* Posts by TonyK

25 posts • joined 15 Oct 2009

'Incorrect software parameter' sends Formula E's Edoardo Mortara to hospital: Brakes' fail-safe system failed


The stewards in that video looked a bit nonchalant to me. Is that because they were shiftless ne'er-do-wells, or is it just because E-cars don't tend to burst into flames like proper cars do?

Jersey sore: Anchor rips into island's undersea cables, sinks net access


Re: Redundancy

In the very same sentence, Mr McDermott makes it clear that he is talking about the redundancy provided by the backup connection via France.

What the hex is up with Jupiter's North Pole?


Re: @moiety

No, it's the one at NASA's Juno page. The article starting "Jupiter has a colossal hexagon at its North Pole" was presumably written by an idiot.

Dwarf planet Ceres has a watery secret: An 11 mile wide ice volcano


Bigged up

That picture isn't a photo: according to NASA's Ceres pages, it's a "simulated perspective view" in which "the elevation has been exaggerated by a factor of two." I thought it looked too good to be true.

Magnetic memory boffins unveil six-state storage design


A six-state memory element? Oh dear.

It's us programmers that will bear the brunt of this. It will give a new meaning to the term "hex number". All those years I spent learning my 16-times tables! Polydactyly will become something to put on your CV.

NASA saves Kepler space 'scope by turning it off and on again


I don't believe it

"...or just wandering through the celestial depths": Really? How is that possible? Or did you just make it up? Planets drifting through the interstellar void would be completely undetectable with current technology, surely?

European Patent Office heads rapidly toward full meltdown


I wonder if you read the same article as me? The impression I got was that Battistelli is a megalomaniac. I thought the article did an excellent job of stating the facts and letting us draw our own conclusions.

Apple coughs up $350m – 2.3 days of annual profit – to make Italy's taxmen go away


"2.3 days of annual profit"? What can that possibly mean?

Here – here is that 'hoverboard' you've wanted so much. Look at it. Look. at. it.


Where's the vomit icon?

I've never heard such a spew-inducing sales pitch! It's a shame, because I wanted to learn more about this cool toy, but every time I switched the audio back on my stomach started to spasm. Full marks to Iain Thomson for toughing it out to the end.

IBM bats away Australian sueball over billion-dollar-blowout


SAP who?

"SAP walks away from the affair with pride intact": A bit of a surprise, that! SAP is mentioned for the first and only time in the very last sentence. Who or what is SAP? Were you just checking that we're paying attention?

Now we know why Philae phouled up comet landing



The plain fact is, the primary mission was an almost total failure. It's like those snowboarding tournaments where the competitors do an ecstatic victory salute no matter how badly they performed. I have every sympathy for all those engineers, but their baby wiped out.

Top boffin Freeman Dyson on climate change, interstellar travel, fusion, and more


IAS is not Princeton U

Dyson worked at the Institute for Advanced Study, not Princeton University.

Rocketeers aim for the Moon with first-stage £600k tin-rattle


I honestly don't understand. Why would I want to send my pictures to the moon in a USB stick?



Cynic, I'm sure you are just joshing us, but for the benefit of less informed readers, 1" means 1 arc-second.

HOLY SEA SNAILS! Their TEETH are strong enough to build a plane


You do have proofreaders,right?

Obviously the teeth in the picture can't be both "100 times thinner than the diameter of a human hair" and "just less than a millimetre long". How on earth did that slip past the proofreaders? That "100 times thinner" figure refers to the prepared samples that the scientists put in their strengthometer. You can see a picture at http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31500883.

Also I suspect that it's the cross-sectional area that is 100 times less than a human hair, not the diameter.

NSA: SO SORRY we backed that borked crypto even after you spotted the backdoor


Misnegation or obfuscation?

"In truth, I can think of no better way to describe our failure to drop support for the Dual EC DRBG algorithm as anything other than regrettable."

You might want to run that through your internal parser a few times. It is a syntax error; but if it means anything, it means that he has no regrets at all over the failure to drop support for the rogue algorithm.

Thirteen Astonishing True Facts You Never Knew About SCREWS


This puerile drivel cost me three minutes of my life, FFS! How am I ever going to get them back? I can't believe the Register knowingly publishes such shit. Have you been hacked?

Mathematicians spark debate with 13 GB proof for Erdős problem


Re: You got it wrong, vultures

Wikipedia says it's "larger than 2", John. Which makes it at least 3.


You got it wrong, vultures

The announced result is a proof that the discrepancy is at least 3. Even New Scientist got that right, so you really have no excuse.

The importance of complexity


Dots and Boxes

I once got paid real money to write a Dots and Boxes program (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dots_and_Boxes). This game is NP-hard, according to Berlekemp et al's Winning Ways (p.534). But I didn't use any of the sophisticated approximate solutions that have been developed for such problems, I just tried to steer the game to one of the positions that the program could analyse in polynomial time.

The result was that I was the only human who could beat it on a large board, because I knew how to frustrate its goals.

Inside Turing: Computer boffinry to cuffing cups to radiators


Surely an invention?

That stuff about bicycle chains is surely an invention of Neal Stephenson's from his novel Cryptonomicon? You can read the relevant chapter at http://www.euskalnet.net/larraorma/crypto/slide18.html.

And yes, I know that HistoryArticles.Com supports this ridiculous notion (at http://www.historyarticles.com/enigma.htm), but I won't believe it until I see a pre-Cryptonomicon reference.

Timing attack threatens private keys on SSL servers


Six years out of date

This attack, and a robust counter-measure to it, were published in 2005 in "Advances in Elliptic Curve Cryptography" (Blake, Seroussi, & Smart - editors). So you are wrong to say 'Security researchers have discovered a "timing attack"'. If you had taken the trouble to follow your own link and read the Abstract there, you would have seen that all the Secutiry Researchers have done is to take this hackneyed old idea and show that OpenSSL is still vulnerable to it.

Man's MySpace page torpedoes personal injury suit


Sounds like a win to me

In what way did this man lose? He was awarded $297,624.66.

45th Mersenne prime revealed


@Back again

>More to the point, why does the article refer to this as the 45th Mp, when (the infallible) Wikipedia gives it as the 47th?

Because it was the 45th Mersenne prime to be discovered, but currently the 47th largest known Mersenne prime. The author of this story has presumably just awoken from a thirteen-month sleep -- see http://www.mersenne.org/primes/m45and46.htm, dated 15th September 2008. I pointed this out in an earlier post, but it seems to have been rejected by Vulture Central.


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