* Posts by Christoph

3280 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Dec 2007

Meet Honda's latest electric vehicle: A rideable suitcase


15 MPH zooming through a crowded station or airport? Ouch!

But I might buy one if they switch out the wheels for hundreds of little legs.

Scientists spot startlingly close black holes in Hyades star cluster


Re: "we'd probably already be dead"

Yes, we'd be safe. Our nearest star is just over 4 light years away, so we must have had many passes within 2 light years since the solar system stabilised.


"The team isn't sure whether Hyades is unique in its black hole richness, or whether such objects are common in other star clusters"

If that was the first one they tried and they got a hit first time, it makes it quite likely that they are common.

More UK cops' names and photos exposed in supplier breach


"There is also a huge concern that photographs of police on undercover units, surveillance or in sensitive areas like counter-terrorism could fall into the wrong hands,"

The terrifying possibility that women in entirely legal protest groups might find out that their 'boyfriend' is an undercover Met officer spying on them and all their friends and using them as a useful tool.

IBM shows off its sense of humor in not-so-funny letter leak


IBM gave the PowerPC chip an assembly language instruction Enforce In-order Execution of I/O.

The Assembler directive is EIEIO.

Stalking victims sue Tile and Amazon for negligence over tracking tech


"We have never received a law enforcement report of misuse of our Anti-Theft Mode"

We have never received a report of someone finding a device which we have made impossible to find.

Boffins reckon Mars colony could survive with fewer than two dozen people


I'm having some work done on my house. Just simple updates. This has required several different tradesmen with different skills learnt over an apprenticeship, and kept up to date by having continuous work in that speciality. Just to do simple updates to a standard house.

How many people would be needed to support those tradesmen? How long would a Martian colony last if unable to do that kind of simple job to maintain the colony?

Now look at the industry needed to produce high technology. Hundreds of small firms doing specialised jobs, each with their own skills. How is a Martian colony going to reproduce all those?

Now look at computer chips, which are now utterly essential to run our tech. These are cheap because they are sold in vast numbers, but they are produced in factories that cost multiple billions. How is a small colony going to economically produce the very large number of different chips needed to keep its tech going?

Or just the people and resources needed to mine and refine the materials needed.

I very much doubt that a colony without those resources could survive on Mars.

Bank of Ireland outage sees customers queue for 'free' cash – or maybe any cash


Monopoly money

Bank error in your favour. Collect £1,000.

Google Street View car careens into creek after 100mph cop chase


"According to the police statement, he told officers he worked for Google and was afraid to stop"

Why was he afraid to stop? If he is black then he did have good reason.

NASA 'quiet' supersonic jet is nearly ready for flight


Just what we needed. Another plane to pump huge amounts of CO2 into the air so the very rich can travel a bit faster.

Gen Z and Millennials don't know what their colleagues are talking about half the time



"Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book."

-- Marcus Tullius Cicero

LIGO cranks up the sensitivity to sniff out gravitational waves


at least some of them are hoping to find a loophole in it...

They are desperate to find a loophole in it.

We have two astoundingly successful theories, General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, but they give completely incompatible descriptions of how the Universe works.

At least one of them must be flawed somehow, but physicists have been trying for nearly a century to find such a flaw.

It hasn't happened. Neither of them have ever produced incorrect results in an experiment.

Curiosity gets interplanetary software patch for better driving and more on Mars


You think that's tricky, what about the people updating the Voyagers? Megabytes? What are those?

To improve security, consider how the aviation world stopped blaming pilots


Re: Pilot Error

"looking beyond that and finding out WHY that pilot error happened."

The pilot misheard a message about waiting for takeoff and thought it was clearance for takeoff.

Fix: Aircraft now wait for 'departure'. The word 'takeoff' is used ONLY when giving or cancelling clearance for immediate takeoff.

Result: No more Teneriffe.

Starlink opens final frontier for radio astronomers


Re: Sorry but no.

"I'm sorry you can't see Venus or whatever due to assorted tin cans wafting about low orbit"

If you obstruct my view of Venus you will face my Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator!

Techie called out to customer ASAP, then: Do nothing


Re: Seems there would be an easier solution

There might not be another side. Just hook it out.

Take an old wire coathanger, use pliers to roughly straighten out all but the hook. You now have a few feet of stiff wire with a hook on the end. Perfect for ferreting round in narrow gaps and hoiking out whatever rolled/fell there, or grabbing things which are just out of reach.


Re: SLAs make work for idle hands...

Or the "Hello Nurses". Blair's lot decreed that patients must be seen within some fixed time after arrival. So you'd sit and wait and after a while the Hello Nurse would come and take you elsewhere - to another queue where you waited ages to be seen by the actual doctor. Result: all patients were 'seen' within the time limit, and a (desperately needed elsewhere) nurse had to spend all day doing pointless makework.

Welcome to open source, Elon. Your Twitter code just got a CVE for shadow ban bug


Would this tactic work against Musk's own account, or does the code that specifically boosts his account override it?

Microsoft and GM deal means your next car might talk, lie, gaslight and manipulate you


Re: Re - speedometer accuracy

There is presumably a slight lag in GPS speedo readings? It can't measure your actual speed, it must measure the time you took to cover some distance - which it can only calculate after you've covered that distance. If your speed is changing rapidly it's not going to be instantaneously accurate.

Prepare to be shocked: Employees hate this One Weird Clause


Re: Too broad: You can't work in IT for 2 years.

Not quite, it's published law so already public.

Except for Section 3.

Elon Musk's Neuralink probed over pathogen transport


I'm not clear here - why are implants removed from dead animals so much more dangerous than the vast amounts of dead animals used for food?

Amazon convinces FCC it can avoid space junk chaos


There's also the problem of ground-based astronomy trying to see the stars through all the satellites.

Water-hunting NASA cubesat won't reach Moon after total thruster fail


Re: If the job is important, neverruse untested technology

I gather the point was to test smaller, lighter engines. Putting three bigger heavier engines in probably would not have fit in a cubesat?

Field trip! European Space Agency sends astronauts abroad to learn about rocks


Re: Split second?

in very high G wells

H G Wells?

Could 2023 be the year SpaceX's Starship finally reaches orbit?


Burning Methane

I knew Musk tends to be very school-boyish, but if Starship burns methane with oxygen that means that he's getting to orbit by lighting farts.

Server installer fails to spot STOP button – because he wasn't an archaeologist


Ours was on the wall outside in the general office so you could hit it after escaping a halon dump. Shortly afterwards it had a box put over it with a flap opening.

San Francisco investigates Hotel Twitter, Musk might pack up and leave


Re: Work from office

Does he expect his female staff to move to a coathanger state? Texas abortion laws on someone used to California?

US Supreme Court asked if cops can plant spy cams around homes


"What's a foot?"

The Game's Afoot!

World's richest man posts memes as $44b Twitter acquisition veers off course


Re: Catch-22

"I think there's a better than even chance Twitter will be permanently done before the end of the year."

I think there's a good chance it won't outlast a lettuce.

Security firms hijack New York trees to monitor private workforce


Re: Well duh

"You're not going to put surveillance on management, now are you ?"

Well of course! It's important to the shareholders that management are doing their jobs and not skiving off, so they should be able to spy on what management are getting up to.

After all the managers can hardly complain about getting the same surveillance as the workers, now can they?

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


Re: run Twitter permanently on a full-time basis

I gather it's the ones on work visas who will be deported if they lose their jobs.

You wait for an aurora on Mars and MAVEN spots two arriving at the same time


"Dust storms heat up the atmosphere, pushing up water vapor into higher altitudes where the molecules are split into their oxygen and hydrogen parts. "

And the hydrogen heads out for foreign parts, which is why Mars doesn't have seas any more.

Go ahead, be rude. You don't know it now, but it will cost you $350,000


Re: Failed as a manager

The commission for that sale isn't small for that sales rep.

InSight Mars lander has only 'few weeks' of power left


Re: Use inclined solar panels

A simple robot arm with an air blower on the end. Only needs a swivel mounting to swing round and a single elbow to wipe up and down, so should be easy compared to the arms already out there.

SpaceX's in-flight Wi-Fi, Starlink Aviation, takes to the skies



This rope-laying, ever-growing robot may one day explore your blood vessels


The friction problem will still happen when they try to extract the thread.

Florida asks Supreme Court if it's OK to ban content moderation it doesn't like


Have a read of "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn


"restricts state purchases of internet services if the company has been so much as accused (not necessarily found guilty) of violating an antitrust law by a state official"

How much does it cost to buy a state official to accuse your rival company?

Keeping printers quiet broke disk drives, thanks to very fuzzy logic


I had a Wang 2200B with two tape drives, one for data and one to load the next bit of the program - it had 12K of memory (occupying one board and half of another, said boards being about the size of the not-yet-invented S100 boards). Payroll, Orders, Invoices, stock control, general accounting for a small engineering factory.

Chemical plant taken offline by the best one of all: C8H10N4O2


a genius widely regarded as "harmless".

So he is now "Mostly harmless"?

Terminal downgrade saves the day after a client/server heist


Re: Green screens were great!

You 'ad screens? Luxury! At university we handed in the stack of punched cards and got back the results on music-ruled fan-fold paper.

Chances good for NASA Artemis SLS Moon launch on Saturday


Re: Rollbacks & Paranoia

The main engines and the SRBs were designed to be reusable, and the shuttle did reuse them. The highly advanced SLS throws them away after a single use.

USB-C to hit 80Gbps under updated USB4 v. 2.0 spec


240 volts?

"USB-C will be able to carry both 80Gbps and 240 volts."

240 volts on something the thickness of current USB cables? That does not sound safe, even with very low current. What's the spec for that? What happens when a cable is damaged - there can't be anything like the insulation thickness you get on mains cables.

Micron wants tax breaks for '$160b' Texas chip fab plant


“There are several factors that contribute to Texas’s favorability for development, one however that does not is the state’s notoriously-high property tax burden,”

And another that does not is the state's notorious position on abortion. They may have trouble getting skilled staff there.

Google Maps, search results to point women to actual abortion providers


I can see a problem here - they will also be providing confirmed targets for the pro-forced-birthers to picket and attack.

In a time before calculators, going the extra mile at work sometimes didn't add up


Re: The d in £sd

3d a thruppeny bit, 6d a tanner, 1s a bob, 2⧸6 half a dollar (from the time a US dollar was about the same value as a crown (5s), £1 1s 0d a guinea.

NSO Group CEO steps down, 100 employees let go too


They state that they carefully control the distribution of their software to ensure that it is not misused.

Therefore any misuse of their software must be a deliberate action on their part which they can be sued for.

NASA has MOXIE, but rivals reckon they can do better for oxygen on Mars


But then you have to supply the extra oxygen for the hamster to breathe to provide the energy to turn the wheel to produce the oxygen for the hamster to breathe . . .

I think the in-system losses are likely to make this solution impractical.

Ransomware attack on UK water company clouded by confusion


"The mix-up could be seen from a list of usernames and passwords"

If the security was so bad that the company could access the actual passwords rather than just the hashes it's not surprising they got hacked.

US reveals 'Target' pic of Conti man with $10m reward offer


With the whole might of the US after him, will he be feeling in-conti-nent?