* Posts by hekla

35 posts • joined 12 May 2014

There's a black hole lurking within 1,000 light years of Earth – and you can see stars circling it with the naked eye


Gravity bending light

then this could be a good candidate for some gravitation lensing

It's so hot, UK needs to start naming heatwaves like we do when it's a bit windy – climate boffins


Re: what's so difficult about Q, U, X, Y and Z?

Q - Quarto Queniva Quentin Quieton Quintana Quintius Quirinus Quiteria

U - Uriel Uga Ulbert Ulfkell Ulrich Unica Uno Urban Urgellesa Uriah Urith Urraca Ursa Ursilda Urso

X - Xena (warrior princess)

Y - Yael Yolanda Ysoria

Z - Zacharia Zawissius Zbincza Zbygniew Zdeslava Zenobia Zoete Zwentibold

The European Space Agency is going to visit a new comet in 2028. Which one? We haven't discovered it yet


2019 K1 would be perfect, but uncatchable

It is a pristine once only visitor to the solar system with e=1.06


Microsoft slips ads into Windows 10 Mail client – then U-turns so hard, it warps fabric of reality



MS will need all the money it can find to pay their GDPR fines


Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too


1+2+3+4+ to infinity = -1/12

Srinivasa Ramanujan did lots of work at Oxford/Cambridge thought to be one of C20s top mathematicians

Time to ditch the Facebook login: If customers' data should be protected, why hand it over to Zuckerberg?


dropping your FB account is not enough

FB is insidious (darth insidious even)

1> start a new browser profile (copy bookmarks across but not FB or Inst..)

2> BLOCK all cookies from FB and associated companies

3> block using "No Script"™ or similar the FB & Inst... web sites

4> block using "Ghostery"™ or similar the FB & Inst... web sites

5> for extreme paranoia set FB address to (not recommended)

UK.gov: Here's £8.8m to plough into hydrogen-powered car tech


Re: ' Current industrial production of hydrogen gas'

this missed one important point, the tank needed to have stored hydrogen for a year at pressure and near full before the test. A new tank may well pass but an old one will not.

Inviting nearby exoplanet revealed as radiation-baked hell


Not really near

Proxima Centauri is about 248 300 ± 350AU from Sol and Earth and so far the furthest Earth has been able to send an operation space craft is 40 AU and that has taken decades, so not out of the error bar on the length of the trip.

Signing up for the RAF? Don't bother – you've been Capita'd


Quoted on the BBC

This article has now been quoted on the Beeb


From Vega with love: Pegasus interstellar asteroid's next stop


Quite fast

The speed at perihelion was 0.03% of c

Hitting 3 nanometers to cost chipmaker TSMC at least US$20 billion


That is small

Wikipedia has the "Atomic radiusempirical: 111 pm" thus 3 nm is a track about 14 atoms in width. That is going to cause a whole quantum of problems

Fancy that! Craft which float over everything on a cushion of air


I built one at uni

I built a hovercraft as part of my engineering degree, they are an interesting machine but physics is not kind to them.

They have a problem going up hills (similar to trains) as low as an 6% slope will stop them and they are very noisy.

We all deserve a break. Pack your bags. Four Earth-like worlds found around nearby Tau Ceti


Re: Ummmm

A better measure of distance would be AU and T-Ceti is about 794 000 AU away and remember the Voyager probes launched many years ago have travelled 40 AU

Set your alarms for 2.40am UTC – so you can watch Unix time hit 1,500,000,000



$ date -d @1500000000 ; date

Fri Jul 14 12:40:00 AEST 2017

Fri Jul 14 12:51:05 AEST 2017

Blunder down under: self-driving Aussie cars still being thwarted by kangaroos


Re: What about wombats

A grown wombat weighs in at about 4 badgers and some are larger


What about wombats

Wombat are much more dangerous than kangaroos and they win in a truck vs wombat encounter.

For the non-Oz, consider it as a rock on legs, it is about the height of the bumper, also nocturnal.

Has riddle of the 1977 'Wow!' signal finally been cracked? Maybe...


Re: Feeling torn

There are many points about the paper, which are awkward.

1 - Unusual journal for radio astronomy, (significant issues with the authenticity of the journal and its referees)

2 - Use of units of signal strength from comms not radio astronomy

3 - No mention of location, background contamination data no supplied/measured

4 - Heavy use of person resume

5 - Minimal calibration data

6 - Insufficient data to reproduce the comet data

7 - et alia

One or two of these can be overlooked if the others are present, but not all of them. Go read the reddit post for a full description of the short comings of this paper.


First-day-on-the-job dev: I accidentally nuked production database, was instantly fired


Now on Slashdot


with reference to thereg poll results

Puny galaxy packs a big punch: A gazillion joules' worth of radio bursts


That is big

So 10 million trillion trillion joules = 1*10^31 J (a joule is tiny but 10^31 of them is not) and for a more "leReg" style unit, a kilo of hydrocarbon fuel is c40MJ, so this is 2.5*10^23 kilos of fuel or as Avogargo's number is the same order of magnitude, this is 0.4 (Avogargo's number) * (kilos of hydrocarbon fuel[such as petrol]).

Chinese boffins: We're testing an 'impossible' EM Drive IN SPAAAACE


Ridiculous power for a result

The EM-Drive uses a ridiculous amount of power for a result that is still not proved as statistical noise is bigger than the effect.

For an EM-Drive to balance against gravity on Earth at sea-level (in vacuum if you insist) a small coin (such as 5p or 10c) it takes the power output of a medium national grid connected Nuclear Power Station.

So Schrödinger and others suggest that a real result of force is yet to be achieved.

CERN boffins see strange ... oh, wait, that's just New Zealand moving 2m north


More a storm than a quake

There is a storm of quakes in NZ usgs.gov is showing


6.5 * 2

6.2 (this is the size that did in Christchurch)






5.2 * 7

5.1 * 4

5.0 * 2

and smaller ones

Volvo eyes kangaroo detection tech


They should check out wombats as well

These are nocturnal with dark fur about 50 kg also about 600 mm at the shoulder, so walking rock. Not likely on suburban roads and will flip a truck or take out the steering and brakes on a car (and some will say they walk away after the hit).

Ireland moves to scrap 1 and 2 cent coins


Australia did the a quarter century ago

The one- and two-cent coins were discontinued in 1991

So just what is the third Great Invention of all time?



The first invention must be measurement, being able agree on what is a metre,a second or a kilogram is essential to all other parts of an economy. Then there is definition of the Greenwich line as an example of defining where everything is in the world.

Hurrah! Doctor Who brings us a bootstrap paradox treat in Before the Flood


Re: As I said last week

big bad monster - great in half light and shadows not so fearsome in daylight

Tesla reveals Powerwall battery packs for homes, Powerpacks for cities


Half the world excluded from this

The maximum temperature of 43C will rule out much of the world between 40N and 40S latitudes. 45C is a regular summer temperature here in Australia.

HUGE Aussie asteroid impact sent TREMORS towards the EARTH'S CORE


Snowball Earth Explained

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowball_Earth happened about 600My so here is an explanation

Health & Safety is the responsibility of Connor's long-suffering girlfriend


Got off lightly

This seems to be a very benign OH&S induction.

On one work site it required 2 half day sessions one in the PM and the other the following morning.

The questions on the test did not have obvious answers and some of the building contractors were failing on the first test and doing it again.

The plant was not operational, so the other 3 half day sessions were not required, on starting operation it would be back to the beginning and do all 5 sessions.

OH&S induction needed to be completed and signed off before access to the work place was allowed. I have heard there was one site with an 8 session induction.

Hey kids! If you vote Facebook will give you EXTRA LIKES*


Do it the Australian way

The OZ way has a court enforceable fee [about $200] (not fine) for not registering to vote and another one one [about $50] for not voting. It gets the people out to vote and it pays for the election,

El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.


Problems with new site

1: Get rid of the exploding nav-bar.

2: Custom colours for read and unread stories. Browsers are designed to set these, so it is extra effort and COST to set them as well as a source for errors in coding.

'Bill Gates swallowing bike on a beach' is ideal password say boffins


Re: really...BANK

yeah - CommBank has a limit of 12 characters

Size matters – how else could Dell squeeze 15 million pixels into this 27" 5K monitor?


Too smaller pixels to be relevent

Eyesight has its limits and it is expressed as 152 400 (divided by) pixels per inch and gives the distance in millimetres, beyond which the individual pixels are discernible by young eyes (make the number 101 600 for old eyes).

So anyone sitting more than 700mm from this screen will have a "retinal" display and most of their field of view taken with this display.

Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people


a cuff would be good

a suggestion would be an arm cuff around the bicep which could hold the mobile phone and by the skin contact give a little power to the phone.

A phone battery hold (1500 mAh at 5V) about 25 kJ of energy.

This tat gives 70 microWatts per cm2, now a bicep wrap could give 300 * 100 mm2 or 300 tats and thus 21 mW (that is milliwatts).

So 25kJ means that at 21mW a full charge takes 357 hours.

system would need some more work (in both meanings).

Boffins teach robo-arm to catch flying beer bottle


old hat

great, but have a look at the technology used in a recycling plant. Throws an object into the air, shoots an IR beam at the polymer object, collects a spectrum, determines which polymer it is, and then uses an air gun to blow it into the right bin, whilst the the object is falling back to a high speed conveyer.

Australia to build 35,000-core supercomputer on Xeon-E5-2600 v3

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