* Posts by Palf

89 posts • joined 10 Sep 2012


Low Barr: Don't give me that crap about security, just put the backdoors in the encryption, roars US Attorney General


They shoot horses, don't they?

I guess that makes Barr a crypto-fascist

We've read the Mueller report. Here's what you need to know: ██ ██ ███ ███████ █████ ███ ██ █████ ████████ █████


Yanks are crazy. You have a provable traitor sitting in the WH and yet you do nothing.

Astroboffins spy a rare exoplanet evaporating before their eyes


Sounds like a good candidate for a prison planet.

Donald Trump running insecure email servers



Running on the River app framework with a Banjo firewall and Deliverance networking

'Second Earth' exoplanet found right under our noses – just four light years away


Life will find a way

Best be on your best behaviour!

Revolutionary Brit-made SABRE hybrid rocket engine to burn in 2020


A British opportunity

The name of the game is $/Kg launched, and if done right, Skylon would be at the head of the pack. It would be nice to get it done right. It will mean jobs and kudos and excellent future prospects for opening up space - finally.

Universe's shock rapidly expanding waistline may squash Einstein flat


Forget that old theory

Looks like we need DARKER Energy.

'Impossible' EmDrive flying saucer thruster may herald new theory of inertia


It's a perpetual motion machine of the 1st kind

And as such is capable of producing free energy forever. When allowed to freely accelerate on a wheel, there comes a point where the kinetic energy (quadratic with time) exceeds the total input energy (linear with time). Knock yourselves out. Throw away your coal and nuclear reactors and stop fracking.

Or it doesn't work and what's seen is experimental artifact.

Brits seek rousing name for polar research vessel




Top rocket exec quits after telling the truth about SpaceX price war


We are going about this space business entirely the wrong way. The key to opening up space is cheap launches, and rockets (even reusable ones) don't cut it - only two technologies do: StarTram and Skylon. Once up there, the DEEP-IN system will allow us to weave a web of light around the solar system for almost-fuelless propulsion around the place in record time. That is the vision to which we should aspire.

There, now you have three new terms to Google.

Getting metal hunks into orbit used to cost a bomb. Then SpaceX's Falcon 9 landed


It's called New Shepard because

like the eponymous Alan Shepard, it just goes up, and then down. Oingo Boingo. We did this in the early sixties. It's boring.

Hey British coders: DevOps – you're doing it wrong


Con job. Gravy train. Next!

New NASA theory: Moon radiation drops so HULK RIP MOON LIKE SHIRT


If you licked Charon, would your tongue stick to it?

LISA Pathfinder drops its gravity-wave-finding golden boxes


Hopefully the grand LIGO success will cause a newly-formed Yank committee to rejoin eLISA and make it LISA again, with originally-designed full capability. And to accelerate that ridiculously far-future deadline to something much sooner. LISA will be even more awesome than LIGO.

LIGO boffins set to reveal grav-wave corker


Rumours are also swirling that gravitational waves taste like pork rinds

HP creates laptop for SITH LORDS

Thumb Down

A fiddling Nero moment. This to allow us to bear witness to the final demise of a once-great company which has lost its way. Way to go Carly and Meg.

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg


What Tech Support was always meant to be

Another chance to win a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive


That new 3D tattoo had seemed like a good idea.

Enjoy vaping while you still can, warns Public Health England



The usual, run-of-the-mill bureaucratic clusterfuck. Colour us Not Surprised.

What's Meg Whitman fussing over: The fate of HP ... or the font on a DISRUPTIVE new logo?


Re: If Some Advert Firm Charged Them Money For This...

I wonder what she'll do about curtains?

For an empty box the colour of puke.


I think the B Ark missed one

The Golgafrinchans really could have used her to declare leaves the default currency and help with defoliating the forests. Or to have helped with topping up the bathwater.

Waste of protein. Next!

NSA director: We share most of the [crap] bugs we find!



when you lie to me

Default admin password, weak Wi-Fi, open USB ports ... no wonder these electronic voting boxes are now BANNED


That design is a travesty

As an electronics engineer, I wouldn't design it anything like that. Chiefly, I would not allow any communications (wifi, LAN, internet, bluetooth) with the box while voting is going on. Each box is preloaded with the registration list - a list of social security numbers pertinent to the locale - and a vote consists of

a) self identification via SS number

b) the vote itself

When voting is complete, voting data is extracted via a USB port using encrypted protocols.

That's not 100% tamper-proof, but it's pretty good.

There is no need for a complex OS. The functions described can all be done with an extremely primitive microprocessor and some flash memory.

And on a political note, dissatisfaction with all of the candidates should be available for a vote via a choice labelled "None of the above". This carries more punch than simply not voting. It means you took the trouble to point out that all the candidates are shite.

ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds


Context, context. If there's no tx/rx at Alpha Centauri, there's no point in having one here. But if there is one there, it means we can get there and have already done it. Which means 550 AU is "local" for us already.

My main point is that such comms cannot be detected by the usual SETI methods, and as such assures a high degree of privacy. If that's the aliens' cup of tea, you'll never know, and SETI is a waste of effort.

But it does give a sensible answer to the Fermi question, even in the face of the ongoing blizzard of new exoplanet discoveries


Conventional wisdom about interstellar comms gets well thumped when a civilisation starts using Claudio Maccone's gravity lens system. The idea is to use one's own star as a giant focuser of radio and light waves. Great telescope, great radio antenna. With about 10 watts we could establish comms with the Alpha Centauri system and get 5 by 9 clarity and good bandwidth. Hard to believe, but that's what the maths says. Of course, there is a bit of a lag.

Our own grav focus begins at about 550 AU out. We'd place a transceiver (nuclear thermal powered I assume) on the opposite side of Sol to the target star system. At the target system we'd do the same. So we end up with a straight line that links remote Tx/Rx - remote star - Sol - local Tx/Rx.

The chief impediment we ourselves currently face is the ability to make such long trips quickly. Once we have that, we could set up radio comms all over the place.

But to the question about aliens. If they are using this mode of communication, there's not a chance in hell that we could detect it.

There's a heavy piece of irony here, as Maccone is chief of SETI.

Alien Earths are out there: Our home is not 'unique'


Re: According to a certain Mr Arthur C Clarke...

That's SIR Arthur C. Clarke to you, minion

UK boffins: We'll have an EMBIGGENED QUANTUM COMPUTER working in 5 YEARS


Why do they keep torturing us with promises of a quantum computer? It's downright sadistic.

Beyond the genome: YOU'VE BEEN DECODED, again


Re: A damn fine article

Hear, hear - kudos to the author. It's a massively complex subject and this is yet another baby step, and as such was heroically described.

Renewable energy 'simply won't work': Top Google engineers


Nobody mentions space-based solar power, and you should


Launch costs will have to come down below $200/Kg for this to be viable.

Therefore railgun.

Thinking Big Picture like this will generate new industries that are of direct benefit to all of us.

In the meantime, aneutronic fusion is a desirable near-future goal - perhaps Focus Fusion will win the day.

Ex-NSA lawyer warns Google, Apple: IMPENETRABLE RIM ruined BlackBerry


Well, first of all to that despicable little NSA shit - go boil your head.

These people have lost touch with reality. I wouldn't normally be concerned, except that they are doing it on our tax dollars to the tune of billions, and are seemingly immune from being axed as an institution. Where are the politicians with the balls to toss the NSA on the garbage heap? We did fine without them before. NASA or the health care system could use that money.

The thesis of this idiot appears to be that if there's data that they cannot snoop, then it's a terrorist network. That way lies a 1984 society. It is a price most of us are unwilling to pay.

Trips to Mars may be OFF: The SUN has changed in a way we've NEVER SEEN


A web of solar-powered lasers for lightsail propulsion would be good. Crisscrossing the solar system. First Moon <-> Earth and then Mars <-> Earth. Can be pretty fast, and you don't need to carry tons of fuel, so you accelerate faster.

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


The elephant in the room is the inescapable fact, true for all propellantless drive ideas, that it is not only a perpetual motion machine, but that it can be made to generate free energy forever. This can be seen using very basic school physics. Constant input power generates constant thrust (it is claimed) and thus we get constant acceleration. Thus total input energy increases linearly with time, but output (kinetic) energy increases quadratically with time. It should now be clear that if you put this device on a wheel, there exists a breakeven speed above which free energy can be continuously obtained.

Therefore Shawyer is talking out of his arse when he says that the stored energy drops as the machine goes faster. Physics demands there be no preferred frame of reference, so pray tell, Roger old chap, how the cavity knows its velocity relative to its original rest frame?

I believe the thrust measurement is an artifact of induced patch charges. The only way to truly settle the debate is to do a space-based test.

German government orders local CIA station chief to pack his bags


If the Germans were serious, they'd toss out the American military bases. I know the people don't want them.

Piketty thinks the 1% should cough up 80%. Discuss


Re: Some well made points

Iff a > b also

NASA preps flying saucer ballocket flight


I get the LSD bit...

Britain'll look like rural Albania without fracking – House of Lords report


The sun uses nuclear fusion and puts out 10^26 watts continuously. Just a hint.

UFO, cosmic ray or flasher? NASA rules on Curiosity curiosity


Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy fame has posted an animated gif of the left and right NAVCAM views, showing that it's in one and not the other. Normally that would be the end of the argument, but not necessarily in this case. That's because we're looking at irregular terrain and the occlusion details differ between left and right cameras.

There's also the issue of simultaneity between the two cameras; then the left camera showing nothing would mean that the flash only began in time for the right camera to grab it.

Either or both of these caveats argue for Curiosity to live up to her name, and to get the hell over there and check it out. But this is NASA, so they won't.

Final Windows XP Patch Tuesday will plug Word RTF vuln


I wouldn't put it past Microshaft to deliberately leak something damaging to XP into the wild.

GRAV WAVE TSUNAMI boffinry BONANZA – the aftershock of the universe's Big Bang


Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

Coz it surfed on FTL spacetime. Whheeeeeeeeeee!


OK - now we know that FTL spacetime expansion is real, it's time to roll our sleeves up and build that space drive!

Pass the hacksaw, Mabel...and careful with that axe, Eugene.

Moon flashes Earth after getting pounding from MASSIVE meteorite


And this is why moonshine can be dangerous

CERN outlines plan for new 100km circumference supercollider


What if there's nothing there except turtles all the way down...

Elderly Bletchley Park volunteer sacked for showing Colossus exhibit to visitors


A way overpaid pompous arse, that Standen. Boot him out.

Picture this: Data-wrangling boffins say they have made JPEGs OBSOLETE


Could a new video standard, superior to HEVC, be in the offing? If so, I'll work on it.

NSA installed '50,000 malware sleeper cells' in world computer networks


The NSA have demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt that they are incapable of safeguarding the national trust - not to mention international good will. They should be disbanded forthwith. We did without them before. Accountability is a tenet of democratic government, and they spit on the idea.

So, rocket boffin Dr Adam Baker: Will we live long and prosper in SPACE?


Rockets are so 1950s, someone said recently - and that's true. The going rate for launch-to-LEO is between $8K/Kg and $15K/Kg - say $12K/Kg average. The sad fact is that right now we have the tech to reduce that figure to less than $5/Kg and launch multiple times per day without destroying any hardware in the process. It's called a railgun, and for my money, it's the only worthy game in town. The ideal location is equatorial and uses a few Km of track for gee-hardened cargo launches, or over 100 Km for more sedate passenger launches. The US Airforce and Navy have been messing with this, but they are really only interested in making ballistic weapons, so they use insane energy densities - about 100x more than a commercial launch outfit needs. The principle is sound, and lacks only investment. Ecuador is a good spot - there are flat stretches leading to useful mountains to angle the launch correctly.

So, Linus Torvalds: Did US spooks demand a backdoor in Linux? 'Yes'


Re: @ DJO Psudorandomosity

Too late. NSA hacked Americium-241 a decade ago. They found a backdoor into the weak force.

Boffins: Earth will be habitable for only 1.75 BEEELLION more years


There's a ton of bollocks in that article. For one thing, in a lot less than a million years from now we'll be able to incrementally bump out Earth's orbit as far as we like. Or two hundred million? Makes no difference. That resets the clock to 6 billion years. Everyone relax :).

But there's something else. Neglecting other catastrophes, an entire galaxy is headed our way at breakneck speed - Andromeda. ETA estimated at around 4 billion years


We may need to get galactic before then.

Elon Musk unveils Hyperloop – the subsonic tube of tomorrow

Thumb Up

I read the report and think that it has a good chance of success. It certainly puts the state-approved scheme to absolute shame, being cheaper to build (10x), faster (5x), cheaper ticket price (5x), safer, more energy-efficient, less environmentally demanding, quicker to build and quicker to board. I hope there are sufficient red faces in Sacramento this week (assuming that politicians are capable of experiencing shame) to kick them into action on scrapping that boondoggle they recently approved, which would end up costing not $68B, but more likely over $100B.

The aerodynamic control and the thermal issues may be problematic, but I see no technical showstoppers here. So let's get this show on the road!

NSA gets burned by a sysadmin, decides to burn 90% of its sysadmins


Americans should petition their congresscritters to disband the NSA



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