* Posts by Marshalltown

706 posts • joined 30 Sep 2011

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Hey Reg readers, Happy Spreadsheet day! Because there ain't no party like an Excel party

Marshalltown

According to the Microsoft link

"... We sometimes get mails from our customers claiming to have found a calculation error in Excel, when in fact the calculation isn’t wrong, but the side effects of binary floating point precision make it seem that way. ..."

The article doesn't explain how the square root of a squared number can yield a negative number. Just a simple variance, always a positive value for archaeological counts and measures, nothing esoteric, yet taking the square root, there it was: a negative standard deviation. I quit using Excel (or any other spreadsheet for statistics after that). I still don't get quite how that number, which was seriously wrong, only "seemed" that way.

BOFH: Rome, I have been thy soldier 40 years... give me a staff of honour for mine age

Marshalltown

Re: A mild-mannered janitor?

Technically a "BJFH" I believe.

Excel Hell: It's not just blame for pandemic pandemonium being spread between the sheets

Marshalltown

Simple tables

In Word and some other current wp's you can type the values in as comma or tab separated columns, select the block and tell the word processor to convert it to a table. You can then the format the table in the wp. Or, you can simply copy a csv or tsv file, paste it into the wp and again convert to table. Vastly better than creating tables using the GUI and less aggravating than dealing with some of the weird incompatibilities encountered occasionally even between MS products.

Marshalltown
Pint

Re: Relax...

I have to disagree. It is more or less OK as a data entry system, if you're not very fussy. But once you start to do anything practical things can go pear shaped in a blink. I was encouraged long ago in the dawn of Windows to use Excel and "shut up." So, simple statistics - came with an add-on set of statistical tools. What could be difficult about calculating the standard deviation of a set of artifact lengths? It is after all simply the square root of the variance, which is mean of the summed squared deviations. There aren't many. I could do it easily by hand, or right there in the spreadsheet. But there's a tool. So - what's this? A negative variance? That can't be right. How can that happen? There's no place for the number "i" in a simple sum of measures. I ran the calculations by hand and there the error was again! Square all deviations, they look right, sum them, still look right, divide to get the mean (the variance) and- where did that negative sign come from? I switched to R right there and then. Later I was told that the problem was probably due to some underflow or overflow condition. All I know is that impossible numbers are no use.

Chinese database details 2.4 million influential people, their kids, addresses, and how to press their buttons

Marshalltown

"...awakened by the sound of Chinese jackboots in the middle of the night then these two interferences are totally equivalent...."

China has a population of around 1.4 billion. That is a lot of bodies. And, they are bodies that need to eat, drink and do the same general stuff that every human does. Compared to that population, the Chinese Army runs about 2 million. The US has just under 1 million in the Army alone. And the US number does not count the Navy, Air force, and Marines. China has the the "third largest" military, and as fraction of the population, it is even smaller. China has a very long, very extensive history of "throw the rascals out" moments. Their interests are primarily at home, and that includes the home population not getting ideas. But, because of that same population, they must look outside the country to off set risks from crop losses in side their borders and the last two years for example have been catastrophic to their agriculture. The point here is that they essentially that they are pretty near the edge economically. Trying to put "Chinese jackboots" too far from home would be counter productive and not in China's best interests. They know that better than any other country on earth. The modern "Communist Party" is composed of Mandarins in the 19th century sense, with very few remaining believers. They are and have always been very pragmatic. They know markets just as well as any western capitalist. And, because of a very long recorded history, they may have a better predictive grasp of possible and likely problems (weather, crops, etc.) than we imagine. They have been buying land in Australia and parts of North Africa and curiously in North Africa, those areas are receiving more rainfall than they have in centuries.

Marshalltown

Re: Good old propaganda

Ah, the optimists out there. The take away from the Cambridge debacle was that if a private corporation working more or less openly could be employed as it was, then just extensive would databases kept by various alphabet soup entities be? The Chinese effort is impressive, but Cambridge Analytic's was an order of magnitude bigger, so how big an how extensive could some secret western DBs be?

Mate, it's the '90s. You don't need to be reachable every minute of every hour. Your operating system can't cope

Marshalltown

Re: Perhaps

Heh, "hourly." I used to check email three times a day. At the start, just after lunch and about half-an-hour before leaving. No SMS. The boss regularly complained that I wasn't looking at my email often enough. I would point out that his door was ten strides from mine, and he even had a telephone if he didn't want to yell.

Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced techie is indistinguishable from magic

Marshalltown

Never quite that simple

I worked with an office manager who was - shall we say - a bit odd in some aspects. She was not the most patient of people, and at the time was expecting the End of the Word - really. Her pastor had foretold just when it would occur. She also had a spouse who was a professional bowler on a long losing streak. There were other personal issues as well. Every so often, she give me a yell, literally, and I would go to her desk and find that her computer was frozen. She could never reboot because she would lose work. This was in the early days of Windows and that might have had something to do with it. At that time we referred to the compiled code running on the systems "programs" - not "applications" or "apps," BTW. I believe term appeared a little later with the advent of java. Any way, I would walk in, shoo her away from her desk, sit down and "magically" the machine would behave flawlessly - with an innocent cooperativeness that had her gritting her teeth. The best hypothesis I ever came up with is that she had some form of buffer problem that cleared in a fairly brief interval, she did all the graphics and page layout for reports we generated, and her machine was limited to 640K. Either that, or our boss was routing pr0n through her system to his. My "fix," such as it was, was to tell her that electrons were sulky beasts and that they didn't like people being impatient with them. What she needed to was to sit back, clear her mind and breath. Oddly enough she followed the advice and it seemed to work.

Mexican cave relics suggest humans were populating the Americas up to 17,000 years earlier than thought

Marshalltown

Re: YDP

There are a number of ideas about the causes of the last extinction's causes. One of the rather poorly considered aspects of the extinction is that it was not sudden at all. Cave bears in Europe for instance pretty much were gone by the glacial maximum. Other extinctions waited until the Holocene was well underway. Some ecological communities such as the mammoth steppe completely vanished - that is an entire habitat type that no longer exists. The best explanation is that a number of circumstances came together in a perfect storm of events. One of the aspects of the Y-D period is that it marks the end of Clovis, so any list of extinctions correlated with the Y-D should include Clovis as an extinction. I think that there were demonstrably several "suboptimal" conditions. One is that as the last glacial developed, primary productivity declined globally. There was both cold-associated drought and a seriously low level of CO2, very close to levels where primary production just shuts down. There was the abrupt climatic shift as the glacial ended, mark a period of very rapid warming and quickly shifting environmental communities. Then there was the Y-D, part way through the warming that complete reversed climate trends for around a millennium. At the same time something extraterrestrial happen as well. There is a problem with radio carbon dating that seems to collapse the Y-D into a span much shorter than it was in reality. That suggests an influx of cosmic rays adequate to significantly enrich C-14 in the atmosphere. For the Americas, the end of the Pliestocene also marks the end of geographic isolation and that may very well have lead to the epidemic spread of disease among many genera including possibly, paleoindians.

When a deleted primary device file only takes 20 mins out of your maintenance window, but a whole year off your lifespan

Marshalltown
Unhappy

Re: Read and understand the instructions first

I never had any issues with any unix or linux system but I worked for a company that were religiously faithful users of Micro**** products. These would not infrequently eat their own young, including the servers. The Boss would every so often insist that we "clean up" our hard drives, specifically of old project files. I never did so, and oddly he would always ask me for help in recovering lost or strayed project files. Once, an entire year's worth of work vanished including gigabytes worth of images which were critical (maps, property photos, ...). Unhappily in that insatnce, the only recoverable data was what I had cached on my system - and since these were "team" projects and other team members dutifully deleted everything they were told to, it was pretty ugly for awhile. The bad part was that somehow, the backups were corrupted as well. That really set some hearts beating. The boss never ever again advanced as company policy that closed project files be removed from machines of the individuals that created them.

MIT apologizes, permanently pulls offline huge dataset that taught AI systems to use racist, misogynistic slurs

Marshalltown

You miss the fact that the system employed an existing database - WordNet - that developed to study the intensity of associations between words. That database was developed in the '90s, and then re-purposed for the current project. And, at no time could a data base of the magnitude of the subject database be created manually. It could still be purged of "offensive" content if the system is properly designed, but evidently MIT considers it not worth the expense.

Marshalltown

Re: the dataset includes ...pictures of Black people... labeled with the N-word

The methods employed are the "problem." If you automate the assembly of a "dictionary" like WordNet, then you run into things like this. The system that does the automatic scraping can create such things without any supervision. The basic database contained over 79 million images and necessarily many times that in associated labels. That is in fact precisely what WordNet was created for: to study the associations between words. Right now large portions of the planet are going through a phase of "if we don't see it, it will go away," and metaphorically a "one drop ..." puritanical response where any hint that some aspects of something are "off" taints the entire thing. The reality of this is that carrying that kind of "reasoning" to its extreme means the entire internet is "tatinted" and we should not use it at all. The database could be purgerd easily by running searches on offensive words and removing the subsets that offend. The problem with that has already been highted because databases, and often individuals objecting to content have no common sense, In parts of the US parental control measures to protect children from the real world and the internet, also made it essentially impossible for people dealing with things like breast cancer to find information and absurdly to find recipes for prearing chicken breasts.

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time

Marshalltown

Ah yes, misdirected faxes

There was always a certain degree of annoyance when you picked up the phone to the hopeful "scr-e-e-e-e" from someone's misdirected fax. However there is a more sinister - one might say - possibility. My wife was an RN at a large hospital in California. We had agreed to meet for lunch and I was waiting at the nurse's station chatting with desk person. The phone rang and she turned very red and said to the phone, "oh, thank you very much! Yes, please shred them all." I looked at her and she looked around and said, "that was <such-and-such new car business> in Roseville. Their fax machine just received a bunch of patient records!" She then called what passed for the hospital IT at the time and demanded that someone come up right away. I drifted off to a bench and continued to wait for the wife. IT arrived and there was a hurried and muttered conference with IT insisting "not our fault!" and the supervisor, who had been called in by then asking, "then whose is it?" Later I heard the rest of the story and that was that the hospital's network "must have been hacked" or??? All the information about the fax was wrong, beginning with the records should never have been faxed anywhere. No one ever figured out why they were sent.

Bite me? It's 'byte', and that acronym is Binary Interface Transfer Code Handler

Marshalltown

I thought offensive test messages WERE the professional standard. The strings utility used to be very entertaining.

Marshalltown

The way my dad's family pronounced it, but they're Canadian.

Remember that clinical trial, promoted by President Trump, of a possible COVID-19 cure? So, so, so many questions...

Marshalltown

Re: Donald Jenius Trump

It isn't just the sample size. The idea that they would try a combination of antimalarial and an antibacterial is bizarre. Malaria is essentially a blood born parasite that essentially destroys your red blood cells. Sickle cell anemia is an evolutionary adaptation that protects the (heterozygous) carrier by shortening the life of thier red blood cells, interrupting the reproductive cycle of the parasite. And antibacterials help against bacteria. COVID is a virus. It is not a bacterium or a plasmodium. There was essentially not a snow ball's chance in Hades that such a cocktail would do anything useful, though it might help protect you from a bacterial secondary infection - and malaria. It would do nothing to a virus.

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2

Marshalltown

Ah - yes

This wasn't Microsoft's problem. It was a Wordperfect file. My Boss called me in because his WP document was giving him trouble. It was "too slow." This baffled since he had the biggest, baddest machine in the house, even if he never came close to using its real muscle for anythin but viewing pr0n. Anyway, I chased him out of his office and waited for his chair to cool down. Then I opened the file. Yep, it was opening very slowly, scrolling slowly and closed slowly. This seemed like a real problem because it was only five pages long. Hmmm ... open the file again, and use Reveal Code to look at the formatting codes. Holy Cats!!!! There was a novel's worth of formatting that did nothing. So, clean up the document removing all nonfunctional formatting codes. Save it, close it, open it. Brisk as can be, no slow scrolling. So, I called the boss back in and told him it was all taken care of, and returned to a monumental dBASE II database the was really pushing the limits of my underpowered 640K PC. A terrified scream interrupted a doze as I waited while dBASE II conducted a filtering job.

The boss had notice the change in file size and was certain I had deleted critical things. So, very slowly, I took him through the issues of not cleaning out nonfunctioning formatting, and the problems of files that were 30 times or more the size they should be. It turned out he had created a "template" for these business letters and simply saved a new letter over the template occasionally and simply edited visible text and occasionally "fixed" formatting.

Tech can endure the most inhospitable environments: Space, underwater, down t'pit... even hairdressers

Marshalltown

Pretty sure I've told this story before

Way back in the '90s I worked for a firm whose chief business was dirt, or rather what's in it. That is, it was what is know in California as a Cultural Resources firm. We did archaeological surveys and tests ahead of developers. Well, the '90s were heady days in the computer and internet areas as well. And the owner, who had explained that he was a "concept guy" during my hiring interview, decided that IN PARALLEL to the chief business, which was to wander out with a map and wade through toxic plants looking to be sure there were no prehistoric or historic resources that would be "negatively impacted" by a proposed project, he wanted to set up an ISP business. And since he had a perfectly good staff of college educated archaeologists, they would handle initial operations - nothing like being thrown in the deep end without a life vest. Why hire folks who knew what they were doing? So, in between writing up reports of things seen in the dirt, and passing along field notes contaminated with poison oak (Toxicodendron diversiloba) to people who broke out into a rash from seeing a photograph of the plant, we did things like take calls from people even more innocent than we. One call that I took was from a very nice matron who had bought a computer and signed up for an internet connection through the boss' parallel company. She could not get her mouse to work "very well." Her computer, needless to say, was not installed "professionally." Investigation found she had her mouse on the floor and was attempting to employ it like the pedal on a sewing machine. I've since seen this written up as an "urban myth." but I personally took the call.

Super-leaker Snowden punts free PDF* of tell-all NSA book with censored parts about China restored, underlined

Marshalltown

Re: But isn't the big guy in America a Russian stooge?

Trump has been associated with organized crime since the seventies. Back then it was the New York gangs. Later as he "diversified" the names he associated with took on more of a Bratva ring.

Marshalltown

Re: But isn't the big guy in America a Russian stooge?

Money laundering. You want to remember who really runs Russia, it isn't just Putin.

Marshalltown

Re: A good read

Not just Trump, though he's a rank example. One of the great failures in US jurisprudence is that money has been allowed to talk, and thanks to that, fictive (corporate) entities are allowed "civil rights" comparable to an individual's. The important thing about the Bill of Rights is that it is directed at hampering ANY form of intrusion into "individual" rights, even when the wording specifies "people." People collectively lack any "natural rights" not allowed to individuals. This is important because it is not directed just at "the government," but against any form of government, and that includes democracies, not just absolutists. This was one strong reason the US was constructed as a republic rather than a outright democracy such as ancient Athens. It could have been and the authors of the key documents were all very well educated in these areas.

Crazy idea but hear us out... With robots taking people's jobs, can we rethink this whole working to survive thing?

Marshalltown

Re: They toooock ewre joohbs!!!

The change in quality of living is partially dependent on the region. In the US, while superficially there are visual indications of a "higher standard of living," those indications are purely material and are essentially funded by retreats in funding elsewhere. The declines are quantitative and largely barely discernible to individuals. Things like an increase in in infant mortality for example, levelling or diminishing life spans, increased mortality among poor women, or nearly stagnant levels of health care, which despite the mythology are pretty bad. It's great to have choice, but only if the choice is meaningful. If you are a member of of some sort of health maintenance system, you are a source of income and every possible effort is made to be sure you don't become a "cost." Collectively, one of the very few ways the US is "better off" is the long term and continuing decrease in violent crime. Which almost no one seems to even suspect, especially with the media hand waving about mass shootings, which are extremely uncommon even with the help of the media to popularize the practice. The pizza delivery person can afford the cell phone because they lack healthcare, and their employers don't issue company cell phones, so they have to pay enough for the "help" to afford the phone, that is required by the employer for the job. It really is not a simple situation.

Windows 7 will not go gentle into that good night: Ageing OS refuses to shut down

Marshalltown

Strictly speaking

"Bit rot" affected cds and dvds as far as I recollect. Moisture permeating junction between the layers of plastic "sealing" the layer of organometallic recording medium allowed wee little organisms to actually caused the layer to decay. Well, essentially they ate the "organo-" bit. There used to be some nice microphotos of "bit rot" occurring and at least one time lapse video.

May the excessive force be with you: Chap cuffed after Star Trek v Star Wars row turns bloody

Marshalltown

Re: Snowy

Firefly - for the movie, Serenity.

ACLU sues America's border cops: Tell us everything about these secret search teams targeting travelers

Marshalltown

You'll be welcome if the fellows at the border let you pass. I once saw a traveler insist on being allowed to dispose of his maple syrup at customs in the airport at Montreal. The agents explained the jar was "too big" and expected to "seize" the syrup. The traveler said he would dispose of it then. There were some shocked and disappointed expressions from the agents when he asked for an escort to a sink so he could pour it down the drain. Not that one of them would have left the building with the jar full of first class maple syrup under his coat.

BOFH: The company survived the disaster recovery test. Just. The Director's car, however...

Marshalltown

Heh

A former employer/boss/chief source of computer virus infestations, etc. Walked in to find his C:\ out of commission (this was in the '90s). He yelled for my buddy and I to get in there and fix things. We looked things over, noting a small burned scar on the circuit board that made the drive look as if it had been hit by a micrometeor. Impossible of course, but still cool enough to hang on to later as a paper weight. We shook our heads and said the drive would have to go to some more rarified, far higher-paid specialist than us peons to recover any data, The best course would be to simply replace the drive and restore everything that could be restored from backups made the day before (the boss's own policy). Hemming and hahhing ensued. Finally it is revealed that the boss himself, source of the Tuesday/Thursday back up all files directive (had to be done to floppies, a tape drive or drives was too costly) had neglected to follow his own directive - ever. None of the rest of the worker bees was seriously affected, but he was out a month's work, plus files related to closed jobs. Happily we had paper copies of all reports archived. But no email, no electronically stored notes. Of course he later also once returned from a trip to eastern Europe with a floppy disk "utility" that "backed up" all(!!!) the office hard drives. He never bothered to inform the guys (my buddy and I) about this procedure and our first notification was a viral plague on every machine in the office except the print server. We spent a day cleaning things up and (we thought) locking things down. Next day, same plague is raging once more.

Then the boss gets concerned about lost work and possible corrupted files and possibly the spread of the virus TO his immigrant disk. We asked what it was and he explained he was backing up all the computers at night after we all left. Eyebrows tangled in hairlines, we asked where he was storing all that data. Why, on the floppy. Ah, had he ever restored any data from the floppy from one hard disk to another? No. He had been very carefully installing a virus over and over on computers he (he was always happy to point out) owned. Because his eastern European "friend" had told him what a wonder program the "utility" was. Careful examination revealed the floppy was THE source of the virus. We ceremonially degaussed it and then chopped it up with a paper cutter. We then asked that he never ever buy "magic beans" again without getting a second opinion.

The safest place to save your files is somewhere nobody will ever look

Marshalltown

Re: Been there. Done that.

Shudder. I had my boss ask me why his data "wasn't right." What kind of data was it? Oh, a regular database in ... Excel. What was in the "data base?" Company accounts. He couldn't get them to square up as they should. Filters, filtering filtered data reiterated several times over. We got a couple of days off over that while the boss and his partner straightened out payroll and withholding for the entire year to date. They actually hired an accountant after that.

GIMP open source image editor forked to fix 'problematic' name

Marshalltown

Re: Eh?

You miss the point. "Ableist" is a disableist insult to people suffering from no handicaps.

Marshalltown

Re: Eh?

And yet - "ableist" is respectable?

What happens when a Royal Navy warship sees a NATO task force headed straight for it? A crash course in Morse

Marshalltown

It's not the horizon; it's the deck

Once baited on a commercial Pacific salmon troller out of Albion, California. First day, the first five minutes out of the harbor were "odd" with a ten-foot sea running, and then something in the mind said, "it's not the horizon; it's the deck." And suddenly all the odd sensations vanished. Of course after that you would come ashore at the end of the day and walk with a roll that disturbed the tourists. They all thought you were drunk. You'ld catch your self swaying even when sitting.

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

Marshalltown

Re: Darwin Award Contender

US police-shooting "error" rates are more than twice that of armed civilians. Also, while there are proportion biases in mistaken shootings by police, they still mistakenly shoot "white" individudals several times more often than other groups just not proportionately as often.

What a meth: Woman held for 3 months after cops mistake candy floss for hard drugs

Marshalltown

Re: How many constitutional rights were violated ?

And you seem to neglect the grammatical distinctions between dependent clauses and independent clauses. The "militia" clause is an exemplar of an unenumerated list of dependencies on the citizen's right to be armed. More over you ignore the fact that while the Militia required a fire arm as exemplified later in the Militia Act, "arms" is a much broader term and includes weapons that don't go bang. Also, the authors of the constitution (US) differentiated between "militia" and "army." Jefferson for instance had a hope that the US could survive with a minimal navy (small gunboats for limited coastal defense), and a very limited army, because he expected that the "regulated" and the "general" militias could act in place of a trained, standing army. He was wrong, as you Brits showed in the War of 1812. The "militia" in the US Constitution is recognized as composed of two parts. One is a regular militia, a voluntary armed force that could quickly respond, and the "general miltia" that consists of every ablebodied citizen - now including women. So, you see, in addition to recalling a bit of a clause, you need to pay attention to what the words really mean in the context in which they were written.

BOFH: On a sunny day like this one, the concrete dries so much more quickly

Marshalltown

20 cm is eight inches. And even then you want to really hope your neighbor doesn't train search and rescue dogs. One of my friends trains dogs and one day one of his trainees alerted at the fence. Called the police and explained the anomalous behaviour. They received permission from the neighbor to search - over confidence on his part. My fried expected a dead squirrel or rat. The dog went directly to the new concrete patio. Somehow the neighbor hadn't noticed his wife taking a nap when he poured the concrete.

Marshalltown
Coat

Re: Informal poll on whether you've ever had to do something like this

"...It's possible that the drive was out of alignment. ..."

One of the very best security measures, as long as you have that drive and it doesn't drift any further.

Operation Desert Sh!tstorm: Routine test shoots down military's top-secret internets

Marshalltown
Pint

Re: don't wait 20 mins !

"...And yes, whoever thought it would be a good idea for the local team to not have Vsphere access was a complete retard...."

Government SOP where "sensitive systems" are concerned. Keep the authorized personnel on different continent, in a different time zone, without 24 hour coverage.

Turning it off and on again IN SPAAACE! ISS animal-tracker kit needs oldest trick in the book

Marshalltown

Re: Unfortunate name choice

Ah, but Argos did not fall out of the sky in flames.

BOFH: What's Near Field Implementation? Oh, you'll see. Turn left here

Marshalltown

Re: " wine has no affect on "

Never, Calfornia definitely expects its wine to have an effect. Otherwise those vineyard circuit trips would not keep the local LEOs in doughnuts.

Has NASA's Mars Insight lander hit rock bottom? Heat probe struggles to penetrate Red Planet

Marshalltown

"...the likelihood of hitting two rocks in close proximity and just the right configuration to block the mole is considered low...."

I have hammer augured probably well over a thousand soil samples, typically 0.5, 1.0 or even occasionally 2.0 meters deep in my career and I would say that I hit rocks that required relocating the augur about 1/3 the time. Occasionally several relocations were required. So, how low was the likelihood estimate? Evem with a large truck-mounted geotechnical riig, I've seen them stopped dead.

Marshalltown

Once it gets past this layer, hmmm? Think about that. Mars theoretically has a a primarily aeolian sedimentary environment for how many millions of years? So, how deep is this soil layer? Thought so. And what are your plans, NASA, now you've thought it through?

What the cell...? Telcos around the world were so severely pwned, they didn't notice the hackers setting up VPN points

Marshalltown

Re: Name and shame

No, you did not. The most geographically explicit statement was that all the telcos were outside North America.

Marshalltown

Re: It's very simple. (I'll bill you later).

Years ago there was a discussion about this. One author pointed out that even with the cleanest source in the world, if the compiler is compromised, then it can install a back door in the executable. In fact, you even could have the compromise buried in the hardware bios.

Marshalltown

Re: "outside North America"

Antiquated equipment is probably right. One of the hazards of being an "early adopter" is finding your self on the trailing edge of the wave as time passes. Also "not looking" is a good bet. US telcos often take a very negative approach to being told their network has problems, like having the messenger jailed.

Techie in need of a doorstop picks up 'chunk of metal' – only to find out it's rather pricey

Marshalltown

Re: Picric acid

I had a friend who worked in a hospital lab. He had a serious "hoarding" problem and also really could not stand to throwaway pontially useful materials. One day ho asked me if I had any use for chemicals. I didn't know - well, really, you never can tell - so I went over. He was selling his house due to a divorce and need to clear things out, which looked like it might require Hercules. Upstairs, in a VERY hot attice had several boxes of bottles and canisters of out ot date chemicals that the lab had designated for disposal and which my friend had decided he could not bear seeing "wasted." My hair pretty much stood on end when I peered inside one box and saw numerous bottles and cans labled with chemical names indicating that they really didn't belong in the same neighborhood. I literally tip-toed out. Then told him needed to call the fire department and somehow explain the situation. I figured they would clear anywhere from several houses to several blocks before addressing those boxes. I never did hear how the situation was ultimatley cleared up but I imagine there is another really interesting story that is told somewhere.

Marshalltown

Re: Uranium? What me worry?

Yet "Mommy" still didn't attentd the warnings and' at a guess, DID suggest the substance in the bottle had an odor to be sniffed. OR, she often took her offspring along on trips where she bought make up and perfume.

Wow, talk about a Maine-wave: US state says ISPs need permission to flog netizens' personal data

Marshalltown

Re: Why?

The Federal politicians like to imagine they are "big picture" types and the citizenry are peons that lack adequate brain cells to think through the information and implications available on political issues, even if they really have the education. Big picture types tend to take decidely oligarchic slant, because they are making the country prosperous one bribe at a time, and money speaks loudly, especially in the most populaous states.

US Air Force probes targeted malware attack, blames... er, the US Navy? What?

Marshalltown

Re: Laws lol

Getting sent to prison for crime is like attending an advanced seminar in how to be a criminal.

Freed whistleblower Chelsea Manning back in jail for refusing to testify before secret grand jury

Marshalltown

Re: One crime.

It appears that the "indefinite" nature of the sentence along with the seriousness of the issue means that Manning or her attorney can demand a jury trial for the contempt charge itself. The maximum sentence for contempt is limited to no more than would be expected for a petty offense - ca. six months maximum. The fine alone exceeds the "petty offense" limit. For a federal "petty offense" the jail term is not more than six months and the fine $5,000 maximum - or both, naturally. So the judge is way, way past any "reasonable" reaction to the refusal.

Marshalltown
Pint

Re: One crime.

Your faith in MSM is touching.

Japan's mission to mine Mars' moon is cleared – now they've filled out the right paperwork on alien world contamination

Marshalltown

Re: Too much fuss about contamination

Can't find it any more, but over ten years ago there was a report of the discover of halite crystals in a presumably "Martian" meteorite recovered in Antarctica. Salt is known from various other meteorites already: http://www.psrd.hawaii.edu/Nov99/PurpleSalt.html. The commonest souce are chondritic meteorites, and it has been observed that common methods of preparing meteorite samples for examination use water - oops. But that brings up really intriguing things like, chondrites exposed at the surface might have any salt they carry dissolved by rain, and if there were organics within that salt, they would then be released into the environment. Consider that the Murchison meteorite had so much organic material in it that it literally stank.

US minister invokes Maggie Thatcher, says she would have halted Huawei 5G rollout

Marshalltown

Re: "we have to talk about sensitive things as friends"

Let's not forget GCHQ here. Britain has some "legal" advantages the US lacks for this kind of thing. The GCHQ is allowed behaviour the NSA wishes it had. The problem with such agencies as NSA and GCHQ is that they exist to spy. Their size and budgets show that someone WANTS them to spy. So, who might those someones be?

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