* Posts by Mike

245 posts • joined 11 Jul 2007


Do biofuels cause famine? EU President opens probe


Root cause?

How about, stop feeding huge amounts of crops to cows which then get ground up for cheap, unhealthy fast food and feed the crops to people?

Or we can carry on driving our fat asses in our SUVs to McBurger with the aircon on full, suck up another 2000 Kcals for breakfast and bitch about fuel prices like these things aren't related.

Excess consumption or food for all, you decide.

Girl-only fish species survives by cloning



The current Focus magazine has a big article about this (in fact it's the cover story), looks like it's reasonably common in fish, sharks if kept in all female tanks may "clone" themselves without males triggering it, mind you it's the exception rather than the rule, it's a very interesting thing, but what sets this fish apart is the fact it (a much 'higher' animal than a rotifier) does it as a rule without genetically killing itself, maybe other species have done this and died out because of it?

AMD shoves delayed Barcelona chip out of the door


AMD can't be the underdog if it's better all the time!

Intel is way out in front with it's fastest procs, the QX9770 is probably a third faster than a phenom 9700, but it's down to the money, honey, Intel can reduce the cost of it's lower end procs because their high end is sub'ing them, AMD don't have that luxury at the moment, the best you can do at the moment is get a 5000+ black edition and (if you're lucky) clock it to 3.5Ghz which is much better bang for your buck than the same priced Intel, but it's not "officially" supported.

I'm glad I went for an AMD (3800+) a year ago 'cause now I can stick in the 5000+ be which will prolong the life of it for not much cash, if I went intel I'd be looking at a new mobo and a higher cost proc, mind you if I had money falling out of my arse I'd be Intel all the way.

Reg April Fools '08


Re: @ Mike Re: Re: Enough April fools rubbish


I realise that my eloquent and detailed breakdown of Andrew Thomas' posting may have been too subtle for you to get, but fundamentally just because a joke was done before doesn't stop it being funny ever again. Anybody who complains about someone who is trying to make life a bit lighter is basically a twat, this is perhaps a little bit general, but just because you don't find something funny it doesn't mean that everybody thinks it's unfunny, I'd rather hear 1 funny joke and 99 not very funny jokes than no jokes at all, maybe it's just me, but life is just too short to be that miserable.

Personally I think it would be better if you find somthing funny than unfunny, if you don't , you don't, but to actually go out of your way to winge that you don't find it funny is a special type of sad.

If you think my opinion makes me a twat because I enjoy the efforts that people put in to raise a smile, and am disappointed by pointlessly negative people then that's cool by me, I suspect I'd rather be me than you.


Re: Enough April fools rubbish

@Andrew Thomas


Jules Verne gets intimate with ISS


Re: Missed trick?

Maybe they're just not that Elite? I'm mean they're really Krait.and everything, but not that good, I only managed Deadly.

Just don't hit the 'a' key, unless you have retros.

Makes me want to find my old games disks now......

DARPA releases 'Blackswift' hyperplane details


The greatest aviation achievement to date?


Karl Lattimer is right is right the Vulcan was by comparison a far greater achievement, bomber to nuclear deterrent back to bomber (scaring the crap out of the argies). The Vulcan was far more practical, the Vulcan kept the cold war cold, the RR engines served Concorde for years there's never been the same degree of mid air refueling than in the Falklands sortes.

The Blackbird was bleeding edge (literaly if you count the fuel leaking), basically the Blackbird was for show, tiny unmanned high altitude surveillance do the job much better (cheaper, no risk to life etc).

The Harrier, Jaguar, Concorde, F111 all were far more all round achievers, whereas the Blackbird just went fast, and lets face it the X-15 wins that particular accolade hands down (although it's not so much of an aircraft).

Oh and while we're at it, the Wright Bothers didn't fly powered aircraft first, they were beaten to it by many others (and their "first" needed a headwind to take off), it's just that the criteria for powered, controlled flight was made up to fit what they actually did (not that it was even proved what they did...) rant over.

PS. Blackbirds aint that fast, I've only had 185mph on the clock on mine and 173mph through the timing gate (stock tune).

UK supercomputer probes secrets of universe


Now now...


>You seem to have a blind spot for spin off.

No, it's not a blind spot, I strongly believe that people who think that unrelated 'spin off' justifies a project are themselves blind. A failed project is a failed project regardless of the fact that they discovered a new way of making sausages or worse (and all to common), having a failed project and then pretending something that you happend to use was a "spin off" (e.g. non stick frying pans/PTFE and the space project).

>Anyway, you mentioned that there are better ways to approach QCD than numerical simulation. Congratulations - you should keep very quiet about them and immediately write to the Clay foundation who have a $1,000,000 millenium prize up for a mathematical solution!

I'm afraid my Physics and Maths stopped at 'A' level, but thank you for the suggestion, of course I actually said "it needs a better approach rather than chucking loads of money at it", there was also a wonderful article in the New Scientist (a year ago?) about a graphical representation of fundamental particles which I believe is potentially in line for the Clay prize (and doesn't require another 18 theoretical dimentions, which makes a lot of people very happy and a lot of number crunchers very unhappy).

Notwithstanding, there's a lot of zero degree/QCD experimentation which is cheap and still giving us loads of new knowlege.

And... No, www wasn't "invented" by UK particle physicists, they (CERN? as I recall only some of the team were british) they coined the phrase www, wrote and re-wrote some software then just joined together earlier research (some of which goes back to the 40's), the internet was in existance, so was hypertext, what they called www and what exists today are different beasts.

Notwithstanding, even if a few scientists with time on their hands did invent something useful which wasn't their day job, it doesn't mean it wouldn't happen anyway and let's not forget all the bad side of the coin, cold fusion anyone?

@John Stirling

You do realise that misquoting someone to make a point is not only rude but also reveals a flaw in your character, I indicated that the research was "almost pontless", again I will emphasise the importantce of funding reseach that will make a difference to todays society before reseach that *might* have something useful in it, hey! we may find a spin off source of endless clean, cheap energy, but it's a bit of a long shot and it might be worth trying to find that instead anyway.

>lack of symmetry proves only lack of symmetry.

Errr... no the assumption of itself doesn't prove itself

>not whilst it still has a 100% success rate.

This 100% sucess rate... would that be the failure of LEP to conclusivly find Higgs and the need to use LHC? and anyway FNAL may find it before LHC has a chance.



>Hmm, you mean "pointless" in the same way as Faraday's research into electricity 200 years ago, pointless like Einstein's research into relativity and quantum mechanics 100 years ago, or indeed pointless along the lines of the 'research' of Michelangelo and da Vinci 500 years ago?

No, and I don't mean pointless as in research based on incorrect assumptions (phlogiston is a well documented example).

If you can't see the difference between Faraday's (frankly cheap as chips, even for the times) research into electricity (i.e. something that we, as individuals can directly use to affect the physical world) and spending a huge, and I mean huge amounts of money to prove or disprove a theory which the theoretical physicists openly admit cant think of any practical application for then stop and think for a moment.

By all means research anything whatsoever, even if it's a waste of time, but think of those who cant get funding because the money is going elsewhere.

>Next some crazies will be suggesting that we educate our school children in such matters.

Bang... you've hit the nail on the head there, let's focus our energies in school on things that are useful and provide a grounding for further/higher education, but lets fund kaon and higgs boson research with someones money who cares.

>PS: Sorry, have to stay anon on this one.

No worries, if you don't have the courage of your conviction, I'm sure somebody will still take your opinions seriously.


I've got the answer, but you're really not going to like it......


No, it's not nice research, it's almost pointless and means very, very little for anybody but a very few people, it needs a better approach rather than chucking loads of money at it, you'd have been very lucky for LHC to confirm the results, I think the day has passed where research doesn't count the cost of research with only theoretical benefits.


For matter to be created, the opposite must have also been created which means you should always have an equal quantity of both, but we don't have, so for scientists to prove we don't need God to exist they need to find out why.


The article indicates "the force of gravity", it doesn't say gravity is a force, neither is it a field, gravitational force (G * m1 * m2) / (d2) operates over a field, but more accurately it's a curve in the space-time continuum which acts on a body identically to acceleration.

Nuff said(2)

Microsoft codes leap year bug into Exchange 2007




Given the accuracy of the Bible with numbers (pi anyone...?) I don't think that you're in any position to suggest a "better" software package for heaven, does the 35 odd years means you only counted every other one?


Interest in banks is calculated on 360, 365 and 366 years depending on the where you are in the world, so typically people can pay more during a leap year.

I suspect that most banks aint gonna be using excel to work out how to charge their customers!

Time is like... relative anyway man.

HMRC pays criminal for 'tax dodger' discs


We want what is ours....


People aren't astonishing at all, they are stupid, they don't realise that the government don't have money, they merely invest and redistribute the money from their people (us), what have the Romans ever done for us?

If, and "if" is the word here, if there are people that are evading tax which should be paid to support the UK then it is reasonable to try to obtain it, as Lichtenstein refuse to aid the UK in this then it's not unreasonable to steal it, do two wrongs make a right? well, if I and other UK tax payers have to pay more than our fair share because of these criminals then damn straight it's right.

NEC goes Back To The Future with XP for biz users


@Boris H. calm down... eh.... eh.....

"Now that you are such a big Fan(some would say shill) of Vista please do tell me what is the new feature in it you did not have in XP and can not live without now."

Is that a flame? have I been flamed? gosh!

How about...

"The pretty interface had to go with first 20 minutes, and the old windows look was there after 25 (as soon as i figured out where they hid the interface this time)."

Ahhh.... you must be the luddite Iwas talking about, probably the same kind of person who changed the XP look and feel to look like NT calling it the "Windows Duplo Edition"

I like Aero, I liked it when it was running on Linux before Microsoft mimiced it (and when it didn't require a 256Mb graphics card).

Anyway, back to you(r) (f)lame.... what does Vista have that I can't live without? ummmm.... nothing? OK, there's better user control, bitlocker (but not in business edition.... durrrrr), IP6, better crypto, readyboost looks promising and the media centre is much better (media handling generally is better, not DRM 'tho), but will I die if I don't have these? hopefully nobodys life will ever depend on a Redmond product.

I don't *love* Vista, but it's not a big deal (for me), I've run it on fully certified kit (lovely) and uncertified kit (not so good), I run XP on my laptop (lightweight and quick), I run 2008, 2003, Solaris, Aix, Linux and nothing gives me any serious gripes (I'd like to see 2008 a little more stable) Vista isn't a big leap on from XP, only a few better things (maybe a quantum to use the term correctly), and as I said the inability to use XP drivers was a really bad thing, it's bloaty, but it does more in the background (even if it's pointless), lets face it, Microsoft could have added the extra features into XP SP3 and given it free, but that wouldn't have been good business sense.

If you're buying brand new kit for the home, go Vista.

Don't upgrade to Vista from XP.

For business I'd use XP Pro and always use disk encryption.

Enterprise, use 2003 for Exchange/BDC/PDC,Workgroups,Sharepoint etc. (Solaris or virtulised Linux for high end DB servers)

There you go... sorted :-)


Move with the times?

I must be the odd one out, I run a dual boot XP/Vista system and almost never use XP, it works absolutely fine for all games (Steam based), music, video, office 2007 etc.

It's a 3800+/2Gb and performance is absolutely great (windows experience score of 5).

It's rock stable, and apart from one issue with "do you want to prepare this blank disk" with any DVD I put in (30 second fix) it's worked out of the box.

I think the biggest problem was chaging the HAL, being unable to use some XP drivers meant that loads of hardware didn't work without a driver update, secondly some people expected it to be faster than XP, sooooo.... more features, prettier and more going on in the background, but yet you think it should be faster on the same hardware?

Vista is not ME, it's not a crippled XP (like ME was a crippled 98), but it is immature, SP1 could well make it as stable as XP SP1, this is probably the first time in 15 years that the world didn't *need* a new desktop OS, Server 2008 is a different matter, I found it a pig to set up and not that stable, but, apparently it is far more scalable (processor, memory and disk), but we'll see, I think this year will be the move to Vista/2008.

As a footnote, I would guess that a lot of reluctance to use Vista is pure 'ludditeness', if it ain't broke don't fix it, call it what you will, but time moves on, XP will not be here forever whether you like it or not, did you know that they are turning analog TV off?

YouTube biker clocked at 189mph


My 2c


I have no idea how you got your injury and I know nothing about you or the situation, it must have been traumatic for you and it will stay with you for the rest of your life, I'm sure that the anger you feel towards speeders is justified and nothing will change this now. Do you think the situation would have been different if the speeder was paying more attention and drving within their abilities and with respect to the road conditions?

Unfortunately people do not concentrate fully, over-rate their abilities or fail to correctly fully assess the environment, which is why we have speed limits, parking restrictions, yellow boxes, stop signs etc. we can't trust people to do the right thing, because people think they are more capable than they are or don't assess the risks correctly, this video was a bit of fun for someone, probably carefully planned after years of motorcycling experience, what is unfortunate is that this video may encourage less able riders to do the same thing or to chose the wrong time and place to do this and people will get hurt.

Stop squabbling over what is and isn't possible, there's no point.

If you enjoy speeding and think you do it safely keep quiet about it, if you boast about it people will either think you are a fool or think they can do it too.

Xbox Live account takeovers put users at risk


The bigger issue is not social engineering......

There's a war coming......

Some people want to be able to prove who they are beyond all doubt, anti identity theft (whatever that means), and they complain when a social engineering hack shows weaknesses in lax processes or the ability to set up a direct debit for someone else.

Some people don't want to be identified, the liberal (no2id) crowd insist they shouldn't have to be able to prove who they are.

OK, so a token with RSA style cycling, two part biometric scanning and a password will solve the (so called) identity theft but at the cost of privacy.

What do you want?

It's one or the other, find something that does both and apart from solving this little dichotomy you may well become very rich.

Peter Jackson to lord over 'Rings' prequels



Your flames make you a fool......

"Because LoTR is aimed at adults, reading it as a teen is naturally going to be difficult."

OK, I'm well read (or like to think so), catch-22, LOTR, On the road, The female enuich, Unbearable lightness of being, catcher in the rye, etc. etc. and they are all good reads, reading should always be a pleasure, a "clever" book doesn't make a better read, and thinking somehow that LOTR is "better" than the hobbit because it's harder to read is just idiocy, Terry Prachet writes books for "people old enough to understand", Asimov's books are brilliant stories that have wonderful depth and insight, but you don't have to "get" that to enjoy it.

Stop being so conceited and just enjoy reading, books, any books (just not the fucking bible, for christ sake ;-)



Oh, what the f*** happened to this world? There's only one trilogy, you f****ing morons. All right, look, there is only one return and it ain't of the king, it's of the jedi. Those f***in' hobbit movies were boring as hell. All it was, was a bunch of people walking, three movies of people walking to a ****ing volcano.

Huge jellyfish pack slaughters 100,000 salmon


It's about.....

4.75 cubic furlongs....

....I think

Squaddies warned off Facebook


Re: Duh

Yup, standard security briefing, because people are stupid and they actually do this.

There's some great American groups where people boast about their M16s and AKs, then tell people where they live and when they'll be on holiday.

Lost CD may put pension holders in peril


Identity theft mis-information

"The Industry" has done a fine job of nicely avoiding any blame for identity theft.

If you can apply for a loan using a few things like name, address, birthday and NI number then who's fault is that?

Is it:

1. The naughty criminal for doing what naughty criminals do

2. The person who lost the data (bad person)

3. The provider of the loan for having no real clue who you are?

I think we know 1. will always happen, 2. will take the blame and 3. who pretends to be battling identity theft by refunding credit cards and runs adverts with people rumaging through bins to "steal your identity".

if we put up with lax procedures for validating who we are, then we will end up with the responsibility.

Microsoft pays $240m for tiny sliver of Facebook


@ Michael Greenhill and everybody else

Leave the poor man alone, I'm sure he doen't have a lot of time for feminine hygene products either and pointing out someones ignorance doesn't make you clever (although your ignorance makes me clever ;-)

@ Robert Woods

Do you honestly think that FB woud IPO at $15bn? would any investment house not understand this? if the initial offer came anywhere at a $15bn valuation then the price would almost certainly be revised and that would be a disaster for most IPOs

So the question is, is this all about advertising? has Microsoft just run out of income streams? or what I would consider more likely, they haven't just bought 1.6% to get advertising but instead they have something alltogether different up their sleeve?

I think that people forget the importance of the "killer app" concept, where would Microsoft be without MSWord? what if you had a nice interface to your contacts/pictures/diary/media/social/discussion facebook is this already, what if you could then extend it? ooooohhh... this can do this too, how about a mobile front end? voip? payment engine? facebook is potentially the new face of the internet, think about what people mainly use it for, it's already over critical mass and all other social sites will pass away, yes there will be MySpace people, but their day has gone, no doubt we will refer to the remaining users as luddites in a few years.

Microsoft is not stupid, and if you think things like Vista show the opposite then you are soooooo wrong, they will get their $240mil in blood, somehow, they have a plan.

Museum drops Watson talk in race row



There's no question that "people who have to deal with black employees..." was a racist comment, he may have said it because of personal experience, but that doesn't excuse it (it just explains it), by categorising all black people together and implying that anyone with black employees will have the same experience because of their "blackness" makes him a bigot.

In many cases there is a measurable gap between white and black academic achievement in schools, however most empirical research finds the root cause points towards education and not ability.


As several readers have pointed out there is a difference between intelligence and academic achievement which some other readers don't seem to understand.

Let's put that in perspective, Mr Watson "concerns for the future of Africa", does he think that the policy makers are so retarded that it can bring a country down? that there are no intelligent people in Africa or if there are they have no influence? maybe the political environment in Africa and how people attain power is a valid topic for debate but not dismissing an entire country because of race.

As a general note there are differences that can affect groups, alpha-actinin-3 concentration in Kenyan runners for example may contribute to ability but diet, training and environment play a much larger factor.

The story of black men having larger genitalia is often perpetuated by white people, it's racist but tollerated because it's a complementary trait, it's not an insult to non blacks, to indicate that you cant work with someone because of their race is not in the same ballpark (is there a joke in there somewhere?)

So, to continue the logical topic and abstract slightly, as girls are out performing boys in school and have been so for years, why do men have better salaries and almost all the political power in the UK? will it make any difference to the future of the UK? or will misogynistic middle class racists continue to keep the power and money while living off the life-work of unrecognised others?

Genetics boffins on the verge of artificial bacteria


There is no such word as if

OK, so we have a scooped out bacterium with only the minimal genes for survival, like a blank sheet? so pump in some other genes from somewhere else and you'll have something new, this is going to happen.

Some of the new things will be bad for us, there's good bugs and bad bugs, some we can tollerate and some we can't, this will also happen.

Labs have leaks, this has happened before, it will happen again.

There is no question that [we] will create something bad that will escape into the wild, this will happen over and over again.

When this happens we will either survive it or not, and this assumes that this is an accident and this technology is not funded or purchased by people with less than altruistic intentions.

Nobel-winning boffin slams ISS, manned spaceflight


Spinoffs or just "Spin"?

Almost all of the "useful" spinoffs from [manned] space travel were either in development for other purposes or would probably have been discovered/invented eventually anyway, what about the billions that were spent and had no other purpose but supporting human life in space? what about damage to the environment? the mental resources that could have been used to solve earthly problems?

Don't listen to this rubbish that people spout, look behind the spin and try to understand the facts.

So, the picture of the earth taken back in 1968, "Many argue this global awareness started the conservation movement" no they don't, this is just spin, and nothing else, and let's face it, nearly 40 years on, it didn't do a very good job did it?

A little bit of perspective is needed to cut through the spin, manned space travel is about propaganda, first man is space, first man on the moon, this is cold war stuff.

$12 billion? what direct, sustainable good could you do instead? off the top of my head, how about clean water for everybody on the planet? OK, wateraid estimate £15 per person and there's 1.1 billion people without clean water, so that would only help 400,000,000 people but I'm sure there's an economy of scale possible here.

3000 children die every single day of malaria, this is preventable.

Future of humanity space? are you serious? if we can't keep this biosphere alive what chance do we have out there?



Re: There are a lot of good reasons for sending people

It took 15 mins for Neil Armstrong to walk down 3 steps, yes, a human can "think from themselves" and do stuff outside their programming, but it's not as good as you think, there's no way that a human could cover 8 miles in a week, are you suggesting 8 days outside? imagine the radiation sheilding, oxygen/waste/CO2/water recycling, they would need just to survive, let alone do anything practical, carry equipment etc.

Robots move slowly to ensure that they don't break anything,drop down a hole, get caught on a rock etc. do you honestly think that astro's are going to risk their lives by running around for hours, miles from their habitat where a simple rip or crack in their suits will kill them?

There is a very stong argument for better robots and cameras that see high resoloution 3D images but we can develop that cheaply (tihis is what we should fund)

Even if a human sees something that a robot missed or discovered a fault that a robot couldn't identify, lets not overstate how much could be done, they won't have a magic toolkit or any resource they don't carry (and they don't carry anything they don't think they need to) the shuttle's heat sheild was fixed with a record-breaking space walk using a resin which the knew they might use, they were trained for it, yet it was still a fantastic achievement pushing their abilities to the limit (it's not like locking the A-Team up in a fully stocked garage you know)

Re: Short term, blinkered thinking

Yes, you have to begin now, but you don't need to actually send people into space to do it (yet)

1. Computer modeling can help hugely

2. Unmanned flights that monitor conditions (especially radiation) can be done in far higher numbers

3. Deep sea environments can provide most of the testing (recycling air, water and food, remote control, video etc.) this technology works well, we just need to make it lighter.

Re: Obviously hasn't thought about Einstein's limit

"All those lost landers and malfunctioning orbiters could easily have been fixed and put back into service if a human crew had been available nearby, with a resulting cost saving of millions of dollars."

Could they have been fixed? really? you would need to have sent a spare for every bit which may have broken (so why not just send another rover?), do you honestly believe that having a "crew" nearby would have been cheaper? I wonder how they got there? do you think it cost more, or less than the rover that they were fixing? I'll spell it out slowly for the hard of thinking, you can send many, many, many more unamanned craft, further and more cheaply than manned craft

Re: One world: Break it and your species is extinct

True, let's do all we can to keep it alive, does anyone think that humans will be living on the moon or europa in a completely sustainable way anytime soon? sending people into space doesn't help with this anyway, this is just the transport method, it's the e"Eden" style biodomes which will tell us if this is possible and this is the technology we need to prove.

OK, let's suspend disbelief for a few mins and assume we can establish a colony on another rock somewhere:

1. How would you shuttle that many people out there?

2. How would you shuttle the biodomes out there?

3. How many people could you sustain? enough for a decent gene pool? who would you send first? only able bodied? the best breeders? the smartest? the biologically strongest? only people who reside in the country sending them? how would you feel about the people left behind?

4. It is impossible to recycle everything (how about the machines you need to use to recycle things etc.) even Eden "consumes"

"If humans have not established a permanent, independent existence off the Earth by then, it will be the last hurrah for Mankind. Those who argue against Man in space are fools, at best, and greedy ego-centric solipsists, more likely."

To those who argue for Man in space thinking that this will save humanity instead of fixing a perfectly good planet which is not beyond hope, I have no words. Man is space OK, do it, but not until we've fixed Man on earth.

Hospital's brand new '£1m' server room goes up in smoke


Re: It's simple, nobody was thinking.

"100*30=3,000 watts continuous power use. He bought an air con that removes 1000 watts. I asked him where the other 2,000 watts were supposed to go, got a blank look."

Will a single 60 watt lightbulb in a room with no aircon will eventually be hotter than the surface of the sun? would extracting 3001 watts from a room using 3000 hit absolute zero sometime?

OK 3000 v's 1000 seems obvious and insufficient, and good for fag packet* maths, but don't forget conductivity and heat capacity of the walls/floors/ceilings, solar gain through any windows, airflow, pressure pockets, insulation etc. it's not rocket science but it is engineering science.

I've seen a server room (a real one, that could remove more heat than the servers could ever produce) cook because the aircon cooled pockets of the room and when a server caught fire the airflow was so badly engineered that the smoke detectors only ever had clean, cool air blown over them.

A 3Kw may not be good enough by itself, conversely 1Kw may be fine, for a hobbyist, just ramp it up to 5Kw and you'll probably be OK, probably, without calcuating for all these other factors you really don't know, an extra $300 for a higher 5Kw "overspec'd" aircon won't be an issue, but you can't do the same thing on the enterprise scale. Perhaps somebody made this exact mistake, someone who thought it was simple, was working to a budget, added up the power usage and thought that would be good enough?

*fag packet, for US readers may not mean what you think it does.

What's 77.1 x 850? Don't ask Excel 2007


@Maybe a compression problem.

It's almost certainly related to 16 bit issues, maybe the floating point result is 65535.00000000001, but really "why" isn't the point, this isn't some self trained hobbyist code, this is professional, enterprise code from a multi billion dollar organisation and they screwed up.

Perhaps if they spent a little less time hiding flight simulators in the code and a little more time coding and testing the application it wouldn't have happened.

Quantum computing spectre looms over ecommerce



Public key crypto which depends on factoring a number made from two primes will die in an instant if somebody cracks the maths to do it, after this happens we will have to find a better way of doing it, generation of long streams of symetric keys in a predictable (to those who know) way, a truly random key as long as the data is (and will remain forever) uncrackable.

Incidentially, this could be used to crack symetric key cyphers if you can brut force billions of keys quickly and check the decrypted value for valid data, if you have 1Mb of http data encrypted with 3Des, keep trying keys until you get ascii only, once you have, you have the session key, totally impractical with a silicon chip computer, but not with QC (perhaps we should start looking at much longer session keys?).

Another solution is dongle/token based crypto, assuming the changing key rotates quickly and unpredictably, we would need to extend the technology (multiple server capability not based on RSA style maths), but physical keys biometric protected USB interfaced tokens could give that security today.

Euler totient based crypto has done us proud for a long time, but who's to say that it hasn't already been broken? even simple maths like the classic prime=(41 + (n*n) -n)) works for a lot of low values of n which shows that there could be a pattern in the chaos (and a shortcut to Shor starting values could make it breakable in seconds on a basic PC and maybe real-time with dedicated, todays technology chips).

QC is new and facinating, but perhaps it's the solution to the prime problem and not the problem itself?

I would be interested in other applications for QC other than trying to brut-force crypto maybe calculating weather patterns after the worlds topography and temps can be input as a massive number of variables, which given our screwed up weather, wouldn't that be useful?

Sod robots, send people into space: report


Re: Inspiration?

Chris is exactly right, space is unexplored by "Man", we can map the entire worlds surface (doen't mean we've explored it 'tho, but that's another argument) but the article poses the question robots or man should go into space, apart from the political posturing (1st man in space/1st man on the moon = we are much better than you, na na na na na) there's very little reason to go into space, OK, we might discover something cool to use (helium-3 etc), but would we find that without going into space in person?

The resources that we chomp through, in technical and cash would be better spent on earth, looking after earth, and if we have, I mean really have to go into space, send robots, we can send many more, far further for the same money.

As for crossing the "frontier" "whatever the cost" ,once we have an outpost on the moon, next will be europa and so on, it's never ending and the cost is in human life, the ones that could be saved with funding technical advances for problems that we know about, by funding researchers that are crying out to save lives, there's an indirect cost in lives not saved, and don't forget the direct costs, the impacts of burning that much fuel*, all the poisons created in the manufacture of the equipment.

If we had cash to spare and there was no significant impact to the environment then yes, we should explore space "in person" (I would certainly love to), but this is not the case, look how much crap we've left on Evererst (figuratively and actually) just climbing a mountain "because it's there", Chris Goodchild, I agree with the poetry in what you say, and perhaps this is why it will happen, but we're not just sending out a few brave people on a big boat, we're ignoring the crisis of our planet in favour of political one-upmanship.

*anyone who says haha!, you're wrong, they burn oxygen and hydrogen, only producing water, no nasty emissions, is themselves wrong, how did we get the oxygen and hydrogen? simple, we used energy from elsewhere to split water, and that energy came from a power station, do the maths and you might be shocked on the actual damage to the environment.


Ignore the spin, get the facts, no humans in space thanks.

1. Manned space travel inspires people?

Without a doubt, but those people would perhaps otherwise be inspired by jet fighters, deep sea exploration etc. or even just plain robot "manned" craft, all the people who would otherwise be inspired wouldn't suddenly give up on life and spend their time watching Trisha and having pizza delivered.

2. People in space would be "better" than machines

Anyone who had seen the high definition, uncut, unedited version of the moon landings from the original tapes rather than the ropy TV broadcast would realise how long it takes a human to do anything at all, just exiting the craft and going down three steps took about 15 minutes. If an unmanned craft gets broke, learn from it and send another one, you can have lots of unmanned craft or go far further for the price of unmanned. (note, the analogy with deep sea exploration and "rovers" is blindingly obvious here)

3. Name one thing....

Yes, NASA did invent a lot of useful stuff, but remember it's the people who worked for NASA who did this, not the magic of space travel (let alone manned space travel), most of these things (you could argue all of them), would have been invented sooner or later, besides imagine if cancer or disease research had the same funding what suffering in the world could have been avoided?

And besides, how beneficial are these so-called benefits really? non-stick pans wear out whereas a stainless steel one could last forever (but be a little harder to clean and need a bit of skill to use), stainless pans are far more ecologically friendly. Baby foods developed from NASA technology means that people buy expensive, calorie intense, processed foods in wasteful packaging instead of additive free meat and veg cooked and blended by their parents.

4. Homo Sapiens vs. Robo Sapiens

No, that's just plain stupid, let's not think about living on another moon or planet because ours is getting screwed, lets put the technical and financial resources into keeping ours alive, besides, it's not the imaginary world of Bladerunner, can you possibly imagine the resources required to put even 0.0001% of our population onto another celestial body? (that's forgetting the weakened gene pool, eugenics argument, social elitism etc)

I'm not against (unmanned) space travel per-se, the global communications systems that we have in place are wonderful, and perhaps the helium-3 research means we could mine the moon for cleaner energy for earth, but lets get our priorities right, see through the political spin, who's life world be worse off without PTFE? who's could be better if we focused the research elsewhere? (the answers are nobody, everybody's)

Lawsuit claims sex-discrimination, bias at EMC


Re: Thanks Guys


Great to see you post, but please can you avoid the wishy-washy gratitude to men that are just stating facts (although to be fair to John, very well put).

"While he'll undoubtedly disagree that his behaviour is such, I believe that trolls should be ignored."

"Trolls like that" are typically like that because their parents have not taught them about equality, they are real people (they can think and have desires and feelings) but they need to be educated, if you ignore them, they don't get fixed, everybody has a responsibility (and that includes you) to point out their defects so they can think about them and hopefully change.

Womens liberation has stopped because of this "ignore them" attitude, you must "give them the time of day" and do your bit to educate them, otherwise you are just as much to blame by excluding a sector of society from developing.



Steve Roper you give me the impression are a sexist, you seem unable to work with women unless they are "blokey" and can "give as good as they get", also the fact that you seem unwilling to pursue a financially rewarding career because you are scared of the leagues of feminists out to get you means that you are not only losing out in cash terms but pyscologically stunting any possible development as a person.

Gregor Kronenberger, I agree, so-called positive discrimination does happen, I've seen less able women get jobs they can't handle, but if you want to fix it rather than just winge about it, spend 50% of your time complaining about it and 50% defending womens rights, you do not have a right to complain against male sexism unless you also condem female sexism.

Ban texting while driving, say Americans


Of course we need a new law

Law should be about about prevention not punishment, by making it illegal to use a phone when driving, it prevents accidents, without the law someone could (legally) argue that they were paying special attention to the road while texting, looking further ahead, only briefly glancing at the phone etc.

If this law did not exist you could only punish people after an accident, you couldn't say using a phone while driving is dangerous, otherwise changing the radio, lighting a cigarette, having a tic tac, opening a window would all be have to be illegal too as you're not 100% concentrating on the road.

It would be nice to think that we wouldn't need another law, but as Edwin indicates, we are dealing with people, and people need control as they are unaware of their limitations, this law will save lives.

Flash: Public Wi-Fi even more insecure than previously thought


It's important and earth shattering because........

Even these days when everybody with some technical knowlege can see the vulnerabilites, large modern companies who really should know better are still opening their systems (i.e. us) up to casual hackers who don't need much technical ability.

We can argue the fact that Graham is getting some credit for something which a schoolkid with a laptop and an Internet connection could do after half an hour of googling, but that's not his fault, he's not clever, the website providers are stupid.

The 'big win' is for all providers of a service which should be private to run https:// instead of http:// from log in to log out. Then certificate security becomes the next vulnerbility (don't use a PC that could have been compromised, never ignore certificate warnings, don't accept a new CA cert into your browser etc.)

A wider question is 'Who should be responsible for security?' yes, gmail can be https:// log in to log out so why not make it the default? Yes, there will be a cost in performance, the providers will need to invest more, and the user may notice a 10% hit, and there may be other browser warnings when mixing secure and non secure content, there's a difference between a taking choice away and people not understanding there's a risk if they don't use https://

I personally can't believe that people will use public PCs to do secure things such as paying bills, but that's starting to get off topic.

Cheesed-off spooks give up on duff spy-sat


Is it really broken?

....or is that just what they want us to believe?

Move along... nothing to see here....... ;-)

Jonathan King in Harold Shipman song rumpus


So many slight errors?

I didn't realise that Sally died in March, she was only 42, this indeed is even more of a tragedy, I guess she never received the publicity in death that she received in life, I do care, it's a sad story (and not just for Sally, but the parents who went through the grinder too) but I won't pretend to be profoundly affected by her case, I never knew her nor any family member personally.

The first stage in recovery is to accept you have a problem, perhaps we have come some way to identifying an underlying reasons for the denial, repression of homosexual feelings when Jonathan was a teenager? social stigma? a misalligned age of consent? There are professionals who are really very good at helping people move on with personal issues, counselors who offer confidential emotional support perhaps? It couldn't possibly hurt to talk to somebody and it might help (perhaps he does, let's not assume)


More Truth?

I'm not sure that comparing his case to Sally Clark is really very relevant, she was convicted on the basis of one piece of evidence which a group of experts belived could only have occurred in one way, subsequntly when it was proved to be flawed science she was cleared, the legal system worked, and as much as I genuinely feel for Sally and there's nothing that can take back the suffering that she went through as this will stay with her for life, this is the risk we run when we have laws to protect people.

Jonathan's case however is in a different ballpark, the evidence came from five victims regarding incidents spreading over several years, I believe there was another case being prepared against Jonathan (real name Kenneth btw.) with another six alleged victims, it was pulled, I don't know why, but I suspect the evidence was either weak or non-existant, remember the prosecution has to prove guilt.

As to 'grey areas' and the definition of what is and isn't a paedophile, Johnathan indicated "The definition of a paedophile is someone who enjoys sex with children." and argues that 14 and 15 year olds are not legally children (specifically quoting the 1933 act). Every other act that I know of (specifically, ones realted to the protection of children) defines a child as at least 16, so I guess we will have to differ on that point, he has a right to believe what he believes, no matter the arguments or facts we put forward.

Do I have sympathy that a 16 boy who has consentual sex with a 15 year old girl may be commiting a crime? yes (the CPS would probably not consider it in the public interest to pursue this anyway). Do I have sympathy for a middle aged man having nonconsentual sex with a 14 year old boy is considered a criminal? No, none, but that's my prejudices (and I suspect most peoples).

Jonathans time has passed, young people today don't know or care who is is, perhaps the popularity he enjoyed once can only be replaced by controversy, even if it all turned out to be a huge conspiracy people still wouldn't be interested, yes there would be a couple of talk shows for a few months, he has a great career behind him, he's 60 odd, time to retire.



The Children and Young Persons Act 1933, chooses to use "young person" as a defintion for people aged 14-15, and a child as a young person under 14 but this is typically applied when the young person has, or may have committed a crime (police searching rights etc.), not as a defintion for protection of the child.

Indecency with Children Act 1960, except where otherwise stated, "child" means a person under the age of sixteen years.

The Protection of Children Act 1978 defines a child as someone under the age of 16

Section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, Clause 37 of the Bill defines a child as, "a person under the age of 18".

The NSPCC defines a child as under the age of 16 http://www.nescpc.org.uk/nescpc/definition.html

If I were a legal person I would use the newest act for the defintion of a child (the 1978 act seems definitive to me) rather than a 1933 act (didn't we used to send children to workhouses and up chimneys then?)

Reading details of the case as reported by the Guardian certainly indicates to me that it was premeditated (using "seduction kits") and non consentual (I'm not a psycologist and do not understand the psycology of abuse).


At the end of the day, let's get the facts and make our own minds up.... I have..... (no more Fosters for me and the Orson CD might just go on the barbie after I finish drinking my Sol with a slice of lime)


Watched it

I didn't want to comment on it until I'd seen it (and nobody else should), so I watched it. To me it says nothing relevant about the media, King was convicted in court, despite having the funds to get top notch legal council, Shipman was found guilty after overwhelming evidence, does King make a case for euthanasia? maybe that's a healthy debate, if anything I think it makes the case for the opposite, but can't really see how this relates to King.

Perhaps King believes there is no such thing as bad publicity (tell that to Ratner), does he think that his career will come back? George Michaels did, but George is a nice guy who can sing (acts like a twat sometimes) and King is a convicted paeophile, who can't, they're not the same thing at all (ooooh that remends me, where's Gary Glitter?).

So we are feeding this with every comment? if you truly object to him then ignore him or even boycot everything he might make money out of, such as Fosters lager and Orson. But do it quitely, or he'll make a fuss and get more publicity.

Microsoft re-assures partners on Vista compatibility


Let it go man....

I think that you are missing the point of my posts, you offended someone and I suggested that you didn't use the word in that context again. I'm am sure that if you had close family affected by this condition you would be fully aware of the words use as a derogatory term and wouldn't have used it in that manner.

I certainly have no wont of trying to censor what you say, what you say is your choice which only you can take responsibility for, I was just asking for sensitivity.

Take my advice, or ignore my advice, either way, move on my friend, as made popular by Baz Lurhman "Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it."


re: Mong [fao Chris Burns]

I'm sure the word means lots of things in lots of different countries, you caused offense by using it on a UK based website perhaps because you did not understand the usage in the UK (please check UK dictionaries further for information). The intention of my ps. was to prevent further offense, which you may cause again if you use the term within a UK forum, and so, I will repeat, with a touch of your own advice.

would the poster who used the term 'mong' please remember that "in the UK" this is an offensive term referring to Downs victims and should refrain from using it in this manner.


Stop Whining

Vista is pretty, and is probably the closest to beryl that Microsoft could manage, this is perhaps the best bit of Vista.

Vista is written for dual core/proc, performance is rubbish for a single proc as it's not optimised for it, the ram is a big issue too but at you can get it for less than £25 a gig, it's a no brainer, have at least 2Gb

1. Why upgrade from XP?

If there's really nothing you *need*, then don't move from an established stable system to one before it's first service pack.

2. Why install Vista on a self build?

Again, there's loads of OEM XP still available and unused, dead PCs with XP licences that could be transferred. You could install an already used copy then phone up Microsoft to change the key and buy an XP licence (legal?), Vista costs more anyway! (don't bet tempted to clean install an upgrade OEM Vista just because you can, yes it's cheaper, but it's illegal, and might end up de-activated in the future)

Once it's built and installed, get al the latest patches for your apps and Vista, yes, bite the bullet and spend another couple of hours getting the latest iTunes (or whatever) and security updates.

btw. If you supply Vista PCs for a living, then it might just be a good idea to check the kit you want to install it on is Vista certified...... Just and idea..... rather than going on and on about it afterwards..... might even be better for your customers.

3. Why buy a new PC with Vista?

Because it will probably work OK, and you have a support route, fundamental 'fit for purpose' rights still apply.

I have two desktop machines running Vista, a Dual Xeon 2.4Ghz (HT) with 3Gb of ram, no problem with Vista (onboard Rage GFX is sloooooooow, no Aero) upgraded from XP Pro, had to upgrade from Nero 6 to Nero 7 (which is a bit poor). Second machine is an X2 3800+ 2Gb ram, GF7800, clean install no problems (it can dual boot to XP, but I haven't had to so far).

Mind you.......

Why doesn't the Business edition have BitLocker? I mean... really? surely business people need it?

btw, all my big servers are Sun and Linux, I wouldn't let Microsoft near any proper computers :-)

ps. would the poster who used the term 'mong' please remember that this is an offensive term refering to Downs victims and should refrain from using it in this manner.

Second-generation Sony PSP unveiled


Beautiful but........

No question it's the most beautiful handheld about, but my GP2x, with it's nasty on/off switch and "smaller than the PSP" screen can run loads of free stuff, takes cheap SD, rechargable double As, plays DivX, loads of emulators, USB drives etc. for £125, rather than the £200 PSP with £30 a pop games and £20 films.

Now, when the get Linux running native on any PSP without a hack, that will be something.... (where did I put that dead badger?)

A serious browser vulnerability, but whose?


Get the facts before you lay blame

1. What are the standards for passing requests on?

If the request should just be passed with no regard to content then IE is not contributing to the problem, if however there is a standard for passing on this request and IE is not adhering to it then is is adding to the issue.

2. Should FF assume it only gets 'clean' data?

This is the same question from the other side, however if there is no agreed standard then FF should validate this data (some have argued that this should be validated even without a standard, which has some mileage, take ever expanding jpg's as a similar issue)

In summary, FF will be fixed to stop this issue because IE can send bad data, if it's not IEs job to validate the data then it's not it's fault.



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