* Posts by Eclectic Man

2344 posts • joined 4 Jun 2010

LinkedIn study suggests it's not your best pals who will help get you that next job

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Weaker links best

It actually makes sense. If you know someone well, then you have probably already shared any job advice or vacancies with them. If you know someone only a little, or have only just met them, your whole knowledge of job vacancies is new to them.

As for getting a new job via LinkedIn, there is no way I'd be worth the money they'd have to spend to get me back into the office for a standard 9 to 5* job. I'll stay happily retired for now, thanks.

* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbxUSsFXYo4

Tesla Megapack battery ignites at substation after less than 6 months

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Re: every time a lithium battery goes to heaven, […]

'Sic transit gloria Mundi'

BT CEO orders staff: Back to the office or risk 'disciplinary action'

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Re: I WON'T!

Best of luck, and I hope that things aren't too bad for you or any of your colleagues. On the bright side, BT will be heating the offices, so should reduce home energy bills a bit over the winter, hopefully by more than the cost of your commute.

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I won't go back to the office! I just won't! So there!

Oh, hang on, I retired in 2018.

As you were.

<Sheepish grin.>

By Jove! Jupiter to make closest approach to Earth in 70 years next Monday

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"outside of the Moon"

Pedant alert!

Well, I'm pretty sure that Jupiter would not fit inside the Moon.

(The Moon did occult Uranus recently, and will do so again later this year.

https://www.rmg.co.uk/stories/blog/astronomy/night-sky-highlights-september-2022 )

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Re: I can see for miles

bombastic bob: "Thinking about that, maybe there is at least a *teensy* bit of truth in the whole astrology thing, minus the wackier mythology."

The time of year you are born determines the weather you initially experience, whether you are taken for long strolls in the summer sunshine, or kept in away from winter storms. Also the pollen count, respiratory diseases etc. that you encounter in your first few months of life. If born in Autumn, at the start of the academic year (September to December/January) you are physically and emotionally much more advanced than those born in August, but put into the same academic year group. (A child born in September has 11 months more development than one born in August, about 23%.) A potentially significant advantage at school, in forming friendships, physical education / games etc.

In his book 'Life Time', (ISBN 978-0-241-52930-0) Russell Foster states that the circadian rhythm determines a great deal about how our bodies respond to stimuli over the day. Red blood cells are made overnight and released in the morning, some drugs are better absorbed at different times of day, the immune system is most active in the morning. Most babies, if I recall correctly, are born in the early morning.

So, birth time of year and time of day can have a potentially significant effect on your life. (But I doubt the positions of Jupiter, Mars or Venus in the sky are at all important.)

To preserve Earth's treasures, digital silence is golden

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Re: a black sand beach

Have a look at:


I have been to some of the places, just be careful, the sea is very cold, and deep and has strong currents.

Academic publishers turn to AI software to catch bad scientists doctoring data

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Re: The state of the scientific community

nautica: "It's really sad that the state of the scientific community has come to this."

Sir Cyril Burt (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyril_Burt)

"Sir Cyril Lodowic Burt, FBA (3 March 1883 – 10 October 1971) was an English educational psychologist and geneticist who also made contributions to statistics. He is known for his studies on the heritability of IQ. Shortly after he died, his studies of inheritance of intelligence were discredited after evidence emerged indicating he had falsified research data, inventing correlations in separated twins which did not exist."

His flawed 'research' was primarily used by the educationalists to create the divisive 'Grammar School, and Secondary Modern School' system in the UK, so that the top 25% 'clever children' could go to Grammar Schools, and the rest would go to secondary modern schools. The segregation included the split between 'O'-Levels and CSE's (a top grade CSE was equivalent to an 'O'-Level pass) taken at 15 or 16. Because the rich wanted their children to go to good schools and not mix with poor kids from council estates.

We still have this educational apartheid in parts of England, and it is total hypocrisy, because the Grammar School head still want the best soccer, rugby, cricket and hockey players so offer them scholarships.

He also claimed to have analysed the intelligence of separated identical twins, when one was adopted by a poor shepherd, which would never have happened in 1950's Britain: it was only the rich middle and upper class who got to adopt healthy white babies

At least Sir Cyril did his fakery for a reason other than pure self aggrandisement. He was caught because his faked data contained far too many numerals 7, but his legacy lives on.

(Personal note, I went to a comprehensive school. One of my fellow students at York University want to a secondary modern school, got the best first in maths in our year, did part 3 at Cambridge, a PhD in York, got a fellowship to Oxford and is now a full professor at a prestigious university. So he at least beat the system.)

OVH opens less flammable datacenter at site of 2021 fire

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What about

... their other data centres???

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Re: "the lack of [..] an automatic fire extinguisher system"

I just wonder how many other data centres are built like the old OVH one, and the management / owners are just hoping they will be lucky, 'coz they cannot afford to retrofit proper design and fire suppressant technology, either financially or because they don't want to have too admit why they are 'refurbishing' the site.

(Fire icon, obvs.)

Google CEO Pichai: We need to up productivity by a fifth

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Re: UP wha?

Oh yes, good old 'productivity'. Trouble is, folks that it is often not how much you produce that matters, but what use it is. I can create any amount of totally shit code (high productivity), but quality code that actually works, and does what I want it to do efficiently, well, that takes time and thought and care, and, frankly is usually much much smaller (fewer lines) than the crap code. Or to put it in terms a manager might (not) like, I can do what you tell me to do, but you'd better tell me to do things that are sensible otherwise it is all waste, however 'productive' I am.

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Re: Getting rid of 20% is easy.

Well, certainly fire anyone who uses Excel as a database and uses an old version that limits the numbers to 65536 rows thereby missing off a lot of people in a global health crisis. (Who could I be thinking of?*)

*Answer - Baroness Dido Harding.

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My team leader once decided that he would host a weekly team meeting / call at 4:30 every Friday. Each member of the team informed him that he would be the only attendee, as we generally worked late two or three days each week and therefore left early on Fridays as an unofficial 'Time Off In Lieu'. He changed to 9:00 on Friday mornings, but the calls were just as pointless - he seems to be trying to engender a 'team spirit' in a group of consultants each working for a different client.

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Re: Meeting Tax - Corporate Events

Hmm, I wonder how well that would have gone down with the Operating Committee board level exec who took the entire BT sales teams to Las Vegas for two days to 'motivate them' (he even hired first man to walk on the Moon, Neil Armstrong, to give them a speech).

The execs travelled first class direct, the 'plebs' travelled steerage, so effectively 4 days out of their working weeks. It must have cost millions. (The senior who decided to do this was 'let go' shortly after, with a multi-million pound payment.)

As I understand your 'meeting tax', each attendee would have been charged for their attendance, which seems unfair as they had no choice, surely it is the meeting caller whose budget should be charged?

Bye bye BoJo: Liz Truss named new UK prime minister

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Re: Confusion

You mean like Jacob Rees-Mogg, the new Business secretary, who thinks that British workers need more 'graft' (despite having six children himself and being proud that he has never changed a nappy)?


From: https://www.theguardian.com/global/2022/sep/06/record-of-climate-denialism-indicates-how-rees-mogg-will-handle-energy-brief

"An investor in oil and coal mining through Somerset Capital Management, the fund management firm he co-founded and still benefits from financially, Rees-Mogg has many times voiced climate denialism – even to the extent of misrepresenting climate science. In 2014, he told Chat Politics that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had found efforts to stop climate change would only work in the very long term.

He claimed: “If you read the IPCC report on [the climate emergency] it said that if you were to take action now to try and stop man-made global warming, it would have no effect for hundreds or possibly a thousand years. I’m all in favour of long-term policymaking but I think that trying to forecast the climate for a thousand years, and what little steps you make now having the ability to change it, is unrealistic. And I think the cost of it is probably unaffordable.”

In fact, the IPCC found that efforts to stop burning fossil fuels now were essential, and failure to do so would have an impact lasting thousands of years."

So I expect that we can 'look forward' some 'independent thinking'* when it comes to promoting 'new technology' in British business. But of course he will be completely objective, despite the enormous conflict of interests he has...

God help us all.

* A euphemism for thought independent of relevant facts.

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Mooseman: "How can anyone actually think that what the tories have done to the UK in the last decade or so is in any way beneficial to anyone but a tiny number of already very wealthy individuals, or that Truss will be even faintly different?"

They know, that is what they want. In the USA, some quite poor people voted for tax cuts for the wealthy because they believe that is how the country should be run.

There are people in the UK who believe in a 'low tax' economy with low government spending, who do not realise that the economy can be just as stimulated by government spending as by private spending, with the exception that government spending can generally be used to buy things that will genuinely benefit the general population (such as investing in public infrastructure).

We will soon discover how accurately your assessment describes the new PM.

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Re: Confusion

Dan 55: "Not to worry, the PM has a cabinet of competent ministers they can delegate problems to."

Now I'm REALLY depressed.

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What I wonder, seriously, is how any PM manages to get through the incredible confusion of competing claims on their attention and concentrate on any one problem long enough to make a decision or get anything done. It must be like being in sole charge of home for cats comprising one enormous room and no litter trays.

She has promised a reduction in taxes (at least mainly removal of the rise in NI contributions) and seems perfectly happy that tax reductions benefit the better off more than the poor, and also some major announcement on the cost of living / energy costs in the next few days.

I just hope that the enormity of the current situation is enough to persuade her that party dogma is not going to be adequate and she has to do things that will actually benefit people now, rather than at some indeterminate time in the future.

We will just have to wait and see. (Fingers crossed.)

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Re: That's It I'm ....

Well, give the poor lass a chance, eh?

I mean she, umm, err, ... oh.


Last one to leave turn the lights off, please.

Oh no, that James Webb Space Telescope snap might actually contain malware

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Is nothing sacred?

After the 7th July bombings in London (the day after the announcement that London would host the 2012 Olympic Games), there were some people who tried to use the it to obtain donations for families of the victims. I don't doubt that after the horrendous flooding in Pakistan there will be scam attempts on the Internet to similarly obtain donations to help the victims. In the UK you can donate safely through the Disasters Emergency Committee web site, just make sure it is the right one.

Lawsuit accuses Oracle of facilitating sales of 'billions' of folks' personal data

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Re: I admit it!

My personal solution to the issue of jam or clotted cream first, is that whichever is the most viscous goes on first. Of course in Devon or Cornwall, I always go with the local custom.

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Re: It's not just what they can collect themselves, it's what other companies can give them too

"Make every one of these companies report what data they are holding, on who,"

In the EU and UK that is the law. Organisations which collect personal information have to register the data collected and the reasons for collecting it with the Information Commissioners Office. They are not allowed to just collect personal data 'on the off chance they might find it interesting' and they are not allowed to use it for a purpose other than ones they have declared in advance.

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Jan K. "Yes, yes, but what about health data? Not included?"

Article: " including, micro-locations..."

I.e., which part of the hospital you are in and therefore deducing possibly what is is being examined, or which mini-aisle in the Boots pharmacy section you tend to visit a lot ...

(Just a thought, but now I think about it, a rather worrying one.)

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I admit it!

Yes, if I have stayed next to the clotted cream section in a refrigerated isle for a while, wrestling with my conscience, I am also likely to buy scones and strawberry jam.

There, Mr Ellison, you no longer need to track my perambulations around Sainsbury's*.

*Other purveyors of jam, scones and clotted cream are, I believe, available.

Network congestion algorithms have design flaw, says MIT

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Re: Complexity Theory?

NP-Completeness refers to the complexity class of a problem, not specific instances of the problem itself. The travelling salesperson problem can be solved easily for a few nodes and edges, but for the general problem with a large number of nodes and edges (i.e. one where a brute force attack is not viable in a reasonably amount of time) there is no easy method of solution.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NP-completeness

"a problem is NP-complete when:

1. it is a problem for which the correctness of each solution can be verified quickly (namely, in polynomial time) and a brute-force search algorithm can find a solution by trying all possible solutions.

2. the problem can be used to simulate every other problem for which we can verify quickly that a solution is correct. In this sense, NP-complete problems are the hardest of the problems to which solutions can be verified quickly. If we could find solutions of some NP-complete problem quickly, we could quickly find the solutions of every other problem to which a given solution can be easily verified.

The name "NP-complete" is short for "nondeterministic polynomial-time complete". In this name, "nondeterministic" refers to nondeterministic Turing machines, a way of mathematically formalizing the idea of a brute-force search algorithm. Polynomial time refers to an amount of time that is considered "quick" for a deterministic algorithm to check a single solution, or for a nondeterministic Turing machine to perform the whole search. "Complete" refers to the property of being able to simulate everything in the same complexity class."

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Complexity Theory?

I wonder if the mathematical complexity theorists have looked at this problem and determined whether or not it is, in general, NP-complete? This sounds like designing an effective CCA is related to the 'travelling salesman problem', which is known to be in general a difficult problem, as are many concerning graphs and networks.

Google's bug bounty boss: Finding and patching vulns? 'Totally useless'

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I assume that this is in the context of security rather than of getting correct processing. After all, if there is a bug out there that is not an exploitable security vulnerability, but which causes incorrect processing, then that should be fixed. (Just that you don't get the bounty for finding it.)

US Space Force deploys robot dogs at Cape Canaveral base

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Guard birds

Forget geese, you want guard emus:


No one can outrun an angry emu.

Although one of the reasons British stately homes often had peacocks in the grounds was that they make an incredible racket when disturbed too.

As for the robodogs, they do not seem to be all that good at cornering (yet).

Might well be time to invest in some of these, just in case: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantrap_(snare) .

Ex-T-Mobile US store owner phished staff, raked in $25m from unlocking phones

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Re: Everybody loves outsourcing

Upvoted for being all too believable.

Particularly as on the show 'Have I Got News For You' many years ago, there was an odd-one-out round. The four people included Sir Fred Godwin, then CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland, his deputy and Sir Terry Wogan, the presenter, disc jockey, interviewer, etc. I forget who the fourth member was, but someone really senior in a bank. Of course, Sir Terry was the odd one out, because he was the only one with a qualification in banking.

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Access, Accountability, Authentication

"at least one of the web-based unlocking systems provided to T-Mobile US representatives had no authentication on it"

So, a web-based system which was used to control access, itself had no effective access control.

I was intending to write a pithy comment, but it is late, and frankly, words fail me.

Apple tells suppliers to use 'Taiwan, China' or 'Chinese Taipei' to appease Beijing

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Re: CHINA IS NOT GOING TO GO AWAY... ASIDE - building times

A long time ago, a Muslim sultan hired the best architect of the day to design and build a mosque. The architect vanished after the foundations had been laid. The sultan was, understandably, angry, but work could not proceed without the architect, so it all stopped. Two years later the architect reappeared and was promptly brought before the Sultan for an 'audience'.

The architect insisted that you had to wait two years after laying the foundations to let them settle, as otherwise the superstructure (i.e., above ground parts) would crack and fall down. The Sultan basically said "show me", so off they went to the site, and lo and behold, the foundations had settled a bit and all the builders agreed that had the mosque been built immediately, it would have had to be demolished due to cracks etc.

The mosque was finished, dedicated etc. and the Sultan was happy, but suggested to the architect that next time, an explanation of the process would be in order, to avoid 'misunderstandings'.

A lot of quick build modern housing cracks after building and for years sometimes decades after, because modern builders never let the foundations settle. My parent's house is over 35 years old and has just had another crack repaired. Of course, skyscrapers are different, and probably have much better foundations (I hope).

Warning! Critical flaws found in US Emergency Alert System

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Roll back

"a mature and well-designed patch management program can ensure that any problems caused can be easily rolled back"

Because, of course, everyone has one of those don't they?

Homes in London under threat as datacenters pull in all the power

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Re: The Tory Government to the plebs

Reminds me that in the Thatcher years, there was a satirical half hour news show on BBC Radio 4 called 'Week Ending'. I recall the following sketch:

Announcer: "And now here is a statement from the government concerning the unemployment situation"

Government spokesperson: "Ooh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

Still, never mind."

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Re: Isn't this a government's failure?

v13: "This can't be a surprise."


I'm sorry, have you seen the UK's 'government' lately? (You may need a little sit down and something to drink when you look, I certainly do). Liz and Rishi are currently trying to out tax cut each other whilst ignoring the multiple crises of Covid-19 (yup it is still here folks), Brexit (which most definitely is NOT (actually is) causing delays on crossing from Dover to France), cost of living due to the soaring costs of gas and oil (strangely France, which controls the things has managed to have a very small energy price rise for domestic premises) and the fact that the NHS is stuffed full of people who could be transferred out of hospitals if only someone's* plan to solve the social care problems had A existed and B worked. Oh and there's war in Ukraine too, and Yemen, and Syria, and then Afghanistan is facing the worst humanitarian crisis the world has ever seen (like over half the population could actually starve to death according to some sources). I mean like, nobody saw that coming


*Forget the guy's name, lives in London, shaggy hair, reminds me of Sir Toby Belch** from Shakespeare's play.

** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Toby_Belch. (Until I read this I was basing my comparison on Mel Smith's performance in the film, but now I see it is uncannily how I see him.)

OK, tin hat screwed on real tight, hatches battened down, all sails reefed, etc etc., let the downvotes fall.

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Re: Baffling!

ThatOne: "It's the good old "we'll find a solution when it happens" ... optimism."

Also known as the "I'm alright Jack!" approach to problem solving. As long as the higher ups are 'ok', us plebs can suffer. Rather as Proust explained in 'In Search of Lost Time':

'When it rains, the rich ride in carriages, the bourgeois have their umbrellas, and the poor get wet.'

Scientists use dead spider as gripper for robot arm, label it a 'Necrobot'

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Pedant Alert!

Technically, I understand that a bug is something that inserts its mouth arts into you (or its victim) and sucks stuff out. Whereas a 'not bug' has jaws or mandibles and bites. So a Dragonfly is not a bug, as it bites, but a tick is bug as it sucks.

\end{pedant alert}

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Arachnophobia treatment

For those who did not watch the videos due to arachnophobia:


"Do you have a spider phobia? Millions of perfectly rational people are terrified of spiders. No matter how much they try to calm themselves, the response remains the same: sweating, nausea, panic, rapid heartbeat and worse. But spiders are harmless and extremely beneficial invertebrates whose survival depends on avoiding such large, lumbering threats as ourselves. Join us for a session with a hynotherapist and zookeeper, and let us help you overcome your fears."*

I have attended the course, and it did work for me, and all but one of the other attendees. The most difficult thing to do was turn up.

If you know (and care about) someone who is arachnophobic in the UK, just get the details and give them to the person, but do not pester them at all. Attending has to be their decision. Tackling an irrational fear is much harder than tackling a rational fear, and takes time, patience and courage.

*Note for Australians: Australian spiders are extremely dangerous and can kill people, it is referring to UK spiders here, which are complete wusses compared to your spiders.

NASA's Lunar Orbiter spots comfortably warm 'pits' all over the Moon

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Re: Abseiling and jumaring

midgepad: "Boston Dynamics may soon have a Lunar Rover"

Haha! I saw what you did there!


As long as it is not called 'Fenton':


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I wonder how stable the holes are? They look similar to sink holes here on Earth, so might need some structural reinforcement before it would be safe to go there. Still, 17C does seem very welcoming compared to the lunar surface.

Experts warn transition to private space stations won't happen anytime soon

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Re: Medical experiments

steelpillow: "Muscles atrophy, including the heart. Exercise can only ever be a short-term palliative. And the most pernicious damage is to the brain. Normally cerebrospinal fluid drains out during the day and seeps back at night. Take away the day's gravity and the fluid just keeps right on building up. The permanent brain damage ..."

I always wanted to be an astronaut, until now (I am rather attached to my brain, as Woody Allen once said, "it's my second favourite organ.").

Actually feeling a bit sick now, and just in time for bed too. To sleep, to sleep, perchance to dream.*

I love Mother Earth! x

*Shakespeare, I think.

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Re: Medical experiments

Indeed, I did not find a mention of bone density loss (spaceflight osteopenia) in the article, which is why I mentioned it in my post.


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Re: Medical experiments

Two large lumps tethered together and spinning in space is somewhat more tricky than it seems. Twisting forces can seriously affect things, any imbalance in mass could be disastrous, and, the big one, how do you get on and off the thing? In the film 2001, there was an enormous station in space and it had a central, non-rotating, dock for space shuttles. That takes some engineering.

As for the tether, what happens if it fails? Going to be seriously dangerous for anyone on board. The JWST has already been hit by a micro-meteoroid unexpectedly early in its career. Moving a large rotating space station out of the way of space debris caused by colliding satellites would be much more difficult than moving the (not intentionally rotating) ISS.

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Medical experiments

Let us also remember that the ISS has been used to find out what happens to people who sped a long time in micro-gravity / zero-gravity environments. It seems that bone density loss takes ages to be reversed on return to Earth. This bodes badly for a manned Mars mission, and for missions to further bodies in our solar system.

I cannot see any private organisation funding an experimental rotating, manned space station to see if it is viable as a way of maintaining body mass in space. I reckon that would be too much even for Mr Musk. The insurance premium alone would be exceptional.

DARPA seeks portable muon-making machine to see through almost anything

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Re: Meanwhile, here in the UK

From Siemens (who make MRI scanners in a truck)

"Please note that Mobile MRI requires you to select a Siemens Healthineers-certified trailer manufacturer. This certified trailer manufacturer will ensure that the MRI is adequately protected during transport, follows the correct operating conditions, and maintains consistent and reliable performance over its lifetime."

From: https://www.siemens-healthineers.com/en-us/magnetic-resonance-imaging/0-35-to-1-5t-mri-scanner/mobile-mri-scanner


So it is not just your average trailer.

And for the accidents (gruesome):



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Re: Meanwhile, here in the UK


For "Ashley" read "as they".

And "Structural step girder" |-> "structural steel girder".

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Meanwhile, here in the UK

One of the current presidential, sorry 'Leader of the Conservative party & therefore Prime Minister' candidates has suggested that unused retail premises could be used for health services such as MRI scans.

Now, I've been in a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner*, and not only are they BIG and HEAVY, they do seem to require a fair amount of electricity, and you must never get anything remotely magnetic near them when switched on Ashley have a habit of picking up small items like steel oxygen cylinders and killing the patient by ramming them through the centre of the electro-magnet.

Not saying it is impossible to put an MRI scanner into an empty High Street shop, just that there might need to be some serious structural modification required. (El Reg boffins, how close can you have a structural step girder or RSJ to an MRI scanner when it is turned on?)

A portable muon source might be quite useful, I suppose.

*Had my head examined. Seems it IS on the right way round, after all.

A character catastrophe for a joker working his last day

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Re: hit the right button

As a young info security consultant, I visited a client site to assess their security for various IT systems. One system was particularly valuable, so the door access was on a completely different access control system, not just privileged but different shaped cards with optical, rather than magnetic identification. So someone with access to the main site access control system could not even accidentally give someone access to this system. (It was air gapped, etc. etc., the server room had no windows so was immune to attacks using hydrofluoric acid which dissolves glass.)

Anyway, I was really impressed with their security, but inside there was the archetypal BIG RED BUTTON. So I kept my hands firmly in my pockets and stayed well away from it. 'Coz I had the URGE, you know, THAT urge. Hard work, being a consultant, sometimes.

But I'm better now, honestly. ;o)

(Don't worry, happy ending.)

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Re: Nothing so severe

According to legend, Margaret Dumont, the lady actress co-star in the Marx Brothers' films never understood Groucho's jokes. To his eternal credit he never explained them to her.

So, for example, at the end of 'Duck Soup' where the brothers and Mrs Dumont are surrounded by an opposing army we have:

Groucho: "Remember boys, you're fighting for this lady's honour!" [Sotto voce] "Which is probably more than she's ever done."

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Re: Nothing so severe

There was briefly an excellent announcer at Reading Railway station. He had a 'Caribbean' accent, and, let's just a say not merely 'a way with words' but an excellent turn in honesty.

"The 07:33 from Bracknell has been delayed, so all of you on Platform 4 are just going to have to wait."

And suchlike.

Used to brighten up my day no end.

He didn't last long.

British intelligence recycles old argument for thwarting strong encryption: Think of the children!

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Re: Quite apart from online...

ThatOne: "The only thing influencing somebody's vote is: "Does it potentially affect me?""

And here I was hoping that people would vote for the general benefit of the world, humanity or even just their country, rather than specific self-interest.


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