* Posts by Conundrum1885

621 posts • joined 29 Oct 2014


Navigating without GPS is one thing – so let's jam it and see what happens to our warship


Jusrt wait

Until there is a big solar storm knocking out GPS at the same time as a magnetic field anomaly.

One day soon the poles WILL flip and for a brief time navigation will be problematic.

Its been suggested that something very much like this might have done for MH370.

The working hypothesis is that there happened to be a brief magnetic spike in the area which has

in fact been reported before by both shipping and aviation.

By sheer coincidence one of the passengers had a faulty phone that "hooted" on the GPS L1 and L2

bands and this unfortunately coincided with the magnetic anomaly causing the plane to fly in effective

circles until it ran out of fuel.

Normal communcations being knocked out may well have been a short in the wiring: likely the

transmit side went bad or off frequency but reception was still possible.

Similar issues have been reported before with older equipment more susceptible to certain types of


Samsung: We will remotely brick smart TVs looted from our warehouse


TV brickage? Part Deux

Incidentally my Sony Bravia from the Early Myspace Era (tm) is still going but ran into the MHEG5 issue.

Its only really a problem if I use free-to-air but having one HDMI limits my options somewhat.

Now if there were a way to make say a Bluray player output VGA natively but still report that its

connected to HDCP enabled device in another room that isn't even turned on.. hehehe.

A RPi can output composite video so the function on older players enabling compatibility with non-HDTVs

might still be present though not used.


TV brickage?

So scuttling off to weaponize this.

I can think of a dozen uses TODAY to pwn specific pre-looked-up-model-number smart TVs such as those used in shops creatively. Holtzmann voice.

Of course strictly for amusement purposes, ie for proof of concept so the right button combination restores all functions.


Water conditions in Jupiter's clouds could support 'life', say astroboffins


Thats about as funny as

The one about life not being found on Venus due to not enough water being present.

Incidentally the whole phosphine "discovery" later turned out to be a combination of wishful thinking and coincidental

alignment of test data that showed a peak which wasn't quite as large as previously announced and in fact well within the

range likely to be produced by volcanoes.

Happy with your existing Windows 10 setup? Good, because Windows 11 could turn its nose up at your CPU


Will it run

On my Xeon E3 ?

Looks like the main problem is that my graphics card won't be supported for much longer: the 780 is basically obsolete.

'Ring of fire' headed to northern UK – a partial solar eclipse, not the sensation you get after a potent vindaloo


Same here

Also used the welding mask method and got some nice pictures despite the near total low cloud cover.

NASA ups price of a private stay aboard the ISS to reflect true expense of keeping tourists alive in space


In Space..

No-one can hear you ask for more funding.

Flying dildo poses a slap in the face for serious political debate


Re. helicocker

Think a press conference featuring G Kasparov once had this happen.

IIRC it was a foam-schlong-equipped model helicopter that time.

The policy of truth: As ransomware claims rise, what's a cyber insurer to do?


Something intriguing

I've found that a lot of external HDDs and other devices are counterfeit and/or fake capacity so the capability to embed date/time or usage triggered malware also exists.

There have been cases where the entry point of a specific piece of ransomware or malware has not been found despite extensive efforts.

Is it worth looking in more esoteric places like the monitor, optical drives and USB cables?

To write malware that hides in the SPD chip on DDR4 RAM is another not so well known method and as its quite hard to write in W10 etc it wouldn't be much of a stretch to implant something nasty that only dumps its payload when it "sees" a specific setup like a server grade CPU or more than n system drives.

So your average home user won't even know its there.

Also heard of more recent malware that reflashes the BIOS with its current settings intact so unless someone goes to alter it they won't know that its actually been compromised, or a combination of the two that writes persistent code to any programmable chip.

Wyoming powers ahead with Bill Gates-backed sodium-cooled nuclear generation plant


Wasn't there

A reactor design that used liquid metal at a much lower temperature?

IIRC BiPb was once considered as its a lot safer and can't catch fire if leaked.

Unsure how far they got, but the big problem is pumping a metal alloy is not simple.

Space junk damages International Space Station's robot arm



Two nations have carried out ASAT tests, both releasing debris clouds.

Unfortunately the damage is impossible to determine but had dangerous trajectories.

It could be that this particular piece originated here.

Need some chips? The Raspberry Pi Pico's RP2040 is heading to a channel near you


Re. 2040

Incidentally the main reason this is cheaper is that the Flash isn't onboard.

This has the advantage that for prototyping its quite possible to salvage a chip from the WEEE bin in the form of a

broken router, laptop or desktop MB.

US nuclear weapon bunker security secrets spill from online flashcards since 2013


Secret nuclear bunker

We have one here. It was open to the public not so long ago but unfortunately missed it.

Seeking an escape from the UK? Regulations aimed at rocket and satellite launches from 2022 have arrived


Assuming this only applies

To terrestrial originating craft.

Visitors from the Klattu Nebula or even further afield probably aren't subject to UK regulations if/when they show up.

Incidentally does the UK have a "NTI arrivals policy" ?

Probably way above my clearance level but it would be intriguing to know.

UK Computer Misuse Act convictions declined last year despite pandemic explosion in online criminal activity


Re: Incidentally

Well, he used a computer to order the device (charge 1), used "unauthorized access" to get into the lab and do damage (charge 2) and then incite others to do the same via video blog (charge 3)

At the very least they could also add a charge of money laundering as he apparently used crypto-currency obtained by deception to order the device (charge 4) and failed to register as a currency exchange (charges 5, 6, 7)



Its been suggested that part of the problem is that cases never get to court in the first place as they are tried under something else.

Case in point, car thieves using a computer and SDR to break into and then steal expensive designer vehicles should logically lead to

a CMA conviction but I haven't seen any evidence of one.

Same with the infamous case recently of a student using a USBKiller to damage school property.

In the US the culprit got 10 years in Fed for this, but the one in the UK was just cautioned despite being caught red handed with it.

Boffins improve on tech that extracts DC power from ambient Wi-Fi


Re. Harvester

Yes, this might indeed be a problem.

The fix would be just running the DC-DC when the capacitor actually gets low.

A smoke alarm battery powered by WiFi would be useful, however the reason for using an alkaline is that when actually sounding the peak

current can get surprisingly high (amps)

Incidentally does anyone know how those WiFi boosting bulbs work?

It looks like they receive one channel and then retransmit on another, but how does it compensate for latency and for that matter multipath


Would make more sense to receive on 2.4 and transmit at 5.2 so devices can lock on to the "better" signal thus freeing up the lower bands.

China all but bans cryptocurrencies


Re: Re. Update

Are you absolutely sure?

Look at what happened with 20H2, that somehow got onto secure systems despite in many cases admins actually stopping all updates. It got through and caused complete mayhem.

Best guess is that other machines were hosting the update(s) as is enabled by design which bypassed the usual blocks so someone bringing in a laptop with it installed was all it took.

It wouldn't be much of a stretch to block specific file content, and as I mentioned very hard to undo.

Just to give folks here an idea of the lengths certain authorities go to, it was possible for a piece of malware to get into the uEFI BIOS on a system here, and completely block access to an entire drive even on a clean booted system having worked perfectly the day before.

Even cloning the drive didn't help as none of the usual programs would work: the error message suggested a sector alignment issue but cloning everything manually to an identical drive also didn't work.

The only thing which made any difference was using a standalone box which copied everything except that specific multi-part .ZIP archive suggesting it was the underlying cause of the problem.


Re. Update

I have it on good authority that Microsoft, Google AND Apple are about to block common Wallet apps via mandatory firmware update.

Ignore it at your peril, because sometime soon you won't be able to run any of them on common devices or even access the stored files.

The problem here is that as there's often no way to downgrade you are stuck, as many app developers found out to their cost.

Rude awakening for O2 customers after network runs surprise test of emergency mobile alert system


Re. Got a better test message


Yeah thats one you'd never *ever* want to see.

Also this one.


Can't get that printer to work? It's not you. It's that sodding cablin.... oh beautiful job with that cabling, boss


Its said

That the fellow who later won the Physics Nobel "borrowed" a defunct >20M Yen MOCVD machine that was being thrown out because it had been replaced with a nice shiny new one, took it home with the aid of some friends and then spent evenings and weekends hacking and modding it to make the p type GaN for the very first blue LEDs which the same employer had said were impossible due to defects and would never work.

Said employer wasn't very happy about it but he'd got all the appropriate paperwork so there was nothing they could do.

Think it was the largest settlement ever paid to an employee in Japanese history.

Literally a 10,000:1 value gain.

Whats the Traditional Japanese phrase for "Skunkworks" ?

Known software issue grounds Ingenuity Mars copter as it attempted fourth flight


Its on MARS

So you'd expect problems with the software. Better to play it safe as in space no one can hear you scream.

Börk returns to its spiritual home of Sweden as duff disks take down Stockholm signage


We are

Bjork of BORG.

Appeals court nixes online blueprint sharing ban on 3D-printed 'ghost guns'


Something interesting

I once looked into building a "force field" for another project.

Actually had some success with a short range deflector beam, but the problem is energy usage.

It might be possible to build something about the size of a phone charger pack that detects muzzle flash and

*rapidly* dumps just enough energy into the specially shaped coil to deflect a projectile if fired from a long enough range.

We are talking room temperature superconductors here so not exactly possible on a large scale yet, but it would also

be adequate for other tasks like deflecting cosmic radiation.

Now for the legal issues.

In principle, a personal force field would come under "defense" but as its not capable of actually doing damage under most

conditions the DoD would likely be most interested.

SpaceX flings another bunch of humans into orbit in reused capsule atop reused booster


Re: Two crews

Its unlikely, NASA allegedly did a study suggesting that uh, personal contact in space is likely to be difficult and require assistance in the form of a large rubber band or more likely a fabric tube (2Suit) of some sort.

Even if there was ever a married couple on ISS or a future Mars ship, there are protocols that specifically prevent any sort of interaction that might lead to conflict.

The last thing you'd want is a falling out when lives depend on making decisions accurately 100% of the time without emotional involvement getting in the way.

Not least that in the event of an unfortunate accident the risks to both mother and fetus would be impossible to quantify, assuming that pregnancy in space is even possible

39 Post Office convictions quashed after Fujitsu evidence about Horizon IT platform called into question


Quite right

If the CONservative Party had any sense of decency and ethics they'd retroactively exonerate every postmaster prosecuted for Horizon related "fraud" and "theft".

Always remember who was in charge when this atrocity happened.

What we need is a "Turing Law" style mass pardoning of all postmasters affected by this, back to to the earliest pay period when they were originally accused.

As of this morning I am looking for a new job, as its simply not ethically acceptable to benefit financially from an organization that has no ethical code and

trusts a computer over a human.

Perhaps nuclear physics is a better option?

What's this about a muon experiment potentially upending Standard Model of physics? We speak to one of the scientists involved


Re: But does this mean I can have my flying car?

Working on it.

The main snag is that I did find a way to repel off a surface similar to a ground effect but using ions, in a helium atmosphere though the main problem is that the required very thin uniform HOPG isn't easy to make and it still needs >10KV and an alpha emitting radioisotope or £xp£n$ive hard to obtain deep UV LEDs to generate enough of an ion current.

Fusing smaller pieces together under methane at high pressure *might* work if I used a laser or DBD but theproblem is getting sufficiently uniform starting material in the first place.

Pentagon confirms footage of three strange craft taken by the Navy are UFOs (no, that doesn't mean they're aliens)


Re: "regular" ball lightning ?

The term for the type that tend to go into aircraft and houses is the "Navigator"

Its said that when they go through a keyhole BL can explode with little or no warning, or appear to fizzle out then reappear somewhere else.

The current consensus is that it may well be a Rydberg cloud or some sort of electromagnetic knot or torus though this shouldn't be possible according to the virial theorem this may need to be revised.

Also https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S136468262030331X


Something strange

I once saw an "odd" sparkling object off centre during a very intense thunderstorm.

From the clear footage it seemed to have a cloaking device that was being affected by the lightning, as it was clearly visible with a plasma "tether"

Unfortunately its long gone now but it got submitted for analysis with something called "The Nexus Project" thats all I know.

Might have been regular BL but either the lightning flashes messed with my brain or something strange happened that evening.

Now what is intriguing, upon recollection of the events of that evening my clock in the car didn't line up with actual time

but thought nothing of it as the battery wasn't exactly great anyway and had problems with that car if memory serves.

Satellite collision anticipated by EU space agency fails to materialize... for now at least


Re: That one time

How does one protect against this sort of thing?


That one time

They get it wrong and Envisat collides with something.

Cue "Gravity"

Actually it could be worse than that, some of these things have nuclear reactors on board though fortunately most are in a high orbit out of harm's way.

US Space Command have a very high pressure job as it is, what with the "other" folks moaning about how hard it is to navigate all the various pieces of

space junk to get to/from the ISS and other facilities.

CERN boffins zap antimatter with ultraviolet lasers in the hope of revealing the secret symmetry of the universe


Re: Another test of General Relativity

I have a standing bet with several folks that antimatter will turn out to have different gravitational acceleration to matter.

Whether this extends to the point that it could be the key to interstellar travel is as yet untested, however even a tiny change under certain conditions may permit an Alcubierre drive to function with accessible power requirements.

I've also often wondered if an isotope like 22Na might be key to such a drive, and in fact looking for its decay products in the form of characteristic gamma and X-rays be a sign that one is in use.

Sadly, the catastrophic impact with Apophis asteroid isn't going to happen in 2068



Random: if the Alvarez object had missed, the dinosaurs might have eventually after smaller mass extinctions evolved into something a lot like us,

with binocular vision and bipedal locomotion.

The tail might have been retained but as with hominidae it got absorbed much like the appendix.

In fact its said that there might have been more than one intelligent species here on Earth, as mammals may have slowly expanded

to fill niches left by larger predatory saurians as the latter died off.

Cold blooded is actually not entirely accurate as some dinosaur fossils show evidence of a trend towards higher body temperatures

so something able to live in the savannah isn't completely ridiculous.

Feel free to downvote this back to the Cambrian Era.

UK terror law reviewer calls for expanded police powers to imprison people who refuse to hand over passwords


Re. Passwords

Good luck trying to extract information from someone with MCI, caused by (for example) a stroke, heavy metal exposure (eg Hg, Pb) , traumatic brain injury, Alzheimers etc.

One would hope that there is a specific mechanism to take this into consideration in genuine cases where the password was forgotten or at least parts of it.

Had something like this a while back where a specific asthma medication caused me to fail my mock GCSEs, later found out it had been recalled and no longer manufactured as the propellant had been linked to MCI.

I only mention it as an example of a legitimate reason for not recalling a specific important piece of information.


We've seen things you people wouldn't believe. A halo of light polarized by a gigantic black hole's magnetic field...



Didn't they use PS3's back in the day to simulate colliding black holes?

AFAIK they had to get special permission from Sony to use CFW on them and hand back key components so they could never again be used as a

games console, also to reduce power usage and permit consoles to run at >100% GPU load.

Also recall that the PS4 can be used in this way though required getting dev kits ($$$$) and cloning the Flash chip(s) from one with Sony's permission then signing it with the root key and console key etc.

Think twoof their techs showed up with a magic box (tm) to do this for them and check that they'd set up everything right.


Re: Dunning Kruger

Entanglement has been demonstrated with antimatter as well.



Can you still

hear the electrons screaming, Clarice?

Sound of particles spiraling in to their doom, in the dark maw at the centre of our Galaxy.


Rookie's code couldn't have been so terrible that it made a supermarket spontaneously combust... right?


LP0 on fire

I did find a "killer command" in a diagnostics tool that caused my all in one to try and force the print head to exit the left hand side at speed.

Fortunately managed to clean up the optical ribbon and all fine.

If it had been left it might have gone into thermal runaway but these days most printers are id10t proof and even stop you

putting the cartridge(s) in the wrong place unless you like I did swapped over the chips.

You could say it got marooned! (gets coat..)

Old hacker trick to fix stubborn head clogs is to fill a used yellow cartridge with DI water and swap it to the blocked colour.

It works, sometimes.

Also what works is the old "pull cleaning solution the wrong way with a syringe" method.


Re: Not just me then.

Like that time I was testing one of my "creations", a dual ignition coil beast with Epoxy insulators and TV flyback wire spark spewing gadget running on a chunky 12V SLA that I was certain qualified as a weapon of mass destruction when it wasn't blowing 2N3055's like popcorn and the occasional 555 timer.

Turned it on, had near 2 foot snappy impulse sparks probably >80,000V jumping the gap about every third or fourth pulse and all of a sudden the lights went out. Cue angry voice "WHAT DID YOU DO THIS TIME!" and rapidly hiding said device under more junk.

Nope not me this time, twas a massive positive lightning strike to the main switching station somewhere in Europe.

So that was the time I got unfairly blamed for a multiple hour power cut.

AC because shortly afterwards it got dismantled for "safety!" reasons.

Then there was the force beam incident..

Global tat supply line clogged as Suez Canal authorities come to aid of wedged 18-brontosaurus container ship



Seems to have been some sort of onboard power issue.

There's no proof that it was malicious but given things like Stuxnet its not ridiculous.

I'd say probably a combination of several failures, not one event.

Possible superconductor discovery


Possible superconductor discovery

Hi, now I don't want to get people's hopes up but..

It looks like my research is potentially going somewhere.

Is anyone here familiar with IISC and their claimed gold/silver nanoparticle material?

Seems they weren't wrong after all.

I've now established not only a plausible theory for how a normally good conductor can

superconduct well above 273.15K but that its possible to easily examine materials

in bulk which up until now was deemed impossible.

Its actually quite simple really, looking at the basic physics of how OLED panels work

gave me the inspiration and then it was just a matter of finding the right combination

of materials.

Turns out that multiple processes are needed but the starting materials only need to

be moderately pure and not contain iron, nickel etc.

Ir is indeed the secret and I am in the process of making a larger sample.

Microsoft quantum lab retracts published paper: Readings that cast doubt on crucial discovery went AWOL


I found the problem

It appears that someone collapsed the paper's wavefunction by observing it too much.

(Gets coat)

Toxic: Intel ordered to pay chip fab worker almost $1m after he was gassed at its facility in 2016



Also produced by overcharging large format flooded lead acid batteries typically used in industry.

It sometimes happens on vehicles as well and smelling rotten eggs is a bad sign indicating a serious battery problem like a partially shorted cell or a faulty charging circuit.



Healthy 32-year-old offered COVID-19 vaccine because doctors had him down as 6.2cm tall with BMI of 28,000


Neutron star

Its been suggested by someone who cranked the math that this sort of density (ie a fully grown adult shrunk to 6.2cm high) would be in the realms of a neutron star but in fact it looks like they'd be approximately 26.22 times the density of uranium.

In fact no element on the periodic table has anywhere close to this.

Maybe if there were undiscovered elements somewhere on the Island of Stability ie doubly magic 121-124 if the quantum spin calculations are correct for nested proton and neutron shells but again this is probably beyone most people's abilities to calculate.

Time travel and zerodays


Time travel and zerodays

Hi, I found something intriguing.

How feasible would it be given a device that could send a short burst of characters with a checksum containing an as-yet-unknown zeroday exploit for a major operating system, for this information to be used?

If an adversary had access to this sort of technology what would be the countermeasure?

Same as sending back fragments of an AES-256 hardware root key or something that.

Dangerous flying car drone zoomed into UK's Gatwick Airport airspace after killswitch failed



Incidentally do authorities have an explanation for the *other* Gatwick drone incident?

It seems that the unidentified object was hovering for hours at a time, and apparently a certain spooky agency (tm) sent up to investigate may or may not have clear pictures of the object taken on a Police drone which (surprise!) were classified for reasons of national security due to the nature of its propulsion system.

Curse of Arecibo strikes again: Now another cable breaks, smashes into America's largest radio telescope


Re. Cable

Not looking good! Whats the odds of the entire dish coming apart before the end of the year?

Also Arecibo is also part of the search for near Earth asteroids so its not just the scientific loss.

You only live twice: Once to start the installation, and the other time to finish it off


SImilar experience

Went to the UK and back, on the way via Maplin.

Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to approach the helpful folks at airport and check that "there isn't any problem with my case full of goodies"

Oh I got through UK customs just fine but got bag searched and interrogated at the other end.

Fortunately kept the receipt(s) but the poor Customs fellow wasn't too happy.

"Whats this bundle of wires?"

"What are these strange pieces of rectangular fibreglass with black film on them?"

"What is this box marked "Video decoder" ?

An hour later.. !!!

Software engineer leaked UK missile system secrets and refused to hand cops his passwords, Old Bailey told

Big Brother


Same here, RIPA is often being used against minor drug "offenders" and in more recent days for enforcing quarantine.

What I don't understand is why they didn't go the whole hog and charge this fellow with treason.

Ot at least espionage.

Good news: Boffins have finally built room-temperature superconductors. Bad news: You'll need a laser, a diamond anvil, and a lot of pressure


Re. Bad News?

Actually lasers can be used in a different way.

In this case messing with the molecular configuration during ALD may work.

I found out a while back that blue lasers (440-460nm) can be used to "tickle" the Sr atoms in BSCCO

and am in the process of making a test pellet with the aim to make the 2223 variant with high Tc.

The trick is to use a very thin layer on special glass and "nuke" it from the transparent side.

In fact sandwiching pre-crushed and part calcined Mott insulator between two pieces of glass and then

doing the laser step under flowing O2 may work.

The formula has to be absolutely correct and even a trace of ferrous metals may foul things up.

Posting this on here so folks can replicate it as and when the paper gets released, by following my

train of thought.



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