* Posts by Claus P. Nielsen

73 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Jun 2007


Nokia uncloaks Lumia 620: A 'budget' $249 Windows 8 mobe

Claus P. Nielsen

There is SD card in the Lumia 810/820/822

Keyboard is a bit more difficult I admit.

I don't know whether bluetooth keyboards are supported in WP8?

Intel builds 'can't be built' working digital RF transceiver chip

Claus P. Nielsen

Shooting at a target that moves faster than your bullit.

Intel has been working at making digital radios for more than the mentioned decade.

From a certain point of view, this makes perfect sense, but not so much for WiFi.

The strength of digital radios is that they can shift between radically different radio protocols simply by changing the SW settings.

This would be a great boon to mobile phones since they can then reconfigure to using whatever network and frequencies are available in a given area without the need to include a physical RF circuit for each and every protocol and frequency out there.

So in principle an extremely good idea from Intel.

The problem and the reason they have continuously failed to deliver (and the current implementation seems to be a bit short of a total success) is that they are aiming at a moving target.

The reason RF circuitry is (partially) implemented in analog circuitry is that analog chips are by definition faster than digital chips working on the same chipset technology (so the transistors are identical).

Digital chips need a generation or more of chipset technology development in order to do what can now be done in analog chips.

Radio frequencies are a scarse commodity, so everybody tries to use them as well as possible and to cram as much data into the available space as posssible.

This means that the RF standards are continuously being upgraded for higher speed and bandwidth as soon as there is an available technology than can handle the needed processing.

So digital radios are playing catchup to standards that are continously being upgraded to a level, where only analog radios can follow (yet).

What Intel needs in order to succeed is for RF development to stagnate and reach a plateau, where speeds can no longer be increased by using faster or more powerfull chipsets or where the speeds are simply good enough for most practical purposes.

When that happens, they have a chance of success

Blizzard pwned: Gamers' email, encrypted passwords slurped

Claus P. Nielsen
Paris Hilton

Re: Wrong advice

The "unrelated answer" method is very good from a security perspective, but does make it hard to remember which answer was used for a given question.

That leads to repetition of the same answer or to writing down the question/answer combinations, which reduce the security a bit again.

Personally I think these security questions generally bring about a lower level of security. Guessing or researching the answers to security questions is typically the main method used in hacking online mailboxes of celebrities and politicians.

The practice would be improved quite a bit, if more institutions allowed the users to also state the questions, since that would at least prevent a hacker from researching a list of answqers to all the usual questions before trying to persuade the helpdesk that he or she has been shut out of Paris Hilton's account by mistake.

This would also open the way for some more interesting support debates:

Supporter > So lets check your security questions... (long pause) ... "would you like to go out with me?"

Me > "Yes, but only if you pay for the beer"

Supporter > That is correct


Deadly pussies kill more often than owners think

Claus P. Nielsen

Clearly a case of bad upbringing

The researchers are looking at this all wrong.

The shocking thing is not that some cats kill around 2 small animals a week.

The shocking thing is that 2/3 of the house-cat population are apparantly not capable of capturing and killing anything!

This is clearly a failure in their upbringing, most likely brought about by a stupid human taking them away from their mother before she has had a chance to teach them how to hunt.

The scientists notion that you can extrapolate from a small-scale study in a certain county to nationwide numbers or even that you can compare kill-rate between feral cats and domestic cats is laughable.

Feral cats that can't capture and kill will die.

Cats in the countryside have more opportunities for kills than cats in the suburbs and they have correspondingly more opportunities than cats in the big cities.

before an extrapolation can be made, it is necessary to get data from a much more diverse set of areas than what was the case here.

Google to show China what it's missing

Claus P. Nielsen

Prescient much?

"... just a few days before the bloody anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising of 1989"

Lets hope that the anniversary turns out to be bloodless - unlike the original event.

Button batteries burn kids from inside

Claus P. Nielsen

No you don't

"Accidents happen, but I know my kids won't try to eat anything thats not food on purpose..."

I think your thinking has just proven that this is NOT common sense.

I honestly hope that you never have to find out the hard way that you are wrong.

Kids change - that is actually one of their defining characteristics.

Your present experience seems to be that your kid won't eat anything that is not food, but that may change over time as well.

My 4-year old recently put a bead up her nose despite the fact that she perfectly understood why that is not a good idea - it just happened.

She is also frequently complaining about the toy phone she has that won't play sounds because I refuse to put the buttom batteries it came with back in.

These batteries can be deadly if swallowed and are easily lost, so take care.

MythBusters: Savage and Hyneman detonate truthiness

Claus P. Nielsen

Depends on which deity you are talking about

If I claim my god is a blue rooster that grows out of my forehead, it is very easy to test my claim (and disprove it).

Many religions have lost their initial followings because their claims could not survive physical tests (some of the doomsday cults for instance).

So we are left with the "clever" religions that claim that their gods are ethereal beings and their existence cannot be tested and that this very fact is what makes them extra special.

Hence the admiration given to people who are especially strong in their faith - despite no supporting evidence that this faith has any merit.

Apple trade marks 'There's an app for that'

Claus P. Nielsen

Hard to enforce

I think commercials for competing products is the only place where they can hope to enforce this trademark.

Everyone else can just sit back and relax.

There is NO app for that-

Samoan clerics finger homosexuals over global warming

Claus P. Nielsen


We at the Vegetable Liberation Front (VLF) approve of your message!

Vegetables are sacred and should be liberated from their herbivore and omnivore oppressors at any cost!

Farming vegetables for food is evil!!

Join us in our next operation, where we will liberate 20000 carrots on a farm near Manchester from their fascist masters by pulling them free from the soil that currently binds them!

Let the carrots run free like they were born to do!!!

Taxman rejects 'lie detector' tech

Claus P. Nielsen

Only works if you allow it to work

The cost of litigation is not one sided, so both parties will have to spend money to fight a case.

This means that if more journals were to publish the same results, the company would then have to sue them all - adding up the cost to a level where it is more of a threat against the company than against the individual journals (they may even be able to join the cases up, so they can split the cost.

Apple kills Jailbreakme Mac bug

Claus P. Nielsen


As a comment above shows, some people will not upgrade since that kills their jailbreak.

So expect real exploits to turn up over time.

Is the bug also killed for older version iPhones?

Android app secretly uploads GPS data, warns Symantec

Claus P. Nielsen


You are assuming that all users always install all their own apps.

That is simply not true.

I can think of a long list of ways to trick somebody into letting me install a game on their phone for them.

Just try it - - here let me handle it so I can use my account to pay for it.

If it runs in the background after it has been opened the first time, then I just need unmonitored access for a minute or so to install the game in an obscure location, run it once and start monitoring the owner of the phone.

Great tool for stalking.

So Yes. It is a very good idea to flag this as malware. Informed users can then just ignore the warning (and be monitored by whoever had the chance to change the monitoring settings in the game when they didn't look.

Toshiba shows off self-deleting, self-encrypting drive

Claus P. Nielsen


An online printer/scanner/photocopier can have a very long list of files to print or copy or whatever is currently going on.

Some of these documents will also be very large.

The hard disks are there to store all that stuff, so that a lot of people can print/scan/copy more or less simultaneously.

Boffins authenticate Apple 'Antennagate'

Claus P. Nielsen

The results are not different

Telstra compares iPhone 4 (unheld) to previous generation iPhones and says that it is an improvement.

Another test compares iPhone 4 to competing phones from other manufacturers and shows that it is not as good - and unusable when held in a certain way.

This just demonstrates that iPhones have never held the crown for best antenna performance.

That fact has then been covered up (intentionally or by mistake) by the rather misleading way Apple has been representing antenna reception up to now.

Another point that is often missed is that the antenna bars on any phone will only show downlink connection strength (how strongly is the signal from the antenna tower received by the phone) - not uplink (how good is the phone at getting it's signal to the antenna tower).

Since uplink and downlink are in different frequency bands, it is entirely possible to have the antenna(s) performing well in downlink but not working at all in uplink (detuned) or vice versa.

The phone connection requires both to work, so if either one fails, then the connection fails.

What is reported here is Uplink performance (but maybe not across all possible bands), so this has no real relation to the signal bars shown issue, but is just as damaging for the iPhone 4 performance

Academics challenge moral consensus on sex and the net

Claus P. Nielsen
Big Brother

Thought crime of the second degree

A thought crime of the first degree is when you have a bad thought that is not approved by the government.

Thinking about underage children in a sexual situation falls squarely into this category.

But this is presently hard to prove due to limited mind reading technology.

A thought crime of the second degree is when you make somebody else have a bad thought that is not approved by the government.

Making somebody else think about underage children in a sexual situation by producing or viewing anything that some sick mind somewhere could claim shows underage children in or close to a sexual situation falls into this category.

This crime is fortunately easy to prove. The prosecutor can act as his own witness (http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/19/george-skumanicks-provocative). "She was provocative in that picture"

A second degree thought crime is obviously much worse than a first degree thought crime, since many more people could be affected by the bad thoughts that are not approved by the government (maybe the prosecutors colleagues also thought the picture was provocative when he showed it to them - strictly in a legal investigative manner obviously).

Brazilian banker's crypto baffles FBI

Claus P. Nielsen

Or maybe it's all crap data in there

The best way to hide your secret sensitive data from police or others trying to get access to it is to get them fixed on a red herring.

A lot of random data bits encrypted using a known cryptography program and left out in the open should keep them occupied a very long time and keep them from looking for the true data.

Works for mail too. NSA would not be too happy, if we all started sending encrypted garbage to each other at random intervals. You can spend an infinite period trying to decrypt something that doesn't have any meaning in the first place. Meanwhile all the truly sensitive information is send using some other means (like maybe using the random crap in a previous file as a one time decryption key).

Siphon Wars: Pressurist weighs into Gravitite boffin

Claus P. Nielsen

More pedantery

"the liquid will always flow from a region of higher pressure to lower pressure"

This is wrong.

A siphon transport a liquid from a reservoir A to another reservoir B as long as the surface of the liquid in A is elevated above the surface of the liquid in B.

Under normal conditions, this higher elevation means that the atmospheric pressure at the surface of the reservoir A is lower than the atmospheric pressure at the surface of reservoir B (Since there is a slightly higher column of air above reservoir B than above reservoir A).

So the liquid runs from low atmospheric pressure to higher atmospheric pressure.

Which is exactly why stating that the siphon is driven by atmospheric pressure is misleading.

Vodafone launches snooping service

Claus P. Nielsen
Black Helicopters

No business risk here - move along sir

"Wouldn't it make more sense for Vodafone to be recording the calls at network level?"

Apparently both you and Bill Ray seems to think it makes perfect sense to let the operator intercept calls and record them (at least that how I read the "Vodafone's solution rather neatly off-loads that onto the customer" remark).

So having recordings of very sensitive and often confidential conversations in the hands of a third party is "a good thing" then?

Seeing how good the phone companies have been at keeping SMS messages confidential in the past, I would not put the highest level of trust in that.

Adding a web interface is just adding insult to injury. Maybe we could suggest the name of Paris Hilton's dog as the default password to complete the picture?

This would be a prime target for any hacker worth spit, to get access to all that juicy investment information.

NHS blames computer error for transplant fouls

Claus P. Nielsen

Not an analogy, but anyway

We are approaching a discussion of semantics here.

A knife can be said to have a fault or a weakness.

If it breaks due to this weakness I may blame the manufacturer, but ultimately it may have failed due to a number of causes outside his or my control (any examples I may offer here are likely to get me blamed for more exaggerated examples, so I will refrain from making any)

Books are also said to contain errors, which are most often attributed to pixies (or typesetting if you want to be more literal), but can also encompass such things as pages missing or being doubled up or in the wrong order, which to my personal experience with auto-collating units does not have to be due to handling errors.

All physical communications have some level of error (also known as noise)

Calculations involving rational numbers (except a very small percentage that can be calculated exactly using symbols) also contain errors - no matter whether they are performed on a computer or by a human.

So - if your argument is that the word "error" can only be attributed to humans, you are arguing against common practice.

And no matter what you name this kind of happenings, it is still possible (but admittedly maybe not the most likely) that sometimes such a fault could NOT have been prevented by a human involved.

Claus P. Nielsen


As a comment to the statement "There are NO SUCH THING as computer errors, just human mistakes.", I think my examples to the contrary (not analogies) are perfectly OK.

But lets go on a bit and include lightning strikes, office/domestic fires, flooding, earthquakes, hanging dimples, smudges on the glass of a scanner, high humidity, process variation at the memory manufacturers facility etc.

I am very well aware that many errors contributes to computers are avoidable if the correct human actions are taken at the correct time. But that does still not make ALL computer errors into human errors.


The fact that I have never seen ionizing radiation affect a computer is closely related to the fact that it is rather difficult to observe and determine as the exact cause of error - NOT to the fact that it doesn't happen at sea-level.

Radon radiation is highly ionizing and is present in all concrete buildings.

Claus P. Nielsen

Act of GOD

I find it interesting how many people claim there is no such thing as computer errors and immediately blame humans.

If a computer at my home is struck by a meteor while I am at work, so that it fails to download the TV shows I had programmed it to download, is this then a human error?

How about if a much smaller ionizing particle changes the state of a single bit in the list of shows to download, so that that item in the list become meaningless?

Is this the fault of me or the programmers since there should have been stronger error correction? how many bits error correction is enough?

Maybe it is the word "error" that triggers this type of comment. Does use of the word "error" only relate to conscious beings/processes?

The claim that all machine/computer errors are human errors assumes that the humans in question are all-knowing - all-powerful beings, that could have foreseen any and all situations that appear and have invented a solution for them.

So what so we need Gods for then?

Crap Scottish weather favours ginger hair

Claus P. Nielsen

Dominant spouse?

Since red hair is mostly a recessive trait, it is likely that your spouse has dominant genes for hair color, which prevents your kids from showing their hidden genetic heritage from your side of the family.

It may also be that your daughters have the genes for red beards, but are just not growing them.

Next generation could be different.

I have 2 redhead brothers (at least they were born that way - now the color has faded a bit).

One of these married a redhead and has consistently been producing redheaded offspring (though the variation in actual color of the kids hair is quite large).

Combat walker machines: $3m for new studies

Claus P. Nielsen

Human foot

Why does so many bipedal robot demonstrations attempt to mimic a human?

Do we really consider ourselves the best walkers on the planet?

It takes on average more than a year for a new human to learn to walk on two legs and much longer to do so in a stable way - let alone to run.

Compare that to the walking apparatus of a chicken, that is so well designed that they walk right after exiting the egg and can even run around when their heads have been cut off.

So lose the human feet and any attempt to reproduce human walking and start redesigning an ostrich.

Google chief: Only miscreants worry about net privacy

Claus P. Nielsen

If you truly have nothing to hide you are probably dead.

Anything of any worth to you is worth protecting.

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing of any worth.

Since most of us are not all powerful, we can not defend our possessions (or even our lives) against all and any people who might want to take it away from us.

So we hide it.

If you think you have nothing to hide you are stupid and will soon have much less to hide since somebody will steal what you have.


The "nothing to hide" argument can be interpreted as racist, since it implies that any victim of persecution - such as the Jews during the Nazi regime - must per definition be guilty of something. Why else would they be hiding from the authorities?

Cell phones don't fry brains, boffins say

Claus P. Nielsen

re: Move along...

What this study shows is that if there is a brain tumor risk associated with mobile phone use, it is extremely small.

Since this study is performed on a relatively homogenous genetic group, a case can be argued that other genetic groups could be more susceptible, but that is just speculation.

The "it might take longer" argument is crap. Of course it might sometimes take longer than 5-10 years for cancer to develop, but even if the average "incubation time" is closer to 20 years, there would be a large variation in this "incubation time", so for some people it would take a significantly shorter time to develop. Since these people don't show up in the statistics, the associated average "incubation time" is either extremely long or the risk is extremely small - or both.

The remaining tiny potential risk of brain cancer from mobile phone use should be compared to the number of lives that are saved on a daily basis due to the presence of mobile phones in emergencies.

Definitely worth the risk.

NZ town cans rabbit-chucking contest

Claus P. Nielsen

So what they are saying is...

My grandmother has come back to haunt me as a rabbit?

Ralph Lauren stick insect sacked for being 'too fat'

Claus P. Nielsen

Bratz taking over from Barbie

Obviously this is the effect of fashion designers playing too much with dolls when they (the fashion designers) were boys.

In the past this was Barbie dolls leading to a distorted idea of how a woman's foot, waist and bust is shaped.

The new generation of designers are playing more with Bratz dolls, resulting in an idea that the ideal female head is several sizes larger than her pelvis.

See also: http://www.theonion.com/content/video/bratz_dolls_may_give_young_girls

Trolls fortunately seem to be mostly influential in relation to hair-style - not ear, foot or facial proportions

Apple sends iPhones into 'Coma Mode'

Claus P. Nielsen

Re: I don't get it

This could easily be related to timing problems.

All Ipods, Iphones etc. are obviously not made with the same components.

There are differences such as memory size and suppliers, that can matter more than you would think.

The basic processors will go through a series of iterations and upgrades over time (even if it is "just" a process shrink. This affects timing).

Last but still important - even processors manufactured in the very same batch will have some variation rendering some of them more prone to error than others.

So the Apple phone "platform" is getting more and more varied over time - meaning that they can run into more of this type of problems.

It helps if they know the full possible variation of their platform components, but even the manufacturers may not know that in advance.

Israeli robo-kamikaze selling like hot exploding cakes

Claus P. Nielsen

Too tempting to lose?

Since this drone cannot be reused I guess the target selection criteria gets less and less rigorous the longer it is in the air.

"We saw a bus filled with armed midgets, and the missile only had 10 seconds more airtime, so we took the shot rather than waste the bird"

"Kids on a fishing trip? Who could have know?"

Hiding secret messages in internet traffic: a new how-to

Claus P. Nielsen
Black Helicopters

This method basically depends on noone knowing that you are using it

So basically security by obscurity (which is actually rather good security - right up to the point where it fails miserably)

But in combination with other methods of encryption, it can be used to add an extra layer of security.

Have anyone wondered whether the edless small variations to the same spam message reportedly being used for the purpose of cheating filters are actually steganographic messages? - Now there's a conspiracy theory for you right there.

Apple patents all-seeing display

Claus P. Nielsen

@ Charles Manning

Although I can use a microphone to generate sound, the volume would be very low.

The fact that a LED can also be used as a photo diode (with the right wiring), does not make a display into a camera.

It is a nice but impractical idea.

Claus P. Nielsen

Re: "near touch" sensitive

You are absolutely right that this would be a nice idea - which is a pity for Apple since that specific application has already been patented by Sharp (don't know whether they have a US patent though).

Claus P. Nielsen
Thumb Down

Re: Missing the obvious

I think it is Apple that is missing the obvious in this case.

The list of problems with implementing this is too long for it to have any practical use as a camera (It may be an OK scanner, but that is another matter).

Below I have listed some of the most serious ones.

The "optics" for each pixel will have to be very narrow-angle since a wide angle optics will mean that all pixels see the same area and therefore has no distinction of features inside this area (at distances relevant for camera application). This means that the optics in question will need to be rather deep compared to the pixel size.

It is not possible to implement this type of display with a window in front of the image/display pixels, since light leakage from the light emitting pixels will be reflected back into the sensor pixels by the window surfaces at a level larger than the light actually being used for imaging (and before you claim that this can be filtered out once you know the image being displayed on the display, I have to mention that there are things such as tolerances and optical noise coming into play that limit this). This gets to be an even more severe problem once you realise that even OLED displays implement polarizers sheets in front of the LED's in order to give better black levels (a naked OLED display is grey rather than black since it reflects light rather nicely).

The DSP power needed for this kind of imaging is expensive, power consuming and probably not competitive to the replacement technology of placing 2 conventional cameras on each side of the display and making a compound image that looks like it is taken from the center of the display.

The entire construction (optical and otherwise) of a camera pixel and a display pixel are very different. The same goes for the needed optics. Combining the 2 into the same panel doesn't make sense.

The entire patent is obviously the brainchild of somebody who doesn't really work at making cameras or for that matter displays (but who hopefully gets a good bonus for getting a patent anyway)

Acer DX900 dual-SIM Windows smartphone

Claus P. Nielsen

Can you receive calls on both numbers simultaneously?

It has been a while since I looked at this type of phones.

The old problem used to be that while you can switch between the 2 SIM's rather easily when you are making the call yourself, the situation is different when somebody else is calling you, since the phone could only monitor one network at a time.

Has this been improved on this phone, so that you can now receive a call on your private subscription while browsing the web using your company SIM?

Cancer doctor cites 'early' data on cell phone danger

Claus P. Nielsen
Thumb Down

@Yeah, OK AC

Read the text below the videos and search for the word "hoax". That should clarify things a little.

The entire idea is ludicrous if you consider the maximum amount of power transmitted by each cell phone.

Lets do the math:

Maximum power in GSM is quoted at 2W. The average corn weighs 0.3g.

Assuming that 4 * 2W = 8W is transmitted continously into a single corn, that would raise the temperature of each corn by ~6.3 degrees celcius per second. That would bring the corn from 22 degrees celcius ambient to boiling point of 100 degrees celcius in ~12 seconds.

In the first video, the time from the first phone starts ringing to the first corn pop is 6 seconds.

This calculation doesn't even consider the extra heat needed to actually turn the water into steam.

By the way:

The maximum power transmitted is less than 2W since good antennas for mobile phones are lucky to have en efficiency of 50%, so the maximum transmitted power is then down to 1W or less.

Then there is the time division stuff, which means that the antenna is not transmitting 7/8 of the time (so it turns on for 0.6ms and is then turned off for the next 4ms).

Even with perfect focussing antenna in all 4 phones, you would have to reduce the actual power transmitted to 0.5W.

Then comes the spreading of all that power in all directions as opposed to focussing it at a point ~5cm above the top of the phone as the video would lead us to believe.

Google and the End of Science

Claus P. Nielsen

Schrödinger's cat again

The Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment underlines the problem with a lot of the statements about "QM is wrong and GR is right" or reverse.

The statement that these 2 theories are in conflict is based on specific interpretations of the theories - not necessarily on the theories themselves.

To take the example of Schrödinger's cat, the comments above have given several definitions of what constitutes an "observer".

- a human

- an intelligent machine

- any mechanism that could be used by a human or an intelligent machine to observe the outcome.

What is obviously missing from this list is

- the cat

- the fleas on the cat

- the bacteria that live on the cat

So the interpretation of what this classical theoretical scenario means is open for debate.

Depending on which of these definitions of "an observer" you use, your interpretation of QM is very different.

So is the conflict between QM and GR a real conflict or a conflict based on interpretation?

Claus P. Nielsen
Thumb Down

re: re David Harper

"if QM is inconsistent with general relativity, it must be false if GR is true. No-one needs to know anything about QM or GR to hold that."

This is surely a misunderstanding and/or misinterpretation of both QM and GR. QM is not "One Theory", but rather a series of methods and theories developed over time to describe subatomic processes.

GR looks like a single theory since it is generally contributed to a single man (Einstein), but that does not mean that it is an all-encompassing theory or even that all aspects and interpretations of it are correct.

So claiming that either QM is wrong or GR is wrong is a simplistic child’s notion of how theories and science works.

Any theory is in essence flawed since it represents a simplification or (if you like) a model of reality. This is necessary because we only have limited resources available to hold the model (our individual brainpower and/or computer processing power).

In the case of QM we may also be hindered by the fact that it is literally not possible to build a model of something extremely small using only things that are much larger.

So scientific theory should not be confused with the world we use it to describe.

Why is it that if I make a clay model of the world, nobody would confuse it with the real thing, but if I make a mathematical model of the world (or an empirical model - or a Google search model), then suddenly some philosopher starts to think that the model IS the world.

In short:

QM and GR may or may not be in conflict with each other - at least as we currently interpret them. This does however not make one of these wrong - only incomplete or in the worst case flawed.

Or maybe we just don't understand these theories well enough - I certainly don't.

So to get back to the quote in the beginning of this rather long diatribe:

If we accept the notion that theories can be "wrong" because they are not perfect or because they contradict each other, then your entire article could be dismissed as "wrong" on the basis of a single inconsistency.

In the real world, you are probably right on some points and wrong on other. If you are mostly right, then your article presents a good theory (or rather collection of theories.

Research: Wind power pricier, emits more CO2 than thought

Claus P. Nielsen

Re: Re: Burn hydrogen

"Sadly, hydrogen is not available on Earth in a form that can be burnt. It's generally taken from water by electrolysis, which takes as much energy as is released by burning it"

Sadly, this is currently very far from the truth.

Electrolysis of water to generate Hydrogen uses MORE energy than would be released by burning the hydrogen.

If we use the hydrogen to produce electricity, the electricity generated will be only a Fraction of the electricity used to produce the hydrogen.

There may be more efficient ways of producing (and burning) Hydrogen in the future, but currently there are much more efficient ways of storing electricity (still lossy, but with a much smaller loss ratio).

If long term Hydrogen storage was easy and space efficient, it might still be worth it as a reservoir for Large scale wind power - but it isn't.

There is a lot of research being done on how to address this, but currently no good solutions have been demonstrated on a commercial scale.

Hydrogen powered cars are (with todays Hydrogen technologies) not commercially competitive compared to battery power.

Photos fool cigarette age-verification software

Claus P. Nielsen

How to fool the system

Underage smokers should find comfort in the fact, that the more they smoke, the quicker they will age.

Heavy use of tanning booths (or just spending a lot of time in the sun) will also help develop those crucial wrinkles needed to fool the vending machine.

If all else fails (or if you are a 12-year old just starting your filthy smoking habit without older smoker friends to buy cigarettes for you), you can always try a little make-up.

Gas crunch: Jatropha, kudzu, algae and magic to rescue

Claus P. Nielsen

Re: Algae

"All they need to grow is sunlight and C02."

The above statement really illustrates the whole point of the article to me.

First of all - besides sunlight and CO2, algae needs water, Oxygen (yes they do), the right temperatures and several basic nutrients in the correct amounts to grow.

All of this needs to be supplied to the algae in the right amount in order to achieve significant yields.

Shallow pools would probably be a good solution in terms of getting the sunlight to the algae, but that would take up a lot of space - probably comparable to the space needed for trees or other energy fuel plants.

Using the seas for algae production raises several nontrivial environmental issues. If you use the areas where there is already a large algae production as the site for industrial algae production, you basically have to destroy the existing ecosystem depending on this algae production.

If you try to do industrial algae production in regions of the sea, where there is presently only limited algae growth, you will have to change something in that part of the sea to get more algae to grow - most likely adding more nutrients. This is basically what farmers do on their fields all over the industrial world, and since they have problems keeping the nutrients under control in just one place, I would conside it an even more monumental task in the sea. Algae growth would spread to other regions where it would impact the existing ecosystems.

As long as people are going to recommend certain technologies based on gross simplifications, there is nothing but hot air.

(By the way - couldn't we use the hot air every one of us breathe out every day to produce energy. We would all become our own powerplant!!!)


Flirty texting could land Scots in jail for 10 years

Claus P. Nielsen
Thumb Up

@ Steven Raith

Hear Hear! - I completely agree.

Harassment is the problem - whether it is sexual or not.

Banning certain means of harassment whether they are actually used to harass or not is the act of morons.

The special attention given to sexual harassment always amaze me.

At least when you are sexually harassed you know that the person doing it sees something he/she likes in you. When you are harassed by people talking behind your back (and sometimes in front of it) about how stupid and incompetent you are, you will always have the lurking fear that maybe they are right - even when you know better.

Do you know how much of your porn is extreme?

Claus P. Nielsen

Limit samples

The only reasonable way to handle this would be to distribute a set of limit samples to all police stations, so that they know what is allowed within the law and what is prohibited.

These limits samples should consist of images that are "only just allowed" (only moderately nasty) and images that are "prohibited but only just" (Extreme - but not THAT Extreme).

Every police officer should then spend some time getting familiar with both sets of images so that they will be able to make informed judgment in stead of just going by what their personal preferences are.

Ideally a special "field kit" including a subset of these images could be carried by every police officer, so they can make comparisons in the field when encountering potentially extreme porn images in church murals etc.

An online version would make it easy for "Joe Public" to compare his filth with the official Extremity guideline.

Sweden ushers in bugging for all

Claus P. Nielsen
Black Helicopters

Re: Not such a bad thing...

"Remember, if you aren't a crook (and don't use online banking or credit cards), you've got nothing to hide!"

If only Anne Frank had known this. Then she could have been out playing with all the little Hitler Jugend kids in stead of hiding in that little room for all that time.

Pope gives blessing to anti-christ terrorist squad

Claus P. Nielsen

Or is this in preparation for the big one?

This must surely be the 10076'th sign of the apocalypse.

If anyone knows when it is comming, it is surely The Pope.

Upgrading his "special troops" is just what is needed before the demons come hauling up from the earth.

The cover-up is of course not so much to prevent people from worrying (after all - getting people to worry about their future is what the Catholic church is all about), but rather to catch the Devil unaware.

Download al Qaeda manuals from the DoJ, go to prison?

Claus P. Nielsen

Re: This story makes me happy!

Congratulations Alpy - now you can have both!

The Goverment that knows everything about everyone

- AND will deport your friends and family one day.

But don't worry.

Only people who have something to hide needs to worry.

So if you worry you obviously have something to hide.

And hiding stuff is a crime (at least if it is encrypted on your harddisk).

"A naked man has little to hide - A flayed man has less"

... and only a dead man has nothing.

Indian gov says no plan to squeeze out BlackBerrys

Claus P. Nielsen

Strong encryption vs Random Garbage

Making it a crime to not reveal the key to encrypted material is ultimately still a futile exercise.

The mere possibility that the file could be a piece of garbage generated by a random number generator raises too many loopholes.

An example:

So I have received a file containing a lot of apparently random numbers form a person that cannot be traced (say someone working behind a spoofed email address).

- If this file is truly garbage, there is no way in the world for me to provide a key that makes it readable, so I would go to jail. - the perfect way to frame en innocent person.

- If the file is actually an encrypted message, this will only be revealed if I provide the correct key. I can have a seperate key that I use for all other communication, which will not open this file. I can claim that it must be some random garbage sent to me to frame me. If you want to build a stronger case for this argument you get somebody to start sending anonymous messages with random garbage to random people just so you can hide in the crowd.

So governments frantically insisting that nothing is encrypted, only really works if you they don't care that they are putting innocent people in jail.

Microscope-wielding boffins crack Tube smartcard

Claus P. Nielsen

So safe for train tickets, but not for security

Ticket fraud would not be economic with this method if you can sell the cloned cards. It should be possible to trace multiplied cards (if there are enough of them using the same code) and either shut out the users from the system or even apprehend them when they try to pass the scanners.

The reference test is whether it is easier or less expensive to clone a card than it is to fake a paper (or magnet strip) ticket.

Corporate and government security is a different issue since these may be high value targets even if only a single card is cloned, but as I understand it, these cards are not being marketed for that purpose (which of course dosn't prevent some idiot from using them).

Critics chuck MS 'friendly worm' plan on the compost heap

Claus P. Nielsen

Good to know, that they can skip the research since everybody already know the answer!

Caveman Argh to caveman Bugga:

"Why are they bothering with research on those pointy sticks to throw at animals. There is technology already available. It is called Big Rock".

Caveman Bugga in response:

"Yes. And pointy things are too dangerous anyway, what with bushes and animals using them against us all the time. Just yesterday I hurt my foot on a thorn".


"I have started using Cleansweep (TM) technology to sweep around my cave to prevent that very problem, but those bushes keep comming up with new ways to spred their thorny branches. Just yesterday I had to burn everything in my cave to get rid of a bush that had crept in through a crack in the back wall".


"Yes. Pointy things can only lead to problems."

Boffin says Astronomical Unit should be binned

Claus P. Nielsen

AU may be flawed, but Mach numbers are even more ridiculous

Especially when (as recently seen in the press) they are used to describe the speed of a (paper) space shuttle reentering the earths atmosphere.

So what exactly is the speed of sound in vacuum?

Former top brass call for first-strike nuke option

Claus P. Nielsen

No need to bash americans

This report was written by a bunch of generals from several different NATO countries.

The conclusions have probably less to do with the nationality of the respective generals than it has to do with the fact that they are retired generals form the cold-war era.

Not ALL old dogs can be taught new tricks.