* Posts by Conundrum1885

269 posts • joined 29 Oct 2014

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Nikon snaps at Dutch, German rivals: You stole our chip etch lens tech!

Conundrum1885

Re. EUV

Interesting to note that we've gotten this far without EUV kit, 7nm is still pretty impressive.

The number of machine learning steps needed to make a chip work at all with such small features is 4 or more generations, essentially we have long since (around 2002) lost the ability to know exactly why a given transistor goes where, or why a chip that works fine at 4.2 GHz fails either side of this.

I did recall that some newer chips are pre-screened at the factory using X-rays, presumably this is for aerospace and .mil applications where reliability has to be absolute.

Also recall that the newest memory is only ever powered up after all the chips have been assembled into a stack (see earlier) and often the yield can be as low as 60%.

That 256GB uSD has monstrous overprovisioning equal to 320GB, in fact 320GB isn't even state of the art now and getting the yields up was the reason 200GB and 256GB were spaced by five months.

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Script kiddies pwn 1000s of Windows boxes using leaked NSA hack tools

Conundrum1885

Ah Hell NO!

The worst thing is that thanks to this my volume of SPAM just went up two orders of magnitude.

Yes airgaps work. So does Epoxy in the USB, headphone and unused keyboard ports, seems some folks worked out how to use an SDR and powerful ultra-precise narrow band radio transmitter to fake out the signals PC is expecting from a PS2 keyboard *without touching the machine" thus negating airgaps.

Devised a defence though, put 560 ohm resistor between data/clk lines and GND, then epoxy over that.

I did work out that modulating the CPU clock can send data at about 100bps, in fact you can get better than that by using mutilevel data ie 0,1,2,3 being different CPU core usage patterns and thus more/less clock speed.

The VGA hack has been known since way back, similar principles to the "Evil Maid Attack" where someone plugs in a device into a live machine's exposed HDMI or VGA port that then runs attack tools to pwn the host, in less than 24 seconds.

Fix here is problematic, I resorted to cutting the ID lines and modwire in a written e2prom chip with the most common monitors pre-coded via keyboard shortcuts seems to work so no data can be infiltrated in this way.

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PACK YOUR BAGS! Boffins spot Earth-size planet most likeliest yet to harbor alien life

Conundrum1885

Not always

There seems to be a correlation between large planets in close orbits, and fewer flares.

My estimates suggest that in fact the presence of interacting gravitational and magnetic fields causes the solar turbulence to be different and results in lots of small less harmful flares sort of like how the Moon prevents serious seismic activity.

Also a sufficiently powerful geomagnetic field might make all the difference, the field from a "Super-Earth" might *just* be enough to permit complex life.

Life will find a way. (Jeff Goldblum)

I did wonder about whether intelligence might have evolved there, 200MYa Earth was very different so the possibility of complex non-mammalian life is feasible.

They really might be small, grey and smart with chromatophores to give them natural cloaking abilities, large eyes adapted to the increased infrared and all sorts of other features.

Perhaps Betty and Barney Hill got it wrong, the "Grey" homeworld is in fact a planet much like this one.

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Intelligent robots can walk the walk – but if they can't talk the talk, we can't get along

Conundrum1885

Re. funding

Same here. I have some good ideas, but am unable to test due to lack of parts and funding.

Interestingly the problem is more that as the chips become more complicated (eg TPUs) the power consumption goes up exponentially despite reductions to 11nm and other such changes designed to mitigate the laws of physics.

Perhaps what is needed is a simpler chip, sure use 28nm as its a well established process but design the processors so that there are a massive 3-D array of hyper-connected chips with a quantum clock that synchronizes the entire network (eg optics) so each APU is indeed working in synchrony with the others.

If this is not done the cemi field analog can't form, this was in fact tested here and it works even on a 2009 vintage laptop with DDR3 RAM under specific conditions of temperature and supply voltage with the noise from the CPU regulator under low battery power being the missing link.

Evidently the problem is that typical RAM is designed not to interfere with itself in this way so the only way to get anything to happen is overclock it well past the point where the machine normally fails to boot, then cool the RAM down until machine starts up reliably.

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Conundrum1885

Re. Obligatory

"My logic is undeniable..."

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Revealed: Blueprints to Google's AI FPU aka the Tensor Processing Unit

Conundrum1885

Re. price

There was I thinking that £350 for a used GTX1080 card was cheap.

Seems that folks using these for Bitcoin mining realized early on that custom hardware was better, however the cards themselves have many other uses such as medical imaging, machine learning, data analysis, password bruteforcing, etc.

Serious gamers moved on a long time ago but for certain applications (eg machine learning) an array of cheap used cards on budget boards (eg quad core AM3+) will still do more work than one £xpen$ive card when suitably retrofitted with better cooling and updated thermal management such as heat pipes just for the RAM not to mention the latest software custom designed to squeeze every last IOPS out of the overclocked GPUs.

I once did this to my not-2-day-old RS480 and got about a 11% performance boost with no overheating.

Some other folks are leveraging used laptop boards with on-chip GPUs as they are quite compact but this approach is significantly more complicated due to limitations in clock speeds with a laptop.

Even replacing the base clock does not help here as the limit is in the interconnects.

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Governments could introduce 'made by humans' tags - legal report

Conundrum1885

Re. recycling

Irony: the "cheap" electronic tat is actually easier to recycle using machines.

On the other hand, there will still be a market for some human labour eg dismantling the equipment to feed PCBs into the deconstructor (tm) so the individual parts can be tested and reused.

For example many older pre-monolith TVs are remarkably high in useful materials such as white LEDs and the expensive rare earths in the speakers, high precision glass, plastics etc.

Even the panels can be recycled if intact and there is a market for "70% recycled" TVs with OLED backlights or some other innovation.

Just spent a morning fixing one, had two failed LEDs in the panel but its possible to replace them if you have a box of salvaged diodes in this case rescued from a broken outdoor security light.

Probably better than the original and should last a comparable amount of time and for my purposes a new panel would be a complete waste,

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Samsung plans Galaxy Note 7 fire sale

Conundrum1885

Re. High Frequency Trading

Actually feasible, the big problem has been wiping the memory.

I have since determined that an invert + zero ie writing the logical opposite to the memory directly to force all cells to "11" then write all zeros is the most efficient way to erase flash memory for reuse in the field.

Its gentler on the chips and if any fail this test then they get stripped down and recycled.

Plus all the firmware updates can be added so that annoying b0rked sensor is fixed, from what I have learned the new iris sensor is similar but using better software and a dual rather than single colour sensor plus fluid lens to increase its focal depth.

I also found evidence that many "new" SSDs are in fact repaired or reprogrammed units that failed initial tests at the factory, the bad chip replaced and sometimes even just the controller is upgraded with 2013 chips being upcycled and reused.

The giveaway is that the speed will be much lower than a 2G V-NAND.

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PC survived lightning strike thanks to a good kicking

Conundrum1885

Re. Interfering mice

Or my favourite, a system that one day just stopped working.

Found evidence of mouse infestation, including possible urine traces on MB and cables after we went "Full CSI" on the machine. Got replaced and mice dealt with sternly.

Ended up using hacked traps with a hair trigger, that would set them off if we used an air duster on them from 5 feet away.

Guess what, leaving laptop in bag outside, in the rain on a motorbike = bad keyboard in short order.

You can guesstimate the amount of pollution in atmosphere by timing how long a new keyboard lasts before bad keys show up, in some areas this is a six month MTBF.

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Conundrum1885

Pauli Effect

Had a few cases of "talented" people breaking stuff, mostly of the "OMG you blew up my broken power supply with your flaky MB, get me a new one right now!" then "Actually thanks, the replacement solved my PC problems which have been going on for months, k"

Recently had a spate of motherboard and HDD failures which I traced back to glitchy power.

Somehow despite the units being behind 2 (!) layers of surge protectors the mere act of turning off power was enough to eventually corrupt the CMOS and trigger a failure.

There is an argument that MB CMOS batteries are prone to failure and even just knocking the PC can be enough to break them.

I had a machine which somehow lost its CMOS settings when doing a routine test, despite the battery being at 0.01V it somehow managed to hold its memory because the board did not work after that.

Pretty sure that they have sneaky software that detects a date/time change in any files past 2006 because thats about the only thing which changed when battery was replaced.

The act of metering it was evidently enough to wipe everything so its going to be very hard to fix.

Also had SSDs kill the attached machine, seems that people end up replacing hardware because they swapped HDD for SSD then laptop boots fine once or twice and never again when cold started.

Pretty sure this qualifies as "strangest fail ever" as the SSD tests fine in a USB and works in my laptop

perfectly well but going to send it back anyway because its firmware won't update at all.

I am going to check the screen memory because this is a well known problem with 10 on some chipsets and it wipes out a crucial byte in that 8 pin memory used to ID the panel.

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Dark matter drought hits older galaxies: Boffins are, rightly, baffled

Conundrum1885

Re. entropic gravity

A while ago I suggested that perhaps we should be looking not at any one hypothesis but the zones at which they interact?

eg where entropic gravity and MiHsC/MOND are similar.

LUX came up blank, ADMX was inconclusive.

There are a lot of valid arguments for candidate particles, axions are speculative but marginally plausible however it might take decades to detect them.

It later turned out that the diurnal radiation anomaly might have been specific to one type of tube and temperature was not compensated for adequately also atmospheric pressure might have been a factor due to interactions with the radiation.

Ask Radu Motisan about this, he's got about 3 years or more of data and its still being analyzed now.

The sensors are identical to mine however they are noticeably more sensitive to said effects if run above 400V so this is well worth investigating.

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Home Office accused of blocking UK public's scrutiny of Snoopers' Charter

Conundrum1885

Re: doubling the response time

(soapbox)

If someone does this, its probably going to rival a Hollywood blockbuster as "Most downloaded .torrent"

Also why in hell are we as a society allowing a few people to decide something this important? This is the same Government that brought us classified patents where inventors end up living in abject poverty because they have to start from scratch each time.

IP laws are a total mess

(/soapbox)

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'Sorry, I've forgotten my decryption password' is contempt of court, pal – US appeal judges

Conundrum1885

In other news

I actually need to check something in one of those old dusty .zip files, because it proves priority of an invention.

Any ideas? Pretty sure that the passphrase was something to do with a film but which one?

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Large Hadron Collider turns up five new particles

Conundrum1885

Technically

All that "missing" antimatter might actually be hiding in plain sight.

Also a positron is not the *exact* equivalent of an electron but pretty close, I've since extended my hypothesis to suggest that due to the gravitational interactions conservation of energy *requires* antimatter to have less gravity than matter (-2.993%) and the lack of anti-stars is proof positive.

Its also possible that ball lightning could as conjectured by D ASHBY indeed be a form of metastable positronium formed high up in Cu-Ni clouds at the edge of space inside the red sprites and/or blue jets, making its way down the ionized plasma channel and appearing out of nowhere as well as being able to appear inside a building or aircraft due to the positronium behaving as a quantum macro-object with a high Rydberg number.

It could also be that nearly all UFO sightings are actually forms of this, it can appear as a shiny disk as well depending on viewing angle and other effects.

I've photographed a possible BL once and it did seem to hover on several frames, estimated lifetime of maybe 0.5 seconds but hard to make out as it was taken on an old Canon D500 out of the late Cambrian era.

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Amazing new WikiLeaks CIA bombshell: Agents can install software on Apple Macs, iPhones right in front of them

Conundrum1885

Won't work

Apparently all the Intel chips made since the P2 *which includes Celeron* have CPUID, but its turned off.

Or so they say.......... (X-files theme)

I did suggest way back when that it is possible using a timing attack to determine which CPU a piece of code is running on, by measuring things like instruction unitialised value bias shifts and decay time on unrefreshed memory, this is basically also how data is exfiltrated from "erased" SSDs and HDDs.

There's a few kB unused which is kept refreshed but no data is written to it, that caches the microcode during bootup but is usually not written to after that, so this is entirely feasible.

Similar to how some older machines would let you access the SMBus or SPD chips as they only ever normally get read during initial boot-up. Even found a few laptops and netbooks (eg PCG-61611) that let you write and read to them which is handy when you have flaky RAM that needs to be underclocked.

Obviously replacing the chips with a slightly larger (eg 256KB) re-marked custom part would let you compromise a machine using buffer overflow on each and every startup, even flashing a custom rooted BIOS that fakes out the password routine so the target thinks the machine is secure.

Some webcams in laptop screens have 512KB of memory in them and this stores things like the offset

tables for the CMOS sensor so that the image is clear. Obviously this would also be trivial to replace.

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Conundrum1885

Re: Re. hacked laptops

Found something about AOA150 speaker being too close to the HDD.

What if: the voltage from the DVD drive motor during spindown was somehow causing glitching in the voltages going to other pins?

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Conundrum1885

Re. hacked laptops

I have suspected this since 2009, ever since my mostly new x520 started throwing "Disk Read Errors" and refusing to let me copy files from the stock 500GB to a new drive.

Every single machine that drive was installed in later failed inexplicably, even after a zerofill (twice!) and other tests which passed SMART and other attributes the drive never reliably held a Windows install.

This machine also had intermittent problems from the start, later found that the Core 2 Duo only had 3MB instead of 4MB cache and also refused to let me use more than 4GB RAM.

Also lost a 1TB drive and another 500GB since, all failed with the same symptom pattern and machines they were installed in also failed apart from the c650 which seems (so far) to be holding.

The drive which is in there is also slowly deteriorating and this time it shows actual bad sectors yet the

SMART says everything is fine and it is losing performance. (yes I backed it up!!)

Lost my external 3TB hard drive but this is just a power supply issue and traced one problem back to a bad USB3 cable.

It wasn't the infamous x32 memory limit as the machine simply wouldn't turn on, also had issues with external drives inexplicably failing, two bad pendrives (both same controller) and bad SD cards.

Trouble is that as mentioned earlier every drive has been "contaminated" with this thing and I can't trust a single backup made since.

Latest casualty was my HP 3000 netbook which failed after upgrading the stock 500GB to an SSD at which point it failed to boot about 2 days later.

Apparent BIOS issue here as its the same chip (Winbond 25x160) and in fact the machines that failed all had near identical parts. Acer Extensa 5220 (1MB), AOA110, AOA150, PCG61611, 650C but my desktop also has an earlier version of the same BIOS albeit on a 44 pin chip.

Can someone skilled in forensics please have a look at this before I hand over the drives and be done with it? Thanks!

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'Windows 10 destroyed our data!' Microsoft hauled into US court

Conundrum1885

Re. 10

It works OK on this machine apart from one very annoying whining message about athbtx all the time.

Still can't get my PIC programmer working but this is more that the software sucked even on Windows XP.

Little hint: Genuine Arduino and FTDI work fine, fake do not.

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User jams up PC. Literally. No, we don't know which flavour

Conundrum1885

MoRe inPuT

I've been known to use Sellotape and fine tweezers to extract SIM cards from phones when some eejit tried putting the wrong card in.

Amazingly it worked!

Also: repairing printers, reseating memory chips, fixing printer cartridges.. it is really really handy.

Not to mention Sellotape + Russian zrzsg plastic graphite = homemade graphene, this won a certain

Prof. Geim a Nobel back in the day!

It also works well as an EL dielectric for a while at least, and is just the thing (tm) for insulating PCBs when trying to install tiny modwires or rework tracks for some hack or other.

Kaptop tape is even better and has been even used in production for this very purpose.

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Van Allen surprise: fewer nasty particles than NASA expected

Conundrum1885

Re. Van Allen

Hi, just a thought but I wonder if this information should be sent to the eejits who insist that the Moon Landings were faked.

I also noticed that an idea suggested by the film "Fantastic Four" ie movable shields which only rotate and reversibly lock in place when needed. Sort of like a camera iris but 3-D and precision engineered.

No doubt some sort of MagLev setup would work here and add a measure of safety with the option for manual activation if the automated systems break down via a hand crank or 10.

Did some work on HTSC shielding a while back but its not really feasible except for massive spacecraft and only for small areas such as computer centres and "Safe Rooms".

It can actually make things worse for the rest of the spacecraft as the particles have to go somewhere, on the other hand they could be captured and used to supercharge the "Conundrum Drive".

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If fast radio bursts really are revving up interstellar sailcraft, here's the maths

Conundrum1885

Re. "with large "sails" driven by solar wind "

Did anyone do the calculations for an FRB being responsible in some fashion for the Wow! signal?

My thinking here is that there could be some combination of natural events eg narrow beam of light hitting a cloud of hydrogen causing a brief spike at 1.42 GHz ?

This is an alternate hypothesis to the one suggested about natural maser action in molecular hydrogen from those two comets, and also could account (indirectly) for the relatively narrow band and lack of repeatability.

As it happens I might be able to test this with a fluorescent tube starter and small laser: any old DVD writer would work and the IR laser can be modified to focus on the empty area at the end of the tube.

-A

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Malware infecting Androids somewhere in the supply chain

Conundrum1885

My data point

Alcatel Onetouch POP2 45, defective out of the box.

Had endless trouble with popups, excessive bandwidth use etc, even put Kaspersky on it but all that did is slow the phone down even more.

This particular unit seemed to have fakeflash as well, as it only let you use 1GB of the internal memory

yet it had "2.97GB free".. yeah right.

LCD later failed for good measure so I gave it up as a lost cause.

Hint: if anyone wants it for forensics purposes and has a somewhat working screen unit with good cable feel free to send it in my general direction!

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Facebook shopped BBC hacks to National Crime Agency over child abuse images probe

Conundrum1885

The problem is

When merely opening your browser, typing in a social networking site and because some random hacker or malicious person has diverted a link you now have EP on your profile, you and everyone else who goes on FB is guilty of an offense.

SO why the hell is FB not blocked by ISPs until they fix it?

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'Camera-shy' Raspberry Pi 2 suffers strange 'XENON DEATH FLASH' glitch

Conundrum1885

Even more interesting

Some pendrives use a green LED, some use blue.

Guess what happens when you shine a (blue) laser pointer at a green or red LED, while the pendrive is writing? Google "Forrest Mimms"

(Hint: Don't do this unless you want to ruin the thing, it injects strange voltages back into the IC causing write instability, slowdowns and on some cheaper units can actually burn it out, permanently! Seems this is how they are sometimes programmed at the factory with the bootloader!)

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Companies asking for social network passwords

Conundrum1885

Companies asking for social network passwords

Hi all.

Has anyone here run into this?

Seems that at US borders, DHS are asking for people's social network passwords despite this being (a) violation of FB's T&C, and (b) unconstitutional.

Is this sort of behavior unacceptable, and under what circumstances is handing over anything (eg phone, keys to car, DNA test results, etc) appropriate in order to prevent a visit from the Police, etc?

There was a case a year or more ago where a company (possibly on the Fortune 500) did this and got tarred and feathered for this. IIRC it cost them a small fortune and eventually they did withdraw the clause in question grudgingly.

Discuss.

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Dead cockroaches make excellent magnets – now what are we supposed to do with this info?

Conundrum1885

Just the thing for

The Internet of Stings.

Or is putting RFID tags on 'roaches not a good idea?

I mean they have them on bees, even to the extent that the 13.56 MHz tag can be read from 30cm away with better equipment.

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Finally, a use for your mobile phone: Snapping ALIEN signal blurts

Conundrum1885

Re. Aliens

I wonder if perhaps FRBs are being used as the alien equivalent of pulsars.

If you know when/where a given event occured then you can triangulate your position by referencing to a known clock and using two different sensors spaced at a known distance in much the same way as GPS works.

Not sure if the timing of these events would be good enough for navigation over interstellar distances but it would be handy to know if Ship A is 2.5LY away from Ship B or 3.1LY.

The latest optical lattice clocks gain or lose less than 1 second in 31BY so even compensating for time dilation its not hard at all and in fact if you listen in to the right frequency (eg 11.026GHz) the next time there is an FRB after a short delay of twice the mean path distance there would be a response signal if you were in the beam.

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IT guy checks to see if PC is virus-free, with virus-ridden USB stick

Conundrum1885

Ironically

It seems to be self inflicted: someone evidently read my Wikipedia edits about (hack) and wrote a virus to destroy any machines with the vulnerability mentioned.

Pretty funny really, nothing of value was lost and I learned a valuable lesson.

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Conundrum1885

Re. Nuke and Pave

I have resorted to such extreme measures before, because there really *are* horrors which are some unholy hybrid of such magnitude that they can survive even a zerofill (tried it from DOS boot disk even) and manifest as consistent patterns of slow (50msec) sectors when doing a diagnostic read.

Conclusion: this has to be the nastiest malware EVER because just putting it in my previously working test machine hosed the BIOS and eventually caused vertical lines and a total memory failure (tm)

that didn't work even when RAM, CPU and every other removable part was changed :-( :-(

I've also had a variant of this eat pendrives, possibly the same malware because the affected units blink and flicker their status LED almost in an organic pattern.

All of them use the same chipset (PL23xx) and possibly this happened at the factory because they never worked right.

Removing the Flash chips made no difference so its clearly in the controller, if anyone wants them please PM me. (darnstadium)

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New project "Logan"

Conundrum1885

New project "Logan"

Hi, is something like this actually feasible?

I had some ideas, shared them with a couple of Ebay sellers to see if they were interested and there are several applications for a high frequency low current RF induction device like this.

Its not intended to be hazardous and in fact could be very useful as the prototype other researchers have made can induce a field over several metres thanks to modifications made possible by laser advances and 3-D printing.

I also have some ideas to use existing technology in order to boost efficiency by an order of magnitude, my (probably inaccurate) calculations suggest that it could run for 25-30 seconds at a time or until the driver stages heat up and between the poles generate nearly 500,000 volts (0.5MV) of RF at 13.56 MHz while being not much larger than a TV remote control!

Its not actually that hard, just requires some creative thinking to build it.

The tricky part now would be building a test coil before spending probably 2 weeks making the full scale version, there are a lot of very complex optimizations requiring FEMM and fine tuning of the field coil(s) and secondaries.

A chip-scale atomic clock and dual magnetometers would help but good luck findng something handheld for under $2000.

Other problems: can't seem to locate a matching magnetic field generator but it might not need this if the field is generated in the lab from a larger system or surplus LHe cooled MRI magnet etc.

Any ideas?

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Latest Intel, AMD chips will only run Windows 10 ... and Linux, BSD, OS X

Conundrum1885

I have a confession

Still using XP. And 7. And Windows 98 (because it won't run anything else, cough industrial PC /cough)

Its a problem but if you glue the USB ports and only ever use pressed disks, basic security is fine.

It has antivirus and the ability to restore the OS if things go south.

Backup system: internal BIOS is password protected and can't be changed because I took the CMOS battery out to ensure no data retention.

Sure malware can mess with it but it fails in the "no longer boots" safe mode.

One sure fire way to ensure you never get 0wn3d is to use a really old PC and only use it with a bootable media burned to CD which in the event of a drive issue nukes and paves itself then reloads from the backup which is a <10 minute job.

All the user data is stored on write once read many (WORM) drive which writes the raw files directly to Flash then updates the file table to lock the sectors permanently.

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Welcome to my world of The Unexplained – yes, you're welcome to it

Conundrum1885

Re: Batteries

Had a look at these, inside are essentilly monstrously overpowered (20+C) Li-Po batteries.

The interesting thing is that some of the better ones use ultracapacitors to absorb the initial current pulse which is *just* enough to overcome inertia and allow the motor to turn.

I also found that like any Li battery they do degrade over time which is why most new units have an expiry date and a health indicator to advise replacement (similar to smoke alarms)

Not so much of a problem in the cold weather because self heating from high current normally works well.

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Conundrum1885

Re: Batteries

Yup, happened to me. Many good card have been needlessly scrapped for want of a decent battery and even Mira themselves (and others) now advise all garages to run a battery check before condemning the ECU.

In my case the failure was inside the cell at the back, found a huge lesion 2/3 of the way down the battery which had been there probably since manufacture.

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Planned Espionage Act could jail journos and whistleblowers as spies

Conundrum1885

Dear Rt Hon Theresa May (PM)

Are you trying to use "Nineteen Eighty-Four" by George Orwell as an instruction manual?

If so, please desist. This was never intended and will only end badly.

Kind regards, Andre de Guerin.

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'Maker' couple asphyxiated, probably by laser cutter fumes

Conundrum1885

Re: When I was younger and stupider...

It used to be called "Monday morning fever" for exactly this reason.

The fix is to "pickle" the part in acid BEFORE welding to get the zinc off.

Another thing to watch out for, some capacitors are well known for venting and emitting toxic fumes.

The worst culprit are motor start and lighting units (eg fluorescent) as they can burn up internally.

I can now identify the smell clearly having been exposed to it to many times, even to the extent of diagnosing a failing unit in my drier BEFORE the drier failed completely.

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NASA sets fire to stuff in SPAAACE. On purpose. Because science

Conundrum1885

In space..

No-one can hear you screaming "I'M MEEEEELLLLTTTINGGGG"..

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Trump's plan: Tariffs on electronics, ban on skilled tech migrants, turn off the internet

Conundrum1885

Now would be a great time

To learn Chinese.

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BBC will ‘retain your viewing history’

Conundrum1885

My TV

Hasn't been on since at least December last year, mostly because it gets used as a monitor for RPi, PC etc.

Still, it does seem a little unfair that I have to pay for a service that never gets used, resulting in my being unable to afford broadband.

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British trio win Nobel prize for physics

Conundrum1885

Re: I don't believe "strange states" of matter explain everything.

I did read somewhere that a possible approach to HTSC beyond 163K in cuprates is to replace the copper with magnesium, as the resonating valence bond theory suggests that the heavy metal oxide-oxide-metal- layering structure is more important than the elements in it.

As Mg is *almost* identical to copper in many ways substituting Mg into YBCO copper sites could also superconduct and this has indeed been documented, with Sr substituting for Ba also giving a boost to Tc.

The critical temperature seems to be a factor of periodic compression so the actual upper limit for cuprates may be as high as 270K.

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Nuke plant has been hacked, says Atomic Energy Agency director

Conundrum1885

Re: Umm. PDP-11s? good!

Had this discussion with some folks about why they still (!) used XP.

Apparently the reason given was that it "Just works!" (tm) and they either ignored the security issues and ran it standalone or used embedded XP which is still patched even now.

Some hospitals still run Windows 2000 because to recertify their gear with anything else would be next to impossible and besides many of the staff are in their 60's and trained for decades to use them as they are, all the others use it so diagnostic data exchange becomes a severe headache if some upgrade and some do not.

Medical imaging is one area where you are *required* to run a specific OS for the special software certification and they chose Windows 2000 a long time ago which causes no end of problems when some bean counter wonders why they spend $$$ on nearly antique hardware when some old dinosaur of a machine finally breaks down for want of an AT power supply last made in 1997.

Little tip: there's money to be made if someone can make a converter to plug a new 2015 650W PSU into, that outputs stable noise-free voltage and current for an AT motherboard.

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Conundrum1885

Re: News at 10

Thanks for that.

Interestingly I am apparently on the UK terrorism watch list for the heinous "crime" of searching for Geiger tubes, seems that an interest in radiological protection can get you put on there. Needless to say since then my mail has been tampered with and broadband hacked (twice) ended up having to go down to the Police Station and explain exactly what I was up to, voluntarily. Not that it helped, this is HMRC being awkward.

Interestingly a lot of concern has been raised about attempted thefts of "Moly Cows" in transit recently as 99Mo is about 1/8 as bad as 60Co if airborne. Fortunately these are pretty secure these days and the courier has quadruple redundant failsafes (two thoroughly vetted people turning up at the same place at the same time with 1/2 of the key, etc).. what concerns me personally is some eejit stealing an orphan source such as the Fobos-Grunt wreckage in Chile as airborne 238Pu is especially nasty.

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Intel-backed boffins demo long-lived silicon qubit

Conundrum1885

Re: In the Future...

Probably not, by the time they get phones this advanced the cooling will be done on-chip using semiconductor lasers and a rubidium "Physics Package" or similar.

I read that Cool-X had a prototype that could get (in vacuum) down to -90C with a two stage micro-Peltier module but there are better units that can cool down to liquid nitrogen temperatures using thermionic cells based on nanopatterend caesium.

The actual amount of Cs in one of these is about the same as iridium in a phone screen so even if ruptured accidentally its not even as hazardous as a lithium cell.

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Conundrum1885

Making progress

The superconductor folks figured out a long time ago the link between isotope mass and Tc.

Unfortunately it seems that the process to enrich silicon is a lot more complex due to the lower mass, I am pretty sure that this will be a big problem unless these chips are made by the million and then simply selected by X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis in much the same way that flash chips are tested during wafer sorting and the bad areas mapped out.

I did read a fascinating article suggesting that "holistic" ie hole based qubits could be the next big thing (or not-thing) in QC research.

Hilarious that the absence of an electron can solve a nearly unsolvable problem yet people have known for decades that electron holes move much slower than electrons.

Maybe we should get a few botanists in at NASA, and nuclear physicists in the condensed matter laboratories for their "unusual" points of view?

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Should Computer Misuse Act offences committed in UK be prosecuted in UK?

Conundrum1885

Re. Zimbardo

Agreed. Also in the case of US copyright laws the penalties can be truly horrific. I have actually heard of cases where people refused to "accept" the plea-bargain initially and eventually caved in because the 99-year term was being mentioned. In fact in some of those cases the evidence was circumstantial at best and had this been in the UK at the most the sentence would have been at most a fine or equivalent custodial sentence for nonpayment.

We as a society need to move on from the ivory castle approach for intellectual property that is holding science back by decades due to paywalls (RIP Aaron Swartz) and other needless curtailments of civil liberties in the name of "security" against nebulous enemies that hide in plain sight while being secretly funded by our Government.

We will not permit the extradition of anyone to the US to face trial as this is tantamount to a death-sentence-by-proxy. If this makes us terrorists then so be it, detain all of us.

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One-way Martian ticket: Pick passengers for Musk's first Mars pioneer squad

Conundrum1885

Re. radiation

Hi, in fact it turns out humans can survive *much* higher levels than is currently accepted.

In fact certain people (screened by using blood samples) can tolerate 2-3* the "lethal" level for most and this was proved recently by folks at Tchernobyl who risked their lives to save others.

The brave scientists that took samples of the "Elephant's Foot" seem to have suffered few if any ill effects because the dose was fractionated, maybe what we need to be doing is finding out why this makes a difference in some but not others.

Sure there are limits but between anti-radiation drugs that are not yet FDA approved and other advances such as MgB2 based shielding on the "safe room" most of the problems can be mitigated.

We should be considering testing this on volunteers as folks undergoing routine radiotherapy would gladly take a chance of fewer unwanted side effects if it helps us advance scientific knowledge.

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Roswell crash theories

Conundrum1885

Interesting news

Seems that Obama may be about to reveal some interesting formerly classified papers from the late 1950's which could finally shed some light on the Roswell and related incidents.

A lot of misunderstandings were caused when the paper mentioned the flying disc; the radar reflector was in fact disc shaped and a lot of the materials were quite novel and had inexplicable properties for the time such as pyrolytic graphite (invented in 1943 during the "Manhattan Project") as well as LTSCs (also invented as a way to avoid using expensive silver for the magnets, but the cover story was to use silver bulk, using research notes recovered using broken Enigma codes from the German anti-gravity project). This also explains how it was possible to advance enrichment so quickly as a 33+ K superconductor based on LaBaCuO with a silver coating was in fact used in the Aurora (XB-182) to get the oxygen separated from the hypersonic airflow.

IIRC with the Aurora the biggest problem was the need for cryogenic hydrogen (slush) as both fuel and coolant which caused many accidents and enormous expense until the unexpected discovery of 1-2-3 YBa2Cu3O7 in the late 1980's.

Intriguingly Project Yehudi would have been practical even in 1950 using optical fibres and a central light source with simple rotating mirrors and custom colored masks as a way to get a background image onto the craft.

If people saw this on the ground it would be inexplicable at the time and seem to vanish from certain angles especially if the device was malfunctioning.

Also relevant, some studies indicate that most if not all of the radiation traces noticed during the Rendlesham Forest incident could be explained by radar interference; no-one thought to turn off the radar when searching and some plants do concentrate radiation in the soil notably Solanacea.

A craft did indeed land there briefly but it was probably not aliens this time, merely a good old fashioned test flight of the previously mentioned "Sports Model" exoatmospheric craft.

Maybe the coolant system was broken, who knows?

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Judge makes minor tweaks to sex ban IT man's order

Conundrum1885

As I said before

The way this person has been treated is worryingly similar to Mckinnon and others and suggests something else is going on that we aren't being told (cough TLA /cough)

I've had parcels delayed intercepted and tampered with, my phones wrecked, WiFi and routers hacked by a third party and when asking why was simply stonewalled.

So I may have downloaded the "Anarchist Cookbook" in 1997 but so did literally hundreds of thousands of bored hackers and random drunk people.

If every random click on an unsavory website was treated like this, the country would literally grind to a halt.

Given the current state of the world, if I ever do make a significant physics discovery it will be used to build a 'Gate and get the hell out of Dodge taking as much as possible with me and rebuild somewhere else.

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Sony wins case over pre-installed Windows software

Conundrum1885

Re: Relevant

Should probably have rephrased that, x64 is dominant now however they *are* removing the old 32 bit instructions entirely which is due to lack of use however obviously you can still simulate it in a VM so it does not matter what the hardware "looks" like.

The Atom chips get around the lack of certain instructions by simulating the missing ones using a RISC-like setup or so it seems.

Re. the "simulated core", just realized that this is actually not completely accurate as what happens is that the four x86 cores are turned off if *unused* which is not the same at all!

This is more a way to save power than anything else, chips have been doing that since 1970.

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