* Posts by Brewster's Angle Grinder

1774 posts • joined 23 May 2011

Microsoft's AI is so good it steered Renault into bottom of the F1 league

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: More AI hype

As Red Bull shows, you can be consistently in the top ten with Renault. And the McLaren does seem to have a nice chassis. But given Alonso's judgement, Honda will ace it next year and a Torro Rosso rookie will be fighting for the championship.

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Downloaded CCleaner lately? Oo, awks... it was stuffed with malware

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It's not an argument for or against it. If the build gets compromised, you're shafted.

Okay, manual updating will have reduced the number of people who installed the infected copy, and allowed the ultra-paranoid to avoid it. But it leaves a bunch of non-tech users completely unaware they have contaminated software. And those copies will remain infected until they're upgraded. At least those on automatic update now have a clean copy. And if they didn't run the infected copy, they're safe.

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The architecture for sharing tokens across blockchains promises traction

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I've recently bought some betamaxcoins. I think they'll be sire winners in the coin wars.

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Unloved Microsoft Edge is much improved – but will anyone use it?

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Re: Memory Utilisation

How much do you block? Because I can't get a browser near that level. The largest Chrome process I've got is 10meg; the rest are below that. Firefox might be eating a gig. But 10 gig?

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Weird white dwarf pulsar baffles boffins as its pulsating pattern changes over decades

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Re: a teaspoon ... would weigh 15 tons.

It won't matter. A properly calibrating "weighing machine" gives you the mass of the object being weighed.

But, obviously, if you use a balance calibrated for earth if will give a silly answer. And there are various caveats about relativity and non-inertial frames.

I'll leave you to write your own jokes.

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Boffins' satcomms rig uses earthly LEDs to talk to orbiting PV panels

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Terminator

Having read the paper...

The LEDs are only used for the downlink. (A 140W laser is used for the uplink.) They transmit using 1000 lumens worth of LEDs with a peak power of 140W and use lenses to focus the beam. It is reckoned it will emit a 19.9 dBW signal -- that's visual magnitude of 1, so naked eye visible under ideal conditions.

Those fins are a conventional aluminium heat sink. But the LEDs only transmit for 2min/orbit and then they let the heat dissipate. Radiation benefits from surface area every bit as much as convection, so perhaps.

The signal is received using a commercial 30cm telescope. Accounting for losses that's a -107.3 dBW signal giving a speed of 8.85E4 bit/s or 700 photons per bit. But they plan to use "deep learning" on both ends to develop a modulation scheme -- they haven't done so,.

They don't say much about the uplink to solar panels, referring to other work. But it uses a laser mounted on the receiving telescope.

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Pains of giving birth to stars gives heft to elliptical galaxies

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Linus Torvalds' lifestyle tips for hackers: Be like me, work in a bathrobe, no showers before noon

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Re: One word springs to mind

"usually involves somebody standing over you and pis....."

That's the pee-er to pee-er version.

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Boffins fear we might be running out of ideas

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Joke

Re: Because

"Yet more proof, if any was needed, that bean-counters kill basic research."

In their defence, have you seen the price of a CERN?

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Developer swings DMCA sueball at foul-mouthed streamer PewDiePie

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Re: Oh Really?

And not just streaming. Standing next to someone as they're gaming is infringing: you can use the DCMA to deport anyone in the same room without a blindfold. In fact, one gamer, playing outside, can have everyone in America not in a building, deported. I racial slur you not.

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Everyone loves programming in Python! You disagree? But it's the fastest growing, says Stack Overflow

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Re: Extinct

"(yes, once you're familiar with Python this is less surprising)."

I'm more surprised when languages don't do that. Javascript and lua both do it, and PHP and perl quickly grew the ability to do it.

It's not just the performance -- references are a fundamental part of programming data structures and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've wanted to create a copy of an array (and all its subobjects, and all their subobjects...)

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As Hurricane Irma grows, Earth now lashed by SOLAR storms

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Indeed. "Crossed keys" is a valid defence in any English court of law.

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Facebook's music plans mean you'll never leave Facebook

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So, for the mean to be 210 seconds, think how often some people must be checking it.

Which reminds me, I haven't checked my Facebook account in the last 10 seconds.

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Dear rioters: Hiding your face with scarves, hats can't fool this AI system

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It's okay, if the face recogniition fails...

....the gait analysis will succeed. It's just a question of which set of cheeks they match.

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Flying electric taxi upstart scores $90m from investors

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You also forgot to saw off the tail fin.

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It's official: Users navigate flat UI designs 22 per cent slower

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Re: Semi visible text

Actually, I find black on white headache inducing. My text editor is light grey text on a blue field. If I have to read printed black text, I prefer the matt beige of a musty paperback to the glossy white of a text book. I seem to recall, back in the day, there was a lot of research to support this. (Although both are high contrast by modern standards.)

There's also the practical issue that white backgrounds use more power than black, which matters for mobile.

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Re: A serious question.

Each test image shows pictures of three anniversary wedding gifts: one for the first year's anniversary, one for the second, and one for the third. They're laid out like a glossy magazine advert. Each gift has a title, under which is a paragraph of descriptive text, and beneath that is a click-through link. In the low signifier version, the click-through link is not underlined and is the same colour and font size as the paragraph of text above it. In the high-signifier version, the links are a underlined and in a brighter blue. That's the scale of difference we're talking about. We're not talking about putting 3D buttons around the hyperlinks or the kind of design you're outlining.

You could pull apart the test in multiple ways. For example, the heat map shows the user looking at the title the most. So if the title had been hyperlinked, all would have been well. It was insisting users use a piddly hyperlink under the page was caused the problems.

But the design is more suspect than that. Because a shopper is not going to go, "You know what, I won't buy the second year's anniversary present this year, I'll buy the third." So it didn't need complicated exposition. It just needed to get the shopper to answer the question, "How many years have you been married?"

As for Windows, you'll have to ask the haters. I barely noticed the difference between Windows 7 and Windows 10. But I don't user Microsoft's dev tools or Office, so I'm not deeply exposed.

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Solaris update plan is real, but future looks cloudy by design

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Re: Sparc Emulator?

Why interpret it? Why not translate it into x86 on the fly?

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Smart meters: 'Dog's breakfast' that'll only save you 'a tenner' – report

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Re: It's not about saving you money, it's about enabling *green* energy

They inject green ink as it passes through the pipe or cable.

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Coat

Re: easy pickings

And the second rule of fishing for upvotes is to use a bigger internet.

Mine's the reticulated one, thanks.

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Crypto-busters reverse nearly 320 MEELLION hashed passwords

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"The hashes are already out there and that's all you need for real-time filtering."

All the hashes "out there" are using a busted hash algorithm you wouldn't want to use in a production system. (And a different algorithm will produce a different hash.)

You could, I suppose, hash it with the broken algorithms at the same time as computing the real hash, and then filter the list. But it's easier to just check it against the plain text before hashing.

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'Driverless' lorry platoons will soon be on a motorway near you

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Re: Positive externality

"To reduce congestion you introduce road pricing."

We have such a system: it's called fuel duty.

Making it reflect the true cost of motoring would probably be economic suicide. It would likely price poor people out of cars, with the reduction in car sales and job losses in garages. It may be that "public" transport couldn't pick up the slack---outside the cities, there are plenty of places I can't get by train, bus or walking---so labour may dry up for a whole bunch of firms. And it would definitely drive inflation and make our goods more uncompetitive on the international stage.

But even if it did make economic sense, it's politically infeasible. We have said, as a society, we do not want motoring to reflect the true costs. We want the government to find other solutions.

Any anyway we're not, as far as I understand it, we're not giving this money to firms. We are spending money on testing to see whether it is safe, and what the legal parameters should be. That's not something that can be delegated to private firms; part of the legislative process is to research what is safe.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Positive externality

Iff it reduces congestion, it will benefit other road users, as well as reducing spending on building and widening roads. Iff it reduces pollution, there's benefit to the people living near the road and it will, over time, reduce the costs of healthcare associated with breathing conditions.

So we can consider the narrow, selfish interest of individuals agents or the wider interests as the system as a whole.

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Fewer than half GCSE computing students got a B or higher this year

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Comprehension test

1. @anon asks, "Was your mother qualified in Computer Science..."

@argo writes, "My mother...started her career in the days before there was such a thing as a computer science degree."

Therefore, I think, we can safely deduce that, no, she wasn't qualified in Computer Science.

2. @anon continues speculating about things "Business Studies graduates" did "during the '90s".

There were most definitely Computer Science degrees in the 90s---I used to tutor a CS undergrad on the side---so I think we can say argo's mum predates the 90s, probably by decades.

So I think, anon, we'll award you an /A*/, where the * matches zero times.

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Trollface

Re: Isn't C supposed to be average?

"As were doing puns I thought it would be rude not to.[C++]"

I couldn't figure out how to do it with without restarting the C++ is better than C flame war. (It is. Obviously.)

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Isn't C supposed to be average?

"But we started with B, then C and now have D"

The mistake, here, was going to D instead of P

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IT snobbery

"Around 60 per cent of ICT teachers have no degree in an ICT-related subject,"

That annoyed me. Ditto the woman on the radio this morning suggesting that because open source contributors don't have PhDs they are "hobby programmers".

I have zero qualifications in computing yet earn my living from it.

Signed, another disgruntled graduate of the 8-bit micro school of coding.

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Joke

Re: Isn't C supposed to be average?

K&R C was distinctly average. But I'd say C99 was above average, except for the idiotic tgmath.

What?! Somebody had to pun it. And I'm between builds.

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Can North Korean nukes hit US mainland? Maybe. But EMP blast threat is 'highly credible'

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Re: Capabilities

"NASA, the Russians and SpaceX regularly blow up their rockets."

2016 orbital launch statistics. There are two failures total in 2016: one Russian and one Chinese. (It excludes the Space X incident.)

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Re: close only counts with hand grenades and thermonuclear devices

"And MOABs."

Okay, so the full version is now "close only counts with horseshoes, hand grenades, moabs, themonuclear devices, meteorites lobbed at the planet from orbit, dumping enough mass in the host star that it goes supernova, or triggering the universe's metastable vacuum state to decay to a lower energy level."

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"there are still hurdles to overcome – chiefly reentry and targeting."

As the old saw goes, "close only counts with hand grenades and thermonuclear devices." I think we're in that regime. Anywhere on US territory is fine. Even the ocean, if it sends a "radioactive" tsunami on shore.

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German court reveals reason for Europe-wide patent system freeze

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Devil

To be read in as Eric Cartman: "Goddamit Kieren! Why do you have to keep posting this politically correct clickbait nonsense?!"

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British snoops at GCHQ knew FBI was going to arrest Marcus Hutchins

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Terminator

The grasshopper enigma.

"...it isn't that clear which is the state you're referring to."

Well, in the case of amfM1, it's the state of being self-conscious.

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What weighs 800kg and runs Windows XP? How to buy an ATM for fun and profit

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Re: Second picture?

"She. The researcher is a she."

So is the cat.

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The future of Python: Concurrency devoured, Node.js next on menu

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Re: Switch Case

"167 people who have no idea that the difference is and what the switch case is for ..."

You'll have to enlighten me, then.

Back in the day, I remember C compilers that would sometimes generates lookup tables for switch statements. But mainly they ended up as the asm equivalent of if-then statements.

And while I'm here, Duff's device is known to be a performance handicap. Famously, removing numerous instances from the X server reduced code side and increased executable speed.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: " with every thread competing to see who could get the biggest slice of the processor."

Cooperative multitasking was always a silly idea at the OS level. (Calling it "competitive multitasking" was meant to be disparaging.) And it wasn't hard to do; hell I wrote apps that did it internally on DOS and I'd come from eight bit micros that had it (OS9) so it was ludicrous Microsoft didn't do it (although, without hardware memory protection, it would've always be a crap shoot).

At an application level, however, it is a very different beast. You want an app to work so a blocking coroutine is bug. But, as I say, it's not right for every situation. I've been playing with it for a good while in javascript and I still mix and match it with background threads.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: So the 80's are back. Co-operative multi tasking.

Windows wasn't so much cooperative multitasking as competitive multitasking, with every thread competing to see who could get the biggest slice of the processor. But within an app the coroutines are all under your control so you can bludgeon offenders into submission.

It doesn't fit all use cases. But it can help in some situations.

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Re: I'll wait...

The javascript split (ecmascript 4) held up the language for a decade. And there was also a lost decade between C++98 to C++11. (And I've lost track of what's happening with Perl 6.) What was it with the early 2000s?

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PayPal, accused of facilitating neo-Nazi rally, promises to deny hate groups service

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Mushroom

Re: Hmm

"Who decides what is hate, violence and intolerance?"

Excuse me, a minute.

*punches someone in the face*

Yup, violence is fairly easy to spot.

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RBS sharpens axe again: 900 IT jobs to go by 2020

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See, this is why we need more STEM graduates. With hundreds, we can only make modest savings by firing them. But if we had thousands to fire, we could really make serious inroads into our inefficiencies.

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Google and its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in full

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Trollface

Aside: it always surprises me that people on the spectrum are good with computers. I've always thought being good with computers is about empathising with the computer and understanding it's point of view.

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It becomes a problem when women start asserting their superiority has a basis in biology and/or the mark down male candidates before they've been interviewed. (Who wants a pervy man in the work place?)

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Re: Kieren, thank you for avoiding profanity this time

"However this does not stop you being able to look at groups and discerning that individuals in one group are more likely to display some traits rather than those in others."

I didn't realise Google was hiring groups. I thought they were hiring individuals.

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Horsemen of the disk-drive apocalypse will ride upon 256TB SSDs

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Pint

Re: Fortunately

"surface tension will keep an SD card floating"

I suspect it would depend on the concentration of urine is in the lavatory at the time. Not an experiment I've tried, though.

Pint of urine icon.-->

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Your top five dreadful people the Google manifesto has pulled out of the woodwork

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Re: Serious question

"Especially with populations that evolved far enough apart for skin colour to change."

Evolution of skin colour was driven by ambient UV levels and the need to produce vitamin D. The availability of milk drove drove the development of lactose "tolerance". What are the environmental factors that would drive significant differences in the evolution of the brain?

Sexually dimorphism is rather more complicated. It's clear that chromosomal or hormonal variation produce slightly different phenotypes. But my understanding is nobody can tell apart the MRI of a male or female brain.

But all of this is moot, since the problem is about selecting between people who are more than good enough. Google are choosing people they want to be friends with and dressing it up as "meritocracy".

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+1 for Kieren.

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If we're in a simulation, someone hit it with a hammer, please: Milky Way spews up to 100 MEELLLION black holes

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Only if he can produce the black hole.

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Re: Wouldn't all Population III stars have ended up this way?

"why the heck did you guys name star generations backwards?"

Because the relative ages of the populations weren't understood when they were named; it was just a spectroscopic survey of the sky showing two distinct types: population I and population II. (Population III being a later addition.)

For an analogue, look at how planet naming practices are producing skew-whiff systems. But once you have literature referring to Gliese 876 b, it's really hard to rename it because you've found another planet closer in.

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Gov workers told their social posts are more believable than politicians' statements

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"So what really is going on?"

Nobody has a clue. Especially not the minister.

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Uber drivers game Uber's system like Uber games the entire planet

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YMMV

"Depends on where you are really,"

Hammer, meet nail; nail, meet hammer.

Or, to put it another way, your mileage may vary.

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