> The mean spectrum of FRBs is observed to be Gaussian-shaped, centered on a frequency of a few
It's an intergalactic WiFi ?
2593 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
> The mean spectrum of FRBs is observed to be Gaussian-shaped, centered on a frequency of a few
It's an intergalactic WiFi ?
> Most (78 per cent) recognise that "downloading copyrighted material without permission" is illegal
Not to be confused with streaming content. Which the UK Trading Standards people tell us is NOT illegal. Given the number of people who can't or don't distinguish between "the internet" and "wifi" I can see some confusing times ahead.
> Milner's condition of agreeing to the interview was for the BBC to send him examples of the images that had not been removed
So hopefully the BBC will report the guy to the police for soliciting images of child abuse.
> Howdy, Pete 2,
Impressive. A little more work on the cultural environment and parsing and I reckon that in 6 months or so, this will be ready. At least for the red-tops.
> Most journalists agreed that robot-churned copy lacked depth, creativity, and complexity compared to articles by experienced human journalists.
But the article tells us, those journo's were from the Sun and the Daily Mirror
What I want from a source of news is facts. Who, Where, When, How much. I do not want opinions. I do not want to be told how to feel about a report (using words like "shocking" in the copy - if something is shocking, I can work that out for myself). I do not want to be given only the part of the story that agrees with the publication's narrative.
This seems ideal for a 'bot. One that hasn't been to "journo school" to learn how to create click-bait headlines, fact-free copy, opinions masquerading as news, articles that tell us what politicians and others in positions of power "should" or "must" do.
If there is to be any place left for individuals with journalistic skills, it would be with subject-matter specialists who can explain the finer details of economic / political / scientific news. To provide background for a story. But not to write half-arsed, incorrect and biased pieces about stuff that doesn't affect anyone in the readership. And most importantly, to decide what constitutes news and to promote that above and to the exclusion of celebrity based tittle-tattle.
Even a 70% failure rate would make a Facebook AI more coherent, rational and more pleasant than most of the people who post on there.
> So, when stopped - and "required" to provide access, they can knock themselves out with my username & password. They still won't get in.
And neither, I suspect, would you. The drone with the gun or the dude with the badge doesn't give a stuff whether you visit The land of the Free or not.
As Ian Dury once said during a concert: "You can either bend with the wind or break. Right now I will break wind"
If "they" want to search your phone, let 'em. Any sensible person would travel with a device they wouldn't mind losing - either from carelessness or from criminal or government activity. Since pretty much all phone data can be backed up to "the cloud" - as can commercial, sensitive or smutty data, just make sure your dropbox (or whatever) account is available and load your contact list, and all the other stuff once you're through the government checkpoint.
With a nod to the SCC post above, there could be more than a few Alexas getting reprogrammed with a very large axe.
> We wanted to see if we could find a ‘vaccine’ by pre-emptively exposing people to a small amount of the type of misinformation they might experience. A warning that helps preserve the facts
And who do we trust to provide these true examples of "real" fake news?
Yes, and it's not helped by the jargon-packed menus full of meaningless options and the fear of borking the whole, fragile, mess.
And when your ISP threatens to charge you £60 to send and enginneer round, if the fault isn't on the line, you can see why people do nothing.
Hmmm, "a possible £60 charge, or leave the thing with loopholes that I don't understand" you can see why it happens.
Now if some watchdog or other could persuade the ISPs that buggy configurations and security lapses were their responsibility ... they'd probably lock them down so tight you couldn't get in with a pneumatic drill.
> Or, the BBC could publish another article – preferably written by engineering experts
I love a techy with a sense of humour.
The BBC doesn't "do" engineering - especially engineering experts. It barely does any science (the best you can hope for these days is a brief explanation in a cookery programme.) About as far as they are willing to go is to have James May wielding a screwdriver and putting something back together again (though how do we know he wasn't filmed taking it apart and they are just playing the recording backwards?)
> That, apparently, was enough to set off Alexa-powered Echo boxes around San Diego on their own shopping sprees.
If all that happened was that some people got an unwanted order, they got off lightly.
Hopefully the next time, it won't be something like Alexa, send $1000 to this charity, then close my account and delete all my files
The opportunities for voice-recognised security breaches make ordinary, I.P. security look like Fort Knox by comparison. Just imagine how much damage could be caused by the person at the next desk (or the next table in the cafe) recording your conversation, editing in or out the choice words and then replaying your own voice to make your voice-operated phone / device do bad things.
Voice operation is intrinsically insecure. We have enough trouble with systems that are, at least, theoretically securable. These systems seem to be unfixable without completely removing the convenience that is their biggest attraction.
My thoughts too.
I'm not a biologist (or fan of zombie fiction). But it seems to me that zombies can only walk and there are a large number of inhabited islands on the planet.
Just so long as someone remembers to close the channel tunnel, I don't think we'd be troubled. Though having to become self-sufficient might be a bit of a shock to some.
> the definition of “AI” has been stretched so that it generously encompasses pretty much anything with an algorithm
Just like the term "hacker" was hijacked, 20 years ago.
The thing is, it doesn't take much in the way of smarts to wizz through an Amazon warehouse and pull items off a shelf. But if your "fulfillment" job has just been replaced by a computerised shopping cart, you're going to assume it's at least as intelligent as you are - right?
And if your coffee-pourer person suddenly becomes a metal box that you speak your order to and it squirts a drink in your general direction you could be forgiven for thinking that is "clever", too.
So while we all know what a real hacker is. And we know what constitutes real AI, in the media's world it is anything that replaces a person - or that acts / speaks / understands like a person. Especially when many journalists will soon find that they have been replaced by a combination aggregator / sentence writer. After all, it doesn't take much for someone at The Guardian to trawl the twitter-sphere and select random tweets that more-or-less support the case they are trying to make.
Though if they ever did more than that (or more than produce a list of synonyms for "I don't like [choose political slant]", add a load of adjectives and call it an opinion piece) they might find themselves on safer ground, career-wise.
“For this purpose,” the researchers continued, “the robots do not only provide replications of some secondary sexual characteristics (e.g. breasts), but also external genitals (e.g. labia). ... to move ... and speak.”
As the researchers note, “At present, there is no sex robot available that is suitable for the masses and that provides all the features listed above.
The conclusion (assuming this isn't just the result of a clumsy use of language) is that there IS such a device, but that it's not "suitable for the masses". Did the researchers accidentally let slip that they had such a device, but wanted to keep it for themselves?
The whole premise of Universal Basic Income requires that the robots that have "stolen" peoples jobs would simply replace those workers in the retail outlets they currently occupy and therefore the commercial enterprises that own and run these places would be a source of tax on the commerce they execute.
But this is a huge supposition. And probably a wrong one.
What reason would there be for individuals (who would be at home, either working there or because they have no job) to step out, possibly drive or be driven to a Starbucks, for example, merely to get an overpriced coffee? Would the replacement market not be much simpler and more effective if it placed the robot coffee-maker in peoples' homes and had Amazon (or whoever) to drone-drop supplies of beans and other raw materials.
Whether it is a coffee maker, 3-D printer, freezer-to-plate cooker, clothes-maker or universal replicator. If these were owned by the user, there would be no source of taxation revenue except from the very people who were receiving UBI. That is similar to pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and doesn't seem to be a practical solution.
The UBI premise only sounds attractive because it makes assumptions about the commercial future that almost certainly won't be what it evolves into.
Well, OK. But you've got to promise to test the damn software this time.
> Google hasn't yet released its Wifi mesh router, but the company is already claiming to have bested the competition.
Clearly that is the best time to tell people how excellent your product is: before anyone has seen it and could possibly disprove your claim with all that annoying "experience"?
* It's a sales pitch. This would work way better than "Quick, do it before your impeachment".
Or any other ways that Trump could even more suddenly stop being the POTUS. Ways that make being El Presidente the most dangerous job in the world.
The reason the (newest) Space Launch System costs so much is because that is what the american government with it's $ TRILLIONS is willing to spend on it. As each day passes, more people will add more "it would be great if it could do .... " to the list of uses, abilities and features this puppy should have.
It is the same with all government financed projects: They take so long, there is so much scope-creep, the costs go up, so the projects take longer, so there is more time to make changes and to change people's minds, which increases costs, that causes delays and finally the whole thing gets canned.
Probably the best thing that NASA could do would be to sell itself to Musk, or the big Z, or some other internet gazzilionaire. Someone who would get things done, rather than just building bigger and costlier versions of the same technology that's been their staple forever. It's now 50 years since the first Saturn V and NASA seem to be celebrating that fact by building it again.
This is probably the most rigorously tested software ever to be released under the GPL
> Education needs to become a constant part of our diet: real education,
To what end?
As the article points out, "education" or more precisely: vocational qualifications have failed some professions already and are increasingly likely to be a lost bet in terms of time taken and money spent, verses lifetime monetary returns. So what will be the point of education, when anything and everything that an education confers can be made available from an AI or automated / robotic source?
In that respect, professionals are facing the same problems that airline pilots have. So much of a flight is run by the autopilot that many real pilots, while having 000's of hours in the big chair, have little clue what to do during an emergency and need constant refreshers to keep their edge.
What will be the state of professions in, say, 50 years when there are no more human lawyers, surgeons, teachers or actors. No more drivers, shop assistants, bank staff or administrators? Will it matter that having an IQ above 85 becomes a liability since you can question the reason for your existence, but have no means for self-improvement? And with no opportunities to improve ourselves or earn a bean, where will future innovations and progress come from?
> Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic
While the big Z is correct, he ignores or doesn't understand that the other 1% is very, very, influential. It also spreads wider and faster than the 99% of dross which is cat videos, stooopid quizzes and facist rants from cranky old people.
It isn't the volume of crap that makes up Facebook which is important, it's the tiny amount of stuff which professional manipulators (or media companies if you want to get picky) post with the sole intention of changing people's opinions. Those companies are very good at what they do, and their material is targeted at the gullible, impressionable and easily persuaded.
While it is small proportion, it is read widely and reposted often. I would bet that if Z counted the likes or number of reads that fake "news" gets, those stories would be in the top 50 posts every day of the week.
> If you get some nice snaps on the night, do write to The Register and we'll publish any especially pretty pics.
Ummm, a photo won't show any difference between a "supermoon" (merely appearing a little larger) and a normal full moon.
> They [ snaps from Canonical ] contain code from the Linux kernel maker, Canonical for the Ubuntu distro, and the device maker and ISVs whose code might be resident onboard
All very well: pushing updates to IoT systems even though they don't ask for them. However, this leaves Canonical as the self-appointed guardian of the IoT-verse. Will they accept the responsibility of "snapping" every Ubuntu based IoT device from now to eternity? Will they only provide snaps for a specific length of time - say: for LTS kernels' lifespan or for "blessed" (paid for, subscription, rented ?) devices. And if so, what happens after that? do the devices merely become unsupported and therefore just as vulnerable as they are now - or does Canonical or the device-maker decide to brick them, in the interests of everyone else's security from bot-nets?
Finally, Canonical won't be around forever. who takes the strain when they exit(0)?
This sounds like a nice feature, but the implications need to be made clear.
And I can see a whole new phishing area opening up: "Just take off your clothes and stand in front of the webcam for me"
But as for:
> they are better at processing all the determinants of health and wellbeing than even the best of doctors
That may be so, but it is only simple cases where an ill person walks into an appointment, only talks to someone and walks out with a prescription (though I can see this would be easily gamed to get some choice meds, for other uses). How will a chat-bot take your B.P. or pulse or ask "does this hurt?"
And it will still need the patient to turn up somewhere when the inevitable tests are required.
It doesn't really matter what the techies at Mercedes, Ford, GM, Telsa or any other car maker decides. The rights and wrongs of the matter will be decided country-by-country in case law, as each injury-accident or death is prosecuted.
This will, or course, be a shambolic maze of conflicting principles, examples, precedents and exceptions. Not only will each car, from each manufacturer, have to have its autonomous software updated to account for they ways each country's laws evolve with each new case won or lost, but that same software will have to be aware when the car moves from one jurisdiction into another, and then start to drive according to that place's laws (just like a person would have to).
I can also foresee mass disabling of vehicles (by the million) when updates fail. You might think that it's annoying when W10 decides, of its own volition, to make your computer unusable for hours while it downloads some updates. Imagine when you try to get into your car to go to work and the dashboard informs you that it won't be drivable for another 2 hours due to a legal upgrade. (Or worse: when it pulls in to the side of the road to do the same thing, while you're traveling).
There are a million (OK, slight exaggeration) different Linux SBCs from loads of different vendors. Most of them are deservedly obscure - although cheaper than this offering.
The ones that do succeed are the ones that realise the hardware is only a small part of what the users (or developers) need.
The major part is the software. Not just the kernel - but the libraries to handle the peripherals, the APIs, the documentation, the support forums and the bug fixes.
So please, SBC suppliers, don't think it's enough to simply slap a SoS on an "open source hardware" board, think of a cute name and logo for the box and then wait for success to embrace you. If that is all you can offer then you have nothing. Once you have done all that, you're about 10% of the way towards a product that people will want to test, develop on, advocate and use in quantity. The other 90% of the effort is in writing examples, supporting your forum, porting kernels, debugging drivers, documenting the hardware interfaces, writing up projects for users to adapt and generally keeping the "buzz" going.
> most breaches are actually the result of either criminal activity or "kids messing around"
But it is in nobody's interest to admit this.
The police look stupid if they have to admit they are unable to detect the majority of reported hacks - when they are merely the work of children "messing around". The targets (are they really victims when their security is so lax?) will lose the confidence of their users / customers and suppliers if they are found to be hacked so easily.
So, just like a cage fighter would be embarrassed by getting beaten up by a 7-stone weakling, it is in the interests of all concerned (including the hackers) to big-up the skills and luck of the hackers. That absolves all parties of blame and of the need to put in place even basic security measures (measure #1 - sack your security manager, if you get hacked again: sack the CEO).
However, this does rather assume that the same outfit isn't hacked again a short time later, when the questions about why start to be asked of the higher echelons.
> Since I work from home, most of the times ...
The guy wrote a command line app so he can spend more time bash[groan]-ing out code.
However, he still has to get up from his chair, walk over to the machine and collect his freshly brewed coffee.
A more sensible approach would simply be to put the machine near his desk.
To be successful, security measures must be at the level of intrusiveness of putting your key in the latch - once, If it can be made even simpler: down to the level of car's keyless entry, then better still. But that all requires significant changes at the hardware level - changes that can't be backed into a 30 year-old, pre-internet, PC architecture.
That is why all the security bolt-on products we are being sold are so complex, complex AND unreliable, since they continually fall behind the exploits that are being developed. I do not believe that computers as we have them today can be made secure. Not without dumping all of the backwards compatibility that seems to be mandatory in order to preserve a suppliers existing user-base.
Fortunately for the "ordinary people" in the survey, home computers are a dying breed. Being overtaken by their phone (although most transactions aren't voice calls, so "telephone" is a rather anachronistic term for them). And here there IS the opportunity to build in security measures since the life-cycle is only a few years.
However, I still won't engage in personal banking on my phone. My (Linux) computers, with multiple user accounts - only 1 of which is used for personal finance, is still far more secure that either Windows or a phone.
> a classifier for NSFW detection, and provide feedback to us on ways to improve the classifier."
So essentially Yahoo are building a search engine for porn?
I'm surprised it took someone all this time to get a round to that.
All it needs now is a snappy name.
> Most folks don't typically have a spare $100k around, nor the ability to bootstrap for three months, so this usually means the startup consists of four people, with the fourth being the pre-angel funder. In most cases this individual doesn't concern themselves directly with running the startup.
You can readily identify these pre-angel funders They are the ones riding the unicorns.
All this stuff is great if you are writing a screenplay for a geeky "sci-fi" drama. In practice it never happens. Nobody knows individuals who are willing to drop $100k in 3 months in the hope that something they don't understand might, just, turn into a winner.
As it is, most startups require their "core" people to show some level of commitment to the project. Put in purely financial terms, for a bunch of millenials still living with their parents, this means paying for your Oyster card and maybe a pizza on Friday lunchtime. Even for regular people, with commitments and families you'd be hard-pressed to find a pre-angel willing to stump up more than £1k a month for a couple of people.
> If the market is functioning perfectly. Which few do
They don't have to function perfectly - just well enough.
In the electricity market, the overheads are crucial.
Everyone uses the same electricity, bought on the same market, using the same currency hedges. It's sent down the same wires and comes from the same power stations (although some suppliers own their own power stations, they still buy and sell openly).
So in the end, there's little to differentiate the price from one supplier to another except how well they run their businesses: i.e. the performance of their C-levels and their overheads: offices, IT, call centres and metering (which is generally outsourced anyway).
We might as well go the whole IT-protectionist route and reinstate the (british) EDSAC "standard" 18-bit word length for computers and, of course, the JANET style naming convention for domains - also known as back to front or uk.co.theregister.
At least that would slow the spammers down a little.
> In conclusion, there isn’t any value in bots having unique personalities
I would expect that once a realistic sounding AI starts making cold calls and asking people for their financial secrets, the response rate will go through the roof. The only question would be whether to give it the "personality" of a bank employee, a police officer, a surveyor, one of your friends (with extra input from FB) or an elderly relative in a spot of bother.
The police bulletin is vague in the extreme. Although it is written in the plural, there is no corroboration or statements to support the claim. There could, in fact, simply have been a single USB drive put in someone's letterbox. Or it could even have been as trivial as a parent confronting a child with an "unknown" USB drive:
"Where did you get that?
I found it
Errrr, in the letterbox"
There would appear to be nothing to this story. Nothing at all.
> As for my pet, IT chiefs would rather I give it a name comprised of upper- and lower-case letters, three numbers and at least one special character
No, they would rather that you didn't actually tell them your pet's name at all.
The questions asked can take any answer. It doesn't have to be related to the subject of the question (except where date or numeric fields are all that's available).
So a valid answer to the question: What was the name of your first teacher? could easily be "pork sausages". Since the computer asking the question has no way to know if you are telling the truth - and it probably doesn't care that 90% of respondents were born on January 1.
The only thing you then need is to remember which answer you gave to which question. Which is why everyone writes them down, anyway.
The Pi has many lessons to teach. The most important (and, apparently most ignored) is the importance of an active user community.
Since its inception the Pi has, more-or-less, held its price point. A feature almost unknown in the tech world. Yet, it is still the go-to product, with seemingly unfaltering popularity, for people wishing to explore the complexities of making an LED blink.
Why would this be, when there are many, many, alternatives. Some at a quarter of the price of the Pi? (the Nanopi Neo springs to mind - not least because I have a couple on the bench beside me). The secret of the Pi's success is that users do not feel the product has been "tossed over the wall" to them. There is a lot of support available - although most comes from the community, rather than the vendor. And that support is vital: both for newbies flashing their first LED, through to those trying to push the envelope without making smoke.
Although the Pi is a venerable institution, hardware-wise many suppliers have blown past it. However, those suppliers have failed to take the Pi-killing step of investing support in their products. Whether that is supplying anything more advanced than a buggy and limited Linux 3.4 kernel, documentation for how to map the IO, or libraries, utilities and advice to ease the learning curve.
For that reason, I feel the Pi is on rather thin ice. All it takes is for a single far-eastern supplier to fill those support voids with Pi-compatibility, documentation, code and a half-modern distro and the Pi could find itself in an existential crisis with smaller, faster, cheaper and smarter products leaving it standing.
> And so it will be for everything devised by analysts who assume everything will always be in a specific place and do as it’s told
Let's face it, when software is tested all that happens is that some geek, somewhere, inputs a valid field, command or option and checks that the resulting output, action or message appears. Once that has happened: once that has happened the stuff gets shipped,
Not only is it far too complicated to test all combinations, including checking for reasonable reactions to incorrect conditions, but those throw up a distinct possibility - nay: certainrt - that something won't work. Thus delaying the release date or (more likely) an update to version 2 that half the idiot purchasers won't be able to install and the other half won't hear about.
Luckily, the Marketing Department have a solution. They ship loads of crappy products as free samples to dishonest and greedy "reviewers" who then write glowing "independent" reports about how wonderful the thing is. And we all believe them and assume that if stuff (as described above) doesn't work, it's our fault or failure.
As for delivery by drone: I foresee a resurgence in the popularity of chimneys.
> many don't even have what we might arguably describe as ‘the basics' properly covered.
In the "olden days" (speaking as someone who has, read and understood Raj Jain's book) this was almost always about disk I-O. Since everyone now has everything important on an M2 array or better, there is little point in paying people to predict problems that are now only ever due to network misconfiguration.
I wonder if journalists on The Times don't spend just a leeeeetle too much time watching old sitcoms for ideas of "news" stories?
We might find out if one of these ends up anywhere near a wind farm.
There does appear to be an enthusiasm if not actual pressure to reduce the number of cash transactions, in favour of card or contactless methods of paying.
Once this becomes ubiquitous your card / phone is in effect your ID.
No need for ID checks then, you voluntarily submit your ID (plus location and details of purchase) every time you buy something. With contactless methods, even your presence could be detected.
> and the UK will have regained complete control of its borders
Well, we *already* have complete control of our borders - what with being an island (or several islands, to be precise).
However, if you want to stop people coming in to the UK that's easy, too.
The obvious answer: closing all the airports is not very practical as there are lots of Brits who might want to come back into the UK - though once the economy crashes and we look like Tajikistan in the rain, that might slow down a bit (tho' the numbers wishing to leave could well rise).
A more nuanced approach would be to modify the entry system we have at present: with EU and non-EU channels at the UK Border. Just change this to GB and non-GB passport holders. The clever bit would be to only have one booth for the non-GB entrants, therefore making the queuing time somewhere between several hours and many days. A similar effect could be achieved by replacing all of the staffed non-GB border checks with the computerised versions that seem to be unable to process people any faster than 1 every 10 minutes.
> the UK always gets to see all the photos which were taken on the flight.
Surely high resolution photos of cloud-tops must get pretty boring after the first 10 years?
A bit like seeing them from below.
> as advertisers grow increasingly wary of the rise of ad blockers and choose to spend their precious ad dollars elsewhere
So the advertisers would prefer not to spend their money on a medium where they can see how many people are blocking their ads. And instead spend it on a medium where they can't tell how many people are FF-ing past them during the breaks?
> for the price of one cardboard desk you can buy two veneered chipboard equivalents from Ikea.
So buy your desk from IKEA.
Take it home
Throw the desk away (or not)
Make yourself a "custom" one from the IKEA packaging.
systemd'oh! DNS lib underscore bug bites everyone's favorite init tool, blanks Netflix
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