* Posts by Finn

40 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Sep 2007

ISS crew flees flying space junk


Hold your fire!

I do hope nobody actually installs a laser up there, because that wouldn't be very smart. It wouldn't vaporize anything, but turn one big piece of junk into hundread smaller ones. And the small pieces would have total energy (and thus speed) of what the big piece had plus anything laser managed to pump into them! So instead of one big dent on the side, ISS would have a hundread small holes, making it look like a sieve.

That is the problem with space junk. More you shoot it, more you get. More energy you spend, faster it gets (and thus making it able to reach higher orbits and do more damage). Only way to get rid of it is actually go up there and somehow collect it, possibly dropping it into the atmosphere afterwards. Or at least stop making more, as everything in near orbits slows down over time and thus plummets to Earth eventually.

This will be done in near future. Almost immediately after something really important gets hit, because tradition calls us to wait for the obvious to happen, before doing something to prevent it.

Kurzweil to found 'Singularity Uni' in Silicon Valley

Paris Hilton

Singularity my....

All I need to know about the future tech is that the great "internet" with all of its promises is 30% pirates yelling "Arr, Information Must Be Free, arr!" and 70% adult material*. Rest of the uses are well within error range of those numbers.

No matter what their workshop predicts, any Sing-Uni prediction that doesn't include smut and thieves is simply forgetting the users from their models.

Paris, as she has more effect to the Future of the Net than any Singular University thus far.

* Actually most of the smut is also stolen, but for some reason copyright activity groups don't seem to care about it.

Chinese exam cheats employing spy-tech


What is the problem?

Take the exam and cheat. If you succeed, you will have your dream job. If you get caught, Chinese Ministry of State Security will hire you to spy your own classmates. This is what Marx meant when he wrote "...from everyone according his abilities".

China readies Blu-Ray competitor


@First one to make 50GB+ data media under $2 a disk, wins.

No, first one to imbed the standard to a popular game console, thus automatically selling gazillion players for his standard and creating a demand for it, wins.

Oh, wait! Sony already did that!

Nobody, not even Peoples Republic can or will compeate with that, no matter what the 'specs' say.

If Microsoft had made HD-DVD standard in their X-Box 360, instead a aftermarket add-on, we might actually see some serious competition, but M$ doesn't own the rights for the HD-DVD format, so they had little reason to do so.

Sony on the other hand does own the rights for the Blue-Ray format, so their decision to combine that to Playstation 3 was about as obvious as sun rising from east and about as sure winner, as they sold 10 million Blue Ray players/game consoles to very same customers who watch most movies. So the actual race has ended 1998, when Sony revealed the specs of PS3 and anything short of giving out 20 million players for a different format will not change the outcome.

Painting by numbers: NASA's peculiar thermometer


Raw, yes, but not data.

"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts."... or choose only the raw data, if it collaborates with your pet theory. Don't bother asking WHY you should analyse it before using.

The adjustment is not arbituary. The biggest reason for the adjustment by NASA or anyone else in temperature is simple: Rain!

Everyone can understand, that if you stick a thermometer on your windowstill and it rains, the reading is lower than usual. Quite simply the falling water from the sky evaporates as it falls, eating up heat-energy. But in long term planetary weather, you can't simply state: It is colder! You must take into account, that more rain than usual is actually sign of temperature rising, not lowering (simple fact: higher the temperature of air, more water it can hold = more rain).

So if you superimpose the rainfall to the raw data Goddard so graciously allowed to us (never let an amatour use raw data, it kills people!), you start to see a pattern. Everywhere in the planet, especially tropics (the cool, blue bands on the planet-temp-map, rainfall is rising and rainfall is not 'adjusted' in any way, it is just mm/square meter number, raw and undeniable.

So real question these Goddards can't answer is: If the rainfall is rising, how can planet NOT be warming? If the air is still in constant temperature, how can it hold more water than before? Answer by highschool physics is: It can't. If rainfall in global scale is going up (even in Australia, which suffers from lack of rain in some areas), the temperature of planet must be going up. If it isn't, the planet has started to break the laws of nature.

American auto dealer offers free handguns


Guns Guns Guns

I wait for the day, when someone goes to US Supreme Court with complain about 'government confiscating his 155 mm artillery piece'.

After all, 2nd amendment doesn't say anything about type of armament you are allowed to carry. If the 'meaning of founding fathers' is considered, then it is muzzle-loading muskets which are only allowed weapon. If on the other hand you decide that people are allowed to use something more deadly, then (by US constitution) anything up the the nukes should be fair game. [Which would truly eliminate all the potential problems in the entire country. And the country itself.]

Prank callers crash Dublin Zoo phone system


Tech version

Couple of years back our lab had a professor, who sent young students to purchase a new laser-pointer for him. Trick was, that specs were FEL (as in Free Electron Laser) type device costing no more than € 200.

Germany to Nokia: Give us back our subsidies


The real monster

That is the way of modern economics.

If you have factory somewhere making profit, but you could make more in some other location, you will have to move.

It is not greed, it is the nature of stockmarket driven investment. They (the stock holders) will change the board of directors until they get someone who will make most money possible for them, regardless of any given factors.

Of course this is disaster in the long run. The new location will produce the same amount of goods cheaper, but workers buying power is equally lower. That means that if the company sells its goods to their own workers, they don't make any extra profit. Meanwhile selling in the previous manufacture location will suffer too as the workers there have to make do with lower wages/unemployment due competititon from new location and when this emigration to the cheapest location goes on across the board, all jobs will suffer the same fate.

So the same amount of work will in the end produce same amount of wealth as should be obvious to anyone with brains. On long term this will have serious social effects and it will cause serious unrest across the globe. But for now: Stock-holders rule supreme.

And as stokmarket is a way of making a personal investment without any personal responsibility, there is nothing that can be done.

Armed robbers target Oz biker shindig


What were they thinking?

How do these people choose their targets?

Robber one, "Let's rob some bar!"

Robber two, "Yeah! We should take out that one!"

Robber one, "The one with 40+ harleys parked outside? Yeah, lets go!"

Mine is the biker leather and crash helmet.

Warner Bros revs up live action Akira



...a place where great films of the world go to die.

...a place where the word 'originality' is spelled 'risky investment'.

...a place where talent is replaced with name-recognition.

...a place where I left my coat...

Space-bubble Bigelow looking to buy fifty Atlas Vs


Got to love him

In the day and age, when everything is 'risk-aversion'- this and 'cost effective'- that, here is a man who goes around yelling, "Get me a 50 Atlas rockets! I'm going to blast my next hotel to outer space!"

Feds, NASA bracelet space shuttle spies

Black Helicopters


Why anybody bothers to spy on US? They tend to release anything they are doing or are going to do in the same day newspapers. Most of it in official briefings.

Worst security of any nation ever.

Germans to blast fish into space


Out of ideas?

They spend unholy amount of money to blast couple of shushi v1.0s to orbit?

Has anybody else got the feeling that they are running out of meaningful things to do in space and are just spending their research funds any way they can?

Boffin says Astronomical Unit should be binned



Fahrenheit is ultimate proof why you really, really should keep your inventions away from marketing department until they are tested and ready.

As for this AU thing- This astro-boffin seems to forgot, that distance of AU has changed more in last 30 years thanks to boffins like him who keep changing the basic units, than because all those aircraft carriers disappearing in the sun.

Sarko and Bruni take Ryanair for €60k



After paying only 60k for that much exposure ...Only question not answered is:

Who is Ryanair going to offend in their next ad? Gays? Chatolics? Mormons? 50 cent?

It seems to me that only fools and Nike use international campaigns. Ryanair uses Reuters for free.

Rocket train smashes world land-speed record


@Shun F

Actually, the rocket sled is old news and not a weapon as such, but a test bed for weapons. Kind of high speed crash test carriage, where the test object is on the nose of the sled and they then drive it against armorplate, concreate or what ever they want to test it against.

I saw a film about this set-up few years back in public TV, when it was testing some secret thingy or another and it was then powered by multiple clusters of MLRS- rocket boosters (from standard rocket launchers) strapped on the back and acheived Mach 5 on that run inside of what looked like a horizontal building site garbage-chute.

They use these kinds of sleds as replacement to explosives, because explosions tend to distrupt the measurements, blowing up the high-speed cameras before they have all the data or forcing them to move the cameras too far from the test.

If I had to guess what they were testing at mach 9, I would bet my money on explosive formed penetrator's copper slug against chopham armor plate. Speeds match and there definately is a need for the testing.

Pirate Bay hits ten million peers, one million torrents


Stupid white men with suits

Before the industry understands one simple truth about the modern tech, they will lose: It is not the free products PtP networks offer to the consumers, it is the easy access that draws the crowd.

Average consumer for the music-industry doesn't have CD-player. Or even a credit card as he is only 14!

What he does have, is computer, a music phone with mp3- player and Nintendo Wii under TV in the living room. And instead of trying to sell this potential customer their products, both movie and music industry make damn sure he doesn't have it.

Imagine this kid with a friend in his room.

Watch a movie? Downloading it from some legal site demands a credit card. His only DVD-player is in his computer and copy protection sees he doesn't want to rent a movie either.

Listen some music? Same thing. Furthermore he would want to listen it also on his way to school and the CD format doesn't allow him to upload it on his phone. Nice sales pitch for the record industry.

Of course he will download them! Even few hand-cam recorded new realeses on overnight download from New Zealand are easier to deal, than the hoops movie industry would like their 'customer' to jump for them for product with all kinds of strings attached!

Simply put, record and movie industries are both stuck so badly into 1920's that they make LPs look modern. They really need few fresh ideas, if they want to survive.

Burma hits satellite TV where it hurts


Smart Dictatorship?

That was clever...

Someone watches SatTV without a licence? Jail him and issue huge fines. You get the money and the potential rebel is in jail.

Someone watches SatTV with a license? First get the fee from the licence, then send secret police after him and drag him to court (after all, if he has licence, you know his name and address) for trying to overthrow the government and then fine him some more (this guy has money) for anti-governmental activities.

All that money could be used for cheap radios from North Korea: They are factory-built with only one frequency and that is the end of BBC.

British teens score a C in international science poll


One more 2 cents

I was born in Finnland and spent my 9+3 schoolyears there and I find it really hard to accept most of these explanations for the poor preformance.

There are almost identical problems in Finnland as compared to rest of Europe. Obesity, xbox, centre-left party in power, increasing rejection of evolution, booze and fighting, you name it and Finnland got it. And we start at age of 7, not age of 5. Age of 5 finnish kids mainly sing songs about vegetables. All schooling starts at age of 7, reading and math.

In fact, there is one thing that is hardly mentioned in here. The Teachers. Like in the orient, finnish people rank teaching among the most respected professions. Most polls find them almost en par with medical doctors in professional respect. And this is your average comprehensive school teacher we are talking about.

Second thing I think can explain Finnish score is the training of teachers. If you have a PhD in Math, you can become a University Professor in Finnland, but you can't teach 7-16 year olds, the mandatory schooling years. Strange but true. In Finnland you need a higher decree in education before they let you anywhere near the blackboard. The actual subject you are going to teach is secundary and you might only need a bachelors decree in that (these are not quite direct translations as Finnland of course has its own higher education standards, but they compare). This means that while teacher might not be able to teach math from 1+1 to the Aleph-null, he or she can teach everything he knows extremely well.

So I think Finnland scored well, because we are tought by highly skilled professional teachers capable of holding average standards well, who are all well trained in the art of teaching and highly motivated (if rather sadly, not paid nearly enough). Of course this might just be me being finn and respecting our teachers too much. I haven't really looked how well other countries train their teachers, but read mainly newspaper articles.

Samsung secures 2007 most inappropriate ad title



I liked the fact that the "...may not be... ...redistributed." disclaimer is just bellow the button saying: "E-Mail this to a friend."

Google wants to make renewable power cheaper than coal


World According to Google

So, Google acclaims that they can solve the problem of cheap renewable energy because 'they have experience with data centres'?

So the whole problem is just a programming bug? Hardware problem? Wrong MAC address?

Microsoft offers $300m for web-washing ad campaign

Gates Horns

Microsoft ad.

Microsoft Live and let die.

Mass. firm sues Google over 1997 patent


@ 5,694,593 shouldn't have been?

Oh, please. This is USPO we are talking about. They aproved the patent for "Method of swinging on a swing", which described someone swinging on a ordinary two rope swing sideways by pulling the ropes towards him one after another.

USPO only re-examined that patent, after it had become a public joke among patent solicitors. You could propably get a patent for hot water in USPO.

Bangkok vigilante 'wipes out' sleeping security guards


Who do you gona call?

Well, if they don't like sleeping guards, there is always Blackwater...

Rule 8.

US manned spaceflight after Shuttle could be delayed

Thumb Down

Von Braun

You don't get Von Brauns any more, due psychological tests. They tend to disqualify psychopaths.

And I do mean it literally. Who else could utter: "Humanity has entered into space-age!", when first V-2 lifted from its launch-pad in front of admiring Nazi-officers?

Von Braun would have worked with devil himself, used any means, sacraficed any number of people and cared nothing about costs as long as he got where he wanted to go: Space. Can't really see such person in charge of any western space-program these days.

Florida cops issue shock 'Butthash' warning


@Nicholas Chapel

True and as you notice it is compared with cocaine in direct effects. But effect still is a chill-person. Besides, after some practice, you could get valium prescribtion.

Point is, that if any person wants to be in state of synthetic happiness, it can be arranged without ever breaking the law.

Speaking of which, if standards of these kind of events hold, the US government is about to put crap on controlled substances list. Which of course means, that number of drug-related arrests and convictions will skyrocket- to everyone they bother to arrest infact.


Stupid kids.

Those kids were stupid.

I mean, making their own drugs? There is no need for average intelligence high-school kid to make their own in America as they have more than willing supplier already. Yes, I do mean the school nurse.

Dress in black, dye your hair black. Ask questions about meaning of life and what death really is. Sleep only few hours a night to appear tired and disintrested. Write soppy poems about death and paint black pictures titled 'My Soul'. Within a week you are in school nurse's office and after another you are flying higher than kite on something ending with -zac.

Of course, if *chill* is more *you* then do the opposite. Don't look anything for more than few seconds, talk during the class. Run everywhere. Forget what the question was in mid sentence. Again nurse to rescue. You are on ritalin inside a month and then you are mellower than busload of Deadheads.

Ritalin is supposed to work pretty much identical way to cocaine. Only difference from consumer point of view is, that one is covered in criminal code and one by medical insurance.

I would love to be a teenager now, when all the really cool stuff has hit the market. As it is, I'm stuck with whiskey, fags and coffee.

Flying cow destroys minivan


Is this what....

Is this what they call GM-Food, or was the van a Ford?

Congestion charge dodgers register Bentleys as minicabs


@Loophole Fun

Did I understood you correctly? Minicabs aren't covered by most normal insurance policies?

Oh, I like that. Crash your £300'000 limo after being so clever with loopholes and next loophole user is your car insurance company.

"Sorry sir, we can't pay as your minicab wasn't covered..."

There is always a loophole. Insurance forms are second only to M$ software licenses.

Dead dog floors 68 Namibian villagers


Someone has to say it.

This is a classic case of good dog gone bad.

Coat. Door.

Robot builders hunt for a killer application

Thumb Down

Don't relly see it

I don't see a general purpose home robot making a breakthrough. I mean, some tasks could be robotised, like Roomba has done for cleaning.

Same vein would be a robot lawn mower or robot floor polisher to offices. But as with all robots that could be even remotely usefull, they would be just lawn mower with chip-for-brain or polisher humming along all by itself, when office is empty. They wouldn't really look anything remotely human and most certainly wouldn't look like the things on those trade shows.

I don't really understand, why these developers even want human interaction. Spreadsheets and word prosessing were invented for a pragmatic reason, but it is hard to see, how to make money from a robot that throws ball.

Paris Hilton heads for the cryogenic freezer


Oh, the humanity!

Is this really what we want to leave to our children: Tons of radiactive waste and Paris Hilton?

Fire service may charge for shifting fat people


@Why stop at fat people

We do stop at fat people.

First of all, comparing obesity to accidents is idiotic: After all, skateboarder doesn't go out to hurt himself and backbacker doesn't go to India to catch a disease. In fact smart skateboarder wears pads and backpacker has shots, they avoid healt-risk at all cost.

Being fat is no accident.

What fatsoes should be compared with are other people who knowingly continue with activities that they know are harmfull to their health: People who smoke or excessive drinkers!

But hey! Drinkers and smokers pay special taxes for their activities! Pack-a-day smoker for 30 years has paid enough sales-taxes to foot the bill of his terminal-care in local hospital, so if he has choosen to kill himself by smoking, I really don't see how it is anybodys bussines, but his.

But what about the triple by-pass/diabates whale in next bed? He knowingly damaged his health, but left the bill to the society at large.

You want unfair? Why the smoker has to pay, but fatso doesn't? We do stop at fat people. For some reason they are only ones who aren't treated as responsible of their choises.

Terminator will be back in 2009


Love laced non-violence.

@Nick, you are right.

But second problem arising from this never ending search of audience is unisex-movies. There must be a love-intrest in the movie in interestin for both genders. Even war movies!

Can you imagine, what would happen, if they would take The Longest Day and remake it today? Every single one of the main characters would have a girl (or at least one girl per two characters) and then there would be endless parade of kissing scenes and heartbreak and betrayal. Damn movie would be truly 24 hours experience and half of it placed in rural Kansas.


Hollywood = Money

Reason why they really make all these sequels to everything from Terminator to Matrix or franchise movies from Fantastic Four to the Spiderman and Batman and million others is simple: You invest $50 - 100 million on movie, you really, really want to get the money back.

Four most certain ways to make the money back are:

A) make a sequel to a box-office hit. Something that made money first time and created an audience that will go and see the second runner. like Police Academy or Terminator or Matrix.

B) Make a movie about something already famous, like TV-show, or comicbook character (Charlie's Angels, Fantastic Four etc.).

C) Make a re-make of an old box-office hit.

D) Use a super-star. Either director like Tarantino and few others or world class leading man/woman. But even these tank sometimes, so even this is rarely used anymore.

There are thousands of good scripts bought by Paramount, MGM, Dreamworks etc. each year. They are hidden into huge files as they are usually paper copies and there they stay, until the world ends or CGI makes photorealism affordable on full legth movies.

Crudware pusher to pay $25,000 to settle charges


Copyright violation?

There could be additional law suits following. He has obviously broken the copyright laws as that is Microsoft's registered modus operandi.

Qinetiq touts 'Transformer-like' mobility-scooter killbot



So, US Army is complaining that they are running out of troops (flesh and blood variety). Answer: Robots.

Of course they will each need controller, maintenance chief, radioman etc. etc.

So every robot on the front will reduce the number of troops and replace them with something that needs a wheelchair ramp for getting over a meter-high stone wall.

However, my default mindset is cynicism, so there might be more than meets the eye in these things.

Florida man faces trial for feeding homeless


Distance of Justice

Distance between tyranny and any goverment is inversely proportional to the distance of laws of the government and justice.

787 unsafe, claims former Boeing engineer


Re: Re:Only one safe plane builder

This is almost case study, why planes are getting less safe:

"Or, more specifically, the bolts holding the engines on." - Yep, they did fail, on DC-9. And that was insident that ended Douglas Aviation.

But they failed because mechanic had not followed service manual while giving the engine once-over. And even then the plane would have been fine if pilot, for reason now know only by his ghost, hadn't switched the emergency autopilot off and kept switching it off as it tried to compensate the loss off power with flaps.

End result was huge fireball in evening news and even after FAA report revealed six months later, that it had been sloppy mechanic and pilot, who seemed to behave against his simulator-training that killed the plane, people still say: "It was the bolts", because that is what newspaper headlines were.

McDonnel bought Douglas soon after that and thus ended the last aircraft manufacturer that used safety as sellingpoint: Since then nobody has tested their airframes to 1,5 times the time and stress demanded by FAA. DC-10 was never built by Douglas standrads and it shows. After it failed, even the DC-brand was buried.

As for comparing the DC-3 being unfair, note that there was lot of competition to DC-3 during its prime. Where are they now? Same can be said about DC-4s, -5s, -6s and so on. Douglas aircrafts are always capable of keeping up and running about 20-30 years longer than competition's models.

Douglas tested its airframes to the limit of their endurance, while others tested them to limit set by FAA. They were most tested civil aircrafts ever built.


Only one safe plane builder

Douglas. They tested their planes to the max and that is why there are still DC-3s -4s, -5s and so on in operation and their old Boeing counterparts are scrap metal.

Their passanger planes were sunk by single stupid mechanic and equally idiotic airline execs making choises about which engines they wanted for they planes (cheapest of course).

Left couple of planes crashing on film and that was it. Thought an important lesson to remaining aircraft builders: Testing budget is not as important as PR-budget.