* Posts by Paul Kinsler

480 posts • joined 9 Aug 2007

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Compsci degrees aren't returning on investment for coders – research

Paul Kinsler

Re: indicated that the OU was a refuge for the incompetent,

I think you are very likely over-generalizing on the basis of your particular experience.

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Boffins discover tightest black hole binary system – and it's supermassive

Paul Kinsler

Re: A black hole is super dense matter surrounded by some interesting gravitational effects

I'd put it the other way around - a black hole is some interesting gravitational effects - notably an event horizon - usually generated by a large super-dense mass

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Paul Kinsler

The laws of physics could be said to void beyond that event horizon I guess

The (known/accepted) laws of physics work just fine past the horizon, but don't work near the central singularity because it's (errr) too singular; and we don't know how to modify or replace those laws in such extreme situations.

In fact, if you pick the right coordinates (i.e. Kruskal–Szekeres) you can see that nothing very interesting happens to the spacetime metric at the event horizon, even if the horizon looks somewhat remarkable from further away.

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Farewell Cassini! NASA's Saturnian spacecraft waves goodbye for its Grand Finale

Paul Kinsler

Re: we can deduce there is something hard enough in Saturn

at its speed of atmospheric entry, I think it would just burn up regardless.

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Paul Kinsler

Re: This is a close up of the North pole, in fact,

ah, zoomed in inside the hexagon, then.

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Paul Kinsler

Re: the South Pole

... and not the north pole, because that's where the Allen keys fit.

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SpaceX releases Pythonesque video of rocket failures

Paul Kinsler

and while we're on the subject of space...

... don't forget that Cassini will start pining for the fjords later today.

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Climate-change skeptic lined up to run NASA in this Trump timeline

Paul Kinsler

Re: If climate is changing [...] Humans couldn't do it even if we WANTED to.

A full scale nuclear war would put enough particulates in the atmosphere to create a devastating nuclear winter, and even a small nuclear war would be bad enough [1]. Does that count as "climate changing"?

[1] http://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/1.3047679

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Paul Kinsler

Re: The open question is if ...

If only there were thousands of specialized scientists, all over the world, studying the multifarious aspects of climate and how we might be affecting it. Dammit, where are they all? And why do they never get around to publishing any results, or organizing the production of some sort of summary that we might understand?

Even if their results were not conclusive enough for everyone, they could, I suppose, make some sort of prediction that we could use as a guideline. Maybe we could crowdfund some support to help out?

Sigh.

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15 'could it be aliens?' fast radio bursts observed in one night

Paul Kinsler

Re: I am Appalled and Outraged!

What's the energy content of a "standard" English breakfast? :-)

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P≠NP proof fails, Bonn boffin admits

Paul Kinsler

Re: c=299792458m/s. If you want to specify that c=1, you ...

... are probably just a theoretical physicist, where setting c=1 is entirely legitimate and frequently the most convenient thing to do.

This is distinct from various preliminary "back of the envelope" scrawlings where you might also have 1=c=hbar=pi=e=2=-1 :-)

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Linux-loving lecturer 'lost' email, was actually confused by Outlook

Paul Kinsler

Re: Respect & professionalism goes both ways.

Indeed so. But when all sides are respectful and professional, it is likely to make for a terribly dull "on call" column. So it's (also) what happens when one side or the other cracks that counts - in on-call, and in real life.

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Ten new tech terms I learnt this summer: Do you know them all?

Paul Kinsler
Happy

Re: When FTTP gets widely deployed

File Transfer Transferring Protocol? First To The Post? Er...

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'Coke dealer' called us after his stash was stolen – cops

Paul Kinsler

Re: http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/BRBAKER/

NB: http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/www/index_students.html

"Student Web Pages:

Please note that materials published in the links below are provided by the individuals listed and are not official documents of University of Hartford. The University of Hartford is not responsible for the contents of these pages. "

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Australia releases MH370 sea floor data but search is still off

Paul Kinsler

Re: Very interesting data set.

... and rather well presented, also.

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Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Paul Kinsler
Headmaster

Re: I've personally measured 61,750ish volts on an empty, unused Styrofoam coffee cup

Strictly, voltages are (differences) measured *between* things, not on them. The relevant electrical property on the cup would have been a charge (measured in Coulombs). (Edit: hmm, I suppose you might e.g. also measure the electrical field near the cup surface, but that's volts/meter...)

Do we need a Reg unit of charge? On the basis of the comments here, we could either go with the cup thing, or something about nylon dresses.

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Did you know? Today is International Asteroid Day! Wouldn't it be amazing if one were to...

Paul Kinsler

Re: Killing the dinosaurs

The Day the Dinosaurs Died:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08r3xhf

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Numbers war: How Bayesian vs frequentist statistics influence AI

Paul Kinsler

If there is no infection at all then 1% of the population will still test positive.

Your sentence is the wrong way around. The data is (would be) that 1% of the population have been tested and came back positive, which means that ... <insert deduction about infection rates here>

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but Microsoft's 'Ms Pac-Man beating AI' is more Automatic Idiot

Paul Kinsler

Re: It's not very good AI

Let this be a lesson to all you humans out there - if you try to read up on any of the rules for your next activity of choice, no matter how well you perform, we will be able to claim that the rules-reading means you are not "Intelligent" but just "Learning".

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Please do not scare the pigeons – they'll crash the network

Paul Kinsler

pigeons

ah - they are three-state pigeons - on Ground, on Wire, Elsewhere/Car.

Theatregoers passing by on the ground cause pigeons to transition between Ground and Wire

IT bloke looking at wire causes them to transition from Wire to Elsewhere/Car

IT bloke no-longer looking at wire means they return from Elsewhere/Car to sit on Wire

Presumably if left alone long enough, the pigeons will undergo a spontaneous return to their Ground state; the Wire state being only metastable.

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DUP site crashes after UK general election

Paul Kinsler

Re: DUP DUP DUP!

Do you really need that many copies of the stack?

nb: languages may differ in their implementation

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Russian data scientist unable to claim £12,000 prize in Brit competition

Paul Kinsler

Re: clause 2.3b of the competition rules

Hmm... does rule 2.3 refer to *where* the money is paid to, or *who* he money is paid to? Oh, I see it's both.

But could he nominate (eg) a UK charity to receive his prize as a donation?

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Tech industry thumps Trump's rump over decision to leave Paris climate agreement

Paul Kinsler

Re: Topsoil

If it's any use to you, I just did a search on for Web of Science:

Results: 892

You searched for: TOPIC: (topsoil) AND TOPIC: (climate)

Not a colossal number of hits, but at least it's not completely neglected. And perhaps other keywords would be more research-appropriate, and get more hits.

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Trident nuke subs are hackable, thunders Wikipedia-based report

Paul Kinsler

Re: The reply will be a quick conversion of most of the UK to a glass lake.

And then, this:

http://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/1.3047679

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Event horizons around black holes do exist, say astroboffins

Paul Kinsler

Re: These theories are all over the place!

try:

E^2 = p^2 c^ + m^2 c^4

and you might be on to something... (but unfortunately not a gravitational something)

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IBM asks contractors to take a pay cut

Paul Kinsler

Re: You should never let a company cut your rate

It's nice to be indispensable, because it means you can easily stand up to such tactics. However, there are lots of less-indispensable workers who might well find that a refusal to take the cut would result in termination. They have to make a more difficult judgement call, make a choice, and hope. Taking (only) a 10% hit, and then hoping to later jump ship might look like the best option.

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IT firms guilty of blasting customers with soul-numbing canned music

Paul Kinsler

you could vote for the tunes you wanted to hear!

Since phones these days are qute smart, maybe someone should invent a protocol so that your phone gets to play its own(ers) preferred on-hold music/ radio play/ news reports/ whatever while waiting.

Also, maybe there's a new ElReg colum here - not "On Call", but "On Hold" :-)

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EU security think tank ENISA looks for IoT security, can't find any

Paul Kinsler

Re: force the user to update the even the default unique credentials

Some devices already have buttons to re/connect to the wifi. It might be easier to set (eg) a double-press to allow net-based admin login access for the next 15 minutes, which would cut down the attack window by a considerable fraction. Many users should easily understand "double-click for admin"; whereas many (most?) clearly cannot be bothered with password changing, and mandating stuff will not change that.

Not perfect, but might be more consumer friendly than mandatory ban-hammers. Comments?

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Bye bye MP3: You sucked the life out of music. But vinyl is just as warped

Paul Kinsler

There was ONE exception, [...] deaf [ish] due to an explosion,

If true, I might guess it was because his damaged hearing had been rendered incompatible with the compression tricks of MP3 (which are only designed for normal hearing).

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Vigorous tiny vibrations help our universe swell, say particle boffins

Paul Kinsler

Re: If so, where is the center of the universe?

Consider the surface of a ball (note the surface only, not the volume contained within it).

Q1) Whereabouts on that surface would (or could) you put a marker that says "centre"?[1]

Q2) Would everyone agree about the location of that central point?[2]

[1] Anywhere

[2] Probably not. Why should they?

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RIP Bob Taylor: Internet, desktop PC pioneer powers down at 85

Paul Kinsler

Re: only be noted by a handful of technical journals.

FWIW, I read an obituary in the Guardian (iirc), and a search on "bob taylor" + obit suggests other mainstream news sources also carried them.

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Feel guilty for scoffing Easter chocolate? Good news: Scientists have made NEGATIVE mass

Paul Kinsler

From the abstract: "condensate whose dispersion features a region of negative mass"

AJ is correct, although here they are claiming a hydrodynamic version of the effect; but there seem to be a fair number of (admittedly unsurprising) approximations to get to the hydrodynamic model, so perhaps "hydrodynamic-like" version might be a better phrase.

This is essentially a dynamic effect: i.e. if you wobble the condensate in the right way it reacts as if it has negative mass - but given a long continuous push, it will not. In fact very mearly all "negative" mass/poisson-ratio/ permittivity/ refractive-index/ etc claims are of this dynamic type.

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US military's latest toy set: Record-breaking laser death star, er, truck

Paul Kinsler

Small mirrors?

A 60kW laser hitting a drone covered with 98% reflectivity mirrors would still heat the target at a rate of 1.2kW. That still might be enough to adversely affect the drone.

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

Paul Kinsler

"where grants drives physics"

You do know we only want the grants so we can do more physics, don't you.

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Is that a phone in your hand – or a gun? This neural network reckons it has it all figured out

Paul Kinsler

..and criminals get away with murder using

Presumably this will be sort of a first-pass over cctv evidence: any obvious guns will be found quickly by the system, and those sections checked straight away; and if necessary the whole tape could be looked by eye as presently.

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DeepMind. Blockchain. Medical records. Google. AI – wow, we just won machine learning bingo!

Paul Kinsler

incorrect information

Presumably you just add a correction, which would superceed (but not delete) the bad info...

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Look! Up in the sky! Is it a drone? Is it a car? It's both, crossed with Uber

Paul Kinsler

"The internal combustion engine" [...] is designed to use fossil fuels

Actually, it's designed to burn hydrocarbons, the fact that we mostly get those hydrocarbons from fossil sources is a side issue.

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Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

Paul Kinsler

Re: Household loads are becoming increasingly non-linear

Note that the single phase meters tested showed "no deviation beyond the specification could be observed; no influence of interference due to interfering or distorted voltage, and no influence caused by interfering currents were observed"

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YouTube TV will be huge. Apple must respond

Paul Kinsler

Re: Is this the same recommendation engine that recommends ...

It's like a conspiracy, I tell you.

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IBM UK: Oh, remote workers. We want to be colocated with you again

Paul Kinsler

Re: Laying people off is expensive - redundancy payments etc

Laying people off need not be expensive, if you've been careful[1] to not offer more than the statutory minimum redundancy payment. Presumably IBM do pay more, however.

[1] other adjectives may apply.

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The Psion returns! Meet Gemini, the 21st century pocket computer

Paul Kinsler

Re: my old Zaurus

Shocking - abandoned in a drawer!?

I still use my SL5500 as an alarm clock (I like the little chirp noise, and I can use the calendar to set as many weird waking up time as I like, eg a whole weeks worth of different times at one sitting).

Also I installed Opie on my Yoga for an awsome[1] Giant Zaurus Experience.

[1] May not be as awesome as all that, and probably not worth the time spent on source-tweakage necessary to get it to build given all the bitrot, but anyway...

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I want it hot and wet – preferably with Wi-Fi

Paul Kinsler

Re: Rotherhithe

You should have got off at Canada Water, especially given its less than a 5min walk from Rotherhithe station anyway. Nice big ticket hall, some seats, cafe was probably open, and the adjacent shiny library opens at 8, I think.

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People built AI bots to improve Wikipedia. Then they started squabbling in petty edit wars, sigh

Paul Kinsler

Re: You could have a PhD and thirty years experience researching the subject

I don't have quite thirty years yet, but I do have a PhD, and I keep an eye on the rss feeds for several electromagnetism-related wikipedia pages. Mostly the changes are benign, or random vandalism which is reverted by bot, or dealt with by somebody else, so the net workload is almost vanishingly small, ... unless I have a burst of enthusiasm for improving something.

However, I dare say it might be different if I were to take an interest in more controversial subjects.

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Ex-employees sued for £15m over data slurpage ordered to pay up just £2

Paul Kinsler
Joke

"metadata [...] had been erased after he installed Windows 10"

At last, a verifiable use-case for Windows 10!

Mind you, it might a have telemeter-ed the metadata to Redmond first... :-)

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Third time lucky: ICANN beats off .africa ban

Paul Kinsler

maybe

they should just award one party ".africa", and the other ".african", chosen by lottery; and let all the enthusiastic africa/n web users chose which they prefer.

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Intel's Atom C2000 chips are bricking products – and it's not just Cisco hit

Paul Kinsler

Re: The problem only occurs there because the Kuga was never designed to run upside down.

And isn't reported in Australia because it gets blamed on bushfires instead. :-)

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A non-Standards Soviet approved measure of weight? Sod off, BBC!

Paul Kinsler

Re: I believe Giraffes are a unit of time.

Well of course they are - just divide the GSL by the speed of light c to convert to time.

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'Mafia' of ageing scientists, academics and politicos suck at picking tech 'winners'

Paul Kinsler

Re: All new science buildings seem to need an atrium.

Having spent quite a lot of time in science buildings over the years (mostly physics ones), I can testify (IME) to the slightly-grim corridor-heavy scruffiness of almost all of them; although occasionally you get lucky and might get a brief period of generic 90's office, or a superficial refurb where they paint the walls white, add a few extra lights, and change the floor covering. In general, some evidence that the architect actually thought people might be working there at some point would be nice, although slightly more reliable-than-average lifts are also appreciated.

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'Maker' couple asphyxiated, probably by laser cutter fumes

Paul Kinsler

Re: The problem with mandating a CO detector in every property is ... where is it to be sited ?

Well, when I bought mine, I tried reading the little instruction booklet which came with it.

IIRC, height & proximity to the likely source seemed to be the important factor.

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Naughty sysadmins use dark magic to fix PCs for clueless users

Paul Kinsler

Re: Technomagic

Or, "any sufficiently primitive Magic is indistinguishable from Technology".

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