# Posts by Paul Kinsler

509 posts • joined 9 Aug 2007

### Why did top Home Office civil servant lobby Ofcom for obscure kit ban?

#### Me: "Oh no you haven't"

I take it El Reg is now planning a panto for next year?

### UK Data Protection Bill tweaked to protect security researchers

#### Re: within 3 days

... one thing that strikes me is that it might not be clear when the counter starts. A researcher might start off with a nagging suspicion, run a few trials, getting more sure over a period of weeks or months, until eventually setting up the test that nails the problem. Does the three days run from "nailed it!", or from "I'm 90% sure" a week before, or what? What would a hostile prosecution case like to claim, and how might that differ from the researcher's view?

### Cloud-building alien space rays altered Earth's climate – boffins

#### [supernova ... ] the extra cloud cover will stop global warming?

Yeah - it's a sort of peril-sensitive cloud layer...

### HMS Queen Elizabeth has sprung a leak and everyone's all a-tizzy

#### Re: B-52: in service since 1955

And isn't NASA still still flying a Canberra or three?

edit: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160309-why-nasa-still-flies-an-old-british-bomber-design

### Irony's lost on old Pope Francis: Pontiff decrees fake news a 'serious sin'

#### Re: Belief and Lies?

Sometimes it's hard to tell: are we really supposed to believe that sheep can form solitons?

http://arxiv.org/abs/1712.05774

### PHWOAR, those noughty inks: '0.1%' named Stat of The Year

Continuous urban fabric: 0.13%

Discontinuous urban fabric: 5.33%

- which is broadly in agreement with your "by most definitions" statement.

It's worth looking at the examples, e.g. the Leeds one (or peruse table A1.1). Also, note that England is 7.85% discontinuous urban fabric (3rd most common use), over twice that of Wales & NI (both 6th), and 4 times that of Scotland (9th).

### How fast is a piece of string? Boffin shoots ADSL signal down twine

#### Re: a dry string and two tin cans on the ends?

As a rough estimate: since you can hear voice OK for typical string properties and tension, and human hearing goes up to 10 kHz or so, perhaps you might (rather optimistically) hope for a bandwidth of several kHz.

### FBI tells Jo(e) Sixpack to become an expert in IoT security

#### Re: a sealed box with no way of opening the bonnet and having a poke around ....

s/bonnet/botnet/

... at least, that's how my brain chose to read it...

### What on Earth is Terraform: Life support for explorers of terrifying alien worlds

#### Re: vagrant builds your VMs

Some people might consider getting a vagrant to build your VMs an outsourcing step too far.

### Wondering why your internal .dev web app has stopped working?

#### Re: .local reserved for Bonjour / avahi / mDNS an

Surely although .local might (now) be 'reserved' *by* Bonjour/avahi/mDNS, that is not the purpose for which .local was originally defined.

### Today in non-depressing news: Boffins build biggest quantum sims

#### where the tiles both do and do not contain a mine...

It's fine. The mines both do and do not explode when you step on them. All you have to do is clear the whole field while ending up with with a non-zero probability of surviving.

Hmm, I wonder if you could make this work..?

### Bitcoin outfit 'Tether' reveals US$31m BitBuck BitHeist #### hah - all these classical bitcoins are now obsolete... :-) http://arXiv.org/abs/1708.04955 qBitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Quantum Cash System Kazuki Ikeda A decentralized online quantum cash system, called qBitcoin, is given. We design the system which has great benefits of quantization in the following sense. Firstly, quantum teleportation technology is used for coin transaction, which prevents from the owner of the coin keeping the original coin data even after sending the coin to another. This was a main problem in a classical circuit and a blockchain was introduced to solve this issue. In qBitcoin, the double-spending problem never happens and its security is guaranteed theoretically by virtue of quantum information theory. Making a block is time consuming and the system of qBitcoin is based on a quantum chain, instead of blocks. Therefore a payment can be completed much faster than Bitcoin. Moreover we employ quantum digital signature so that it naturally inherits properties of peer-to-peer (P2P) cash system as originally proposed in Bitcoin. ### It's artificial! It's intelligent! It's in my home! And it's gone bonkers! #### I'm holding out for a Robot Cat for the sheer hilarity. ... but it won't really be the Future until we have Robot Robots for company. ### 'It's back to the drawing board...' Innocent axions found not guilty of dark matter crimes #### @Voyna / Re: Phlogiston I think the reason your post was so widely read in a negative way was because of the wording. Now you've deleted it I can't be as specific as I'd like about your wording - but I'd noticed at the time that how it read (what it implied) differed markedly from a studiously neutral interpretation of the actual words. As a result, I can offer this commentary: First, you mentioned "phlogiston", which (however reasonable it may have seemed at its historical time) is now pretty much regarded as an exemplar of infamously wrong hypotheses, and that infamy then transferred itself (unfairly) to axions because you seemed to clearly be comparing (not contrasting) the two. Second, you mentioned experiments in a way which also emphasized the comparison, but again, the somewhat toxic reputation of the phlostigon hypothesis dominated; and so that transfer of reputation *seemed* to be your point. Lastly, axions have a status as possible objects existing within wider mathematically based theory, whereas phlostigon didn't, and this difference rather undermined your (apparent) argument. #### Re: Phlogiston / an hypothesis... was falisifeied. I think maybe quite a lot of science involves a hypothesis, followed by experimental tests, which quite possibly give a negative result. ### DJI bug bounty NDA is 'not signable', say irate infosec researchers #### <this could go on for a while> I don't think that's necessary. For an agreement covering a domain V, a non-disclosure agreement only needs to specify a (an impermeable) boundary surface$S = \partial V\$. Since the boundary of a boundary is zero, the second non-disclosure agreement suffices to let nothing out. I suppose the only loophole might be if your domain has a non-trivial topology... [1]

[1] And think yourself lucky that I haven't tried any jokes about there being p-forms to fill in [2].

[2] Dammit!

### Munich council: To hell with Linux, we're going full Windows in 2020

#### Re: I have in my hand a piece of paper / A PDF would have been as much use.

"I have on my mobile, a snapchat image of an agreement to..."

### US judge orders Sci-Hub be excised from the internet

#### Re: Most of our scientific knowledge has been paid for twice, in fact.

It may be that what you think you paid for, and what you /actually/ paid for differs. There's an interesting discussion from 2014 lurking here -

https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2097675

### Lord of the Rings TV show shopped around Hollywood

#### Re: I suppose they could do a prequel,

What, like the Silmarillion?

And there's also all the Unfinshed/LostTales bits of rescued Tolkien that could be used...

### My #95Theses of #Digital

#### The #Hashtag Cometh

(attributed to Flanders and !Bong, naturally)

### The case of the disappearing insect. Boffin tells Reg: We don't know why... but we must act

#### Re: PhD ... limited number of paid overseas trips funded by the employer ...

A (PhD) graduate student isn't an employee, they're a student[1]. They should expect to defer on matters of spending to the responsible academic and/or PI of the relevant research grant (although often in the UK, as I understand it, the studentship has built-in travel money, but the student still needs the spending to be signed off - they have to ask). Even postdocs have to ask for an ok for spending from the PI.

The supervisor in this case may have been all kinds of terrible, since there are indeed terrible supervisors out there. But nothing you've said, except for your loaded descriptions, supports that. This travel story you present also sounds rather like a jaundiced view of a not unremarkable situation - supervisor with limited budget decides not to spend the last of the (their) travel money on a graduate student.

[1] Although they may /also/ be an employee of the institution, if e.g. they do paid teaching work, they're not (IME) an employee /because/ they are a graduate student (which is not to say they have no rights).

#### Re: PhD ... someone else published the results of an identical piece of research

Hmm. While this might make the PhD project unpublishable[1], I don't see why the PhD couldn't perhaps have still been awarded - a PhD project is intended to demonstrate the ability/capacity to do independent research, and there is no indication from your (admittedly rather brief) story that that wasn't true.

[1] Even then, two people will rarely do things in exactly the same way, with the same set of side investigation results, emphasis, etc - so even if not the intended ground breaker, I'd be suprised if /nothing/ was publishable (although that would depend on what sort of research - the situation could well be game-over if it was a mathematics proof, but not if an array of experimental/simulation results).

### Once more, with feeling: Dawn to take a closer look at Ceres

#### Re: Karen Bradley has a mathematics degree from Imperial College.

Wiki says she got a BSc in maths then became a tax manager at Deloitte & Touche and then KPMG.

So while she has indeed got a maths degree, it's a little unclear whether you might really want to call her a scientist or an engineer. David Davis also went immediately into business after his BSc, via a Masters in Business.

I make no comment on whether (or not) you or anyone else might want them (or anyone else) running the country.

### In current affairs news: Teen boffin with lots of potential crafts electric honeycombs out of oil

#### Re: Am I missing something in this story?

What you are missing is that for more information, you read the research paper (which is freely available online, and linked in the article).

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

#### Why don't they just send up a huge magnet?

The earth already /is/ a huge magnet.

### Forget the 'simulated universe', say boffins, no simulator could hit the required scale

#### Normally only the cheap wave computation is needed, ...

Wave models are more computationally expensive than particle/ray tracing.

### Brit broke anti-terror law by refusing to cough up passwords to cops

#### UK [...] does not have a proper written constitution.

I'm not sure NZ can claim a "proper written constitution" either, based on this url:

https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/lawtalk/lawtalk-archives/issue-890/towards-a-written-constitution-for-new-zealand

Excerpt: "the New Zealand constitution was located in 45 acts of Parliament (including six very old English acts), 12 international treaties, nine areas of common law, eight constitutional conventions, three and a half executive orders, one prerogative instrument, one legislative instrument and half a judicial instrument."

### Spanish govt slammed over bizarre Catalan .cat internet registry cop raid

#### Re: the English want to keep Cymru and Scotland.

Hmm. The "English" haven't got Scotland, the United Kingdom has.

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

#### 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.

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

#### 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

#### 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.

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

#### 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.

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

ah, zoomed in inside the hexagon, then.

#### Re: the South Pole

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

### SpaceX releases Pythonesque video of rocket failures

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

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

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

#### 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

#### 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.

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

#### Re: I am Appalled and Outraged!

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

### P≠NP proof fails, Bonn boffin admits

#### 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 :-)

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

#### 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.

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

#### Re: When FTTP gets widely deployed

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

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

#### 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. "

### Australia releases MH370 sea floor data but search is still off

#### Re: Very interesting data set.

... and rather well presented, also.

### Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

#### 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.

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

#### Re: Killing the dinosaurs

The Day the Dinosaurs Died:

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

### Numbers war: How Bayesian vs frequentist statistics influence AI

#### 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>

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

#### 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".

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

#### 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.

### DUP site crashes after UK general election

#### Re: DUP DUP DUP!

Do you really need that many copies of the stack?

nb: languages may differ in their implementation