* Posts by Jellied Eel

1739 posts • joined 18 Aug 2008

You may be distracted by the pandemic but FYI: US Senate panel OK's backdoors-by-the-backdoor EARN IT Act

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Who are the bad guys?

They're the ones committing the big crimes. Example: look at Putin's bounty on US troops, It's the same thing as Syria, send US troops back in body bags, Trump does a photo op with the body bags, pretends to have empathy, withdraws the troops from Afghanistan, and Putin takes over those bases. The body bags are supposed to be Trump's excuse. *Big* crimes.

Uh, OK.. Except there seems to be very little evidence that the bounty claim is actually true. There is however evidence of US financing groups in Syria, or supplying weapons. Then there's the issue of US bases and troops in Syria, in a "non-invasion honest" sense. And then there's the usual geopolitics. So Soviets invaded Afghanistan, US (and others) used it as a proxy war supporting the warlords that are now causing problems for coalition forces there.

But such is politics. Russia's been a theme from the last election to the next, with a remarkable lack of evidence.. Except perhaps revealing murky goings on at organisations like the FBI. Which privacy-wise is perhaps more of an issue, ie dubious survelillance of political opponents. In theory, that had been eliminated post-Hoover, and a new, apolitical agency created.. In practice, perhaps not. So regardless of left/right divides, is it really a good idea to give future governments the tools to fight even dirtier? Maybe they can use them to provide real evidence, maybe given all the 'anonymous sources' and leaks.. nobody will believe them.

Do you think they would do that if there was any chance they would be out of power next year? Do you think they'd tolerate all these back doors and US surveillance laws wielded by a Democrat? Obviously no!

Do people really want those tools wielded by Democrats? I guess we'll find out in November, and remember, vote early, vote often! Personally, and as a non-US citizen, I think the Democrat's biggest threat is Biden. But he's the DNC's choice, so they'll only have someone else to blame.

UK government shakes magic money tree, finds $500m to buy a stake in struggling satellite firm OneWeb

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Not the solution

There's also the issue of satellite broadband constellations bypassing national firewalls. I could see legislation being passed REQUIRING that UK users only use the UK service, in order that the "porn/piracy wall(*)" stays up

UK doesn't have a national firewall. It does have a Communications Act that includes operator assistance requirements.. Much like most countries. So to sell services there, you generally need to obtain a telco licence, and that generally includes support for lawful intercept. But some countries also try to licence operating receiving kit, ie VSAT dishes, but judging by the number installed on walls and roofs, it doesn't seem widely enforced. Even when 12ga decommissioning could be done cheap.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Not the solution

Where's the money being saved? I see £ 500 million being spent initially.

Thing about investments is you don't expect them to pay off tomorrow. OneWeb (and Starlinks) problem is ludicrous up-front costs before you can generate any meaningful revenues. Which was the problem when SoftBank discovered WeWork wasn't a great investment and pulled the plug on financing this.. And other ventures. Burning cash is fun until there's no more cash to burn.

But there's some.. optimism around this job, like developing Cape Cornwall aka Newquay Airport so satellites can be launched from there. There's still a bunch of launches booked (and possibly paid for) from Arianne, and more will be required.

But it's also known how much the governemt spends on communications, and a chunk of that money might be shunted to OneWeb. There's also the potential to sell rural broadband to rural EU citizens (of which there are many) because Gallileo's just a satnav system. Canada's also expressed interest, and presumably other bidders didn't have such a negative outlook for the future as some here.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Not the solution

Correction if it ends up making money , then it will be flogged off to the governments best mates from university for about 40% of the actual market value ASAP

Was that what happened when a certain G.Brown flogged off a lot of gold? And later much of the UK's nuclear industry.. both at bargain prices.

As for best mates.. not sure if it's a good or bad thing that many of those tend to be PPE types rather than engineers or scientists.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Not the solution

But "increase the satellite count to 48,000"? Coming soon - HMG statement "We will be the world leader in Dyson spheres".

Needs lots of satellites due to spot beams, and so the network can achieve full global coverage! Which given 2/3ds of that globe is water, kinda limits the market.. But then being LEOs, you need lots of satellites so they can orbit over places where you do (or might) have customers. Then there's placing downlink facilities so you can actually offer the lower latency benefits vs GEO VSAT systems.

As for Dyson.. I've have it on good authority* that the plan has solved the meshing problem. Satellites will be meshed via Cat6 rebar, then shotcreted from lunar cement works. Thus providing a complete ICBM shield.. Hopefully with plenty of vents.

*ie me, and my wandering mind..

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Not the solution

Given how tiny the UK is, you could easily provide the same service with a few of Google's dirigibles

Google's dirigibles are on hold whilst they finalise cloning Christoper Walken and Grace Jones. Meanwhile, media tycoon 'Elliot Carver' pauses keel-hauling his crewmembers for surfing pron, calls Mr Bond and asks to quote him happy..

Meanwhile, back in the (su)real world, there's stuff like this-


£733,000 for 100Mbps Internet to your floating gin palace. And you thought BT was bad.. Which is one of the markets both OneWeb and Starlink probably want to disrupt. Or HMG can save some money given the number of ships, remote locations like embassies etc that need/want broadband. Plus of course rural folks in the UK can help subsidise it. Don't forget we have outposts like the Falkland Islands, where Islanders can't easily get decent Internet connectivity. Oh, and the Commonwealth countries may find services interesting.

So there's potential to save taxpayers a large chunk of change, along with superyacht owning tax-dodgers. And if it ends up making money, HMG takes profits or can flog off it's investment at a later date. Until then, I guess negotiating with Bharti will prove.. interesting, along with managing any US protectionism.

F5 emits fixes for critical flaws in BIG-IP gear: Hopefully yours aren't internet-facing while you ready a patch

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Last count...

I blame the management.. Both customer and vendor. I've been offered 'Carrier Grade' kit that comes with a convenient web management interface so it can be managed via the Internet. Yey!

But 'carrier grade' design principles should demand seperate console/craft interfaces that can be accessed via a physical or logically seperate DCN, ideally on an OOB (Out Of Band) network. Then disable (or try to) any control plane access to the device so it can only be managed from trusted connections.

Snag with that is creating a secure DCN costs $$$, and bean counters may object because they can manage their fridge via the Internet, so why can't business critical kit be managed the same way? Or vendors make it difficult/impossible to physically or logically isolate management interfaces and it's then down to trust... Which can be FUN when security meets the cloud, the vendor only offers Internet/VPN access, and security devices are virtualised inside your cloud instance. And I've been told a few times that vendor X doesn't allow 3rd party connections into their cloud 'for security'.

Biggest problem though is clients that balk at the cost of having a proper management architecture. Why do we need a second network to manage this? Well, so that only your trusted people can manage your entire IT infrastructure, that your business relies on..

I was screwed over by Cisco managers who enforced India's caste hierarchy on me in US HQ, claims engineer

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: General concern

Indeed. It's fair to say that Britain used to have a class system. The landed gentry were at the top, those in trade (respectable well-paying jobs that is, doctors and lawyers and such) in the middle, and the working class firmly at the bottom.

Still does. I went to a society do a while back, and was asked one of those class-finding questions. Where did you study? Not what, but where, because that can matter. I suspect my answer of 'mostly in the prison library' was the wrong answer, because I wasn't invited to any more. Still, picked up some nice jewellry if anyone's interested..

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Uni/Multi-caste networks

the outcome of this is the way we should view Cisco from now on

One outcome is raising awareness of this issue. I'm non-Indian, and only vaguely aware of caste issues. So if there's still discrimination amongst Indian workers, being better able to spot and deal with it should be a good thing.

One does not simply repurpose an entire internet constellation for sat-nav, but UK might have a go anyway

Jellied Eel Silver badge

So, unless they can convert the satellite from Ku-band to L-band, then they cannot be configured to operate with existing GPS receivers.

Not necessarily a problem given this is a defence project. And might be considered a Good Thing(tm) because it's a defence project.. So a bit like the 'problem' with Gallileo and having to be in the club to get access to the classified bits.. Even if the UK developed chunks of those. Plus a higher frequency/shorter wavelength could translate to higher accuracy using multiple satellites and/or interferometry.

Without the report, then we cannot assess the validity of the claims.

But it's a report concerning designing a classified system...

Will the proposed system offer cm level accuracy, or be no better than GPS+WAAS ???

Shorter wavelength could potentially offer mm level accuracy. See Ku band radars and survey kit for more info.

Also, why would anyone pay 20% (£500million) to a company that has filed for bankruptcy ??

Because the creditors want their money back, and currently they own the company. Plus there's potentially some value, ie rural broadband, partnering with Canada and other nations, having an ability to access capacity in remote locations for operations, so expand on Skynet's capacity. Plus a potential ability to launch additional satellites to cover areas of interest.

I recall that the government were being told that they can introduce backdoors into encryption and they believed it was ok with no downsides

Well, it's the government. Lawful interception and all that.

Fintech biz Wirecard folds into insolvency like two pair against a flush. Good luck accessing your chip stack

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: He could hardly be acting alone

Indeed. The level of outright fraud here requires a massive degree of complicity on behalf of the staff, or career ending ignorance on a gross misconduct scale on the part of those same staff.

I'm not so sure.. Wirecard seems like a web of companies, so most complicit would be the CFO and Treasurer of the parent. They're the ones who would (or should) have a true picture of consolidated and subsidiary accounts. Or perhaps not, ie the comment that the auditors hadn't seen bank statements for the previous 4 years, yet still signed off the accounts. It's kind of hard to reconcile how they could do that without reconciling the accounts.

Fasten your seat belts: Brave Reg hack spends a week eating airline food grounded by coronavirus crash

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides. And lobbyists decide

amusingly, ice cores demonstrate that in 1900 it was 330ppm. By 1952 (think that's right year) when we opened our first formal measuring station (on the side of an active volcano) it was 250.

Ice cores are fun given challenges with things like calibration, compaction and diffusion rates raising questions about their accuracy. Or other... interesting science. So-


It has been suggested that the Vostok record may be extended down to 3345 m or 436,000 years, to include more of the interesting MIS11 period, by inverting a section of the record.[30] This then produces a record in agreement with the newer, longer EPICA record, although it provides no new information.

Ok, it's both wiki and climate science.. But I guess I'm old fashioned. If two climate proxies disagree, find out why. You can't just flip signs or invert records to present a tidy story.. although that's been done plenty of times, ie hiding the decline, or with some sediment proxies where apparently the 'signs don't matter'. The scientist who collected the sediment data rather disagreed, the 'scientists' who switched signs had her paper retracted. Eventually. After much denial.. And yes, historical CO2 levels are a bit of a problem for CO2 dogma given the effect increases as the concentration reduces. It's homeopathy!

Put the correct number in and model says ~all radiated heat is absorbed just by CO2 (3rd on the list of Earth's greenhouse gasses, by impact) within 6 metres of the ground.

Part of the problem is the models (by necessity) are very crude with a relatively small number of grid cells/points and parameters.. But that doesn't entirely excuse them. It can be fun to poke around with things like MODTRAN and/or SMARTS, and compare theory to dogma.. or just data from weather balloons, or instruments like RSS.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides. And lobbyists decide

I suggest you familiarise yourself with pandemic curves over the last 150 years. Traditionally the SECOND wave has been the one which takes out the most people

But why? This isn't traditional, it's novel. It's not flu, it's Covid. Or for some science-


CFR (Case Fatality Rate) Overall: 0.004%

The media's been busy plugging the idea of a 'second wave' somehow becoming more lethal, yet the data and models used by the likes of the CDC don't support this. Especially given the low fatality rate or symptomatic patients, and the large numbers of people who are asymptomatic, ie infected but not particularly affected.

But such is politics. Like I said previously, I think the biggest risk will come as winter flu comes around.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides. And lobbyists decide

Straw man argument. CO2 is a persistent pollutant that doesn't magically disappear after a few months. The only air-pollution benefits to appear during Covid have been particulates, and sadly this has only shown how much one kind of pollution has mitigated the other, with a sudden warming in arctic regions this spring.

Soo.. How would you explain the apparent cycles shown in the graph? They show CO2 does 'magically disappear' after a few months. Although that's not magic, just the expected seasonal variation. But dogma states that CO2 levels were constant prior to <whenever>, thus any increase must be man-made.. Which ignores inconvenient truths that the vast majority of CO2 is natural, human contributions are tiny, and if you read the IPCC's WG1, the natural cycle has uncertainties +/- many gigatonnes. Particulates are a bit more complex, and perhaps what we're seeing is pretty much the same result of various Clean Air Acts around the world.

As for the Arctic, that's just the usual nonscience-


Nothing unusual there, much the same as it was in the early part of last century. Then again, places like that must be fun to live in given annual temps vary by around 100C, ie -70 to +30.

...if we'd taken action 20+ years ago instead of listening to deniers like you, the overall cost of changing to a carbon-neutral or C-negative economy would have been relatively small.

The 'deniers' are those that don't look for data. Predictions made 20+ years ago have been falsified, yet lobbyists still demand that we spend billions on pre-Industrial technology like windmills, not low carbon nuclear. Admittedly there are things we could have done differently, so not letting John Prescott promote gas heating. Shame that all has to go to meet Ed Milliband's Climate Change Act targets..

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: COVID-19 decides. And CO2 decides. And lobbyists decide

Covid's kind of turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. Something like 600K dead worldwide. MSM still does disaster porn regarding numbers of infected though.. And true numbers for infected are really unknown because confirmation requires testing.

But lobbying groups have seized on aspects of Covid policy to make fresh 'green' demands, like throwing even more money at the groups they represent. Limit air travel, limit transportation, restrict energy usage etc and insist that any recovery is predicated on building windmills. The BBC is currently demanding increased taxes on cars & home heating.. Which I guess is well timed, although UK folks may be wishing for home cooling right now. And heavily insulated/poorly ventilated 'green' homes won't be helping.

On the plus side, there's currently some wind & solar, so the UK is exporting power via interconnectors. Revenue from this won't be reflected in UK electricity bills though for.. reasons. We're still burning a lot of gas though because that's cheaper than 'renewables'.

And there's even some good news regarding CO2-


See the drop since Covid? No? I'm sure you can find 'fact checkers' that can explain why the reduction in human activity hasn't lead to any noticeable decline. Or it might simply because CO2 is a response to warming, and the vast majority comes from natural sources, not humans.

But I digress. Back to Covid. One potential worst-case is reports that it can cause permanent lung damage. Which could then be bad as we head towards the usual Winter flu season, especially if that means people possibly weakened by Covid then being more vulnerable to flu. AFAIK it's around this time of year that the Northern Hemisphere settles on which strains of flu to make vaccines for ahead of flu season.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

What is "Tom Yam rice?"

A spicy and aromatic cat and yam curry?

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

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: The one true way...

What was she (or even her tummy) taught?

This got me thinking of belly dancers for only the 732nd time today.. and whether the motion could be utilised to propel sweet morsels towards a waiting mouth, nestled in a handy chin rest.

(But jam first. And if scone has the consistency of stone, then it rhymes with it and may be shot from a catapult. Also indicates the use of the wrong flour or not enough raising agent.)

US govt: Julian Assange tried to recruit hacker to steal hush-hush dirt and we should know – the hacker was an informant

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Assange might have been a self promoter, and maybe a bit of a knob, but there doesnt appear to be a strong case against him as a spy...

Depends what you think a spy is. Doing the dirty work yourself is obviously risky. Recruiting and directing others to do that work is a bit safer. If you're directing those people to steal secrets from TLAs, it's still espionage. I'm curious why Assage targeted the NYT though.

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

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Hmm

Whatever happened to the rumblings from California's prosecutor? ICANN's statement just raises more questions if there's nothing in their contract that allows it to be terminated for this kind of behaviour.. And ICANN seemed rather keen to approve the enrichment of it's former staff. Successful prosecutions should create a material breach, and hopefully they'll follow.

US starts sniffing around UK spaceports – though none capable of vertical launches actually exist right now

Jellied Eel Silver badge

..you can drop old boosters etc.(including an entire failed rocket) a long way down range without risk of hitting anything expensive.

Like Brussels?

But to be on the safe side, and confuse an ancient UN territorial dispute*, I'd suggest Rockall!

Would create jobs for North Sea types, who could give it a flat-top, then drill suitably villainish silo down into the rock of Rockall. Need not be much more of a hardship posting than previous missile monitoring sites oop North.

*And making into an actively used part of the UK, would presumably reinforce our claim to one of the last great remaining outposts of the Empire. Which would secure the EEA, fishing & mineral rights, and it need not be considered Scottish territory. So shenanigans all round!

CERN puts two new atom-smashers on its shopping list. One to make Higgs Bosons, then a next-gen model six times more energetic than the LHC

Jellied Eel Silver badge

You need to ship it long distances because you need to ship it from where it's light and/or windy to where it's dark and/or still (without looking up the details I'm pretty sure we get low-wind, low-temperature weather systems which cover country-sized areas or larger..

Yep, that can happen. Also one of the current challenges with the idea of 'supergrids' connecting countries. So the assumption that weather conditions will be right somewhere on the grid. Which is I guess good if you're that somewhere because you could then sell power to the highest bidder at a heavy premium.. And countries connected to that grid would have to pay for it's creation and management, and those at the edges of the network might not get power anway given it'd naturally flow to where there was load.

But it's more about 'need'. It's only really a need because we've allowed regulatory capture so supply is decoupled from demand. It's a bit like saying we need to spend billions on unicorn welfare, ignoring anyone who points out the lack of unicorns.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

You need these because you are going to need to ship enough electrical power to run half the world half way around the world, from where the power is made to where it's needed, and you're not doing that unless you have really enormous, really reliable, superconducting power networks.

Bah humbug. One snag for high-energy physics is finding the energy. Or money to pay CERN's electricity bill. Or money to pay for CERN's carbon credits, as it's a large energy user, and less exempted would need to find a lot. But such is politics. So there have been ideas (in the very bad sense) of building massive solar farms in Libya, then shipping the power to EU-land. Which would be astronomically expensive, and a wasted investment if Egypt & Turkey decide to go at it over who's warlord should get to loot Libya.

Improved superconducting cables and magnets might make that a bit easier, but then it might be better applied to building better generators for fission, or even fusion power. Or the physics lets us figure out neat ways to wrangle neutrons so we can use deuterium, or affordable ways to create tritium.

But a fairly neat example of a collision between science & politics, where energy policy has a direct, negative impact on the science. But..

plasma wakefield acceleration tech

This I need. Day trips to Mars anyone?

Big Tech on the hook for billions in back taxes after US Supreme Court rejects Altera stock options case hearing

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: IT's late and I'm kinda dumb

I am not a lawyer, or an accountant, and certainly not a tax specialist.. But I think it's this-

it will not review a decision by the Ninth Circuit of Appeals that stock-based compensation should be considered a US taxable asset.

Which always struck me as a bit odd, but then so does much of modern finance. So seemed to me that if anything, it's a liability, ie money due to employees assuming they survive long enough for it to vest. I'm guessing there are devils in the details, ie if I have an option at $25 and stock price when it vests is $100, company needs to find shares either in the market, or from unissued stock and books a $75/share loss. That then reduces company tax liability. So my guess is the options should be treated as assets at the prevailing value, or just can't book the loss.

How employees get shafted is down to their own tax circumstances, so when I worked for a US company, some staff like Germans and I think French had to pay tax as soon as the options were awarded, even if they wouldn't vest for 2-3 years or more.

Google isn't even trying to not be creepy: 'Continuous Match Mode' in Assistant will listen to everything until it's disabled

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Power without abuse never loses it's charm.

Microphone never turns off. Microphone is always on, as it's at least listening for an activation phrase.

Sooo.. Assuming you're not on a metered Internet connection. Stick a mic in a sound damped box, add speaker, add loop saying 'OK Google, FOAD'. Close box.

Software types might be able to do this without hardware, although it sounds like Google's going to make it difficult to turn off snooping. Bigger challenge if people have mic enabled iThings that they are either unaware of, or can't disconnect/turn off mics.

NY Attorney General warns Apple, Google to police COVID-19 tracing apps in their souks – or she will herself

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Connecting the dots..

The app could not put those dots on the map because the app doesn't know whether you have a case.

So.. The NHS can put a dot on a map because it's done the test. But in a decentralised model, that's pretty much it. It could make assumptions about contacts based on profiles, population density etc, but couldn't do much to actually track & trace contacts. It might be able to tell if someone positive has spent time in a crowded theater, but not if they coughed. Or who the others in the crowd were. And they may be blissfully unaware if they'd done the decent thing and turned their phones off.

So the NHS would be basically blind to potentially useful contact/outbreak monitoring. But to be useful, it also needs to be more invasive. Peer-Peer just notifies someone that they may have been close to someone else who'd tested positive.

Great. Now what? Go get tested, assuming tests are available. Or as Doctor Syntax says, go isolate for 15 days. Which doesn't help track outbreaks because you've no idea if that contact resulted in transmission. Of course what could be possible is monitoring house arrest & working much like offender tagging.. But only if that information is available. Otherwise, public health authorities have no idea if people are breaking quarantine, or not.

Which is also potentially a good thing. Decentralised track & trace seems useless for both public health... and enforcing house arrest and/or curfews.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

...wait a minute, I've just realised, 'analysis of infection control measures' was the only thing they were interested in. Notification to the users was just a sweetener to encourage participation

I think it's where the UK approach is better. So a peer-peer infection network's great. Ping! You've spent 15mins in the presence of the undead. Now what? Rush to the nearest testing centre and demand a test so your iGadget can be loaded with a certificate of purity, and you can go out again?

Or, given public health and epidemeology typically relies on identifying and tracking outbreaks, having some view of what's happening seems like a sensible idea. Cluster of red dots growing in Slough? Maybe just quarantine that*, not the whole country.

*And maybe 'forget' to lift quarantine.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Simply stating that the mortality rate is less than 1% with no other context is almost Trumpian in it's ability to mis-lead.

To truly mislead, you'd need the media. Here's one I made earlier-


By Michelle Roberts Health editor, BBC News online

... The Recovery Trial, running since March, also looked at the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which has subsequently been ditched amid concerns it increases fatalities and heart problems.

Sooo.. was that the trial reported in the Lancet that had to be retracted after discovering some very dodgy data mining? Oh.. The 'Recovery' Trial-


FS : Could you please precise what dosage of HCQ you gave to the patient ? and the results ?

ML : It is 2400 mg in the first 24 hours and 800 mg from day 2 to day 10. It is an 10 day course of treatment in total. These are quite high doses to make sure that the blood levels got high enough to have a chance of killing the virus.

Which is... curious. Especially given-


Potential risks of treatment include prolongation of the QTc interval (especially in patients with preexisting cardiac disease or if coprescribed with azithromycin), hypoglycemia, neuropsychiatric effects, drug–drug interactions and idiosyncratic hypersensitivity reactions.

Sooo.. Design a trial that gives patients with pre-existing heart conditions & diabetes 4x the NICE recommended dose, then end the trial on 'safety grounds' to focus efforts on helping big pharma with their product development. Eventually Remdesivir might be found to work on... something.

But such is politics. One would have hoped the BBC's 'Health Editor' had been aware of the Lancet's problems, or even concerns about the dosage used in the 'Recovery' trial. Or perhaps even ask pointed questions, like if anyone's tried the hydroxychlorquine + zinc combo to see if it reduced infection rates.. Which is what the original claims suggested.

And Ferguson's model would still have been wrong given it used the wrong values for infection rates & mortality, amongst others. Meanwhile, the app isn't going to produce anything meaningful, but due to a combination of cabin fever & peaceful protesting, there'll be more opportunities to revise models based on the lock-down becoming unlocked.

And on a positive note.. Track & Trace apps could prove really useful to see who's violating curfews & unlawfully assembling. This is a Good Thing(tm)... isn't it? Big Data can soon monitor populations to 2m-ish resolution in near real-time. What could possibly go wrong?

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Perfect solution when the infection rate is low enough that this is significant better than a lockdown.

Perhaps a perfect solution when in the initial stages of an outbreak and the risks aren't well understood. So when Ferguson's model told government there'd be millions dead, and it'd make Spanish flu look like a mild cold.

6 months later, it looks like mortality rate is <1% and those model projections rather exagerated.

But press on regardless. Contracts have been issued. Future contracts for patent medicines are eagerly anticipated. Scientific papers have been published, and retracted. The public knows that Covid is more lethal than ebola and avian flu combined..

Or it's not. There are reports that Covid may have been circulating long before the hype train left it's station, and many people may have been infected without realising. Public health bodies have records of admissions, so should be able to revise risk data so that people with pre-existing conditions that increase risk can take more precautions. But no. We may be facing Covid 2.0 and a '2nd wave'. Everyone must wear tracking beacons that wpn't do anything unless you've been close to an unclean for 15mins. If you walk past someone coughing or sneezing, it won't alert you. It won't alert you after that person's been tested positive. It won't alert people who've been near anyone who's an asymptomatic carrier.

Looking for a home off-world? Take your pick: Astroboffins estimate there are nearly 6bn Earth-likes in the Milky Way

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Past & Futures markets!

I read books like that too, but you have to ignore any predictions they make because of huge holes like this.

But.. but.. I guess there's a variation on Fermi's Paradox. So if travelling to the past were possible, someone would already have done it. Unless there were time cops, who'd prevent tampering with causality. I suspect Joanna Lumley of being one. Or someone may be transmitting tachyons with vital information to us so our future selves can save our present ones. Or it's proof of branching universes, and it's been done, yet we remain stubbornly in our original time line.

Or it's been done. But our future selves decided to redefine both Imperial and Metric units as legacy values, set sail for where the Earth was, and missed.

But OK, so FTL travel is something of a dream to get around the vastness of space. But to an extent, the idea that we couldn't exceed the speed of light is also SF.. albeit the 'S' is rather stacked against it. But who knows, some day, Elon may create the infinite improbability drive that just keeps accelerating.

Either way, the stock markets get more interesting with commodity futures.. But there's also historical precedent for this, ie trade ships getting faster, then communications aiding price discovery. I think it'd still leave Earth in an interesting position. So assuming colonies become self-sufficient, they wouldn't need Earth, but Earth would need their resources.. But why trade? Or what to trade? I think that would leave a market for luxuries, so genuine Earth champagne, or the original Mona Lisa, but it's fun stuff to think about.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Venus and Mars

I think it's been posited that we could potentially live in a particular part of Venus's atmosphere, in some sort of ridiculously high treehouses, if we were really bored and due to a budgeting error suddenly had an infinity of money to spend.

But that's old-fashioned capitalism and economic thinking. Central banks already discovered we have infinite money, just a finite amount of practical things to spend it on. In a post-scarcity future, we'd have a near infinite amount of resources, and different mediums of exchange. So instead of promising to pay the bearer of £1 err.. £1, it could be lifting 1lb of <something> from surface to space. Which would still give banks something to gamble on based on local gravity rates.

Or, given the number of planets just in the Milky Way, everyone could be offered their own planet in exchange for their labor. Delivery not included, refer to travel & subsisdence schedule and royalty table to understand your earn-out.

But it's fun stuff that SF writers have addressed, amongst others. Like what has value in an interplanetary or interstellar economy, and what would be the exchange rate? Things that are currently scarce wouldn't be. Peter F Hamilton's Fallen Dragon has some interesting themes of value in a post-scarcity and post-FTL future.

Whose side you on, Nominet? Registry floods .co.uk owners with begging emails to renew unwanted .uk domains

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Is this Fraud?

What happens if someone decides to create a new trademark with the domain of trademark.co.uk - and pleb Joe Bloggs already owns the coincidental trademark.uk domain?

Somewhere on the Internet, lawyers start their clocks. Not being one.. Dunno. But AFAIK if I already own the trademark, and Nominet's sent me a letter saying I need to pay for a new .uk domain to prevent cybersquatting.. That seems like extortion. Ok, I think it gets more complicated, ie same name, suitably different industries. But rather than waste time/money going through Nominet's dispute process, seems simpler just to send a letter putting them on notice that it's your trademark.

But needs lawyers. And if they win that one, there's also credit agencies. Seeing as it's an offence to hold/process incorrect personal data, why do they try to charge the person? Surely it's in their interests to make sure the data they hold is accurate to avoid large fines.

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Re: Is this Fraud?

Sounds like extortion to me. And conspiring with registrars to commit extortion.

Yup. I'd also be curious if customers could challenge under IP law. So suppose I'm trademark.co.uk then extorting trademark owners to pay for trademark.uk would seem rather shady. And suggesting that trademark owners need to pay up to avoid cybersquatters would seem clear extortion, when if anyone else tries to register that trademark domain would seem a clear abuse of that trademark.. And Nominet would be complicit given the emails, and it's dispute resolution process that 'protects' IP owners.

I suspect that a big brand would have a fairly easy time winning a judgement that any cybersquatter should relinquish brand domains.. And then raise the question of dosh, ie why trademark owners would be expected to pay more, when legally (I think), they're the only entity that can exploit that brand.

Wow, Microsoft's Windows 10 always runs Edge on startup? What could cause that? So strange, tut-tuts Microsoft

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Re: @Chris G - Terminate

Shutup 10 does the job, and more. https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10

Wow, that's frikking awesome, and where has it been all my Win10 life! No longer will I have to stare at Task Mangler screaming "What are you? Why are you running? Why won't you die!" when this has a clean UI allowing me to burn cruft with fire.

Just downloaded and ran it, now my Win10 box feels less bloated, and leaner!

Colt Technology UK nixes winding-up order threat from Italian VoIP reseller over £3.8m disputed debt

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Re: "how Colt Italy had managed to sign [..] with SGG in the first place"

I hate voice, partly for the reasons explained in this case. Which is quite fascinating reading, especially relying on a ruling made in a Prohibition era involving a ship full of whisky and (allegedly) some mobsters.

I rather like this bit-

although the second of these is unsigned and the third is in draft form only

regarding SGG's contracts with its suppliers. Seems legit.

But having been involved in similar deals, what can happen is an excited sales person lands a 'massive deal' based on the interconnect revenue number, and railroads it through the business. If sales are paid commission based on revenue, you can guess where there focus is.. Plus the sales director because targets.

My job wrt due diligence was technical, ie could the 'partner' deliver services per our SLA to customers, but that can get murky with 'virtual' services like VoIP and resellers/abitrage. In this sort of case, I'd have expected to see SIP trunks between Colt and SGG to assure some sort of QoS.. And in a dispute like this, call traces from Colt's SBCs showing path taken. That would provide some comfort as to who was actually terminating the calls.

But then what can happen is engineering gets overruled by sales because it's a 'commercial' issue, even though those commercials look dodgy AF. Or 001 in the real-world, even if voice packets should be 101. But I digress. Engineering reservations get shouted down as being 'sales prevention', sometimes even after TSHTF and the recommendation to no-bid turns out to have been correct. Which can also mean the sales person's taken their commission & moved on, so prospects of clawing that back are slim to none. I've also been involved in deals where engineering, legal and treasury have recommended no-bidding, but been overruled by sales. Those 'sales driven' companies are FUN, and generally best avoided if you value your sanity.

But such is politics. From the ruling, the margins don't necessarily look bad to me given the VoIP world is a shark infested swamp that can make Florida realtors look honest. It's a low margin/high volume game where voice managers often chop & change suppliers based on rate sheets dangled in front of them.

In Colt's defence though, pre-sales due diligence often isn't that in-depth.. So interesting details like SGG's partner being a laundry worker wouldn't have come to light. But that's Italy.. Certain people there have plenty of experience in the laundering business..

US senators propose $22bn fund for new fabs on American soil because making stuff is better than designing stuff

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Re: Freedom Fries!

Hmm, that doesn't seem to be the case here. Huawei's 5G kit outperforms US gear, which suggests Huawei has developed *better* gear - plain copying would only produce the same performance, possibly at a lower price. In addition, all the code reviews (that, incidentally, fully failed to show any alleged backdoors) did not throw up IP violations either, so what IP did they copy then?

I think people might be hard pressed to name any 5G RAN kit. As for IP & innovation, I guess an example could be original Huawei routers with a.. very similar OS to Cisco's IOS. Which can get into legal vs illegal copying or reverse engineering, and Texas. I mean patent laws. Or Huawei's optical kit compared to some US versions, ie Cisco bought in their 15454 boxes, then dropped them because they struggled to sell them when bigger/faster/cheaper kit was available from non-US companies.. Even when those were often assembled using US components.

Or on that theme, Cisco & Juniper competing to make ever bigger (and clunkier) routers as the market was shifting switched networks & Ethernet.. And all the more ironic given Cisco kind of invented MPLS by way of tag switching.. And now Chinese companies are investing more in R&D than many US, and are more involved in standards setting. Never trust a 'tech' company where their marketing budget exceeds their R&D.

Which circles back to the 5G problem. If there were competitive US products, carriers would evaluate them & might buy them to mitigate supply risks. No amount of posturing will make those boxes appear, but interventions to support STEM education, R&D and manufacturing would help.. Eventually. Especially when there's record unemployment and deep recessions looming.

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Re: Freedom Fries!

Ah, well.. such is politics. On which note-


People on social media are spreading word about the strike with the hashtags #ShutDownAcademia, #ShutDownSTEM and #Strike4BlackLives.

Ok, so it was only for a day, and raises interesting questions, like why some minorities are underrepresented. Then how to encourage more to train in STEM subjects. The issue of academic racism is also perhaps a bit ironic given the academics create the environment they're striking about. But without minorities starting their careers at the base of the academic pyramid, they're not going to rise up the ranks.

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Re: Freedom Fries!

A chip in the hand is worth 2 sitting on a dock in a Chinese port. Plus of course politics. So embargoing stuff to China because Huawei's undercutting/outperforming US companies because those companies offshored technology to China.. Who naturally took those ideas (ok, and sometimes IP), ran with it and are now capable of producing native kit. It's been fascinating watching the evolution of homegrown Chinese tech. Initial versions were a bit clunky, design wise, now they're as good if not better than Western stuff.

Which is unsuprising given it's what Japan did post-WW2, and China's been heavily investing in education & has a rather large population pool. Plus Asian companies typically value education highly, so simple population distribution rules means there should be a lot of educated Chinese in the 95% who can design stuff, not just manufacture/assemble it.

Then the combination of trade wars + Covid has perhaps provided a wake-up call and US politicians have realised that it might just be a good thing to increase US capacity, both in the manufacturing and R&D sense.. Which is a start, but needs combining with more than just component manufacturing. Especially encouraging US kids (or Western kids in general) to study those difficult STEM subjects, not plan a career as social media influencers. I still remember a video from probably a decade or more ago where a US University pointed out that there were no US citizens studying its optical physics course.

But that's perhaps something politicians can address, especially given record unemployment at the moment. Crazy idea, but given the stonkingly high cost of US (and other bits of the West) university courses, it might be a really Good Thing(tm) to subsidise STEM and key skills.

Oh crap: UK's digital overlords moot new rules to help telcos lay fibre in sewer pipes

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Re: Why wait ?

It's been done for years.. First I think Urband, then err.. someone else had a deal with Thames Water to run fibre in London sewers. I think it was around 15yrs ago when I did a site visit to see how they installed fibre.. Which was the boring bit, ie tacking ducts to walls, but interesting to do a bit of urbex and get kitted out in all the PPE necessary to end up in the sh*t, safely. I think those deals were exclusive wayleaves, which makes sense given training needed to work in those environments. London also has deep power tunnels that are used for fibre, but also potentially very hazardous environments. Places like NY can also be FUN with additional hazards like high pressure steam pipes.. So wave a stick in front of you, and if the end gets sliced off, it's detected the leak before you lose important body parts.

As for vested interests, one is of course the government and a decision to charge rates on fibre.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

There are various ways to scan for sub-surface services before you dig. I'm not sure how well fibre is detected by these methods (Cat-and-Genny wouldn't be much use; no idea how effective Ground penetrating Radar is with fibre).

Our gracious hosts had a lecture/video by Ordnance Survey on utility mapping challenges. UK & probably RoW have depth management, so water/sewer deepest, and newbie fibre the shallowest. Which kind of explains fibre cuts where utilities dig through fibre to get to their own stuff.

But there can be locator wires embedded in fibre cables, or in ducts to help with cat & gen tracing. Not every operator seems to do this, ie CityFibre's been laying pipe around me & using a mix of polypipe and microducts.. I didn't see them running locator wires though. But shallow depth helps GPR, which works by sensing density changes, so if there's ducting, it should be able to sense the voids.

EU aviation wonks give all-electric training aeroplane the green light – but noob pilots only have 50 mins before they have to land it

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Re: Reserve power?

I assume they will have to take that into account, are they that slow that they wouldn't make another airport within 5 minutes for an emergency landing?

Not necessarily a problem. Plane could have EVL (Emergency Vertical Landing) capability with the addition of parachutes that can already be fitted to some light aircraft.

But I guess if this is intended as a training aircraft, instructors could plan flights so they have emergency landing fields pre-planned.

BoJo looks to jumpstart UK economy with £6k taxpayer-funded incentive for Brits to buy electric cars – report

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Re: Buy more cars - drive them less

The other alternative is to have the motors mounted just inboard of each wheel, possibly within the suspension (so they are partially sprung)

Unless motors get a lot smaller, I don't think that's practical. Increasing the unsprung mass means more vibration, wheel hop etc. So generally a bad thing when the idea is to use the suspension to keep the wheels on the road & the occupants happy.

Then there's the packing problem, ie wheel space & wheel welll space. So some's already taken with brakes, and the well has to accomodate suspension components that have to be able to move vertically & horizontally so the car can steer.. Which is AFAIK the reason per or in-wheel motors are only really used on heavy machinery where there's more space to work with.

Source: Me finding this- https://www.stevemorrisengines.com/engines/bbc/2-500-3-500hp-efi-only and thinking 'that could be fun!'. Then thinking if it would be possible to stick that in a mid-engine AWD/AWS road legal(ish) car.. Which has kept me amused researching the practicalities and challenges involved in cramming that beast + everything else necessary into a practical sized car. Luckily I share Mark Twain's opinion of golf.

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Re: Electric cars....

The first thing to bear in mind is that typically the pro-wind lobby like to compare 50 year old nuclear designs with the newest windmill design.

That's a strange one. The BBC ran an energy 'fact checker' which made that claim and I was tempted to ask for a correction. It reckoned windmills were more modern than nuclear power, which is clearly untrue by any measure. Ok, so I call them 'windmills' because they are (except the milling bit), but that aside, the first wind turbines were from early last century.

I didn't bother writing to them because given the BBC's lack of clue on energy matters, it would have been a waste of time. Which is a shame given they're meant to be trustworthy and impartial. I guess having the 'renewables' lobby write copy for you beats working for a living though.

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Re: Electric cars....

and nuclear is not carbon free by any stretch. How do you think the fuel source is prospected, mined, transported and processed in the huge nuclear power stations that are mostly built and maintained using largely carbon generated energy?

Err.. Wut? But EV's are basically wood burners, much as they were waaay back in the days of steam powered cars. So the useless BBC carries on promoting 'renewables', praising it's 'no coal' figures. But ignoring Drax, formerly coal burning, now wood burning with a reduction in effeciency because wood has a lower energy density than coal. But it's Green! And Drax gets massive subsidies for burning forests, and has a person sitting on our 'Climate Change Committee' to make sure government policy continues to throw money their way..

So even though there's no coal burned, there's a lot of gas because it's been calm weather, and the windmills aren't spinning. The 'renewables' lobby are of course, because they want even more money thrown their way. Which will mean we'll need more gas turbines standing by for when 'renewables' can't deliver power. Or if there's too much wind, the bird mincers get 'constraint' payments because their energy isn't needed.

And thanks to our useless government, we've been importing electricity via our interconnectors because of the UK's high prices.. Which is strange, because the 'renewables' lobby keep insisting that their product is cheap.

And of course they hate nuclear, because they put out glowing press releases about the latest subsidy.. I mean wind/solar farm being 'enough to power 5,000 homes!', whereas Sizewell C's 3.2GW build would be enough to power 5 million. Or maybe 3m, if people are charging EVs.

Then there's carbon accounting trickery. Windfarms have a large carbon & environmental footprint, so I suspect if you compare 3.2GW of nuclear vs 3.2GW of wind or solar (not forgetting stand-by requirements), nuclear would have a much lower footprint. Ok, there's some on-going for fuel, but that fuel has a massive energy density/potential compared to 'renewables'.. Especially if you look at the likes of Green Drax, which needs massive volumes of trees harvested, chipped, compressed, dried, transported and finally burned.

And I'm curious if nuclear plants really are 'maintained using largely carbon generated electricity' when it would seem... silly to pay for electricity when you're generating it. I suspect they simply tap off steam to a smaller genset for site power.. Then grid for backup, and diesel to back that up.

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Re: Buy more cars - drive them less

Fa easier to make a 4wd Electric Car than an ICE car. Hence why most Teslas are 4wd.

Not necessarily, ie they're dual motor, one for the front, one for the rear. Those motors are big/heavy, and each has a gearbox vs an ICE with a single motor (ok, engine), gearbox and AWD handled by the drive train. From watching various EV teardowns on YT (RichRebuilds especially), EV's seem as complex as ICEs.

Then again, I guess dual motors have the potential for more complex ECUs & more control over signalling to front/rear motor than a (mostly) mechanical drive train. So doing stuff like splitting power between front/rear wheels would seem simpler in a dual EV. Not sure how that would translate into handling or driver benefits though, and maybe there'll be an EV rally series some day. Even though EVs generally have a lot of torque, that'd be offset by the increased weight compared to an ICE rally car.

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Re: Auto da fe?

So the civil war didn't start because of EV batteries - but it might just finish because of them.

Unlikely. DRC's had a sad history, even by African standards.. Especially during the time it was the Belgian King's personal playpen. It's resources have fuelled warlords & it's civil wars, and that's unlikely to change given the money involved.. Plus of course those strategic resources means geopolitical dabbling for control.

But it's one of those modern problems. We want stuff made from coltan, and environmentally conscious Americans might drive their EV's to protest against coal mining.. But are blissfully unaware of massive mines like Makundo that enable our modern lifestyles. Those environmental and human problems are out of sight, out of mind. Drive EV's they're good for the (our) environment..

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Restructure the Market

And yet completely incompatible with privacy. It'll also be very difficult to check that a foreign registered vehicle is attributable to someone you can fine (ie they pay before they can depart the UK).

That ship has already err.. sailed given new vehicles have to be fitted with black boxes per EU Diktat. Floated as a 'safety' feature, where cars could phone for help in accidents, but strangely enough, also enables everything needed for road charging.. Excluding back-end. Expect tenders to follow, and think of the benefits if data's combined with track & trace! Automatically alert insurers.. I mean people because they've spent >15m <2m apart inside a tin box!

Mortal wombat: 4 generations of women fight for their lives against murderous marsupial

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Re: Wombatnado



Aw, cute wombat chittering.. Or perhaps it's just sharpening it's teeth, ready to pounce..

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Re: Wombatnado

I think a lot of animals will do that, ie normal for wolves & dogs when hunting/herding. One of those curious things, like how they learn/inherit those skills. For wolves, they're sneaky, so pack using distraction so they can circle around and bring down their prey. For dogs, can be worrying, especially in breeds like collies where they can instinctively herd kids back to their human pack with a nip to the ankle.

As for wombats, I guess that's just Australia. They've probably dealt with all the larger predators, but still retain detailed files on potential targets.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Wombatnado

I kid you not - the growling sounds that they make is scary as to anybody who's never heard it before.

Heh, something to add to my YT search. I never got the chance to go bush (unless Melbourne counts), but something I'd like to do. From my time spent in the great outdoors, it's interesting to hear the night sounds in the peace & quiet of the country. Here in the UK, strangest noises are probably from foxes. Or one night, I heard a terrible screaming from outside my window. Looked to check what was going on, and it was just a pair of hedgehogs mating. Gentleman that I am, I left them to it.. But a suprisingly loud noise from a small critter.. Or maybe not suprising given the spines..

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Wombatnado

That sounds like an awesome project. Especially having a sample library to pick & mix from for future horror movies. When I visited Australia, I saw a police team educating people about the risks of Australian wildlife.. of which there seemed many. They warned that wombats have a tendency to curl up on roads, then flip cars that hit them.. Presumably so the combat wombats can then mug the drivers.

I still think the cassowary's the scariest critter though.


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