this morning? Thank the Moon's gravitational pull

Christoph
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Re: How large of a tide would that have been?

Tidal force varies as inverse cube. I make it 5618 times bigger.

248,548 / 13,981 is 17.7775552535584. Cubed is 5618.444709444143.

That's a big tide. That's a super-tsunami.

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Boffins quietly cheering possible discovery of new fundamental particle: Sterile neutrino

Christoph
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"The sterile neutrino would support the “neutrinos have mass” hypothesis, partly because they only interact with the rest of the universe via gravity – and gravity only acts on mass."

Gravity acts on light, which is massless but has energy - so would also act on massless neutrinos.

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Capture your late-night handbrake turns with this 'autonomous' car-chasing camera drone

Christoph
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Re: Stalker's wet dream

Not just famous person lots of ordinary people get stalked.

Or follow spouse / girl/boyfriend around if you suspect them of cheating or want to control them.

Lots of nasty possibilities.

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Law forcing Feds to get warrants for email slurping is sneaked into US military budget

Christoph
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Re: It makes no sense

The 4th is dead. The Police can steal your property at whim as 'Civil Forfeiture'. "Oh, we're not taking your property - we're claiming that your property committed a crime, and taking it from you".

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Cold call bosses could be forced to cough up under new rules

Christoph
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How about just make it a criminal offence.

Only a very minor criminal offence of course, with only a very minor punishment.

One day of imprisonment.

For each and every separate offence - i.e. for each phone call.

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'Incomprehensible failure' – Canada's $1bn Phoenix payroll IT fiasco torched by auditors

Christoph
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Re: Ouch

I was once involved in specing a computer system for a department of about 15 people, all in one large office. We got everyone together to sort out what the new system would do to replace the current method of working.

It emerged from that meeting that nobody in the office actually knew exactly how the current system worked.

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Beardy Branson: Wacky hyperloop tube maglev cheaper than railways

Christoph
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A terrorist bomb anywhere is going to make a nasty mess.

A terrorist bomb releases the energy of its explosives. A terrorist bomb that wrecks the maglev suspension or the vacuum seal as a train is passing also releases the kinetic energy of the train. Which at those speeds and at that mass is enormously greater than any reasonable terrorist bomb.

Think of the damage done at Lockerbie for instance - the ground damage was not from the bomb at all, it was from the crashing plane.

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Christoph
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650 mph train in a vacuum tube hundreds of miles long. How big a terrorist bomb placed anywhere along the route would be needed to make a very nasty mess? They might even be able to trigger it from vibrations in the tube so it goes off just as the train is passing?

Or a time bomb on board? You'll end up with a security delay before boarding that wipes out the time gained by the extra speed.

If it goes off while the train is in a built up area the results would be appalling - a train masses much more than an aircraft, and at that kind of speed has a huge amount of kinetic energy.

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US-China trade war is back on: White House repeats threat to tax Middle Kingdom imports

Christoph
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"China's favoring of its own companies over foreign firms"

Which the US would of course never ever do. Well, except for the endless stream of "America First!" pronunciations from trump specifically stating that he will favour US firms over foreign firms.

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Ongoing game of Galileo chicken goes up a notch as the UK talks refunds

Christoph
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If the EU doesn't cave in and do exactly what we want

We'll thcream and we'll thcream until we're thick!

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Church of England will commune with God for you via Amazon's Echo

Christoph
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Alexa, is there a God?

Yes, now there is a God

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Top UK court to rule whether 4.5m Brit iPhone fanbois can sue Google over cookies

Christoph
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"The latter’s website declares that they have “a market leading track record of generating superior returns for investors” by funding lawsuits in the UK, continental Europe and the US."

The courts are supposed to be there to right or compensate for wrongs, not to provide returns on investments!

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FBI's flawed phone tally blamed on programming error. 7,800 unbreakable mobes? Er, um...

Christoph
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The headline scary number is still too big

Just because they can't unlock those phones doesn't mean that they all have useful information on them that can't be found any other way. They are still pushing the number as high as they can.

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'Facebook takes data from my phone – but I don't have an account!'

Christoph
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"Facebook insisted to The Register that no personal info is being trafficked, only things like the operating system version and device type that Facebook uses to keep the app updated."

If the app is installed it will automatically update itself to the latest version.

"By having Facebook apps pre-installed, we ensure people have the latest version of the application installed on their device"

They have to have the app pre-installed as that's the only way they can be sure it's the latest version.

Would Zuckerberg care to explain the direct contradiction between those two?

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Undocumented alien caught stealing orbits in our Solar System

Christoph
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Would it be possible to get to a retrograde orbit with a very close pass of Jupiter? Possibly multiple passes, possibly including Saturn passes as well?

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UK Home Office hands Sopra Steria £91m digital visa contract

Christoph
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Re: Its just not right

"I fully expect a flood of down votes from the remoaners, but this is about moving forward, making the best out of it. Doing what's best for the country despite leaving the EU."

So in this wonderful non-EU future we will be "making the best of it" "despite leaving the EU".

Really? This is the best you can say, that if we struggle hard it might not be quite so bad?

And you dare to whinge about 'remoaners'?

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Flamin' Nora! Brit firefighters tackle blazing fly-tipped boat

Christoph
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Viking Funeral?

Did they look round for any burly chaps with horns on their helmets?

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NASA fix for Curiosity rovers's damaged drill: hitting it, repeatedly

Christoph
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Re: The proverbial television repairman.

Same trick on my old half-timbered Morris. If the motor dies, thump the fuel pump to jar the sticking contacts loose.

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