Re: I solved this when I was eight
On the basis that "one" is pronounced 'wun', should "scone" be pronounced 'skwun'?
(Mine is the one with jam stains down the front.)
220 posts • joined 4 Jun 2010
but surely it depends on the relative viscosities of the jam and the clotted cream? Whichever is more viscous should be spread on first.
I usually have mine wit a pot of Earl Grey tea (brewed, not stewed) black, no sugar. So I will have to try out the suggestion of cider as an accompanying beverage.
(Technical icon as 'viscosities' is quite a big word for a Saturday.)
As for the correct way to pronounce "scone", if I ever meet the Queen, I'll ask her.
I took an informal course by Prof Fred Piper of Royal Holloway, as part of my employment years ago at a security company. He was pretty sure that the most common ways of breaking cryptography were sex, drugs and money, with a little blackmail thrown in for good measure.
As for it being set up by state actors rather than career criminals, some countries have few scruples when it comes to villainy in other countries. If some country had set it up they would definitely not want the servers to be on their territory.
... encasing a Mercury lander in tanks of pure water. Landing it on the dark side of Mercury to do some science. When Mercury eventually rotates and the lander gets to be on the sunny side, the deep frozen ice provide a temporary heat shield for some 'sunny side' science, before being used as steam to propel the lander off the planet to be returned to Earth with surface samples?
OK, ok, its is sci-fi, but you never know, some Rocket Scientist out there could be thinking "it might, just, work!"
When Robert (later Sir Robert) Mark was appointed to the London Metropolitan Police he said that the plainclothes division of the Met was "the most corrupt organisation in London". He also said that one test of a Police Force is whether it catches more criminals than it employs, and that at the time the Met was failing that test.
I wonder how a police force which asks a security guard to identify someone based on CCTV footage would score?
I'm currently reading a book called "Me and White Supremacy", a work book to discover how to be less prejudiced against Black, Indigenous and people of Colour (BIPOC), it recommends watching the documentary about James Baldwin and the struggle against racism in the USA in the late 20th century "I am not your Negro". Well worth watching, particularly for the footage at the end of Police 'interacting' with Black people. Warning, the film of Rodney King being beaten by half a dozen cops is far from the worst violence depicted.
> "Possibly. Although the number of people being picked up despite wearing masks would tend to disagree with it being purely propanda. Of course, it may be that it wasn't FR which led to those arrests, and it's instead used as cover for an on-the-ground network."
Or it could just be that an oppressive, totalitarian regime would never admit to arresting innocent people by accident. Just remember that Dr Li Wenliang who raised the alarm about the SARS-Cov-19 was forced to apologise for spreading rumours and withdraw his comments, before he died of it. Only the undeniable epidemic in Wuhan, the thousands dead and the spread ensured that the Communist Party higher-up had to admit he was right. Even then they 'found' a doctor who raised the alert earlier than Dr Li, and was not forced to recant, according to their spokespeople.
There is an article on an obscure website (something to do with birds, I think) that claims a computer system for generating a recognisable face from a low resolution image is white biassed:
Basically it was programmed with an overwhelming majority of white faces, so tends to produce a white result.
In the UK the first 'rights' were reputedly enshrined in the Magna Carta, which the barons made King John sign while Richard was away fighting in the crusades. The idea of 'human' rights is basically the rest of society being obliged to treat everyone else in a particular way (not going around stealing from, killing or harming them). The tories are supposed to what to replace the Human Rights Act with a 'Bill of Rights', but in the USA, where rights are guaranteed by the constitution, as I understand it, they only actually apply to citizens, and the USA legal system does not have a concept of specifically 'Human Rights' (USA-folk please correct me if I'm wrong).
There are many problems with Automatic Facial Recognition systems, not the least being that they are rubbish with non-whites (and poor with white faces too). I wonder whether the judges will consider that AFR systems promote racist actions in that they have difficulty discriminating between black faces and so would be likely to make false arrests of black people more likely.
*(Did she die in vain?)
Oh yes, I remember it well....
It was 1985, I was recently employed by ICL having graduated with a PhD in mathematics, and was told that with new 'office automation' software, such as word processors and spreadsheets, we would never need to print anything out 'in the near future'. Of course we still needed the manuals on paper, because there was nothing like the on screen 'help' feature, and Management still wanted hard copies, as did customers, and of course we still had to check that the documents would print out ok...
Still, the paperless office is nearly here, again.
That would certainly fit with Chris Grayling's career
Privatisation of the Probation Service (cancelled).
Sorting out the railways (in the way that they are even worse than when he started).
Hiring a ferry company for emergency freight transport in case of a hard 'no deal' Brexit, that unfortunately did not have any ferries. Then having to pay out loads of money to Eurotunnel for failing to have a proper public tender.
I wonder if he'll get a peerage.
@ Terry 6
Ahh, that would explain a lot of things.
I once considered doing an MBA, but all of the brochures and ads for the courses seemed more about career progression than actually learning things to help your company succeed. But that was along time ago, so maybe things have changed.
Anyone remember Piper Alpha or Deepwater Horizon? Lots of warnings from 'minion' level staff about incredibly unsafe working practices, but no action until things literally blew up. And, of course, more recently the tragedy of Grenfell Tower, where the residents complained for years about unsafe electrics in the block, and poor building safety levels.
This idea of management 'knowing it all' and ignoring the genuine concerns of the people doing the actual work* has killed a lot of people in many industries.
I used to work for a major UK communications company. I got a low mark in one of my periodic appraisals and had to do some 'training'. Part of the training was about 'Change Management'. NONE of the courses (Computer Based Americana) included ANYTHING about whether the change the management wanted was correct, or sensible or would even work. It was all about implementing the change, and assuming that it would work. In fact in one of the quiz questions, one of the -wrong- answers was apologising for having got something wrong.
There was no option at all for informing the management that there was any problem at all with, for example, replacing the electric heating in the building on the Isle of Wight with gas (because gas is so much cheaper than electric) because THE NEAREST GAS MAIN IS TWO EFFING MILES AWAY which was why they had electric heating in the first place. (True story.)
Apparently a manager who admits to the team the he or she made a mistake reduces morale.
Oh well, I'm (reasonably) happily retired now.
(* See the excellent book 'On the Psychology of Military Incompetence' by Norman Dixon for how this sort of thing happens again and again and again.)
Well, they are well-connected members of the establishment, jail is for 'little people', you know, people like sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses. If we start holding our 'betters' to account for this sort of chronic incompetence then our top business-people, politicians and civil servants might have to answer for their own mis-deeds and criminal activities(*), and then where would we be?**
(** That would be almost like a fair and ethical democracy, where it is actually illegal to unfairly discriminate against people due to race, sex, sexuality, creed or just being more competent that the chap you were in the Bullingdon Club with.)
Remember that _nice_ William Waldegrave, the one who changed the 'interpretation' of the rules preventing arms sales to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, without changing the wording, so he didn't have to tell Parliament. The one who was letting the directors of Matrix Churchill be prosecuted for selling arms to Iraq and then had to admit it when they threatened to tell the court that they had the approval of the Secret Intelligence Service (aka M.I.6), and through them a certain Mr William Waldegrave? Well, he is now Baron Waldegrave, and chancellor of the University of Reading (the 'Visitor' is that upstanding gentleman who would never treat anyone with any disrespect, or slouch on the front bench of parliament, Jacob Rees-Mogg).
Well , I am sure that the senior managers at the Post Office who allowed this travesty to happen can look forward to similarly strong punishment in the future.
I too worked for a while in software testing for a large company. The criteria for rating test failures as minor, medium and major were agreed, the criterion that the software would not be released with more than a certain number of major bugs was agreed. The day before release a miracle occurred - lots of the major bugs became mediums and medium bugs became minor, so the software was ok to release!
This is an example of Goodhart's law, once you start using a metric to determine what happens next, it sops being a metric and starts being a target. See, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodhart%27s_law
The latest number stated in the BBC Radio 4 documentary series at 12:45 weekdays (available on BBC Sounds) states that over 900 cases have been or are being referred.
The thing that gets me is that although they knew they were dealing with a potentially badly created IT system, they went for investigation by forensic accountants instead of IT system or security specialists.
It is world beating in the same way that Mr Chris Addison says our transport system is 'World Beating":
In the UK we have the BEST rail replacement bus service in the world!
(Of course, it would be nicer if we had the best railways in the world, but you can't have everything.)
I am rarely impressed by the 'lessons' those in power claim to have learned from the disasters over which their friends or sycophants presided. Mostly they seem to learn the lesson not to be caught without being able to blame someone else (preferably deceased, or sadly suffering from Alzheimer's, or terminally abroad outside UK jurisdiction).
The lessons that HMG and its senior civil servants and ministers will never learn include:
1: Large, complicated computer systems which take years to design, build and implement never work properly if those commissioning them do not understand IT systems design, the actual requirements for the system, and ignore genuine user concerns.
2: IT consultants' jobs at the level of interaction with senior civil servants include finding out what the Department's budget is and spending it on themselves. Their job description does not include delivering a working system on time under budget that is reliable and robust as they make most of their money running the system and making upgrades to it.
3: Underlings who raise issues and problems with the design, implementation, timescales, preferred equipment etc. are almost always raising legitimate concerns, and not just trying to rock the boat or make the seniors look bad for missing a deadline.
4: If you cannot draw the detailed flow-chart, you do not understand the objective sufficiently to write the code.
5: No good programmer objects to their code being thoroughly tested.
The lessons that will undoubtedly be reinforced are:
1: Always claim to meet your deadlines to avoid looking bad.
2: Make sure only to start projects lasting more than 3 years and move on after 2 years.
3: Never take on a project from someone who has just moved on.
4: Always have someone else to blame.
5: Always claim it was a success, really.
6: All the real work on getting the procurement to work to what is actually required (rather than the specification) comes after delivery when the guilty have moved on, the seniors have been rewarded and the innocent punished.
Beer icon, because I need a drink... (although I' m more of a cider man myself).
... to the Post office, they, umm, hang on a minute erm, I'm sure they meant well. Umm. And, well, at least Fujitsu, umm, probably meant well too, didn't they?
I mean nobody actually expects a computer system of that level of complexity (i.e., more complicated than an abacus) to actually work properly form day one do they?
You know, now I come to think about it, defending POL and Fujitsu in this is actually rather tricky, any suggestions, anyone?
Judging by the BBC Radio 4 documentary and the Panorama programme, I would have thought 'Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice' should be considered. Senior people at the Post Office and Fujitsu knew there were serious bugs in Horizon and yet it was claimed in court that Horizon was correct. In addition, as they got people to 'make up the deficits' themselves by coercion and deceit, that is also a crime.
It is really a shame that the Register's Guinness world record holding team for launching a paper aircraft into space is not here to witness this attempt at launching a rocket into space. He is sadly missed, as is the brave Playmonaut pilot.
This is really difficult stuff, at least since the USAF shot down a NASA satellite with a missile launched from a jet fighter all those years ago. (Said satellite was testing the exposure to space of various materials, I believe)
Yup, I meant finding the exact integer square root of an integer with 17000 decimal digits. I just tried it using the Newton-Ramsey algorithm as alluded to earlier, and my program takes even longer, mainly, I suspect, due to the amount of time my long division algorithm takes. (I'm not a number theorist or computer scientist, by the way, but a math logician, I've just stumbled upon an amazing sequence and am trying to prove it is infinite...)
In the UK you cannot patent 'an intellectual process', but in the USA you can. So in the USA the RSA cryptographic algorithm is patented, but in the UK it is not, and cannot be, and neither can any encryption algorithm.*
As has been noted above, it is odd that SAS first sued in UK and EU courts rather than US courts. One can only assume that they were unaware of European legal precedents. But as for the USA believing that it's laws cover the world, they did pass an act that basically said if a country did not have an extradition treaty with the USA, then USA agents could abduct wanted people from that country legally (possession being nine points of the law). Of course even our great leader, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was half USAn, until they wanted tax on selling his main residence, then he decided to keep the money and lose the joint citizenship.
The real issue I have with USAn 'justice', is that it seems ALL judges are political appointees. Were you on trial in the USA and requested a judge affiliated with neither the democrats nor the Republicans they would be unable to oblige. So political corruption seems to be at the heart of the USAn system, with judges, however decent upright and honest they be ( yes, Brett Kavanaugh, I am looking at you ) beholden to a political ideology and interpretation of the law. (Not that I'm claiming the UK system is clearer or better, mind, as I don't understand it either.) Any USAn with knowledge, please, I beg you, correct me on this.
Anyone remember Ferranti? The UK company which bought a USA company, then discovered the USAn concept of 'off balance-sheet debt'. They basically spent a lot of money buying a big debt and the USA judges decided that was ok, and Ferranti went bust, unable to service the debt that was not listed on the balance sheet, the directors of the company they 'bought' walked away with millions.
*(OK, yes, I know that Clifford C Cocks of GCHQ found it before Rivest, Shamir and Adleman published and patented it, but the example is what I'm using here.)
What if, after a while of spending all that energy propelling a (hu)manned light sail craft towards Alpha Centauri or Barnard's Star, there is a political or economic disaster here on earth, and we can no longer afford the laser? Or terrorists get at the laser and damage or destroy it? Or there is another unforeseen event, preventing the laser propelling the light sail? Of course, that could never happen could it, our fuel supplies, food supplies, economy and environment are clearly totally able to support political and economic stability for the whole period of the trip.
Actually, could we dispense with the laser and use light reflected from the Sun? Then we'd 'only' have to build and aim a really big mirror, instead of a really big mirror and a big, hungry laser?
OK time for my medication ...
Bsetr wishes, everybody and remember:
MIND THE GAP
Actually, I write all of my passwords down in a nice notebook I bought form Waterstones, it is bright red and has the words "internet address & password logbook" on the front cover in big friendly letters.
That has got to be ok, hasn't it?
Curiously, it no longer seems to be available on the web site, must have sold out..
OK so the article states:
"The standard password advice, repeated by LogMeIn, is to use a password manager to remember your passwords for you; enable multi-factor authentication (MFA), so if someone else does obtain your password they can't easily log in and steal your account – though 20 per cent of respondents to the survey said they didn't know what MFA was; and stay vigilant."
So where is the MFA for my extremely valuable El Reg account? At present I use a password and e-mail address but anyone could steal my password and instead of my pearls of wisdom start spouting nonsense at this highly erudite and learned audience.
Indeed, there is currently an extortion e-mail going around claiming to have embarrassing video footage of the 'user', the subject line contains an actual password (in my case it was for the BBC iPlayer)*. They wanted USD2000 for 'not' showing a non-existent video of me (there is tape over the lens, even NASA hasn't got the image enhancement tech to get a picture form my computer, not that I do that sort of thing in the lounge anyway). Fortunately I didn't use that password anywhere else (and don't any more).
*If you get the e-mail (courier font, claiming to have installed malware on our computer, with an address for a bitcoin 'donation') do report it to Action Fraud in the UK, they want to know how prevalent it is.
*** 'Wordstar' ***.
A superb program for those with indestructible little fingers (every formatting feature is/was accessed via Ctrl+ ).
Or what about 'WordPerfect' or what I used for my maths thesis, 'Spellbinder'.
I reckon LateX is actually hard to beat, as it separates the 'What you see', from the 'what you get' in a very nice logical way. Although it does tend to implement what Donald Knuth (one of my favourite Donalds)* reckons is 'least badness' in text in an American way.
*(Other favourite Donalds are: Mr Duck and Mr Warrington.)
I recall an article in your rival, paper-based, publication 'New Scientist' many years ago, which, if I recall correctly, stated that there was a recordable increase in volcanism in South America due to only 10cm more snow fall on the Andes.
My guess (and respects to correspondents EvilDrSmith and eldakka above, my PhD is in Math Logic, so not really relevant, but I've watched a lot of David Attenborough and Prof Iain Stewart on TV), the volcanic systems are like escape valves, it only requires a slight increase in pressure to set them off, once the 'lid' is off, the release in pressure allows dissolved gasses and steam in the magma to erupt from solution and cause a bit of a blow out (I'm not being too technical for you all, am I? ;o). )
Anyway, that is my two ha'pence worth.
(My Dunce's Cap is on order from Amazon at this very moment.)
Solid gold cables? Silly boy, you need pure silver* - a better conductor of electricity than gold. Gold is used on contacts as it does not tarnish. When the Manhattan project was designing the centrifuges to separate U235 from U233, they calculated that there was not enough copper in the USA for the electromagnets, so they borrowed silver from the US Treasury (they told them they could have it back after the end of the war).
(Or, of course you could go for a nice cooled superconductor like those nice people at the LHC have for their magnets.)
*Yes, you really can buy pure silver Hi-Fi cables, a mere £480 per half metre from http://www.custom-hifi-cables.co.uk/home/mainscables/solid-silver-range/large-solid-silver-cable (No, I don't get commission).
OK, so one security 'application' I actually installed and set up for a paying customer in the City of London (you would recognise the name were I so insensitive as to post it here) had the interesting 'feature' that you could never change the admin password. There was no facility to do that at all.
And another fail is this. (True story, NOT FOR THE FIANT OF HEART): Recently some of my post has been stolen and used for social hacking purposes, emptying one pension fund and one shares fund. In attempting to alert another investment company I explained about the post interception and asked for a change of password. Guess what: they only do that by sending me a letter in the post (which is currently on its way). They cannot stop it coming either, so I have to just hope the thieves do not intercept this one too.
<zootle-wordle, zootle-wurdle, zootle-wordle>
JH: Now then, Humphrey, what is this I hear about Zoom not being encrypted end-to-end?
HA: Now then, Prime Minister, I understand that the phrase 'end-to-end' is open to some interpretation, the interpretation of Zoom was that messages were encrypted at each end of the communication and therefore were encrypted 'end', to 'end' in that multiplexing of communications over the micro-wave network means that although the encryption may not be unbreakable, indeed may have been designed to make decryption readily achievable with error-correcting codes using ...
JH: Humphrey! Humphrey! speak in English, please. What is going on?
BW: I think Sir Humphrey was merely pointing out that the encryption applied by Zoom was indeed 'end-to-end', it was not encryption to be relied upon for secrecy.
HA: Thank you, Bernard.
JH: You mean that the cabinet meeting I held was not, 'secret'? That anyone could have listened in?
HA: Not entirely, if you used a password for access to the meeting, someone would have needed technical capability to hack in to the meeting.
JH: Well, that's a relief, I expect that would be pretty difficult.
BW: Actually, Prime Minister, my nephew was listening in from his bedroom, he's doing GCSE computing.
JH: MY GOD! all our secrets revealed. The deepest strategies of my government open to all to see! <sighs>. Did he take notes?
BW: No, Prime Minister, he fell asleep.
JH: Bernard, Humphrey, this must not happen again. You must set up something secure for next time.
HA & BW: Yes, Prime Minister.
Ed Snowden had admin access to 'secure' USA computers and downloaded a lot of data which he then 'published'. The information was government secrets, but the precedent of an employee using his computer access to perform unlawful acts in downloading data has been set, and Morrisons must have been aware of it. The NSA did not just shrug their collective shoulders and say, " it's not our fault if an employee decides to break the law". It will be interesting to see if the eventual judgement, mutatis mutandis*, would hold the NSA liable for Snowden's actions. We'll just have to wait and see.
*latin for 'with the appropriate changes made to names, but logically the same argument'.
Now then do not confuse symbolic mathematics with all mathematics. Rational thought is mathematics, so if you do deductions, derivations etc., you are a mathematician. Consider that someone can be illiterate, yet still be a brilliant orator. Would you say that person was 'no good' at English?
If you object to computers being used for pure, in this case Diophantine, mathematics, what is your position on using resources for art?
I often find the entries to the Turner Prize to be baffling, and the artists have certainly used lots of resources to make them.
I do mathematics, and I'm currently researching some diophantine mathematics myself, although my numbers are somewhat larger (2578 decimal digits), but only use squares, not cubes.
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