* Posts by tony72

658 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Jul 2008


Tesla, Musk likely aware of Autopilot deficiencies behind Florida fatality, says judge


Re: Stating the obvious

No, they don't, and no they don't. FSD costs $15000, while Autopilot is standard in every Tesla. That's Tesla making it very clear that there's a massive difference. It would be a pretty hard sell to get anyone to pay for FSD if they were also giving the impression that Autopilot did the same thing. I've yet to see any evidence that a single user is actually confused on that point.


Re: Stating the obvious

I know all you haters love to confuse FSD and Autopilot in order to misrepresent Tesla's claims, but they are not the same thing. Autopilot is the glorified adaptive cruise control system which comes with every Tesla, and that's what we're talking about in this case. In your video link, Elon is talking about FSD, the rather expensive Full Self-Driving upgrade; that is not relevant here.

Half a kilo of cosmic nuclear fuel reignites NASA's deep space dreams


Re: significantly lower power degradation over time

The terms RPS (Radioisotope Power System) and RTG (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator) were both used in the article. I was half wondering if that implied there might be some form of RPS that isn't an RTG, i.e. uses some more efficient method of converting the heat, but from a quick Google, NASA only seems to be talking about RTGs. I wonder if there's a reason is for this particular instance of acronym proliferation.

Airbus to test sat-stabilizing 'Detumbler' to simplify astro-garbage disposal


It's unclear whether a Detumbler could simply be slapped onto an existing satellite, or whether it would have to be part of one at launch

It would cost about as much to launch a mission to attach a Detumbler to an existing satellite, as it would to launch a space tug to just deorbit that satellite directly. Since the satellite fitted with a Detumbler would still need a subsequent mission to deorbit it, and the Detumbler would have to be fitted before the satellite started tumbling, it would seem to make little sense to consider trying to attach them to satellites already on orbit.

However fitting them in new satellites seems like a no-brainer if they work, what with companies starting to get sued for failing to dispose of their failed satellites correctly.

SpaceX's Starship on the roster for Texas takeoff


Re: Clearing stage zero is again the primary aim...

although again the launch is going to be slower (and therefore more damaging) than a "regular" launch

According to the timeline on SpaceX's site, this launch will have less time between ignition and lift-off than IFT1 - 3 seconds this time versus 5 last time, IIRC. I guess we don't know what a regular launch looks like yet, but that change speaks to them getting the engines lit and throttled up a lot faster than the previous attempt. If part of the problem with the previous attempt was the length of time the booster sat there blasting the pad before lift-off, it would make sense to shorten that time if possible.

Tool bag lost in space now tracked by garbage watchers


I'm surprised they don't have some sort of "space drone" that they can operate in the vicinity of the ISS. It would be useful for inspecting the exterior of the station or any docked vehicles without necessitating a space walk, as well as potentially retrieving wayward tool bags, if equipped with a suitable grabber.

Moonstruck Modi wants lunar Indian crew by 2040


Up until now, India has one of the best value-for-money space programs in the world, achieving a great deal on less than a tenth of NASA's budget. They've also come to be regarded as a reliable commercial launch provider, which actually brings in some money. I hope they don't get carried away by their recent successes and start spaffing ludicrous amounts of money on ego projects. Right now, ISRO has a great reputation, and few people in India seem to begrudge them the budget they currently have, but that could change if they get wasteful, there are a lot of other things in India that need money spending on them.

Amazon unveils new drone design, plans liftoff of aerial delivery in UK, Italy


Re: Not viable in UK

It doesn't have to be viable for everybody, just for enough people to make it workable economically. In fact it's probably a plus if it's not viable for most people, in terms of the number of drones and the amount of flying needed. We've got space at work, and there's been plenty of times I could've done with an SSD or something being delivered in an hour.

As for the regulations, the CAA seems to be quite keen on the idea; New trials move the UK closer to allowing everyday drone deliveries and flying beyond visual line of sight. So we could see the necessary regulations in place in the not too distant future.

China's top crypto-mining hardware-maker reportedly furloughs staff


The bitcoin mining industry has made no sense during this bear market. What's supposed to happen (I thought, anyway), is that when the price of bitcoin drops below the level at which miners can make a profit, the least efficient miners are forced out of the market, or have to turn off some of their machines. This leads to a reduction in hashrate, and the bitcoin algorithms then adjust the difficulty down, so that less energy is required to mine each bitcoin, and so forth until the cost of mining a bitcoin drops close to the market price, and a new equilibrium point is reached.

However what we've actually seen in this bear market is new all-time highs in the hashrate, with miners just seemingly mining harder and racking up debt while the price is low, in the belief that the price will eventually recover, and all that mining will pay off. If we're now seeing mining machines no longer selling, then perhaps that strategy is now catching up with the miners. It already seemed likely that many miners wouldn't survive the next halving, but maybe some of them won't even make it that far.

SoftBank boss Masayoshi Son predicts artificial general intelligence is a decade away


This is the guy that poured $17 billion dollars into WeWork, right? Yeah, I think I'll take his predictive powers with just a pinch of salt.

BlackBerry to split into two companies, foraging for tastier fare for shareholders


TIL Blackberry's corpse is still twitching.

DISH must pay for bungled orbit change in landmark space debris penalty


Re: Token punishment

I'm not clear exactly what happened here.

"As the Enforcement Bureau recognizes in the settlement, the EchoStar-7 satellite was an older spacecraft (launched in 2002) that had been explicitly exempted from the FCC's rule requiring a minimum disposal orbit. Moreover, the Bureau made no specific findings that EchoStar-7 poses any orbital debris safety concerns."

If it was explicitly exempted, I'm not clear why they were punished at all. Was the exemption rescinded at some point? Does the fact that they filed the 300km mitigation plan, then failed to carry it out, invalidate the exemption?

Fuming Tom Hanks says he had nothing to do with that AI dental ad clone of him


Has anyone actually seen this ad? This article has what are implied to be still frames from it, and although I see no black suit as mentioned in the article, it does look like they could be from a dental setting. But maybe someone will tell me those frames are actually from a legit Hanks movie. If so, it's strange that he's having to warn people about an ad that practically nobody has seen, because other than that article, I can't even find a screenshot.

Bids for ISS demolition rights are now open, NASA declares


Re: How much

A Dragon capsule already has a pretty good set of engines in the form of its SuperDraco abort motors, they are pretty powerful. However they're only required to fire for a few seconds in a launch abort scenario, so the fuel tanks are probably pretty small.

The home Wi-Fi upgrade we never asked for is coming. The one we need is not


For many years when I was with Virgin, they simply supplied a Cisco cable modem that, as far as I can recall, never had a single problem. Then at one stage, I had to accept one of their SuperHubs, and it was definitely a step backwards. As I recall, it was flaky, and you couldn't change the DHCP address range. It pretty quickly got put in modem mode with my own router behind it. I don't know why ISPs insist on going down the route of supply their own branded router, I'm sure the costs and problems outweigh any benefits over just offering decent off-the-shelf kit.

Vodafone claims first space-based 5G phone call – no modifications needed


Size Matters

"SpaceMobile's point of differentiation is its huge antenna, which makes it capable of putting down a small spot beam which limits interference. Starlink's v2 satellites have a tiny antenna, by comparison, which means bigger spot footprints and more potential for interference," Ray said.

I wonder, is he talking about the Starlink V2 mini's, or the full size V2's? The AST SpaceMoblie antenna is 64m^2, the full size Starlink V2 is 25m^2, so about 40% of the size. A lot smaller, but I'm not sure about "tiny".

Chan Zuckerberg org to spin up 1,000+ H100 GPU cluster for AI medical research


Re: LLMs for modelling disease?

Here's a link to the source CZI article. LLMs are mentioned only in the third paragraph, which talks in generic terms about "[...] creates a unique opportunity to apply advances in large language models (LLMs) to biomedicine[...]" etc, etc. The rest, and in particular the quotes from Zuck and Chan (and also the video), do not mention LLMs, they feature terms like "AI", "AI models", "generative AI", "AI-driven cellular models", etc. Never forget such articles come through a chain of press officers and journalists who may or may not have a thorough grasp of the subject matter they are covering.

Amazon's three rocket makers insist Project Kuiper will launch on schedule


"The deadline makes for an increasingly ambitious goal – to launch more than 1,800 satellites in less than three years."

Ambitious? It's 92 launches for the whole constellation, so 46 launches to get halfway, between three providers, over three whole years. That's only an average of five launches per provider per year. By comparison, SpaceX may well manage a hundred launches by itself this year. I know Ariane 6, New Glenn and Vulcan Centaur haven't flown yet, and are coming from a long way behind, but still, it's hard to see five launches per year as "ambitious". Really, even if any or all of those players don't start flying until the end of 2024, they should really still be able to manage that easily, otherwise they should probably just give up and go home.

Morgan Stanley values Tesla's super-hyped supercomputer at up to $500B


Re: always connected ?

Dojo is for training, the cars have a local processor. However the long term plan is also to build and rent out additional capacity, as a sort of AWS for AI.

Largest local government body in Europe goes under amid Oracle disaster


Great job!

That's a nice preview of what the whole country can look forward to after Labour wins the next general election. We are so screwed.

Tesla's purported hands-free 'Elon mode' raises regulator's blood pressure


Re: a secret configuration dubbed "Elon Mode"

I'm an Elon fanboy, but I'll give you that one, I did laugh - have an upvote.

Singapore opens to stablecoins – once they jump through some hoops


Re: Worst of both worlds

The one 'end user' benefit of using a cryptocurrency that is highly regulated in this way is that the issuer / broker needs to keep sufficient capital at hand to cover their liabilities (ie the users' deposits). Doesn't seem as safe as a 'real' retail bank where most western countries have government-backed deposit insurance

Your "real" retail banks don't have sufficient capital at hand to cover their liabilities, it's called "fractional reserve banking", and your government deposit insurance schemes are mostly smoke and mirrors designed to try to prevent bank runs from happening in the first place - if a widespread loss of confidence in the banking sector were to occur, you would quickly find that those schemes don't have nearly enough money to handle it. I also recommend looking up the "bail-in" rules that have been put in place in most countries since the last financial crisis, and find out whose money will be used to rescue the banks next time around.

Also, this type of backing only really works for stablecoins with pegged-to-fiat value... if a customer buys $100 worth of crypto that becomes 'worth' $200 a month later and they want to cash out, where is the bank or broker going to get the money from

If the bank is acting as a bank, then you withdraw your funds in the same form you deposited them; if I deposit pounds in my bank, that's what I spend or withdraw, and it would be the same for bitcoin, stablecoins, or other cryptocurrencies. If I deposit one bitcoin, the bank custodies one bitcoin for me, and if I want to withdraw it, the bank gives me back my one bitcoin. What that bitcoin is worth in dollar terms is irrelevant to them.

If, on the other hand, the bank is acting as an exchange, then they are market-making, i.e. matching buyers and sellers. Thus they don't have to " get the money from" anywhere; your $100 worth of crypto is now worth $200 because someone else is willing to pay that for it, and the bank simply takes a fee, or adds a little margin on the bid-ask spread (or both), in facilitation the trade.

Those two functions are distinct and separate, and do indeed require different sets of regulations to protect customers, but in neither case should the bank itself be exposed to price volatility of any crypto on its books.

1 in 4 Brits are playing with generative AI, and some take its word as gospel


Re: Eyes wide open

Bing chat does provide links to its sources. Don't take my word for it, it says

Yes, Bing search provides links to website sources within a relevant contextual output1. This is a win for publishers because that has the potential for a better search referral without the ambiguity of the traditional ten blue links.

Generally I find Bing Chat to be more useful than OG ChatGPT, given it doesn't suffer from the September 2021 training data cut-off, as well as having the aforementioned source links.

Intel pulls plug on mini-PC NUCs


I concur about Minisforum. I have one of their fanless mini PCs at home. I soon found out that "fanless" means it doesn't have a fan, not that it doesn't need one (I run it with an undervolted external 60mm fan blowing air into the side vent). It also dies sometimes when I plug something else into the mains, then I have to take it apart to pull the BIOS battery to get it to boot up (except now I just run it without a BIOS battery at all, then just a power-cycle unbricks it). Trash indeed.

Ariane 5 to take final flight, leaving Europe without its own heavy-lift rocket


Re: But wait! There's more...

I don't know though, €4.9 billion budget and 2200 employees equals €2.2 million per job. That's one very expensive welfare scheme.

Yes, I'm sure that money also supports jobs at suppliers etc that are not direct ESA employees, but still.

Singapore tells crypto operators: act like grown up financial institutions


"The move cements Singapore's distrust of digital assets."

Does it now? Since they're simply making crypto companies obey the same rules as regular financial institutions, does that mean the rules also indicate "distrust" of regular finance?

Seems to me that implementing sensible and strict crypto regulations is actually essential for the industry to thrive, so I don't see it as indicative of distrust, it's just a recognition that the industry badly needs such regulation.

California man jailed after manure-to-methane scheme revealed as bull


Nothing wrong with a bit of reuse, I say keep milking them as long as you can.

UK smart meter rollout years late and less than two thirds complete


I was skeptical about smart meters, but after moving into a place that has them, I appreciate them a bit more. Manually reading a meter and entering the readings is really not something that belongs in this day and age. When energy prices went up, I really did find it useful to be able to go over my usage graphs and figure out where I could make some savings. And surge pricing will have it's upsides when it comes in; smoothing out demand is good for reducing the use of peaker plants and this carbon emissions, and actually give people a chance to save money by doing things when prices are low, so I don't have a problem with it, really.

Coinbase, don't feel left out. SEC has a lawsuit for you, too


Re: No jursidiction

The SEC and the CFTC have both been claiming jurisdiction over crypto, and making conflicting claims over the classification of such as securities or commodities. And we are about to have several very expensive legal proceedings in part to determine exactly that, since the SEC's allegations of unregistered securities dealings hinge on whether the assets in question are indeed securities or not. But hey, let me call the judge and tell him to throw the cases out and not to waste his time, because Claptrap314 has declared that they are commodities.


Re: Line up in order

They started with Ripple though ...

Australia to phase out checks by 2030



Checks? Even if that is indeed the antipodean spelling (which Bing chat assures me it is not, in this context, and in the linked "Strategic Plan for Australia’s Payments System" PDF, it is spelled "cheque"), as a British site, I feel El Reg should stick to "cheque".

UK warned not to bother racing US, EU on EV subsidies


You don't even need future tech. BYD and CATL are ramping up production of sodium ion batteries right now, which contain no rare earths. Tesla and others are already using LFP batteries that use less (or no?) rare earths. And progress is being made on reducing the amount of rare earths in lithium ion batteries, Tesla eliminated cobalt entirely from its 4680 cells for example. I think the Bean needs to read up on current tech.

Brits and Yanks join forces to make fusion magnets cool again


Re: Tell me again why fusion is such a good idea.

it's never going to be cheaper than coal.

Never say never. People used to think photovoltaics would never be a practical way to generate energy on a large scale; they were exotic and expensive things that the likes of NASA used on spacecraft. They didn't foresee prices tumbling by orders of magnitude as they did in reality, and now they're one of the cheapest ways to generate power.

Cheaper ways to produce deuterium have been proposed, such as quantum sieves. Current methods could probably be optimised if there was demand also. There may be alternatives to tritium; Helion is using Helium-3 which they will produce as part of their process, so they say. And if course there's all that Helium-3 on the moon. Can't predict the future, but it would be somewhat foolhardy to claim that current prices can't possibly be significantly improved upon.

Virgin Orbit-uary: Beardy Branson's satellite launch biz shutters


He invested a lot into it. However, at some point, you have to stop throwing good money after bad. They were never going to be profitable, so it was reality-check time.

Pakistan turns its back on crypto to keep anti-terrorism watchdogs happy


I feel bad for Pakistanis

It's a shame for the people of Pakistan, if the ban is actually effective. People in several countries with very high inflation around the world are turning to bitcoin to protect some of their wealth from being debased. It must make you weep to save up all your life, only to see the value of your savings wiped out by inflation, and here's your government taking away one of the few tools you have to fight it. There will no doubt be currency controls to limit their ability to get foreign currency as well, etc, etc. Poor buggers.

Microsoft's big bet on helium-3 fusion explained


After watching Real Engineering's YouTube video on Helion, I was convinced they had a pretty good chance of pulling it off. Then I watched Improbable Matter's response to the Real Engineering video, and I was convinced that it's not far off of a scam, with no realistic chance of succeeding. The trouble is, I'm nowhere close to being able to evaluate the physics myself, so I depend on those smarter than wiser than myself to judge. But as we saw with the likes of Theranos or Magic Leap, big companies with deep pockets that should be able to afford the very best advice can still end up pouring money into companies that promise things they just can't deliver. So IDK, I certainly wouldn't invest my own money in Helion, but I hope Microsoft has picked a winner here, we could certainly use commercial fusion power sooner rather than later.

Australia asks Twitter how it will mod content without staff, gets ghosted


Re: Those funds are needed, in part, because Twitter is moderating less content

Well, isn't that fair? A lot of people seem to have just accepted that it's reasonable and right to push both the responsibility for deciding what gets posted online, and the entire cost of enforcing that decision onto social media companies. I find the former disturbing, and the latter likely to reinforce the former. I'm not saying the companies should do nothing, but I think it's fair to question exactly what roles government, law enforcement, and society in general should have in creating the kind of online spaces we want to have.

The first real robot war is coming: Machine versus lawyer


Re: Pass the popcorn

It was Grimes, yes, I read that. It will be interesting to see if she gets any takers


Pass the popcorn

"Or if using copyright works as training data is against the law, we're in deep trouble."

Well, it will be interesting. I'm no lawyer, but that's the only argument that seems to me to have much chance as the law currently stands. If it doesn't hold up, that would put a lot of power in the hands of copyright holders. Imagine record companies endlessly milking dead artists (more than they already do anyway) by releasing new recordings using their voice, singing style etc, because they own the copyright on the original recordings that can be used to train an AI. I suppose it wouldn't have to be dead artists either, but living artists might kick up a bit of a stink. I guess a new clause would be needed in record contracts covering the use of recordings for AI training purposes.

Balloon-borne telescope returns first photos in search for dark matter


Mission duration

University of Toronto wasn't specific about the duration of the mission, and didn't respond to our email asking for some additional details.

According to the news item on Durham University's site, it's a three month mission; "Carried by seasonally stable winds, it will circumnavigate the southern hemisphere several times on its three-month flight - imaging the sky all night, then using solar panels to recharge its batteries during the day."

Musicians threaten to make Oasis 'Live Forever' with AI


Is it just me? I'm liking that better than almost anything real Oasis ever did. I was more of a Blur fan though. But other than that slightly buzzy quality, the vocal is spot on. We live in interesting times.

SpaceX's second attempt at orbital Starship launch ends in fireball


Re: Starship hasn't had the most successful history?

Not to mention that this was the first ever launch of the Booster, so its launch history started today.

Intel axes Blockscale mining ASICs it brought out just in time for crypto winter


A day late and a dollar short

They were tired as high efficiency, but they were less efficient than the best on the market at launch. I guess when the crypto market was running hot, any chips you could actually get supply of would sell well. In a crypto winter though, probably not so much.

Tesla ordered to pay worker $3M-plus over racist treatment



The guy could have walked away with $15 million, free and clear. But I guess the number that the first trial initially came up with turned his head, and he had to go for more. Now he'll have to "make do" with $3 million. I hope there aren't any more levels of appeal, or he might end up with nothing. Feel bad for the guy experiencing racism at work, but he really needs to learn to quit while he's ahead.

Virgin Obit: Launch company files for bankruptcy in US


It's a shame

I expect a lot of rocket companies to fail before getting to orbit, sure to the costs and difficulties involved in developing an orbital rocket. But to have a company that has got past those hurdles, developed a working rocket, and launched multiple successful missions, it just seems a shame to fail at this point. You can argue about whether the niche advantages of air-launch would have given them enough of an edge long term to survive in a crowded market, but it seems like the recent failed launch may just have cost them the chance to find out.

Parts of UK booted offline as Virgin Media suffers massive broadband outage


Excuse my ignorance on these matters, but as I understand it, your 4g equipment connects to the nearest cellular tower, and the cellular towers are connected to switching centres via dedicated cables (or in some cases microwave links, where cabling would be difficult). Your assertion that your 4g connection goes via a street cabinet outside your house that is shared by your broadband service would imply that you understand somewhat differently. Can you expand on the role of this street cabinet in your 4g service?

Where in the world is Terraform Labs villain Do Kwon? Montenegro, actually


In these days of biometric passports, how can one travel so easily across multiple countries with forged documents? I mean, he got caught in the end, but there must have been a few legs between Singapore and Montenegro. Are the forgers able to fake biometric data too?

Japanese outfit's private Moon mission enters Lunar orbit


Re: Wish there were more info on the transfer orbit

I'm no orbital mechanics expert (much the opposite, in fact). But bear in mind that it takes energy to speed up, and energy to slow down, that your destination isn't just a place, it's an orbit, and that the Earth and the Moon are in motion. Going the shortest *distance* to the Moon would mean leaving Earth orbit at a point where you are travelling at ninety degrees to the Moon's orbit, powering out radially to the Moon's orbital path, and then decelerating, timing it so you reach that orbit when the Moon is actually there. But if you did that, you wouldn't be in orbit around the Moon; the Moon would flash past you and off into the distance, and you'd be left sitting there like an idiot. I imagine you want to leave Earth's orbit on a curved path such that you're expanding out towards the Moon's orbit and maybe catching up to it, such that when you catch up to it, you minimize the burns needed to put yourself in orbit around it, but I wouldn't want to be too specific, because I don't know any of the orbital velocities involved off the top of my head.