* Posts by harmjschoonhoven

604 posts • joined 3 Sep 2012


Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized fusion reactor breakthrough boast


Tool use at Lockheed-Martin

At 41 seconds in the video you can see that the open end of a combination wrench is used to tighten a nut, how unprofessional.


Re: Size

The substantial problems with the stabiltity of a magnetised plasma decrease with increasing scale. There is a reason why ITER is the largest experiment for controlled nuclear fusion up to this day.

A mass of 2*10^30 kg hydrogen by itself is sufficient to initiate a stable fusion reaction and solve all our energy requirements.

Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function


No Undo function

I thought we had Twitter for that.

Programming languages in economics: Cool research, bro, but what about, er, economics?


Re: Higher level languages are easier to set up at the price of slower runtimes.

Higher level languages are easier to set up at the price of longer runtimes.

Adobe spies on readers: 'EVERY page you turn, EVERY book you own' leaked back to base



I counted 137 links to adobe.com in the vanilla Adobe Reader9 for intellinux, but no links to adelogs.adobe.com or ...... (killed it).

What’s the KEYBOARD SHORTCUT for Delete?! Look in a contextual menu, fool!


Re: Press any key

It is the Ctrl key.

That PERSONAL DATA you give away for free to Facebook 'n' pals? It's worth at least £140


Re: the price of personal data

The survey asked an equivalent of "If your car is stolen, what would be its value on the black market?".

Both stealing cars and using personal data for a purpose it was not intended for are punishable by law. In the later case f.i. CELEX:31995L0046 'Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data', Official Journal L 281 , 23/11/1995 P. 0031 - 0050 and national laws like the Dutch 'Wet bescherming persoonsgegevens' supervised by http://www.dutchdpa.nl/ .

How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?


@Dave Bell, Re: MP3 compression

You might have a look at


where you can hear what MP3 (the MPEG1 Layer III audio codec, as defined in ISO 11172-3) discards by opening one of the links in the table with dBA values. It is pretty horrible.

My impression is that MP3 leaves the sound intact, but compromises the emotional impact. May be a boffin with access to an fMRI scanner can do some research on this.

Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation

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Pictures or it did not happen

For the Hubble Space Telescope image of the M60-NGC4647 system see Figure 1 of the article by Anil C. Seth et al.: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1409.4769.pdf .

"M60-UCD1 is the nearly point-like image in the bottom right. The discovery of a black hole in M60-UCD1 provides evidence that it is the tidally stripped nucleus of a once larger galaxy. We note that NGC 4647 is at approximately the same distance as M60 but the two galaxies are not yet strongly interacting. The inset shows a zoomed version of the g band image of M60-UCD1 with contours showing the surface brightness in 1 mag/arcsec2 intervals."

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway


Re: Hollerith cards in the pocket

Just for the sake of the argument, 1 TByte of data can be stored in a block of 30 m x 30 m x 30 m of punched cards. Mothballs not included.


Re: "you can still insert and play your very first commercially produced CD"

I remember a story form New Scientist that the very first CDs could not survive transport in the cargobay of an airplane, because the lower airpressure drew bubbles in the CD. Of course the problem was solved in subsequent pressings of CDs.

My coat is the one with the Hollerith cards in the pocket.

Look out, world! Space Station satellite cannon has A MIND OF ITS OWN


The video is far better with the terrestial sound turned off.

Russia: SEXY LIZARDS which landed FROM SPACE are all DEAD



So someone forgot to put on their spacesuits. Doing their business they were naked of course.

The Register Monopoly Pubcrawl Mobile Map: VODAFONE VICTOR in LONDON


Re: Why oh why etc.

Because the Swiss are prepared to pay for their telecom infrastructure, 1395 CHF (1524 USD) per person per year (figures 2012).

Best shot: Coffee - how do you brew?


Syrian coffee

Travelling in Syria Johann Ludwig Burckhardt (1784-1817) mentions cardamom-flavoured coffee. It tastes quite well.

The Register to boldly go where no Vulture has gone before: The Weekend


Re: Regina Eggbert

Vulture eggs have brown spots.

Microsoft Azure goes TITSUP (Total Inability To Support Usual Performance)


Re: Anybody know if the SLAs for Azure include chargebacks for loss of business?

Azure's SLA guarantees "at least 99.9% availability".

That is a downtime of 365.25*24*0.001 = 8 hours 46 minutes per annum.

What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this


Just a personal feeling

The video of the moving kilobots gives me the same itchy feelings as looking at an anthill.

1024 must be above some critical number.

The internet just BROKE under its own weight – we explain how

IT Angle

Re: 512KDay

I will wait till the 2^19Day.

NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days


Re: Sorry, too busy to check the details of the test right now but...

The test was done at atmospheric pressure (see my post above).


Re: Anomalous Thrust Production

From D.A. Brady et al.: "Testing was performed ... within a stainless steel vacuum chamber with the door closed but at ambient atmospheric pressure."

So it is not rocket science after all.

Facebook goes down, people dial 911

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Re: Man reports strange object in the sky - turns out it was the moon

A well-known astronomer instructed his teenage daughter to answer the phone at full moon to ask whether callers who had spotted a UFO had also seen the Moon.

This usually settled the argument.

Students hack Tesla Model S, make all its doors pop open IN MOTION



That I can read ElReg doesn't mean I can't read Chinese, all be it very slowly.

BTW the link leads to the video http://weibo.com/u/3957583411#_loginLayer_1405984877559 which suggests the hacker is using a mobile phone. The car is NOT moving.

May be there is just a little green man inside, you never know these days.

When the robot rebellion comes, this Jibo droid will BORE you to death

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Re: When I hear "saccharine Disney charm" ...

I was happy to see a large rubber hammer in the video at 2:35.

Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS


Re: Experimental Procedure

IMHO the difference between run-of-the-mill programmers and an ace is so large that the experiment is useless.

Japanese artist cuffed for disseminating 3D ladyparts files


Re: Are dildos allowed in Japan?

Dildos feature in the film A Lost Paradise after a novel of the same name by Junichi Watanabe, based on the true story of Sada Abe.

Think Google Glass is creepy? Wait until it READS YOUR MIND


Re: Uh-oh... we guys are in trouble.

Guys & Grls, thinking about sex without interruption is the trick of choice to fool a polygraph lie-detector.

'Biggest bird ever': 21-foot ripsaw-beaked flying horror


fossilised giant bird

picture or it didn't happen.

You 'posted' a 'letter' with Outlook... No, NO, that's the MONITOR


@Allan George Dyer

"I think I'll get a set of keycaps marked \"Any\" for the next user that asks where the Any key is."

I always use the Ctrl key for that.

Journal that published Facebook emoto-furtle study: Proper boffins get CONSENT


Just a thought

What if the 'experiment' never took place and the publication was just a setup to see the response on Social Media.

NSA man says agency can track you through POWER LINES


Re: 50Hz hum randomiser

A working UPS (not in stand-by mode) is in effect a 50 Hz randomiser.

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

Kickstarter unplugs iFind miracle battery-free locator


prior art

RFID (ISO 14443) working at a comfortable frequency of 13.56 MHz does what iFind claims to do.

Patch looks like Microsoft FAIL, quacks like FAIL, is actually quite good


Re: Vista?

This cartoon was published 5 October 2011.


F&S are not waiting for Steve.

"Here in Hell we are working for years ... with Vista."

Drone-assisted Swiss construct virtual 3D castle


Re: Euro 6,500 for the software

and the Swiss will also charge you CHF 12.50 p.p. for entry to the castle.

The ticket office https://maps.google.ch/maps?q=Chillon&hl=de&ll=46.414135,6.927679&spn=0.001397,0.001725&sll=46.362093,9.036255&sspn=4.048684,7.064209&oq=chiilon&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=46.414323,6.927944&panoid=uk3RISu5fpUtobWCD6oEbA&cbp=12,183.92,,2,1.87 is discretely kept out of the 3D view.

France frostily foists flat fizz fear on ICANN's .wine plans


Re: .everythingthatsnotacountry

What about country-codes .do, .mu, .nu, .tv?







and last but not least http://www.nederland.tv/info/domainnames.htm .

Hubble space telescope seeks new encounter for Pluto-bound spacecraft


Re: Give the Hubbles popularity

The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope is planned for 2018.


Re: putting fission power sources in spacecraft

Not if 99% of rocket launches succeed. Nor if 99.9% of rocket launches succeed.

Now the failures only give a nice show and some smoke:


Astronomers can wait or a future generation will reap the results. Explore space, but there is no need to speed things up.

BTW the next tansit of Venus is in December 2117.

Stephen Fry MADNESS: 'New domain names GENERATE NEW IP NUMBERS'


Re: Q: Is 0.999 recurring equal to 1.0

That is where L. E. J. Brouwer's mathematical philosophy of intuitionism kicks in. It simple forbids "Gedankenexperimente' as "0.999 recurring".

About to make a big bet? Don't crash out, cash in with the power of maths


Re: Question?

Far more interesting than the drunkard's walk is a Lévy flight. This is also a random walk, but now small steps are interspersed with sporadic very long steps.

Wandering albatrosses use this search strategy on their voyages on the largely empty ocean.

Tux because it is also a bird.

NASA spots new Mars meteorite crater


Re: HIRISE image...

I saw a dome until I viewed the picture with my head upside-down. The curious thing is I had no problem seeing the crater afterwards when I returned to my preferred viewing position.

James Bond producers sign on for Edward Snowden movie


Re: Would need some work

'perhaps he could be afflicted with some medical condition that absolves him of his previous actions'

Young Snowden broke both his legs during infantry training and he was thereafter discharged from the US Army.

How to catch a fraudster – using 'top cop' Benford and the power of maths


Re: Scale independence

Julian Havel explains Benford's Law in Ch. 14 "It's a Logarithmic World" of his excellent book "Gamma, exploring Euler's constant".

BTW, Benford's Law also holds for binary numbers: expect the number of zeros to be double the number of ones. Try it.

The weird and wonderful mind of H.R Giger is no more


Re: Wow.

You are getting old when you think police officers are getting too young.

Amazon granted patent for taking photos against a white background – seriously


Just asking

Has USPTO also granted a patent to photograph a black cat in a coal cellar at midnight?

Norwegians trial Oculus Rift in tanks: The ultimate battlefield simulator


Return of the Mololov-cocktail

Surround vision is most useful in urban warefare. A shotgun or petrol bomb can easily disable an armored vehicle which relies on Oculus Rift goggles. In a 'real' war it will be knocked down by the first shell landing near the tank.

McAfee chap is back in crypto-wrap chat app back flap


Security by obscurity

Secure encryption is only possible when the key is longer than the message.

During WW II "Die Rote Kapelle" used for its daily radio transmissions from Brussels to the Kremlin an antiquarian unpublished roman as its codebook.

It is unclear how Chadder shares its key(s), how they are generated and what they are.

What's that PARASITE wriggling inside my browser?


No, it is not a PARASITE

Caenorhabditis elegans, including the Australian strains, are free-living non-parasitic roundworms.

Boffins build billion-synapse, three-watt 'brain'


@Kwabena Boahen: "you have to know how the brain works to program one of these"

The whole point of neural networks is that you do not have to program them.

You just train them to give the right response.


KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline


Re: A nasty way to go

Not if the sponges start with eating the little brains. They are the tasty bits.

IBM Hursley Park: Where Big Blue buries the past, polishes family jewels


Re: IBM's skeletons in the basement

May be the museum should show a realistic waxwork of an engineer oiling

the IBM machinery at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

IBM's German branch, the Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellshaft, was deeply involved in the running of the Nazi bureaucracy consuming 1500 million punch cards a year.

Read "IBM and the holocaust" by Edwin Black.


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