* Posts by publius

20 posts • joined 21 Jun 2010

Bloke coughs to leaking US military aircraft blueprints to China



Did Boeing actually put militarily-useful information on a machine exposed to the Internet?

Or was this just advertising brochures?

If classified information was exposed to the world, Boeing should lose its security acreditations. Out of business!

I suspect this story is being hyped by the press as far worse than it really was. But, it got headlines, didn't it.

Why does herbal cough syrup work so well? It may be full of morphine


Snake oil?

It's important to remember the enormous history of herbal remedies Chinese practitioners have amassed over the millenia. Snake oil was the right medicine if it was made from the RIGHT snake. When that practice was transferred to the US of A 150 years ago, some unscrupulous people substituted local "snakes" for the real thing. Sham products have been around forever. "Caveat emptor" is just as important now as it was when the Romans coined the phrase at least two thousand years ago.

AGL trumps Tesla with batteries-and-solar-cell package


Rent, don't buy

I suspect Musk has plans to lease the batteries, as a hedge against the huge initial cost of supplying anything with useful capacity. Because batteries of all types have only a limited lifetime, but many types have an almost unlimited recycling capacity, leasing just makes sense. That way, the true cost is amortized over a much longer time, pushing the upfront costs down to something mere mortals can afford.

Reg hacks (and rest of 'Frisco) in LinkedIn measles contagion scare


Rubella and birth defects

Measles is not funny to a pregnant woman who does not already have immunity. It is (unfortunately) now somewhat risky for any woman to get pregnant if she has not already been immunized. This was common knowledge 50 years ago. Are we getting dumber?

All you self-centered, selfish, stupid creeps that don't want to "risk" immunization (yes - it is your choice): just move out to the middle of a REALLY big desert, so you don't put the rest of us at risk.

The advertisers have convinced huge numbers of people that only "they" exist. But this is not so to a bunch of us old people, who are susceptible to all sorts of airborne diseases carried and multiplied by the huddled masses. Walmart /Tesco is becoming a dangerous place to may of us. Not to mention public transport.

Forget Norks, Russian hackers are in Sony Pictures' servers – claim


Rather more likely

that these newly leaked items were bought and paid for over the undernet. No doubt, lots of extortion activity behind all of this.

REVEALED: Titsup flight plan mainframe borks UK air traffic control


Damn, these guys are good

This (ATC) is an horrendously complex machine, with a whole lot of moving parts. I say "well done" to the controllers and to the grunts who wrote the code. Comes down to the human factor in the end, and the humans are more than up to the challenge - pilots and controllers. I'll get pounded for this here, but I just love it when the machines fail and the humans step in. I know, I'm old and outdated, but I still believe in carbon units!

Amazon to dig DEEPER into YOUR shopping habit BRAIN with targeted ads system


Follow the money

Amazon has (have) data on people who have been "persuaded" to part with their money. Google has (have) data only on people who are thinking about spending their money. The marketeers (and their money) are aimed squarely at the former. Profit for Amazon.

Amazon has a way of sticking in your face - you click the "buy it now"TM button, and they then pop up a screen full of products that others thought were clearly better that yours. Crap! It's too late. Well, not really, but by the time you investigate the other products, your 30 minutes is up and it's too late to cancel!

(OK, I'm slow, and I have a satellite connection -YMMV).

Galileo can't do the fandango: Two Euro GPS nav sats sent into WRONG ORBIT


They just need a little delta-V

It's going to cost a lot of station-keeping propellant to boost the orbit and shift the inclination. Presumably, they are now doing the calculations to see if it's worth it. The trick is to give a ittle push (delta V) - in the right direction - each time the satellites reach just the right point in their orbit. Eventually, they will get up to the right altitude, then the orbits will be circularized with a similar technique. If this process takes too much manuevering fuel, they will probably be de-orbited to avoid creating space junk. Their current orbits are low enough that atmospheric drag will get them eventually, but it would take a long time from 20,000-odd km up.

Lawsuit claims SpaceX laid off hundreds without proper notice, pay


Makes no sense

SpaceX has a very ambitious launch plan for the next couple of years. Based on previous performance of there competitors, there is probably no chance they can meet that schedule. So, they are firing employees?!! A few questions come to mind:

How does this help them get their rockets onto the launch pad?

Who hired "underperforming" employees in such a tight skilled-labor market?

How is this being spun to other potential SpaceX investors, now that the pressure is on to produce?

Ordinarily, a high-tech engineering comany will weed out those who can't perform at the required level, one at a time. A mass firing indicates that the bean counters and marketeers have stepped in.

Nothing good about this news.


Apple wheels out sueball cannon, again


It's all about profit

You will all pay it. The manufacturers only want to extort from each other sufficient royalties to ensure that they all get the maximum profit from those buyers they have convinced/programmed/deluded to pay for their devices.

So long as people will offer up hard cash for the next incremental change in these devices, Apple, Samsung and others will do very well. The legal churn simply serves to level the playing field by jacking up all of the prices until only the most well-healed (diamonds on the soles of their shoes) can pay.

'Biocoal' fuels steam train comeback


The problem is . . .

Steam engines were retired because of the stupendous cost of maintenance. They required continuous, intensive maintenance, and needed total rebuilds far more often than diesel-electrics. Modernized fuels might fix one of their problems, but these old machines will not be cost effective.

Sad. I would love to see them come back.

Reg hack cops a licking from the bosun's cat


Chile ?

Perhaps it's Chile, whose Navy still sails the Esmeralda.

Via Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esmeralda_%28BE-43%29

AMD spills secret to World Record clock speed


Liquid N2

In fact, you can pour liquid nitrogen over your head, if you have a mind to, with no ill effects. The rapid evaporation forms an insulating layer of gas to keep your skin from freezing (for a little while).

I had a bald-headed chemistry professor that put on a well-attended demonstration during exams week every winter. That was one of his less dangerous acts. His "explosions" rattled the windows in the back of the lecture hall.

DARPA: Hypersonic strato-ship crackup was no biggie


Hmmmm. How did the Russians do this

with their Buran shuttle, which was remotely piloted? It must have been autonomously controlled during atmospheric reentry, since all that plasma gets in the way of the radio waves. Or did they stash a well-trained chimp on board?

Lewis' nuts-in-hyperspace description must have been inspired by a pint or two.

Legendary steampunk computer 'should be built' - programmer


A mechanical computer ...

gives a whole new meaning to "bugs."

Über-zombie cookies give us the fear


Tell me again ...

why I need/want flash?

Skype pulls up socks for corporate service


Cisco + Skype

has always been a world beater. I've been waiting for this to happen for five years now. The big question is: Will Cisco use Skype to take on incumbent telcos, or will they throttle it back to help control the P2P load on *their* "pipes"? Cisco controls way too much of the infrastructure.

Organ banks on horizon as boffins prep tissue-freeze tech


Want more organs?

Just eliminate speed limits. Problem solved, as long as the condition of the organs isn't a big concern.

Of course, the Swedes and Swiss will have to find a new way to fund their governments.

Underground tunnel complexes FOUND ON MOON


Cover-up, indeed!

The lunar maria (seas) were giant lava flows, presumably from impacts, but possibly with a little help from volcanism due to internal heat.

Firefox add-on does 'HTTPS Everywhere'


Why use "secure" Google, when

they store all your results in plain text and hand them over to whatever governmental organization has asked most recently?


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