* Posts by JeffyPoooh

3488 posts • joined 28 Jun 2013

Geoboffins claim to find oldest trace of life in rocks 4bn years old

JeffyPoooh
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Re: "...Canadian rocks 3.95 billion years ago..."

LeeE mentioned "Australians beat you to it with the 4.39 billion year old zircons..."

Microbes vs zircons.

One must be a lifeform to make the claim. Plus being a direct descendant helps.

Rocks can't claim rocks.

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JeffyPoooh
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"...Canadian rocks 3.95 billion years ago..."

Thus we Canadians will be submitting our territorial claim for the entire planet.

Canadians had it first. It's ours. The whole thing.

So the rest of you have to leave.

Except the Swedes, they can stay. We like the Swedes.

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Foiled again! Brit military minds splash cash on killing satellites with... food wrapping?

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If there's a changing magnetic field...

...then a loop of wire and a load resistor would convert kinetic energy into heat, dropping the orbit. Would work even in a hard vacuum.

The boffins can take it from here...

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Web uni says it will get you a tech job or your money back. So our man Kieren signed up...

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Congratulations.

Letter:

Dear Kieren,

We saw your column in El Reg. Congratulations on your employment as a professional writer. We've marked you down as 'employed'. Another success story, after only one day of classes. Amazing.

Relieved and dollars ahead,

Guaranteed Employment Office

The University

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HPE sharpening the axe for 5,000 heads – report

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Start with the folks that design HP branded laptops...

"Friends don't let friends buy HP laptops."

Strangely, the HP branded desktops seem to be fine.

Their lamp-stabilized Wein bridge oscillators are pretty nice too,

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If you need to replace anything other than your iPhone 8's battery or display, good luck

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"...the same score as last year."

"...gives the '8' 6/10 for repairability….the same score as last year."

I didn't realize that the iPhone 8 had been given a repairability score of 6/10....last year.

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Apocalypse now: Ad biz cries foul over Apple's great AI cookie purge

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Madison Ave

Geniuses.

They show me ads for things that I recently bought.

As if I may suddenly decide that I need three more, and I'll forgot where I bought the first one.

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Downloaded CCleaner lately? Oo, awks... it was stuffed with malware

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"The dodgy software was signed..."

"The dodgy software was signed using a valid certificate that was issued to Piriform Ltd..."

Huh? How? A "signed" bit of software is supposed to be blah-blah-blah and thus secure from such things.

"...by Symantec."

Oh, I see. The morons at Symantec strike again.

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Boffins' satcomms rig uses earthly LEDs to talk to orbiting PV panels

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Re: Signal to noise ?

Similarly, GNSS (e.g. GPS) have been operating digital transmissions (always) below the noise floor for decades, albeit (always) at slow date rates.

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The following quoted sentence seems to be nonsense...

"...reduce the accuracy you need to aim a signal at the satellite, by using a large photon-collection surface that's already common in space, the satellites' photovoltaic (PV) panels, as the receiver."

You'd only believe this claim if you image that a laser beam aimed from Earth to a satellite arriving at the satellite as a tiny red dot; the system struggling to maintain precise aim on the tiny phototransistor on the satellite.

If you understand real world dispersion of laser beams (small, but vastly non-zero), then you'll understand that the mythical phototransistor is *effectively* the same size as the PV array. Because the beam width of the laser beam is hugely vast in comparison, over such distances.

Especially on a tiny cubesat. Less so on the ISS, where this technique is not applicable anyway.

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Equifax backtracks arbitrate-don't-litigate plan for punters

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Equifax has "also bought a random number generator for PINs

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Google to kill Symantec certs in Chrome 66, due in early 2018

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I haven't trusted Symantec since 2007

I'm happy to see that others have finally caught on...

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As Hurricane Irma grows, Earth now lashed by SOLAR storms

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Re: the equivalent explosive power of 24,000,000,000 kilotons of TNT.

Theorized Solar Nanoflares may be responsible for raising the temperature of the Solar Corona. They're caused by twisted off bits of magnetic field. They're supposed to be about 50-Megatonnes equivalent each, and the quantity per second is just a buzzing noise.

Busy place...

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Re: People who link global warming to sunspots are wankers

Ah, Bob. I believe that Tom simply meant that whenever there's something astronomically-interesting in the sky, it's inevitably cloudy. I caught his drift because that's the way it typically works here too.

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Facebook claims a third more users in the US than people who exist

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"...18 to 24-year-olds..."

Facebook demanded to know my age, and then plastered it all over the place on my birthday.

So I changed my age to 100 years, as a sort-of 'None-Of-Your-Effin-Business' reaction.

I tried to change it back after my birthday had passed (once they stop plastering it all over the place) but they then told me that I could only change it one more time. So I didn't.

So now I'm 104.

Facebook, meet 'Law of Unintended Consequences'.

Idiots.

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Chinese smartphone cable-maker chucks sueball at Apple

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The Apple apologists are out in force on this one...

Frustratingly nonsensical.

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Re: A chip hidden in a charging cable?

Chas offered, "...designed to fail first to save..."

How does a genuine Apple DRM infested charger cable shorting out after 5 months use benefit anybody?

The only thing it saves is Apple's bottom line.

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Re: A chip hidden in a charging cable?

DougS "Pretty sure if something went wrong with your USB wall plug and it sent 120v or 240v AC down the wire, the USB-C socket in your phone or laptop could not gracefully sense that and cut it off without any damage."

Are you claiming that an Apple Lightning cable would ?

I'll bet not.

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JeffyPoooh
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Re: A chip hidden in a charging cable?

@DougS

It was Apple's chargers that had the failure where the AC power pins would pull out of the body, causing some folks to instinctively reach out and retrieve the metal prongs from the live socket. Apple's !

Turn your Apple AC charger over and see the green dot? That means that it hopefully won't kill you.

Yes, eBay junk can be crap. Cheap crap. Apple also makes crap sometimes. Expensive crap.

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Re: I can see the value in certification

Doug suggested, "...what stops a company from making the cheapest Lightning cable possible and selling it on eBay falsely claiming it is Apple certified? The chip is a technical way of preventing companies from lying about certification."

No it doesn't. Due to timing on a month by month time scale.

The Chinese companies and eBay sellers still do all exactly that, by using fake chips embedded in their "Lightning" cables. It's not until several months later that Apple rolls the code, thus revealing the fraud. This is after MONTHS of that batch of the fake cables working fine.

Then, with only Apple's greatest concern for their customers LOL, and certainly not as a money grab ROTFL, the new iPhone software gleefully stops accepting charging current from the fake cable. Thus forcing their customers to run out and buy a cable from the nearest supplier.

The Axis of Time reveals that Apple's explanations are a cover story, and that they are just being greedy. Their concept of embedding DRM in the Lightning charging cables has probably earned them about an extra billion dollars.

The Axis of Time is very revealing, almost a forensic tool. It's my very favorite axis.

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Crushed Juicero now officially a fruitless endeavor

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Re: They got squeezed

"...people juicer..."

The Ave tear down of the Juicer, and this 'people juicer' comment, reminded me of the Sci-Fi short story about the Transporter System...

Telephone Booth sized, people would enter one booth in (for example) NYC, and a minute later step out in London. One day there was a glitch, so the guy tried again. Worked normally the second time. But then he saw someone wearing the same clothes walking only a half-block ahead. He ran ahead, and discovered it was... ...himself.

Senate inquiry follows. We hear only the Senator's voice booming through the closed doors of the chamber. "Scan and Copy? Not really a 'Move', more like a 'Copy'...and Destroy Original?" "Grated Floor?" "Piston in the ceiling?" "Jammed Piston? Unforeseen failure?" "Sound-proof booth to cover the screams...?" At this point everyone starting counting the number of times that they'd been juiced.

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Re: I bet...

"Oh try Clive..."

Julian Ilett has hundreds of videos on embedded programming, power supply technology, and "Postbag!" which is eBay comedy. Often subtly hilarious, and quite informative.

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Don’t buy that Surface, plead Surface cloners

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Re: Man up, Nancy . . . @AC

PG mentioned "...something like a T420..."

We have five such Lenvo T-series in this household, due to 2014 buying spree.

Let's be honest. If a puma attacked, one could kill the puma with a T420. I could fend off a herd of angry rhinoceroses with my T510. They're not the slightest bit miniaturized. Yes, easy to repair. I've been inside a couple of ours.

Not really in the same category as the Surface.

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Kiwi prankster 'oinks' down cops' radio and sings Old MacDonald

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Chris 125 found an old Airband radio...

Airband (Aviation VHF) is Amplitude Modulated (AM). Police VHF (assuming analog) is almost universally Narrow Band Frequency Modulation (NBFM).

Old portable radios often covered many bands, including both "VHF-AM" (aviation) and "VHF-HI".

Plus, the old portable multiband radios were so crappy that they'd demodulate AM on the FM bands. Less so vice versa.

PS: Three decades ago is 1987. That's the modern era... :-) My Astronaut-8 radio is from something like 1974.

Cheers.

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Recommend: Networked Pseudo-Doppler (a.k.a. Synthetic Doppler)

A batch of them. Networked. Providing apparent bearing back to a central server.

Back at HQ, the relative bearing lines are displayed on a map, in (effectively) real-time. Where they cross (perhaps several of them) is the location. If the point of intersection moves along a highway at 95 kmh, then (like automobile GPS systems do) you may assume that he's driving on that exact highway. A bit of intelligence can tighten the estimated location.

Sooner of later the perp will be caught on CCTV driving past an ATM or corner store security camera. Correlated with the time-stamped track (after the fact), you'll then have a grainy video of his vehicle driving by. Twice and it becomes a certainty.

Then, the next time he's on the air, you can close the net around that old truck, and catch him red-handed.

Let's say he's on the air twice a week. The mean time to catch him would be about two weeks.

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SAP point-of-sale systems were totally hackable with $25 kit

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Why bother hacking into SAP?

If you can spell "SAP", then you can rob people in broad daylight as a "SAP Consultant".

"Install the ERP software? Why yes. That'll be $10 million... Oh, I mean $20 million. Unless you also want the 'Put The Fricken' Boxes on the Fricken' Trucks' module. That's extra. A retail outlet in Canada once forgot to buy that module. Hilarious. Store shelves empty for an entire year."

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Google routing blunder sent Japan's Internet dark on Friday

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Can "border gateway protocol (BGP) advertisements" be spoofed?

The word [BGP] "advertisement" is concerning. Advertising often means 'just putting it out there'. Hopefully they're signed and authenticated, if not always correct.

So much for the Internet automatically "routing around damage" as was originally promised. Yes, it is more fragile (relying on single routes, single points of failure) than was originally intended and promised back in the early days.

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Vodafone won't pay employee expenses for cups of coffee

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"...which disclosed a profit of more than £2m in its last quarterly update..."

There are coffee shops (I mean *one* outlet) that generate quarterly profits of the same magnitude.

The quote was written as if this was a large number. In this context, it isn't. It's simply pathetic.

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Can North Korean nukes hit US mainland? Maybe. But EMP blast threat is 'highly credible'

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Re: Never understood the obsession with ICBMs

DAve 32 suggested that "...Shipping containers are monitored for gamma/x-ray emissions prior to entering the country..."

You're implying that they're scanned 200 miles off-shore.

They're scanned ON THE PIER AT THE CONTAINER PORT, at the Port of Entry, which is (for example, possibly) just a few km from downtown (some are zero km from downtown). And this is after the container ship possibly steamed right past the downtown core on its way to the container port.

It's all a bit perfectly stupid.

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Voyager antenna operator: 'I was the first human to see images from Neptune'

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"Kepler....on its low gain antenna in the mid 160s dbm..."

dBm (capital 'B').

And you'd be wanting to include the negative in there as well.

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Nokia's comeback is on: The flagship 8 emerges

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Re: Lumia

Chris suggested, "...Nokia died because [in part] they had 3 different UIs..."

Back then, it shouldn't have been that expensive to have some children bang out a new UI over the weekend.

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Disgraced US Secret Service agent coughs to second Bitcoin heist

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"...(is there a way to tell?)..."

I'm a bit weak on the details, but I've read that it's a PUBLIC ledger.

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10 minutes of silence storms iTunes charts thanks to awful Apple UI

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Re: Copyright violation ?

I came here with "John Cage" in my Copy-And-Paste buffer. You beat me to it...

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New MH370 analysis again suggests plane came down outside search area

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Re: Mayday "thousands of tiny, bright, floating specks"

You're stealing my idea, LOL.

And... Embed them with little corner reflectors, and optical frequency doublers or phosphor (to make a unique light wavelength) *. Scan with a laser from 20,000 feet and they'll blink back at you.

* Something like that...

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JeffyPoooh
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Re: Mayday

MM reinvented that which already exists, "...have a beacon that ejects..."

Deployable Airfoils with CVR/FDR Memory Modules,and a built-in 406 MHz ELT. Yes, they float.

A company named DRS makes them, perhaps others do too.

They're triggered by Frangible Switches (look like glass bottles sticking out), or a manual button.

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JeffyPoooh
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"...Swissair 111 went down....off St Johns..."

AB mentioned, "...When Swissair 111 went down off at speed off St Johns..."

No. Near Halifax, Nova Scotia. Not St Johns, Newfoundland.

Off Peggy's Cove specifically, perhaps 30-40 km outside of Halifax in total.

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Ohm-em-gee: US nuke plant project goes dark after money meltdown

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Re: Fukushima not a big enough warning ?

'Faux Science...' offered, "...Fission byproducts include explosive Hydrogen..."

Not quite. Zirconium (used to clad fuel rods), when overheated due to cooling failure, draws oxygen from any water or steam, thus emitting hydrogen.

No different than iron really. Circa 1780s, Lavoisier produced hydrogen by passing water (steam) through an iron tube heated to incandescent in a fire.

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Cellphone kill switches kill cellphone snatchers

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Good smartphones no longer need to expensive...

Lovely Android phones are now relatively cheap. Asus ZenFone 3 was just offered (a sale) for Can$320, about US$260. Colleagues have decent Samsungs for Can$100-$200 range. Cheap as chips, nearly anyone can afford that.

Less incentive to steal, when it's not "worth" $900.

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Alphabay shutdown: Bad boys, bad boys, what you gonna do? Not use your Hotmail...

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Being Super-Careful just slows down the authorities...

Even if he'd taken every precaution, and done everything seemingly-perfectly, the authorities would have caught up with him perhaps a few months, maybe a year, later.

Anyone disagreeing with this -^ obvious fact is utterly naïve.

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Crazy bug of the week: Gnome Files' .MSI parser runs evil VBScripts

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Executing filenames?

A year or two ago, I wrote a comedy comment about gadgets Seeing Code, Running Code.

E.g. Malicious software being spray painted onto the sidewalk, and passing smartphones immediately seeing it in their field of view, capturing it, OCR'ing it, compiling it, and of course executing it.

"CODE! MUST. RUN. CODE. Look Code !! GRAB CODE, RUN CODE."

I was just kidding. Please stop.

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

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"...an even straighter track than high-speed rail."

FG offered, "...require an even straighter track than high-speed rail."

Yes, like the wide open spaces and endless flat plains of mid-1960s downtown Japan.

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JeffyPoooh
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SD3 mentioned " -43DbA is almost silent."

Yes, "-43 DbA" [you meant dBA] would be the quietist thing ever. Impossibly quiet, quite literally.

But +43 dBA is merely fairly quiet.

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JeffyPoooh
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JR shot "...let alone 200 miles away on the same track..."

Actually, one fairly detailed and seemingly plausible analysis found on an informed and skeptical-thinkers website (video?) indicates that any catastrophic depressurization will lead to a wall of 1 Atmosphere air rushing into the previously-vacuum tube, the shock wave slamming into all vehicles in the same section, leading directly to fatal level of pod-vehicle acceleration. Presumably distance would have little effect, since the shock wave would propagate quite happily along the tube for a very long distance.

This is just one of a whole laundry list of "challenges".

Possible solution - they could open valves to release air into the tube to dissipate the shock wave before it propagates that far.

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Tapping the Bank of Mum and Dad: Why your Netflix subscription is poised to rise (again)

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"...Amazon's worse."

Dan 55 suggested that "...Amazon's worse."

Amazon Prime Video has a huge advantage over Netflix. After three minutes of browsing Amazon Prime Video, you can conclude that they have nothing worth watching (other than The Grand Tour, where we're still waiting for Season 2 to become available). So you can turn it off, and go back to doing other things without wasting a lot of time, as one might do with Netflix.

See?

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Russia launches non-TERRIFYING satellite that focuses Sun's solar rays onto Earth

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Re: Some notes on satellite design.

JS19 offered, "Iridium was actually deployed with 77 satellites in Medium Earth Orbit,..."

Iridium was actually deployed with 66 satellites, plus spares and replacements. The famous "77" was replaced by 66 as a cost savings measure.

JS19 offered, "...(the atom with 77 neutrons is Dysprosium)..."

The atom with 77 neutrons is an isotope of Xenon (?). Dysprosium has an Atomic Number of 66 (i.e. 66 protons, number of neutrons varies with isotope), which may be the source of your 66 vs 77 confusion.

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"...make the winters a little less harsh..."

WM suggested, "...UK's own space port putting a mirror for the North and Scotland to make the winters a little less harsh, very economical if you calculate the cost."

If you're no good with numerical instinct, then do the math.

You may (very) generously assume 1.36 kw per square meter of reflector surface, 100% efficiency, and 100% duty cycle. The generosity here is probably close to an order of magnitude. A reflector of one square km (!) focused precisely on Scotland's ~80,000 square km would be like a heater bar or two **per square km**. So you'll need a reflector *vastly* larger than km scale.

So, no.

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Security robot falls into pond after failing to spot stairs or water

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Re: Hmm...

I came here to post, " It's obviously a sexist-pig Dalek, drowning itself in the fountain, rather than deal with the new female Doctor Who.", but you effectively beat me to it.

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The curious case of a Tesla smash, Autopilot blamed, and the driver's next-day U-turn

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"The only time a plane's autopilot disengages is when..."

Wolfetone suggested that, "The only time a plane's autopilot disengages is when..."

"...a child in the cockpit [yes, we know...] places his hands on the controls, applies gentle pressure, and *one* of the three Autopilot axis silently disconnects. The plane then slowly enters a spiral path until it's out of control, it crashes, and everybody dies."

^- fact. Ref Aeroflot Flight 593, an Airbus A310.

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JeffyPoooh
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"I ..."

I find that it's best to look back at what I wrote, before sending.

I think that starting too many paragraphs with the word "I" leaves a very subtle bad impression.

I will review and edit the wording to remove as many leading "I" as possible, preferably all of them.

I think that the resultant messages are much improved.

I know that some may not have noticed this, but I have.

I hope that you find this advice useful.

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Vendors rush to call everything AI even if it isn't, or doesn't help

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Re: AI exists?

Those that are amazed by the present state of the art in AI must have a very low threshold of amazement. There's not been any significant, discreet, newsworthy 'breakthrough' at all; just the inevitable march of Moore's Law and minor algorithm tweaks. An AI researcher from the 1960s could be caught-up in about 15 minutes.

"Ooooohhh look, virtual neural nets with layers, so many of them, and an executive to manage the learning. So EXCITING..."

Yawn.

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