* Posts by tojb

184 posts • joined 11 Oct 2010

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Technology has the potential to close the education divide. Key word: Potential

tojb

"learning journey" sheesh. Agree though, you can really tell the difference between a teacher who has a plan to instill key knowledge and one who is winging it and/or filling the time with platitudes and empty verbiage. Home lessons on zoom were abject sometimes.

Technology does widen the education divide. But not always in the way you expect

tojb

No substitute for paper

I've been glibly informed that my child's shocking handwriting won't be a problem for him, and that there is no need to teach joined-up anymore to anyone, because he can just use a computer.

By an education specialist with a pencil and a notebook physically in their actual hand at the time. Computers already exist, we keep notebooks next to them to organise our thoughts, sketch diagrams, etc, there is no reason for that to change and offering it as an excuse for lazy teaching (days spent blathering on about rights, fairness, citizenship etc etc instead of learning to be effective whether as a tyrant or as a just and kind sovereign, no matter) is the great educational scandal of the age.

Wireless powersats promise clean, permanent, abundant energy. Sound familiar?

tojb

Re: Whenever I hear these lunatics

Sure, but some of the people who are stuck in crowds are stuck there every day. For a small number it is 24h.

Waving this away as only hurting city folk, commuters, stockbrokers and the braying herds is selfish, and I hazard a guess symptomatic of someone who has been working at home in a leafy village for a while: Boring Lives Matter is a slogan I am now going to adopt, it has the advantage that the T-shirts are already made.

tojb

Re: Whenever I hear these lunatics

OK, so nobody cares about the numbers, they'd rather believe that there is no effect after 2-3mm skin. I wonder why I bother.

For the contention that absorption is too high for these things to be used indoors, or near trees, or whatever I have to ask then what would be the point of them in that case? I suspect that near-THz 'hotspots' will be used indoors in large venues like airports or bullpen-like offices, callcentres, trading floors etc, where they are overlooking crowds of stuck people. It seems like that is what they are for, although some gee-whiz tech companies are promising high bandwidth (but high latency) outdoor vertical communication to a satellite network I'm hoping that the '5G' part of what they advertise is just pure marketing.

tojb

Re: Whenever I hear these lunatics

Great to hear someone who will look at the physics. Lets put numbers in, field strength to observe a harmful effect from the paper was 8e-7 V/m.

Take the attenuation coefficient as 100 /cm (order of magnitude for water). Start with field strength 5V/m (handset near head). That gives a depth of order millimetres (follow exponential absorbtion F/F_0 = exp( - mu * d ), d works out as 15.8mm in order to observe the harmful effects documented in Singh et al (probably why they picked the field strength they did).

Average adult male skull thickness is 6.5mm, so you are looking at getting into brain even before thinking about reduced absorption for bone versus soft tissue or bulk water. Bear in mind that most of you is near/at the surface: people are really pretty small and funny-shaped.

tojb

Re: Whenever I hear these lunatics

@DS999 >> Where are the double blind studies showing it is a problem?

Valid point, but on the other hand, the benefit of the newer higher-frequency bands is highly marginal, giving higher bandwidth (requiring higher wattage) in a small open-ish area only per station. Do you care that much about watching HD holovid on your phone while stuck in an airport? Can't just read the paper, or watch regular HDTV?

Why aggregate proteins, stressing peoples metabolisms and giving a tiny number of them some nasty amyloid disease? These things are subtle, slow, and only fatal after a 5-25 year lag. It is just isn't worth waiting to find out. If we look at the risk factors for amyloid disease, junk unfolded protein lying around is a big one. Either it aggregates itself, or it overloads the so-called JNK pathway which is responsible for clearing stuff away. The linked article is one of many looking at interaction between insulin and ABeta via the JNK pathway, I've just brought it in as an example of what I'm talking about https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2017.00118/full

tojb
Paris Hilton

Re: Whenever I hear these lunatics

Handy isn't it that having heard that anecdote somewhere saves you the trouble of making a critical assessment of the science. https://journals.aps.org/pre/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevE.103.042416

tojb

Re: Casual reference to 5G sceptics as 'wingnuts': author already is on wrong side of history

I've tried very hard not to call people ignorant in the course of this thread, unless its really been rubbed in my face - perhaps consider doing the same? If you believe it would be easy to know as much as me, then consider showing it by making an intelligent response. Also, ask yourself what kind of person reads past the abstract in Phys Rev E articles, which are not general physics but specialist literature in soft matter / biophysics.

In the title of the paper they call it 'microwaves' which is too vague for my taste, as that is often used to mean anything from kHz to GHz. Technically we should call the upper end of the 5G spectrum "SHF" or "EHF" however nobody uses those designations, so THz in my opinion is fine although yes, it is not quite a whole THz.

tojb

Re: Casual reference to 5G sceptics as 'wingnuts': author already is on wrong side of history

@Art Slartibartfast

As you said, "mostly". The IR-ish, millimetery, version was shown in the paper to couple to biomolecule dynamics. Disordered excitation of these frequencies is just heat, thermal vibration, not a problem; however pumping a single mode disproportionately strongly can break things.

tojb

Re: Casual reference to 5G sceptics as 'wingnuts': author already is on wrong side of history

@Fred Goldstein:

I know its not really about THz, sorry I was just using the term loosely as "between microwave and visible". The experiments showing destabilisation of lysozyme were done at 10GHz and 8e-7 V/m. The reason that the range-limited hotspot-type networks you talk about provide such terrible penetration is that these frequencies couple not to chemical excitations (they are not ionising radiation) but instead to vibrational modes of molecules, so meat or anything wet absorbs them strongly, arguably they should be referred to as an extension of the infrared.

In disordered form this type of radiation is just heat, so the only problem is feeling warm, however irradiation at a well-defined spectral window (as opposed to the flattish spectrum of the sun) can drive organised vibrational excitations leading non-covalent assemblies to break up, typically in a way that is reversible but nonetheless far from ideal.

tojb

Re: Casual reference to 5G sceptics as 'wingnuts': author already is on wrong side of history

@Alan Brown, you can find no evidence of risk through heating or ionisation as much as you want, that says nothing about risk from protein unfolding. Expecting DNA damage from THz radiation is obviously never going to happen. Protein unfolding diseases are subtle, nasty and above all *slow*.

I'm taking a risk commenting as the inchem link won't load, but if it is anything like the two or three other reviews listing no harm caused by obviously-harmless means then it is a dead letter.

tojb

Re: Casual reference to 5G sceptics as 'wingnuts': author already is on wrong side of history

Protein unfolding with (weak) radiation requires hitting a resonance, so precise frequency band matters. New spectrum regions around the THz are being opened with 5G. "I don't need to read the evidence because I work in a field that has remarkably little to do with biomolecule dynamics".

tojb

Re: Casual reference to 5G sceptics as 'wingnuts': author already is on wrong side of history

They also include experimental Raman data, and yes it was very important to do the whole experiment as well as just the calculations.

tojb
Childcatcher

Casual reference to 5G sceptics as 'wingnuts': author already is on wrong side of history

It is pretty easy to show protein unfolding from ultralow 5G-like irradiation:

https://journals.aps.org/pre/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevE.103.042416

harm from this type of effect is slow to manifest and won't show up on cultured neurons in a petri-dish after half a day, you need to irradiate a large population of human beings for a period of years in order to have an epidemiological datapoint sufficient to alter public policy (remember, literal megadeaths were needed to shift attitudes in relation to atmospheric pollution from domestic coal burning). If you can be bothered understanding the science however, you will prefer to let that epidemiological datapoint be someone else, preferably a long way from your house.

In the cited paper calculation matches experiment in unequivocally showing undesirable effects, but notice how they don't mention "5G" in the abstract because scientists don't want the fuss of robofetishists and techno-utopians uniting to call them out as cranks and crazies. Such people won't bother getting on sci-hub to download the full text so Singh et al can harvest a moderate number of citations, and say "I told you so" in a few years, all without being accused of rocking the boat.

Scientists reckon eliminating COVID-19 will be easier than polio, harder than smallpox – just buckle in for a wait

tojb

Re: Covid 19 Horse manure

So many problems with this post:

1) Covid is not harmless to kids, acute symptoms are less but risk of lasting damage is about the same as for adults.

2) Catching it post-vaccination depends on the effectiveness of the vaccine, but also on the amount of exposure. If you are getting hot guffs of mutant strain every time you step outside then your vaccination is now of much reduced benefit.

3) "The virus is a political tool used to gain power by the left" sheesh... it is beside the point but maybe the Chinese did let it out on purpose, although it is much more likely due to incompetence and poor hygiene. Something tells me they are not the 'left' that you are talking about anyway, you are imagining Hilary Clinton or lizards or Trump not-secretly in league with the Russians or something. Anyone for pizza?

tojb

Polio officially remains only in Pakistan

But somehow I don't think that the taliban are keeping up with their jabs over the border in Afghanistan, look forward to a new epidemic of this horrible disease.

8 years ago another billionaire ploughed millions into space to harvest solar power and beam it back down to Earth

tojb

Re: Hmm

Geostationary is pretty far out, so it can be nighttime on the ground without the satellite being in shadow. For most of the year, equatorial tilt should take the satellite out of shadow 24h/day. The longest time to spend in shadow is only 72 minutes/day, at the equinoxes.

EE and Three mobe mast surveyors might 'upload some virus' to London Tube control centre, TfL told judge

tojb

Can't have directed energy and inverse-square falloff: pick one! If it is mostly in-plane (sensible for a mast) then expect 1/r.

Ransomware victim Colonial Pipeline paid $5m to get oil pumping again, restored from backups anyway – report

tojb
Mushroom

Pretty cool though

Russian hacker gang.... called “Darkside”... takes down oil supply to the eastern US.... I feel like I’ve already seen a bunch of movies like this.

The torture garden of Microsoft Exchange: Grant us the serenity to accept what they cannot EOL

tojb

Re: If there was an alternative to Outlook

Er, gmail works better and also has chat, calendar, linked but separate various other functionalities

tojb
Thumb Up

Still better than TEAMS

Exchange/outlook might have its flaws but it is still a better means to manage online collaboration than MS Teams :-D chin up MS exchange devs!

There's no 'I' in Teams so Microsoft issues 6-month warning for laggards still on Skype for Business Online

tojb
FAIL

Worst app, forced down your throat: Microsoft is here again!

Actally bluejeans is straight up malware, so teams is the second worst.

Incoming Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger reveals he was offered board seat before sudden pitch for top job

tojb
Windows

Zero chance of getting back what has been looted

Technological lead in hard terms of process size has been handed on a plate to TSMC, with AMD in second place. In this time many large fortunes were taken out of intel through such devices as bonuses and share buybacks (directors inflating the value of their own share comp). A lost decade of under-investment won't easily be recouped, and once you start to serve up a company like cherry pie the actual useful employees will be too busy complaining at the size of their slice to make the heroic effort of even trying to save it. Carl Marx having a bad hair day there.

UK's AI fairy tale sets out on its yellow-brick roadmap

tojb
Terminator

AI here is code for "bot farming"

Its quite annoying for those of those who do AI research that the term in relation to government is now code for farming twitterbots or generally manipulating the masses over social media. Really that sort of thing is not very impressive or interesting, although consequences can be dramatic, sure. Please call it what it is el Reg, rather than falling for the govts line that e-sneaking and social media trawls are "AI".

The Battle of Britain couldn't have been won without UK's homegrown tech innovations

tojb

Re: The war is over, the empire is gone

Nazis are everywhere... worldwide more and more people are held in camps under appalling conditions for the sake of the political capital to be made by abusing them, or the fortunes to be made (in some cases) by appropriating their territory and assets. Uighurs, Mexicans, Sirians, Rohinga, Palestinians, I can't even be bothered to list them. Tyrranical and racist police states never went away and are in resurgence right now.

Unexpected victory in bagging area: Apple must pay shop workers for time they spend waiting to get frisked

tojb
Big Brother

Re: Good

It seems that most of the theft is done *from* employees, by Apple.

Brown pants moment for BlueJeans: Dozens of AV tools scream its vid chat code is malware

tojb
Thumb Down

2020 Bluejeans really is malware now

Having uninstalled this app using synaptic, and rebooted, I find *four* processes running under the name "BlueJeansHelper --hidden". Looks like malware to me.

Move over Ceres! There's a new, smaller dwarf planet in town called Hygiea

tojb
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Carbon-rich: role of VDW forces instead of gravity

apparently

tojb
Alien

Carbon-rich: role of VDW forces instead of gravity

As a C-type (soot and hydrocarbons) body, Hygiea could be stabilised by collective quantum dispersion forces acting at a level comparable to the tiny gravitational force associated with such a small thing.

https://arxiv.org/abs/1002.2478

On earth it is often a massive ball-ache when powders spontaneously clump and jam, the physics behind the whole thing is quite finely balanced and tricky.

https://powderreg.com/en/home-2/

Watch as 10 cops with guns and military camo storm suspected Capital One hacker's house…

tojb

Re: Smells.

I've had plenty of housemates who would think nothing to setting you up for ten years inside in exchange for leaving the lid off the marge.

Geiger counters are so last summer. Lasers can detect radioactive material too, y'know

tojb

Might have saved Litvinenko

As I remember, the Russian assassins who did for Litvinenko didn't make any attempt to transport their polonium in an airtight lead box, so it would have showed up on one of these scanners. It would also have showed up on a Geiger counter, as the isotope they used is more than just a bit radioactive, but I guess maybe they aren't installed in British airports right now anyway.

Boffins don't give a sh!t, slap Trump's face on a turd in science journal

tojb

Re: Yeah...

Trump is always suing or threatening to sue. You had indeed better be careful about mocking him, if you have anything to lose.

Grumbling about wobbly Windows 10? Microsoft can't hear you over the clanging cash register

tojb

Local patch testing, 3rd-party antivirus & malware, real work all done in vms

We have windows 10 on some machines at work. To support this we need a dedicated server to host updates pushed from microsoft, a near-full-time staff member to test the patches and make sure they don't break anything, plus third party software galore (individually downloaded, not automagically pulled from a repo) to make the machines useful and keep them secure.

90% of users for these machines then do their actual work in a linux VM.

Uncle Sam gives itself the right to shoot down any drone, anywhere, any time, any how

tojb
Terminator

Drones are creepy and annoying

It needs to be underscored here that nothing ruins a picnic or a nice trip with your kid to the playground faster than a buzzing nuisance, with or without visible pilot. Without a visible pilot it becomes creepy as well as irritating.

Sopra Steria exec on warpath as its UK Government profit crashes ... by millions

tojb

the Carillon of paper shufflers

Otherwise known as the French answer to crapita.

A web where the user has complete control of their data? Sounds Solid, Tim Berners-Lee

tojb
Headmaster

Antidote to digital tyranny?

Will this protect us from digital tyranny-type scenarios, such as the Chinese approach of escalating from bad seat assignment on the train up to organ harvest, based on who you have been associating with and what they have been saying?

Mortarboard because the satellites are watching me

Google Chrome 69 gives worldwide web a stay of execution in URL box

tojb

Re: With M$ Windows dead as a dodo

But when I turn on windows 10 it spends 20 minutes displaying a message that it is "making my experience better"! Soon the experience of win10 users will surely be amazing!

‘Very fine people’ rename New York as ‘Jewtropolis’ on Snapchat, Zillow

tojb

Re: "Working to track down the culprit"

Fake Jews!

Lo and behold, Earth's special chemical cocktail for life seems to be pretty common

tojb

Bootstrapping actually seems to follow a maybe-necessary sequence

Biochemists (eg Kenji Ikehara https://ikehara-gadv.sono-sys.net/en/ and JT Wong https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1057181 ) have looked at the frozen-in evolutionary history of the genetic code together with the relative probability of (random synthesis/autocatalytic self-synthesis) for various amino acids and come up with a match - this shows that the arrival of the current ludicrously complex biological basics can be broken down into individually more probable steps, where a bunch of free-floating amino acids get pulled into a fragile self-replicating system which then develops them as as tools to make more of the same aa. Initial autocatalysis of poly amino-acids doesn't have stringent requirements on sequence or structure of the amino acid chain - a semirandom aa polymer can still have some catalytic activity to make more semi-random aa polymers.

tojb

Re: So, why don't we still have dinosaurs?

The code seems very redundant but the code table as it is gives certain very specific structural features which make (at least) recombination easier for certain specific sequences. In modern organisms this minor advantage is unimportant but in simpler beasts it may have been decisive in bootstrapping some of the complex but vital machinery such as ribosomes and recombinases. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033583517000130

tojb
Headmaster

Early earth wasn't like current earth

One thing this article doesn't mention is that earth at the origin of life was very different than today, it had very little free oxygen, and was probably abundant in cyanide and other chemicals we consider toxic.

The current abundance of oxygen, as well as the details of the carbon cycle and numerous other bio-geo equilibria are down to the excreta of various mostly-tiny organisms. This is not necessarily some benevolent gaia-system: when oxygen became abundant in the earth's atmosphere it was toxic to the vast majority of the extant biota, and broke the greenhouse effect, causing a planet-covering super glaciation which lasted for millennia. Planetary chemistry could have followed many different paths, and certainly started in a very different place to where it is today.

tojb
Coffee/keyboard

Re: So, why don't we still have dinosaurs?

Everything alive on Earth today shares the same basic molecular machinery, implying a common ancestor. But yes, any of the previous mass extinctions could have been a full stop for some completely different lineage. Interesting thought. Dirty keyboard icon in case a new, more effective, ribosome has just evolved on it thus marking humanity's doom.

tojb

Re: So, why don't we still have dinosaurs?

New proto-living chemical systems capable of starting off a de-novo evolutionary tree may well be continually starting up in the tide pools and subterranean vents of Earth's oceans, and being enthusiastically eaten by the the teeming swarm of microbes which already live there.

What can you do when the pup of programming becomes the black dog of burnout? Dude, leave

tojb

Mucho very interesting literature here

The Tavistock in London has made a special study of burnout, at the individual level but especially with reference to the collective. The institute was directed to this task beginning with WWI, when it was noticed that entire units would lose the will to continue fighting, even as comrades in other divisions endured still worse horrors with a cheery grin.

This was an interesting start for me:

https://www.amazon.com/Unconscious-Work-Individual-Organizational-Services/dp/0415102065

Android users: Are you ready for the great unbundling?

tojb

Re: stimulate innovation and increase choice for consumers

Haha, yes, with sony yes you pay extra but its not for control of the device, that is for sure.

I see a satellite of a man ... Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, that's now 4 sats fit to go

tojb

tolerant???

Executions for blasphemy in the EU, last 50 yrs: 0

Executions for blasphemy in the commonwealth, last 50 yrs: Also none, but 62 murdered while awaiting trial.

Intel claims it’s halved laptop display power slurpage

tojb
Paris Hilton

no information here

There is no information in Intel's press release as to how this super-duper low power display should work, therefore no info in this reg article, or engaget etc etc. Annoying, as how is far more interesting that watt.

Microsoft Surface Book 2: Electric Boogaloo. Bigger, badder, better

tojb
Coffee/keyboard

glut of these on the second-hand market

Usually around Oct-Nov I see a lot of MS surfaces posted for sale on the campus noticeboards. Students get given one by an indulgent uncle and then find that when their prof says "type sudo apt-get install gcc" that they have nowhere to type it. Earlier versions were bootlocked, making it difficult to overwrite the OS.

Spare me the confected 'Innovation Theatre' that is hackfests and their ilk

tojb
Thumb Up

"Innovation is in our DNA"

Said the chief exec who kept his show on the road via one trivial and perversely registered patent for many many years.

So true Mr Burns.

Fewer than half GCSE computing students got a B or higher this year

tojb

Re: Isn't C supposed to be average?

Yes! 50% of students are below average. That is life.

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