* Posts by Holtsmark

101 posts • joined 7 Jul 2008


UK spy overseer: Snooper's Charter cockups are still getting innocents arrested


Re: re: Well it clearly hasn't made a jot of real world difference so far,

I seem to recall that X stopped a number of versions of Y not long before Y decided to get out of underneath X. Currently going through #3blokes in a pub . Scary stuff you are heading towards..



at least there is the ECJ to keep overly snooping-friendly lawmakers under control,



See you in April!

Hubble 'scope camera breaks down amid US govt shutdown, forcing boffins to fix it for free


Re: How many Shuttles could have been kept operative..

Thumbs up for "Riding Rockets".

My copy was recursively lent out, and endet up in the hands of a NASA engineer who knew most of the characters in the book personally. After falling of the chair laughing, this guy then ended up buying 10 copies to give to all of his friends in NASA.

A VERY worthwhile read.

(Oh.. and DID get my copy back in the end)

It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update


Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

In my eyes, the Gimp UI is not a problem. I am still loosing the toolboxes every now and then, but otherwise the menu's do what they say that they do, inclunding the opening of new toolboxes.

Gimp covers all my personal and professional needs for bitmap processing (including website work).

Expanding my free toolbox, Inkscape covers all vector graphics needs, including backporting pdf's to dxf for import into CAD (reverse engineering parts that do not come with a 3d model).

Libre Office writer is good enough to handle large technical documents including operating manuals with very complex page numbering (LO-Calc remains lacklustre).

If you want a horrible UI, then go look at Blender3d. All other programs (except, maybe dwarf fortress) pale in comparison. This is a pity, since the program itself is getting mighty powerfull. (I work in CAD on a daily basis and I used to handle 3dsMAX in various versions, so it is not a matter of not knowing 3d),

What a flap: SIM swiped from slain stork's GPS tracker used to rack up $2,700 phone bill


Trust me, they are aware of it.

However, having an unfortunate El-Reg hack locked up in the Tower of London is not something that they wish to be known to a wider audience.

Shared, not stirred: GCHQ chief says Europe needs British spies


Re: The EU does not need NOR want anything to do with 5 Eyes

"....who we've beaten twice in a World War already....."

The UK not being forced to surrender was very much due to circumstance (that you happend to have the English channel between you and the German Panzers) and lots of help from other countries and / or the people of these countries who were your allies or became so in order to conquer the Axis powers.

Fighterpilots from all european nations (and even some US volunteers) helped win the battle of britain.

Norway, who were then the world's 4th largest shipping nation, sacrificed it's mercant fleet in order to keep the UK supplied during it's darkest hours, Resistance fighters all over Europe kept the UK updated, often loosing their lives in Gestapo torture chambers for dong so.

Reading Brexiteers pulling put WW2 and animosity to Germany as a reason / backdrop for their phobies is sad, because it is plain out wrong. WW2 was wan through European cooperation, and the EU was born out of this.

The UK is not so unique, it is just another nation that has succumbed to the echo-chambers that modern connectivity has created. I dearly hope that we will all learn to deal with this problem, and that the world can return to some degree of normality after this decade of self-induced extremism.

First A380 flown in anger to be broken up for parts


Re: This underlines one more thing

To my understanding, two things put the brakes on the A380: ETOPS and NEO.

New ETOPS rules (Engine Turns Or Passengers Swim), originating (who would have guessed) from the USA led to a lot of new competition that the A380 had not been designed to deal with. NEO led to savings making these competitors being cost competitive. On top of it, there are not enough airports with the infrastructure required to handle the A380 efficiently.

An A380 NEO might change the picture.

Oddly enough, when a Tesla accelerates at a barrier, someone dies: Autopilot report lands


Re: After the last childish outburst...

"Those who are still there don't see you as a person. You're just more meat for the system."

-I feel sorry for you and the healthcare system that you are in.

I know plenty of extremely experienced doctors who continue to care for their patients as people throughout their career. That they will have sleepless nights due to their work is clear, but they deal with it.

At the same time, there are clearly some fields of medical work, where patient death occurs more often (with or without the intervention of a doctor). Not everyone can continue to function in these fields, however, there are enough "safe" fields that one can move to if it gets too much..

I see a satellite of a man ... Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, that's now 4 sats fit to go


Growth rates

A high growth rate is easier to acheive if you start from a low number than when you starting-point has centuries of growth behind it.

A high growth rate is also hard to consolidate with stringent safety-, environmental- and labor-rules.

Freed of all of these, both the EU and the UK could much more easily acheive growth numbers similar to those acheived in Asia today. However; Is this a rabbit hole that we WANT to enter?

I have so far been under the impression that NHS at al is something that the UK wants to keep?

US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – to 144 years


Re: Copyright, Patents all screwed.

But here comes the BIG issue:

A patent can be extended to around 20 years (depending on country) after FILING.

This means that ground breaking expensive new technologies that need time to reach market maturity often runs out of patent time before it earns any money, while the rhythmic moaning of some idiot who can not hold a tone without massive computer filtering is protected for all eternity.

It is definitely time to release the mouse.

45-day drone flights? You are like a little baby. How about a full YEAR?


Re: Why just police?

With this kind of payload mass and flying at these altitudes, this system is designed to carry communication equipment and little else. Fast communications / internet with no ground infrastructure is the goal. Earth observation payloads (visible light, hyper spectral, radar, lidar) are too heavy, and cloud cover will often obscure the line of sight (except for Radar).

If the goal had been surveillance, then the system would have ended up looking a lot more like the U2.

Fancy owning a two-seat Second World War Messerschmitt fighter?


Re: joke

Q: What is the title of the world`s thinnest book?

A: "Swedish war heroes" (Alternative: "Highlights of Dutch cuisine")

Q: How do you sink a Swedish battleship?

A: You put it to sea (Vasa anyone?)

Q: How do you sink a Swedish submarine?

A: You dive down and knock on the hatch. They will promptly open it to see who is there.

Q: How do you sink that same submarine again?

A: You dive down and knock on the hatch. They will open a window to tell you that they will not fall for that trick twice.

..Now guess which side of the No/Se border I am from :)


Re: question

"....and one nice straight run over Trumps next Inauguration...*"

Do not forget that he has now instructed the pentagon to arrange a military parade.

During a parade, it is common to have all parading personnel face the dictator as they march past. It is just a matter of convincing the great orange one that this includes all tank turrets as well...

Long haul flights on a one-aisle plane? Airbus thinks you’re up for it


Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

So you were the /%$/&&(/ that without warning rammed your seat into my knees and kept it there for 8 hours straight?

I am tall and mainly legs -this was not my choise. I barely fit into exonomy -but I often do not have a choice. However, once you ram your seat back, I WILL be in pain. And reclining my own seat does not help. Therefore: Please check behind you before insisting on your "rights". You might even consider skipping being an inconsiderate $§"$% once or twice.

US govt shutdown lobs spanner in SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch


Re: Long live marketing

And when do you expect the next Energia or Saturn V launch to take place?

Twitter breaks bad news to 677,775 twits: You were duped by Russia


Re: Is there any evidence...

If you do not believe that the Russians carry guilt in the shooting down of MH17, then you are doing the victims of that autrocity a disservice. Whether the INTENDED to is another matter.

Airbus warns it could quit A380 production


Re: Spaceplane carrier

"No idea, why don't you ask Richard Branson why the f**k he commissioned White Knights One and Two? It obviously wasn't to launch SpaceShips One and Two"

...And strangely enough they desided to drop the rocket/spaceplane DOWN at launch, rather than carry it on top and hope it will not touch something important before it starts to climb.

PiggyBack spaceplanes are a way to TRANSPORT a spaceplane from one site to another, not for launching (SR 71 /D21 excluded for good reasons).

So WHY do you wish to carry a spaceplane on top of an A380 again?


Re: Spaceplane carrier

And WHY exactly do you wish to carry a spaceplane?


I doubt Berlin will pick up that much traffic.

Frankfurt is much more centrally located in Germany, allowing for decent travel by ICE to numerous cities surrounding it.


Re: single-engine A350 ...

The professional term is ETOPS:

Engine Turns Or Passengers Swim


Re: 380b?

What they need is an A380 NEO.

The New Engine Option led to savings in fuel consumption that made the extra outlay for the A380 uneconomical.

Getting ultra high bypass engines (maybe with geared fans) onto the A380 as well as the other aerodynamic refinements that made the NEO such a hit would make the A380 competitive again. The question is: Will it be sufficiently competitive to pay back the investment?

I am convinced that they are crunching numbers in Toulouse and Hamburg.

Time's up: Grace period for Germany's internet hate speech law ends



The way I understand this new law, it is NOT about going after the posters themselves, but rather to hold the "publishers" of said posts accountable for them. The idea appears to be to apply similar rules to the publishers as the rules that currently apply to newspapers (if you earn your living from publishing falsehoods and hate speech, then we will hold you economically accountable for this). I know that this may sound strange to an English public, that knows nothing but newspapers publishing lies and falsehoods with no repercussions, but this is how things are dealt with in the rest of the western world.

Seeing the amount of damage done by "social media" lately, I believe that I can live with this.

Without the echo-chamber of today's internet, I believe self-radicalisation to be much less likely, possibly preventing types like mr. Brevik from being triggered. It is, as always, a fine balance, and Germany is struggling to find it.

That said, I feel that there is a somewhat unsavory tendency in German politics to try to use the law to go after perceived nazism. They spent decades trying to get the NPD, and now they use similar tactics against the AFD. The efforts against the NPD were squashed in courts multiple times due to incompatibility with the constitution (too many informers inside the NPD).

In one way, German politicians are stuck between a rock and a hard place. With Germany's past, theyy face criticism when they are lenient with right wing demagogery, and they face criticism when they try to do something about it.

Russia could chop vital undersea web cables, warns Brit military chief


Re: Is Russia just a threat because Hillary lost the election ?

Dear Naive,

please do not turn the Register into the commenzs section for a BBB article about Brexit.

The amount of anti-German xenophobia displayed in those comments is horrifying.

Mrs. Merkel took steps that she believed to be the right ones at a time when the EU borders were buckling, very much as a consequence of failed anglo-american policies in the middle east (iraq war etc...).

This did not leadt to optimal results, but the alternative might have been much worse.

(I am personally critical to unrestricted immigration, but a number of the stories I hear from these people are truly heartbreaking).

Germany now faces the big and difficult task trying to integrate these people. In this, it should not be forgotten that Germany has had to integrate huge numbers before; Peopleb(many of them Jewish) fleeing from the Soviet Union between the wars (which led to sentiments reflected in the UK today), 12 Million Germans fleeing from the Russians in 1945 to 1950 and 1.4 million "German"-Russians after the fall of the wall. Germany also had to refurbish and re-integrate all of East Germany in the same period. Hearing the british complain about having too many Polish plumbers and Romanian field workers is ridiculous.

While WW2 is very much celebrated in the US and the UK, Germany has all thoughts about empire building very much bombed out of them. To the Germans, the British were seen as a sane partner nation, that could serve as a counterweight to the French. How this is currently misrepresented in the UK is quite sad.

And myself; I am neither German nor British, and I live the productive life of an immigrant.

Elon Musk finally admits Tesla is building its own custom AI chips


Re: @AC

"Take the Hyperloop. Has no one spotted the massive amounts of rust which you can see forming on the inside of the currently build test track? Every time a reporter films and gives you a shot of the inside then you can see it for yourself. That's not an example of good engineering and it can cause many problems in the future, but it seems no one cares."

-If I build a quick and dirty concept demonstrator (and I often do.. sometimes even in LEGO), I do not bother with corrosion protection unless this has direct impact on the concept that I am demonstrating.

The hyperloop tube itself will require serious engineering. Engineering the hyperloop tunnel BEFORE engineering the hyperloop capsule is what leads to engineering marvels like the F35 and the Space shuttle.

Teensy weensy space shuttle flies and lands


Re: Back to my childhood...

The similiarity is no coincidence:


See my earlier posts on the lifting body program


Re: AC and the Yak

It was a series of aircraft.

The first one was built by NASA scientists in their spare time. Apparently quite a few of them were building their own aircraft on hobby basis.

As the program moved on, the basic shape aquired a flat under surface with delta wing and long chin strakes https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/images/299259main_EC75-4643_full.jpg

Looks familiar doesnt it?

Following the evolution of aircraft design can be quite facinating.

For example the offspring of TA183 can be all over the world. amazingly the Saab Tunnan is the one that got closest to the original design, apparently because the Swedish were most adept at reading german technical documentation on it's original language.


Re: Actually not much like the Shuttle at all

"Of course, the idea of a lifting body space plane isn't a US invention, it is a copy of an idea the Russians were trialling in the 1980s."

If the Russians played with lifting bodies in the eighties, then THEY were the copyycats.

"The original idea of lifting bodies was conceived about 1957 by Dr. Alfred J. Eggers Jr., then the assistant director for Research and Development Analysis and Planning at what later became the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA"

"In 1962, FRC Director Paul Bikle approved a program to build a lightweight, unpowered lifting body as a prototype to flight test the wingless concept. Construction was completed in 1963"


All this research made it possible to create the DreamChaser without having to spend large amounts of money on aerodynamic research. Basically they picked up a dropped NASA project,

Metal 3D printing at 100 times the speed and a twentieth of the cost


Problems to overcome

I can believe that it is possible to print metal in new ways that allow for reduced cost or higher speed.

I also know that quite good yield stress (arond 1000 MPa) can be obtained in 3d printed steel. However, I have not heard of these printed materials also having good fatigue resistance (please correct me if I am wrong). Until fatigue is solved, I fear that 3d printed parts will remain difficult to use in high performance machines like the jet-engine mentioned in the article.

Also; part warping appears to be a problem with (some) free-standing thin walled structures

Still, I would love to be able to engineed high resolution 3d printed parts that are strong, fatigue resistant and liquid/gas-tight.

Giza geezers' muon-geyser visor reveals Great Pyramid's hidden void surpriser


Re: Do things the hard way...

Nope, you just need to know where to buy one.


Using on-board low power illumination and the night vision camera, it us much easier to fully explore a large void as the one detected, than it is to use an endoscope.

Having seen one in action, I must say that this is a serious piece of equipment, not comparable to a $20 toy from China.

Jeff Bezos fires off a blue dart, singes Elon Musk and SpaceX


Re: Cool! Calor gas rocket!

Sorry, but a pulse jet is, as the name implies, a very basic JET engine.

A jet engine uses atmospheric oxygen as oxydizer, a rocket engine uses on-board oxydizer.

Yes, British F-35 engines must be sent to Turkey for overhaul


If you turn the aircraft upside down, the air flowing over the upper (formerly lower) surface of the wing will still flow faster. This can be acheived by most airfoils (including a flat plate) by adjusting the angle of attack properly (point the nose of the aircraft somewhat upwards). If memory serves me right, approximately 2/3 of the lift is generated by suction over the upper surface (air flowing faster than ambient airflow) and 1/3 by overpressure (air moving slower than ambient airflow) over the lower surface. This again varies with the airfoil in use.

EasyJet: We'll have electric airliners within the next decade


Re: Well....

For self launching gliders, where the mission requires relatively much power (in glider terms), but not much energy (just enough to get up into thermals, and then some to get home after you screwed up), electric propulsion beats infernal combustion today (even with regards to aircraft empty weight). HOWEVER, the energy density of today's batteries is two orders of magnitude less than hydrocarbons.

Anybody who projects battery powered airliners in the relatively near future either does not know what he or she is talking about, or has the need for some positive (although gullible) press. (for example, Boeing hyped the Sonic Cruiser when Airbus was about to roll out the A380)

What can be expected is varying degrees of hybridization, where energy production can take place on one location, while the propulsors are distributed where it is aerodyynamically advantageous.

So: Expect battery electric sailplanes, aerobatic machines, initial trainers, and maybe even intra city hoppers to dominate the future. Everything else needs a different energy storage solution.

and Keith.. try to guess what I do for a living :)..

VW engineer sent to the clink for three years for emissions-busting code


Re: Code of Ethics

"one is a fraud perpetuated against the public globally that, by the way, will kill far more people than nuclear weapons ever have."

..I assume that you are talking about the high frequency trader here right?

(Powerty is a real killer)

Linus Torvalds pens vintage 'f*cking' rant at kernel dev's 'utter BS'


I personally believe that the author of this article could not care less about whether Mr. Torvalds should swear or not. The thread got him yet another article written, and by adding some criticism of Mr. Torvalds, we commentares spend hours debating the issue (which equals even more advertisements seen by those without ad-blockers). An otherwise utterly boring kernel development thread is so turned into cash. An obvious win-win situation that ensures that we will continue to see articles of this type for years to come.

New work: Algorithms to give self-driving cars 'impulsive' human 'ethics'


The problem with your logic is that the car that pulls out from a turning on your side of the road is NOT an immovable wall. It is all about the energy that needs to be dissapated in the crash.

Your car: E=m*V^2

Other car on the road: E=m*V^2

Car on side of road (very low speed): E=m*0^2

Thus hitting the car on the side of the road means that half the energy must be distributed over both vehicles, when compared to impacting the one in the opposite direction.

Rather than giving the cars knowledge of ethics, I'd prefer the car is given knowledge about physics.

Lots of energy can be dissapated in controlled crunching and spinning, rather than into acceleration of meatbags.

Bonkers call to boycott Raspberry Pi Foundation over 'gay agenda'


Re: W, as the young people say these days, TF?

..not behind closed doors, but between frames.

These old cartoons run at only 24 fps. That (inter)leaves a lot of time for stuff unseen by mankind.

French general accused of nicking fast jet for weekend trips to the Sun


Re: The silver Spitfire

He should have picked the Spit. Would be worth £ 1-2 million today.


Re: Silver Spitfire

Good book,

I just wish it will be made into a blockbuster one day. Show BOTH sides in a more balanced light. Attacking a bomber group must have taken just as much balls / suffering as attacking with a bomber group.

Black Helicopters

Before everybody goes all judgemental, it COULD be that he flew the jets on his free time in order to keep current on fast jets while spending all his professional time flying a desk at headquarters.

Compared to frontline jets, a jet trainer has relatively low flight costs. Arranging the refueling stops on a training mission to coincide with something pleasurable is an old international airforce tradition. It is all a matter of avoiding excesses.

The helicopter? Well.. it is on a training mission to Isle of Wight

US Air Force resumes F-35A flights despite not knowing why pilot oxygen systems failed


Re: Easy solution

The problem is that Hypoxia is a sneaky bastard.

A typical sign of hypoxia is that you start thinking that everything is great.

Typical symptoms are singing out loud and giggling away because everything is funny.

Often it is the wingman that detects the hypoxia first (slurred speech etc). There are numerous accounts of wingmen having to work hard to convince the victim of hypoxia to do something about the problem (fly lower). -There are also enough accounts of the affected aircraft just suddenly doing a wingover and heading straight down to terra-firma.

I suspect that this is one of those failure-chain situations where more data are needed to find the root cause.

While hypoxia will not occur at lower altitude, the system failure might, and added sensor data can then help to solve the problem. Flight testing is all about finding the UGH-known.

SpaceX wows world with a ho-hum launch of a reused rocket, landing it on a tiny boring barge


Re: Amazing

The problem is that the fastest way to make a small fortune in aerospace is starting with a big one.

The amount of turnover required in order to make a small profit is staggering, and billionaires got to be billionaires by watching their money. What is needed as a billionaire with enough drive to overlook the abovementioned problem, preferring to enjoy the ride for what it is worth.

Aerospace is an industry full of people with too much love for their wonderful art.


SpaceX blasts back into the rocket trucking business


Re: Launches already are routine and garner no mention in the press

I do :)

Now, my work is located at the end of taxiway Hotel, and it involves making some quite interesting flying hardware. In my spare time I fly model aircraft, and I like to read aviation themed books. This may not be the norm..

..But doing this, I have seen a formation of six A10s performing low-passes in front of the tower, 747s performing touch and go's in rainy conditions (big wingtip vortices visible), an AN225 landing, and later taking off, a Polikarpov I-16 (Rata) doing it's thing, and a Porsche 918 Spyder racing a Zivko Edge 540 V3 while the camera helicopter performed pirouettes in order to capture everything (just to mention some highlights).


Chinese hackers switch tactics for spying on Russian jet makers


Not often mentioned when F35 cost- and schedule- overruns are mentioned:


CBI: Brexit Britain needs a 'sensible and flexible' immigration programme


Re: @ Holtsmark

"This used to mean something in world trade when tariffs were large but that is the old world which the EU was built for. However world trade has moved on and we really do trade globally to the benefit of all who participate."

This is only the case if all players play by the rules.

Regrettably, there is at least ine BIG world actor who prefer not to do so, and I am pretty sure that this has helped us into the situation where we are now.

Have you tried to set up a business in China lately.


Re: @ Holtsmark

"Iceland abandoned the EU joining effort and got a trade agreement with China. The EU with the core 'competency' of trade negotiation has yet to achieve it. In leaving the EU it is possible the UK could have such a trade deal before the EU."

Comparing the detailed needs of a trade deal for Iceland with the needs for a trade deal for UK or EU, one will most likely find that the former is much more easy to define (much smaller and less distributed economy). Especially if one does not have the power backing to force consessions from the opponent.

In the same way, that it now will be easy for the UK to get a fast trade deal with both the EU and China. Getting GOOD deals will most likely be another matter.


I believe that a mayor problem with much of the western world economical problems stem from a big trade deficit with China (and to some degree with oil-producig middle east nations).

EU is one way to gain sufficient power to negotiate with China on more equal terms. This being the "wall towards the rest of the world" mentioned by a previous poster. How dumping EU in order to negotiate with the rest of the world, including China, alone is supposed to improve on this situation is an open question. to me.

As an outsider, I also have trouble with understanding what was so "extra bad" about UKs position in the EU. Many of the issues brought up (lack of democratic control etc), seem to be the result of decades of the UK dragging their heels, and much of the blame for the economic situation since 2008 must be put in the lap of the UK, which together with the US pushed through a de-regulation which led straight to the collapse, and to the EU (and especially Germany) having to support weaker nations like Greece with quite extraordinary sums of money.

The UK is squandering quite a lot of international goodwill with their posturing and behaviour, and a sentiment of "good riddance" can quite easily be generated this way. There appears to be much less worry about the future of the EU, than there is about the future of the UK.

Microsoft Germany says Windows 7 already unfit for business users


Re: Enough Whining.

The problem is that Microsoft skipped Windows 9

Geo-boffins say 'quake lifted bits of New Zealand by 8 metres, moved at 3km/second


Re: So how was New Zealand created?

Having experienced one in Santiago (Chile), I found the sound of that particular quake to be very close to the initial scene in Independence day, where the alien spaceship passes over the moon, and trembles obliterate the Apollo 11 Footprint.

It was not a very strong quake, and people went back to bed once the car-alarms had been had been switched off

World's shortest international flight: now just 21km in 7 minutes


Friedrichshafen IS the base of the Zeppelin operation.

Somewhere I have a nice picture of a Zeppelin NT in Friedrichshafen, moored at the nose while the rest of the vehicle experiences an updraft. Somewhat reminisent of this image: http://flashbak.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/PA-8678069.jpg (SFW)

As for short flights; Luxair flies Luxembourg-Saarbrücken-Hamburg.

The Luxembourg-Saarbrücken stretch only lasts a few minutes. The goal is off course to cover both Luxembourg-Hamburg and Saarbrücken-Hamburg. Nobody flies Luxembourg-Saarbrücken, although, coming from Hamburg, a couple of Luxemburgers tend to exit in Saarbrücken by mistake. The crew has gotten very good at rounding up these somewhat sheepish looking passengers, and herding them back into the aircraft.

Possible reprieve for the venerable A-10 Warthog


In the gulf war, A10s performed multiple missions, attack (A) and reckonnosance (R) missions were multiple. One shot down an Iraqi chopper (F), and finally, they performed wild weasel missions as well. By the end of the war, they were running out of letters to add before the -10, much to the chagrin of the F16 squadron that they were sharing base with.


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