* Posts by Poor Coco

327 publicly visible posts • joined 31 Oct 2009


LOHAN sees bright red over Vulture 2 paintjob

Poor Coco

Nice work!

As a rocketeer with decades of experience, I say the moderately-smooth finish you have achieved is pretty much ideal. A slight surface texture leads to a boundary layer adhering to the surface, which results in a rolling-vortex airflow which is really quite amazingly slippery. This is similar to the golf-ball texture that Mythbusters applied to a car, which actually improved fuel efficiency in spite of the thick layer of clay on the car. In this case, you have the texture along with a weight REDUCTION which is pretty much ideal.

Smashing work, chaps! You deserve a hearty pint.

3D printers stroke LOHAN's shapely midriff

Poor Coco


This project has been a long, strange trip. I sketched up the first concept drawing you published over two years ago… this project has expanded its vast orbs of amazing to truly impressive scale!

LOHAN serves up Raspberry Pi sensorgasmotry

Poor Coco

Great work, guys! Can’t wait for the mighty thruster to roar!

Petascale powerhouse cracks important HIV code

Poor Coco

Not up sh*t creek

HIV is a very special case. First, it’s a retrovirus (RNA, not DNA, inside) so it needs reverse transcriptase (RT) to infect (and this is the Achilles’ heel exploited by most current treatments). RT is incredibly sloppy, making an error every thousand base pairs or so, which accounts for HIV’s frantic mutation rate but also means the majority of infections will yield inviable viruses.

Second, there are a lot of major changes that would have to occur for HIV to be communicable via sneezes. (1) it would have to change its target from cd4+ lymphocytes to upper-respiratory cells, which would remove its deadly immune-crushing nature; (2) it would have to drastically alter its chemistry to become less sensitive to temperature and pH fluctuations, both of which wipe out HIV. Changes this drastic surely bring it outside the operational parameters of the virus, as evidenced by the fact we have not seen it appear DESPITE the unbelievable mutation rate of HIV.

Kinky? You're mentally healthier than 'vanilla' bonkers

Poor Coco

Re: garments

Or encasing yourself in Saran Wrap.

OTOH I used to have a latex outfit that cost more than $800.

Poor Coco

Re: Great, but now...

Hear, hear!

I am a moderator on a discussion board bridging kink and mental illness. A couple of years ago I started a thread analyzing trauma and whether it is correlated with kinky behaviour. It was certainly not an unbiased sample, but there were plenty of forum participants who reported no traumatic events in their lives — so many that the consensus seems to be no connection.

There is another aspect or two of BDSM that seems to have escaped the author of the article.

First, what precisely separates kinky behaviour from abuse? The borderline is enshrined in the kink motto “safe, sane and consensual.” If behaviour falls outside these borders, it is abuse; inside, consensual play. Note the issue of consent is ongoing consent which may be revoked at any time (but NOT retroactively).

Second, while the Dom(me) is nominally in power and the sub, well, submits; the REAL power structure is inverted because the sub always holds the ultimate go/no-go authority. This is accomplished by safewords (or safe-gestures when words cannot be spoken) which (a) are agreed upon in advance by discussion and negotiation and (b) are ALWAYS respected; refusal to respect them is grounds for assault charges.

Poor Coco

Re: Anon - but only out of respect for my partner

There’s a third aspect you’ve missed: kinky folk are amazingly good communicators. They are much better, on average, than the average person on the street at expressing their wishes honestly; they are also far more skilled at listening with empathy.

Ahhhh, that “Submit” button has a whole new meaning today :D

Continued lack of women in tech bemoaned by ex-techie lady MP

Poor Coco
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Re: It's only when you ...

I’m glad your workmate was fully competent; it sounds like your employer places priority on safety and does not reduce standards for women to pump up the ranks. That behaviour, documented in the armed forces and fire-fighting, places the feelings of women above the very lives of the people they are there to protect; while a woman may avoid feeling offended at being rejected for a physically demanding job because she’s just not strong enough, people may very well die if their rescuer is not physically up to the task.

Since your co-worker was nothing like this, and she works on equal basis and with equal evaluation standards, she is an example of the ideal I hold. It makes perfect sense for people with equal qualifications, experience and seniority to be paid the same — and that, in fact, is exactly what happens. The “pay gap” is vapourware.

“But,” I hear the peanut gallery bellow, “Women on average make only 77% of what men make on average! Patriarchy!!!” — but this, too, is manure. Men make more money on average than women do, because men tend to make hard decisions that result in higher-paying employment. This includes work that is unpleasant and/or dangerous work, which pays more because it’s dangerous and unpleasant, but which women are seldom willing to perform. Don’t believe me? Have you ever seen a garbage man who was, in fact, a woman? I haven’t, and believe me, I would have noticed.

As a result, men on average earn more than women. But they are maimed and killed VASTLY more often by that work: 95% of all workplace fatalities are men. Oddly, you never hear feminists discussing this 20-to-1 death rate.

Once again: your coworker was a delightful exception, and I love nothing more than working alongside smart, skilled women. Every single person I have met who fits this description has been an anti-feminist.

Poor Coco

As the inimitable TJ Kirk puts it:


Poor Coco

Re: She's right, and not just in tech. @AC 10.23

Those who look very, very very closely at a typical male human being and a typical female human being will notice we’re SEXUALLY DIMORPHIC. Sexual dimorphism extends to more than gross physical characteristics, with good reason. If we didn’t have the divisions of labour between men and women that we developed as a hunter-gatherer species, we would not have survived to dominate the planet.

Ignoring this, and demanding that women comprise 50% or more (notice gender feminists never complain about sectors in which women dominate), is to ignore fundamental human nature in favour of baseless ideological twattery.

Poor Coco

Re: Common sense !!

Equality of opportunity does not mean equality of outcomes. Nobody is stopping women from having productive careers in ICT, except themselves from their own free decisions.

LOHAN must suck juice while mounted on rigid rod - but HOW?

Poor Coco

Clothespegs and metal foil.

Get a couple of wooden or bamboo clothespins. Place a strip of copper tape around the insides of the jaws; attach feed wires to the tape outside the jaws. The pins clamp onto a connector — perhaps even part of the plane with similar metal-tape contacts — to supply power. When launch-time comes, they will separate quite easily. All you have to do is secure the pins reasonably well to the truss.

'I've read all the Harry Potters - and I'm proud to have done so for adverts'

Poor Coco

Well done, Andrew!

A butthurt Stephen Fry is a wonder to behold. FFS, he wasn’t even eloquent in his lambasting of this mighty rag. His squib is rather soggy, it seems.

LOHAN slips into tight rubber outfit

Poor Coco
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Re: Aluminium pole?

Good point! It should be kept for the Vulture Festivus celebration and airing of grievances.

El Reg contemplates the ultimate cuppa

Poor Coco
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Re: The best tea is COFFEE

Says the brave, anonymous commentard…

Poor Coco
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The best tea is COFFEE

Specifically, medium-roast Kenya AA, coarsely hand-ground, made in a French press which was preheated with boiling water before the grounds are added. During the brewing process, the bubbles can be periodically pressed through the mesh to maintain a rich grounds-water interface. As the brew proceeds, warm the cup (sorry, that should read, “great big mug”) with hot water.

Drain the warming water from the mug; then 10% coffee cream and Demerara brown sugar are added. The brewed coffee is slowly added, so as not to scald the cream.

In case you can’t find medium-roast Kenya AA — for some reason, they insist on dark-roasting it here in Montreal, which is both preposterous and sacrilegious — and you have as much money as Mitt Romney, then by all means use Jamaican Blue Mountain. It tastes pretty much the same, at only 12 times the price.

One day I would like to try civet-cat-processed coffee. I once heard it described as “gutsy”.

Men's rights activists: Symantec branded us a 'hate group'

Poor Coco
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Re: Paul ELAM ? Really?

That’s actually his name. Here is his story: http://www.mralondon.org/2012/12/paul-elam-tells-his-own-story.html — feel free to judge his character by his own words, rather than by your assumptions.

There are many authors at AVfM who publish under their own name, and the number is increasing. Dean Esmay has been working with Paul Elam for years; also, many women such as Karen Straughn (a.k.a. GirlWritesWhat) and Kristina Hansen (a.k.a. TheWoolyBumblebee) have joined in recent years. Last month, they added Erin Pizzey, who founded the world’s first domestic violence shelter in Chiswick in 1971 — she was hounded out by feminists after she realized that women were just as likely to be violent in the home as men.

AVfM, and MRALondon, are both excellent organizations. Thanks, Vulture Central, for writing about this.

Apple loses 'Most Valuable Company' honor to ExxonMobil

Poor Coco


Um, just one 'e' in that name…

Panasonic: We'll save Earth by turning CO2 into booze

Poor Coco

Re: Atmosphere Processors

I think it was operated by TEPCO.

Student claims code flaw spotting got him expelled from college

Poor Coco

Re: He played it pretty dumb...

“For a computer student I think he didn't play this very smart at all.”

What, are IT students also expected to be savvy on contract law?

How about this — he signed that stupid agreement under coercion, which invalidates his signature?

Poor Coco
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Re: Doesn't surprise me

This is MONTREAL, not Ontario, so cut out the fucking “eh”s.

Bob Dylan's new album is 'Copyright Extension Collection'

Poor Coco

Been watching US news…

Is this what they mean by “the fiscal Cliff”?

USB 3.0 speed to DOUBLE in 2013

Poor Coco
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Why hasn’t anyone else noticed this?

Double clock rate + improved encoding = “DoublePlusGood USB”

Ancient Mars: Covered with life, oceans, clouds, and imagination

Poor Coco

No, they aren’t accurate.

The colossal features (Olympus Mons and three other Tharsis supervolcanos, Valles Marineris) of Mars were formed after tectonic activity ceased; they certainly would not have had their current appearance in that epoch. They also would have had 1:1 surface terrain, not 10:1! But they are nice pictures.

Boffins build elastic wires with liquid metal

Poor Coco

Re: resistance

It’s not so much resistance as impedance; the cables are designed to have a certain characteristic impedance per unit length (capacitive and inductive effects are present too). If there was a stretchy part in, say, a twisted-pair Ethernet cable, then the twisting rate would vary, as would the conductor spacing (as the insulation stretches it must get thinner to compensate). This would result in a less-than-ideal section for noise resistance… but probably no worse than bunging in a 6-inch shielded patch cable to make up a slight length difference.

America planned to NUKE THE MOON

Poor Coco


Super-Earths' magnetic FORCE FIELDS could harbour ALIEN LIFE

Poor Coco

Re: life?

A moon orbiting a super-Earth through the planet’s magnetic field would have an electrical current induced through it, heating it up and generating a reactive magnetic field within the moon. It seems to me the moon would actually have *less* magnetic shielding as a result, and the planet would have to have a whopping magnetic field to adequately protect the moon.

However, it’s not too hard to imagine a moon with a slightly eccentric orbit around a large terrestrial planet. That moon would experience tidal frictional heating, like Io, and so could possess an atmosphere and its own magnetic field. Basically, you could have a mini-Titan orbiting a super-Earth, but due to the proximity of the star the chemistry of the moon could spark Earth-style biochemistry.

Poor Coco

Magma oceans and life-friendliness

Well, I have to admit, I have a hard time seeing much aqueous chemistry on a planet with lava oceans, so any life on these planets is bound to be quite different from terrestrial life. Would cosmic rays be equally destructive on alien biochemistry? Gamma rays are definitely problematic, but as recent Mars measurements demonstrate, the simple presence of an atmosphere handles alpha, beta and gamma cosmic radiation reasonably well without a magnetic field.

I would guess this means more possibilities to consider for alien-biochemistry models. We know of the existence of *one type* of Goldilocks Zone now, the one we inhabit; but what other combinations of radiation, temperature, heat and chemistry could harbour biochemistry?

It’s simplistic to imagine we could just swap silicon for carbon, or methane for water, just because of the existence of some shared properties. And I admit my knowledge of organic chemistry is fairly basic (har har har).

What other kinds of Goldilocks Zones may exist?

Apple said to have let the name of the next OS X cat out of the bag

Poor Coco

If the OS is Lynx…

…does that mean they’re replacing Safari? One can only hope, and you have to admit that a browser with no graphical capability whatsoever is superior to the crap that is Safari.

LOHAN to join mile-high club with BRITNEY or NAOMI?

Poor Coco
Paris Hilton


69 votes for SPEARS so far.

LOHAN to slip in sexy little black number

Poor Coco
Paris Hilton


Thermal Ignition Through These Electronic Relays.

Cockatoo grabs his tool, manages to get hold of boffins' nuts

Poor Coco

Hooray for cockatoos!

Cockatoos are fantastically intelligent and affectionate; I had the privilege (?) of living with an umbrella cockatoo for about 5 years. It takes more effort to keep one cockatoo busy and happy than two human children, according to my survey (n=1). But it had its rewards, like being greeted every morning by a cockatoo jumping under the duvet for a cuddle.

Kim Dotcom offers free internet with own submarine cable

Poor Coco

Here’s the plan!

He offers free broadband “for ll Kiwi’s[sic]”, so once his offer comes to fruition I, as a New Zealand citizen, will accept. Of course, I will need the broadband at my house in Montréal.

Arduino barebones board upgraded with 32-bit ARM

Poor Coco

Re: I have to plug...

That is really neat. I see your plug, and I raise you a plug. The Minuino is not as potent as the Teensy board you cite, but it’s a nice minimum-footprint-and-still-shield-compatible design... and only costs $15. The Sippinos are also cool, and around the same price point.

Poor Coco

Re: w00t

I have been pondering building a robotic train layout that can either drive itself autonomously or be a regular manually-controlled set. I have been looking at Arduino in order to get a wide variety of chips — from the ATTiny85 up to, now, this beast the Due — with a single control language. Communication between dedicated subsystems (signal lighting, for example) and the central controller (probably a Due) can occur via I2C serial.

You could have the train wheels making nice white noise for the baby — just disconnect the lighting in the locomotive, and keep the track out of the reach of toddler hands…

SpaceX's Falcon places Dragon in desired orbit

Poor Coco
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Great work, SpaceX!

Nice launch.

Twitter bows to subpoena, releases Occupy protester's tweets

Poor Coco

For secure messaging…

…it would be hard to be Gliph: http://gli.ph/

I know the system’s developer, who has described to me in vague terms the cryptographic tricks he has used to create the database. Without the correct password, even having the entire contents of the Gliph database will not allow you to associate any pieces of content to any particular account. Not even Gliph can reconstruct the activity without the password.

US energy lab's pump-happy petaflopper goes green

Poor Coco
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“Hammond says that the data center will have no mechanical chillers and will only use evaporative cooling, which is a choice you can make in the dry Colorado air.”

Ah, so instead of using electricity, they are using scarce water. Brilliant.

Microsoft's new retro-flavoured logo channels Channel 4

Poor Coco

Re: @Poor Coco - green or yellow as a third primary

Search for "roy g. biv song" on YouTube; you'll see tons of educational songs, including one by They Might Be Giants — which was the original source of my complaint. They are exceptional in kids' music in that (a) they are educational, (b) the music doesn't suck and (c) they nearly always get their facts straight and they value scientific integrity. So this song, on a DVD of science-related tracks, was disappointing for me because they describe the colour spectrum without relating it to how we see colour and with misleading colour names (which Richard of York uses as well).

Poor Coco

Re: green or yellow as a third primary

I suspect the fundamental problem is the nonsensical way we teach children about colour.

For example, “Roy G. Biv” is a lousy way to describe the colours we see, because it conflicts with colour nomenclature. Either it omits cyan, or calls cyan, 'blue' and blue, 'indigo'. It also completely omits magenta, since it only addresses spectral colours.

Magenta is missing; magenta is the emission of red and blue-stimulus photons simultaneously. This can also be accomplished by absorption of green photons from full-spectrum ambient light, which is what magenta ink does.

Until one understands colourspace, and how additive and subtractive colour work, and arguably also how colour spaces are defined, it's hard to generalise laws that depend on colour perception.

Simpler, more abstract ideas about colour lead to design decision ambiguity. Individual designers don't follow consistent rules. Two designers, working independently on the same assignment, will have different final results. That's okay in my books.

Boffins confirm sunspot-weather link

Poor Coco
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“Either there’s ice or there’s no ice”

Well, what if there is a tiny bit of ice? Where exactly do they draw the line? It ain’t as Boolean as they claim. Even, say 10% ice cover is a drastically different situation from solidly frozen over, in thermodynamic terms.

Microsoft: It was never 'Metro,' it was always 'Modern UI'

Poor Coco

Oh, I know.

They can call it “Lorem Ipsum”.

LOHAN's fantastical flying truss sprouts tail

Poor Coco

Re: Launching into the wind.

The phenomenon you describe is called “weathercocking”. It’s not that the nose rotates into the wind; it’s that the fins are deflected by the wind gust, which in turn directs the rocket windward.

Poor Coco

Re: truss construction

3D printing the truss connectors could be an excellent idea.

Success! Curiosity Mars lander arrives precisely on schedule

Poor Coco

Re: Haven't seen the footage yet...

I also wish they’d put a tiny upward-looking camera to catch the skycrane in action — even if it never got used for anything else (although I’m sure it would have been).

Kiwi pooches turn into ROACH MUNCHING DOPE FIENDS

Poor Coco

To quote one of my favourite T-shirts...

“Only users lose drugs.”

LOHAN fizzles forlornly in REHAB

Poor Coco

A suggestion

Caveat: I have a lot of experience igniting engines, but just the black-powder type, not composite engines.

That being said, in my position of knowing just enough to be stupid, I have a suggestion.

Estes now ships little plastic igniter plugs with its engines, but they didn’t 20 years ago. Back then I found out, through plenty of trial and error, that physical contact between the fuel and igniter is essential to ensure reliable ignition. (Using the plastic plugs they ship now, I have *never* encountered an igniter firing without lighting the engine.) My solution was to place the igniter in the engine and stuff a wad of tissue paper tightly in place, and then capping the whole deal with adhesive tape.

Now, of course, the physical construction of the composite engines you use here (and the fragility of the igniters) make that approach impractical. However, this might work:

1. Before assembling the engine, thread the igniter through the ignition slot such that the end protrudes out the far side.

2. Place a small wad of tissue at or slightly below the igniter chemicals on one side of the igniter; pull the igniter and paper into the fuel. The chemicals should be held firmly against the AP composite propellant.

3. Assemble the motor really carefully to avoid wrecking the igniter.

4. Apply burst cap silicone and let dry.

This should (a) maintain nearly ground-level air pressure and (b) ensure physical igniter/fuel contact.

Apple hardware fixer Bob Mansfield retires from Cupertino

Poor Coco

Re: Bloody hell...

We do have nickels and dimes in Canada. But we get more creative with the large-denomination coins. When the $1 coin was introduced in the 1980s it immediately became known as the "loonie" because (a) it has a loon on it and (b) we all thought the gov't was nuts. Then in the '90s they added a $2 coin, which led to some naming controversy; ultimately "toonie" was adopted, although I personally supported "doubloon" which is much more clever in my opinion.

LOHAN seeks failsafe for explosive climax

Poor Coco

Re: Alternative mechanical release

Bad plan, because it will be impossible to calibrate remotely accurately. By the time you get to 1/3 of our expected altitude, 3/4 of the pressure drop will already have occurred. Much better to use a simple timer.


Poor Coco

Re: Another option...

There WILL be microcontrollers and such on board, and having one issue an enable signal after the air smooths out will fix the issue. If the system is mechanical, then a servomechanism will need to lock it during the early stages of the flight.