* Posts by Steve the Cynic

822 posts • joined 28 Jul 2009

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You may not be a software company, but that isn't an excuse to lame-out at computering

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Anchovies

I've see foreigners put much stranger things on a pizza.

Near where I live(1), there is a branch of a pizza chain that does take-out pizza with foie gras on it.

(1) Near Lille in northern France.

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Apple iPhone X: Two weeks in the life of an anxious user

Steve the Cynic
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Jeez, get a screen protector and a case

This. When I bought my iPhone 7, I bought a slimline case for it partly because the 7, like the 8 and the X, has its camera in a rear-mounted bump. With the case on, the bump isn't a bump and the thing lies flat on a table.

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Why did I buy a gadget I know I'll never use?

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Mystery of packed office solved.

a full height 5 1/4" EDSI hard disk

I gots ta know... Really a full-height one? The same height as two CD-ROM drives?

(Way far back in the day, 1988 or so, I borrowed a 10 MB really-full-height MFM hard disk from someone for a while. It originally came out of a PDP-11, ffs. I gave it back and bought myself a Seagate ST-225 (which was only *half*-height) when the loaner started dropping sectors.)

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Steve the Cynic
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Re: "how else do you connect a Stratocaster to a PC?"

My 'sound card' has a microphone input. I know it works with a cheap microphone - I use it for Skype. Wouldn't that do the job? Justaskin'

Sort of. A direct connection via a Rocksmith cable or similar has the advantage (for certain purposes) of recording the raw output of the electrics in the guitar AND of doing the correct line level conversions / pickup drive / other stuff that I don't know what it is.

The instructions for Rocksmith are very clear that you plug its cable directly into the guitar without any other boxes in the way. The game needs to be able to monitor what's coming out of the guitar without being confused by whatever your amp and speaker are doing to it. Any effects you hear while using Rocksmith are applied in software by the game itself.

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Steve the Cynic
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Re: Guilty as charged...

I raise you USB to 1/4" Jack (Male) - how else do you connect a Stratocaster to a PC?

I have one of those, from my time trying to learn to play guitar using Rocksmith(0). Every time I install a new major version of Windows(1), the Rocksmith cable ends up as my default microphone instead of the actual microphone plugged into my sound card.

(0) Despite the parts of the game apparently oriented towards helping you learn to play guitar, it remains "Guitar Hero with a real guitar" at its core, so not recommended for this purpose.

(1) W10 Anniversary, Creator's and FCU do not count as majors for this purpose, thankfully.

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What do voters want? An IRL Maybot? Sure, give that a whirl

Steve the Cynic
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Joke

Great...

users can ask 'what's going on with Brexit?' and be given a bitesize, conversational overview of the progress being made".

Is this what we've come to? Automated soundbites?

(Shuffles off mumbling to himself.)

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Another round of click-fraud extensions pulled from Chrome Store

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Users stung?

A bit of both, probably. Over time, the extra traffic generated by the clicks will add up for the end-user. If you're on a spectacularly miserly metered tariff, you could end up with your Internet access severely throttled and/or charging you money for overages. (Especially if you're handwaving tethered access over mobile, for example, where limits tend to be much lower.)

Depends on how enthusiastic the click-fraud thing is, I guess.

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Butcher breaks out of own freezer using black pudding

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Gluten sensitivity

Indeed. The late Mrs Cynic used to make sourdough bread, where all the yeast in it was whatever happened to be floating by ("wild" yeast) and consequently both proving and rising were unusually slow (around a week in total), and it is normal to put a bit of this batch's dough into the mix of the next batch. It tastes sour because of relatively elevated levels of metabolic acids from the yeast.

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Beyond code PEBCAK lies KMACYOYO, PENCIL and PAFO

Steve the Cynic
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OT

OT? Oxygen Thief.

Also expressible as "WoO" = Waste of Oxygen.

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Steve the Cynic
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Re: Classics

"WYSINWOG - What you see is not what others get."

Also known as "Other people don't have your computer" as response to "but it works on my computer."

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'Please store the internet on this floppy disk'

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Ah Eudora

What do you mean, that's too slow? How fast can you read and/or type?

My late wife once tested at 85-90 words per minute touch typing. (That is, copying from a printed page to a word processor document without once looking at the screen OR the keyboard. She did point out that if the printed document had poor grammar and/or spelling, she went slower, which indicates to me that she was reading chunks larger than words.) Granted, assuming an average of 7 characters per word plus a space, that's around 600 characters per minute, or ten a second. On an 8N1 link, that's 100 bits per second. So yeah, 2400 is more than fast enough.

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How Google's black box Knowledge Graph can kill you

Steve the Cynic
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Re: People unfortunately aren't diligent fact checkers

Pfft, amateur.

Nuclear radiation powered metabolism is where it's at!

> Isn't that what photosynthesis is?

Like I've said before: when someone advocates using solar energy, tell them it is the emissions of an unshielded fusion reactor.

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

Steve the Cynic
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Re: @Alan Brown

Be careful when talking about calories.

There are "physics" calories, defined as 1 calorie to raise 1 gram of water by 1 degC.

There are "diet" calories, defined as 1000 "physics" calories. Usually on food packaging they are annotated as kcal, but they can also be annotated as Calories. kCal, however is just wrong.

Stick with kW. That way nobody knows what you are talking about, but everyone knows that they don't know. If you talk about calories, everyone knows that they *do* know, and *all* of them are wrong.

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Windows Store nixed Google Chrome 'app' hours after it went live

Steve the Cynic
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Since Windows 10, my laptop no longer dual boots and I do as much as I can in Linux on the PC, because it doesn't interrupt me with forced updates and reboots.

Windows 10 has never interrupted me with anything like that. Sure, it tells me there's an update, and offers to reboot, but it has *never* forced the issue. (That said, at work I use FreeBSD...)

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European court: Let's not kid ourselves, Uber. You're a transport firm, not a 'digital service'

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Barcelona, Spain

Birmingham's not a place. Birmingham is a state of mind.

Are you getting the Birmingham Blues?

https://genius.com/Electric-light-orchestra-birmingham-blues-lyrics

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HMS Queen Elizabeth has sprung a leak and everyone's all a-tizzy

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Dry Dock

Water ingress at the speed of a tap is less than negligible.

Pretty much. A while back, I was reading about the antics of the Royal Navy in the Med in WW2, and there was the tale of a cruiser that took some sort of rather meh battle damage, and was left with the pumps throwing 70 tons of water an hour overboard to keep up. That is, 70 thousand litres an hour, or more than 200 times the size of this leak, but on a rather smaller ship.

They continued operations and got it fixed afterwards.

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Murdoch's Fox empire is set to become a literal Mickey Mouse outfit

Steve the Cynic
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I noticed that Fox news was not included in the deal, I wonder if that is because Disney didn't want to be spending money on the pile of crap that passes as a news channel.

There might be regulatory issues that prevent them from keeping it.

They might also not want to be involved in news broadcasting at all, no matter what the political and other nature of the station.

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At Christmas, do you give peas a chance? Go cold turkey? What is the perfect festive feast?

Steve the Cynic
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Turducken

I'm interested to see that nobody has commented on turducken.

It isn't bird-within-a-bird, regardless of whether you think it's good or bad.

It's bird-within-a-bird-within-a-bird.

The Unreliable Source suggests a long and not entirely American history for this dish, and that three layers of nesting is far from the most extreme version.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turducken

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Why is Wikipedia man Jimbo Wales keynoting a fake news conference?

Steve the Cynic
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Re: The vegetarian alligator

My take on it is quite simple:

The problem with Wikipedia is not that anyone can edit it.

The problem with Wikipedia is that anyone DOES edit it.

There is a reason that I tend to call it "The Unreliable Source", and that reason has nothing to do with server availability and a great deal to do with "anyone can edit".

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Opportunity rover survives Martian winter for eighth time

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Obligatory...

Actually, no, that's the follow-up to https://xkcd.com/695/

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Night before Xmas and all through American Airlines, not a pilot was flying, thanks to this bug

Steve the Cynic
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Joke

Re: Time and a half or a holiday over christmas

Money can't buy happiness

No, but in my grandfather's words, reported to me by my mother(1), you "can be miserable in comfort."

(1) Her father. He died the year before I was born.

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Elon Musk says he's not Satoshi Nakamoto and is pretty rubbish at Bitcoin

Steve the Cynic
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I am not ...

I am not a number, I am not Satoshi Nakamoto, and these days,I have doubts about whether I am a free man.

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Thou shalt use our drone app, UK.gov to tell quadcopter pilots

Steve the Cynic
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Depends a bit if the object hitting the front of the engine at a couple of hundred miles an hour, maybe a bit more, is hard and heavy enough to damage the engine. Bird strike resistance is built in to jet engines, but only up to a point. For more, see the Unreliable Source:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird_strike

Conclusion: I think the other person overestimates the fragility of his drone compared to the fragility of birds and jet engines.

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Abolish the Telly Tax? Fat chance, say MPs at non-binding debate

Steve the Cynic
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Re: The BBC used to be more independent.

"Ofcom received 1,868 complaints of political bias between 2014 and 2017, none of which were upheld. Since this is the only objective criteria we currently have for measuring it, the only conclusion we can make is that the BBC is indeed politically neutral."

Not necessarily. It is equally reasonable to assert that the bias at the BBC is the same as the bias at Ofcom, so Ofcom's people don't "see" the BBC bias (and therefore the complaint is incorrect).

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'Gimme Gimme Gimme' Easter egg in man breaks automated tests at 00:30

Steve the Cynic
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Re: @ Phil

Again on FreeBSD, but this time it makes a rather pathetic admission:

[steve@stever ~]$ make love

make: don't know how to make love. Stop

make: stopped in /usr/home/steve

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Steve the Cynic
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FreeBSD 10.3 YMMV elsewhere.

steve@stever ~$ make telegram

make: don't know how to make telegram. Stop

make: stopped in /usr/home/steve

Looks like it still works here.

Buit the who is god thing:

steve@stever ~$ who is god

usage: who [-abHmqsTu] [am I] [file]

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More than half of GitHub is duplicate code, researchers find

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Forking right! ?

OK, that makes sense; I had a nagging feeling there was something wrong with my interpretation. Ho Hum.

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Steve the Cynic
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Re: Forking right! ?

Um. I don't know who has failed on comprehension of github. I'm willing to accept that it's me, but isn't the process more like this?

* git clone the project on my local machine with the github repo as a "remote"

* create a branch and make my changes there.

* Usual software process guff about testing my changes.

* commit my changes to my local clone

* push my branch to the remote

*** Now my branch is on github's repo.

* Submit pull request

So there are two copies of the repo: one is on github's servers, the other on my machine.

Feel free to tell me how totally wrong what I just said is.

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CEO: 'Claying the ongoing continuous chaos of info into one logical masterpiece'

Steve the Cynic
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don't see the contradiction

"self-serve" and "no human intervention" is not contradictory.

Or, at least, not the way I read it. I read it as "no human intervention from the supplier needed, you can just press buttons and it works automatically."

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Iran the numbers – and Persian internet is the cheapest in the world

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Persian Internet

I once read an interview with a senior marketing person at Ann Summers. She said that they sell a *lot* of their stuff in the various countries in the Arabian peninsula - her words were something like, "In public they wear all that stuff but underneath it all they wear the sexiest underwear in the world."

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Dick move: Navy flyboy flings firmament phallus for flabbergasted folk

Steve the Cynic
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Re: resembling an obscene image to observers on the ground

"US officialdom, and especially the military, or very prudish when it comes to sex and booze."

My late wife was, some years before we met, in the US Air Force, specifically in the part of it then called "AFCC" = Air Force Communications Command. She suggested that a better expansion would be "Alcohol First, Communications Considered".

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Chainmail tires re-invent the wheel to get future NASA rovers rolling

Steve the Cynic
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"You just call out The AA or the RAC. But I believe you need to be with your vehicle with your membership card to hand when they arrive"

Not necessarily. I called out the AA on a "Will Join" basis on one occasion. (Specifically, a failed alternator(1).) They arrive, and you end up paying a bit extra compared to a normal join followed by a normal call-out.

(1) On another occasion, I had the voltage regulator fail "hot"(2) - that's not good, but the car will still run. But the "will join" was for the alternator failing "off". Eventually the car stops because there's no electricity for the ignition, neither from the alternator nor from the now-flat battery.

(2) That is, not forcing the voltage down to the appropriate range.

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It's artificial! It's intelligent! It's in my home! And it's gone bonkers!

Steve the Cynic
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Re: When I was a kid.....

"The car industry now seems hell-bent on pushing you in the same direction. Just about every TV advert for cars now seems to want to "sell" you some form of personal contract hire, where you don't own the car, have no rights over it, have minimal use of it (some contracts are for 6000 miles p/a. ffs) and after your lease is up you have to go and lease another one - or pay a small fortune to keep the one you have)"

"Now"? That stuff has been going on for more than 20 years with cars. Perhaps they are pushing it more now, but it isn't new.

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How about that time Russian military used a video game pic as proof of US aiding ISIS?

Steve the Cynic
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Re: medieval terror-bastards - thumbs up on that one!

Desh. Derived from and having a vaguely similar pronunciation to "Daesh" which is in turn derived from the Arabic version of their name.

But "Desh" is *also* the name for the crappiest salvageable scrap metal crafting ingredient in Star Wars: the Old Republic (MMORPG). You can scrape it off of droids you gun down and piles of scrap metal in the criminal neighbourhoods of Coruscant.

I think it is fitting for people who give barbarism a bad name.

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Google says broader right to be forgotten is 'serious assault' on freedom

Steve the Cynic
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"how do you put that into a legal framework that is actually usable?"

That's a damned good question, and applies to lots of things. It's worth noting that for it to be actually usable, something that you want to put into a legal framework must be sufficiently specific that someone reading the framework document can tell what you mean, but must be sufficiently loose that the framework can retain usefulness in the face of the change that will come.

That's *HARD*.

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Steve the Cynic
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Re: "I can't immediately see why the second should be suppressed."

"(has it religion status in EU too?)"

It is not consistent from country to country, according to the Unreliable Source.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology#Scientology_as_a_religion

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Q: Why are you running in the office? A: This is my password for El Reg

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Body placement

"you need to ensure consistent body placement"

Consistent from person to person, or consistent per person from moment to moment?

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Steve the Cynic
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Re: Someone please contact the ministry...

My thought was Aerosmith/RunDMC "Walk this way", but the Ministry of Silly Walks works, too.

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Rocky Ross 128 b might harbour aliens – and it's headed right for us

Steve the Cynic
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Joke

Vaporise the atmosphere?

Isn't it already vapour?

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CopperheadOS stops updates to thwart knock-off phone floggers

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Folks stealing their stuff?

"I side with the snakes on this one."

I'm not sure who you're referring to here. A copperhead (without further clarification) is Agkistrodon contortix. A snake.

Read about it on the Unreliable Source.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agkistrodon_contortrix

(It's also a variety of other things, including a laser-guided artillery shell.)

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US government seizes Texas gun mass murder to demand backdoors

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Gun Control you say?

"And whats the European country with a high gun ownership - Sweden? Switzerland? Lots of guns. Not much shooting each other. I think Americans just hate each other and every so often one of them indulges their angst by going on a rampage"

I ran across a (possibly unreliable) statistic some years back that *relative to the gun-toting population size*, the US is actually fairly typical of countries in general for rates of gun-sourced killing. Norway, on the other hand, has a disproportionately high level. (Turf wars between the Hell's Angels and the Banditos contribute to this. That shocked my late wife, because both these outfits are endemic in parts of California where she grew up, but they are not obviously part of Norwegian culture.)

A lot of people are killed by people using guns in the US not because USians are trigger-happy maniacs, but because a lot of people have guns.

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Mythbuster seeks cash for roller skates to wear in virtual reality

Steve the Cynic
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Re: There's already a solution

"there's still absolutely no way you could convince me to physically walk all the distance a game character routinely appears to in most games."

Especially since these characters have the necessary fitness to go everywhere at sprinting pace. I think that most gamers don't have that kind of fitness.

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Imagine the candles on its birthday cake: Astro-eggheads detect galaxy born in universe's first billion years

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Big, yeah but not the biggest ...

The Unreliable Source accuses it of being the "largest single-aperture telescope in its frequency range", which is a more credible claim. The others noted are not designed for the 0.85 to 4 millimetre wavelength range.

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Look out, Pepe: Martha Lane Fox has a plan

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Some years ago I served as Invited Expert with the W3C on accessibility.

"I hope the glass toilets were also opaque!"

Ha ha! Got me! No, I meant those were the things that *were* opaque, or at least not transparent. (Frosted glass isn't *opaque* - light gets through it easily - but there's no way I'd call it transparent.)

And I have seen a place with toilets that had glass doors on the stalls.

In front of the big art museum in the middle of Amsterdam there is a restaurant called "Cobra". It's named after the art movement(1), not the snake, and isn't at all dodgy. In the basement, there are large and posh toilets, and as you arrive, there is usually a mix of opaque and transparent glass doors on the stalls. And you notice that ALL the opaque ones are taken, and ALL the transparent ones are free.

But nature continues to call, so you go into one of the available ones, hoping that there are no voyeurs in the area, and you discover that as soon as you lock the door, the glass becomes opaque.(2)

But before that moment, the urge to stick a cork in the orifice and run screaming for your hotel is very strong.

(1) COpenhangen BRussells, Amsterdam, if you must know.

(2) Well, in 2006 it was like that.

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Steve the Cynic
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Re: Some years ago I served as Invited Expert with the W3C on accessibility.

"put visible stickers on any unmarked plate glass doors you've stupidly decided to fit"

And solid glass walls with a six-floor drop behind them, like one place I worked in some years back.

You think I'm kidding? I'm not. Apart from a few things, every wall in the place was glass:

* Toilets.

* External and internal structural walls.

* One guy had a darkroom, but the dark leaks out through glass walls.

* The company had an on-site nurse (1500+ people worked in the building), and her office had opaque walls.

*Payroll was done in a closed-off area with frosted glass walls.

And this atrium thing had non-structural internal walls in floor-to-ceiling glass. From my floor the drop into the atrium was six floors. The glass was at least a quarter-inch thick, and probably laminated with it. And it had quite visible stripes on it so you could see it, since crashing into it would be painful because of its rigid solidity.

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Those IT gadget freebies you picked up this year? They make AWFUL Christmas presents

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Smallish sticks make handy Live USBs

"Of course, it's USB 1, so a little slow"

I'll say. That's 12Mbits/sec = 1.5 MB/s tops.

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$10,000-a-dram whisky 'wasn't even a malt'

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Old lead better

"Also ancient lead flashing on some old buildings...now sometimes a theft item"

They say that back in the 70s, the folks responsible for maintenance of York Minster paid for a complete rework of the flashing by having the mediaeval lead flashing processed to separate the silver from it. The amount of silver recovered from the lead was more than enough to pay for the whole job.

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Boffins: Sun's red dwarf neighbour is looking a little thick around the middle

Steve the Cynic
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Re: oh well

"their (late in development cycle) sun"

Proxima Centauri is a main-sequence red dwarf, with, according to the Unreliable Source, another four trillion years ahead of it. It is by no means whatsoever "late in development cycle".

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The UK's super duper 1,000mph car is being tested in Cornwall

Steve the Cynic
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Re: Cool, but why?

"eg: is it even possible to design wheels that can take the temperature caused by air friction at those speeds?"

A more interesting engineering challenge is designing wheels that can hold together at more than 50,000 rpm.

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Steve the Cynic
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Re: Cool, but why?

"the outrageous fuel pump"

The stage 1 engines of the Saturn V had much more outrageous fuel pumps than that.

Five F1 engines. Each had a fuel pump. Each fuel pump ate 55,000 horsepower.

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