> Reminds anyone of the "Hand built by Roberts" sketch?
Ho, yuss. But another comment upthread also reminded me of a certain Bob in a Blackadder episode.
29 posts • joined 6 Aug 2018
When the Morris worm came out, I discovered it on a research VAX I had admin rights to at a large particle-physics laboratory in Switzerland -- no, not that large... (I can't remember if I noticed it myself or got a heads-up from a Usenet newsgroup.) It had got in via one user whose password was the same as his username -- a common practice at the time, hence why the worm was able to spread so easily.
I analysed it and cleaned it up, then sent a warning to the Institute's IT staff. The response from the head of IT was, "WTF are you?" I replied that I was a research physicist at $LARGE_UNIVERSITY who had been carrying out experiments at the Institute for over two years, and in fact was due to start work as a staff scientist there the next month. He started to take me more seriously then, and we became good friends over the next decade.
> At one time my work had loo paper that was so cheap I used to nick it to use as sandpaper. You certainly couldn't put it anywhere near your arse.
I once worked for an Institute that was attached to a National Atomic Energy Agency. We were continually in and out of the facility -- in fact my office and lab were inside the perimeter. (The FedPol used to try it on when I approached the barriers -- both ways -- on my motorbike, holding out my site pass, until the last possible moment before I needed to drop the pass to pull the clutch, or stall.)
Our "company car" was a Holden station-wagon (oops, I may have given it away), and our CEO was such a pragmatic chap that he ensured that there was a bog-roll in the back, in case a driver ever got caught-short away from facilities. One day a colleague was leaving the facility and the FedPol decided to do a search of the vehicle. Having found said loo-roll, they then proceeded to accuse him of theft of Government property and threatened all sorts of Draconian punishment. Even calling the CEO across from our offices just outside cut no ice, until it was pointed out that the paper in question was standard supermarket quality and thus far superior to the GI stuff on site.
> At the very least, we can be thankful they weren't using a florine based oxidizer. Florine fires are really something to see. From a safe distance. In proper safety gear. Only once in your life. Because watching wood, steel, sand, concrete, and even a stream of halon gas burn really makes you re-evaluate the definition of "safe."
I was once, very long ago and very far away, trying to assay the concentration of fluorine in an experiment where I was pretty sure that the fluorine was reducing in concentration due to its reaction with the stainless-steel containment vessel. In seeking to replicate the usual test for iodine, I decided to release the gas into a vessel containing methanol and, IIRC, sodium iodide, later to be titrated with a starch solution (OK, this was 30+ years ago, some details have evaporated over time). Let's leave aside the fact that my first attempt to de-oxygenate the methanol by boiling in an Erlenmeyer flask resulted in a fire because I'd forgotten about boiling chips and a rapidly boiling solution shot up into the air like Vesuvius erupting and landed back down on the hot-plate -- it was a Sunday and no-one else was around...
Anyway, as I cracked open the valve that led to a small teflon tube immersed in the methanol solution, I noticed what seemed to be a spark at the end of the tube. I cautiously proceeded with the same result. Shut down, turn off...
I then found a book on the halogens in the University library which noted "there have been no reports of the interaction of fluorine with methanol which haven't resulted in explosions"!
> When did Vaxes become mainframes? They were mini-computers!
Not always. I was sitting in my office in a certain Swiss physics/nuclear research establishment in the mid '90s when the head of computing passed by, holding a box about 30 cm on a side. "Guess what this is? It's worth CHF1,000,000." "No idea." "It's an array processor for our VAX 9000." As far as I know, not many people besides me ever used it; I think it was on loan and eventually returned to DEC.
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> Sir PTerry knew ages back...
> “Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying 'End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH', the paint wouldn't even have time to dry.”
> ― Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time
When I were a lad, we used to sometimes go into the Big Smoke (for us, that was Byron Bay) to do our shopping. There was a big department store on the corner of Jonson and Lawson where you were served individually at the counter and your bill and cash whizzed up on a cable to the cashiers on the second floor who then let the receipt and change fall down on the same cable. Next to the main counter was a small wooden sign:
IN CASE OF FIRE, PLEASE RAISE THIS FLAP
Underneath it said:
NOT NOW, STUPID -- IN CASE OF FIRE!
> We all know Big Red Buttons are irresistible!
> At CERN there's even a spoof one for visitors to press
Ah, yes; I was manning a mock-up of a portion of the LHC at a Norwich science fair a couple of years ago. There was a faux Emergency Switch near one of the exits. Several times I had to encourage young kids to press it while they dithered; nearly as many didn't need urging.
For my sins, I had two air-rifle pellets in my window on the way back to Cambridge; two other windows and the driver's side window were also hit. There must be SFA to do for young peeps in the Fens on a Sunday night...
Physics, mainly. Actually, it's not that hard to contain He but if the pressure is around atmospheric there is not much driving force to lead to escape anyhow. If there is any leakage path for He, it's likely to be much harder for N2/O2 to leak back the other way.
There is a problem the other way. It's apparently not unknown for ancient "vacuum" tubes to have accumulated a significant amount of He because it can diffuse in through the glass envelope and electrode seals much more easily than N2/O2.
Do you want to be the one who signs off on the use of something that could potentially screw over the GPS receivers aboard dozens of airliners, opening you up to ruinously expensive compensation claims as well as properly grounding all the holidaymakers jetting off for Christmas? No, thought not.
Lack of GPS will not ground airliners, they have other navigation and precision landing systems. The main problem would likely to be passengers getting lost while driving to the airfield, despite all the signage.
I may be behind the times, but at one point aircraft were not allowed to use GPS to fix their position. Has this changed?
> And by pure coincidence, very generous pork-based pies are available.
Long ones, presumably...
[May I just interject a gripe here? I'm conditioned over many decades to indent my text with a <TAB> character -- but text entry boxes on web sites invariably take a <TAB> to mean "go to the next element in the page". I'm continually going, "WTF has my focus gone??!"]
@Tomato42 -- On the other hand, we are very slow to adopt new software because of the difficulties in verifying it against the older. Current CERN recommended OS is CentOS 7, but our software is only certified for SLC (Scientific Linux CERN) 6, so sites which have adopted C7 have to run analysis/Monte Carlo software in SLC6 containers. ISTR there was a glitch in this when it was first tried.
>> "This watch is resilient to accidents because of its ceramic bezel design, stainless steel shell and DLC coating"
> DLC coating? Fucking microtransactions in everything these days...
But, seriously folks, if El Reg decides to investigate DLC here's a reasonable place to start:
> 2. The IPv6 seed might need to have its outer coating scored or scorched before it will sprout.
I see you've tried to grow lychee from seed too. I've further found that the seedlings need to be constantly kept moist or they die the instant they dry out. Please feel free to extend this factoid to your analogy.
"Most of us already have a card - it's called a passport. It is simply not required to be presented for these purposes."
Hmm, no, doesn't fly... At this point of time the UK Gov't shouldn't have _any_ idea of my passport. It wasn't issued by them, and I've not yet used it to leave or re-enter the country. They do know about my confusingly-named "indefinite leave to remain", but that's housed in my next-to-last passport -- they want something over £500 to have it transferred into a newer one.
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