* Posts by Schultz

1601 posts • joined 22 Oct 2007

TikTok seeks injunction to halt Trump ban, claims it would break America's own First and Fifth Amendments

Schultz Silver badge
Angel

Due process and equality before the law

You might ask: "which law?" and "what process?". And that, I guess, is the correct answer.

Europe is falling behind in AI, we need to launch our second machine learning-powered satellite soon, says ESA

Schultz Silver badge

AI for cloud and ship recognition ...

Sounds a bit like a pattern recognition problem to me. Does this deserve the I in the AI moniker? Just asking.

AI in the enterprise: Prepare to be disappointed – oversold but under appreciated, it can help... just not too much

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Go

The primary function of AI is to attract funding.

Looking for investors? Grant money? Resources for some IT related project in the company? Well, then you better get on the train, because AI captures attention and opens wallets. Until it stops doing so, but I am sure the Next Big Thing (AKA fashion trend) is around the corner ...

Brexit border-line issues: Would you want to still be 'testing' software designed to stop Kent becoming a massive lorry park come 31 December?

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Pint

"This mess is far too serious to say " I told you so" or getting out the popcorn"

Well, I am far enough away and the mess looks entertaining enough that I'll happily say "I told you so" and sit back with the popcorn.

Let the clowns be clowns and enjoy the show.

Snortical warfare: Wild boar launches amphibious assault against German beachgoers

Schultz Silver badge
Trollface

FKK

It worked for the bloke in the video: He clearly had the boar scared and on the run.

The more common case, of course, is a naked boar chasing a dressed human.

US govt proposes elephant showers for every American after Prez Trump says trickles dampen his haircare routine

Schultz Silver badge
Thumb Up

The blurred blob of hair ...

I've seen it too. Clearly, all cameras have to sign a non-disclosure agreement before they are allowed to film the Magnificence on Trump's head.

Clearly, they just try to obscure the lightness of the comb-over. Can't blame an old man for not having too much hair up there. Could blame him for being overly vain -- but let's leave the moral judgments to the qualified religious zealots, shall we?

Intel talks up its 10nm Tiger Lake laptop system-on-chips as though everything is going according to plan

Schultz Silver badge

7nm [... and '''] the rightful guardians of industry standards

Who cares about industry standards. My son got his first 'budget' laptop for school and it is now the most powerful computer in our house. Based on one of the new low-power 7 nm Ryzen chips. Impressive.

It's been a while since I upgraded any hardware ... prices just didn't come down and performance gains seemed very incremental. But maybe that was just Intel stagnating and we had to wait a few years for AMD to catch up.Let's see if Intel will get back into the action.

Wrap it before you tap it? No, say Linux developers: 'GPL condom' for Nvidia driver is laughed out of the kernel

Schultz Silver badge
WTF?

I never understood this idea...

"make 2 [identical] models of a card, model A is $ while B can do more and costs $$"

If I assume that this company competes with others, shouldn't it try to sell the most capable model for a competitive price, thereby gaining market share? The idea of crippling your own product may look like a good one in the short term, assuming that you have a captive audience. Then you could consider the extra money from model B as Free Money (TM'd by your marketing department). But your competition competes with crippled product A and every knowledgeable customer will become a disgruntled customer when he recognizes that the product could do so much more.

The only argument I can see for Model A / Model B pricing is if the software development represents the dominant cost, differentiating A and B. In that case, sell the software.

And no, it's not like first class / second class seats, because in first class you get extra space (most of the time), service, and re-booking rights.

Someone made an AI that predicted gender from email addresses, usernames. It went about as well as expected

Schultz Silver badge
Boffin

AI everywhere ...

... why figure out how to look up names (and associated genders), if you can do it with AI?

Step one: Find some data-related question.

Step two: Use AI.

Step three: Money, money, money!

(With all the government programs supporting the development of AI Industries Inc., step 3 looks better every minute!)

Mexican cave relics suggest humans were populating the Americas up to 17,000 years earlier than thought

Schultz Silver badge
Boffin

"Of course it's all just guesswork"

... but it's becoming less guesswork with each artifact that is unearthed and dated. Nice to see science at work.

And, BTW, it's not "accelerated mass spectrometry", but accellerator mass spectrometry. The carbon atoms are accelerated through a thin foil to strip all their electrons -- so the nuclear mass can be reliably measured. It's a famously tedious experiment to perform because you need to count a few 14-C atoms amongst trillions of other carbon atoms. You really can't accelerate that, you have to bring some patience and continue counting for a while.

Nvidia may be mulling lopping Arm off Softbank: GPU goliath said to have shown interest in acquiring CPU design house

Schultz Silver badge
Boffin

"Also, there's tidy licensing income to be collected."

.. which may or may not be sufficient to pay the interest on the purchase price.

Based on the valuation Softbank put on Arm in 2016 ($32 billion), the current licensing model income (flat 1.6 billion in 2019) may not be sufficient to keep things running. So the question becomes whether they can grow significantly (getting hard when you already dominate the market), collect more rent from the licensees (a question of alternatives and, possibly, monopoly laws), or whether some bidder sees additional strategic value.

The challenge with the strategic value bit is that ARM's past success is based on equal technology access for all their customers. If you move the best developers to your own in-house development projects, your customers may become unhappy. They can't compete if you curtail their access to the latest technology. But if you don't, then where is your strategic value? There is a clear conflict of interest for any buyer who wants ARM for 'strategic advantage'.

Ex-boss of ICANN shifts from 'advisor' to co-CEO of private equity biz that tried to buy .org for $1bn+

Schultz Silver badge

Re: Who knew..

This whole affair shows that you cannot run the system 'on trust', once there is serious money involved. It should be obvious to anybody that the time has come to create a new and very transparent system instead. Transparency is the only protection against self dealing.

Chips for Huawei are fried: TSMC stops shipping parts to Middle Kingdom mega-maker this September

Schultz Silver badge
Stop

Which isn't to say that China is not trying to take over the world.

This statement is too vague to be meaningful. They have an increasingly assertive foreign policy. They started international initiatives on trade and economic cooperation. But trying to take over the world? I'd say other countries throw much more of their weight around - especially if you consider the size of their population and economy.

I won't defend any aspect of their 'communist' system, the one party rule, etc. But accusing China that their current policy goals are aimed at 'taking over the world' is hyperbole.

Google employs people to invent colours – and they think their work improves your wellbeing

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Go

Re: we brought back the green color, Quite Mint, which is my favorite

So they had a whole team spending time and money to find the right color and in the end the boss chose her favorite. Makes you almost miss Steve Jobs. He probably could have picked the 'best color' on the spot. (Any color should work, that's why there is an expensive marketing department.)

South Korea joins the ‘we’re going to be self-sufficient in more tech and then export bucketloads’ club

Schultz Silver badge

Re: Every country cannot be self-sufficient in everything

This particular story began with a South Korean Court finding that some Japanese companies owe financial restitution to make up for Korean forced labor in the second world War. This led to a mighty political row, and eventually to a rather mysterious decision by Japan to end free trade on some strategic products. These included crucial supplies for Koreas electronic industry - a rather big party of Koreas export oriented industry. This led to a very predictable scramble to find alternate suppliers, ideally within Korea.

For decades, the world moved toward a highly integrated supply chain. Now, some politicians show that these supply chains can be rather fragile if you are have the wrong kind of nationalists in charge (putting your own country first, without any vare for the bigger picture). This will cost the world dearly, but maybe we'll have more robust supply chains as a result. Otoh, we may just end up with increasing nationalism, tit for tat politics, and all kinds of international conflictsnrhe we all but forgot about in the golden age of international cooperation.

Another anti-immigrant rant goes viral in America – and this time it's by a British, er, immigrant tech CEO

Schultz Silver badge
Go

"I'm probably pretty racist but I try not to be."

The above is a much healthier attitude than that reflected by the statement "We've be taught that people are equal ..." farther above. It's not what you've been taught that matters. It's your own actions and words that matter.

Our brains always make assumptions about others -- this is how it works. If we blindly trust that gut feeling, it might make us a racist or a sexist .... This is not because we make a conscious decision to be racist or sexist, but because our brain extrapolates from past experience. I know a women who is a bad driver, but this doesn't make all women bad drivers and I should check that assumption before voicing it. Otherwise I am a sexist and nothing I have been taught will change that fact.

Trump's bright idea of kicking out foreign students unless unis resume in-person classes stuns tech, science world

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Unhappy

Re: "The last thing America needs right now is a brain drain"

We like to think in absolutes, but the brain drain happens piecemeal. In ten to twenty years, we can look back and point out how the brain drain hurt the US. Or maybe not.

Smart choices today will build the world of tomorrow. Or not.

Euro police forces infiltrated encrypted phone biz – and now 'criminal' EncroChat users are being rounded up

Schultz Silver badge

"the French police might actually have done something good"

What, Lois DeFunes doesn't get any credits for years of hilarious work in the French police? What about Jacques Clouseau, he was very successful solving international crime!?

Stinker, emailer, trawler, spy: How an engineer stole top US chip designs, smuggled them to China to set up a rival fab

Schultz Silver badge
Stop

"anyone who even has a Chinese sounding name wont be working in any high tech industry in the west"

I think you are mistaken. There are more than 1 billion Chinese and many more Asians whose name might sound Chinese to you. That is a big talent pool you want to discriminate against. Next you have many USAsians with Chinese ancestors who might object to racial profiling. Finally, there is plenty of corporate spying from all directions, not just from Chinese -- even if the latter are today's favorite whipping boys.

Painting the world in black-and-white and propagating a us-versus-them culture did not lead to great results in the past. I don't think it'll be a great recipe for success in the future.

It's National Cream Tea Day and this time we end the age-old debate once and for all: How do you eat yours?

Schultz Silver badge
Happy

... it wasn't bad, it just wasn't good either

I love the Korean way to distinguish tasty (맛이다) from not tasty (맛업다). Whether you like it is a completely different question that is rarely raised.

Internet Society, remember your embarrassing .org flub? The actual internet society would like to talk about it

Schultz Silver badge

hard to see how ISOC could "regain the trust"

For starters, they could replace the people involved to clarify that selling assets to the highest bidder (or your buddies) is not part of the job description.

Detroit cops cuffed, threw a dad misidentified by facial recognition in jail. Now the ACLU's demanding action

Schultz Silver badge
Stop

The problem is not the AI, it's the police

(1) If you run face recognition against a large enough database, you must expect false positives even if the false positive rate is very low. The same would happen if you have a human comparing faces. It is stupid to use such dragnet methods for police work.

(2) Do you think that an average white man would have been arrested without at least some rudimentary investigation?

The fact that the police went out and arrested a black man without second thoughts probably reflects racial bias of the police. This doesn't need to reflect overt racism, but it highlights that black people are treated differently. Let's see if the currently political protests change anything. We definitely seem to hear more about those stories than we did in the past.

Maybe there is hope for 2020: AI that 'predicts criminality' from faces with '80% accuracy, no bias' gets in the sea

Schultz Silver badge
Angel

... what kind of theory

This type of research is still based on the wrong premise. You should create an AI that determines whether someone is a criminal. It'll have 100% accuracy, obviously. You can then proceed to virtually prosecute those criminals, virtually sentence them, and virtually lock them away. Do it all in the cloud and it'll be much less disruptive than traditional (offline) policing.

What could possibly make a cranky crocodylomorph more terrifying? How about one that chases you on its hind legs?

Schultz Silver badge
Go

Impressive tracks

If you are in the Sacheon area, make sure to check out the tracks, they are truly impressive. If you aren't, then what are you waiting for? Oh right, covid ...

http://www.cha.go.kr/eng_webzine/2008/summer/doc_5.html

As Uncle Sam flies spy drones over protest-packed cities, Homeland Security asks the public if that's a good idea

Schultz Silver badge
Alert

"lol they're just using them for surveillance"

You could make a strong case that the police or firefighters should use drones to help with search and rescue operations or to track forest fires. By all means, we should discuss for which situations the benefit is worth the cost and then draw up rules for the use of drones in well-defined circumstances. But to give the all-encompassing Homeland Security agency permission to use drones for "...many other use cases" sounds a bit too broad to allow a meaningful discussion.

If they wanted your informed feedback, they would inform you about what they want to do with the drones. They don't, so feel free to think about child rescue, hellfire missiles, or Orwell-style surveillance. That tells the rest of us a lot about you, but it doesn't contribute to a constructive discussion about drone use.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes: UK man gets 3 years for torching 4G phone mast over 5G fears

Schultz Silver badge
Happy

Re: Terrahawks Attack!

Just to put things into perspective, the demolition of actin filaments in living cells described in [https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-65955-5] required pulsed THz radiation with 64 MW/cm**2 intensities. (80-microJoule pulses with 5 ps duration, collimated to 4 mm diameter at some 500 Hz repetition rate.) The authors themselves discuss that the resulting mechanical shock-wave affects the actin filaments, not the THz pulses themselves.

Then the authors (it's a medical journal) show their ignorance of basic physical knowledge with statements such as: "In the near future, THz waves will become a popular tool used in daily life. However, focused THz radiation might exceed the 80 μJ/cm2 energy threshold, changing actin structure. Therefore, the biological effects of THz radiation via shockwaves must be considered when defining safety standards." When parsing this statement, be aware that they used a >>$10**7 Free Electron Laser, which is pretty much the only tool we have to generate such intense but short THz pulses. Longer pulses are easier to generate (5G!), but you can't reach MW powers. It should be obvious to the physically educated reader, that generating 64 MW/cm**2 focused EM energy is not trivial; your microwave reaches some 600 W and represents the optimized tool to cook proteins.

Schultz Silver badge
Facepalm

"...others [...] present themselves as experts and scientist have when they should not."

I am a scientist and I work with high-energy infrared, visible and ultraviolet lasers (1.5 exaHertz to 1.5 TeraHertz), measure molecular spectra in the GigaHertz to TeraHertz regime, and I use electronic devices emitting frequencies below GigaHertz on a daily basis -- like most modern humans you might encounter. I teach quantum mechanics and understand the science behind matter-light interaction pretty well (of course within the limits of our current scientific models). I published extensively on bio-molecular photochemistry -- that's the part where EM radiation destroys molecules and therefore might kill you.

Now, after having presented myself as a scientist, let me tell you that 5G technology will not harm you, except in fringe cases where you might hurt yourself when your drive your car into a cellphone tower. If you want to learn more, I suggest you enroll in some University program and study the matter.

Good enough?

Schultz Silver badge
Trollface

EM proliferation

I suggest you move off into the outer solar system if you want to live in an EM-poor neighborhood. Every time you feel the warmth of the sun, you are bathed in atrocious quantities of EM radiation -- no cellphone tower can give you that kind of EM overdose!

Amazon declined to sell a book so Elon Musk called for it to be broken up

Schultz Silver badge
Stop

"...Christian bookshop getting told it cannot [...] follow Christian beliefs ..."

Now I have read the Harry Potter series and would be the first to agree that there is weird stuff going on in the UK (flying Ford Anglias?!). But a bookstore being forced to forego its Christian beliefs? That just sounds too far out there to be true.

Please stick to established facts or fictions when posting in this forum.

The UK's favourite lockdown cheese is Big and Red but doesn't require a stinking great audit after consumption

Schultz Silver badge
Stop

... chew a bar of soap for all the flavour it doesn't have...

You didn't properly chew your bar of soap if you think it tasteless. I once bit into one as a kid, taking it for marzipan. It takes a lot of water and time to recalibrate your tastebuds after such an experience. .

Nothing beats experimental science, I say.

Australia to refund $720m in 'debts' determined by dodgy algorithm

Schultz Silver badge
Coat

"...the conclusion that I was some kind of welfare cheat."

For some, the fact that you received welfare payments is enough to make you a welfare cheat. Righteous citizens collect tax credits and subsidies, not welfare benefits!

It's funny how 'class warfare' is no longer waged by the poor and suppressed, but by the rich and influential. They developed an acute understanding that every dollar going into the welfare system is a dollar that could have (should have) lined a deserving pocket nearby.

CEO of AI surveillance upstart Banjo walks the plank after white supremacist past sinks contracts

Schultz Silver badge

"AI can't be intrinsically biased"

Isn't thar statement a bit like "humans are born free of sin"? Technically correct, but not very helpful to discuss the human condition.

Schultz Silver badge
Holmes

Carrying a gun in a non threatening manner....

I actually went to look at the raw video just now to see how the shooting happened - also because I was curious how you carry a shotgun in a non threatening manner. I saw a black man trying to run around a pickup truck and emerging on a fight with a guy holding a gun. No indication that he did anything but try to get around the guys who blocked his way. But then, the video doesn't seem to show some crucial moments in the confrontation.

I guess everybody will see what he likes in a video such as this. Call it a Rohrschach test for the viewer. So we won't learn anything about the shooting here, but may learn a lot about our fellow commenters.

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Spacecraft with graphene sails powered by starlight and lasers

Schultz Silver badge
Boffin

Graphene: The solution looking for a problem.

But really, their light-sail is mostly copper with a bit of graphene on top. They did punch holes in the copper, so the graphene does fill some holes in the copper surface :).

What I found troubling was a statement in the abstract, tat: "The measured thrust is one order of magnitude larger than the theoretical calculations for radiation pressure alone. This calls for further theoretical studies and increases the interest of graphene as light-sail material."

Sounds like they are ablating some material, which would make it more of a rocket, less of a light-sail.

When the chips are down, thank goodness for software engineers: AI algorithms 'outpace Moore's law'

Schultz Silver badge
Boffin

Learning curve

I would claim that there is a significant difference between the learning curve described here and the engineering capabilities described by Moore's law. Learning curves can be expected to start steep and fall off rapidly, whereas Moore's law remained steady for decades.

Did we reach maximum AI hype (haip?) yet? You know it's around the corner.

OK, so you've air-gapped that PC. Cut the speakers. Covered the LEDs. Disconnected the monitor. Now, about the data-leaking power supply unit...

Schultz Silver badge
Flame

Re: SecureFiles (TM)

At some point we have to accept that an all-purpose computation and communication device (aka, a personal computer) is not the right device to handle and store sensitive information. If it should really stay secret, then you have to invest some more money, effort and time. Paper copies might still be a large part of that effort :). And they are easy to destroy.

A big part of our modern problem is the proliferation of "sensitive data". If everything is labeled secret and a million people should have access to it, the the system is designed to fail. But our modern governments, for some reason, like to declare lots of things secret. It'll only get worse with the US-China tensions and the predictable claims of stolen technology that we'll hear as Chinese companies continue to grow.

International space station connects 100Mbps symmetric space laser ethernet using Sony optical disc tech

Schultz Silver badge
Boffin

Nice technology

But for space-to-space communication, they should find a better compromise between sender and receiver size. Adding 1 m receiver telescopes to satellites sounds like an expensive proposition and might not be competitive with simple radiowave antennas. Having a 1 m telescope on earth is, of course, much simpler.

In the end, lasers will only be superior if you require the spatial collimation of the laser beam for directional transmission. This comes with a cost because modulating signals onto a laser beam is rather inefficient as compared to transmitting the same signal directly through an antenna. It'll be interesting to see where this technology goes. On earth, laser communication has been proposed many times -- but real-life applications seem rare.

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word

Schultz Silver badge
Go

Re: What's next?

Why not type the German Style? Capitalize all Nouns like God told you to? Makes your Sentences look nice and removes the special Treatment of God, Monday, my dog Boomer, the Catholic church, and New York.

Seriously, it's all just a convention and we should keep it simple. Don't sweat the details, that's why you type in LaTeX.

Beste Gr\"u\sse,

Dein Grammatiknazi

Somewhere, way out there, two black holes, one large and one small, merged. And here on Earth, we detected the gravitational wave blast

Schultz Silver badge

Big black holes and critical mass ...

There is a critical mass required to make a black hole, but there is no indication that there is an upper limit for their size. If two black holes collide, they create a bigger black hole. And then the black hole shrinks by evaporation, as described by Hawkins. Nothing particularly spectacular, as long as you stay away from that event horizon!

Schultz Silver badge
Boffin

Speed of gravity waves

All waves (electromagnetic force, gravity, weak and strong nuclear force) travel more or less with light speed. Interaction with matter slows down the wave propagation, but as gravity interactions are weak (long-range, but weak) and space is very empty, the speed of gravity waves is very close to that of light in vacuum.

We watch these mergers happen in real-time (just shifted by the propagation time until the waves traveled here). You could say that these mergers happen over millions of years, but we only detect signals from the last fractions of a second, when those massive objects circle with extreme speed at close range. When the masses are farther apart and travel more slowly, the gravitational waves are just too weak to detect.

ICE cold: Microsoft's GitHub wrings hands over US prez's Trump immigration ban plan

Schultz Silver badge
Stop

"... it is difficult to justify bringing in non-Americans to take the jobs that do remain."

Except that a big part of the US success story is based on bringing in those immigrants. I shouldn't have to mention people like Nadella or Musk as paragons of success (you heard those stories, right?) -- but it is a hard fact that the US took in lots of immigrants and became the preeminent economic power based on their hard work and creative influence.

In the bigger picture, foreigners taking your job is a load of xenophobic propaganda. The purpose is to distract people from the politics that matter. Hands up, who had his job stolen by a Mexican gardener, a Polish plumber, a Syrian refugee? Thought so. There surely are some issues with immigration -- but the next generation of your kind is at least as troublesome in staling your jobs, depressing your pay, and destroying your great and holy culture.

Amirite?

Lockdown endgame? There won't be one until the West figures out its approach to contact-tracing apps

Schultz Silver badge
Go

Quite some use

Here in Korea, testing and tracing seems to work pretty well. If someone is infected, his recent movement is analyzed (not with a proactive tracking app!). If the person visited a public place while infectious, the public is notified (e.g., supermarket, restaurant, or now with the recent imported cases the airport and public transport). If you think you may have caught it because you were in contact with someone infected or you have symptoms, you can go get tested at a dedicated drive-in facility. You are strongly discouraged to show up in a hospital -- you will get picked up by the specialists if required.

Korea is now down to a single-digit number of cases per day. Although I wonder how the numbers will change after the recent relaxation of stay-at-home advisories.

ICANN delays .org sell off after California's attorney general intervenes at last minute, tears non-profit a new one over sale

Schultz Silver badge
Go

As any TV-watching fool knows...

the AG has resources to investigate and has a short line to the judge if the investigation turns up something interesting. So you don't want to draw his attention.

ICANN suffers split-personality disorder as deadline for .org sale decision draws close

Schultz Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: You bet?

Nice theory. Any facts?

The opacity created by the shell company structure is a quite solid fact. Why go to such length to hide the men behind the business? Well, there would be the one obvious explanation offered by the original post.

Just because graft is hard to prove doesn't justify that ICANN closes both eyes and waves the transaction through. Maybe they should take their responsibilities seriously -- and stay aware of how their public image might be affected. Trust is easily lost but hard to earn.

Schultz Silver badge
Stop

Re: "to make sure the technical side of the internet always took precedence over the financial"

"In the world we live in, all that counts is the almighty dollar."

But the regulation of internet names is not a business with an open market fostering competition. ICANN supervises a monopoly that controls access. When they allow companies to extract rent from this system then this creates zero beneficial value for society.

It is akin to highway robbery - somebody gets rich by extracting value from everyone traveling on the streets. Or maybe I am unfair here, because those registrar companies actually invest in the internet infrastructure. So it's more like selling a monopoly on placing street signs - together with the right to tax all traffic at unregulated level.

This whole story about the org sale just illustrates that the system is broken. Street signs are part of the road infrastructure but should not make an insane profit for somebody. And it doesn't become right even if the proceeds go towards otphan homes, all the saints, and your favorite animal shelter.

Come to GoDaddy: 12 million domains – from .biz to .nyc – acquired from Neustar amid promises of lower prices

Schultz Silver badge
Stop

“flexible terms” for domains

Am I the only on reading this as: "we wait until you have a user base and make money and then we own you"? Maybe I am cynical here, I just recently learned that domains are monetizsble on the gigadollar scale.

Concerning that "strict separation between the registry and registrar sides of the business", doesn't anybody remember how that impenetrable Chinese Wall worked out in investment banking? A conflict of interest remains a conflict of interest and will not vanish when the company waves their magic wand.

Microsoft expands AI features in Office, but are they any good? Mixed, according to our vulture

Schultz Silver badge
Go

What would Orwell say?

Checking for "wordiness, use of clichés, complex wording, and vague or unnecessary adverbs" sounds reasonably close to his six rules for writing. But sending all your writing to the somewhat big brother?

I call it a doubleplusgood Orwellian innovation. (What would Clippy say?)

Want to see through walls? Electroboffins build tiny chip in the lab that vibrates at just the right frequency to do it

Schultz Silver badge
Boffin

Oooh the hype!

Let me first clarify the science behind this story:

The researchers take an ordinary, boring high-frequency source (they show data using a 10 MHz source) and send it through their "switch". Each time the "boring source" output exceeds a threshold voltage, their switch turns on very fast, leading to a sharp (picosecond) voltage rise at the output. When the boring source output goes low, the switch output falls again -- although slowly.

When you take that fast rising pulse and send it through a suitable circuit, you can get some very short pulse corresponding to the derivative of the pulse rise. So they can get a very short THz frequency pulse (picosecond duration). Then they have to wait for their boring source to go low and go up to the threshold voltage again before they can get another pulse (100 ns wait time for the 10 MHz boring source).

The great "power" of the source (power = energy / time) is, of course, calculated for the picosecond duration. But when you account for the long wait between the pulses, you'll notice that the average power is not impressive. It's a nanoscale device, so don't get overexcited!

The yadayada on the Great Power of Microwaves is factually correct, but falls into the category of the famous exam answer: "The questions about worms is interesting, because worms have similar shape and mobility to elephant trunks and I can tell you all about elephants ..." Concerning wireless communication, I don't see how a fast switch with very long reset time will help. Maybe some more magic to come...

Don't believe the hype: Today's AI unlikely to best actual doctors at diagnosing patients from medical scans

Schultz Silver badge
Boffin

What is Science?

Strictly speaking, science is the observation and modeling of those things we can't yet observe or model. Maybe substitute 'understand' for 'model' for a clearer picture of what science does -- although most scientists would be careful to use such vague wording.

Applying a technology (e.g., AI) to second guess clinical diagnostics is technology, not science. Science would enter the picture if something unexpected would be learned from such a system. But that is not the goal of AI in most cases. In a clinical setting, the goal is to systematically exploit our knowledge of "this image shows cancerous tissue, that image does not".

The boundary between science and technology can be fuzzy sometimes -- new technology is often required to make new observations. But you can quite clearly distinguish the two if you look at the motivation of the researcher / engineer, or at the results (in hindsight ;).

Theranos vampire lives on: Owner of failed blood-testing biz's patents sues maker of actual COVID-19-testing kit

Schultz Silver badge
Boffin

Bad arguments

The fact that Theranos owned the patent doesn't reflect on the novelty or validity of the patent at all. Similarly, the fact that the company being sued works on Coronavirus testing kit (who doesn't, these days?) does not reflect on the merits of the case.

I would agree that the patent system is broken, but you can only fix it by thorough screening of the patents, by figuring out what type of innovation should be patentable, by killing the incentives to submit, grant, and litigate in quantity rather than quality. This story does not contribute to the discussion in a meaningful way.

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