* Posts by A 15

14 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

Tesla axes software engineer for allegedly pilfering secret Python scripts after just three days on the job

A 15

Re: "Received a computer" "He also installed Dropbox"

I'm not convinced that the three alias' is a big deal. I would be more worried if the list was longer and the names were unrelated to each other.

In reality he has used the family name Tilov and Khatilov. Family names don't always work in the same straight forward way that they usually do in the west. Sometimes there is gender modification e.g "ova" for females sometimes "s" added to male surnames (Russia and some parts of eastern Europe). There may be associations with the "Kha" part of the name that the defendant wanted to remove to avoid prejudice.

For the first name, he changed Sabir to Alex: it's common for people from different cultures to pick western names either to avoid pronunciation problems or to avoid prejudice.

It's also possible he's just beginning in the spy game, but why would you use any part of your real identity in such a circumstance?

Holy moley! The amp, kelvin and kilogram will never be the same again

A 15
Boffin

A few comments

It seems a little peculiar that they were quite happy to use the charge on an electron to define the Coulomb, but didn't wan't to use the mass on the electron to define the kg (it is known to an appropriate precision).

In regards to the comment about someone else coming along and finding a flaw... well that isn't very likely; the definitions were not created on the grounds that science now knows these units perfectly so we'll just set them in stone. They were defined so that all the units that can be derived from the base units can be updated (slightly), when our measuring improves. The new way leaves a field with fewer moving goals.

There is still a bit of awkwardness with certain units, like the definition of the second is based upon being measured at sea level (as general relativity plays a role).

Also I will kind of miss Avagadro's constant being the number of atoms in 12 grams of carbon 12. Still, at least I have a set of numbers that I can learn and won't change now :p

Russian battery ambitions see a 10x increase in power from smaller, denser nukes

A 15
Boffin

more maths

So if its total energy capacity (at infinity) is 3.3Wh then its initial energy output would be 2.6 µW.

based on 100.1 year half life.

If its initial energy output is 10µW then its lifetime energy output will be 12.7Wh

-P_0 * t_half/ln(0.5) = E_life

where P_0 is power output in Watts at start, t_half is the half life in seconds and E_life is the lifetime energy output in Joules.

Of course reading the paper would just be cheating :o).

Any way, looks like they are doing this somewhere in between, and there is a bit more to it.

Who wanted a future in which AI can copy your voice and say things you never uttered? Who?!

A 15
Holmes

More research needed

I guess what this points to is the need for a companion field of research of how to detect computer generated voices. Of course it is easy for a human to distinguish the real from the artificial (should we call it CGV (Computer Generated Voice?)) now. I don't know what the limit in quality will be with this particular line of research, but it seems that an honest research would be publishing how to detect it also. A commercial implementation could deliberately water mark the audio, but this will not help out for nefarious implementations.

I'm guessing that there will be algorithmic/forensic methods for detecting this kind of manipulation, even after it is good enough to pass the human ear test.

Cancel your summer trip to nearby Proxima b. No chance of life, room service, say boffins

A 15
Holmes

But what if it has a strong magnetic field

It seems that with a stronger magnetic field, the atmosphere may survive for longer. I haven't read the paper properly, but in the discussion & conclusions section, the author also mentions that there are methods of atmospheric replenishment, which could keep it gassed up.

New UK laws address driverless cars insurance and liability

A 15

I don't think it's fair to expect users to update something safety critical like the software frequently. If software needs patching, this is comparable to a manufacturer recall. Automatic updates is a rather dangerous idea in the event that the security is compromised by hackers.

I think there needs to be some clear policy on what users are expected to do to keep the software up to date. Something like requiring it is updated manually by engineers during its one or two year service seems reasonable.

This would also make sure that cars are changed over gradually (in the event that somehow some malicious software did get on them).

Good gravy, Toshiba QLC flash chips are getting closer

A 15

Possible erratum

The article says that the relationship between number of (binary equivalent) bits that a gate can hold and the number of separate states, between which it can distinguish is a factor of two:

binary bits | distinct states

1 | 2

2 | 4

3 | 6

4 | 8

This is surely false! the relationship between number of binary bits b that can be represented by a gate that can distinguish n states is: n=2^b or b=log(n)/log(2).

i.e.:

binary bits | distinct states

1 | 2

2 | 4

3 | 8

4 | 16

Flexible flywheel offers cheap energy storage

A 15
Boffin

Regarding going up a hill

A possible solution, in the case of a vehicle (though this wasn't proposed by the inventor), rotating to go up a hill, is to mount the fly wheel on a gimbal.

UPDATE: GAGA team hunts down grass-smoking ROBOT

A 15
Joke

Buy a sheep

A sheep is a remarkably hi-tech piece of kit that not only knows where it is on the lawn, but also uses the lawn as a power source. You might need to put a fence round the rose bush though.

High Street chains vow to play fair on warranties

A 15
Unhappy

Something else that bothers me about this warranty culture

This is on a similar line as Derk.

The culture of offering extended warranties implies (subtly) that with no extended warranty, the retailer has no obligation to the customer if the goods break beyond the first year. When I was dealing with trading standards a few years ago, it was clear that the responsibility of the retailers does not end after a year but is very dependant on the type of goods. So a toothbrush, you might expect to last a few months, while a TV could be expected to last multiple years.

Although, in their defence responsibility, does necessarily mean to the extent of a providing a free replacement.

UK lays carbon plan before Earth Goddess

A 15
Boffin

39.5% increase in cost per Watt by my calc. unless...

The article predicted a 7% decrease in "Energy" cost if "Electricity" usage is decreased by 1/3. Energy includes gas as well. Her comment may have factored in homes that currently produce heat with electricity (cooking and central heating) converting to gas, which is significantly better in terms of Watt per £ or Watt per gram of CO2.

Giant solar-powered aircraft takes to the skies

A 15
Paris Hilton

I know how Trevor10 got to the figure...

He did 44 miles per day instead of 44mph. It comes to about 1.5 years then.

SanDisk flips out 32GB mobile phone card

A 15

64GB next year??

Me being pedantic as usual, but the maximum capacity of a SDHC card is 32GB (limited by the sd 2.0 specification, rather than the addressing). If sandisk created a new card next year with a 64GB capacity, it would be a newer specification SD 3.0 used in SDXC. The problem being that you would probably need some new hardware to support the larger capacity.

German lad hit by 30,000 mph meteorite

A 15
Boffin

A plausible explanation... well maybe

I'm not quite sure about how much the atmosphere would have slowed down this pellet but here are some thoughts.

1. In reference to people making guesses as to the speed of impact and judging the crater size to be implausible. It may be that the way the speed was estimated was to measure the mass of the meteorite and the size of the crater and use a relevant algorithm.

2. As our victim heard a loud bang after, but not before, it sounds like the meteorite was traveling at least the speed of sound.

3. I would tend to agree that if this object hit any part of him at such a high speed, then the body part would no longer be a part of him. Perhaps he is mistaken and the object went very close to him. If it was traveling at some hypersonic speed then the shock wave or heated air around the object could plausibly have caused his injury. Also craters throw up a huge amount of material when they are formed (1 foot wide hemisphere of dirt in this case). Some lower speed material ejected from the crater could plausibly have caused his injury while also chucking him a fair distance away. If the object was traveling at 30,000 mph, there's no way he could have resolved the time difference between the injury to his hand and the object hitting the ground.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER