* Posts by VeganVegan

471 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Oct 2009


Sierra Space bursts full-scale inflatable space habitat module


Do they have external protection against orbital debris?

When that thing popped, it looked like the walls are made of some kind of woven fibers. Is that fabric able to withstand being punctured by chunks of space trash? If not, all this over-pressure margin will hardly matter.

What DARPA wants, DARPA gets: A non-hacky way to fix bugs in legacy binaries


Forgive me, please

I got stuck with jumping cheese… couldn’t focus on the rest of the article.

Icon: me judging myself —->

Winnie the Pooh slasher flick mysteriously cancelled in Hong Kong


Re: Do you Xi what I Xi?

What is curious is that that pronunciation is homophonic for shit in Cantonese; in other words, Pooh…

Where’s the Memoji when you need it? The closest pile is —>

Uncle Sam OKs vaccine that protects honeybees against hive-destroying bacterium



Antibiotics do work, but they are “stupid”. Most antibiotics have broad-spectrum activity. This is good in that we don’t have to figure out exactly which bacterium is causing the disease and apply the very-specific antibiotic to deal with it. It is bad because broad spectrum activities kill off everything, the good bacteria with the bad.

Also, recent discoveries show that our immune system can in many cases detect cancer cells, via the usual detection of “foreign” antigens that might be expressed by the cancer cells. These antigens are either truly novel, due to mutations in the cancer cells, or due to expression of antigens that normally are expressed by cells intentionally shielded from the immune system (e.g., testicular antigens).

The trouble is that cancer cells survive, thru selection, to express cell surface molecules that essentially tell the immune cells “nothing to see here, go away”. The immune cells do “go away”, and the cancer can continue growing and spreading.

To deal with this, scientists have invented so-called CAR-T cells, chimeric antigen receptor T cells, engineered to recognize tumor antigens, respond robustly to them, and to ignore signals from the cancer cells to tell them to go away. These treatments have terrible side effects, due to the T cells getting very excited upon finding the cancer cells, and the subsequent wholesale destruction of the cancer cells. But, they work! CAR-T cells can eradicate a number of cancers. You will likely see a lot more news about this.

How not to test a new system: push a button and wait to see what happens


Re: And if it isn't in the manual it ought not to happen.

Sometimes the manual omits / hides useful information.

I remember working on an IBM 1130 system at JPL (yes, it was that long ago; punched cards to load programs, big panel of blinking lights and toggle switches instead of a monitor, 8k of RAM…).

The system flat out refused to run Assembly and Fortran at the same time.

An enterprising system engineer I worked with discovered that hiding in the config byte-array at the head of RAM was a bit that enforced this. Changing that bit allowed Assembly and Fortran to run and call each other.

We couldn’t be bothered to check if IBM offered an upgrade to allow both languages to run at the same time.

Geezer icon —->

Loathsome eighties ladder-climber levelled by a custom DOS prompt


Re: When I were a lad

Yup, and all of it in hex.

I was pleasantly surprised that it did not take me long to learn to read lights in hex; a real confidence builder.

On the other hand, I invariably made mistakes typing code at the punch card machine …

Boffins put supercomputer on the scent of a perfect landfill deodorizer



Garbage in, garbage out.

And I’m not referring to the waste dump.

Journalist won't be prosecuted for pressing 'view source'


There’s more than what meets the eye


I would not jump to the conclusion that the man is stupid.

Politicians, especially ones that make it to the higher offices, can be very devious people.

His main goal is to get elected, to continue to rake in the political donations, and votes.

If something he does or says helps him get money and votes, then truth be damned.

If anyone is stupid / ignorant, it is the voting populace.


Photon fantastic: James Webb Space Telescope spies its first starlight


Re: And here I thought ...

Agree. It’s even worse: at this point they don’t even know which blurry dot of light came from whcich mirror.

That’s like aligning the wheels of an 18-wheeler, but you don’t yet know which wheel belongs to which position.

Nothing works any more. Who decided that redundant systems should become redundant?


Re: Alistair becomes Aristide

Forgot to add, Aristide means “the best”.

Congrats to Mr. Dabbs.

Alistair is a variation of Alexander (the Great?).

Very good in either case, as us commentards who diligently follow Mr. Dabbs already know.


Alistair becomes Aristide

Aristide Dabbs!

Hellfire and damnation: Two French monks charged over 5G mast arson attack


Capuchin monkeys

Are supposed to be quite intelligent, can become well-trained.

These monks, not so much.

DARPA plans thousands-strong satellite constellation Space-BACN sandwich


Am i missing something?

“ low-cost optical aperture which can utilise all infra-red wavelengths in the C band”

My understanding is that C band is in the centimeter range, with 7.5 - 3.75 cm wavelength.

IR is from ~700 nanometer to 1 millimeter. Far IR is roughly in the micron range, something like <100 micron wavelength.

And never the twain shall meet?

Anyhoo, IR is good for cooking bacon.

You walk in with a plan. You leave with GPS-tracking Nordic hiking poles. The same old story, eh?


Smack the box and lid a few tines with a hammer?

Seems to me the whole point of getting new screwdrivers is that the old ones have worn tips, why would you wear down the tips of the new ones?

If you are an ocd type like me, you can even make a jig for the hammer smacking, so that the dent on the lid fits the one on the box itself.

International Space Station actually spun one-and-a-half times by errant Russian module's thrusters


Re: A new Olympic sport

My understanding is that the station did a back flip with a half twist.

Quite a gymnastic move for a huge structure.

Russia's ISS Multipurpose Laboratory Module launches after years sitting on a shelf, immediately runs into issues


Re: "Nauka" = "neukъ" ?

I resemble that! There is a big difference.

Being disoriented means that there is a correct direction, it’s just that you don’t know which one is correct, at least temporarily.

Being a scientist (and I consider myself one), most times it’s not even clear that there is a correct direction out of the predicament.

Twitter U-turns after conferring society's highest honor – a blue check mark – on very obvious bot accounts


Do blue ticks spread limey disease?

Curious minds want to know.

Japan to send ‘transforming robot’ to the Moon in 2022


Is that thing really just 80mm?

That’s tiny!

Size matters, because the smaller the machine, the more roughness of the surface will be impediments. That’s why lunar & Mars rovers have large diameter wheels.

How do they expect it to move around on the rough surface of the moon, where ~80mm pebbles and lumps and bumps are expected to be commone.

Or did I misread the article, and it’s not supposed to be mobile?

We imagine this maths professor's lecture was fascinating – sadly he was muted for two hours


Re: "debug their hard drive"

The funny part is that the folks in the zoom session was doing an “election simulation”.

He turned it into an “erection stimulation”.

A 1970s magic trick: Take a card, any card, out of the deck and watch the IBM System/370 plunge into a death spiral


Infinite loop

The marvel is that the infinite loop is at the root of modern GUIs: run forever, waiting for user input.

The biggest mistake became the biggest breakthrough.

Mysterious metal monolith found in 'very remote' part of Utah


You have something there...

An erect lingam in front of the yoni.

Farewell to notches and hole-punches? ZTE expected to announce mobe with under-display camera next month


Does this mean that it will soon be

buenas noches, notches?

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data


And you thought that Clippy went away

He’s more insidious hiding among all those actions that lurk in the software. After all, M$ knows better than you what your data should be, and who are you to argue with that?

Meteorite's tiny secrets reveal Solar System's sodium-rich, alkaline liquid past – a clue to formation of life


Re: Amino No!

Agree. On top of their fragility in modern times, due to RNAses everywhere, RNA is hydrolyzed under alkaline conditions. So, alkaline != good for the RNA world.

Getting a pizza the action, AS/400 style


Re: Savagery?


Meet the super-speedy white dwarf binary system that's going to grav-wave our world


Re: This confuses me....

White dwarfs have ceased nuclear fusion, hence dead.

They remain luminous as they cool down from the extreme temperatures (1E7 K) reached at the end of their fusion lives, much like a heated lump of metal remains luminous for a while after being withdrawn from the heating source.

Queen Elizabeth has a soggy bottom: No, the £3.1bn aircraft carrier, what the hell did you think we meant?


Re: RN waives the rules!

and RN rue the waves.

The Eldritch Horror of Date Formatting is visited upon Tesco


Re: Fishing for jokes

There is a question about meat,

Whether there’s any to eat.

Given eggs and cheese,

Some milk, if you please,

Bacon would be hard to beat!

(Please substitute kippers, if that is your preference).


Too many dates

I feel inundated if not intimidated by all these date formats. Many of them predate / antedate the modern era, so why shouldn't we just invalidate a whole bunch of them, consolidate the remainder, select a very few as candidates that accommodate the most widespread current usage, elucidate which of this small subset gains widespread adoption, and mandate its usage?

It would make life much more sedate.

Mystery GPS glitch grounds flights, leaves passengers in the bar


Re: back in MY day...

Used to navigate using LORAN, it’s simples triangulation, and surprisingly accurate, will get you to within 10’s of yards of a spot in the middle of the ocean (well not quite, but anywhere off the coast within reach of the LORAN signals). Sadly, all the newfangled tech resulted in the LORAN stations being turned off for cost savings.

Uh-oh .io: Question mark hangs over trendy tech startup domains as UN condemns British empire hangover


Who will be the 1st to register “id” if .iot becomes available?

See title

AI can now animate the Mona Lisa's face or any other portrait you give it. We're not sure we're happy with this reality


Re: Wait Til Hollywood Gets Involved!

Connie Willis’ story ‘Remake’ comes to mind.

Thought you'd seen everything there is to Ultima Thule? Check this out: IN STEREO!

Thumb Up

Looks like a turtle

with its head sticking out and legs all tucked in,

saying "Didn't they tell you that It's turtles all the way down?"

Unless you want your wine bar to look like a brothel, purple curtains are a no-no apparently


Take a look at the 2nd photo in the Cornwall Live article

Is the owner being cheeky after the fact, or is the pole-dancing doll (with tassels!) the original source of the townsfolk discomfit?

Curious minds need to know.

Using WhatsApp for your business comms? It's either that or reinstall Lotus Notes


Re: RE: Alister

Lotus Notes as a whole was a design oversight.

Astroboffins spy a rare exoplanet evaporating before their eyes


The whole point of the metric system is to make large numbers more ‘palatable’.

10 billion g (assuming billion is 9 zeros) = 10 million kg = 10,000 metric tons = 10 kilotons. </pédant>

DeepMind quits playing games with AI, ups the protein stakes with machine-learning code


Re: I'm confused.

I believe that they assign protein(s) whose structure was determined recently, but had not yet been disclosed to anyone.

Oz lad 'fell in love with' baby meerkat, nicked it from zoo, took it out for a romantic Big Mac


Re: He got off lightly compared to Tufty.

Curious that you bring up badgers and TB, as red squirrels harbor the leprosy bacteria: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37949557

Mycobacterium tuberculosis versus Mycobacterium leprae, not much of a choice.

Imperial bringing in budget holograms to teach students


Virtual lecturer and audience

That dredged up a memory of long ago. During a lecture, a student who had to be absent got permission to put a cassette tape recorder (yes, that long ago) on the table in front of the room, to record the lecture.

Next thing you know, other students started doing this, to avoid attending.

They then decided to jibe the lecturer, by all of them skipping the lecture, so that the lecturer would be faced with a mass of recorders, and an empty room.

Except that the lecturer got wind of this, and when the students arrived to set up their recorders, the lecturer had already put his cassette recorder on the table, with a note that said “Press Play to start the lecture”.

Tiny Twitter thumbnail tweaked to transport different file types


Turtles all the way down?

Turtle.jpg.zip.jpg.zip.jpg. und so weiter.

JAXA probe's lucky MASCOT plonks down on space rock Ryugu without a hitch


Am I being too grumpy in my old age?

<grumpy tirade>

I find it annoying the way they cute-tify space probes, by anthropomorphing them (perhaps to reach a younger audience?)

NASA does it, and Japan is doing the same.

“Ooo, look, I farted some gas to change my course to the asteroid”, “My bad, I used non-metric units and completely missed my target”.

They are machines, designed by us! (Us, meaning talented humans). We can celebrate those who designed, built, and operate them, without needing to resort to baby talk.

</grumpy tirade>

For all this involve in the mission,kudos!

Nokia reinstates 'hide the Notch' a day after 'Google required' feature kill


Re: Can't make sense of this.

buenas noches, notches?

Facebook pulls 'snoopy' Onavo VPN from Apple's App Store after falling foul of rules


"Sugar Mountain"

Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain

With the barkers and the colored balloons,

You're the product on Sugar Mountain

Though you're thinking that

you're leaving there too soon,

You're leaving there too soon.

It's so noisy at the fair

But all your friends are there

And the candy floss you had

And your mother and your dad.

prophetic verses by Neil Young, 1964

20 years before SugarMountain was born

Tech support chap given no training or briefing before jobs, which is why he was arrested


"But, if it's failed, how does one overwrite it?"

Just put the core frame on a big. powerful magnet...

Python creator Guido van Rossum sys.exit()s as language overlord


Re: Here's a PEP

Geez, now you've dredge up a memory I tried to suppress all these years. I once used a language (BASIC? On the Apple II? Fortran on the IBM 1130?) that insisted that constants start with I, J, K or something like that, while the other letters are reserved for variables, or some such nonsense (yes the memory is still somewhat suppressed).

Creepy software knows what you are about to do... to that poor salad


Heck, I can do better than this

"with predictive accuracy at 40 per cent over short periods"

I only screw up the next step half the time.

British egg producers saddened by Google salad emoji update


I apologize for coming late to this discussion

Given my handle, I felt that I had to make a comment.

First,: De gustibus non est disputandum.

Second: I consume about 5 lbs (2.25kg) of meat a week, go figure...

We presume that the planet Mars is the reference in the manfrommars handle; what do you call someone from the Vega star system?

Monday: Intel touts 28-core desktop CPU. Tuesday: AMD turns Threadripper up to 32


Re: Gimme speed

That’s the case for most users, but I have genetic analyses that are highly parallel, so more cores scales better than more clock speed.

For example, one of my jobs would typically take a month or so, using all 24 threads of a 12 core machine, running 24/7. I would love to have a 48 thread machine, because it should almost halve the time of the run. It is much harder, and gets into impossible territory, to scale clock speed in a similar way: A 2.5 GHz chip could possibly be sped up to 5GHz, but 10 or 20GHz? I do appreciate higher clock speeds, it’s just that more cores gives me more bang for the buck.

When you get down to the basics, a GPU is a massively parallel chip, because much of the graphics task can be nicely parallelized. One can imagine (hope?) that other common tasks can better take advantage of getting paralleized to the extent possible. Modern OS’s already generate many threads, to take advantage of the cores available.

Un-bee-lievable: Two million Swedish bugs stolen in huge sting


Also very much missing,

And missed: Samantha Bee.

Shocking. Lightning strike knocks out neuro patient's brain implant


A bit of levity

With all the comments so far, and nobody has mentioned yet another benefit of always wearing a tinfoil hat?

& where is the tinfoil hat icon hiding these days????