* Posts by Noons

58 posts • joined 24 Feb 2010


Pop's Chubby Checker condemns use of Palm to check pocket-chubby


New app version with new, improved name

A bug was found in the app that caused it to overestimate the pecker-to-foot ratio. The bug has now been circumcised (auch!) and the app given a new name, to indicate the more reliable prediction: it is now called the "Earnest Evans" app.

P.S.: app developer's comment: "Let me show you my Python..."

Satnav blunder sends Belgian granny 1,450km to Croatia


Re: There are many stupid people in the world.

I hope the satnav manufacturer isn't calling this a standard deviation...

Computers are 'electronic cocaine' that make you MANIC


Those practicing Reverse Psychology or Reverse Engineering, have got it backwards...

Re-verse Poetry isn't so hard,

You just say it one more time.

The one big advantage

Is that it always does rhyme.

Re-verse Poetry isn't so hard,

You just say it one more time.

The one big advantage

Is that it always does rhyme.

But it tends to be quite boring...

Brit physics student debuts zombie flick shot inside LHC


Re: Paris

Because she's already done a man-eating flick...

Metric versus imperial: Reg readers weigh in


Imperial times...

I tend to agree with the ninnies who point out that days have 24 hours, weeks have 7 days and years 365 or even 366 as irrefutable evidence that SI is unnatural. Of course it is unnatural, but so is clean water, or steel, or anything else that we modify from a natural state into one that's evidently more useful to us.

Having said that, I'm ready to lose the argument, if the natural units folk agree to replace the notoriously metrical decade and century with generation and lifetime. I hereby propose that a generation be defined as being equal to the voting age (18 years) or the age of consent (16 years), or the average of both (17 years). A lifetime would of course be the life expectancy, somewhere around 78 years, I think, making a lifetime equal to about 4.588 generations.

These units of time are so useful that they are already widely used, even if lacking a more precise definition. To make them even more natural and friendlier for general use, their definition should adapt to local custom, law and statistics, and subjected to review every so often, say every generation (which would itself be newly defined, thus making history a much more joyful enterprise).

If this proposal is met with success, I shall put forward an even more ambitious new unit of length: the ghoti, sometimes also spelled fish. As any angler knows, this is the ultimate unit for its flexibility. It allows pretty much any length to be described as "as big as a ghoti I once caught", making everything 1 ghoti long. As for square or cubic ghoti, not sure how that would work. My mate Picasso is working on it, and he's looking at it from all sides.

...OK, it's Friday, I obviously need a beer...

P.S.: And the IT angle? Obviously, ghoti and chips... to go with the beer!

Samsung strokes big bulb that'll keep going for decades


Re: Drivers?

I thought I'd bring out how pointless your comment sounds by rephrasing it using a Samsung product even less related to LED light bulbs than print drivers. I tried hard, and failed. Well done, sir! You're so far out already, that it's actually bloody hard to be even more pointless...

Beer, because I think you might be needing one.


"A small step for man,..."

... a giant leap for mankind?

Granted, the savings on a single, or half a dozen bulbs may not be great, but if you're responsible for lighting in a building with a few thousand light bulbs, it may sound more interesting. Think about the whole country, and then the benefits of a small saving become more apparent. Besides, progress usually happens in a sequence of small steps, which are no less important than the big, rare jumps that impress smaller minds.

Army of 'socialbots' steal gigabytes of Facebook user data


who is Turning?

I deduce you are human because you made a mistake, and to err is human. Do you want to be friends now?

bzzt... blip-blip... All your data are belong to us!

Facebook security profiling doesn't like African log-ins


legal trouble for FB?

IANAL but in the US corporations are people too, so FB's TS may well be illegal because of insisting that businesses have "pages" instead of "profiles". I have none, so I'm a non-person, wether corporated or incorporated.

To be honest, this is all pointless, which is what makes it fun to watch. A bit like football... I particularly enjoy the detail that Ranting Raj is drawing attention to the fact that he is going against the TS **after** finding a solution to this problem... Somebody please stick a "kick me!" note to his back, I'll go get some popcorn...

Stephen on Steve: The most important man on Earth


you shall not be forgotten

To safeguard his memory, I propose we name a unix command after him.

Utah cops baffled in case of mysterious anonymous cuffee


Re: My name is...

You, Sir, have one of the most impressive cases of multiple personality I've ever come across...


Re: Stars

If he/she/it wanted to blend in without being noticed these days, instead of Ford Prefect he/she/it would probably call him/her/itself Anonymous Coward, before realising those aren't actually real people...


Re: Monopoly

Next headline: Unknown 60-something year old buys Main Street, demands stopping passers-by to pay fee, reveals plans for building hotel.


Re: Three weeks without the wife?

I can sense a new trend...

Phone-hack backlash BBC in embarrassing headline gaffes

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this is not a title



Re: Surely knot?

Know, it shoed knot.

Go ahead and spy on customers, says judge


Yes, but...

... you're unlikely to win the case. Stupidity is not illegal (except in a few special cases). We'd have to build many more prisons if it were.

Chinese coal blamed for global warming er... cooling


@Steve Martins

And how do you suggest that we recognise it when we get to the point that we "know what we're doing"? I'm sorry, science doesn't work that way, you don't suddenly get to a point when you can say " aha!, NOW I know how it works". Knowledge, unlike dogma, is gained gradually. And while a high level of confidence is possible, certainty isn't. We always work on a best guess footing.

Actually, that's not only science, that's life for you! Try suggesting nobody should have kids until they "know what they're doing"... Good luck with that.

Apple pilfers rips off student's rejected iPhone app


Windows? Do you mean X? Or that rip off, MS?

Having blatantly stolen the name for their OS from the Xerox GUI, I suspect MS would have a hard time defending its ownership in court... Mr. Kodak was a very clever man.

Germans completely humourless: Official


the Bush pilot

Have you seen the clip about the Bush pilot? I believe it was made for a German TV comedy show, and you can probably find a version with subtitles on youtube. It clearly shows that the German sense of humour has been misunderestimated.

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what flavour of pie?

and whose face?


poll the other one...

As a former UK resident and currently living in Germany, there's only thing I can say about the poll results: You must be joking!

Fukushima's toxic legacy: Ignorance and fear



You're right, I should have been more explicit in what I meant with the word accident. Since I'd just been looking it up the day before, it was clear to me than when I mentioned core damage frequency, I was talking about serious shit, not just a light bulb failing. So here's what my calculation is about:

"Core damage frequency (CDF) is a term used in probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) that indicates the likelihood of an accident that would cause damage to a nuclear reactor core. Core damage accidents are considered serious because damage to the core may prevent control of the nuclear reaction, which can lead to a nuclear meltdown."


And no, core damage accidents are not "just like airplane accidents". In an airplane crash, there's no fallout: the passengers are affected, and maybe a few more people on the ground. It has a comparatively restricted extent. Some fuel may leak onto to the ground near the crash. A core damage can affect hugely larger numbers of people over a much, much larger area than an airplane crash would. It takes many years rather than a few weeks for effects to subside.

I'll state it clearly: I'm not part of the NIMBY brigade. In fact, I wouldn't oppose a nuclear power plant being built in my backyard out of fear it'll explode. I'd probably be ok living next to one - not planning to move there any time soon, though. It's the accumulated worldwide risk in the foreseeable future that I find unacceptable. In Japan, the prevailing winds westerly winds blow fallout towards the Pacific, and sun-worshipers in California probably won't notice any increase in radiation levels. But a core damage with fall out in, say, India - that is the stuff of nightmares...


Re: Statistics

Ok, here's some numbers: nuclear power plant core damage frequency is usually estimated at around 5x10^-5 /year, on one accident every 20,000 years. Some estimates from manufacturers for newer designs are much better than that, getting as low as 3x10^-8 /year. Doesn't sound bad, does it? These are risks, I believe, calculated for equipment failure, not human error.

Declaration of bias: I'll henceforth use the number given by regulators, rather than that given by manufacturers. I'm not presenting an exact calculation, just a rough estimate based on publicly available numbers.

So, one accident every 20,000 years. Per plant. There are now worldwide 440 commercial power plants. That's one accident every 40 years. If you include research reactors and nuclear ships and submarines, that roughly doubles the numbers. There's an additional 60 nuclear power plants under construction, 150 planned and 320 under proposal. So in the foreseeable future, we can expect somewhere in the region of 1500 nuclear reactors. One accident every 14 years or so.

Conclusion: nuclear power plants, individually, are safe. The one in your neighbourhood will typically have an accident every 20,000 years, nothing to worry about unless you have a tendency to be paranoid. Worldwide, you can expect a future with a nuclear accident or two per generation. Acceptable risk? Not for me, thanks.

I first did this calculation yesterday. Up to then, I was inclined to think of nuclear power as a minor risk, and of the anti-nuclear crowd has mostly people afraid of something they don't understand, and reacting out of that fear. Now, I'm firmly on the anti-nuclear side.

(Risk is calculated as follows: for a risk of p per plant and n plants, combined risk is not n*p, but rather p*sum(1-p)^i, from i=0..n-1; the calculation is left as an exercise for the reader. The difference is small for n<<1/p, as in this case)

Half a million Germans rally in support of 'Baron von Googleberg'



One thing is knowing that many politicians are dodgy, quite another is accepting them to be openly so. I mean, would you really take your children to the nearest catholic priest and say "alright, alright, just fuck them, I guess that's life..."? I don't think you would, and you also shouldn't just accept politicians to be shameless liars and cheaters.

On the other hand, this guy obviously isn't all that good as a politician either. If he really had those "necessary" qualities, nobody would have ever heard of his cheating. That we all have, only shows he doesn't really know how to play the game*. Good riddance!

* unlike say, Kohl, who made all copies of his own PhD thesis disappear, or Stalin, who perfected the art of wiping out documentary evidence of disgraced former allies.

German 'minister for cut'n'paste' resigns over PhD plagiarism


And I would like to point out that... #

Before becoming defence minister, Guttenberg had served as an MP since 2002. Before that he managed his family's investments, maybe studied law at university and did his compulsory military service, becoming an email sergeant in an alpine unit. One of his moves as minister was to abolish such conscription, moving the German services' Department of Email toward becoming an all-volunteer open source force.

Baron zu Guttenberg had previously said that he copied chunks of his thesis due to the pressure of other commitments he had at the time, including being an MP, raising his children alongside his wife, TV presenter Countess Stephanie von Bismarck, and going for a drink with his friends at the weekend.

The offending doctorate was granted in 2007 for absence of studies of constitutional law in the USA and EU. Guttenberg is still recovering from the shock of finding out that the subordinates he'd pressured into writing his thesis for him had actually stitched him by producing such a rubbish cut and paste job. They, in stark contrast, are now laughing their heads off at him and the committee that approved the thesis with best grade "suma cum laude". LOL!

The Meeks shall inherit the Office ...


Re: On branding...

I'm not sure what you're on about... Do you really find LibreOffice such a difficult name to pronounce or spell? Agreed, it's not particularly catchy... May I be the first to suggest the name DocType? Particularly if it gets any good at "extracting discs full of teenage poetry from dead word processors".

Mexican woman gets litigious on Top Gear's ass


Re: Humour Injection required

Quite right, lack of humour seems to be contagious. The comments from the Top Gear studs weren't funny, and neither were the kick-backs from the Mexican asses...

Next smartphone tech? Predator style thermal cameras

Jobs Halo

Re: Meh

There's an app for that.

Mum arrested for seducing teen on Xbox Live



IANAL, but since the kid is below the age of consent, it probably is rape, at least from a legal point of view.

Joke alert: any Californian lawyers out there among Reg readers care to comment?

Dutch twaddle-prof lambasts Google Scholar



"Yes. The J is pronounced as the J in joke, not like g as in Spanish."

I can see the J in joke, but there's no G in spanish...

Or is it a case of ghoti?

Australia claims it invented cutting-edge tech before rest of world


Re: 35,000 years ago?

You may be quite certain, but you're still wrong. 35,000 years is a long time ago, for humans anyway. My guess is you're either talking about Stonehenge and the likes of it, or you know something nobody else does. Well, Stonehenge is barely 5,000 years old...

Man wins $650k for stripper shoe eye snafu



You, sir, owe me a new keyboard...

Windows to Linux defections to outpace Unix shifts in 2011


RTFA before posting

What the survey found is there's more people planning Windows to Linux transitions than Unix to Linux, which is new. It says nothing about total numbers of Windows vs. Linux deployments.

Malware forces Firefox to save passwords


maybe "viri"?

That would still be wrong, but at least would show some measure of consistency, unlike "virii" which is just plain stupid (and I admit, quite annoying). I wonder if people who get infected by "virii" also travel on double-decker "bii" or even "omnibii"...

Mozilla upsets net world order with Bing on Firefox

Big Brother


After looking around some for other options, I've been happily using http://duckduckgo.com/ as default search engine (on Firefox, as it happens) for several months now. Works as well if not better than its more famous relatives, and, importantly, keeps no search history or leak search keywords.

No money in it for Mozilla, though...

Google menaces penguins with Street View Antarctica



... make that 8: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica, and Britain. Everyone in Britain knows Britain and Europe are separate places.

Anti-piracy lawyers' email database leaked after hack


big whoop!

where's the egg on face icon when you need it?...

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h ~= cr

It looks like there's lots of people here who don't remember the difference between hacking and cracking. I thought Reg readers would know better. Double fail...


hack, not crack

you're confusing the two, go check again...

Linus Torvalds outs himself as US citizen


Al Gore?


Google pulls trigger on 'Instant' search engine


going google-free

Been using duckduckgo for a a few weeks now, quite happy with it.

Ubuntu 'Maverick Meerkat' erects own App Store


and why not:

Another Animal

Antipodal Antelope

Appalling Ape

Antique Ant

... lots of option, really.

Schmidt: Erase your identity to escape Google shame


in Australia, everybody's called Bruce.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned that yet.

HP boffin claims million-dollar maths prize


no, you don't...

... he gets one big chunk of cheese, and you get four big chunks of cheese, courtesy of the white mice. Unfortunately for both of you, the five remaining million-dollar prizes are NOT for the ultimate answer, so there's an infinite improbability that either of you will cash one of them... Good try, though... I'll go and carve some fjords now...


I can see the headlines...

"P ≠ NP solved by HP"

The Reg guide to Linux, part 1: Picking a distro

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you mean the Office ribbon?

I also found it took 20 times longer to do anything with it, instead of traditional menus.

But really, what you're saying is it takes time to get used to changes. Well done, Sherlock!

There's nothing inherently slower in Linux, YOU are slower. It gets better with practice. TTFN.

Computing smart-scope gunsight for US snipers

Black Helicopters

I love the smell of napalm in the morning...

That's why I so enjoy reading about the latest news on killing IT over breakfast. Pity there's no photos of maimed bodies. Maybe you could give it a thought next time, Mr. Page? I'll go and play with my tin soldiers now.

What's that red spot on my shir......

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beware the black hole

Mike, nice reference to Mr. Wagner's sophisticated argument against the LHC experiments. Pity so many people don't seem to be aware of it. It's maybe more obscure than we both assume.



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