* Posts by Spoobistle

156 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Jun 2011

Page:

Council claims database pain forced it to drop apostrophes from street names

Spoobistle
FAIL

Howls of derisive laughter...

... from across the globe have persuaded the council to replace the "apostrophe's" and other punctuation:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/cn0r04g2xwdo

Spoobistle
Trollface

Re: BS7666

I think the councillors involved should be forced to move to De'Ath Row...

Forget feet and inches, latest UK units of measurement are thinking bigger

Spoobistle
Headmaster

cut ... some slack heads off!

54m vs 50m might not seem much by the Reg's louche standards, but if the blades end up 4m closer to the ground than passers-by are expecting, there could be some interesting consequences.

Look to the skies this weekend as solar storms strike Earth

Spoobistle
FAIL

Re: Cue the UK being covered with cloud

Friday night, partial cloud cover and a thin high haze, Sunday night even thicker than Saturday!

I think the only way to see astronomical events from Yorkshire is via someone else's webcam.

IT biz trials gadget deliveries by drone to sidestep traffic and emissions

Spoobistle
Joke

Dropped off

"We've delivered your hard drive!"

<picture of silvery object in a gutter, next to a cracked roof tile>

"What am I supposed to do with that?"

"Oh, don't worry - it's on the house!"

(Stolen from ITV2)

It's that most wonderful time of the year when tech cannot handle the date

Spoobistle
Facepalm

Re: F-91W

Just for reassurance, my 2024-vintage F-91W is no more clued up!

Australian supercomputer 'Taingiwilta' comes online this year with [REDACTED] inside

Spoobistle
Pint

Re: What can be inferred?

CFD.

So it's designing the new submarines then?

Or better beer bottles! Obvs icon --->

Tesla owners in deep freeze discover the cold, hard truth about EVs

Spoobistle
Boffin

Re: Nernst equation?

E = E0 + (RT/vF) * ln((a(A)*a(Bv+)/(a(Av+)*a(B))) where E0 is standard EMF, R gas constant, F Faraday constant, v number of charges in the reaction and a() activities of reactants A and B.... according to Atkins.

So it's proportional to absolute temp (Kelvin), which gives us a drop to 78% going from +25 to -40C. I guess there's more loss than that due to electrolyte viscosity etc alluded to in previous posts.

> decent diesel generator in the EV's boot.

I'd fancy a trailer with sled and dogs...

Silicon Valley weirdo's quest to dodge death – yours for $333 a month

Spoobistle

Re: X (née Twitter) ?

Nay, twitter ye not!

(with apologies to F. Howerd)

Cutting-edge microscopy reveals bottled water has 'up to 100 times' more bits of plastic than previously feared

Spoobistle
Boffin

Re: Plumbosolvency!

Now there's a word I haven't seen for a while. In the olden days when chemists used burettes and washbottles and got jobs with the Water Board, they were taught about such things. Apparently soft water, as seen in areas fed from peat covered volcanic geology like western Scotland and north-west England, contains organic acids that do lift a bit of lead off the pipes so flushing is not a bad idea. In hard water areas (on chalky ground) the minerals tend to coat the inners of the pipe so there is less of a danger. In the cities of course, you got plenty of lead from the dust in the car exhausts anyway.

> run cold tap for a minute to flush the water from house lead pipes

AstraZeneca bets $247M AI can create a cancer-fighting antibody

Spoobistle

Re: If it works ...

Or you might think that Pharma has been round this loop before with "new drug bonanza" methods and (a) doesn't want to saddle itself with datacentres and compute farms if it's a dud (b) knows very well what its internal strengths and weaknesses are and realises to get moving it needs external expertise.

See also the Boehringer/IBM story a couple of days ago. I wouldn't be surprised to see more hook-ups like this.

Boehringer Ingelheim swaps lab coats for AI algorithms in search for new drugs

Spoobistle
Boffin

No less lab coats

The use of AI for generation of new candidate therapeutics is unlikely of itself to be a threat - this is the start of the process before all the effectiveness and safety testing. Most of the previous approaches have the same problem that they generate many candidates from which you then have to pick the winners. It's not like Pharma hasn't done that before (and we all know what happens when it goes wrong) so I'd be more worried about AI being used to interpret effectiveness or safety testing data.

The antibodies slant does seem to be a novelty - most drugs are "small" molecules that fit like a key in a lock to disrupt some process. Antibodies are much bigger and work the other way round, by enveloping themselves round or sticking to a smaller entity (epitope). Historically, drugs were made by chemists and antibodies by biologists - it's only relatively recently that antibodies have been recognised as potential disease fighting molecules*. The classical way of making an antibody is by immunising a person, or animal. This is a very hit and miss process but its mechanisms are becoming better understood through systems like Alpha Fold, so I can see why AI would be a good bet to move the field on in a rational direction.

It's not going to reduce lab coats though - still got to make and test the things!

* Though anti-toxins and anti-venoms have been used for specific purposes for about a century.

Scientists use Raspberry Pi tech to protect NASA telescope data

Spoobistle
Boffin

No Lead in your Pencil

The stuff in pencils is graphite, once known as plumbago, or "black lead" from its resemblance to the metal or its ore.

Datacenter would spoil beautiful view ... of former industrial waste dump

Spoobistle
Joke

Powerless?

Goodness me, don't they have wind in Bucks? Ideal opportunity for the new on-shore turbines policy, no?

Alien rock remains found not on but deep inside the Earth

Spoobistle
Alien

It's life, Jim, but not as we know it...

Those aren't blobs - they're EGGS!!

The Raspberry Pi 5 is now available ... if you pre-ordered

Spoobistle
Go

Pi 500?

I wonder if there are any plans to put this in a case with keyboard etc like the Pi 400? Given the (supposed) pretensions to a desktop status it would seem a rational idea.

UK splashes £4B to dive into next-gen nuclear submarines

Spoobistle
Joke

Re: Hidden Submarine service 2 London from Scotland?

> build a big tunnel.

No, no need for that - what do you think all those canals are for!

Hyper-slosh 2! Look at the bow-wave on that!

(Ok, so the trans-pennine locks might benefit from an upgrade, I admit.)

Scandium-based nuclear clocks promise punctuality for next 300 billion years

Spoobistle
Go

Re: No plane needed

There's a speculation in the Nature article that the scandium clock could do this with millimetre scale height differences! So I suppose you could use it as a sort of very expensive altimeter.

Germany's wild boars still too radioactive to eat largely due to Cold War nuke tests

Spoobistle
Facepalm

you say tomato

America doesn't do IUPAC.

That's why I couldn't find caesium chloride in the Merck Index.

Xebian is the Marie Kondo of Linux distros – it's here to declutter

Spoobistle

defaults to a very simple disk layout

I guess for "default" read "lowest common denominator". If the Calamares installer is the same as Debian uses, then the Manual Partitioning option in the install will allow for separate /home, on a separate drive etc.

Not sure how much swap partitions are used these days.

30 years on, Debian is at the heart of the world's most successful Linux distros

Spoobistle
Pint

Longevity

I've got a box of (recycled) floppy disks on my office, marked Debian 1.2.8. I obviously didn't think the Toy Story names would catch on.

Having been "out" of Linux for a while I'm now getting used to Bullseye on slightly more modern hardware. But I didn't have any more difficulty installing the recent versions than I remember of the old.

Beer icon for all those people who made it so easy!

Cost of gallium goes up after Chinese export restrictions land

Spoobistle

waste

I'm sure it's a mere drop in the ocean, compared to the amount lost in lost cycle lights, forgotten garden decorations and other sundry LED equipped broken trash cluttering up the environment!

Bacterial byproducts may help stop the stink in future spacesuits

Spoobistle
Boffin

Pink stuff

Depends on your local water supply and probably your cleaning regime what grows on your surfaces. The pink stuff is produced by (the Bacterium Formerly Known As) Serratia marcescens, which is an occasional pathogen, so I can see an allergy problem coming up here if you start putting it on your skin.

Think I'll wait for space travel to get to Business Class comfort rather than Backpacker before I sign up!

A room-temperature, ambient-pressure superconductor? Take a closer look

Spoobistle
Boffin

Re: Apatite

If you regard $_ as "subscript" and replace {} with (), it turns into a completely regular chemical formula.

The basic ingredients are two metals found in scrapyards, and phosphate, available from piss.

I expect a slew of unsavoury youtube videos and another epidemic of cable thefts and church roof stripping...

Social media is too much for most of us to handle

Spoobistle

Re: Some of us figured all that out ...

Oh, yes, definitely! Although perhaps it was the bandwidth limitation of a serial line or 28K modem in those days that allowed me to get the message before going mad.

Some years ago it was the fashion to have a big bay window and no curtains, so any passer by could see what you wanted to show off. Now I notice more people seem to be going back to curtains and blinds. Perhaps the next generation of social media will include that.

Let there be light ... based wireless networks: LiFi spec OK'd as Wi-Fi complement

Spoobistle
Alert

800 - 1000 nm

...smack on top of the LED wavelengths used by various remotes. Cue all sorts of merry mayhem as TVs and stereos go on and off as you type, or the computer crashes when you change channel!

Yeah, Rishi, it's AI that'll make Britain great again

Spoobistle
Joke

"it's AI that'll make Britain great again"

Is that one of those "hallucinations" we keep hearing about?

That old box of tech junk you should probably throw out saves a warehouse

Spoobistle
Thumb Up

That old box

We got a fancy piece of analytical kit. About 3 or 4 years later the supplier came with an improved design of its "Injector". As we had a bit of budget slack and it wasn't too expensive, I laid out for it. Of course I kept the old one in a box in the back of a cupboard on the basis that new improved doodads sometimes aren't any such thing, but it was fine. The old one stayed in the cupboard and survived several tidiers up, put off by a low but menacing growl.

So about a decade later, an email arrives from the supplier's senior service engineer: "You wouldn't be any chance still have...?" Of course I did. I never got a clear explanation of why they wanted an old one, except that it was a customer demand, but I did get a full service on the machine (long out of contract) and the sort of intangible brownie points with the supplier that have kept the system in service on a tight budget since. And a good story to tell the whipper-snappers that come round from time to time poking in my cupboards!

Microsoft enables booting physical PCs directly into cloud PCs

Spoobistle
Joke

Back to the Future

Actually the world will only require 5 computers - Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Meta and the NSA.

Microsoft's Copilot AI to pervade the whole 365 suite

Spoobistle
FAIL

365 "productivity" suite

I'd be happy if they applied the same sort of effort to the help systems in 365 itself. Every time I use it, there is a guaranteed 10 minutes fighting to work out where some option has gone. I can see how this will go:

"How do I remove the green shading on the bullet points?"

"I'd advise rewriting your whole document with a more punchy stakeholder oriented style. Can I do that for you?"

New IT boss decided to 'audit everything you guys are doing wrong'. Which went wrong

Spoobistle
Headmaster

Re: someone who has more ambition than technical nous

I used to think "nous" was Scouse, but actually it's Classical Greek!

Version 5 of the Endless OS enters testing

Spoobistle

Network limited PCs

> Part of its design is that it should be useful to people who have only intermittent or limited internet access, and that the computer is still useful when offline.

This could be a selling point for PCs that you can't/don't want to network continuously. All the other distributions I'm familiar with assume an internet connection will be available for updates. While most can be *installed* off a downloaded ISO or similar, updating an "air gapped" PC is basically limited to reinstalling the whole lot. (I know there has been some effort to get round this but it does not seem to have got too far.)

> Updates are handled by the Red Hat-developed OStree tool.

I'm not familiar with this, it would be nice to know more.

Native Americans urge Apache Software Foundation to ditch name

Spoobistle
Joke

Re: British... bad guys in movies

I thought that was 'cause US actors were too cardboardy to play a convincing villain!

Raspberry Pi hires former spy gadget-maker who baked devices into surveillance ops

Spoobistle
Go

Re: Didn't answer the obvious ...

Oh! you should have blown on it to cool it down!

Elon Musk to abused Twitter users: Your tormentors are coming back

Spoobistle
Joke

> Just asking, how could someone be 'meaningfully' impacted if twatter,failbook and their ilk would collapse?

You might fall off your chair laughing, and crack your head on something. Or you might become distressed at the sight of all those media regurgitators (looking at you BBC) scratching around for flingable crap.

Orion snaps 'selfie' with the Moon as it prepares for distant retrograde orbit

Spoobistle
Childcatcher

On the 7th day

Six days doesn't seem a very long term test to me, why didn't they give it a whole (or 1.5) orbit? How long are the human Sean and Snoopy going to be in there?

JWST snaps first chemical profile of an exoplanet atmosphere

Spoobistle
Boffin

exacting precision

> As light hits various elements, they reflect different wavelengths,

No, as the light passes *through* the atmosphere, various elements and (mostly) molecules *absorb* different wavelengths.

This creates a transmission spectrum as explained in the NASA article. The observations can only be made when the exoplanet is passing in front of the star. Reflection would require the exoplanet to be behind or lateral to the star, and isolating the planet's effect is impractical in that situation. I suppose fluorescence or phosphorescence might conceivably be usable but I don't know if JWST could do that.

India follows EU's example in requiring USB-C charging for smart devices

Spoobistle
Facepalm

Re: I look forward to the USB-UK version

Damnit, those sneaky engineers have made the USB-C symmetric, so we can't even demand the left-hand version while the rest of the world goes right handed!

NFT vending machine appears in London

Spoobistle

Re: Delft Blue and The Night Watch

Spin-offs of Van der Valk?

Xiaomi reveals bonkers phone with bolted-on Leica lens that will make you look like a dork

Spoobistle
Coat

"Snappy Blower"

...is the obvious name. Fill in your own suitably NSFW explanations!

Nvidia RTX 4090: So hot they're melting power cables

Spoobistle
Flame

Re: Tea kettle cord

If you look closely at your tea kettle cord, you should find various national approval body markings (DIN, BSI, UL...) showing that it won't set your house on fire, at least in normal use. I wonder how long before insurance companies start looking at this and requiring the same sort of certification for high power PC accessories?

Obvious icon!

India's – and Infosys's – favorite son-in-law Rishi Sunak is next UK PM

Spoobistle
Joke

Re: Prime ministers and Linux

Ask them which kernel they like best.

If they reply "Sanders", you've rumbled them!

How I made a Chrome extension for converting Reg articles to UK spelling

Spoobistle
Coat

Milking it

So if the Register is entirely Pasteurised will Consumption go down?

Spoobistle

Re: I remember...

Pig swill (waste food) was banned in 2001 after an outbreak of foot & mouth.

Water pipes hold flood of untapped electricity potential

Spoobistle
Joke

Re: It is not free energy.

It is if you don't tell the pumping station what you're doing!

DeepMind uses matrix math to automate discovery of better matrix math techniques

Spoobistle
Boffin

Re: AlphaFold

Even if AlphaFold were a silver bullet, expecting new drugs this soon would be a bit premature - there's a lot more work than the protein structure. However AlphaFold is becoming a productive tool for structural biologists - a structure prediction having an indication of confidence is helpful in tailoring the wet lab experiments towards avenues likely to succeed. As with many things, ignore the hype and find out what it can realistically do.

UK politico proposes site for prototype nuclear fusion plant

Spoobistle
Boffin

Teeny weeny horses

One horse power is actually 33000 foot-pounds/minute, or 746W (Watts or Joules/second, for those who are particular about the nationality of their units). I guess there must be a Reg unit of power though...

To preserve Earth's treasures, digital silence is golden

Spoobistle
Go

Re: a black sand beach

New Zealand has some black sand beaches west of Auckland e.g. Muriwai. The sand there is also magnetic!

Asus packs 12-core Intel i7 into a Raspberry Pi-sized board

Spoobistle

Re: Space

Space might be the relevant issue - a typical desktop style MB could be a bit big for e.g. biotech instruments. $1200 looks like a bargain for spares in that class.

NASA wants a hundredfold upgrade for space computers

Spoobistle
Alien

Anthropic principle?

Surely if it were possible to make "brains in spaaaace" robust enough to survive any length of time, then we'd be over-run by hordes of alien robots by now?

Page: