"what otherwise would have taken 6.7 billion people using hand calculators 320 years to complete if they had worked non-stop"
Or 1 person with 10 fingers 21440 years (i think)
Earlier this week, the Beeb described IBM's Sequoia supercomputer as being so potent that it could do in one hour "what otherwise would have taken 6.7 billion people using hand calculators 320 years to complete if they had worked non-stop". This latest, highly suspect piece of mathematical jiggery-pokery - with no mention of …
That's because they haven't seen this Japanese woman. Saw her on a show when I was in Tsukuba; In the show she also did calculations from a board on one calculator and calculations someone was saying on another. Also the presenters tried to do just the calculations read out at the same time as the woman. I seem to remember that one got lost, and the other one got the answer wrong!
These are notoriously complicated involving factors of 7, 28 or 29, or 30 or 31 depending, 60, 365 etc. and appear to have escaped your researcher's attention.
We need some uniformity, perhaps based on panda breeding cycles. I look forward to reading this unfortunate omission has been addressed.
You can use the already defined units of linguine and the maximum velocity of sheep in a vacuum to represent time. Using these units, I propose the following time unit:
linguine / maximum velocity of a sheep in vacuum
1 second is defined (assuming my math is correct) as 21410714.2 linguine / maximum velocity of sheep in a vacuum. Inversely 1 lg/mvosiav is 4.67055882 x 10^-8 seconds.
As an example of using these units, the video is 1.01058571 x 10^10 lg/mvoasiv or 10231178.8 brontosaurus/mvosiav long.
The real fun would be trying to define the Planck constant in these units.
How about a move back to the basics, with the pint defining volume (obvious), surface (just lift the P. and look at the wet ring), distance (to the next P.), time (obvious), force (to separate a boffin from his P.), ... After all the idea is to make things easy and who, really, has an unboiled Linguini at hand when the need arises?
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I trust that the pipe will be made of Silly Putty.
(Or is New Scientist still waiting for the first practical use of Silly Putty? An early issue of New Scientist had a clear plastic box of blue Silly Putty attached and asked its readers to suggest a practical use for the material. My favourite was Daedalus' , much later, suggestion of Silly Putty parking bays.)
Please have your sound tech/intern soundly flogged with the archaic implement of your choosing.
While the content in this broadcast seemed fine, the balance between speech (both narrator and host) and sound effects was glaringly off-kilter. I had to either struggle to hear the barely audible (YET EXTREMELY IMPORTANT) definitions of standard measurements or have my eardrums violently pierced by sound effects. I do applaud the choice of sound effects (the radio "breaking news" in particular) but the sound balance renders them all totally useless and, frankly, a menace to society.
In the interests of our future survival as a species, please take the following actions:
1) Rebalance the bloody video so that it is headphone-watchable.
2) Chastize those resonsible as you see fit. (There were images from the "Temperature" section that suggest a reasonable course of action... and I am referring to those more "bent over" rather than the "by the pool".
Thank you for your time and consideration.
We monitor the sound here through a couple of Yamaha NS10 studio monitors (yes, old school paper cone and all that), so that's our reference.
Apologies if the mix blew your timpani when listening through cans. We'll take your comments on board for future reference.
Can I also submit the Channel 4 mobile phone unit of measurement:
"The Sequoia is capable of performing roughly the same number of operations per second as 10 million mobile phones put together."
No mention of what mobile phone or what particular NukeWatch app they are running...
My youngest is doing weights and measures in primary school at the moment. Given the state of UK education, I will refer him to this video instead. Far more constructive than the metric nonsense they're failing to teach him at the moment.
I was going to suggest that the Curly Wurly as a length of measure, however, as these seem to have decreased in length at a rate that corresponds to the receding of my hairline, I think I'll leave that one alone.
It's a hard life, toiling away unheard-of and unrespected in the bowels of Cadbury Plc's giant R&D labs in Hull. And can you imagine the bittersweet (hah!) taste of it, when you've finally hit something big -- finally created something that'll write your name forever in the choccy-stained leaves of confectionery history -- only to discover that nothing truly great belongs to anyone for long. Watching the engineers come in and working with them to design a cold, impersonal machine to stamp out by the dozens what you've heretofore created each individually with your own two loving hands -- watching them discard the first try for jamming and redesign it into a hot-nozzled beast that can pump out forty bars to the minute -- sure, there's an award ceremony when it sells its first million, you get a lovely wall plaque and there'a always the gold watch at the end of it all, but you'll always wonder if it was really worth it, the twin occupational hazards of diabetes and dental caries, the long hours away from family, with only pointless locker-room banter (candy R&D is a very messy job) to show for it -- do your kids know you at all? Mine hardly do...last I was home, my oldest has decided she's vegan now and so instead of proper dinner I got a two-hour lecture over soy milk and tempeh. I don't even know what tempeh is but I'm eating it now apparently! And she told me working here, doing what I do, meant I was "exploiting" everything from cows to children to the whole bloody planet, it turns out, and I said "well then, love, suppose you'd better come home from that fancy college of yours, seeing where the money's coming from for it, and go to school to learn a proper job instead", and she stormed out! How about you, Frank? Didn't I hear your oldest wants to be a graphic designer? May as well be a hairdresser! You can't get a proper day's work out of the lot of 'em!
...wow, what's in this stuff? Should make work today a treat!
Worse than drummers, honestly. Of course, we have machines for that now -- much better than the real thing, too, you only have to punch the details into it once -- I wonder how long it'll take before graphic artists go the way of the dodo as well, and you end up with the leftovers chopping off one arm and pushing crayons with the other because you've got to have some kind of gimmick to stand out against utter perfection. Sad, really -- you could maybe do something with a flamethrower, or a neutron bomb.
OK an update here. It doesn't play on the workstations that have the latest Firefox, but certainly not Flash, it asks for a plugin. On a normal PC with IE8 AND including Flash, just a white square.
Is it just me? If I logout and try from a different IP address will I be allowed to see it?
I think that 0 out of 10 might be generous.
I miss Lucy. She was a fun writer.
Also, I fear for her life as it appears she's been taken hostage along with a small child and forced to read from a script. Set up a PayPal account and I'm certain El Reg readers will pay the ransom save them from decapitation and any extra funds can be used on LOHAN.
Also the Playmobile/Lego work production values have skyrocketed. Yay!!!!
I fully expected about 1/2 of the comments to be about the long scale trillion from a publication emanating from a short scale country, and couldn't believe it when a read of said comments yielded no commentary on this most commentable of content at all... right up to Capt Tick Tock that is.
Bravo sir, with spots on.
The stimulant effect of your attractive boffinettes can be calibrated against the standard Helen (H); Helen of Troy was described as "the face that launched a thousand ships." Most modern women rate at least one millihelen (mH).
1 mH = a face sufficiently lovely to launch one (1) ship.