* Posts by Brewster's Angle Grinder

1662 posts • joined 23 May 2011

'Do not tell Elon': Ex-SpaceX man claims firm cut corners on NASA part tests

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Trollface

Re: Don't be their 'rogue engineer'

"Y'know, the one who cut corners, had a bad attitude, not a team player, incompetent, perhaps even dangerous."

My reputation precedes me.

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Astroboffins spot a new type of galaxy bursting with stars

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Coat

Re: Artist's Impression..

NASA and ESA spend all that money sending an artist out there to paint it, and you complain?

Mine's the spacesuit, thanks.

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Re: Query....

I think Katyanna is garbling things again. The abstract of the preprint harmjschoonhoven dug up makes it clear these astroboffins have found high-star-forming quasar-free galaxies next to quasar host galaxies. It looks like things have then got muddled in El Reg's copy. We probably should report it.

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Re: arXiv

Thanks.

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Microsoft court victory prompts call for data-grabbing regime

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I can understand how prematurely releasing the bombers name harmed the investigation. But what harm came from releasing pictures of bomb fragments? The Guardian's Editorial sums it up nicely. (That's the first time I've ever said that.)

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Orbital boffins cut four years off NASA mission to shiniest object in the Solar System

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@iglethal

I had the same thought. But a chunk of that year is probably allocated to trying to get the mass down, trying to make it work on the available power, trying to make it fit into the space available, and testing this fragile design. So maybe even the design team will thank you for lifting all those restrictions.

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Attempt at building kinder, gentler Reddit downvoted off the Web

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Re: Show me the goods

F12

`display: none`

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EU ministers approve anti-hate speech video rules

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Why do discussions about hate speech end up so hate-filled?

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Britain's on the brink of a small-scale nuclear reactor revolution

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Fusion is saleable.

That''s why separating the yet-to-demonstrated-as-commercially-viable fusion from the commercially-viably-if-heavily-subsidised fission is important. Fission is "nuclear power" with its toxic legacy of negative PR. It's what causes stars to explode. Fusion is the "wholesome", "harmless" process which makes the sun's shine. The difference is that between a shark and a dolphin. Yes, they both swim in the water (or manipulate the nuclei) and they both have fins, but that's about all they have in common with each other.

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Way to go conflating fusion and fission. Nuclear fusion is not "nuclear power" as any layman understands it. And given it has different risks, it has no place in a discussion about fission reactors.

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Particle boffins calculate new constraints for probability of finding dark matter

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Make mine a monopole!

Magnets! They also make you smarter and burn calories. Magnets, they're the solution to everything!

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Gravitational waves permanently change spacetime, say astroboffins

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Preprint!

It's like the days of Lucy Sheriff all over again. :roll:

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Google leak-hunting team put under unwelcome spotlight

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Re: More to this than meets the eye.

No, but all your Brian Katz are belong to us.

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Cloud giants 'ran out' of fast GPUs for AI boffins

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Re: Scale to meet demand?

Cf. the British winter and snow ploughs.

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‪There's a ransom-free fix for WannaCry‬pt. Oh snap, you've rebooted your XP box

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It's possible to ask that memory not to be swapped, e.g. because you are going to store passwords. Whether the virus did this is another matter.

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The real battle of Android's future – who controls the updates

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@Charles 9

Maybe, then, they need to be forced to provide a software version of ACPI. Or, at least, a common set of low level routines. I don't know what's the right level: provide routines to alter the state of the I2C bus directly, or routines to read and write whole bytes, or routines to read and write chunks of data.

But it doesn't seem beyond the wit of Google to create a reasonable abstraction layer. We would could call it the Android basic input/output system. The problem is political, not technical.

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Flying robots are great... until they meet flying humans, anyway

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Re: Rooftop delivery

"You don't want Joe from accounts popping up onto the roof on 33rd floor for a parcel and being blown off the building..."

As tragic as it is to lose a human life, I think we can all agree Joe from accounts had it coming.

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Vigorous tiny vibrations help our universe swell, say particle boffins

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Re: OK, i'll ask the obvious.

I'd look above at the answers to Thomas K. But basically, the analogy of expanding balloon is crap.

Let's try a different analogy. Suppose you're numbering the lines of a computer program. You don't want to run out of numbers so you make the first one line number 0 and the last one line number 1, and the lines inbetween are 0.25, 0.5 and 0.75. If you need to insert a line between x1=0.25 and x2=0.5 you can always use 0.375 so there is always a line number available. But if you count lines after the insert you will find that instead of x1 and x2 being next to each other, they now have one line apart. And as we carry on editing they might end up with two or three lines between them -- so they're moving apart; they're expanding.

That's closer to what's happening. Space isn't expanding, but extra places are appearing between matter. And, who knows, a quantum theory of gravity may show space is literally being pulled out of the quantum foam.

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Re: Nassim Herriman

I hadn't heard of him. A quick google, found this.

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Re: Why?

"The question should rather be: why are the oscillations contributing more to expansion than to contraction?"

If I've understood everything, it's because the system has positive feedback.The author's explicit answer is "...the expansion outweighs the contraction a little bit due to the weak parametric resonance effect."

Apparently all (harmonically) oscillating systems have a net expansion when the frequency changes (?increases?) slowly. And iff I'm reading the paper right, the change in frequency is due to a change in the distribution of matter and radiation in the universe -- that's the feedback. So it may be the universe has a net expansion because there's a net expansion. But don't quote me on any of that.

They also say the net expansion would be zero if a cutoff related to the "micro structure of spacetime" reached infinity but they don't relate that cutoff to oscillations. However cutoffs are physicist speak for the "answer is in the unified theory of quantum gravity but won't bother us if we steer clear of black holes and big bangs".

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Preprint. I've not had time to skim it yet.

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Do we need Windows patch legislation?

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Re: Phoenix company solution ...

Bonus points if the legislation leaves open-source authors with the liability of fixing their software. (Although figuring out who to sue in a project with lots of contributors could be fun, particularly when the bug arises from interactions between patches.)

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Re: RE: Do we need Windows patch legislation?

the Linux API is far more stable than the Windows API has ever been....applications will continue to run despite upgrades while MS has clearly regarded using an incompatible API in each new Windows version as a marketing tool....I'm running C code that I last compiled in 2005 and that 'just ran' until last March...In March I moved from 32bit PAE kernels to X86-64 kernels and this did require my C code to be recompiled, but that was only to be expected.

I'm running 32 bit Windows code I last compiled under WIN 95 OSR 92 in the late 90s. (Borland C++) No need to even recompile when I switched to 64 bit OS.

Windows driver APIs have changed a lot and I'm not sure how far back Direct X compatibility goes. But bog standard Win32 API has been fairly tightly conserved.

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Shadow Brokers resurface, offer to sell fresh 'wine of month' club exploits

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"Why don't those clowns at the NSA release the exploits to the companies to fix?"

Maybe that's what TheShadowBrokers are hoping for? They only claim to have 75% of the NSA's exploits. Obviously the NSA want to hang on to the remaining 25%, but they probably don't know which exploits they are.

But perhaps TheShadowBrokers don't even have 75%. Perhaps they have just enough to keep up the illusion and are trying to bluff the NSA into revealing all their exploits. In which case, go Liara!

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WannaCrypt outbreak contained as hunt for masterminds kicks in

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Re: criminality?

"Would he suggest not-buying antibiotics to pay for more nurses?"

I think he's been doing it the other way round: buying the drugs but increasing the workloads of nurses to the point where patients aren't getting fed or are developing bed sores.

"Or reducing ward hygiene?"

Yup, that seems to have been going on as well.

And we haven't talked about patients on trolleys and the increases in waiting times. (That's probably where it would have ended up: increased waiting times.)

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Re: Intel

"Even identifying vulnerable machines will be quite a challenge."

To be vulnerable a machine has to have been specifically set up by an administrator, and vulnerable machines can be found by a portscan.

Patching or disabling look less work than gluing up the port and installing a new NIC.

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Re: criminality?

But where would that money have come from? Fewer nurses? Fewer expensive drugs? Less capital expenditure? "Efficiency savings?" Because the department of Health wouldn't have got any more money. For that blame Osborne and the Daily Heil.

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DeX Station: Samsung's Windows-killer is ready for prime time

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Re: Why would you need a dock?

"A dock adds a lot of convenience. "

£129 worth of convenience?

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Microsoft to spooks: WannaCrypt was inevitable, quit hoarding

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Trollface

So how many man hours go into testing patches? How many bugs does testing catch? Is our testing regime so sclerotic that it prevented this patch being applied before exploitation began? How easily can we back out of a patch if we find it breaks something after being applied?

Like everything else, it's a balance. Maybe we do have to pay for extra security guys so we can test patches as soon as they're released. Maybe our solutions works as is. Or maybe, for us, its best to apply patches and back out the occasional bad one. It really does depend.

Certainly WannaCrypt-scale outbreaks are going to be rare---NSA-leaked wormable exploits of dead protocols aren't going to turn up every day---but the time from patches appearing to malware targeting them are going to keep decreasing. If Linux thinks forced security updates are, on balance, the best route, why not Windows?

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Re: Just Patch?

What are they breaking and how?

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UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT

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It appears to be billions of emails and thousands of people who've opened them with catastrophic results. So it's not an attack in the invasion-of-Iraq meaning of "attack". But it is an attack in the sense of a guy standing in a middle of street firing a machine gun randomly -- except the bullets on this gun can travel round the world.

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Dyson celebrates 'shock' EU Court win over flawed energy tests

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Re: Is this the same Dyson who has no time for the EU ?

"You find out your rival is cheating the tests. What do you do?"

Well, in Dyson's case, campaign to leave the EU.

Nobody begrudges him his right to feel aggrieved or challenge a flawed process in the courts. But his desire to pull out the EU was as petty as wanting to take his ball home.

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Android O-mg. Google won't kill screen hijack nasties on Android 6, 7 until the summer

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Re: I'm an Android user

"That is because the user does not see the connection between his action and the dialog box that subsequently shows up"

The whole thing was designed very carefully over several iterations to minimise this problem. The button was put in place so the OS prompt was always user initiated. It was put on a screen showing the default position on a map with nothing else to distract the user. There was a sentence explaining why we needed the position and what the consequences of refusing would be. The button used the same phraseology as the OS. And 99.9% of users managed fine. There was just this residual who couldn't manage it.

But, yes, at least some of them seemed to think they grant permission by pressing our button and see the Android dialog as something separate. So they didn't see the connection.

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Re: I'm an Android user

"Am I really that stupid?"

I've had users press the button that says, "Get my position from GPS" and then refuse the GPS permission dialog that Android pops up.

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Sorry, Dave, I can't code that: AI's prejudice problem

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Re: Transparency...

"it is just a dumb expert system and therefore only follows the rules the programmer installed."

AIUI expert systems were giant if-then-else statement (decision trees) so we could always work through them and find the rule that triggered a decision. The issue here is the programs are statistical relationships (convolutions).

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Re: Transparency...

In your example, explaining what happened to the pixels is simply describing what the program did. My question would then be "how did the program decide to do these things?".

It didn't decide to do anything. The input photo is all the data collected about you. The output photo might be a single pixel describing your credit rating. And the filter is the entirety of the program. So our program might just be an excel macro creating a weighted sum of all the factors pertaining to your credit history.

This filter got built by data "scientists" who ran it over data for people where the results were known in advance, and tweaked those weights (1% of this pixel, 2% of that pixel) until the filter produced the results expected for the people whose histories were known. And then it was let loose on your data.

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Re: "The problem is that statistics can be screwed"

"Even perfect statistics are useless when you try to predict a single event, without having a clear enough comprehension of the mechanism underlying the event - a theory (and its validation)."

You needed to stop at the first comma. I can predict perfectly the probably your lottery numbers will come up. I can't tell you whether they will. Likewise the spin of an electron in a magnetic field.

"That's something that comes from the "science" of economics, which is still unable to deliver real theories (and their proofs), and so builds on statistical data, and delivers wild and often wrong predictions, but most pretend it works because they make money on it."

I've been reading Simon Wren Lewis's Mainly Macro blog and delving into the theory, and I think you're unfair on economics. I think they have a good understanding of some of the core basics. And while short-term predictions are always tricky, they can get the long term trends right. Unfortunately, the truth has that well known left wing bias, and gets drowned out by politicians and media.

I think the future will look back on our economics in the way we look back on the astrophysics of Galileo: shut away by vested interests.

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Re: Transparency...

"It's just a computer program. It must have followed a particular series of steps and decision points?"

Imagine the data is a photo and the program is a fancy filter effect. The filter is just maths: it produces the new pixel by combining pixels in the old image.

Now try asking why the filter looked good on one photo and bad on another. For each pixel in the output we can say it added 1% of the pixel to the left, 2% of the pixel two to the left, and so on, but that doesn't really help us understand why the first photo looked good and the second looked awful. It's the interaction between data and "algorithm" that produces the result by the magic of arithmetic.

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Industrial plant robots frequently connected to the 'net without authentication

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Terminator

Re: "83,000 robots researchers found exposed to the public internet,"

"Who in their right minds would think this is a good idea?"

Don't be like that. Robots need to Google porn, just like the rest of us.

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Imagination puts two-thirds of itself up for sale as Apple IP fight rumbles on

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How exactly would you have solved that? Told Apple to piss off? Or, at least, refused to supply them with as many licences as they wanted? Or would you have magically drummed up demand that didn't exist?

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Re: Whither MIPS?

It was never going to happen. For reasons I still don't fully understand, people get wedded to instruction sets. And, as AMD will attest, you can struggle to achieve market share even when you're pumping out an instruction set people want. I could see Imagination's thinking---the merging of GPUs and CPUs---but the market for a MIPs processors is tiny.

As for who'll buy it: nobody you've heard of for not very much.

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Linux kernel security gurus Grsecurity oust freeloaders from castle

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So a multinational trashes a backroom researcher trying to make a living, and you guys pile in against the indie.

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Come celebrate World Hypocrisy Day

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Re: "...and Apple is a manufacturer creating value from the ground up."

All of which they're able to do because of the market share of the stuff they "manufacture". I didn't, however, mean to imply there is nothing weighing against them.

And if you want to be picky, Exxon Mobile, founded by one of the original "Robber barons", no less, don't even make stuff themselves -- they just did up stuff made for them. Of course, in reality, they're a multinational with fingers in many pies and even mining takes effort and ingenuity, but then so does writing Facebook.

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The 2006 list is comrprised of two banks, who probably produced their profits from fees and gambling; two energy companies, who produced definite goods but also contributed planet-destroying levels of pollution; and Microsoft.

Structurally, the 2017 list looks much the same: Facebook is as parasitic as the worst bank; Amazon delivers a useful service but still sucks blood to make coin; Google has managed to produced clear goods, like Chrome, but has trampled over people's IP, and Apple is a manufacturer creating value from the ground up.

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systemd-free Devuan Linux hits version 1.0.0

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Paris Hilton

Authoritian dictatorships for beginners

"Infighting sucks more,"

You're Theresa May and I claim my free snap election.

Paris, because she kinda looks like Theresa, if you squint.

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PACK YOUR BAGS! Boffins spot Earth-size planet most likeliest yet to harbor alien life

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"LHS 1140b is ten times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun..."

So if, by some chance, the planet has hydrogen in it's atmosphere, then it's almost certainly phase locked. In fact any planet in the habital zone of an M dwarf is likely to be phase locked.

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Oh snap! UK Prime Minister Theresa May calls June election

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Re: This goes to show one thing

"...it is a matter of people starting to hate Tory's guts to "Poll Tax Level" of hate once more."

She's probably most worried about losing the support of Brexit supporters when she's forced to compromise.

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Qualcommotion: Sueball return alleges Apple 'pay-to-play' deal

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Re: What I don't understand...

"I don't see mention of a breach of contract in the article."

I've not read the contract, but I'm guessing "...withholding payments due..." would violate it.

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UK boffins steal smartmobe PINs with motion sensors

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Re: APIs not to blame

"No they expose the attack vector, the process of exposing that attack vector is the vulnerability and in this case the API implementation within the browser is the vulnerability."

Before reading this, I read the report on using traffic analysis to determine which Netflix show you're watching. By your logic, the APIs that allow you to monitor network traffic are the vulnerability and we should ban them to fix the problem.

In reality, you don't deal with side channels attacks by trying to block off the side channel. You stop them by making sure the side-channel carries no information. And if that's done (e.g. by randomizing the layout of the keypad), it doesn't just prevent web pages from sniffing your keycode -- it prevents any malicious app on the phone from doing it.

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While Javascript makes this available to casual web pages, any app on the phone could do this.

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