* Posts by harmjschoonhoven

597 posts • joined 3 Sep 2012


Peak tech! Bacon vending machine signals apex of human invention


@jake Re: Which is better?

Maryn McKenna writes in Scientific American of April 2012 that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in 2011 that the U.S. (population 2011 311.6 million) sees 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths every year from foodborne organisms. The Europen Union (population 2009 502.09 million) had 48,964 cases and 46 deaths in 2009.

'Say hello to my little vacuum cleaner!' US drug squad puts spycams in cleaner's kit



My Nilfisk vacuum cleaners will probably just blow the VB-M50B from their sockets and spit them out.

BTW The Singaporean government dictators will shortly install surveillance cameras with face recognition sitting atop over 100,000 lampposts in the citystate as part of a broader "Smart Nation" plan.


Can your rival fix it as fast? turns out to be ten-million-dollar question for plucky support guy



In the 1980's our small team had the prestigious task to write (Pascal)software for an exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The idea was that visitors could point at a touch(!) screen and a corresponding incandescent light would lit a 3D scale model.

It was a chaos and no one could find the bug. Finally I discovered that an array was declared with length 5, but documented as length 4 AFAIR. Anyway the crux was that somewhere in the code was a reference to the last but one element of that array. That cured me from excessive documentation.

Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity

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@Ogi: No need to build a Tesla coil yourself

Besides gas lighters that are based on the piezo-electric effect you can also buy gas lighters that work on one 1.5 AA battery. They are in fact Tesla coils with an output of about 6 kV AC.

Shift-work: Keyboards heaped in a field push North Yorks council's fly-tipping buttons


Re: It might just be...

Obvious: All the cables cut from the keyboards were used to knit a body armour vest.

Hi there, Hubble, glad to hear you're doing okay


Re: Kepler

Forget a manned mission to Kepler. Its distance to Earth is most of the time larger than the distance to Mars in conjunction.

BTW Kepler is now at over 270% of its intended lifetime.

From today, it's OK in the US to thwart DRM to repair your stuff – if you keep the tools a secret


Screwdrivers, screwdrivers ...

Do you mean a flat, cross, Torx, other hexagonal with or without central boring, triangular, two-pronged flat or watchmakers screwdriver? Or the one that fits the screw but that you and your friendly neighbour unfortunately does not possess?

BTW If you cannot open the box: the last screw is under the label.

Should a robo-car run over a kid or a grandad? Healthy or ill person? Let's get millions of folks to decide for AI...


Re: Important 'cause...

And that child might grow up to be the next Hitler or Nigel Farage, so the car might be doing us all a favour by killing it anyway.

Or the parents of the dead child decide to make another one and that child grows up to be the next Hitler or Nigel Farage.

Good news: Largest, most ancient known galaxy supercluster is spotted. Bad news: It's collapsing on itself


Russian 'troll factory' firebombed – but still fit to fiddle with our minds


Re: Not Molotov?

Or the Paris 1968 variant: half petrol, half sulfuric acid. Eats away marble and circuitboards.

Buried in the hype, one little detail: Amazon's Alexa-on-a-chip could steal smart home market


What microwave?

As long as my Primus® burner does not react to the command FIRE, I am safe.

AI beats astroboffins at sniffing out fast radio bursts amid the universe's clutter


Re: Interpretation

https://www.nature.com/articles/4361206a is published in Futures Nature's Science-Fiction section. For real science consult http://search.arxiv.org:8081/?query=FRB&in=.

I've seen the future of consumer AI, and it doesn't have one


I understand

that a robot dog has large eyes to make it look cute, but why does it not have a fur of nanofibres or at least a synthetic shark skin? And if you go for plastic, choose doggy-brown or a Dalmatian pattern.

C'mon, if you say your device is 'unhackable', you're just asking for it: Bitfi retracts edgy claim


Re: This day in history...

May be, John Mcaffee was born in 1945. His great-great grandfather was born four generations earlier. So the old man was between 47 and over 87 years old when the Titanic went down. BTW, my grandfather - no the other one - invested in Russian railway shares ....

'Oh sh..' – the moment an infosec bod realized he was tracking a cop car's movements by its leaky cellular gateway


Re: It should just work

The solution is evident. When a device with a fixed username / password, like user/12345, rolls from the belt or better at the final acceptance test, it is hooked up to a computer that logs in, sets username and password to a random value and prints a label. This should than be enforced by law to convince the beancounters of the world.

The device can than be marketed as "Now with improved security bla bla bla".

Blinking internets, Batman! O2 trials 5G over lightbulbs


Re: But...

Having sex by candle light is much more fun and for the time being a private thing.

Making money mining Coinhive? Yeah, you and nine other people


Re: Reads like a ponzi scheme

Whereas almost all Ponzi schemes finally give only work to prison wardens, this one also gave work to a team of German academics.

IBM Watson dishes out 'dodgy cancer advice', Google Translate isn't better than humans yet, and other AI tidbits


Research has shown

that medical doctors do not trust the output of a computer-diagnosis (by AI or otherwise), if the result is computed within 30 seconds. So if necessary software engineers inserted a delay.

In an other context I once wrote a Monte Carlo optimization which I let run on a SGI server for 30 seconds before the result was broadcast on public television.

Windows 10's defences are pretty robust these days, so of course folk are trying to break them


Re: Security for Windows 10

May be Rich 11 can take inspiration from my recipe for a safe nuclear powerstation. Encase it in a concrete dome with a radius such that the energy required to build it equals the total output of the powerstation during its lifetime.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a giant alien space cigar? Whatever it is, boffins are baffled


Re: 'I don't think we should discount the space dildo theory yet.'

In that case at 235M X 35M we really don't want to upset the owners users. FTFY.

Atari accuses El Reg of professional trolling and making stuff up. Welp, here's the interview tape for you to decide...


To be honest,

it is not unusual if you point at a brandnew product on show at the IBC and ask whether you can buy it and what it will cost, panic will break out because it is only a (working) prototype. BTW the IBC and funerals are the only venues I visit with suit and (normal resp. black) tie. It helps to get answers.

Mine is the one with the inflatable tank in the pocket.

Wires, chips, and LEDs: US trade bigwigs detail Chinese kit that's going to cost a lot more


Every one

may begin a war at his pleasure, but cannot so finish it. Niccolò Machiavelli, The Discourses, Second Book, Ch. X (AD 1531).

Woman sues NASA for ownership of vial of space dust


Bah, moondust

I go for the Allende meteorite with real interstellar microdiamonds ****.

New York State is trying to ban 'deepfakes' and Hollywood isn't happy


A08155 Summary: Establishes the right of privacy and the right of publicity for both living and deceased individuals; provides that an individual's persona is the personal property of the individual and is freely transferable and descendible; provides for the registration with the department of state of such rights of a deceased individual; and that the use of a digital replica for purposes of trade within an expressive work shall be a violation.

Good heavens, do these people not value fine eighteen century Japanese erotic prints? NSFW

Russia appears to be 'live testing' cyber attacks – Former UK spy boss Robert Hannigan


Re: Many organised cyber criminal outfits are Russian too

To quote Inside Cyber Warfare by Jeffrey Carr, They (Russian cyber criminals) don't ask who you are and why you are doing this. They 'll just break both your arms.

Oddly enough, when a Tesla accelerates at a barrier, someone dies: Autopilot report lands

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Re: How in it done in Europe

Dutch Rijkswaterstaat designed sophisticated crash cushions called RIMOBs in the 1980s. They are pre-deformed iron tubes which collapse like an harmonica on impact. At the time we were involved in making high-speed films of crash tests and I remember that my manager had a compressed RIMOB tube on his window-ledge which looked like a piece of abstract art. These and simular infrastructure saved many lives.

PETA calls for fish friendly Swedish street signage


If numbers count

those animal-righters should have themselves infected with malaria or an other Plasmodium species a.s.a.p., because that is the only way to make millions of these parasites happy and let them have sex.

Uh oh! Here's yet more AI that creates creepy fake talking heads


Re: Again?

As Michael Faraday once said to Gladstone: Sir, there is every probability that you will soon be able to tax it!' refering to new and dangerous stuff build for no other reason than that it can be done.

W.E.H. Lecky

BOFH: Their bright orange plumage warns other species, 'Back off! I'm dangerous!'


Re: You think we all wear bright orange all day?

No, but Thrianta rabbits have to - WWII and all that, you know.


Church of England will commune with God for you via Amazon's Echo


whois God

No whois server is known for this kind of object.

Get an eyeful of the stunning galaxies near us in ultraviolet light


if mankind Saccharomyces cerevisiae only gets remembered for one thing

this FTFY

North will remain North for now, say geo-magnetic boffins


Re: There is no pole flip.

For the Chinese the compass has always been a south pointing device.

BTW two weeks ago bought a fine antique (19th century) compass made by Gebrüder Fromme G.M.B.H., Wien. ø 100 mm, resolution 20'. Enough to observe the daily variations of the Earth magnetic field.

When tyrants pull on their jackboots to stamp out free speech online, they reach for... er, a Canadian software biz?


Re: Right to information?

@horriblicious: The title of Ch. 3 of Jeffrey Carr's Inside Cyber Warfare PDF is The Legal Status of Cyber Warefare. It mentions

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaties

The Antarctic Treaty System and Space Law



The Law of Armed Conflict

Moreover we have the Geneva Conventions.

NASA's TESS mission in distress, Mars Express restart is a success

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All about TESS

TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will seek worlds close to home. It is designed to spot planets orbiting nearby bright stars.

Read the story here.

Facebook admits it does track non-users, for their own good


Re: to say it with that nice song from the South Park movie

To see Zuck as a reincarnation of Caligula is an insult to the Emperor.May be he is rather a reincarnation of Cesare Borgia.

A new Caligula will have his slaves dig at sites clearly marked as Nuclear waste burial site. No do dig here!.

UK rocket-botherers rattle SABRE, snaffle big bucks


ground test

prior art

Birds can feel Earth's magnetic fields? Yeah, that might fly. Bioboffins find vital sense proteins


@DougS: People are sensitive to polarization of light

People with normal vision can see the Haidinger figures. Even the degree of polarization of the blue sky 90° from the Sun is enough to see it, if you know what to look for.

Re orientation in general:

Alice asked the Cheshire Cat "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That dependes a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. "I don't much care where --" said Alice. "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat. "--so long as I get somewhere," Alice added. "Oh, you 're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

My Tibetan digital detox lasted one morning, how about yours?


Re: Spotted the deliberate mistake

@AC: A five sided/pointed shape is in fact very easy to make. Learned that in kindergarten.


Holy helmets, Batman! Bane-like mask lets you 'talk' to computers without making a sound


Utter failure

Not compatible with Google Glass. Wait - we need more ears.

Not one, but 20,000 black holes hiding in Milky Way's heart


Re: Interesting

Did not know about SciShow, I just get all pressreleases from NOVA in my inbox. Moreover a few weeks later Nature drops on my doormat.

See here for a picture of the team and its Dragonfly Telescope. Warning: gender imbalance.

Furious gunwoman opens fire at YouTube HQ, three people shot


Re: Free Firearms For All!!!

In the Stalin era the family of executed political prisoners got an invoice for the bullets used by the firing squad. Although it was only a few rubles, it was an humiliation.

Indian comms satellite gives boffins back home the silent treatment


Re: Wrong Priorities

India already educated part of its population to build nuclear warheads.

Doomed Chinese space lab Tiangong-1 crashes into watery Pacific grave


So glad to see

the Tiangong-1 is not littering Point Nemo near the Knappschaftkrankenhaus in Dortmund, Germany.

Those still interested in rocket science might read ESA's FAQ on Tiangong-1 reentry.

Wanna work for El Reg? Developers needed for headline-writing AI bots


Re: functional alcoholism

I 'll drink to that.

Summary of job ad: register headlines software writing technology successful scientists people neural headline familiarity engineering editorial developers create.

No Boffins? This must be fake news or it is ....

Surprise UK raid of Cambridge Analytica delayed: Nobody expects the British information commissioner!



If you were smart enough you could create an entirely innocuous shadow data centre, but CA is not smart. See how they walked with open eyes into the Ch4 trap about a Sri Lankan "client" without apparently doing any desk-research.

Cambridge Analytica CEO suspended – and that's not even the worst news for them today


Re: Too mild

Re: I'd suggest banning the Mercer family from any oxygen use.

You are not suggesting a few mg of Novichok, are you? Naughty, naughty!

BTW what is that Facebook thing they are writing about, I never visited their website.

Bitcoin's blockchain: Potentially a hazardous waste dump of child abuse, malware, etc


Re: Since when is currency clean?

When Picasso lived in Paris shortly after 1900 he was too poor to pay his restaurant bills. But his talent was recognized and on several occasions he took a 5 Francs note, scribbled on it, signed it and the value jumped to 50 Francs, enough to pay the waiter. If it would survive to the present day it could be auctioned for millions even if it had accummulated a thick layer of shit.

Windows 10 to force you to use Edge, even if it isn't default browser


Re: Fucking idiots

AFAIR I changed the Desktop Background to a nerve-relaxing darkgreen with tiles showing in black I hate Microsoft - I hate Microsoft - I hate Microsoft in five-pixel high microfont for every Microsoft Windows® PC where I could do that.

MS gave me always the feeling I had only a teaspoon to hammer a nail in a wall, where UX gave me a toolkit with the lightest and most elegant tools to a sledgehammer.

FYI: AI tools can unmask anonymous coders from their binary executables


Re: sample set is too small

That you are paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you.

On the other hand, after three days without coding, life becomes meaningless.

Your mouse can't reach that Excel cell? Buy a 'desk extender' said help desk bluffer


Re: Wendell should have offered

Dave 126 reminds me that I had for years a chromium-plated mouse treadmill on my desk. AFAIR, I finally donated it to the owner of a hamster in need of some exercise.


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