* Posts by Phil O'Sophical

3164 posts • joined 28 Oct 2011

NASA lights humongous rocket that goes nowhere ... until 2019

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: 8 million pounds thrust

four RS-52 motors providing two million pounds of thrust, “working in conjunction with a pair of solid rocket boosters to produce up to eight million pounds of thrust”.

Presumably that's 4 motors producing a total of 2m lbf, otherwise the solid boosters wouldn't be adding much. In which case why not just use 3 solid boosters alone?

A Saturn V managed 8m lbf with 5 F1s and no boosters. Almost 60 years ago :(

0
1

Strong and stable, my arse. UK wobbles when coping with ransomware

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Are UK companies more ignorant, or just more honest?

6
0

Cassini captures pieces of Saturn’s rings

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: precise measurement of the length of the Saturnian day continues to elude us

A day on Saturn is therefore the same as a day in England

What, cold and rainy with tea and scones at 4pm?

27
0

US vending machine firm plans employee chip implant scheme

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

A whole new level of "pay by bonk". Especially if the "recipient" had a chip reader implanted somewhere similarly convenient.

14
0

systemd'oh! DNS lib underscore bug bites everyone's favorite init tool, blanks Netflix

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Underscore? What is a hostname?

So I assume (without looking it up) that "wally.my_domain.co.uk" might also be valid?

Not according to RFC952 "A "name" (Net, Host, Gateway, or Domain name) is a text string up to 24 characters drawn from the alphabet (A-Z), digits (0-9), minus sign (-), and period (.). Note that periods are only allowed when they serve to delimit components of "domain style names". ... No blank or space characters are permitted as part of a name. No distinction is made between upper and lower case. The first character must be an alpha character." modified, as previously noted, by RFC1123 to permit leading digits (allegedly at the urging of a certain Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co., better known these days as "3M"). DNS entries that represent things other than hosts can contain underscores, as mentioned in posts above.

3
0

UK ministers' Broadband '2.0' report confuses superfast with 10Mbps

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: it makes more sense to not have FTTP

Openreach don't have to pay crazy wayleave charges either, there's no reason that a landowner couldn't grant a wayleave free of charge. The difference is that when a bunch of folks in the village ask for permission it's personal, and the landowner might say "OK guys, for you I won't make a charge", but when "official" BT shows up it's "wahay, time to screw them for all I can".

13
0

Fan of FBI cosplay? Enjoy freaking out your neighbors? Have we got the eBay auction for you

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Mobile shack?

I know a few radio hams who would be salivating over the possibilities...

3
0

Q. What's today's top language? A. Python... no, wait, Java... no, C

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: I suspect there are quite a few Java devs out there

The question is how many of them are good?

In my experience many of them might be using Java, but they write C programs.

5
0

I've got a verbal govt contract for Hyperloop, claims His Muskiness

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

A bomb or similar problem on a Hyperloop would probably be as devastating to the vehicle as one on a plane, and even more so to the support infrastructure, so I presume the "29 minute" journey will have 2 hours of security theatre and 30 minutes wait in baggage claim added to it? An ordinary high-speed train would probably be faster overall.

21
0

'Coke dealer' called us after his stash was stolen – cops

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Coat

Re: The Aussie bird was right

But if you nick one can you claim a cast-iron alibi?

19
0

UK mobile number porting creaks: Arcane system shows its age

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

It’s not what happens in other countries.

So what does happen elsewhere? Have many other countries gone through so many acquisitions & mergers? Enquiring minds & all that.

3
0

Another Brexit cliff edge: UK.gov warned over data flows to EU

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: "The potential downside of not getting this right is very serious,"

There is no reason for something which has been voted for in the past not to be revisited in the future. It is a key principle of democracy that ANYTHING can be voted on at a later date.

True, but that would of course imply that if the decision had been to stay, it would have been entirely reasonable for the leavers to demand another referendum on the subject, and so on.

You have to apply a certain practical restraint. You can't have a referendum on an issue every month, flip-flopping between decisons, but neither can you keep having them until you get the "right" decision (as decided by someone powerful) and then stop. That is no less dictatorial, and makes a mockery of any pretence to democracy. It is, unfortunately, what we've seen all too often in the EU. When countries voted not to accept an EU decision (Ireland, Denmark) they were made to revote until they did accept, then the votes stopped.

It's 25 years since the UK joined the EU (without a vote). Now it has voted to leave. There's no reason not to have another vote to review that decision in perhaps another 25 years, if the EU (and UK) still exist in 2042. There is certainly no good reason to repeat the vote in 2017, and 2018, and 2019, etc. That leads nowhere.

1
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: @ codejunky

a move to the EEA and once in the EEA tried to push for a two-speed Europe

You're confusing EEA and EFTA. The UK is already a member of the EEA, because EU members are required to apply to become EEA members, but EEA rules are unclear on whether leaving the EU would neccessarily mean leaving the EEA. It seems they didn't consider that when drawing up the EEA agreement. The current argument is whether the UK could join EFTA after leaving the EU, at least one EFTA member (Norway) isn't keen due to the change in the balance of power which would result.

2
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Stupid people don't know they're stupid

However, if Britain leaves the single market, it might be much harder and or expensive to buy that power.

It might, or it might not. It will obviously depend on how keen the two parties are to strike a deal which has little to do with Brexit. With the new French environment minister promising to close 17 reactors by 2025 I can't see France having much power to spare anyway, the transfers could start going the other way (which ironically could help pay for Hinkley Point C).

But what will the alternatives be.

Getting renewable power from Iceland seems to be in the news a lot recently

1
1
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Stupid people don't know they're stupid

Please try and stick to your argument; we're not in the pub now.<

Charlie, if you're going to quote my posts, please do so accurately and not by mix'n'match of fragments out of order in an attempt to support your arguments.

1
4
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Stupid people don't know they're stupid

Cheaper to buy French energy than generate it in the UK.

So you claim, but you still haven't provided figures. Downvotes don't invalidate facts.

1
6
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: @ Dan 55

So I'll take a £640 pay cut if you take a £4000 one...

If that's the price of leaving the EU, I'll take it.

3
13
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Stupid people don't know they're stupid

That old canard again. The UK, as a fully sovereign state, participated in the negotiations that led to the treaties of Luxemburg and Maastricht and, hence, the EU.

(a) I don't see what that has to do with the EEC working, and the EU failing, and

(b) The opinion polls at the time of Maastricht clearly showed that the British people did not want the government to sign up to the EU, which is precisely why John Major didn't give us a referendum on the subject. Just as Tony Blair offered a referendum on Lisbon, and then reneged on the offer when he realised he would lose it. The decision to join the EU was undemocratic, as is the EU itself.

Speak for yourself; I much prefer the EU, despite its problems, to the EEC.

I'm not speaking for either you or me, just reporting what the polls say.

1
6
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Stupid people don't know they're stupid

When we joined we were a basket case (that's why we spent eleven years trying to join);

You are conflating the EEC (a good idea that worked) with the EU (a very bad idea that is failing).

Unfortunately the arrogant twats who run the EU refuse to recognise that most European citizens want an EEC model, not an EU model. They refuse to let go of the power they have as EU 'leaders", so we either let them jerk us around, or we leave and do the best we can on our own until the other members do the same.

1
14
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: "The potential downside of not getting this right is very serious,"

Well from my experience about 50% of them are.

Maybe you should talk to people outside your normal circle of acquanintances?

2
6
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: What makes you think it's a good idea?

A single market means much more than just an absence of trade tariffs of course. For the whole of Europe to be a British company's home market, you need common standards and regulations. Yes, even regulations about bendy bananas - you don't have a single market if different regions have different grading rules for agricultural produce. To create and enforce the standards and regulations, you need a legislature and courts.

Most of which we had before the EU, since that was exactly why the EEC, later EC, was created, and worked.

The one thing we don't need is a political union created by empire-building politicians. And if they'd asked us in 1992 we'd have told them that.

3
10
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: "The potential downside of not getting this right is very serious,"

which everyone seemed to treat as binding for some reason.

What's the point in asking the question if you aren't going to act on the answer? Isn't that one of the most common complaints about politicians, that they don't do what we tell them to? Now you're complaining that they are doing what they were told to do, and they shouldn't be!

You don't like the result, fine, but stop using that as an excuse to say that it should be ignored, or re-voted, or wasn't real, or any of the other excuses that are the direct reason you're labelled remoaners.

2
7
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: "The potential downside of not getting this right is very serious,"

What makes you think it's a good idea?

Because staying in a failing political empire that crashes from one crisis from another is clearly an even worse one? It's not like the UK is the only country where anti-EU feeling is steadily growing. Is there any EU country that is becoming more pro-EU over time?

The economic partnership of the EEC worked, passably well. It was converted into the political unity of the EU, without consultation, by power-hungry politicians who wanted to show they had a bigger collective willy than the US. They never seem to learn from history.

3
12
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: @ Dan 55

The EU represents 44% of the UK's current export market, and at the UK represents 16% of the EU's "export" market. So who do you think loses the most if the UK delegation walks out?

You can't compare percentages like that, the EU is a tad bigger than the UK.

UK exports to EU, 44% of £550bn = £240bn

EU exports to UK, 16% of £1800bn = £290bn

so to answer your question, the EU loses more.

3
15

US laptops-on-planes ban now applies to just one airport, ends soon

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Riyadh

What sort of keyboard can contain alcohol, porn and bacon?

A Roland?

12
0

Jodie Who-ttaker? The Doctor is in

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Agenda? What Agenda?

She said not to be afraid of her gender.

She's a Latin scholar? Or does she mean her sex?

5
2
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Coat

Miss Marple played by Brian Blessed

Gordon's DEAD? WHODUNNIT?

13
0

Nearly three-quarters of convicted TV Licence non-payers are women

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
FAIL

107,000 were given a criminal record for failing to pay money to the BBC

No, they were not. They were fined for not obeying a law requiring them to pay a tax. That tax is then divided up among several public service broadcasters.

If you don't like the tax, campaign to remove it. Don't deliberately lie about the situation for propaganda purposes.

10
4

Now here's a novel idea: Digitising Victorian-era stamp duty machines

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

I think that these transactions just about covered their salary.

That's actually the case in France. After WW1 there were huge numbers of war widows with no income, and no way to support their children. At that time it wasn't "done" for women to work, and the government didn't want to just hand out charity. Instead it took various government documents that had to be paid for and introduced the idea of "timbres fiscal" (financial stamps) to pay the fees. The rights to sell those stamps were given to widows, who were also given the monopoly on tobacco sales, and they got a percentage of the sale price as a way to give them a guaranteed income. Even today the right to run a "tabac" shop is controlled, and passed down through generations.

7
0

Electric driverless cars could make petrol and diesel motors 'socially unacceptable'

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Bollocks...

Plans to promote widescale use of battery-electric cars still don't take the charging problem into account. They posit some new battery technology that is cheap, holds at least twice as much as Li-ion, and can be recharged in 10 minutes, just like a petrol/diesel car. Even a back of the envelope calculation shows that the power needs of thousands of charging (filling) stations for such batteries would overwhelm existing infrastructure.

Hire cars for longer journeys aren't practical either. If they were only needed for 10% of journeys who would manufacture them, and where would they be refuelled? Most of the demand would be school holidays and long weekends, so either there would be hundreds of thousands of such cars lying idle much of the time, or demand would outstrip supply.

There's also the delivery vehicle problem, even with widespread rail transport for long distance the last 10-50 miles will need to be by road, and there'll need to be a refuelling infrastructure for that anyway. Since that fleet is mostly diesel we could end up with petrol cars being forced off the road and replaced by electric, leaving diesel cars for the long-distance travel, the exact opposite of what governments are pushing for now.

I'd put my money on alternative liquid fuels, like alcohol. Some recent work (last year?) at Oak Ridge labs in the US has shown promise for nanoscale catalysts that can take CO2 and electricity and create alcohol. If it works on a large scale it could provide an answer to storing excess renewable energy at point of generation, help with carbon capture, and produce a fuel that will leave existing infrastructure and vehicles almost unchanged.

11
2

Russia, China vow to kill off VPNs, Tor browser

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Resist with crowdfunded RPNs...

But in a day before caller identification, surely the "as if in London *[sic]" doesn't apply.

In the days before STD you dialled local numbers with local dialling codes that varied from place to place. Having a Bletchley phone directly connected to a London exchange would mean that people could be called back on a local London number. They would have to give that number, it would not, as you say, show up on any display. It would mean that someone could call, say, their parents and say "Dad, I'm in a call box, phone me back on ABC 1234". In that sense they could be called back "as if they were in London".

0
0

Guess who doesn't have to pay $1.3bn in back taxes? Of course it's fscking Google

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Change the law, then

"if the company controls a subsidiary with a significant number of employees in the country, then the revenue must be declared in that country"

Then they'll move to a franchise model where each small independent "google dealer" has to manage on its own.

The more complex tax law becomes, the more loopholes there will be and the more incentive there is to find them. Unfortunately bureacrats and politicians see complexity as a solution, they've never heard of the KISS principle, so this will only get worse.

2
0

Juno beams back first closeups of Jupiter's unsightly red acne

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Alien

Shrinking

It has shrunk considerably over the past century and by 2040 is predicted to move from an oval to a circular storm

Bloody Jovians, blasting methane into the atmosphere like there's no tomorrow. They were told it would change the climate, but did they listen?

13
0

May the excessive force be with you: Chap cuffed after Star Trek v Star Wars row turns bloody

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: No contest

Battlestar Galactica.

Or "Eastenders in Space" as it's otherwise known. More soap opera than space opera.

17
1

Constant work makes the kilo walk the Planck

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Lego?

what's all this mucking about with planks?

Part of chaos theory? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n2j-AobMCU

0
0

Whoa, bad trip, man: Google workers' info exposed during travel-booking software hack

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

It's rare to need that sort of contingency measures, but when you can't get back home because of weather, or an airline IT system going titsup,I'd expect to be able to call the corporate travel agency and get help. Having them take the attitude of "nothing we can do, call the airline" isn't acceptable. Nor is it useful when you ask them for a hotel near some address or conference centre and have them reply "no idea, you'll just have to pick one from the official list". My experiences with the likes of CWT, Amex, etc. is that they are just secretaries sitting in front of terminals and offer nothing that I can't get by using Expedia, Google, TripAdvisor etc. Their main benefit, to the company, is that they ensure that the rules are followed.

For my own business travel I always start with the website tools to see what's really available, then use CWT to book exactly what I found online. Usually gives me better and cheaper flights.

3
0

Shock: NASA denies secret child sex slave cannibal colony on Mars

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Only one question

Where's the Playmobil reconstruction?

21
0

America throws down gauntlet: Accept extra security checks or don't carry laptops on flights

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Dragons Den Business opportunity coming up

Return said laptop when your heading back to wherever you call home.

With all your data having been copied for analysis by the NSA-BIOS routines...

7
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

C'est la guerre.

Ce n’est pas la guerre; c'est de la folie

13
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Anon

They may, but probably only in planes flying to the USA.

Many airports (Schipol is one exception) have a centralized security screening facility and one airside area, so how could they do this? I suspect that was at least part of the problem for European airlines, how to ban laptops for US-bound passengers but allow them for European flights. It couldn't be done with the setup in Heathrow T4 & T5, for example.

I suppose they could dedicate one terminal or satellite for US traffic, and put all the queues and strip searches there. It would give the rest of us peace & quiet.

3
0

The 'DUP' joins El Reg’s illustrious online standards converter

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: invaded by the Normans

I've never understood why "Unionists" celebrate William of Orange

Because after William defeated James at the Boyne, the Catholic landowning classes that had supported James fled to Europe to avoid execution. William, like most victorious Kings, confiscated their lands and gave them as prizes to the people that had supported him. That had the effect of turning the Irish landowning classes Protestant practically overnight. That had a much more direct effect on the fortunes of the planted Scots protestants than almost anything else.

Even so, the Orange Order itself didn't come about until 100 years later, when there was a burst of civil disorder, so there was probably an element of rosy memories involved there as well.

9
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Dane Geld

I think you'll find Ireland was invaded by the Normans (Mr Strongbow, take a bow)

Strongbow was invited in by Dermot to help him get his throne back, married Dermot's daughter, and stayed. It was when he & his pals started having so much fun that Henry got worried they might challenge him, so he sailed over and demanded they swear fealty to him. That was what brought Ireland under English rule (with some connivance by the Pope as well).

4
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Dane Geld

English/Dutch protestants invaded the island in the 1680s,

No, there wasn't an invasion. William was invited to take the English crown, if he agreed to defeat the Catholic James. James was in (Catholic) Ireland recruiting, so William headed there to defeat him before he could raise an army & return to England. After the defeat William sailed back to London and shows no sign of ever giving Ireland a thought afterwards. Not an invasion, just a convenient battle strategy (which happened to turn Irish land ownership on its head as the Jacobites fled ahead of the excecutioner).

3
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Good call

The DUP is clearly Imperial.

19
0

Concorde without the cacophony: NASA thinks it's cracked quiet supersonic flight

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Thumb Up

I remember returning a hire car to one of the off-airport rental companies out where T4 is now. I was driving round the perimeter road just past the end of a runway when the world started to shake. I looked up through the sunroof - into the reheat cones of a Concorde as it went overhead. That gave me a buzz for the rest of the afternoon :)

8
0

Working in maintenance? Stop reading, we need you in the server room

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

therefore will reduce costs long term

That doesn't necessarily matter to a company. Maintenance has to be paid for out of operating money, and is clearly a regular cost. Purchase of new equipment after the old has been written down, say 3-5 years, comes out of capital budget. It can be offset against tax and doesn't have an immediate impact on the bottom line. Long-term it can be cheaper. Daft, I agree, but we can thank the tax laws for that.

8
0

Northern Ireland bags £150m for broadband pipes in £1bn Tory bribe

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Not a bribe?

But it will all end in tears.

Of laughter in Dundela Ave (DUP HQ)?

The really daft thing is that it's probably unnecessary. No unionist MP, of any stripe, is going to vote in a way that would let hard-left Corbynistas into power. That wing of the Labour party has long been enthusiastic about a united Ireland, and what better way for Corbyn to pay for his economic delusions than by cutting NI free and leaving the RoI and (post-Brexit) EU to pick up the tab (and the pieces). With or without that 1bn, the DUP wouldn't let May lose a confidence vote while there's the slightest chance of Labour forming a government.

1
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Coat

Re: It's unusual

Isn't that the difference between Sadism and Masochism?

7
0

Braking news: AA password reset email cockup crashes servers

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Interesting AA facts?

it was AA practice NOT to salute if there was some copper up the road monitoring driving habits.

They used to signal drivers if there was a copper up ahead, but that landed them in hot water so instead they adopted the model that they would always salute members. Of course, sometimes they would forget, or not notice the badge, or... hence the instructions to stop and ask what they were playing at.

1
0

Researchers blind autonomous cars by tricking LIDAR

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

An autonomous car is going to rely on more than the reading from a single LIDAR; It's going to be combining readings from multiple ultrasound sensors, multiple optical cameras, radar, wheel position and speed sensors, etc, etc, etc.

Set it up your attack so that the camera sees a holographic child standing in the road, the LIDAR senses a stopped lorry, the ultrasound detects a sinkhole and the radar says there's nothing there. What happens? The vehicle falls back to wetware mode: "Oy, driver, wakey wakey, I'm confused. All stop.". M25 grinds to a standstill.

3
2

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017