* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

US eco watchdog's shock warning: Fresh engine pollution cheatware tests coming

Tom 13

@ Neil Barnes Re: Laws broken ??

The EPA standards and testing are rife with problems. There have been numerous objections to the "you may assume frictionless spherical horses" aspects of the testing and even more objections to the "you may assume we will find a source of unicorn farts" to their standards setting.

Tom 13

Re: Curious, how were the estimates made?

The same questionable way they were made when the impossible standards were set.

Tom 13

Re: Excessive fines?

Depending on emissions, diesel cars sold in the US earned tax credits for purchasers in 2009 and 2010, both years subject to the recall. Even at $500 with standard interest and penalties that's going to be a fair chunk of change just to address that fraud.

Knowingly exceeding the limits puts you in increased damages. And if you are assigning fines on a per instance basis, those numbers are going to get big very, very quickly. Especially with interest if you are applying it from the time the violation occurred as opposed to the time it was discovered.

It strikes me that the only way VW and the rest of the car companies manage this, is charging that the EPA standards were set without regard to what is possible.

Tom 13

Re: Not gonna happen...

As I noted above, gaming is to be expected when the tests are set without reference to actual engineering possibilities.

Tom 13

Re: If a set of metrics are developed

All true but there's another aspect of this the enviroweenies don't want to talk about. The EPA in the US (and I suspect their cousins in other countries) didn't give a damn about the physics and engineering when they developed their metrics. They picked a number out of the air based on questionable research and assumed that some inventor somewhere on the planet was going to develop a way to meet the standard that was also going to meet their increasingly stringent MPG (or KPG for their cousins) standards.

The odds of cheating occurring go up in direct proportion to the impossibility of the task.

Hilton hotels in credit-card-stealing malware infection scare

Tom 13

Re: Common theme

Yes and no. Part of the difficulty is that most chains like this are franchise operations so you wind up with a hybrid of conhugecom-mom&pop. So some of the corp IT types probably get the security. Whether they can effectively communicate that to the bean counters is a different question, but there are better odds they can win over the bean counters than getting mom and pop who own the local franchise to properly understand what has to be done.

Ex-HP boss and US prez wannabe Carly sings about her dog on TV

Tom 13


The ones who will vote for her only care about her sex organs. They still think $Hrillary is going to win on the Demoncrat side so Carly is their only chance. Sadly, this thinking is even more prevalent on the Demoncrat side.

Tom 13

Re: (I like their printers, though.)

I use to, but she pretty much ruined those too at least from a business perspective. For a business you want consistency. A couple years after the Compaq merger I was yelling at my boss for buying so God Damn many different printer types and blowing up any chance we had at properly maintaining toner inventory. He answered he tried to buy the same model, but they changed every 6 months. He said if I could find models that the toners matched what we were already buying, he'd get those. But he was right, they changed their models too quickly.

Global warming stopped in 1998? No it didn't. If you say that, you're going to prison

Tom 13

Re: *NOT* having hiatuseses

We've flipped the coin 20 times and each time it came up tails. According to the Warm Mongers, the probability it will come up tails is less than 25%. So either the probabilities on the coin are wrong, or you've had an exceptionally long run of bad luck.

Tom 13

Re: Oh no not again...

And you go and prove his point in your post.

All the models assume solar output is constant. It isn't. And it despite denials from the Warm Mongers, it's variance matches well with the variance in temperature. Could there be other subtle effects within it? Sure, but given that the sun accounts for 90%, the flim-flamery of the warmist camp is obvious.

Tom 13

Re: The more I know, the less I am sure of.

Buying a house at the top of a decent sized hill is ALWAYS a good idea. Even if sea level isn't rising, there's the occasional flood. And even if you are lucky enough to not have a flood, it's still the better position from which to throw rocks or whatever.

There's never been enough data to back up their claims for one very good reason: to make a claim you need a baseline. They've never had a real baseline. The last ice age allegedly ended about 12,000 years ago and started 110,000 years ago and thought to have been the last event in a 2 million year cycle of such events. Even if you assumed our earliest records were as complete and good as our current ones, that gets you maybe 400 years of data. That means at best we've got 3.3% of a baseline, more likely 0.36% of one. That's not enough to calculate a baseline.

Neither is your assertion that "anything you can do to cut down on pollution is good" true. If you kill 1 million people in London it will obviously reduce pollution a fair chunk. I wouldn't call that good under any circumstances. I think I understand what you were trying to say, but that wasn't what you wrote. It is in that ambiguity that charlatans thrive.

Tom 13

Re: luminaries of AGW have little if any statistical or computational training.

Some do, some don't. With the vast quantities of data they have to toss around some of them have to be competent or they wouldn't get anything at all out the other end. The more substantial problem to my mind has always been that as this is a real world system, so you can't (as my college physics text book did) allow the assumption that horses are perfect frictionless spheres for purposes of the calculation.

Tom 13

Re: I hope they are ready...

In its infancy? It hasn't even risen to the level of alchemy yet although it does seem to share that lead to gold obsession.

Tom 13

Re: to not trust the scientific establishment

The scientific establishment is never to be trusted. They tend to be a bunch of fuddy-duddies trusting to yesterday's bone throwing prognostications.

The scientific method is quite another story. And if "Climate Scientists" ever actually engage in writing a scientific paper in which lays out both their scientific methods and data (as in raw plus corrections and the precise reasons for the corrections) then I shall consider what they say.

Tom 13

Re: Interesting law to apply

As Lewis noted in his bootnote, a RICO investigation might actually be in order. It is just that the people who need to be investigated are the ones calling the most loudly for others to be investigated.

AWS outage knocks Amazon, Netflix, Tinder and IMDb in MEGA data collapse

Tom 13

Re: Unpopular though I'm going to be for it

If your own infrastructure is unstable, the cloud is not going to help.

Tom 13

Re: Eggs

Om letting that alone.

Don't bother buying computers for schools, says OECD report

Tom 13

Re: marginally less effective as someone who learned it by rote

Nope. The guy who learned it by rote is always going to be more effective for precisely the reason that he understands what he is doing as opposed to using the magic "abracadabera" word to get things done.

In point of fact a friend who was over for gaming night proved you wrong this past weekend. He was reviewing some code were the original programmers did some quick Google lookups then wrote the program. My friend is a math major. He couldn't tell WTF they wrote, so he derived the equations himself. His code required about 20 fewer operations to generate the answer. Given a typical process run starts with 10 or 20 gigs of data and generates 10 times that in output, and the whole process will ingest a petabyte of data, this is a significant improvement.

Tom 13

Re: The three R's

I had a similar though about El Reg's headline. If you haven't taught them the basics by 15, they're already lost.

That's about the age I was when I WAS introduced to my first real computer. Having the basics allowed me to use it to explore new ideas. Sometimes a better PC was cool. One of my friends had an Apple IIe with a good graphics display. We used it to run the actual plots of the Sin Theta/Theta curve. Cool. Because of that I have this vivid image in my mind and I know it goes to 1 even if I couldn't always recall the proof.

Tom 13

Re: this opinion is not very popular.

Correct ones so rarely are.

Tom 13

Re: The mentioned Pentium4 systems

Best computer for learning programming at that age?

I'd stand by the venerable Radio Shack/Tandy TRS-80 Model III or IV, except of course they are out of business. I'm sure many of you would prefer the venerable Sinclair.

It came up to the basic programming prompt on a b&w screen. You had to type in the program yourself, debug it, and get it to run right. Simple things like running a grocery tab. My foray into the depths of programming was inspired by more aforementioned Probability and Statistics teacher's favorite bar bet: How many people do you need in a bar before you have a better than 50% chance they were born on the same day of the year (month and day)? It's a hell of a lot lower than most people think, so it can be an easy way to make money if you can get people to take the bet. So I wanted to run a statistical sample to see how high I could get before you got two. (I don't think I ever got above 40.) Then it changed into a variation on playing craps where re-rolled numbers didn't count and you were looking to see how many rolls it took to reach an end condition. That in turn morphed into writing a black jack program (which I never quite got working right because of a problem working splits, but the edge cases [3 or 4 splits in one hand] were so rare it didn't really affect playability).

Tom 13

Re: training and employing more teachers.

That's not the answer either, at least not in the US and probably not in the UK which for all the differences, I expect have largely similar systems even though we tend to emphasize the differences. The problem is the quality of the teachers. I was smarter than at least half my teachers in school and could run circles around them pretty much whenever I wanted to. Some of them were downright worthless like my astronomy teacher (who was otherwise a good friend from other activities) or counterproductive like my chemistry and physics teachers. In all my years, I only had one outstanding teacher, ironically in my worst subject: mathematics. He left teaching for administrative work the year I graduated. He should have had another 20 good years of teaching kids geometry and probability and statistics. He also introduced me to computer programming. Yes, some of the reason he left was money. With two kids going to college, his expenses were headed up dramatically. But more of it came down to the classes he taught. The last time I saw him he said to me: "Tom, some of the classes like yours I really enjoyed teaching. But typically half of them, I feel like a machine up here. Maybe the faces change a bit, but they're interchangeable and not interested in learning." He felt he needed to get out before he became a bad teacher.

Full disclosure: as what was termed an Honors student in my school, I generally had the best teachers available in the school. You know the old joke about half of them are dumber than average? Yeah, my teachers were in the top 10%.

DMCA takedown bots must respect 'fair use' of copyright – US appeals court

Tom 13

Re: Fair use?

Universal actually had the rights.

Tom 13

Re: currently known as "Who?"

Not at all. The Who are actually a decent group.

Tom 13

Re: Prince

Yes but only until his exclusive contract with whichever pigopolist it was expired. As soon as the exclusivity expired, he went back to being Prince.

Yep the whole damn thing was just two wankers proving who was the bigger wanker.

Tom 13

Re: So, they can have a battery of servers running DMCA bots searching for infringing content...

Oh, I expect a fleshie did review it when they got the notice it was being contested. I expect the problem is the fleshie was even more of an automaton than the computer was.

Given the number of appeals, 9 years is about what I'd expect. It's also one of the big problems with our legal system at the moment. The problem is, for as much as loser pays sounds good in a case like this, the deck is so stacked against the little guy that such a proposal would likely feed the trolls instead of deterring them.

Tom 13

Re: Automated takedown notices...

No, with the proliferation of actual infringement I don't have a problem with automated systems for the initial notice. The problem is that as soon as the ISP/website/poster objects, it needs to turn into something that involves people who aren't function the same way the automated notice was issued. But I also think the use of automated notices should open the people who use such systems to more serious damages if they are found to have poorly implemented tests for fair use. That is, if the automated notice is found to be in error, ALL notices sent by the system should be null and void and the company should have to pay the costs of correcting the problem including damages to EVERYBODY who was adversely affected.

If I read correctly, the earlier proceedings did issue an award. I do think the court erred in NOT mandating the award be paid immediately or at least bonded over to the plaintiff.

Tom 13

Re: has been given a big boost in a decision

Meh. Not so much.

That's the problem with being the most overturned Appeals Court in the land. Even when you render a good decision, your history makes your decision suspect.

I have to say that seeing it was Prince behind this, I can't say I'm surprised. For someone who fought the pigopolists so viciously, he's turned into quite the pigopolist himself.

Doctor Who returns to our screens next week – so, WHO is the worst Time Lord of them all?

Tom 13

OK, I've played the game El REg set for us,

but the truth was spoken by the Brigadier:

"Splendid fellows, all of you."

Tom 13

Re: stereotyping/typecasting has happened subsequent to that


For many years Baker was quite bitter about the whole thing. He couldn't get cast as anything BUT another Dr. Who type character. It is why they pulled footage from old shoots to trap him in some sort of anomaly in The Five Doctors. He refused to come in to shoot new scenes lest he become even more trapped in the role.

Tom 13

Re: have you actually watched all the Tom Baker stuff?



And honestly, some of the cheesy special effects are what are so endearing. Including the bit where they keep running down the same stairwell in one of the chase scenes and he makes a joke about it.

Tom 13

Re: Tom Baker knock-offs

I have no idea what parallel world you fell out of, but please go directly back to it.

Much of the criticism Davidson takes is because the Bebe tried to go exactly opposite of what Baker was doing. Both Eccleston an Smith have stated that they were looking to pre-Baker Doctors for some of the inspiration and mannerisms of their doctors.

Tom 13

Re: have the sonic screwdriver banned

I concur that the sonic needs to go back to being the sonic instead of the ex machina Tool. Having watched the episode in which it was introduced, it was cool. I can even buy off on it opening mechanical locks by finding the right frequency. But this tricorder in a round thing with Treknology sensors plus stunner mode has got to go.

Tom 13

Re: Sylvester McCoy

Don't forget the shite technical support including sound.

Tom 13

Re: and maniacal eyes!

Have you seen him as Rasputin in the 1971 Nicholas and Alexandra?

He was wonderful.

Tom 13

Re: decided to make his persona as obnoxious as possible.

Yes, that was a mistake. Which if you skip a year and come back they sanded down quite a bit. Oddly enough they seem to have repeated the mistake with Capaldi. It will be interesting to see if they sand him down a bit this season.

Tom 13


I loved her. She made a perfect counterpoint to the Doctor. One of the things I liked about her was that she stopped with constant screaming girl in distress syndrome that plagued the show. Yes, I like Sarah Jane too, but she screamed way too often. More in fact than many of the earlier companions. Once she started it lasted through Perry. So Ace was a very nice change.

Tom 13

Has to be McGann

Anybody who can't last past a pilot for an established show with a huge audience is the worst.

When it comes to the guys who've played the role on the BBC, I actually like all of them. I probably cut McCoy a bit more slack than most people do, but it seems obvious to me that the BBC was actively trying to kill the show when he was the Doc. The Happiness patrol is the episode where this is most on display. The most awful thing about that episode is the soundtrack, and that's all down to the technical team, not the actor or the script writers. It is so awful that without a script synopsis I'd have no idea what the episode was about.

As for the current Doc, I'm withholding my verdict. Yes, the scripts have been lousy, and I'm starting to dislike the show. But that's not Capaldi and I'm not even sure it's the script writers although they shoulder some of the blame. I think that all comes down to the Director. Or maybe the Bebe is once again trying to kill the show.

Half the Fanbois in your office are unpatched ATTACK VECTORS

Tom 13

Re: why all the Apple bashing.

I didn't take the article as Apple bashing, more corporate PHB bashing.

As for the comments, well you get that sort of backdraft when the first post is from a FANBOI who can't read.

Tom 13

Re: A sort of glass half full vs a glass half empty

Does it really matter when you're drinking hemlock?

Excellus healthcare hack puts 10m Americans at risk of identity theft

Tom 13

Re: It's Queen time...

And here I was thinking the tag line was going to be

"Off with her its head!"

As McAfee runs for US President – we ask a crucial question: Will Reg readers back him?

Tom 13

Nope, you missed the most important question of all

Will John McAfee release his REAL birth certificate?

If not, he cannot run.

Dog walkers, the San Andreas fault ... and the storage industry

Tom 13

Re: moving data is very painful and expensive.

Then you're doing it wrong. That scenario follows naturally for small shops where you can normally buy 5+ years of storage when you install the new storage system. They learn all those lesson, then have 5 years to forget them.

The reality is you have to keep moving data storage. I have a friend who works in a place that should have known better, but they archived data off onto 3.5 inch floppies back in the day. Data was small (less than half a floppy), floppies were cheap, and everybody had always used floppy disk drives. Ten years later when they tried to read the data it was gone. Millions of dollars worth of research and they've lost the data. If you aren't constantly migrating your data to active, redundant storage, you will eventually lose it. Maybe Software Defined storage helps that. If it does, more power to it. But my experience is that every time you obscure the inner workings of something, you set yourself up for failure.

British killer robot takes out two Britons in Syria strike

Tom 13

Re: "police and security services...

It's not a strawman argument if it is true. All the previous disclosures of how we tracked what the terrorists were doing resulted in them modifying what they were doing so we could no longer use those means to track them.

You may not LIKE the fact that your strawman argument weakens your government's ability to protect you, but that does not affect its truthfulness. Yes, your demands are traitorous no matter how reasonable you believe they are.

Tom 13

Re: So they knew what he was planning

Not necessarily. The action might have been taken on the basis that they had rooted those people out and were now following them, so he was no longer necessary to not kill them. Or it could have been another large scale assault on multiple civilian targets was imminent and the only way to stop it was to kill them quickly before they could get the plan in action.

Since the intelligence reports haven't been released you can't make any solid assumptions, only lots of flights of fancy. The only thing we know for sure is two evil guys are dead.

Tom 13

Re: Ah, so there was due process

Given their activities, no due process is required. Whether or not the UK has declared war, THEY are engaged in acts of war against the UK, and acts of the most heinous sort. They are therefore legitimate targets for the military to take out. When the Norks bump a fighter jet in international airspace, that fighter jet is allowed to shoot it down. Usually the politicians go yellow and don't do what they should, which only encourages more such activity until you finally do have a real war.

Tom 13

Re: It requires a declaration of war and authorization of use of military power

This is a lie and you are a fool to believe it.

It was a nicety in the days of horses and swords and lasted through the use of muskets and even early rifles. It was mortally wounded with the Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor in WW2 and a stake was driven through its heart with the arrival of the nuclear ICBM.

Also there would have been no violations of the Geneva convention even if there were a formal declaration of war. The first requirement of the convention is that to be a soldier you must wear a recognized uniform. No one in ISIS does. They are therefore not soldiers and those protections do not apply. They also do NOT limit their attacks to only military targets. In fact their publicly released strategies explicitly prefer non-military targets over military ones. They are therefore spies, and as such can be executed at will under rule .303.

Tom 13

Re: And we made a formal declaration of war on ISIS when exactly?

While I concur that it would clarify things greatly if the cowardly politicians were to formally declare war, it is not necessary for either the UK or the US to declare war for it to be war. It is quite sufficient for ISIS to have declared it, which they have, repeatedly.

I'm not exactly buy the "only way" line either. I am willing to believe it was the most efficient and that is sufficient for me.

Grinning BBC boss blows raspberry at UK.gov, eyes up buffet

Tom 13

Re: job ads & other classifieds has collapsed by such a significant amount.

Maybe. But I think other 'tudes sported by so called journalists are a more important part of the problem. I use to be one of those people who actually paid to have a newspaper delivered. Then the bias got to be too much for me so I stopped the subscription. I carried it even when my news was mostly more than 24 hours late because the morning paper was delivered after I left the house to catch my train. But the bias was just too much. For a while I picked up a freebie at the station, then they stopped printing the freebie in preference to web only.

Class action launched against Facebook over biometric slurpage

Tom 13

Re: you can't use someones image without consent?

No it is not. In some instances yes, in others no. But it isn't ALWAYS a true statement.

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