* Posts by lee harvey osmond

268 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Apr 2007


Japan complains Fukushima water release created terrifying Chinese Spam monster

lee harvey osmond

by the sea?

"Faith in Japanese authorities may be hard to sustain given they allowed construction of a nuclear plant by the sea, in an earthquake-prone country, and gave it redundancy rigs that did not survive a foreseeable combination of events"

Ummm. First part, next to the sea is a very good place to build nuclear plants. Look at where all the UK's are.

But the second bit, yes, the problem with that one was the engineers allowed for a once-in-a-hundred-years sort of earthquake and tsunami, when they should have allowed for a once in a thousand years event. There was another nuclear power complex a few miles away where the engineers built adequate earthquake/tsunami defences, which explains why I can't remember what it's called

The Battle of Britain couldn't have been won without UK's homegrown tech innovations

lee harvey osmond

... and a few things the British Empire didn't invent

... such as 100 octane aviation spirit, which the Air Ministry began buying in large quantities from US refiners. A month or two on from Dunkirk, same fighter aircraft, same engines, MORE POWER!

America: We'll send citizens cash checks amid coronavirus financial hardship. UK: We'll offer £330bn in biz loans

lee harvey osmond


Are we really still calling it coronavirus or COVID-19?

Covfefe-19 please.

Boffins show the 2017 Nork nuke can move, move, move any mountain (by a meter)

lee harvey osmond

what sort of nuke

As I recall all the early Nork Tests had very small yields -- people were pointing the finger of fizzle, or even suggesting there had been no gadget, someone had lit off a big pile of TNT instead and lied about it.

It is possible, but highly unlikely, that this involved about 200,000 tons of TNT.

Any indication of what they were up to? Plutonium pit? Oralloy? Single or two-stage device? I dare say there are US technical agencies that know, but aren't telling.

While Apple fanbois rage at Catalina, iGiant quietly drops iOS and macOS security patches

lee harvey osmond

10.15 Catastrophe. Just say no!

I finally got my MacMini rebuilt, working, running 10.14.6. After a fortnight.

There was a period of about 4hr when it was running a fresh install of 10.15 on a clean disk, and it was running as advertised.

I was still finding bugs about every 5 min.

My relief, when I resorted to the recovery console for the umpteenth time and tried yet again to restore via Time Machine, that this time I was offered a 10.14.6 restore point, was immense.

In the meantime my iPhone seems permanently to have a red badge on the System Preferences app icon, and every time I look, it's telling me about a different iOS 13 update. 13.2 now? Wonder what it'll be tomorrow morning? [EDIT ha! already pulled!]

The iOS crew seems to have attracted all the grownups, but I'm not letting them change the software on my phone voluntarily until the dust has settled on whichever build and it has been pronounced righteous by others.

I'll have a think about that patch for Mojave.

Also it appears a bunch of downloads, including Mojave itself, have disappeared from the Mac App Store. There is a rumour that an Apple code signing cert has expired; certainly that would explain why my Mojave USB thumbdrive installer decided its copy of Mojave was now corrupt. If this rumour is true, it is not clear if those downloads will be back, newly re-signed. After all, Cupertino is going to have to resort to something drastic to force adoption of Catastrophe....

What the &*%* did you just $#*&!*# say about me, you little &%$#*? 'AI' to filter Xbox Live chat

lee harvey osmond

'once the kinks have been worked out'

That's an unfortunate turn of phrase, right there ...

How bad is Catalina? It's almost Apple Maps bad: MacOS 10.15 pushes Cupertino's low bar for code quality lower still

lee harvey osmond

Re: Production machine?

One on which you are conducting business and doing your job and where, consequently, unscheduled downtime will cause you or your employer money; lost earnings, penalties for failure to maintain contracted quality of service standards, stuff like that

lee harvey osmond

Re: 10.15 Catastrophe

Read the post.

The old MacBook was the fallback to which I resorted when the Catastrophe took out my modern MacMini.

lee harvey osmond

10.15 Catastrophe

Took several hours to download and begin install, then hung during 'setting up' phase.

ssh'ed in from my ancient MacBook, go a listing from /bin/ps

System apparently idle but for photoanalysisd .

Went to Apple to report this, but couldn't -- needed to use Chrome because the newest Safari on the ancient MacBook doesn't do TLS past 1.0.

... but couldn't sign in, got a Javascript exception logged.

Currently scraping off all the 32 bit apps I had that no longer work.

Opening Safari? Hope you bought a book to read.

Loose tongues and oily seamen: Lost in machine translation yet again

lee harvey osmond

Re: Mijn grootvader is een schaap

“The British speak English very well. Nearly as well as the Dutch!”

lee harvey osmond

Re: Prior art

Yep. Demonstrated that to our French visitors during the twinning society visit last month.

I was sure there’d be at least one devout Orthodox Pythonist among them. It seems there wasn’t.

And I listened to a lengthy complaint in French from one of our guests, who had an iPad with the same app I was using, except it appeared she hadn’t followed the recommendation to download the required language packs, and her iPad was a WiFi-only model.

En principe, oui, le singe est dans l’arbre

Vulture gets claws on Lego's latest Apollo nostalgia-fest

lee harvey osmond

Other Apollo 11 tie-ins

Or Lego could depart from its customary practice of not modelling military vehicles, and produce a set based on Buzz’s F-86.

Programmers' Question Time: Tiptoe through the tuples

lee harvey osmond

AAIB Question Time

Caller: so we have ascertained that there was a catastrophic aerofoil control systems failure, the aircraft flipped on its back and accelerated, impacting the ground at around 600kts, killing all passengers and crew, and burying much of the wteckage. Has the Air Accident Investigation Board been able to establish any causes?

Panel: ah, the answer lies in the soil!

lee harvey osmond

Re: Fab

Napalm? I believe there was also a complementary weedkiller, but you can’t buy it any more, some nonsense about dioxins

Talk about a ticket to ride... London rail passengers hear pr0n grunts over PA system

lee harvey osmond

‘Mind the fap’?

Mind ... the clap

Mind ... the clap

Mind ... the clap

Stand clear of the whores please!

Just the small matter of the bill for scrapping Blighty's old nuclear submarines: It's £7.5bn

lee harvey osmond

Re: Fun Fact

three weapon spread, Mark VIII** so two major updates to a weapon introduced in 1919 that saw us through WW2. Two hit, the third ran on and duplex-fused (ie, the magnetic influence thingy) near one of the two escorting destroyers, damaging its bow; it is because those ships thought they were under attack that they dudn’t loiter to pick up Belgrano survivors.

The other weapon Wreford-Brown had available was the wire-guided Mark 24 Tigerfish. It is unclear whether he picked the Mark VIII** for its bigger warhead for attacking a WW2-era armoured target, or for general distrust of the Marconi-developed Mark 24, which at that time had a reputation for not working properly on account of being unfinished.

lee harvey osmond

Re: why not strip the weapons and upgrade them

"I have no clue about nuclear submarines, just asking"

well, it does show a little ...

It's not that they're obsolete or surplus, it's that they're worn out and the nuclear propulsion system is f**ked. They ought to be scrap, but we can't scrap them fast enough.

And any kind of research, cable laying, monitoring or prospecting could be done way cheaper with a ship than with a submarine.

lee harvey osmond

Re: Plymouth?

Go on, explain why.

All the hazardous material has been stripped out except for (maybe) the reactor core, and the reactor compartment which contains bits of radioactive stuff mostly deemed low or intermediate.

I suppose if you really wanted to cause a nuclear accident (radiological rather than fissile) by eg working really hard at crashing aeroplanes fuel of fuel into the reactor core stores, you might succeed, and having this happen in a city centre would be worse than having it occur somewhere less densely populated.

The submarines aren't a significant risk to public safety, even in Plymouth Dockyard about 100m from a primary school, but failing to defuel them is a risk, wherever they are.

lee harvey osmond

Re: USS Enterprise similar


That was the original disposal plan, but dumping radioactive waste as sea like this is no longer lawful.

This is not, repeat, not an April Fools' Day joke: 5 UK broadband vendors agree to pay YOU daily rate for fscked internet

lee harvey osmond

like Delay Repay?

When I first heard of this, I thought this was going to be like Delay Repay on the railways.

ie, if your packets are over four hours late you could claim a refund

Forget that rare-earth element crunch – we can now just extract them from industrial waste

lee harvey osmond

mildly radioactive?

"Also, it’s mildly radioactive since it contains low deposits of uranium and thorium."

Hmmm. In principle then we could also be using bioleaching to separate out uranium and thorium?

I'm scratching my head. The bacteria produce gluconic acid, is that the whole business of making them available to chemical separation, or is there a biological component too?

Chemical reactions conducted by biology tend to be different to those conducted by geology or chemists. Enzymes tend to be very efficient catalysts. Biological reactions tend to proceed via a much larger number of transition (intermediate) states than abiological ones, and this sometimes shows up in the isotopic distributions of elements in reaction products -- reactions with lighter isotopes go faster.

Could we then use biotechnology both for refining uranium ore, and isotope separation? Enrichment? That'd be good for a laugh.

[Yes I reread the article, no biotechnological step in the chemical separation. But I can dream can't I?]

Science says death metal fans delightful and intelligent people, great at dinner parties

lee harvey osmond

Re: Context please.

Well, yes. I don't understand it at all.

We don't have music in this office, I want to brutally murder most of my colleagues much of the time, and as soon as I broach this tricky subject, I get told to go and see the HR manager; and he's not even top of my list

'Occult' text from Buffy The Vampire Slayer ep actually just story about new bus lane in Dublin

lee harvey osmond

Re: "Once more with Feeling"


Crash, bang, wallop: What a power-down. But what hit the kill switch?

lee harvey osmond

Old story


Say what?! An AI system can decode brain signals into speech

lee harvey osmond

Oh dear

It appears we're about to digress into philosophy.

Is language a prerequisite for self-awareness and thought? Is it possible to think, to have thoughts, without words?

'Cogito, ergo sum' ... but how do you express that without language? If you could think it without language, would it still be true?

How, then, is this funky AI system going to transform thoughts into speech, when thoughts don't necessarily correspond to language?

Doctors join wombats in sh!tting bricks to help parents relax about kids chowing down on Lego

lee harvey osmond


All those acronyms, and they never got as far as Studs Not On Top?

lee harvey osmond

Re: Pedantry Corner

Should have been a 2x2.

Although, "standard, four-nodule brick" ... no the default reference brick ought to be four studs by two, in red.

Big data at sea: How the Royal Navy charts the world's oceans

lee harvey osmond

Afternoon effect, see also:

'the layer'

'convergence zones'


The RN's Submarine Service was exploiting the thermocline during the Great War; during the Dardanelles campaign, it was possible to park one's boat at the boundary, because it floated on the cold water below but sank in the warmer water above, although there is one instance recorded of the crew having done this at night and woken in the morning to find their boat was now on the roof, ie at the surface

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too

lee harvey osmond

Re: astrology????

To me that looks like a reply to an even weirder post than has been deleted since.

lee harvey osmond

Re: Eh? Come again?

"Welcome to The Scry At Night"

lee harvey osmond

Re: What about Tony Blair ?

Or, indeed, Bill Penney. Who wanted to be remembered for his contribution to science, and not for his specific contributions to the Manhattan Project and to its British successors.

And who wouldn't want a man named Penn[e]y on the £50?

This is also the man who demanded, and got, an IBM machine with a FORTRAN compiler after his first efforts at a two-stage device didn't work. The next set of tests ran just fine.

Facebook mass hack last month was so totally overblown – only 30 million people affected

lee harvey osmond


Last communication I saw from Facebook was that the estimate is down to 14.7m

Among UK FB accounts, I am seeing a pattern in who did or did not get hacked. I suspect whoever did this didn't go hacking accounts at random; they had a list of targets before they started.

On the seventh anniversary of Steve Jobs' death, we give you 7 times he served humanity and acted as an example to others

lee harvey osmond


Yes, clearly a total asshole, upon whom we look back in fondness and admiration.

I’m no fanboi; I do not own the watch or the TV thing or whatever. But I’m on my sixth Mac at home, I have three on my desk at work, and as for my second iPhone ... I’m tapping on it here.

Organic stuff, radiation, unexpected methane... Yes, we're talking about Saturn's surprising rings

lee harvey osmond

unexpected methane?

Unexpected methane? At Saturn, but not Uranus. Detection of methane is expected from time to time at Uranus.

Yes yes I know, but hey, it's the pun that just goes on giving

Brit startup plans fusion-powered missions to the stars

lee harvey osmond

Re: Quite a bit of nuclear fallout

Freeman Dyson did the calculation in the early 60s. There will be discussion of the calculation's result in his son's memoir "Project Orion: The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship", but as I recall, not of the calculation itself

lee harvey osmond

Re: Quite a bit of nuclear fallout

Yes. Not much fallout at all. Tiny selectable-yield H-bombs engineered to be clean.

Freeman Dyson & co generated estimates of how many fatal cancers would be caused globablly for each launch, and the number was 'less than 10', but they knew that was politically unacceptable.

I wonder how many folks die of lung cancer caused by exposure to nuclear radiation from trace elements in coal smoke? Gotta be way more than 10

lee harvey osmond


Yes, but those engines suffered from pin ejection. Nuclear fuel pin ejection!

Bombing raids during WWII sent out shockwaves powerful enough to alter the Earth's ionosphere

lee harvey osmond

Re: Grand Slam

Yup. 'Camouflet'. Rearrange the ground under the target, creating a void which then collapses, messing with any structures built above. Streamlined, armour piercing, fancy steel casing .. go to the memoirs to find aircrew saying they were different from other bombs, as they fell they didn't tumble, they just dropped straight down, spinning as they picked up speed.

The 4000 to 12000 lb HC "blockbuster" bombs on the other hand .... cookies! Unremarkable steel dustbins full of high explosive, often dropped in company with about 1000x 4lb incendiaries. The cookie might knock down lots of buildings, such as an entire street of houses, and the incendiaries would then set fire to the wreckage. Not nice? No. But Bomber Command learned part of its business by looking at bomb sites in the UK.

lee harvey osmond

Re: Approx

Refill the tank?

The Bovington people have missed a sponsorship trick with one of their exhibits.

"Put a tiger in your Tiger tank's tank"

And at 0.4mpg (Imperial, of God's Own Petrol) I imagine sponsorship would be welcome

lee harvey osmond

Re: Amounts so huge, that I simply can't process them.

3 million tons being approximately 1/17 the yield of the Soviet Tsar Bomba, as tested in 1961, at 50% of selectable yield.

Think on that; six years of industrial warfare on a global scale, including the first three fission bombs, being a tiny fraction of the yield of a single weapon 20 years later

Don't get THAT personal, says personalised cards firm Moonpig. Dick pics. They mean dick pics

lee harvey osmond


Well yes.

As a previous commentard could have remarked but didn't, it may be against their T&Cs, but what about T&As?

Never mind Brexit. UK must fling more £billions at nuke subs, say MPs

lee harvey osmond

"the Atomic Weapons Establishment stores at least some of its data on the public cloud."

Call me irresponsible, but I'd like to make a public cloud with at least some of the fissile material the Atomic Weapons Establishment stores. Over 100 tons of separated plut, apparently

Flying to Mars will be so rad, dude: Year-long trip may dump 60% lifetime dose of radiation on you

lee harvey osmond

Re: Six months?????

Or even thermonuclear gadgets.

The ship would be about a thousand tons of cast iron drive plate, about a thousand tons of crew space on top ... and a very big spring/shock absorber contraption in the middle, plus a few thousand tiny selectable-yield H-bombs in a magazine on rails a bit like a beer bottling plant, that'd be about another thousand tons.

Set the fuse on a bomb for maybe 2s after it arms itself, shoot it out of a hole in the drive plate using some sort of spring cannon, then slam the trapdoor shut.

This chemical rocket fuel business isn't half as much fun; doesn't deliver half the specific impulse either.

lee harvey osmond

Six months?????

Nope. Forty days there, maybe forty days on the surface, forty days back.

I'll want a really massive radiation shield made out of freshly-mined lead for all living spaces, on the voyage spacecraft, lander and habit to keep out cosmic nastiness.

And an even bigger radiation shield to keep me safe from my own propulsion plant!

Revealed: The billionaire baron who’ll ride Elon’s thrusting erection to the Moon and back

lee harvey osmond

Job for a professional astronaut [Re: Prediction]

Look, I'm just some fat oaf behind a keyboard -- physics and gastronomy, pasta and antipasta, that sort of thing.

I reckon I'm better qualified than him to fly on that thing (apart from the billionaire bit, obviously). And I wouldn't fancy it; too many things that could go wrong and either kill me if i didn't fix them promptly, or just kill me. It's not even like the flight will be to low Earth orbit and back, so if anything went wrong I could go for an early re-entry.

Ascent phase goes wrong and I get dropped almost anywhere? Gobi desert, Greenland glacier, Amazonian rain forest, Peckham? I might cope. Middle of the Pacific, have to get out before the spacecraft sinks and then swim for it? Hmmm. Failed circuit breaker, need to wedge it with a pen cap? Yes I know that one. Tiny hole in the cabin during re-entry and no pressure suit? Suppose you can't spot the hole, or can see it but not reach it, to bung it?

Do not adjust your set, er, browser: This is our new page-one design

lee harvey osmond

Re: Not too keen

White space is useful in designs, both mobile and desktop, web and app.

Gives you somewhere, anywhere, to click or tap without hitting a link or button by mistake.

lee harvey osmond

"you can opt out at any time"

Possibly you meant, since this is The Register, we can check it out anytime, but never leave

Wasted worker wasps wanna know – oi! – who are you looking at?

lee harvey osmond

Yep, wasps are assholes

Got stung on the wrist myself at a beer festival a fortnight ago. I played nicely all weekend (no swatting!) but got stung anyway. I’d include the picture if I could, but El Reg’s below-the-line stuff doesn’t support that.

Wasp sting treatment? Insect bite creams like Anthisan are good. Or failing that, topical application of something mildly acidic like lemon juice. Or application of ice. You can imagine I had lots of trouble finding ice and lemon at a beer festival at a pub.

Talk about left Field: Apple lures back Tesla engineering guru

lee harvey osmond

Re: Cue Elon Musk

... and for all we know, and for all the article’s title “Apple lures back ...”, maybe the reason why he quit is ... Elon Musk.

Fukushima reactors lend exotic nuclear finish to California's wines

lee harvey osmond

Re: 1952?


The Trinity test used a plutonium pit, same design as Fat Man on Aug 9th.

The fissile material in Little Boy on Aug 6th was 235U.