* Posts by despun

52 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Jan 2012


Re-light my diode: Trio of boffins scoop physics Nobel for BLUE LEDs


digital watches - it'll never happen

Urban legend from a certain industrial R&D lab. They did some very early liquid crystal work under government funding. You can picture it. 1ft square plates of glass accurately ground, in a jig with spacers. The cynics "when you can make that the size it'll fit on someone's wrist, I'll be useful - ha, ha."


Re: Curious

I've answered below (despun). It's in the Nobel "scientific briefing" link


The vulture should have read it. Subscription rebate ?


Re: What IS the physics then?

OK - so follow the links.

It was III-V semiconductor technological development - crystal growth, dopings etc. Plus quantum wells.

IMO, arguably not the normal fundamental physics stuff, but possibly closer to the original Nobel remit of benefiting mankind.


Re: What IS the physics then?

Caveat - I've not found out what they actually did - physics-wise.

But, it's not an individual atom emitting - this is solid state physics. There's some clever stuff with making structures that change band gaps by being sized at the quantum wavelength scale in 1, 2 or 3 dimensions. I.e. quantum well, ... quantum dot technologies.

What these guys did - dunno - need more info. Did they really come up with the underlying physics and take it through to a workable device ? Not normally the same teams doing both.

GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins


Re: How not to do science

"science by press release and media hype"


Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!


Re: Lack of integrated email/contacts/calendar?

Agree. As a small business owner, I'm fine with the Open Office suite (plus LibreOffice) to the extent that I have not upgraded Windows Office since '97. But the lack of a contact manager from my veiwpoint has been a serious omission for years, and has inhibited migration to Linux. Some add-on solution which is not part of the "official" suite would take time to evaluate, and might disappear the day after I migrated.

I may be "wrong" in the eyes of the experts, but with limited time to address these issues, that's where I am. That said, the latest Windows offering are so unattractive that the next move may well be Linux.

Has Europe cut the UK adrift on data protection?


Re: Let's be clear on definitions and scope of territories

Well, they're all pretty prosperous. Iceland had the option of default, took it, and seems to have done relatively well compared with, say, Greece.

UK's emergency data slurp: IT giants panicked over 'legal uncertainty'


Re: Overseas firms

For whatever it's worth

Wiki ( IIRC ) has HW's " prefered pronounciation" along the lines of Hwa Hway - which is how the telecoms guys I know say it.


Re: Hasty ??

Uparrrowed. But let's replace them with people who have a minimum of half a brain, rather than comedians.


try thinking ahead, assholes

The press has Cameron quoting the situation Syria as upping the threat. Why the f**k did they destablise the Assad regime then ? Come to think of it ... Iraq.

Royal Navy parks 470 double-decker buses on Queen Elizabeth


Re: Exact Change

IIRC they're not being installed. The ship was to be capable of retrofit for convential aircraft - opening the purchase options considerably, but then BAe can back with a silly price for it, forcing the government to carry on with the F35x. (which it part builds)

OT. The caaier is a "shared resource" of the European Rapid Reaction Force. Which may go some way to explaining the distortion of the UK naval capacity that it represents.

London Tech Week: All for the luvvies and the joke's on you, taxpayers


hey hum

Government has a need for this fiction

As the result of government mishandling of globalisation, the UK has suffered massive industrial decline, inclusive of high-tech industries. We’ve been caught between state support/protectionism within the EU ( the French are masters, but by no means the only ones with “social ownership ) and low wage economies that have rocketed up the value chain. In the Thatcher era, economists were telling us it didn’t matter if the low added value stuff went to China – did they get that wrong. There are exceptions where the UK has a global position, but when you scratch the surface, they are far fewer than one would imagine, and far more vulnerable than one would imagine.

But our rulers aren’t going to own up to this, and the “high-tech led industrial flowering, always just around the corner” narrative has nowhere else to go.

100% driverless Wonka-wagon toy cars? Oh Google, you're having a laugh


Kidding ? Nope.

I guess those with a one-sided view of costs vs. benefits. And a naivety on government benevolence, particularly when in bed with big business.

Who is funding this, and why? Do you think this is on the top 10 list of things consumers want from their cars?


yes. but.

I'm reading this in the context of Big Government's control freakery. They have an ill disguised antipathy to the freedom of private motoring. Just another potential way of controlling driver, alongside full positional tracking.

Looking wider, there is the state research funding allocated EU-wide to "intellegent cities". That could pan out in all sorts of ways.

Poll: Climate change now more divisive than abortion, gun control


good point

Yes. The only climate scientist who I knew personally was a shit hot, top of the range, mathematical and computational physist. The type of bloke who when he says he's solved a set of coupled non-linear differential equations, you can believe has. Now very senior in the climate science field in the US. So, I've looked up some of his papers, and they're not "on message".

As for the bulk of those calling themselves "climate scientists". Look at their c.v. s.

Boffins build billion-synapse, three-watt 'brain'


Re: A brain is not the answer.

There's a thought. Design to an autistic human model.

NASA spots 'new' star just 7.2 light years away


bloke's got previous


No, Minister. You CAN'T de-Kindle your eBooks!


Re: Unconstitutional

Maybe that's part of the problem. The EU isn't going to be attined to Common Law ststems as other than UK ( + Irelnd, Cyprus, ?Malta ) they use Civil Law

20 Freescale staff on vanished Malaysia Airlines flight MH370


Re: Very sad indeed...

Odds per mile in a car 1:100,000.

No way.

An annual milage of 10,000 is normal-ish. You don't expect to die every 10 years.

Oh no, RBS has gone titsup again... but is it JUST BAD LUCK?


Re: So many posts so much silliness

Whether it "pays off" on the future or not is irrevelant - it's a cost. To question this is financial illiteracy.

IT MELTDOWN ruins Cyber Monday for RBS, Natwest customers



Just one person's experience. But 25 years with 1 st. Direct. . Complex personal finances. Their standard non-premium telephone service - 100%.

What's wrong with Britain's computer scientists?


Re: Massive Graduate Unemployement

The flaw is blindingly obvious to you, me and readers of El Reg. A more interesting, and probably important, question is why it isn’t also blindingly obvious to our “Minister of State for Universities and Skills “.

I wish I knew. But them that rules over us exist intellectually in a parallel universe. And when reality doesn’t match it, it’s reality that’s wrong. So, they’ve presided over the destruction of much of the UK’s industrial base. But they used to chant that it doesn’t matter, we can be “post-industrial, the Chinese can do the low value added stuff and Britain’s future lies in the cutting edge of pharma, telecoms (the likes of Huawei will not register on their consciousness) and IT. When it doesn’t happen, and UK IT graduates aren’t being sucked up into a UK Microsoft, Google, well – what to do ?

Shy, bashful HUMPBACK DOLPHINS expose themselves to boffins


Re: This is happening a lot. It works like this ...

Dunno if that was /sarc or not ? Just in case. Some (minor) distiguishing features of doesn't make a new species. As you say - breeding is the test. Uless they geographically relocate individuals, plus allow for trauma / social effects causing reluctance, it's flakey. Did they ?

[ A couple of days ago, there was the same thing on t'telly re. killer whales - and they were pushing the endagerment line explicitly. ]


This is happening a lot. It works like this ...

Biologists etc. are playing a game. Redefine groups of existing species as " really a different species" on whatever pretext they can dream up. Then this new "species", being much smaller, having a more specific habitat etc., jumps up several catagories on the endangerment list. Your work then becomes more important/urgent/ up for funding.

New NSA tool exposed: XKeyscore sees 'nearly EVERYTHING you do online'


Re: Totally disgusting.

Those civil servants will survive "regime change."

Not if we ever got our act together and elected the right sort of people. We are still a democracy, we do hold the ultimate power via our vote, and we do still therefore hold the ultimate responsibility.

Bugs in beta weather model used to trash climate science


did they ?

OK, so this is a beta version. My question is, has this test been done on the code that they are using for publications? Given the issues exposed during climategate etc., re. software QA, lack of version control and archiving of data sets etc., I wouldn't be shocked to find that they haven't.

Hitch climate tax to the actual climate, says top economist


you're joking

Wot - link policy to observable reality ? Zero chance.

Warming: 6°C unlikely, 2°C nearly certain


Not so fast, sunshine.

"Waiting for certainty will fail as a strategy".

If the predictions are now in the lower range, a policy of wait and see, and adapt if and when we have to becomes much more attractive. It was only ever the catastrophic predictions that could be used for wrecking the ecomony etc.

Looks liek a game-changer to me.

CURSE you, EINSTEIN! Humanity still chained in relativistic PRISON


Re: Stupid question

As others have said, you're assuming a perfectly ridged body, and there isn't any such thing. In fact, special relativitive is ruling out perfectly ridged bodies. The mechanism is that you push one end, the interactions with the molecules, electrons, whtever pushing the next molecule along is takes a finite time, it's light speed limited.

France demands Skype register as telco



1. The french state comprises world class control freaks.

2. They hate MS. ( Not for the reasons you or I might, but because they are American and successful )

Climate scientists link global warming to extreme weather


and of course

now focusing on extreme weather events is rather convenient when the prdictions of temperature increases from the models are falling flat.



AFAIK, the more alarmist of the temperature increase predictions required various positive feedback mechanisms in the models to estimated on the high side. Obviously, positive feedback mechanisms are destabilising, and will predict increased severe weather events.

The ab initio ( as oposed to the IPCC's Detect and Atribute methodology ) basis for the parameter in these mechanisms will be less sound than the rest of the model. And the soundness of any quanitfied historical record of "extreme events" even less believable.

Earth-like planets abound in red dwarf systems


Re: Entropy: Big Problem!

Yes. Visible red is still much short wavelength ( i.e. more energy) than thermal i.r., so on the physics/thermodynamics sdie you may well be correct. On the options for alternative biochemistry - who knows

Soot forces temperatures more than thought: AGU


Eh ???

But, but,... I thought the "science was settled" and that was why we certain that we have to wreck industry to save the planet.

Wikipedia doesn't need your money - so why does it keep pestering you?


good stuff

Good stuff from AO, yet again. One of the few in journalism who tell us important things that we did not know.

NASA admits hiding 'really good' news from Martian soil


Re: He-3

Wake me up when they've got that to work .....

BOFH: Hasta la Vista... luser


Re: The stupid amazes me

Snap. . De-crap it. Go through the task manager list googling each item in turn and deciding what to nuke. Then load, de-crap and configure the aps. Then the back-up image. I'm not in IT, so it took me 2 days. Worth it, though.

SECRET 28 'scientific experts' who Greened the BBC - Revealed!


Re: Impartiality about what?

And the experts that it used to come to this conclusion were the ones in the list ????????????

Which it then tried its utmost to hide ?????????????

Surely the point of the article, which you conveniently manage to ignore.

Romans, Han Dynasty, kick-started climate change


Dunno why you are getting the down votes. The problem with climate "science" is, as you say, its lack of a record of prediction (or retrodiction).The system it proports to understand is hideously complex, so the models are massively under-contrained and it always will be. You are spoiled for choice in proposing mechanisms for whatever effects you see in the data. This is quite explicit in the practicioners' Detect and Atribute methodology, which is clearly distinct from bottom-up inderstandings where all of the sub-mechanisms are well understood quantatively with fewer free parameters than data. and the system behaviour can be uniquely preditced from these understandings.

UK.gov's minimum booze price dream demolished


tell the truth

The reason given is a BS red herring. A min price would be illegal under EU law as a retraint of trade. I don't disagree with the decision, but why can't the UK powers that be be honest about this ?

CO2 warms Earth FASTER than previously thought


Re: Two things are worthyof note.

You can't just ignor the AGW debate. There are many ecomonically damaging policies that have been put in place that you would not do on the basis of energy security. Carbon sequestration, carbon credits etc.


Eh ?

I must be being dumb here. How can CO2 lag the temperature rise if it is the cause of the rise !?

How politicians could end droughts forever But they don't want to


back story

Dr. Richard North's website (eureferendum.com) has the background on this. Bloke's a expert on the guts of bureaucracy that most of us would rather not delve onto.

Swiss, German physicists split the electron


"Spin .. and angular momentum ... are two out of the electron’s three quantum properties, the other is charge

You guys really don't know your QM, do you ?

Charge and spin are 2 intrinsic (fixed value) properties of an electron, as is rest mass. Angular monentum of an electron "orbing" a nucleus ( if and when it is part of an atom ) is one of several descrete but variable eigen values that will have at a particular time. If your counting that as a "quantum property " (eh ?) , then you need to count spin orientation and energy eigenvalue as well. The 2 out of 3 comment makes no sense at all.

Climate change linked to extreme weather surge


Re: As a representative of the tobacco industry, I would like to point out...

I'd say it's relatively simple. Wife's a cancer scientist. OK - maybe simpler is the wrong word, but it is much more tightly understood. Simply because you can repeatedly observe it in the lab and understand various cancers down to the molecular level. "Curing" it is something else, of course. In contrast climate modelling is a muddle, a tangle of ad hoc mechanisms ( Detect and Attribute is ther jargon for their peculiar methodology ). Little - very little - quantatively and reliably understood at the mechanistic level. "The science is settled" is BS.

Americans resort to padlocking their dumb meters



If they're like the radio controlled off-peak meters, they may have problems with radio reception losses. Sorry - you can't have any electricity today, I haven't been able to "phone home".

US scientists demo hydrogen-powered robo-jellyfish


Re: It's easy to get hydrogen from seawater.

Exactly. Bugger the underwater robot - they would have solved the worlds energy problems at a stroke by inventing perpetual motion. Bad enough the MSM parsing that sort of BS undetected. But The Register ? - tut tut.

More evidence that neutrinos are NOT faster than light


Re: Time travel?

They would have arrived after they left in one frame of reference ( "stationary wrt the earth" give or take ) But there would have been another valid FoR in which they arrived before they left.



It would have violated ( or at least produced causality inconsistencies due to ) the special theory of relativity. Not need to involve GR.