* Posts by Chemist

2677 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Mar 2010

'First ever' snap emerges of something vaguely resembling our solar system 300 ly away. We'll take 10 tickets


"they'll switch off as soon as reality TV reaches them!"

Didn't stop the Grebulons (ref. HHGG Mostly Harmless)

Time to brush up on current affairs. Because we're predicting Li-ion batt lifetimes using impedance and AI


Whilst on this topic..

.. for a while now I've been using a bash script to control the charging of a laptop.

Script monitors the limits set for chsrge/low charge - signals one of the house pis equipped with remote control board that can turn (4) on/off mains sockets - laptop thus kept within limits. Anyone care to suggest what the limits should be ?? . I'm using 55%-85% at the moment so that there is a reasonable reserve for off-mains running. Of course you need a scripted way of turning off charging before hibernation etc.

Using this on an older laptop has kept the battery capacity at 96% after 4 years.

If you have a spare pi the remote sockets are useful for all sorts of things and very cheap

Mozilla plugs two Firefox browser holes exploited in the wild by hackers to hijack victims' computers



.....installing the updates now. Ready & waiting on OpenSUSE 15.1

The shelves may be empty, but the disk is full: Not even Linux can resist the bork at times


Thanks Jake but can you remember if it did reserve some space for sorting out a 'full' disk ?


I thought a few percent of space was left for root to recover the situation. I may have mis-remembered as this hasn't happened to me for many years. Or was it a particular file-system (ext2 ?) I don't use now.

AI-predicted protein structures could unlock vaccine for COVID-19 coronavirus... if correct... after clinical trials


Re: Protein structure prediction has been done for ages...

"The efficiency of it active or whatever is a secondary requirement."

Should have read :

The efficiency of its catalytic activity or whatever is a secondary requirement.


Re: Protein structure prediction has been done for ages...

"Oddly enough, once the protein's been made it doesn't need AI. It just folds itself."

It's an analogue computer of great power. Seriously the most important property of a sequence is to fold quickly and cleanly. The efficiency of it active or whatever is a secondary requirement.


Re: Does not matter at all

"Determining the structure of the virus proteins might also help in developing a molecule that disrupts the operation of just those proteins, and not anything else in the human body."

Well it might, but predicting whether a 'drug' will NOT interact with any other of the 20000+ protein in complex organisms is well beyond current science. If we could do that we could predict/avoid toxicity and other non-mechanism related side-effects & mostly we can't.


Re: Protein structure prediction has been done for ages...

" I'd expect that they already plenty of lot of known proteins that are shared between the new virus and other known Coronavirus strains."

Ditto I was reading this paper yesterday (mainly for its MHC * content) :


The spike protein is thought to be the key to binding to cells via the angiotensin II receptor.

* Old research interest of mine. Part of the major mechanism the immune system uses to distinguish self from non-self

Uncle Sam's nuke-stockpile-simulating souped-super El Capitan set to hit TWO exa-FLOPS, take crown as world's fastest machine in 2023


Re: Uggghh

"Well, some free time on the world's biggest supercomputer (x600) should knock off a bunch of development costs."

Well I take your point but actually the R cost (high though it is ) is utterly dwarfed by the D cost. And, no, the computer will not have any great impact on the D cost

Amazon staffer based just a stone's throw away from Seattle HQ tests positive for COVID-19 coronavirus


Re: Doesn't check out

"Nearly $3000 for the test I read."

I believe in Switzerland it's ~ 200CHF so $3000 would be a huge margin.

"The cost of a test (CHF180) will be reimbursed by basic health insurance as of Wednesday March 4, the health office announced."


Incidentally the information from China is little or no reinfection., little evidence for transmission before symptoms.

Ofcom measured UK's 5G radiation and found that, no, it won't give you cancer


Re: Glad

"One in fifty scientists fakes research by fabricating or falsifying data"

Not too good at arithmetic but that suggests 49/50 don't. Not a bad ratio - wonder what a similar metric for politicians or salesmen would show ?

Worried about future planet-cleansing superbugs? But distrust AI? Guess you're not interested in these antibiotics


Re: Impressive

This isn't new - various similar methods have been used before over ~~ last 20 years. I wish them well but in my experience the molecule found is horrible. If it came out has a hit in a screen I'd discard it without looking back - in fact it would probably hit ~ 10-20% of all screens. Some of the others in the databases look far worst BTW.

2nd point is a hit - even if genuine - is not a drug. Safety, pharmacokinetics, distribution, and a whole lot of other requirements need to be met.

Still we'll see. We certainly need new 'antibiotics'

Google and IBM square off in Schrodinger’s catfight over quantum supremacy



Being a chemist I assume an isopope is a pope with limbs etc in a different arrangement


Seems my post still hasn't made it yet


Being a chemist I assume an isopope is a pope with limbs etc in a different arrangement

High-resolution display output or Wi-Fi: It seems you can only choose one on Raspberry Pi 4


Re: An RPi as a desktop computer ?

"But it is definitely not a desktop."

I too have a i7 and it has a much higher performance as might be imagined (for a laptop costing £650 5 or 6 years ago). But the Pi 4 is definitely usable as a desktop for modest tasks. As I mentioned earlier it will even video edit (using kdenlive), rendering the video takes about 4 times as long as on the i7. Playing 1080p50 video is very efficient with the built-in command-line player using the GPU (~~1% processor). and OK with vlc (~16%) from memory. I've run some processor intensive programs from my molecular modeling days and the drop-off is again ~ 4 fold from this machine. I have a multi-threaded script that converts a directory of RAW photos (~5K*4K pixels) into 1080, sharpened, jpgs for thumbnail purposes and it does that again about 4 fold slower - so I've given it some stick

Have you actually used one or are you going on specs. ? Mine hangs on the wall behind the monitor BTW. The other advantage you failed to mention is the price.


Re: The RPi 4 is a complete fail

"none of them have had any issues"

Ditto ! Mind mine is in a rather nice cast-aluminium case/heatsink with a genuine hdmi cable.Very impressed fast enough for most (simple) desktop tasks. I've even video edited (1080p50) with mine & transcoded with ffmpeg (all cores working and temp ~65C.

Just what we all needed, lactose-free 'beer' from northern hipsters – it's the Vegan Sorbet Sour


"It's an easy-drinking 4.8 per cent and here at Reg Towers we wonder if it counts as one of your five-a-day."

You only drink 5 a day ??!!

Who will save us from deepfakes? Other AIs? Humans? What about vastly hyperintelligent pandimensional beings?


Re: I hit it with a shovel.

"Is pandimensional poo good for anything?"

Pan-dimensional rhubarb ?


"Maybe Douglas Adams was right about mice"

He was right about a lot of things

Hey dudes, we need to start living together in Harmony: Huawei puffs up new distributed OS


"reducing the response latency of apps by 25.7 per cent."

Well that last 0.7% will make all the difference </sarcasm>.

Airbus A350 software bug forces airlines to turn planes off and on every 149 hours


Re: What is overflowing?

"Windows 98 used to crash after 49.7 days due to a timing chip error"

Time must have run very differently for you

Microsoft demos end-to-end voting verification system ElectionGuard, code will be on GitHub


"When voting becomes digital how do you draw a penis on the ballot paper?"

Plenty of Dicks there already !!

Gonna be so cool when we finally get into space, float among the stars, work out every day, inject testosterone...


"But what about the small blue furry creatures from Alpha Centauri?"

They're small blue furry creatures from Alpha Centauri? . But you knew that really having read the fine manual.

Thanks Douglas

Brit Parliament online orifice overwhelmed by Brexit bashers


Re: Botnet

"Looking at the total votes its going up by approx 200 every 10 seconds"

Well I make it ~100000 /hr from 0630 until now very constant apart from a slowing around breakfast time Suggests a choke point at this rate to me

Sorry, Linux. We know you want to be popular, but cyber-crooks are all about Microsoft for now



"If Flash is insecure, why does the BBC now insist I install Flash to get their podcasts or view catch up?"

They don't - I've not needed it for years.

Suggest you look at http://www.bbc.co.uk/html5

The exceptions are :

"There are some places where the HTML5 player won't work. These include:

Windows XP

Internet Explorer on Windows 8.1 or below

Safari on MacOS El Capitan or older"

(Some 3rd party content does need flash )

Three-quarters of crucial border IT systems at risk of failure? Bah, it's not like Brexit is *looks at watch* err... next month


Re: What possible delay?

" You mean Donald Tusk and President Obama both directly intervening to support remain, I assume?"

No - Trump & Putin supporting leave - Jeez !

Boffins build blazing battery bonfire


Re: "Do you have a ref. for this. What in deity's name is a 'reverse catalyst' ??"

Let me be clear on this, at least for others. A catalyst only increases reaction rates (in either direction equally ) by lowering the activation energy. The system will reach its tthermodynamic equilibrium ( at the temp/pressure it's under) faster. It's a kinetic effect.


Re: Hmm. Reminds me of the SolChem work of the US NRL in the early 80's.

"reverse catalysts "

Do you have a ref. for this. What in deity's name is a 'reverse catalyst' ??

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


Re: I'm confused.

"Template-based modelling, however, only works if there is another well-known protein that is comparable"

However there are many in-between cases. One of the best ones I know are the prediction of the beta-propeller structure in integrins from other beta-propellers where the sequence match is rather poor.


Re: Grail seekers

"There's no Holy Grail, just a lot more work."

It would be nice to think there was but having spent 10+ years modeling proteins I tend to agree it's hard.

Incidentally the most important property of a sequence is probably to fold quickly and cleanly. Efficient function is nice to have.

No, you haven't gone deaf – the Large Hadron Collider has been wound down for more upgrades


Re: Explain pleeeese

"H− has two electrons, and is stable because they fill the S orbital so nicely."

Depends on what you mean by stable - H- is wildly reactive. Sodium hydride, for example is stored mixed with mineral oil to protect it from atmospheric moisture etc.


Re: Explain pleeeese

H- is hydride, a proton + 2e-. One simple example being NaH, sodium hydride

Taking an electron from atomic (mono) hydrogen gives a proton.

So H- lose electron -> H lose electron -> proton

It's all a matter of time: Super-chill atomic clock could sniff gravitational waves, dark matter


Re: Huh?

"Dark matter has an effect on gravity, gravitational waves are a change or variation in/of gravity."

AFAIK gravitational waves distort spacetime and change lengths & time as they pass. They are not in themselves 'gravity'

A lot going on here so I've not been able to refresh my memory on this.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget


Re: How are these supposed to save energy

"Microwaved some coffee, put a spoonful of brown sugar in it, ,,, and WHOOSH"

It's essentially an example of kinetic v thermodynamic effect. Thermodynamically the water has enough ( more than ) energy to boil but no initiating pathway. In the lab we used little fragments of glass or wooden sticks ( added before reaching boiling I might add) to promote smooth boiling. Your sugar just trigger very rapid boiling. Almost like a mild explosion in fact. Cryogenic liquid gases added to room-temp water can sometimes behave in a similar manner - the initial turbulence promoting more and more rapid mixing until the evolution of gas become very violent.


Re: How are these supposed to save energy

"Kettles are incredibly efficient at boiling water"

And not as likely to scald you as water heated in a microwave which can 'bump'*

* lab term for a superheated liquid that suddenly boils violently.

Linux kernel Spectre V2 defense fingered for massively slowing down unlucky apps on Intel Hyper-Thread CPUs


"I think the only thing to use all the cores at once is gcc"

Video transformations often(usually) use many cores

Try scaling video using ffmpeg - it uses all 4(8 cores) cores on this i7 laptop

Junior dev decides to clear space for brewing boss, doesn't know what 'LDF' is, sooo...


"system to track all of their beer barrels in the UK"

Hacking that with the search term "FULL" & "LOCATION" would be good.


Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly


Re: Quantum navigation

"So it knows *where* it is, but it doesn't know how fast it's going? Or the other way around?"

But if it has a fixed position at time T and then T+x ( where x might be quite small) then the direction and travel are a trivial calc. That's what my hand-held GPS ( 14+ years old I'd guess) has always done.

Has science gone too far? Now boffins dream of shining gigantic laser pointer into space to get aliens' attention


Is it me ...

or is the 'message' going to take rather a long time to reach the average star ?

"Space is big, very big ...............you know the rest"

Apache OpenOffice, the Schrodinger's app: No one knows if it's dead or alive, no one really wants to look inside


Re: Counting is not so easy.

"Does anyone use Linux on the desktop? </troll>"

Well I'm sitting here in Saas-Fee in Switzerland and I've just used a little GUI window on this Linux desktop to start downloading a number of BBC comedies onto a Pi at home (UK) . After that I'll move them using a GUI filemanager ( using fish: ) to watch here.

Solid password practice on Capital One's site? Don't bank on it


I use very long 'difficut' passwords for financial sites etc. generated by a program on the fly from a passphrase. The main site that I have trouble with is loging into Skype where paste doesn't work - however Ctrl-V does !

EU wants one phone plug to rule them all. But we've got a better idea.


Re: EU Standard plug

" I'm constantly amazed that the rest of the world hasn't burned down from electrical fires by now."

Could it be because many places have lots of mcbs &/or elcb ?

In our small (50sq.m) apartment in Switzerland we have 15

Not OK Google: Massive outage turns smart home kit utterly dumb


Re: Fundamentally Flawed Architecture

in the UK, a pharmacy is more commonly known as a chemists."

Indeed it is, nevertheless it's the pharmacist that dispenses drugs.

Suggest you look at :



Re: Fundamentally Flawed Architecture

"day my local chemist will contact me"

I think you mean pharmacist - otherwise I agree .

IPv6: It's only NAT-ural that network nerds are dragging their feet...


"and it can be a pain with sites that use you IP address to identify uses and for Geo-location"

Well I've got a fixed IP address but usually Google Maps puts me in West Yorkshire or near Warwick - neither of these is true

Samsung’s new phone-as-desktop is slick, fast and ready for splash-down ... somewhere



Thought it was :

Windows , Icons, Mouse, Pull-down menus

Crappy IoT on the high seas: Holes punched in hull of maritime security


Re: Good old days?

"worked out how to hack a horse "

Although a certain type of horse is often termed a hack


'Autopilot' Tesla crashed into our parked patrol car, say SoCal cops


"12 people get shot in a school and it's the end of the world (which it is) but 3,000+ die EACH MONTH and it's completely ignored."

Difference is 12 people are shot without any reason WHATSOEVER whilst deaths on the road are one of the risks of everyday life (which we should try and minimize) for which we derive a benefit

Swiss sausage sizzler 4.0 hits 200 bangers per hour


Re: Judging by the mugshot I'd say he definitely deserves a "Man In Shed" award.

"Clearly a fellow with a fine shed of delights to work in."

Sheds are called 'stadel' around those parts - although more like a small, massively built, barn.

Our local butcher does a line in what look like small cumberlands pinned with a stick but the machine looks like it is designed for bratwurst or kalbsbratwurst