There is no such country as Taiwan ...
... and yet Taiwan is one of the first customers for a Chinese satellite positioning system. Gotta love the hypocrisy of today's Middle Kingdom.
63 posts • joined 28 Jul 2010
Not that much momentum. A large slab of rock 1000km x 1000km x 10km deep, being subducted at say 1cm a year, has about the same momentum as a 100-ton jumbo jet travelling at speed. And when planes crash, their momentum does not carry them very far down into the earth.
It is gravity, not momentum, that moves stuff around in the mantle, working on thermally-induced density variations. And ocean crust is largely solidified mantle material, so when it is subducted and melts again its density will not be terribly different from the mantle material that surrounds it.
But the discovery of vast hot spots down at the edge of our planet's core has got to be the coolest science of the year. (I'll get my coat.)
The authors picked a really simple problem for which we have a lot of analysis and some very good solutions, and showed that a really poor algorithmic choice falls far outside the achievable frontier. No doubt they did a bit of searching over languages etc to find a really bad starting point.
But it is beside the point to argue that they should have used a modern BLAS library, a better language, and other optmisations that are obvious to all of us. They showed that there are design choices which make orders-of-magnitude differences to the performance of this very simple and well-understood problem.
But now, apply that to problems that are not well-understood and for which there are no conveniently pre-optimised libraries: the database structures from which you extract that complicated query, or the nonlinear pattern-matching algorithm, or whatever programming and software design task you get paid for. Can thinking more carefully about your fundamental approach to the data structures or the mathematics yield orders of magnitude improvements? Given that we can no longer count on major improvements in future processing speed, we will have to depend on improving our high-level thinking about data structures, algorithms, and suitable programming languages.
This is a very self-evident point, for which the authors have offered a correspondingly trivial example. My initial thought was that the article was not interesting enough to be publishable. But a surprising number of commentators have attacked the example and missed the underlying point, so perhaps the point is not as self-evident as it ought to be.
The Hubble constant is the reciprocal of the age of the universe, about 1/(14,000,000,000 years). Since my height is rather less than 2m and my age about 70 years, over my lifetime the expansion of the universe has increased my height by about 2*70/14,000,000,000 m, that is 10^-8 m or 100 Angstroms.
Of course, local space-time is heavily distorted by all of the matter around me, so this calculation is only illustrative.
NZ has an interesting wrinkle, which is probably what gave the taxman leverage in these cases: if the authorities consider that a tax arrangement unduly lessens the tax otherwise payable, they can simply set it aside and work out the tax differently. In principle, this is a horrible idea, because it means that no one can really work out with any certainty what tax is due. But it means that people who try to be too clever by half are likely to wind up on the wrong side of a big bill.
Firefox has had this for years. Options > Privacy & Security > Cookies and Site Data. Check "Delete Cookies and Site Data when Firefox is closed" then click "Manage Permissions" and note any sites that you want to "Allow" to retain cookies after you close Firefox.
You will no doubt need to clear all existing cookies to start fresh.
Voila! All functionality (logins, shopping baskets, whatever) works during a session. But when you close Firefox everything is gone unless you agreed to retain it. No distinction between first-party and third-party.
It does not solve every problem - you probably need NoScript to block fingerprinting, for example - but it consistently wipes out persistent cookies that you did not ask for.
No doubt the number was truncated for publication: if the fall had been 20% in the first 173 days of the year (to 22 June), then extrapolating to the full 365 days would have given 42.1965% for the full year. But presenting a forecast to that much precision would have been silly.
(1) "rare and archaic pronunciation of Gigawatt with a soft 'g' sound". Also such rare and archaic words as Giant, Giraffe, ....
(2) "Jigawatts are often referred to in Internet forums in order to make fun of someone's electrical knowledge." So that's why El Reg used the word, of course.
"... each additional chain outlet is associated with a 35.3 per cent increase in intentional injuries, including assaults, stabbing, or shooting ..."
Some years ago, New Zealand allowed wine and beer to be sold in supermarkets. There are several hundred supermarkets in New Zealand. Conservatively supposing that this increased the number of chain outlets by 200, then 1.353^200 means that intentional injuries must have increased by a factor of more than 10^26. I am sure we would have noticed even a much smaller increase in injuries (say a factor of 10^5, which would leave everyone in the country injured every day).
But when an alcohol academic can quote a frightening number in support of his wowserism, the fact that the number is nonsense is no consideration. After all, modern journalists can safely be assumed to be innumerate (always excepting our favourite Vultures, of course).
"Rum: Generically, fiery liquors that produce madness in total abstainers." Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary.
Most of them unique, and many of them used maybe a couple of times a year.
No rules for password complexity, passphrases, or other similar solutions come close to dealing with the problem that I have to remember 203 of them, and I have to remember which memorable phrase was used for which site or account login. It ain't going to happen.
One of my banks supplies a dongle for two-factor authentication, and a few sites offer my phone as a second factor. But carrying round a keychain full of dongles is not going to happen either.
There is simply no alternative to a password manager.
"We're sorry to hear about the issues with broadband in Fernham, and we'd like to reassure residents that we’re doing all we can to resolve the matter."
(1) We are indeed sorry to hear about this. We had hoped that nobody would tell us, so that we would not need to do anything about it. We are not, of course, sorry that there is a problem.
(2) We would like to reassure residents. However, we are not in a position to reassure them, because we are doing as little as possible.
"But the Chinese consumer industry is relatively young and so is going to recycle ideas that never made it to commercial production in the West,"
Except that HTC is from Taiwan, not China. I know, China says there is no difference; but when it comes to experience of consumers, there should be.
"their dog stumbles across the shredded Windrush documents blowing around in a skip somewhere."
What makes the author think they were shredded rather than just dumped? It would be consistent with the rest of the sorry mess if they were just dumped in the skips with the other construction rubble.
He always needs insurance against the loss from his calf dying (or he takes the risk himself). The hedging contract gives him insurance against changes in market prices, nothing else. If he hedged the risk with an option, he can walk away from it at no cost. If he took out a futures contract, then with no calf to sell he becomes a speculator: he pays out for the difference between the contracted price and the market price at the intended delivery date (and if that is in his favour he wins money back).
You don't want to use the GPL'd library? Be my guest - nobody forces you to use it. Write your own code for those functions, and you can do whatever you like.
But if you want to re-use code that somebody else has written to save you the cost and bother of re-doing all their work yourself (and doing it properly, which is often hard), then you do it on their terms. If they are fans of open source, their terms may include that you have to add your new product to the open source pile. Like it or lump it.
Or pay damages, of course.
Withdraw all existing numbers, and issue everyone with a 256-bit code, unstructured except for a check digit or two. Record the new numbers as a QR code on a plastic id card, so that they can be read by standard handheld scanners.
Make it a criminal offence for anyone (including the Government) to store these numbers. Instead, require the number read to be salted with the organisation's name and then stored as a SHA-512 hash value only. The hashed value works just as well as the raw number as a key in the database records for the organisation.
Then (1) the numbers can be used freely within one organisation but records cannot be linked from one organisation to another; the authorities cannot correlate your tax records with your health data using this code. (2) Stolen hashes are of no value to anyone. (3) If a dump of stolen hashes comes to light, it is possible to identify with certainty the organisation whose security was at fault. (4) Banks or other organisations can use the identifier if they like, but cannot link data acquired from elsewhere to expand their knowledge about you.
From a consumer protection point of view, what's not to like? There is, of course, the slight problem that legacy databases will have to be restructured to use a different key. Also, it shifts power away from bureaucrats and corporations to consumers. Oh, that's a fatal disadvantage; it will never fly.
If you are running a story on New Zealand, and decide that you really need sheep to illustrate Apple's tax affairs, please source a stock picture showing Romneys or Correidales. And they should be on hillsides rather than in a European farmer's lane.
Other than that, NZ has Goods and Service tax instead of sales taxes and, yes, it is a tax on consumers not on Apple.
For corporate tax, NZ has the same laws as most countries (but not the US) - companies pay tax where they are incorporated/resident. If Apple runs its NZ affairs through an Australian firm, it pays profit taxes in Australia. Likewise, when I sell consultng to a US client, my company pays taxes in NZ, not in the US.
The original vulnerability was patched in 2012; the later one was patched by MS15-033 in April 2015.
So this nasty affects stupid people and stupid organisations only. Apparently such targets can be readily found in the US and Africa, as those are the currently affected regions.
Oh yes, there is a long history of earthquakes. And don't forget the volcanoes in the North Island. The Oruanui Eruption (26,500 years ago) was the biggest eruption anywhere for the last 70,000 years. Auckland is built on a volcanic field: lots of pretty little hills, with new ones popping up every now and then. The last was about 600 years ago.
But tsunamis seem to come most often from quakes elsewhere in the Pacific, typically Chile.
But I didn't notice anyone saying they had sent a few bucks to help this outfit with their bandwidth needs in protecting wildlife in one of the most godforsaken parts of the world. (And the various people with guns are variously Muslims, Christians, and Animists; poaching and murdering game wardens is an all-faiths activity there.)
So, for the record, they have $50 from me. Any other takers? Just follow the link in the story.
Look at your fire insurance policy; it will exclude, for example, acts of war. The last time Britain got into a big war, half [sorry, lots of] the houses in London caught fire. No insurer can actually pay out that scale of losses, so they exclude them from the risk covered. Somebody else, the insured or the Government, has to bear these risks.
The insurance spokesman no doubt understands this about insurance, but does not understand cyber security. It is perfectly possible to insure against the odd idiot who leaves a laptop in a taxi, because this is standard idiot behaviour and the industry has lots of data on that. But cyber attacks are much more like warfare, in that people are actively working to create losses. If some unknown vulnerability is discovered and exploited, half [sorry, lots of] the companies in Britain could suffer big losses. The insurers cannot actually pay out for this, and last year's data on cyber attacks is pretty much useless for predicting next year's losses due to new kinds of attacks.
So the insurers want data that actually won't help them, and that will create new risks. The insurers will either have to become cowboys, making promises that they cannot honour, or will have to exclude liability for most active attacks. That would rather defeat the purpose of cyber insurance.
I was part of the Quake-Catcher Network for several years - small sensor mounted on the floor with my desktop analysing accelerations and sending packets to Stanford. Apparently proved the concept well, and my setup reported on several quakes, but maps of user locations showed that the network was over-represented where lots of tech people live and under-represented where most earthquakes happen. It seems that the grant ran out, and the network is no longer really active. Maybe this will replace it.
El Reg won't let me pay directly (as I do for various other websites) and with Firefox/NoScript I can't see any ads. So I started up IE, found a couple of ads (only for things I would never buy, unfortunately) and clicked on them in order to feed the vulture.
I don't mind doing this now and again, but it raised the question in the title. Presumably clicks are more valuable than just views - so does a couple of clicks a month provide fair support?
The point is that this is a regular filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, as part of which the company has to discuss any material risks to its business. These boilerplate filings are written by corporate lawyers, and their purpose is to ensure that no matter what happens "we warned you of that risk, so you (investor) can't sue us."
This does not mean that anyone technically competent at Verisign actually expects a problem, just that the lawyers get paid for imagining possible problems.
I set Firefox to accept all cookies - no questions asked - and then to discard them all automatically at the end of the session regardless of their expiration instructions. Voila, no tracking, except for sites which I am comfortable adding to my whitelist (such as theregister.co.uk, of course).
IE's cookie handling is intrusive and complex; if I reject cookies for a site, it may not work during the session, and if I accept cookies then they are retained unless I hunt them down manually afterwards. Bloom cookies seem designed to reduce the impact of this poor UI design; not a good approach for the user, although it may suit MS's commercial interests.
An afterthought: in case of theft, my netbook's hard drive is completely encrypted using TrueCrypt. So everything, including the operating system files, has to be decrypted on the fly, which is a tax that I don't impose on my desktop machines. Even with that overhead, the netbook's performance is perfectly adequate.
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