* Posts by Black Betty

248 posts • joined 3 Mar 2010

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Photon scattering puts a shine on CERN ATLAS boffins' day

Black Betty

Could this be a case of non-mutual anihilation?

ie. each photon spontaneously forms a particle-antiparticle pairs (p1-a1, p2-a2) which then cross annihilate p1-a2 and p2-a1.

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US military spies: We'll capture enemy malware, tweak it, lob it right back at our adversaries

Black Betty

Don't a lot of malware packages patch security holes once in?

My recollection is that many of the worst viruses clean up and patch behind themselves in order to keep other miscreants out and take sole control of the systems they infect.

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Firmware update blunder bricks hundreds of home 'smart' locks

Black Betty

This is what you get when every App is an OS patch.

Who the hell needs a light switch (or lock) with more processing power than one of Seymour's early babies?

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Hey, remember that monkey selfie copyright drama a few years ago? Get this – It's just hit the US appeals courts

Black Betty

Was Naruto aware of what he was doing or simply grimacing at his reflection?

< no body >

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Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Black Betty

Re: Don't give me no static ...

I'm guessing he managed to partially dislodge the nozzle so that it never became immersed. Thus the vacuum failed to trigger.

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Who will save us from voice recog foolery from scumbags? Magnetometer!

Black Betty

Biometrics should only be used as a wakeup measure.

Something which only works to unlock a device in the first few minutes of inactivity, after which a non-spoofable mechanism kicks in.

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Trident nuke subs are hackable, thunders Wikipedia-based report

Black Betty

Re: Normal USB Attack Vector

No this is where some numpty of an ensign doesn't see anything wrong with installing Конфеты хруст on a work terminal or possibly even just the onboard crew entertainment system.

Just how air gapped/integrated are the onboard systems from/with each other. Can a thumb drive plugged in in the forward torpedo room conceivably affect anything in the engine room?

The danger of networked systems on a war vessel is that a saboteur no longer needs physical access to a system to compromise it. Furthermore computerisation makes possible sabotage that stays hidden until the captain punches the great big "This is not a drill" button.

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LIGO physicists eyeball a new gravitational wave

Black Betty

Re: Two solar masses (in energy) escaped

Same principle as a space probe getting a gravity assist by swinging around one planet on the way to another. Just on space steroids.

IIRC up to 30% of the mass of a black hole can be stolen by throwing crap at it and missing by just the right amount.

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Lexmark patent racket busted by Supremes

Black Betty

Re: Epson extortion

My experience with Epson was the firmware update which caused the printer to read brand new, but non-genuine cartridges as empty.

Not real happy, given that we'd just bought a 15+5 cartridge bulk pack.

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Nukes tests caused space weather, say NASA boffins

Black Betty

Re: Valves the size of a MOSFET.

Strictly speaking, valves of such a size do in fact exist. Every pixel element of a plasma TV is a valve diode, and a quick search found this critter.

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/185027-the-vacuum-tube-strikes-back-nasas-tiny-460ghz-vacuum-transistor-that-could-one-day-replace-silicon-fets.

The problem with EMP is not tiny elements, not directly, it's the wires between them that work just like the wire in Faraday's very first experiment. Magnetic field goes past, a current is induced, NOW the tiny elements get voltages they can't handle and pfft goes the magic smoke.

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Beaten passenger, check. Dead giant rabbit, check. Now United loses cockpit door codes

Black Betty

Re: Waiting....

Amazingly effective actually. Most people will do almost anything in order to prolong their own lives, even if only by minutes or seconds.

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WannaCrypt outbreak contained as hunt for masterminds kicks in

Black Betty

Probably can't update because of device drivers.

These computers have to "talk" to the equipment they are attached to, and the odds are the interfaces for a lot of medical equipment is proprietary. So much so that I would not surprise me to see ISA interface cards still in use in places.

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NASA nixes Trump's moonshot plan

Black Betty

Re: What's the problem

The problem is that the technology you speak of no longer exists. And the people who developed it are long retired, if not as dead and buried as the program.

Too many of the schematics and engineers drawings are missing for us to even attempt a new component for old substitution. And even if we had them, trying would almost certainly run into component saving shortcuts that relied on highly specific characteristics of those components. You'd spend as much time trying to figure out why they did something, as sorting out what it was they actually did.

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Japanese researchers spin up toilet paper gyroscopes for science

Black Betty

Tail goes in back.

Then folding toward oneself puts the dimples on textured paper to the outside, and who wouldn't prefer dimples on their bum to pimples.

Practically, dimples also catch and hold more "material".

Also if the installer is a clutz (not looking in any mirrors), a roll with the tail to the front will snag on protruding screw heads when pulled with any vigour.

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Amazon's Alexa is worst receptionist ever: Crazy exes, stalkers' calls put through automatically

Black Betty

You keep them to block them.

Landlords and old employers for references.

One might also ask how many files reside on your computer that have not seen the light of day since their creation.

Old crap piles up because deleting it is too much bloody trouble.

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It's been two and a half years of decline – tablets aren't coming back

Black Betty

E-books and Flash games.

Those are I suspect the two major uses for tablet style computing devices, and neither demands any more grunt than was available from the first reliable generation of tablets. Phones are the goto device for personal organisation, and laptops for compute or input heavy applications on a mobile platform.

As those for whom the smartphone has become an essential appendage begin to age, and develop worsening eyesight, the tablet might come into its own, and as a generation developing a whole new suite of fine motor skills grows up, that "Killer App" might put in an appearance. Until then my Galaxy S2 is more than sufficient unto the day.

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Hackers emit 9GB of stolen Macron 'emails' two days before French presidential election

Black Betty

Re: So, just another day in the office...?

That, or like the US elections, these dumps provide a "plausible" reason to "explain" the statistically improbable one sided difference between polls and outcome that has consistently crept into their election results since 2000.

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User loses half of a CD-ROM in his boss's PC

Black Betty

It's amazingly error resistant.

Years ago I had a Baldur's Gate CD that was out of kilter somehow, bad enough that when it spun up the side panels of my PC literally rattled. For two solid hours, my PC buzzed like Photonicinduction's playroom, but I was able to rip a clean image. Amazingly that poor abused CD-drive was still alive when DVD came around.

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Jeez, we'll do something about Facebook murder vids, moans Zuckerberg

Black Betty

Re: How is it they can be so quick to remove nudity

My guess is that FB's moderators simply "won't go there" with respect to what might be truly objectionable content, and since I suspect a daily quota of spit roasted babies and dismembered bodies is an unenforceable performance metric, the alerts languish in the reporting queue until enough accumulate to trigger an escalation to a specialist moderation unit, or, as we keep on seeing, the media gets hold of the story and forces action.

Now, given Facebook's boasts about how its algorithms can pigeonhole its users nine ways from Sunday, it should not be difficult for them to identify users who habitually seek out/view alertable content and cancel those accounts.

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Pen-tester gets past Microsoft VB macro barriers

Black Betty

Perfect bloatware example.

Two chunks of code that perform the same function in one application.

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Need the toilet? Wanna watch a video ad about erectile dysfunction?

Black Betty

Rear Echelon Mother (um what's an E?)

Text goes here

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Burger King's 'OK Google' sad ad saga somehow gets worse

Black Betty

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this hacking?

Unauthorized and unwanted access to a computing device?

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Deeming Facebook a 'publisher' of users' posts won't tackle paedo or terrorist content

Black Betty

Maybe it's because Facebook's moderators simply refuse to look.

Maybe the reason it takes Facebook so long to take down the truly offensive when it can erase a feeding infant in an instant, is down to the possibility that the majority of their reviewers simply refuse to look at certain types of material. After all I strongly doubt that a daily quota of images of child abuse and dismembered bodies viewed is an enforceable performance metric.

It's only when multiple alerts on the same post start flooding, (and the media has their story) in that anything happens.

It might not be right, but it is human nature.

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US military makes first drop of Mother-of-All-Bombs on Daesh-bags

Black Betty

Re: Gather Dust?

Yah, it's been about 20 years since I last read me some Dam Busters. I was reminded of the correct spelling too late to correct it.

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Black Betty

Strictly speaking chemistry is a branch of physics.

some text here.

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Black Betty

Re: Gather Dust?

I suspect an ignorant conflation between this bunker buster and the Daisy Cutter fuel-air bomb.

Or perhaps a squeamish writer decided a less than factual "suck all the air from your lungs" was an improvement over "lungs exploded inside your chest".

Reading between the lines, it would appear that the M110 can be fused to explode on contact, generating a shockwave in air capable of rupturing unprotected lungs and destroying lightweight structures out to distance of a mile or so, along with a surface shockwave that would knock more substantial buildings off their foundations. Alternatively it can be fused for delayed detonation, to take out hardened/buried targets at a significantly reduced distance.

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Black Betty

Re: Gather Dust?

Tell that to Barnes Wallace and the 617 Squadron. This thing is designed to do a task that no (realistic) number of 1000 lb bombs can do. Go deep and take out (or at least cut access to) hardened facilities beyond the reach of conventional ordinance.

The reason that 1000 lb was more or less established as the "ideal" size for a bomb, way back when they were still calling the aforementioned Barnes Wallace an idiot, is indeed the devastation per dollar expended you allude to. And that calculation was made based on the targets of the day. CITIES. Cities full of structures and infrastructures that can be knocked flat by an excessively stiff breeze.

1000 lb bombs are designed to bomb PEOPLE and the things that PEOPLE need to survive. Last time I looked the updated rules of "civilised" warfare kinda forbade targeting civilians.

Germany proved rather convincingly that railway line could be laid, and power lines strung faster than they could be bombed out of existence. It took specialised weapons like the Barrel Bomb, Tallboy and Grand Slam, and the critter under discussion here, to damage the truly important stuff buried under mountains of dirt and whacking great lumps of concrete.

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Astro-boffinry breakthrough: Loads of ingredients for life found on Saturn's Enceladus

Black Betty

Re: 65km Deep Ocean

Surface gravity of Enceladus = 0.113 m/s^2 = 1/90G. So first approximation 65 km there is roughly equivalent to a depth of 720m here pressure wise. Toss in some inverse square law and we're down under 500m depth equivalent, if my somewhat limited understanding of gravity inside the body generating it is correct.

That's damned near backyard submersible territory, so I'd say yes.

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Windows 10 Creators Update general rollout begins with a privacy dialogue

Black Betty

Send Microsoft your voice input to blah, blah, blah.

Translation if Cortana fails to recognize what's said, the audio will be sent to a human being for translation. I suppose this might only happen once or twice for each unknown word, but accurate translation means context (ie whole phrase or sentence) for any unknown words will have to be passed onto that human being.

That's bad enough in a so called "Smart TV". In an application intended to answer any question asked it, there's enormous potential for abuse.

All settings to off for me.

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QANTAS cuts AU$4,000 from price of Mac Pro

Black Betty

I think there's a "publication error" provision.

Otherwise it would only take one smart arse at Kinko's to bankrupt a business.

You get bargains like yours because the packing department just slaps the computer generated label on the box and shoves it out the door. I suspect the data entry error was only picked up when Billing and the warehouse reconciled their books at the end of the day/week/month.

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Boffins fabricate the 'most complex bendy microprocessor yet'

Black Betty

Or we can settle for bendy wires, and bit of grit in the corner.

A 486 has pretty much spot on 1 million transistors, using the quoted Intel figures for current/next generation densities that should fit into 0.1mm^2, or 100 to the square millimetre. *

That gives us a Doom capable t-shirt (flexible OLED display) with all the electronics lost in one of the seams. For the applications being touted, a z-80 (packing density 10k/sq. mm) would be overkill.

We don't need flexible electronics, we need a flexible interface for electronics of a size that doesn't even rate skidmark on the fly-dirt scale.

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Back to the future: Honda's new electric car can go an incredible 80 miles!

Black Betty

Why not offer different battery pack options.

Let the "average" or "budget conscious" (read skint) driver have an EV that doesn't break the bank, using the cheapest battery technology capable of delivering 100-150 km range.

Let the few who need the range or can't pass up a dick measuring contest pay to suit their needs.

Now simply rent out extended range batteries for the times they are actually needed.

Or make car and home batteries interchangeable. After for most of us, getting into the one for four or five hours, generally means we won't be in the other for the next several days.

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Printer blown to bits by compressed air

Black Betty

Re: Dangerous

The piddling little bubbles that sometimes get into a drip line will easily dissolve in the blood, it takes several cc's of air to cause a potentially fatal embolism.

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Boeing details 'Deep Space Gateway' for Mars mission staging

Black Betty

Re: Nice idea

My recollection of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, was that Heinlein did the math "off camera" so to speak. And I just re-did it for my own edification and now yours.

In the book there were two accelerators, The first being the pre-existing 100 km long one, which accelerated its load at 3g over 81 seconds or so, and the second one the rebels built themselves, 30 km long, with an acceleration of 10g for a little under 25 seconds.

Even the latter is squishy compatible for anyone with halfway decent health, but with those parameters, either one only just barely gets its load up to lunar escape velocity with nothing left over for actually going anywhere.

On the other hand, the above figures are for bare minimum launch velocities. The moon is geologically dead enough that ruler straight tunnels, considerably longer are feasible. I figure digging time would be the major limiting factor on achievable length.

4 or 5 km/s of useable delta-V is quite achievable, without seriously bruising any meat bags.

However, such a launch system would be a terrible waste of resources since it could only be used very infrequently when the planets suitably align.

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Black Betty

Re: Nice idea

Strangely enough, while a terrestrial space elevator pushes the theoretical limits of material science, a lunar elevator capable of dipping into the Earth's upper atmosphere at lunar perigee, is technically feasible using existing technologies and materials as weak as Kevlar.

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Ex-IBMer sues Google for $10bn – after his web ad for 'divine honey cancer cure' was pulled

Black Betty

Re: Expensive Laughter I wonder

Do judges run "bullshit case" sessions in which they have all the plaintiffs perform a mexican wave while he calls them idiots? (In the appropriate legalese of course.)

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If we must have an IoT bog roll holder, can we at least make it secure?

Black Betty

Re: Which way round

Loose end should go to the back.

1) The roll won't snag on protruding screw heads.

2) If you fold upwards, as most people do, it puts the dimpled side of the paper to the outside, and I much prefer dimples on my butt to pimples. Practically, the dimples catch, hold and remove more waste than the obverse.

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Biz claims it's reverse-engineered encrypted drone commands

Black Betty

Re: At a rally somewhere..

but, but they did it on Hawaii Five Oh, so it must be true.

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User needed 40-minute lesson in turning it off and turning it on again

Black Betty
Joke

Re: Can you hold down the power button

We call them "tomcats" in our neck of the woods. Shouldn't be too hard to figure out why.

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Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized FUSION reactor breakthrough boast

Black Betty

Re: 10 years

Whilst they may indeed nett more output than input, there's still the minor problem of turning that excess energy into useful work.

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Uber, Lyft drivers shamed for 'racial bias' by uni eggheads

Black Betty

Re: Dis Crimi-nation

Actually the statistics show that the rate at which people of COMMIT crimes is pretty even when it comes to skin color/ethnicity. Where the difference lies is in the rate at which they are CONVICTED, and in the harshness of sentencing after conviction.

There's nothing wrong with properly informed discrimination, but plenty wrong with blind (at best misinformed) prejudice.

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Samsung are amateurs – NASA shows how you really do a battery fire

Black Betty

Re: It's a bomb. RoboSimian? Yes. Tesla? Not so much.

A lot of it comes down to the physical geometry of the battery pack. Exact mode of catastrophic failure has a good deal to do with it too.

RoboSimian's battery pack was almost certainly designed to be as physically compact as possible, and probably weather, if not completely waterproof. An external charge management system suggests they were using completely unprotected cells.

Continuous energy input (~150 W)? check. Sealed enclosure? Check. Build up of explosive intermediate reaction products? Check. Yes that's a bomb.

Compare that to a Tesla motor vehicle involved in a collision, forgetting for a moment that the model S broke the test, earning the ultimate accolade of an "Ayup." and a nod from the bloke who sweeps up after.

First of all, Tesla batteries, car or domestic have an insane amount of "intelligent" battery management circuitry built in. Backing that up are individual physical fuses on each and every cell in the pack. In both, a massive amount of parallelism keeps the load on individual cells down. Bad cells can be (and are) electrically isolated at the first sign of trouble, almost inevitably before catastrophic failure can occur.

In crash, the battery, being enclosed within the frame of the passenger compartment is pretty robustly protected to begin with. But if you hit it hard enough it will break. This is where the geometry of the battery helps a lot. The Tesla car battery is laid out as a flat sheet within the frame of the passenger compartment, so it's already pretty well protected there. If it is damaged, it's very unlikely that more than a relative handful of cells will be ruptured and subject to immediate ignition.

If the battery remains substantially intact, most of the energy of cell that do catch fire will be expended outwards, away from any undamaged cells, meaning that while you might have an unstoppable fire on your hands, it's one that will proceed at a relatively controlled pace, at least to begin with.

If the car takes enough damage to completely demolish the passenger cell and battery beneath it, chances are that most, if not all of the damaged cells would be scattered across the landscape and not where they can convince their fellows to join the festivities.

tl;dr Yes fire is certainly possible, but it will either be localised and contained (relatively speaking), or scattered and still localised. No conceivable scenario leads to a bomb.

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Black Betty

Re: Only 96 batteries

Strangely enough, water is exactly what you put on a large lithium fire, provided you have enough of it.

On the one hand, it's swapping one extremely bad tempered reaction with an at least marginally less bad tempered one. However, the true advantage is in the thermal mass of the sheer amount of water involved, which is capable of carrying away a huge amount of heat, which at least takes care of the thermal runaway problem.

Now it just has to be kept wet until water has seeped through any and all containment breaches and fully reacted with any exposed lithium. Unburnt hydrogen simply needs to be managed like any other flammable gas at a fire scene.

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IoT botnet swells

Black Betty

Re: Govts needs to get a grip on it and now

Cutting off the internet connections of the buyers until the offending devices are removed and subject to extreme percussive maintenance is what needs to be done right now.

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NHS patients must be taught to share their data, says EU lobby group

Black Betty

And the 17 partners will be sharing THEIR data when?

How many of the commercial entities in this partnership have been dinged for suppressing inconvenient findings and even deliberately marketing product they damned well knew were harmful?

IMHO ALL results, good, bad and ugly should be published before a drug candidate is given final approval. And if deliberate mal, mis, or nonfeasance can be demonstrated if/when a drug proves to be harmful in the long term, then the penalty should be 100% of the total revenues (not profit) derived from that drug.

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nbn™ says nobody needs gigabit internet, trumpets XG-Fast at 8Gbps anyway

Black Betty

Re: Gigabit not needed, what a load of crap!

Really? 15 Mbits/sec will just barely see out one DVD quality video, with enough bandwidth left over for a couple of browser connections. The only way to get 4K video down existing pipes is massive compression which makes a mockery of the format. 8K (already a thing) will be worse still.

And while few would fully utilise a gigabit pipe 24/7, games and their patches are constantly growing in size. I've already run into one 20 GByte, day zero game patch (4 hours+ over ADSL2).

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Black Betty

Re: digging up lawns

Put a "winged keel" on a modified whacker packer and you have a machine (featured on The New Inventors a good ten years ago) which pulls cables or pipes through the soil with no need for any trenching at all. You could quite literally run a line beneath a bowling green, run a roller over it and be playing on it within the hour. IIRC it would also work beneath concrete through a slot not much wider than an expansion joint.

For the average suburban property, it would be two hours or less to change over from copper to glass.

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Black Betty

Re: State of the copper?

For me: Missing twists in the pit at the front of the property meant that every time the pit filled with rainwater the capacitance of the line would change causing dropouts. An orphaned pairgain power feed from the next street over messed with the tech's test equipment, and my pair being only notionally wrapped about the connection posts, both in the bollard and at the green box, caused intermittent faults both when other people's lines were being worked on, or when the sun got a little too fierce.

I once had another sun related problem way back when I was a part of the Optus cable modem trial, there was a fault which only turned up on sunny afternoons for half an hour or so, and which of course was never there by the time the techs checked the line. A ping script run over the course of a few days showed the fault beginning almost exactly 4 minutes earlier every day. Since 4 minutes is the difference between the lengths of the sidereal and solar days, locating the fault had the techs literally chasing shadows.

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Apple's Breaxit scandal: Frenchman smashes up €50,000 of iThings with his big metal balls

Black Betty

You broke it. You bought it. EOM

The post is required, and must contain letters.

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152k cameras in 990Gbps record-breaking dual DDoS

Black Betty

Re: The d*ckhead who bought it is your average punter.

He simply bought a consumer product marketed as a way to make his life more convenient and plugged it in. Nowhere on the box does it tell him that actually using the product for the purpose for which it is sold, is the online equivalent of hanging the door key on the gatepost.

It's simple enough to identify what brands/models of devices. Hit the manufacturers for the cost of mitigating attacks. Let the worst idiots figure it's cheaper to pay up than fix the problem, third time it becomes habitual behaviour. Goodbye LLC status, ALL the assets of ALL the principles are up for grabs.

IOT was a ludicrous concept from the very beginning. Billions of "smart" devices that can outperform the first true supercomputers by orders of magnitude ALL directly connected to the internet. What could possibly go wrong?

How about one hardened smart controller and a host of utterly stupid devices that know their own function and no other. What additional utility is there in light bulbs that can be tracelessly hacked to become a wireless keyboard sniffer? Or security cameras that make you (or perhaps your children) internet famous, without bothering you with pesky little details like consent, or expectation of privacy?

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