* Posts by bonkers

183 posts • joined 13 Dec 2011


Massive news, literally: Three super-boffins awarded Nobel Prize in physics for their black-hole breakthroughs


Re: Professor Sir Roger Penrose

@Eclectic Man

I seem to be in agreement with you again.

Penrose is a true genius and richly deserving of a Nobel Prize - the only problem would be which of his many contributions to reward.

The scary aspect you mention is perfectly demonstrated if you look at either of the interviews linked-to.

It's like being a wondrous child again, hearing grown-ups discuss stuff way beyond your reach - yet you make some sense of it.

I know what you mean - he sees your method and conclusion from the moment you set the problem - but in a kind way.

I love it, they're casually describing Riemann space, surfaces, Weyl curvature, negative dimensionality, Penrose's Spinors and Twistor theory, meetings with Dirac - and a few sideways jibes at the popular stuff. - It's neither dark, nor energy, guys ... They simply don't give a shit if you're not keeping up - no soothing music, sunsets, permagrinned oxytocin junkies - they just keep on talking - and it's brilliant.

The interviews are simply lovely, he is such a modest character. Oscar Wilde might quip that he has much to be modest about? - and quite right, he does, about a Nobel Prizes worth.

What a Hancock-up: Excel spreadsheet blunder blamed after England under-reports 16,000 COVID-19 cases


Re: Hmm. 65 000 000 people. 1 000 000 col limit*

"mates boss" - who for purposes of anonymity, we shall refer to as "Matt Hancock"


Re: Hmm. 65 000 000 people. 1 000 000 col limit*

No word of a lie, just a year ago, mates boss sent out a late email saying that he'd had to stop working on the spreadsheet, because the batteries in his calculator had given out.

Seriously! - he was adding-up the figures and typing them in over the formula.

Bill Gates lays out a three-point plan to rid the world of COVID-19 – and anti-vaxxer cranks aren't gonna like it


The origin of conspiracy

Erm , please correct me if i'm wrong, but the back-story to the conspiracy goes like this:

Records of vaccine are hard to access and maintain, particularly in poor countries.

the "BCG" is an easy one, because it leaves a scar, and doctors, A&E can tell immediately.

There was a thought to tattoo the vaccinated, but that is too much like branding cattle.

There was a thought to use a glass transponder - much like with pets and farm animals, they can be read/write and be updated with all vaccinations, allergies, blood group - the stuff you might need in an emergency. It didn't get far, there are nefarious uses, it's a big privacy (whatever that is these days?) problem,

The only real proposal that Bill Gates looked at was a sub-dermal laser barcode, of some sort, invisible, not like branding, and carries only a byte or two of info.

I don't see a problem with that - but sure, if it were a unique barcode per person, that has abuse potential.

This is the "Bill Gates wants to barcode all of humanity for his own evil purposes" conspiracy.

The implantable glass transponder is inevitably viewed as a mind-control device, thanks X-files, darkening the conspiracy further.

Crazy thing is that all the anti-vaxxers are on Facebook, which is an actual mind-control device and is bent on all manner of evil purposes - it does whatever money wants it to do.

Alphabet promises to no longer bung tens of millions of dollars to alleged sex pest execs who quit mid-probe



I've rowed back somewhat (see above) - I take your points also.

I guess it can't be easily codified - which was my point about Bill and Melinda - any hard rules that would catch "monumental shit" above, would catch B+M also.

It's beyond my simple commentard analysis, there are loosely-defined quantities like decorum and professionalism (as mentioned in the piece) at the heart of it..

The truth is, authority and seniority do require you to act appropriately, you are in a position of trust, and the remuneration reflects this.

Here in the UK you can be debarred as a solicitor, or struck-off as a doctor, for a single "driving over the alcohol limit" offence, in your private time.

Probity, they call it, and it covers pretty much anything that might bring the profession into disrepute, even a series of "honest" adulterous affairs - god forbid if they were employees also.

So, two cheers for Google, well done - even if a bit late.

It's all in stark contrast to the recent Facebook whistleblower case, where the rare charge of "bringing the company into repute" was brought...


Re: "How is that similar to the previous example?"

Right... many thanks for the update. It's a tricky one isn't it!

The guy is obviously a monumental shit - and it is a similar case since it relies on elements of "hierarchical coercion" and certainly an unpleasant predatory aspect.

I accept that consent is not an absolute defence, nor complaint a requirement - in fact I utterly disagree with my previous post, which is a bit embarrassing - but hey, that's what incisive journalism can do to you.


I agree, it is not at all the same thing.

The JB case looks like "love affair" - with no hint of coercion or direct (reporting) authority.

OK it was possibly a poor judgement on her part, and immoral on his, but these things happen - and are genuinely consensual - which puts them in quite a different league to the "sex-pest" complaints.

We must be mindful of the fact that 30% (according to google) of relationships start at work - and it would not be fair to break this important process.

Hell, look at Bill Gates as a test case.

So, coercion has to be one of the critical tests, complaint another.

Desperately seeking regolith: NASA seeks proposals for collecting Moon dirt


Done it !

I'm quoting just £10,000, for a 250g moonrock, ready and waiting for the 'in-place' transfer of ownership.

I won't post the co-ordinates just yet - but It's the one just above the Buzz Aldrin footprint in the picture attached.


They can have the bigger one next to it if they'd rather.

Worried about the Andromeda galaxy crashing into our Milky Way in four billion years? Too bad, it's quite possibly already happening


Re: 'Big Dipper'

Erm, it's actually called Ursa Major.

Crack this mystery: Something rotated the ice shell around Jupiter's Europa millions of years ago, fracturing it


Re: Wingnut effect?

By Jove, I think we might have cracked it :)

Presumably, if it has happened once, then there is a good chance it has happened several times.

The mechanism above would expect the now-equatorial polar accretions to melt, and new ones to form at the new poles.

There should be evidence of successive shell-flips. Each one would knock some mountaintops flat, increasing the opportunity for the next.


Wingnut effect?

Could it simply be that the ice shell grew thicker at the poles - as they are likely to be colder for a number of reasons - until the moment of inertia for north-to-south rotation was higher than for regular east-west rotation?

At this point, an effect similar to the Wingnut effect or tennis raquet theorem came into play - forcing the system to rotate about the axis with the highest moment of inertia.

Essentially the previous rotation becomes energetically unstable and the system "flips".

The fact that it was a (large) 70 degree rotation might point to this, one would expect 90 degrees in a textbook situation.

Once considered lost, ESA and NASA's SOHO came back from the brink of death to work even better than it did before



Brilliant article, what a plot!..

Not sure luck had much to do with anything though - its good luck was to have skill, imagination and perseverance (heh) in its ground team.

I would love to have an idea of what resources it had, in terms of CPU, MHz, RAM, FLASH, etc? - just to get some sort of calibration.

Two large flightless birds walk into a bar... The pub's owner was not emused *ba-dum tsh*


Re: Cross-species sentiment detected

the post above reminds me of the American tourist on the Isle of Skye:

Upon seeing two dogs copulating in the street, she assailed the local plod, complaining that it was an affront to dignity.

I'm sorry Madam, what do you suppose I should do about it ?

Can't you stop them? - give them a biscuit or something?

Madam, would you stop? for a biscuit?

We've heard of littering but this is ridiculous: Asteroid dumps up to 50 quadrillion kg of space dirt on Earth, Moon


Re: 50 quadrillion kg...

This is where Reg units come to the fore, rather than gee-whizz quadrilllions, whatever the fuck they are.

It would bury Wales under a kilometer of rock, and no, there isn't that option, it is just informative.

(assumes density 2.5 ton/m3, a reasonable figure = 5 x 10^13 ton, 2 x 10^10 m2)

Three UK: We're sending you this SMS to warn you not to pay attention to unsolicited texts



Smishing = SMS Phishing?

Who on earth comes up with these ghastly smashed-together words.

Some sort of complete Funt, presumably.

No more installing Microsoft's Chromium-centered Edge by hand: Windows 10 will do it for you automatically


Re: are my saved password now property of Updates"R"Us??

Well, no...

I appreciate that it might not be a good idea, but I certainly do not understand the implementation or the mechanisms involved.

Let me elaborate:

I had assumed that the passwords are not in some text file that any new browser can pick-up and incorporate.

The favourites possibly are in just such a file, OK maybe XML, and would be imported only upon my agreement when installing a new browser.

Chrome has me signed into gmail already, and I presume there is a cryptographic protocol, beyond HTTPs, that allows me to download emails only to Chrome that is signed-in, maybe a session key or something.

So, this - or better, another key - should be used for passwords also. They are either sent by google (best) or stored in an encrypted file locally (worst), and only decrypted the moment they are to be used. Only then is the clear text available - and possibly visible to the OS, which could be compromised, or to memory-inspecting malware, or malware that intercepts pre-HTTPS command stream.

These should not be visible to the new browser, to be pasted-in to the relevant fields, other than by following a similar protocol, basically being Chrome in a shiny wrapper.


are my saved password now property of Updates"R"Us??

Please could someone explain how my supposedly secret password list within Chrome, gets carried across to a MS program?

I don't really go for the last word in security, but I would like to keep the OS and its ginormous attack surface, away from passwords and away from gmail. Defence in depth is the idea, though maybe it's more like width, in this case.

The number of updates needed on Windows is witness to the complexity and scale of its attack surface, Chrome is a lot smaller even though it faces the whole internet.

I can't imagine google hands all my passwords over to MS, so, is it that there is google-controlled and secured chrome in a windowsy shitflake-sprinkled wrapper?

Why not just use Chrome then?

Why on earth do MS think that they have some sort of right to even attempt this in the first place?

Automatically installing security updates is bad enough, when it just chucks your work in the bin. It's worse now you get updates on the whim of some bling-obsessed marketroid, to 'get you there' with the latest shit functionality. For instance a snip tool that puts a lovely fucking red border round your screenscrape - and informs you it won't work for long as it's "moving" ?

So, erm, does anyone know how this works and who then I need to trust to keep it secure?


Breaking virus lockdown rules, suing officials, threatening staff, raging on Twitter. Just Elon Musk things


Re: A possible explanation for sudden behaviour change.

Many thanks to Anon, for throwing light on the topic. I'm not sure where to place £lon Musk, (lucky typo there, I'll keep it...) - he's very clever, yes manic, a born maverick, but has a downside also.

I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt - and allow some "artistic license" - as we allow great artists, performers, inventors to be a bit different in their habits, because they are valuable outliers. Talent, is the word, it's rare and never perfect in all regards.

He has a condition, we understand that, and is given to outbursts and petty disputes. I can see that the stress of fatherhood presses against that, it is an open and undefined set of new constraints.

Just coming up with the "name?" has obviously done him in, somewhat.

In another form of judgement, the fact that the balance of genius and maverick has made him very successful puts him on the right side, the market has judged in his favour.

I think it is more contrast, than compare, with Toddler-in-Chief, TICOTUS - who has made millions only by virtue of starting with billions. The market judges that one to be neither use nor ornament.

There is no genius there.

Is there an "understatement of the week" prize?

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you


Redmond's besotted tinkerers

"update junkies" "toystore tinkers" "Updates R us"


I'm so angry I can't think

Oh the joy of the challenge, to somehow encapsulate all the frustration, annoyance, anger that MS continues to deliver, into one phrase.

Shitflake sprinklers comes to mind, an unkind reference to the absurd and entirely juvenile re-modelling of Excel and Word, with thousands of choices of "sprinkles" - different styles each more ghastly and lurid - reminiscent of the cultural imposition of chemical flavouring "shots" and said shitflake adornments by the big-name coffee shops.

Perhaps their other superpowers ought to get a mention, "Processor heating engineers", "Renowned cycle stealers" - even as i speak, their "MS Teams" is busy consuming 50% of my 5000 MIPs - testing some poor register bit to beyond death - in order to find out whether I've offered call quality feedback yet, or not. How can starving children program that badly?

Oh, and the whole "you said you didn't want your room tidied, so I did it when you weren't looking, and all your stuff is in the garden" approach to updates - which combines all their previous skills, the fatuous functionality, hogging the processor till you submit to their will, and adds deliberately breaking autosave - which now only works if you store onto MS cloud, rather than disk - and deliberately deleting or hiding documents you were working on.

Maybe "productivity assassins", "teletype tinkerers" - given that most of it is tinkerage now, Excel 2003 was the high point, and the teletype is nearly as old - and it's what they started on.

I don't know, maybe they should also be lambasted for the cringing "world" adverts, making shit office software and pretending it's saving the world? - "Teletype visionaries" - any sort of mash-up of the above?

Have to agree with Reg though, it's best sorted out over a long lunch.

HMRC claims victory in another IR35 dispute to sting Nationwide contractor for nearly £75k in back taxes


Re: Wait? I'm a contractior now?

I'm hoping that the judgement might be challenged by logic, on the basis that "could I just be a highly skilled employee" is a one-way function.

Consultants are human, employees are human, so any position could be filled with either a skilled employee, or a consultant, therefore all consultants are employees. To argue otherwise requires you to be superhuman.

Both sides are wanting a differentiator.

Genuine consultants don't want their honest status to be subverted by artificial avoidance, like the train drivers (no harm to them they were forced into it) - who woke up to find they were independent train driving consultants.

HMRC would find their life a lot easier if they could make a fair differentiation that everyone can accept. We all would - can we define terms that declare with certainty whether one should be taxed by method A or method B?

Germany puts emphasis on working for more than one client within any given year - even if it's only 5% (my supposition). Also not having a fixed desk, a client business card, and a few other distinguishing terms HMRC could look to adopt.

My differentiators would be "cross-pollination" and "short-lived expertise".

Cross-pollination is a critical concept to the "value", in GDP terms, of the consultant/contractor market. Given the relatively slow flow rates of permanent employees between companies, the adoption of "best practice" can be, is, impeded.

Consultants accelerate this process. In my line of work, the rigour of automotive design and production is greatly welcomed in the new medical fields, it's a carry-across of familiar know-how. It's not in any way a "stealing" of one company's IP into anothers.

Conversely, the medical "life and limb" safety requirements and methodologies feed well into automotive ASIL ratings - the approaches, methodologies, burdens of proof.

So, a prototype "cross pollination" metric might ask if you are engaged for your general problem-solving ability, as could be met by a highly skilled employee, or for your experience and know-how.

Note that know-how is the third leg of IP:

Copyright, Patent and Know-how.

Some companies [RR] choose not to patent what they have discovered because patents only last 15-17 years and rely on full disclosure.

Short-term expertise covers the ASIC design phase, most companies that benefit greatly from custom silicon ASIC design, need it only once. The experts involved move on, it is a lesser task to manage the various implementations of the working ASIC.

It is a very much harder task, and therefore more valuable, to make ASICs that work.

If that is your skill, a permanent employment will not exercise it to the full.

By a similar token, contracting allows all highly skilled individuals to focus on their best skills, it is an imperative that one should strive to employ one's finest skills to the greater benefit of commerce and society.

I don't think that booby-trapping the entire workspace with ad-hoc factors and weights, undefined till in court, is any way to proceed with regard to harnessing the innate talent of the British to invent and consolidate said invention.

Google and IBM square off in Schrodinger’s catfight over quantum supremacy


Great Article

Many thanks for this - succinct and uncovering the real significance of the matter at hand.

From July, you better be Putin these Kremlin-approved apps on gadgets sold in Russia


What is it with The Register and Apple Inc?

Guys, can't you just get over it?

Unthinkable as it might sound, did you piss them off at some point in the past?

just asking...

UK.gov's smart meter cost-benefit analysis for 2019 goes big on cost, easy on the benefits



Selective load shedding?

The vast majority of these meters have just one switch, a remote disconnection option for them, not you. Load shedding is supposed to keep the lights on and stop the oven momentarily, not plunge all their bronze accounts into darkness.

Drones, weed and prison: Bloke pleads guilty over plan


The sad truth is that marijuana is a lot safer in prisons than the legal highs they've all taken to recently.

I guess the "legal" stuff doesn't show up in tests that affect your parole and privileges.

But then you might end up mad or brain damaged, no-one knows.

If they can make an exception to the non-smoking rule for prisons, why not dope also, would calm things down, offer time for reflection, take the cartels with their punishment beatings out of system, all good things.

Oh yeah, but half of them are in there for that in the first place.

(actually 4000 for all drug offences in 85000 total)

VW finds US$15 BEEELION under the couch to pay off US regulators


mini Haber processors

The fines are just part of trying to sell into America, everyone gets clobbered at some point.

In a very big wide open space like America, I think NOx emissions are an excellent means of creating bio-available Nitrogen. Did you know that over half of the worlds biomass is down to humans working out how to fix Nitrogen?

I don't see why there's all this nonsense about NOx, makes me laugh it does.

Europe's UK-backed Unified Patent Court 'could be derailed'


Kill it with fire

I may be paranoid, but I see this as a perfect single point of leverage to get the US and EU patent systems "aligned".

From that point on we can expect a lot of money to go to America, and for innovation to be relentlessly trolled with heavy lawsuits, most of which will be settled with a cross-license deal, i.e. borged.

In this aspect, breaking it up is the only safe way forward.

Patent trolls, innovation and Brexit: What the FT won't tell you


I predicted this in 2014

Nooooo !!

1) Herd all the European Patent Law into one stadium

2) Make it drink the cool-aid

3) Bring the EU and US systems "into line"

4) Increase the patent lifetime to 75 years

Makes 30 Trillion look like chickenshit.

- basically, in the new lawyer-driven world, IP rights are a good means to tax the rest of the planet, or at least all those with a trading relationship with the USA. They prefer their patents to be granted freely, more IP to threaten others with, they don't even need to be original FFS, whereas ours do.

They spent countless money and lives on securing the last of the oil, what do you do when the oil runs out? - increase the patent lifetime and draw royalties from everyone and everything.

Police create mega crime database to rule them all. Is your numberplate in it? Could be


3 points

1) these databases get either hacked, or worse, sold.

Look at the oopsy-daisy wherein our NHS records in their entirety were passed to a trusted partner, unencrypted, on a USB stick. Parliament committee scolded the relevant tossers, but you can't get the shit back into the donkey.

Look also at the sale of DVLC records of your choice at £2.50 a pop - targeting posh car marques and fining them £100, mostly they just got the secretary to pay up. This was private data you were/are compelled to hand over.

2) cost of prosecution is our only defence against unworthy law

With costs involved, only the most serious laws get enforced, look at speeding for one instance, it used to be an occasional thing requiring active pursuit for 2/3 of a mile with lights flashing. Now it is easy to leave it permanently switched on. - Don't give me the "idiot tax" arguments, it is a minor transgression in most instances and not a great safety concern, statistically. Besides, first they came for the speeders..

Look at poll tax non-payment for another example, kangaroo courts prosecuting non-payers at 20 per hour. This made any legitimate rebellion, if there is such a thing in today's newspeak, impossible.

3) Finally, I would like the opportunity, as a responsible citizen, providing I do no intentional harm to others, the right to do whatever the fuck i like in private, with consenting adults of my choice. This may include unwise or immoral or simply depraved activities, not least of which might be the consumption of illicit substances.

How long before our self-appointed moral guardians work out that the casual drugs distribution chain shows up easily in this data, and can therefore be halted at very little cost?

For god's sake, we're human and have been doing this sort of thing since before the stone age.

Unlike the chinless cousin-fucking aliens that run our country.

Boffins' gravitational wave detection hat trick blows open astronomy


Re: Wow! Just Wow!

Two black holes colliding?

sounds like one hell of an insurance claim.

FTDI boss hits out at 'Chinese criminal gang' pumping knock-off chips


shocking behaviour

Imagine a world where the first opamp, the 709, could not be functionally copied, and improved versions made that slot into the original socket. Where would we be if the microprocessor stopped at the 8080? If any other manufacturer can replicate the function, but without reverse engineering the actual chip, then that is legal and beneficial to all - except those who would prefer a lifetime monopoly. It's a shame since FTDI do make some newer parts (EVE) and these are every bit as ground-breaking as the '232. Come on guys, you've had a good run with this, let it go, and realise that copying the VID is no worse than copying a regular opamp pinout.

We suck? No, James Dyson. It is you who suck – Bosch and Siemens


Re: Digital motors?

I believe they are "switched reluctance motors" - noted for their high power density, simple construction, and ear-splitting noise.

Why do you think they christened their dreadful hand dryer "Earbleed" ?

It's the white heat of the tech revolution, again!


Corbyn's broader and more useful aims?

As ever, an interesting piece Mr. Worstall.

What do you think of the other members of the "dream team" of economists? Surely you must be appreciative that someone, anyone, in politics is thoughtful enough to seek advice from your lot, and thus to avoid so many of the obvious pitfalls. (My opinion, fwiw is that the law of unintended consequences can betray them, but I can't tell you how.)

Back on topic, sure governments are hopeless innovators, look at the technology in Brazil, the film, for inadmissible evidence.

I don't think we're even below-par on innovation - kickstarter, self-publishing, crowdfunding et al have changed the innovation landscape far more than Corbyn ever will, for the better that is.

He might want to address some more fundamental issues, like how to propel young bright minds out of eduacation-debt and into housing, before they're 30 and the edge has been ground off them.

On that topic, do you have any suggestions as to how we might deflate the property market so it stops being a monster investment for those offshore and starts to serve those who need it?

NOxious Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal: Chief falls on sword


Has anyone got any real details?

To what extent was it "cheating" is what I'd like to know.

It would be reasonable to save the finite supply of urea liquid for the times when the engine emits most NOx, under heavy acceleration (i.e driver demand, pedal position) and possibly also at lower revs. Similarly one might wait till the engine is warm otherwise the urea wont turn to gas within the exhaust and would be wasted. There is plausible denial so far, I would say.

If it measures actual rpm profiles and acts only on those that are a few percent within the standard test profiles, then that is definitely "test detection".. Similarly again, if there is a flag set for "test" conditions, and this remains set for some time, possibly the whole ignition cycle after a "cadence detection" of some sort, then sure, they're busted.

Where was it, actually, between these two levels?

Reg readers need to know.

D-Wave promises chip that could search the whole universe


Still can't write a fucking sentence though


"the most complex superconductor integrated circuits ever successfully yielded"

Yielded? - did they break it in half or something?

Oh, and it's "integrated circuit" not circuits.

Let's hope it's clever enough to teach the ignorant bastards some grammar.

This whopping 16-bit computer processor is being built by hand, transistor by transistor


Re: Completely and utterly bonkers

As the final arbiter of all things Bonkers, I approve, wholeheartedly.

I actually know the guy, we discussed this in the kitchen at work just a few months ago.

I suggested he use these new "chip" things you can get.


Re: Kudos and beer

They did, the 74181.

Open source power-up on the way for arcade game emulator MAME


Re: Would love

Or just try playing "Defender" at all...

I still love it, far more than anything since. It wants your money, not your time, so its bastard hard. I'm not even that good, 20k is about my maximum, but that won't stop me hacking a £3 keyboard to make another "proper" controls board.

The history of Defender is quite interesting, a solo programmer, eight or nine buttons, it was nearly chucked out for being too complex.

Digital killed the radio star: Norway names FM switchoff date


Re: "big saving available for broadcasters"

"Taking up the pollytunnel" is possibly not quite what the manufacturer had in mind for it.

Glad to hear you got ten minutes out of it though.

The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star


Re: If you have an old DAB,

"DAB only gets away with it due to digital error correction."

That would make it less susceptible then, wouldn't it?

Actually it is a little more complicated than that, and more interesting...

DAB runs at 1.6Mbps for the whole "ensemble", if it used a single high data rate carrier, the echoes or multipath signals would collide with unrelated signal, destroying the data.

Instead it uses COFDM, where the spectrum is split into 1536 separate carriers all modulated at a much lower rate, much like keying out morse on every note of a piano. The integration time for each channel then allows for long echoes, the delayed signal is still "on the same bit" as the direct signal - as long as the echo is less than 60km or so, and beyond that it is simply weak.

Copycat drug souk Silk Road 2.0: Another man cuffed


Re: bonkers

Ah, Mr. Bryant, rather noted for your bellicose argument aren't you...?

You detail well the evils that are in this criminal supply chain, and we can agree that they are not desirable. I don't take the point that Silk Road supplies just to the local dealer, it supplies to the end-user as far as I am aware, through anonymity and smallness of quantity. Larger quantities through the post offer no reduction of risk to the local dealer, so he would be better off buying from his existing sources.

It's early days yet, and Silk road does allow one to buy direct from a cheerful peasant, though like eBay, it might be a while till this develops the critical mass it needs. I don't see any point in going back through 50 years of history to understand a phenomenon that is at most 5 years old, and still in development.

I was rather making the point that drug use is a personal moral standpoint, as is prohibition, and historically - if you wish - prohibition tends to lose out, witness alcohol, prostitution, homosexuality, race inequality, weed...


Silk road sounds to me like a perfect antidote to all the evils of a criminal supply chain.

People are always going to take illicit substances, it is the single unifying factor of all human cultures ancient and present. Therefore why not let them, in small quantities, do what they like? It's a "consenting adults in private" argument.

Are the authorities worried that this new phenomenon could achieve most of the goals of their 30-year war, but at no cost to the taxpayer?

This moral authority thing, being able to tell others what they can and cannot do according to one's own moral judgement, its a pernicious little bugger isn't it?

Police radios will be KILLED soon – yet no one dares say 'Huawei'


Re: Why change the system?

I've worked on Tetra handsets, its a good standard, does all the weird stuff the emergency services want, like mini basestations, walkie-talkie etc. Given that it was replacing analogue narrowband comms it had to use a very narrow bandwidth, so would never do video streaming. Tetra+ was an attempt to increase BW by using fancy 64QAM (or somesuch), but was never really going to work outside the lab.

So why not simply couple it to a GSM/3G/4G whatever phone, which duplicates the comms both for archiving and for diversity (fail-over to non-Tetra) - and allows SMS and multimedia when available.

Indeed, why not use 2 batteries 2 mics 2 speakers, like sellotaping together a Nokia and an existing Tetra handset.

GCHQ: We can't track crims any more thanks to Snowden


Re: Silly Question #1

erm, Silly Question number two,

what the fuck are GCHQ doing getting involved in what the daily mail thinks the politicians should be telling consenting adults in private what they should and should not do? It's a public health concern, not a national security issue.

BT to gobble EE for £12.5bn – BTEE phone home


BT: Fucking wankers the lot of them, I'm off...

Alleged Silk Road boss's lawyers want murder-for-hire evidence blocked from trial


why bother with the drugs trial at all?

If they have evidence of planned murder, surely this is a more important charge to press against him? Certainly my concept of what the police are there to do, would be to sort out murderers first, and facilitators of drug sales, erm about four hundred and thirty second.

Danish lit star Helle Helle, Marianne Faithfull and Jim Al-Khalili on Quantum Biology


take a look at the originals

Godel's provability theorem can possibly lead to a test as to whether the mind is quantum, but it is one approach only, and based on nothing but abstract argument.

The 1998 paper from Penrose and Hameroff had some real physical mechanisms and predictions in there*. What I liked best about Penrose is that he starts by acknowledging that the brain "behaves like" a quantum computer, leading to the suspicion that it might be...

I can't possibly do justice to the material starred below, in this post, so I just recommend a look for those interested. I'll leave you with a recent quote from Hameroff

After 20 years of skeptical criticism, "the evidence now clearly supports Orch OR," continue Hameroff and Penrose. "Our new paper updates the evidence, clarifies Orch OR quantum bits, or "qubits," as helical pathways in microtubule lattices, rebuts critics, and reviews 20 testable predictions of Orch OR published in 1998 – of these, six are confirmed and none refuted.

*see http://phys.org/news/2014-01-discovery-quantum-vibrations-microtubules-corroborates.html#jCp

also http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/penrose-hameroff/quantumcomputation.html

Brighten your November morning: 900 in-browser arcade classics added to the Internet Archive


Re: Defender!

Absolutely - defender is the all-time hardest game. I love it.

Games were different then, they wanted your money, not your time.

Chipmaker FTDI bricking counterfeit kit


Re: Pretty nasty

I've just gone through this whole process with a "clone" device, from a reputable supplier.

Firstly, I don't see how it is illegal to "white room" copy an existing part, like the very popular FTD232, if the chinese or whoever have replicated the function without copying the silicon, then, isn't that what AMD did to Intel, legitimately? This chip is the new "MAX232" - of course it will be replicated.

Incidentally I hugely respect FTDI - have a look at their new "Eve" concept, turns a dumb graphics display into a sort of HTML terminal, so small micro's can drive big displays without tons of gfx and fonts type of codebase.

Secondly, I'm not sure the new FTDI driver actually writes zero into the PID of the clone parts, I think they come with zero as the PID, but I could be wrong. My understanding is that the new drivers will recognise only parts with VID=0403 and PID = 6001, 6010, 6011. It will "fail to install properly" -because it has not been explicitly instructed to work with "0000" parts.

I would post some of the code from the *.inf files, but the T's and C's are highly restrictive. In fact it is the agreement you sign up to when installing the drivers that carries most of the poison, you are not allowed to modify the software in any way, etc etc.

I can understand they don't want their efforts in making and maintaining the drivers to benefit their competitors, but they're protecting a carcass, there's no more meat on the USB-UART thing, best move on, and btw everyone's coming round to this open-source thing these days.

Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy


incorrect value in register

Sorry Team Reg, I am a loyal and long-standing reader and commentard and I admire much of your irreverent humour. However, I can't get on with sniggering references to "pussy". Its a schoolboy thing born of fear and bravado, and to me at least, screams immaturity.



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