* Posts by wobblestar

18 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Oct 2009

ESA-Russia Mars rover launch on ice after Ukraine invasion



Will the OneWeb launch of 36 satellites on a Soyuz go ahead Wednesday this week?

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


Re: Franklin

To be fair, Watson and Crick did acknowledge Franklin in their 1953 Nature paper, writing that they had been stimulated by the unpublished results and ideas of Wilkins, Franklin and their co-workers.


Rosalind Franklin discovered DNA?

Oh dear.

DNA was discovered in the 19th century. Watson and Crick discovered the STRUCTURE of DNA.

Franklin did get a raw deal, but she was no way close to discovering the structure of the molecules of which she produced very good x-ray diffraction photos.

Plants in SPAAAAAAACE are good for you


"They also can control humidity levels in the space station by producing oxygen."

How does that work?

べーコンはどこですか? demands post-pub nosh fan



How's about a quick kedgeree as post-pub nosh. Satisfying curry flavour after a few beers ...

Virgin Media customers suffer YET MORE YouTube buffering blues



Just asked to demonstrate what Paolo Nutini sounds like to Mrs W (prompted by some sound-alike on BBC). Mercifully, Virgin failed to deliver via youtube



Re: As any fule kno

What have INSECTS got to do with any of this?

Dyson takes Samsung to court in UK over vacuum cleaner


My vote goes to the gtech air ram. Fairy nuff, it doesn't have hose attachments, so only does floors - and stairs if you're clever - but it's very light and cordless, so ideal for a quick whip round before the Mother-in-Law visits.

Rocket boffinry in pictures: Gulp the Devil's venom and light a match


Once we had a rocket ....

... cracking documentary on the British satellite launch capability, produced in 2008.

On YouTube in pieces or here complete http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=95c_1257331486

The Oric-1 is 30

Thumb Down

... easy to brick

Back in the 80's I bought an Oric Atmos for less than £30.

I bricked it by clumsily making brief contact between the power plug and the pins in the ports on the back when trying to push the plug into the power socket.

Fastest-ever hydrocarb scramjet hits Mach 8, doesn't explode

Thumb Up

Get one of these for LOHAN

Miniature woolly mammoths once roamed Crete


Where are the photos? I want PICS of mini mammoths.

UK cops seek boffins to build handheld DNA sniffer kit


Actually a lot of crime scene dna - 'touch dna' - is outside cells.

See http://www.fsigenetics.com/article/S1872-4973(11)00017-2/abstract

But no aspect of this is a trivial task.

You gotta wonder just what is going on at the NPIA. Just another bizarre manifestation of the process that has resulted in the closure of the Forensic Science Service?


Been watching too much CSI

Forensic labs already have a number of quick, cheap, accurate methods of detecting and quantifying DNA before DNA profiling.

Police forces can specify what they want from their suppliers. How about: "We'll give you a fiver to quant the sample. If insufficient DNA, please don't proceed to full profiling".

No, they'd rather be boy scientists.

Judge cracks down on Bayesian stats dodginess in court


Bayesian bullshit

Having calculated a likelihood ratio, the scientist in R -v-T translated that likelihood ratio into an “expression of support”, using a standard scale:

Likelihood ratio within range 1 to 10 = “Weak support”,

10-100 = “moderate support”

100 to 1000 = “moderately strong support”

1000 to 10,000 = “strong support”

10,000 to 1,000,000 = “very strong support”

>1,000,000 = “extremely stroing support”

The judgment has caused a minor panic amongst “police” forensic scientists because they have been calculating likelihood ratios and translating those likelihood ratios into expressions of support even in cases where there is no objective data on which to base calculations.

For example, a scientist might guesstimate that the probability of observing “lots of blood” on a defendant’s clothing (as opposed to “small amounts of blood”) given that defendant is the attacker as 0.75. The probability of observing this finding if he was not the attacker, but merely came to the aid of the victim after attack, might be guesstimated as 0.25.

The process will be applied to different - hopefully, but not always, - independent findings (eg. “lots of spattered blood”, “lots of blood on the cuffs”). A likelihood ratio is then calculated.

This LR is translated into a phrase using the table: “the scientific findings provide strong support for the view that Mr Defendant attacked Mr Victim rather than Mr Defendant having helped Mr Victim after the attack”.

The Court of Appeal judges criticised this process for its lack of transparency. Sometimes it's a scientifically rigorous approach that supports and documents an expert opinon. All too often it's pseudo-scientific claptrap.

Venus home to lost cities left by long-dead aliens, says ESA



Yeah, My idea. Two minutes earlier.


Escape from Venus

Aware of the coming catastrophe, they venusiformed Earth. First they introduced simple archae, then more complex forms. Many perished in the Burgess shales.

Eventually, the oceans of Earth were fit for Venusians and the land for their hominid pets. We turned on them and hunted then down with exploding harpoons.

Virginia corrections officers on 'dog fondling' rap


Common knowledge!

I used to work in a police force. It was common knowledge that police dog handlers masturbated their dogs to "get their loyalty".