* Posts by mr.K

403 publicly visible posts • joined 14 Nov 2007


Multi-tasker Musk expects to reduce time at Twitter, seek another leader


What do they do?

Being such a basic service; besides the moderators, which is a labour intensive job, what do all these other employees do? I understand that scale implies more people, but still.

This is a genuine question coming from ignorance. I have never been involved in projects with that many users and I am not a twiddler myself. I do understand Microsoft, Google and Apple that actually delivers services and products, but these social media platforms doesn't really seem to provide anything that has any complexity to it. Is it just marketing and engineering how to exploit user data, or am I missing something?

We were promised integrated packages. Instead we got disintegrated apps


"Editor's note: After a great, long run, this will be our last Something For The Weekend column. Check out the links above for the SFTW archives"

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Earth's wobbly companion is probably the result of a lunar impact, reckon space boffins


Re: Huh?

I think the simplest answer is that a true satellite lies within what they call the Hill sphere. The Hill sphere to an object is the region where its gravity dominates. Remember it is quite far out, around 0.1 AU. Both of us “just happen” to orbit the sun in the two different orbits with the same orbital period and about the same place in the orbit. Remove the sun and I think we would just drift apart.

This drag sail could prevent spacecraft from turning into long-term orbiting junk. We spoke to its inventors ahead of launch


My thoughts on it is that this is just a test, and there might be a much larger reduction in orbit time for other vehicles later. And should one be so unfortunate as to hit the sail it would not be as catastrophic as other space collisions. A larger piece of debris such a piece of pipe would shatter a satellite, but just tear a hole through the sail.

FSF doubles down on Richard Stallman's return: Sure, he is 'troubling for some' but we need him, says org


I think your last point is fair. But reading some of the debate I do think people want to silence him and there needs to be some acknowledgement that it is at least dangerous water to venture into.


First, you are creating a straw man.

Second, you could say that about any position "I've never been a leader/programmer/architect/fireman/mother ...."


"Is this another one of those twitter storms in a tea cup where the professionally offended get...well....offended"

I dunno, without having read all he has written, but tried to find examples. I think it is one of these cases were people default to rage instead of debate. I find it sad that it happens within a part of our society that claims to be inclusive and claims to seek the truth through debate and examination. I am not saying the rage can't be justified. There is plenty of elements in our society that is bad. Elements being both persons, groups and systemic. I am saying that, first: rage is often the wrong tool if you want results and second: that if you default to it you will certainly end up fuelling the society you do not want and even turning your own side into it.

What is boils down to is:

Who the speaker is matters. Is it veiled speak from a politician trying to cover up "illegitimate" views with seemingly legit arguments, is it a guy on the spectrum looking at the world and society as an intellectual exercise or somebody that is simply not enlightened yet in some understanding of the world. Against neither of these rage would be a good tool. The politician in this case is a liar and the arguments needs to be undressed and unpacked, not for the benefit of the politician, but for the benefit of the people he or she is trying to convince. The person that is not enlightened you have to understand the background to. For any of us over the age of twenty, there are lots of majority opinions that existed when we were born that has already been moved to unacceptable. People that lag a little behind the times need to included and brought up to speed. Unless we do so we will create a society which will throw us all under the bus when we age a little. And last, what about the guy on the spectrum. Here we have some perfect example that using rage in a quest for social justice and a tolerant society ends up being exclusive and narrow minded. One is literally attacking somebody due to an attribute that person is born with. Seems to me like a definition of something.

Attacking people that simply needs to be taught is exactly the thing we are trying to get rid of and it is attacking the very fabric of the path forward for any society. It disgusts me to the core and this whimsical rage that exists, in the so called academia and among those that claim to be educated, is a cancer and it may very well bring the western world to end. And there we have it, I am raging as well sums my point up quite nicely.

Want to be friends, or at least friendly enough to talk to each other?

Move aside, Technoking: All hail the Sweat Master and his many inspirational job titles


Re: Mock tech-knocking as much as you like ...

I love how you use the term "them" when you clearly mean "us" or maybe just "me".

(Joke alert, because, well, we are talking about ending peoples life here, and, this being the Internet, I think it is wise to have a disclaimer that says that I don't want to end peoples life.)

Soft-shell robot uses snailfish features to sail though Mariana Trench stress test


Sharks with lasers?

How is it supposed to combat sharks with friggin lasers?

NTT boffins reckon they’ve out-randomed current quantum random number generators


It will be a close call. The word on the street is that we will have both in around fifty years time.

Until then we'll make due with new battery technologies which we will see in a few years time.

Scottish rocketeers Orbex commission Europe's largest industrial 3D printer to crank out 35 engines a year


Re: Metric tonne?

I think the point is that tonne is the name for metric ton. There is no short or long tonne, as tonne (with the additionally -ne) is exclusively used for the metric ton. Thus speaking of metric tonne is somewhat similar to "IT-technology".

I did not know this before reading the comment. The comments in this lesbian on-line magazine is making me learn things all the time.

One careful driver: Make room in the garage... Bloodhound jet-powered car is up for sale


I tend to agree. And as people point out a lot of things are pointless I would like to clarify: I don't object to it. I just don't understand it. That in itself makes it fascinating though.

Why I don't understand it is that I can understand trying to beat records, but not the category. When you remove the constraint that is has to be wheel powered then you are basically left with how fast you can make a rocket go while touching the ground. Which seems rather odd. It is an unreasonable constraint on rockets and unreasonable loose constraint on what a car means. It is like having the fastest submarine in the world by submerging it in a rail road car and sending it down the rails.

But by all means, go for it. As for me, I find your fascination fascinating.

Japan pours millions into AI-powered dating to get its people making babies again


Re: It's not dating, it's the society

I am not so sure humans are naturally programmed to procreate. There are strong culturally embedded drives to procreate, but naturally...I dunno. A strong sexual drive and a freakishly strong drive to take of our children results in procreation. But being the result of two natural drives are not the same as being a natural drives in itself.

In early societies the difference would be nil since sex tend to lead to children. In a modern society it is a choice. However there will be a lag, because another driver for human behaviour is cultural and our wants and needs are inherited. I.e. we look to our parents to see what they have/had and tend to want the same thing. This will of course change a little by little and now fifty plus years after we got the choice we have gone from large lots of children, to three to four per woman, to two, to one, and now some choose not to. As I speak to this generation I get the feeling that more and more actually make a choice. While speaking to the last generation I find quite a few that says they had children because that is something one just did, i.e. not a real choice.

Getting back on topic. If you want people to have more babies to avoid a collapse, and we are talking collapse here. You have to use two strategies.

1. Change your society so that people want children in the first place.

2. Change your society so that people can afford more children, if they choose.

Neither are solved with a dating app (and I am pleased that my dictionary doesn't recognize that last word).

The nightmare is real: 'Excel formulas are the world's most widely used programming language,' says Microsoft


Re: Inappropriate

These days nobody are allowed to "touch neutral nets", social distancing and all...

All right, all right, I'll go. Mines the one with the guide to self love in it.


Re: Makes sense

....builder? Who said anything about being a builder?

Behold, the Ultimately Large Telescope: A revived proposal for a 100-metre liquid-mirror star scanner on the Moon


Re: liquid?

No, it will not move by a lot. The rotational axis of any object is basically stable no matter how many orbits it is part of. Yes, the moon will of course change position during a year by around 300 million kilometres, but the axis will point the same way. When you look to the edge of observable space I don't think that 300 million kilometres would blur the image by much. You are right in that it will rotate though, or move in small circles if it points a little bit off centre. However the moon rotates very slowly.


Re: To scale, or not to scale?

But is he included or sold separately?


Re: liquid?

You are kind of right, but a few things:

First you are wrong about the bit with "and only for as long as it does" in the way that being at one of the poles "as long as it does" is forever. Doesn't mute your point though. However it can change direction a bit by moving the detector.

Second, with what they are trying to find out with, it doesn't really matter which way they point it. It has a specific goal. So, yes it is limited, but only to the degree one can say that the Mars rovers also are limited by being confined to a small area on a single planet.

US-EU project to bring Mars samples back to Earth needs two more years, extra $4bn, watchdog warns


Re: How much?!

After all, Musk is known for keeping his deadlines.

America's democracy on the brink, Brexit looming, climate crashing... when better to get the first fast radio burst from our own galaxy?


Re: Not even close

First time I have logged on just to downvote somebody.

Buddy, you are off-topic. No, the topic is not an invite to discuss brexit or US elections, it is humour. And when you get all this flak and down-votes and you clearly understand it by going AC, just let it go and fight your battle somewhere else. This is the Internet, there is room for your opinions somewhere.

We know there are a lot of, er, distractions right now but NASA's got some sweet video of its asteroid rubble raiser


I have read that claim before, which is just that a claim. A claim fundamentally flawed and quite frankly ridiculous. <disclaimer>Well...my claim is that the claim is fundamentally flawed and ridiculous. It might of course be that it is my claim that is so. And I am probably less qualified that Drew Smith.</disclaimer>

It is ridiculous because it is empirically wrong. There are loads of examples here on earth that bacteria that reach new shores can thrive quite well and create havoc. Okay, there is co-evolution still because if you go far enough back all life on earth has evolved together.

It is ridiculous because it doesn't define what an extraterrestrial bacteria is. Bacteria is a form of life on earth, extraterrestrial bacteria is therefore not a thing by definition. So to apply the constraints on how they operate in a body (and those constraints are both wrong and applied wrong btw) makes no sense. Does he mean extraterrestrial life that resemble bacteria? Would that exclude life that resembles single celled parasites more? What about fungi? Or viruses? Or something that fails to fall into our six types of life completely?

It is ridiculous because it turns the argument of co-evolution on its head. It is because we have co-evolved that it is so hard for the bacteria to attack us. All the creatures that hasn't encountered something they couldn't cope with has died and also then the attacking bacteria. He is using the main driving mechanism of evolution as a proof that the mechanism in itself can't happen. The goal of parasitic life isn't to kill its host, or at least the population of hosts. If it did, it would itself die out. Co-evolution is a driver to make it less deadly and benign, where the most successful end up being symbiotic. It can't be used as an argument that it has to be co-evolution to be deadly.

It is ridiculous because the claim isn't that probability is low. The claim is zero. It is a hard number to grasp in probability it is somewhat like proving a negative. He is claiming that there are no conceivable way for an alien type of life to have any form of mechanism that can prove to be deadly for any human. Life we know nothing about except it is constrained by the laws of physics. Or again, am I butting my head against some weird constraints of extraterrestrial bacteria which is a non-thing. Do they have to attack the cells for nutrients? Is it enough that they feed of something else and produce a toxin? No? What about if they are in themselves toxic? What if we are allergic, does that count? etc

ISS? More like HISS, am I right? Space station air leakage narrowed down to Russia's Zvezda module



As long as 2020 will come to an end, I don't care.

Did this airliner land in the North Sea? No. So what happened? El Reg probes flight tracker site oddity


Grandma on a flight?

Grandma on a flight? What kind of pre-covid19 madness is this?

What a time to be alive: Floating Apple store bobs up in Singapore


The Latter Day Mac

And at the turn of the millennia the old gods had to make room for the new and give way to the church of Jobs and the Latter Day Mac. In the east they build a temple to perform the ascension ritual of commerce.

Apple to Epic: Sue me? No, sue you, pal!


Re: Oh come on


(btw, what is this Epic Apple anyway?)

Space station update: Mystery tiny but growing air leak sparks search for hole


Re: Call a plumber

As if one trip will be enough. First trip to assess the damage, then they have to go out and get the parts and then one more trip for the tools.

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


Re: Non-binary

Binary can be any number you want if it can be written as a fraction of two to the power of n. So, no, not just 0 and 1. That would be a binary digit. Yes, technically it can't have decimals, but can have digits after the radix point, ex 101.110 = 5.75 . Some can't be translated like 1/3 can't be written in base ten, 1/5 can't be written in base two.

So we should all go out correct people that argue against a binary gender classification that what they really mean is that gender is not single digit binary, or single bit, or that they should use words and expression they know the meaning of like "either/or".

I think this plan will go over really well.


I want to discriminated correctly!

“Think how a trans man might feel if targeted by ads for stereotypically gendered female things, or vice versa," Constanza-Chock said. "Or the harm in opportunity cost of not showing employment ads to people based on misgendered assumptions.”

I don't know where to begin. I mean...come on...seriously?

Okay, first of all, seeing advertisement that is not meant for you is how it has been done since the start. I have not yet felt very offended as a bloke by seeing ads for scented soap. Okay, I can see that it is a little different when that is all of what you get for a while until the algorithms figure out your gender, but nah it happens all the time. And why is gender the only demographic that matters. The wast majority of advertisement I am exposed to are not meant for me. I will never buy a car, I don't need a credit card and I am not sure I will subscribe to "We Over 60" just yet.

Second, the problem is not that you are shown the wrong stereotypical advertisement, but that the advertisement are stereotypical. They are stereotypical because it works, and case and point here where the offence is taken not by that they are but that somebody might be shown the wrong one.

Third, ffs, if a job ad is only shown to one gender then the company is breaking the law in most countries and would regardless have PR disaster on their hand. Is Constanza-Chock here seriously saying that if a company won't show me a job ad for a manager position because it thinks I am a woman the problem is the "misgendered assumption" and not the blatant discrimination?

There's a new comet in town and you don't need a fancy multi-million-dollar telescope to see it. Just regular eyeballs


Re: I'd like to see it

Wouldn't that be because Mars' orbit is closer to ours so that distance vary much more? At it's closest it is less that 0.4 AU and furthest over 2.5 AU, six times more. Yes, the eccentric orbit factors in there a little bit, but with a circular orbit it would be around 0.5 AU and 2.5AU. While Jupiter is around 4AU at its closest and 6 AU furthest away, only 50% more.

Okay, you might not see it clearly when it is furthest away due to some other bright object out there, but I think my point still stand...I think.

Royal Navy nuclear submarine captain rapped for letting crew throw shoreside BBQ party


Re: Same property?

Well, I live alone now...

Boffins examine interstellar comet Borisov to find out what its home was like. Pretty unpleasant, it seems


Re: Why a red dwarf?

“We think it’s more likely to be the latter case – it comes from a cold red dwarf because there are far more red dwarfs in our Milky Way galaxy than other hotter stars. However, we are still far from saying exactly what’s going on around its host star when planets formed there."


I can't say that they are more frequent than we realised or not, but they are more frequent than we have been able to detect. Think about it, it has taken us a great while to detect most objects in our solar system. They are here for a long time while these just pass through, quite quickly. To be able to detect them we need several things to happen. They need to come close enough, be big enough and bright enough, and we need to look in their direction over a period of time. If we are really lucky they get so close that they start to send out gas and dust making them much more easy to spot. Also, and here I am guessing it will help if they come in close to the plane of our solar system, since we have more cameras looking for things in that plane. (not sure if plane is the right word here, plane of orbits..dunno)

Kepler telescope is dead but the data lives on: Earth-sized habitable zone planet found after boffins check for errors


Re: Age?

Did I hear somebody mention toast? How about a muffin?


What is this "simply by getting there"? What do you know? I want answers.

COVID-19 is pretty nasty but maybe this is taking social distancing too far? Universe may not be expanding equally in all directions


Re: Dark energy

Nah, you should try to change the point of reference.

"Yes, I was driving 85 mph in reference to this state, but I believe this is an interstate highway and thus I should use Washington DC as a reference frame. So according to this bit of trigonometry and factoring in that DC also is further north thus moving slower and I was moving against the rotation of the earth, I would like to point out that..."


flat = infinite ?

Okay, this interests me. I have never understood why a flat universe equals an infinite one, or believed to equal at least. I do not see the link. I would really welcome a feedback on this and feel free to correct my assumptions below.

As I understand it, if it is flat the parts that we currently can see can't be all of it, because that would mean that we are in the centre given that we see an equal distance in every direction. Also we do know that it is expanding and stuff should keep falling outside the "visibility edge" (in lack a of a better term), so if it is what we currently see then we have reached a point in time where we see exactly to the edge. Both of which is possible, but so unlikely that it can be disregarded.

However, why can't there be a number between one and infinity? Why can't the universe be one point eleven trillion times bigger than what we can see?

Second question: The surface of a balloon mental picture, isn't that reserved for a curved universe?

Academic showdown as boffins biff-baff over when Version 1.0 of Earth's magnetic core was released


No opinion

I have no opinion on this.

Good luck pitching a tent on exoplanet WASP-76b, the bloody raindrops here are made out of molten iron


Re: Puzzled!

That it is a gas giant.

Astroboffin Kurtz ends 40-year quest to find a predicted one-sided vibrating star that was never seen – until now


Re: Why doesn't the red dwarf bulge too?

If I understand this correctly the gravity on the surface of red dwarfs is actually higher than on bigger stars. The simple explanation for this is that they are less hot so more dense. It might help the understanding to think of red giants which the sun will become where the mass remains the same but the radius expands out to Earth.

The little more complex explanation you get from doing the calculation with:

g = Gm/r^2

Punch in the numbers from the table at:


Where you see that the radius and mass is nearly linked and results in the gravity on the surface of the red dwarf is way higher.

There are some caveats though. Since it is relative to the actual radius to the objects it will decrease much more rapidly when you go out of the gravity well of the smaller star than the bigger one. I.e. you are already so far out from the centre of gravity on the bigger one that any additional distance will have less impact. But I do think this will not counter the overall effect enough so that the gravitational effect from each will be bigger on the larger star than the smaller.

Alternate explanation: The artist got it wrong and mainly wanted to illustrate the bulge in the bigger one.

Ever dream of being an astronaut? Now’s your chance. NASA wants new people for the Moon and Mars


Kinda, less than 100km doesn't qualify

In case you wanna launch your boss into the Sun, good news: Earth's largest solar telescope just checked and, yeah, it's still pretty fiery


Re: Reg units

I like it when it is possible with an exact conversion between my units of measurements so Wales being so close to 3%, can we just define it to be exactly that? We just need to add 135 km2 to Wales or remove 4495 km2 from Texas. I am sure people will understand the reasoning and thus not create any tension.

Star wreck: There's a 1 in 20 chance a NASA telescope and US military satellite will smash into each other today


Re: Recycling

Sigh... you are mixing up two different TV-shows, Star Galactica and Trek Wars 5.

World-record-breaking boffins reveal the fastest spinning thing on Earth – and it's not George Orwell in his grave


Re: A tiny amount of drag

I always thought drag quarks to be a little strange...

Google ex-employees demand retribution for Thanksgiving massacre



What does that even mean, "Formally adopted as the company's motto."?

Do they have to go to town hall or a nearby church, or is enough to publicly announce it?

"We here at Google, in front of God, countrymen and these witnesses, which to make it clear...."

Isn't the whole concept of a motto informal to it's core?

Space-wrecks: Elon's prototype Moon ferry Starship blows its top during fuel tank test


Re: "anomaly"

Maybe he did, but he also keeps referring to "hard starts" etc.

Reaction Engines' precooler tech demo chills 1,000°C air in less than 1/20th of a second


Re: This is truely impressive

Does it? After reading up, I don't see any mention on splitting air into nitrogen and oxygen. I don't see how -150C should help with that anyway. At least as far as the Wikipedia article suggests the precooler is there to prevent the engine from melting or blowing up due to the high pressure without the need for very heavy parts. It seems that during air-breathing mode air is used directly in the combustion. Feel free to correct me if I am mistaken.

When one of NASA's sun-studying satellites went down, AI was there to fill in the gaps


Re: Models, fits, and wild guesses

It is faking data if they claim they are actual measurements, they are not. Interpolating or predicting data based on known data is in the core in more or less everything we do, from radio communication, wether forcast and election, even down to how our own brain function. It is perfectly fine to infer anything regardless if we can mesure it or not. Your job is to make good judgements on how reliable the data are, which you have to do anyway since no measurements are accurate anyway, prone to failure and most instruments you use doesn't actually measure the actual phenonoma, but usually something else before infering what you are after.

Experts: No need to worry about Europe's navigation sats going dark for days. Also: What the hell is going on with those satellites?!


As I understand it

An operator error would be somebody pressed the wrong key or miscalculated the delta-v or punched in the wrong burn time on the engine.

A fundamental design problem is a problem that simply cannot be fixed. Somewhere along the line that your fuel of choice produce a chamber temperature which is borderline of what you can handle and sometimes it doesn't work. Meaning you have to either add active cooling and thus adding too much weight or change fuel, but that would mean loosing specific impulse so thus reducing the weight limit. Which means you have to basically start over.

They are not claiming this is an act of god, it is a design problem, but can probably be solved with a pound's worth of insulation.

OK, Google, please do a half-hearted U-turn: Stay of execution for smart home APIs after Big G goes cuckoo in the Nest


Re: I'll never buy anything that relies on "the cloud"

"Many salespeople lie, often by wilful ignorance."

But not everybody, not the bad ones.

Either Facebook is building yet another massive bit barn in Iowa, and doesn't want you to know about it....


Free market?

Can somebody in USA start to advocate for a free market again?