* Posts by Big John

3129 posts • joined 28 Oct 2009

The fastest, most secure browser? Microsoft Edge apparently

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Re: I feel the good in you

Edge has to be best at blocking the clingy sites; It's the primary attack surface.

Phew, galactic accident helps boffins explain dark matter riddle

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One is not like the others...

“The galaxy we found is a clear counter-example of that, where it seems to have dark matter behaving in the normal way, as it does in the present-day universe.”

As I understand it, current theories of galaxy formation need dark matter in the primordial mix to work well, but the earlier studies found DM was lacking in the first three billenia, and this fact is vexxing. The theory has a big hole in it.

Now someone has found a galaxy, almost old enough to be classed in that era, that has plenty of DM. That's very interesting, but how does this discovery negate the problem presented by the other old galaxies they found lacking DM? The article seems to imply this find fixes the DM theory problem, but does it really?

Supernovae may explain mass extinctions of marine animals 2.6 million years ago

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Re: Cancer rate would rise by 50%

At the same time the Meg's prey, being pretty large too, would be having trouble. There's no security at the top of the food chain.

Ecuador says 'yes' to Assange 'freedom' deal, but Julian says 'nyet'

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Re: move on down the road a piece

No need to move the embassy, just put his stuff out by the curb, he'll get the message.

Cambridge Analytica's administrators misled judge, High Court told

This post has been deleted by a moderator

It's official. Microsoft pushes Google over the Edge, shifts browser to Chromium engine

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The passing of an age

Edge will be just a mask for Chrome, and Microsoft has stated they have discontinued bad old Internet Exploder, and will finally end all official support for it when Win 10 ends its support cycle.

So, at long last, my ancient enemy's days are numbered. It will be strange not to have IE to kick around anymore...

Why millions of Brits' mobile phones were knackered on Thursday: An expired Ericsson software certificate

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Re: Test successful

The system is robust. The people, not so much.

Falcon 9 gets its feet wet as SpaceX notch up two more launch successes

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Re: How do you launch 64 satellites from a single rocket?

They are cubesats and are deployed via simple ejection.


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Better when wet

I say, one does get better close-up video of the crash when the cameras aren't suffering RUD.

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Two splashdowns

> "Everything else is a toss up."

I'd be very surprised if the body of the rocket (basically big lightweight fuel tanks with perhaps a thin aluminum skin) would survive such strong sudden area loading from one side without major warping at the least.

BTW, in the video the rocket does an interesting thing just before splashdown. First it tilts a bit to acquire some side velocity, then swings to the opposite tilt just before entering the water. This has the effect of making the booster fall one way while pushing its tail thru the water the other way (slightly).

I guess it's to reduce the toppling speed, softening the blow from the water surface on the side of the rocket. Maybe this is why the whole thing is so intact, letting Musk muse about reusing it.

Naked women cleaning biz smashes patriarchy by introducing naked bloke gardening service

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Re: Let the comments begin...

Wait, that would mean the neighbors get an eyeful every time the fern gets water (assuming the fern is not too large). Umm, how would it be if a bunch of like-minded neighbors got together and hired a stark nekkid fern botherer's breezy services, to be rotated between them in turn? Talk about gaming the system!

Big John Silver badge

Re: Let the comments begin...

> "Careful with that hedge trimmer..."

You missed a chance to say "Careful with that axe, Eugene".

GOPwned: Republicans fall victim to email hack

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Re: All we can do is wait

If there were any damning emails they would have come out during the last election. They didn't because there is no there there, unlike with the DNC who were revealed to be colluding with Hillary Clinton to freeze out Bernie Sanders from the nomination.

Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway

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Re: Easy to Spot

> "From a cops perspective, that sounds like a perfect catch-22."

In theory, yes, but any ticket less than ten MPH over will generally be dropped by judges, and the cops know this. The de facto "speed limit" is now ambiguous and open to subjective interpretation, but the law does allow cops to write you up anyway if in their opinion you were driving at an "unsafe speed," regardless of your actual speed. Thus the stated limit is more of a guideline anyway.

The trick is to stay in the flow, which generally is well over the limit much of the time, except when traffic is heavy, which is most of the time.

Big John Silver badge

Re: Easy to Spot

And for the autopilot to fit in on California freeways, it would need to violate the speed limit at all times, since that's pretty much standard there. Hmm, if Musk has them set to not speed, then it will actually create a hazard, as any Cali driver or cop will attest.

He's not cracked RSA-1024 encryption, he's a very naughty Belarusian ransomware middleman

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Re: Broker

> "He is simply a broker."

More correctly, he is a fence. People's stuff gets stolen, and the theves sell it to the fence, who re-sells it at a profit. The only difference with a traditional fence is that this stolen data, not money or objects, and is usually worthless to anyone but the victim. Still, it is reselling stolen goods at a profit.

ICO to probe facial recog amid concerns UK cops can't shake their love for unregulated creepy tech

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Re: Hackers

Such a govt. run surveillance system is sure to have a govt. curated (secret) list of persons "To be ignored." Kind of a 'git ignore' file if you will. ;-/

Subvert that list, or more properly, invert it, and you get your wish.

Big John Silver badge

Baby steps.

Millennials 'horrify' their neighbours with knob-shaped lights display

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Re: lack of context

> "They should do some thinking about the statement it makes..."

You mean like, "Trolling the easily offended is fun"?

Okay, I've thought about it. Done now. What's the next prank?

Thought black holes were donut-shaped? It turns out they're more like deadly fountains

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Re: Well, the accretion disk anyhow

> "Hey, it's the only part you can see, anyhow."

You CAN see a black hole, but you gotta get reeeal close...

Gigabit? More like, you can gigabet the US will fall behind on super-fast broadband access

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Re: Jealous, or maybe not

Predicted super high speed internet. So far all we have is talk, and that's cheap. I prefer not to assume predictions are guaranteed to happen, unlike some others here.

Perhaps in the next few years China really will do what they're claiming, while the hapless US falls far, far behind. But don't hold your breath.

Great Scott! Is nothing sacred? US movie-goers vote Back To The Future as most-wanted reboot

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And the scenes set in the past should be done in sepia tone.

Big John Silver badge

Re: Why not go the whole hog....

There is NO WAY to make The Princess Bride any better than it is.

Big John Silver badge

Re: There is plenty of original material

> "There is plenty of original material for Sci Fi."

Sure is, but two things get in the way. One is that "Sci Fi" has been flooding the market for some time now, and most of that flood is just the usual plot gumbo, with lasers. That's what the public thinks Sic Fi is.

The other thing is that real Science Fiction is unsettling and confusing to a lot of movie goers. It may be fine for discerning readers, but the usual film crowd doesn't want to think too much. It's scary, and not in a good way.

Spandex heroes are safe, and pretty much guarantee at least some decent return on investment. Sigh fi...

Tech bosses talk kids' books! Could they show a glimmer of humanity? You only get one guess

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Re: A more relevant book comes to mind...

> "I'd be awfully surprised if Aldous Huxley hadn't read "The Power of Propaganda"..."

Aren't all successful fiction writers really propagandists themselves? The only difference is that they freely admit what they are doing up front by calling it "fiction," which helps with the whole byline thing too.

Net neutrality is heading to the courts (again): So will the current rules stand or be overturned (again)?

Big John Silver badge

Re: Yes, this will happen

NN was not imposed via the courts, or by Congress. It was imposed by the Executive via executive orders. These EO's are essentially by fiat, and are thus vulnerable to removal by fiat. However, now part of the judiciary is attempting to override the second fiat, based on a subjective determination that said fiat was not "well reasoned" or some such, while supposedly the first one was.

It's a purely partisan battle over policy, nothing more. Majorities and voting have little to do with it.

Did you hear? There's a critical security hole that lets web pages hijack computers. Of course it's Adobe Flash's fault

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> "plus doesn't windows 10 have it baked in?"

Doesn't appear to be "baked in" to Win10 at all. I did a quick google, and Flash seems to be simply installable, just as with other OS's. Also, two years ago MS was pulling the Edge browser back from Flash specifically, so they are aware of the Flash issues too.

Big John Silver badge

> "What's it going to take? Someone with a mallet...?"

If by that, you mean total pwnership of those people, then yes, that's what it will take, and in some cases even that won't be enough.

The Quantum of car lists: Storage firm drives into autonomous vehicle data logging

Big John Silver badge

Re: So thinking ahead to what is happening in the printer market...

You're suggesting that in future people won't have any control over any aspect of their personal transport except for where it goes. Plenty of SF written along those lines, BTW.

I suppose it's inevitable. Cars are big hurtling objects, full of legal liabilities. Underwriting such large risks affordably requires full control over the whole process.

Why fight it? The bean counters will win, if only by outlasting the rest of us. And once everything is properly maintained according to spec, it's only a minor step to an autonomous car requirement, once the associated risks are reduced to a reasonable level.

My SciFi reader childhood wants to "thumbs-up" the whole thing, but the shadetree mechanic in me wants to blow it all up. What to do, what to do...

Trump in Spaaaaaaace: Washington DC battles over who gets to decide the rules of trillion-dollar new industry

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> "The FCC"s remit ends at the US borders."

Even inside the borders its remit is not unbounded. If the FCC can move into space debris regulating, then it can also enforce any rules it wishes about earthly infrastructure planning and construction.

I thought their remit was supposed to be concerning spectrum and so forth. Launches are a transport issue, not anything to do with spectrum. Looks like an agency power grab was stopped cold. Is that so bad? I'm not against regluating space junk, but the FCC isn't the correct agency to do it, no matter what they had planned.

Douglas Adams was right, ish... Super-Earth world clocked orbiting 'nearby' Barnard's Star

Big John Silver badge

Re: Shame the em drive never worked out

> "Now if we knew every planet and celestial body floating around the star then we could use gravity to show down instead..."

No we can't. Such a high-speed probe would not be close to any large mass long enough to dump a significant amount of velocity. Maybe its path would be bent slightly, but that's all.

BTW, obligatory Banard-related XKCD (published 22 Oct, 2018!)

Open the pod bay doors: Voice of HAL 9000 Douglas Rain dies at 90

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The reveal

Yes, that line in the movie where Hal9000 reveals its intent is very gripping. But IMHO, the most interesting line is when Hal is being lobotomized and says "I'm afraid." That's when it reveals itself.

Big John Silver badge

I bet it was programmed to say that.

Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly

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> "Until the navy starts filling the oceans with mass-produced decoy submarine drones for them to track, that is."

I would bet they've had those for years already.

Berners-Lee takes flak for 'hippie manifesto' that only Google and Facebook could love

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> "Give that man a knighthood"

One for each shoulder?

GDPR USA? 'A year ago, hell no ... More people are open to it now' – House Rep says EU-like law may be mulled

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Inquiring minds

What happens if the US does enact a privacy statute and it doesn't match the EU version? Is tougher better, or weaker? Is there any chance the EU could modify theirs to compromise, assuming that's needed?

In news that will shock absolutely no one, America's cellphone networks throttle vids, strangle rival Skype

Big John Silver badge

Re: Boosting the start of a video

> "Since they are all fast for the 30 seconds you will test obviously Sprint is not to blame!"

Just as a hypothetical, what if they discovered that the average vid call user only really looks at the image during the onset of the call, and thereafter spends more time parsing voice and merely using the vid for non-verbal clues? Given that, it might be acceptable (for them) to throttle later in the call and still not get complaints.

FYI NASA just lobbed its Parker probe around the Sun in closest flyby yet: A nerve-racking 15M miles from the surface

Big John Silver badge

Re: So what I'm wondering now...

> "But is velocity still a Constant in these circumstances?"

Averaged across the entire orbit, yes. Some of that total velocity does get transferred to Venus tho, in order to shorten the orbital period and do more science faster. The Venus passes also help to sharpen the ellipse, which gets the spacecraft closer to the Sun without needing lots of delta-v. The elongated orbit also lets the probe communicate between passes, and limits the time spent close to the Sun, reducing wear and tear.

Russian computer failure on ISS is nothing to worry about – they're just going to turn it off and on again

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It's the second one that's scary...

This is why triple redundancy is the rule outside the atmosphere.

Has science gone too far? Now boffins dream of shining gigantic laser pointer into space to get aliens' attention

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Talk to the tentacle

If there is a galactic community out there, they would have to have rules forbidding contact with races that haven't yet developed the ability to cross between stars, or else they'd be here already. I bet those rules specifically state that deliberate electromagnetic attempts at contact don't count, no matter how earnest the signaling.

But I'm sure they'd be extremely interested and would pay close attention to whatever we send out...

You're way ahead of me. First, we message them with a broad beam, saying we know they are listening. Then we taunt them mercilessly, using our most battle-hardened trolls, for years if necessary!

Even if they still refuse to respond, it will be fun for everyone. >:-)

US draft bill moots locking up execs who lie about privacy violations

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But how can we be sure they are telling the truth?

Big John Silver badge

> "This bill and all others are fluff."

I disagree. Wyden is a loyal Democrat, but he's smart and sees that soon the Republicans will start to legislate these issues, reining in the tech giants, particulary if they hold onto the House. He would prefer to control and limit that conversation, thus his current proposal.

Dawn of the dead: NASA space probe runs out of gas in asteroid belt after 6.4 billion-mile trip

Big John Silver badge

Re: Reinvest in a small nuclear powered engines program. NOW!

> "But the fissionables aren't "dead mass" they are fuel mass."

No, the fissionables are used to heat and/or accelerate the reaction mass, in theory anyway. Jettisoning your power supply out the tailpipe is a really bad idea, particularly if it's radioactive and you're still in the atmosphere.

Big John Silver badge

Re: Reinvest in a small nuclear powered engines program. NOW!

Nuclear rockets are all well and good, but what actually matters is exhaust velocity. For a hydrogen/oxygen rocket it's about 4,400 meters per second at the nozzle. For an ion engine it's about 29,000 M/S. So ion engines have far more total impulse than chem rockets ever will.

Nuclear rockets may have a larger flow rate, but I doubt the exhaust velocity will be any higher that with ion engines (if that), and they will have to accelerate much more dead mass in the form of fissionables.

Perhaps for large payloads already in space it could be acceptable if exhaust velocity is high enough to more than offset the dead mass. Kinda like a large-scale equivalent of the ion engine's efficiency.

Web domain owners paid EasyDNS to cloak their contact info from sight. It was blabbed via public Whois anyway

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Re: Registered private domain owners.

> "Why are registrars still publishing this info anyway?"

Good question.I went wiki on this, and it seems that once upon a time, all WHOIS info was held on a single server run by DARPA. It was set up to allow even wildcard searches! Loose as a goose.

That was apparently fine when the entire Internet could have met in one building, but now it's at least a million times larger. WHOIS outlived its desirability long ago, but inertia retards reform.


Roscosmos: An assembly error doomed our Soyuz, but we promise it won't happen again

Big John Silver badge

Re: I can't get the sensor to fit

> "I would have given the poster of this the benefit of the doubt if not for..."

I love you too, VRH. ;-/

Big John Silver badge

Re: I can't get the sensor to fit

The builders must know (don't they?) that this sensor is absolutely critical, meaning a failure of any one of them means a catastrophe. Yet this one went in "bent." Clearly the Russians have a systematic quality assurance problem, and those ain't cheap.

US Republicans bash UK for tech tax plan

Big John Silver badge

Re: This from thieves

Well Version 1.0, I've read that speech and it basically says that corporations that directly service the government can become a big problem if not watched for signs of bribery toward politicians. Ike was quite correct about that!

But I didn't see anything in the speech about upping corporate tax rates to fix the potential bribery problem. In fact, raising taxes on military contractors more or less automatically raises their rates, thus churning the tax funds around to no purpose, unless you count "shrinkage" along the way as a purpose.

Big John Silver badge

Re: This from thieves

> "The Republicans treat the people of the US as a piggy bank."

So when big government types raise taxes, that's the opposite of taking the people's money away? Oh right, this is about taxing corporations, not the people.

Except, corporations never pay tax. All taxes levied on them are paid out of profits. So if the government takes a bigger bite, they must raise rates to cover it or go bankrupt, thus passing the tax on to their customers, the people.

Conversely, if corporate taxes are reduced then they generally reduce rates too, because if they don't and their competitors do, their market share tanks.

So in either case it's the high corporate tax crowd that are doing the piggy bank thing, and they are rarely Republicans. Democrats are the ones who want to "stick it to the corporations," which actually adds tax burden to the people, but not in an obvious way.

Worldwide Web wizard Tim Berners-Lee sticks wellington boot into Worldwide Web's giants: Time to break 'em up?

Big John Silver badge

Re: Timing

> "...as soon as you get a democrat government in the excited $tates."

Funny you should talk that way. FYI, the conservative part of the US has gradually become aware that the tech giants are almost entirely in the hands of very liberal Democrats. We don't like how those platforms are being gradually weighted against us for purely PC reasons. We're gradually coming to realize we can't let the online social sphere's rules be dictated by those who would be happy to stifle us, leaving the field to the Left only.

And here you come saying that it would be good to put controls on those tech giants, but only if a Democrat gets to do it. Why do I suspect this is so that the process can be made entirely for show, with no real reform at all?

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