* Posts by Paul Murray

89 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Jan 2007


Oracle finally targets Java non-payers – six years after plucking Sun

Paul Murray


Bummer. Java is over. It was a good run - 25 years or so. Time to learn Haskel or some shit like that.

Oracle won't pull plug on Java SE 6 until 2013

Paul Murray

The problem is that java 6 is perfectly ok, and now they are just fooling around with it. Java is facing the fate of Windows. What we have is fine.

Benefits of boozing outweigh harms, says survey

Paul Murray

And the drinkers are wrong about this?

And by what standard have these psychologist made the judgment that staying up later, better socialising, more/better sex is not worth the downside? Why is "fights" listed as a downside? Some people *like* to fight. Why is it that it's a terrible thing that "work" and "study" are affected? As if the most important thing in the world was labouring for the complex.

I hope that it's not the psychologists themselves who are making the value judgments. I suspect not. This study comes to us through a series of filters.

Chinese coal blamed for global warming er... cooling

Paul Murray


Soaking the mining companies for money is a great idea anyway. If they can afford a load of TV ads complaining about the tax, they can afford the tax itself. These mostly foreign-owned companies can bloody beg for permission to strip out our minerals and flog them to the chinese, as far as I care. You really think they'll just pack up and go home if there's a tax hike? a) They won't, and b) so what if they do? The minerals will stay there, and become more and more valuable as time goes by.

People have this odd idea that money taken as taxes simply vanishes. It doesn't - it goes pretty much straight back into the economy, and anyone who thinks that government spending doesn't count as part of the economy is an idiot.

Likewise, people who think that governments "waste" money have no idea what a circus private enterprise tends to be. At least governments don't pay 50-million-dollar bonuses to people who fail at their jobs.

Damn libertarians. Idiots.

Terrafugia flying car gets road-safety exemptions

Paul Murray
Thumb Down

Fifth element

For a look at what flying cars mean, watch "The Fifth Element". A flying car only means freedom and fun when you are the only person with one.

Oz boffins in quantum computing breakthrough

Paul Murray


There's definitely a link between computation and energy consumption - it takes a certain amount of energy to "know" a bit of information at a given temperature. Can quantum machines bypass this limit?

Or, as with the univere's speed limit, does Mother Nature always have a gotcha no matter how clever you try to be?

Paul Murray


A prime number has only one *prime* factor - itself. 1 does not count as a prime number, because it would bugger up unique prime factorisation.

Factoring a large number into primes may or may not be difficult.

What is difficult is factoring a composite number whose factors are all large primes. Even if there's only two of 'em.

Boffin: Coconut jumbo is millstone in disguise

Paul Murray
Thumb Down

Systeme Internationale

"He said that solar power devices used to generate hydrogen by electrolysis would give you 20 times as many joules per acre."

Surely he meant Watts per acre? And shouldn't it be Watts per Hectare, or foot-pounds per acre? Horsepower per acre? Anyone?

Enraged vegan spitroasts Reg hack

Paul Murray

Rings a bell

"How my vegan children and I will laugh from our intellectually and compassionately superior platform as he dies a slow death as his colon struggles to expurge his over burdoned diet of meat and dairy products"

Interesting that this compassionately superior individual will laugh as someone dies a painful death. I (and anyone else who runs an anti-christian webside) get similar mail from compassionate and concerned christians, gloating about my enevitable eternal torment.

Religious folk all got the same mnindset, regardless of the details of what they happen to be religious about.

French motorwonk savages hybrid cars

Paul Murray


I reckon my Piaggio gets better milage - about 3l/100k at the moment.

And hydrogen fuel is a joke, greenhouse-wise. It just moves the combustion from a few metres from the wheels to a power station 100s of ks away, with transmission losses etc etc.

Nuclear Fusion is humanity's only hope. Without it, this current time will be the never-to-be-repeated golden age. In a couple of centuries, anything made of plastic will be a priceless antique.

English language succumbs to Symbiotic Ephemeralization

Paul Murray

I, for one,

I, for one, welcome our new symbiotically ephemeralised overlords.

EFF and chums sue Feds over border laptop inspections

Paul Murray
Thumb Up


Whenever I meet a "Canadian", I always exclaim "Wow, a Canadian! So you can speak french?"

Sorts out the fakes, quick smart.

Thais rate rat 'better than chicken'

Paul Murray
Thumb Up

When abroad

When abroad, never eat meat unless it is *piping* hot. Grilled rat from a street vendor is safer than goop in the hot food bar at the hotel, that has been sitting at incubation temerature for hours.

And I'm sure that grain-fed rat is delicious.

Boffin says Astronomical Unit should be binned

Paul Murray


The AU was tremendously important back before we knew the size of the solar system in absolute units. A planet's orbital period is a function of distance. By comparing the orbital period of a body with an earth year, we know the distance form the sun in AU, without actually knowing that distance - if that makes sense.

Intel's cache gigantism results in 2bn transistor Tukwila

Paul Murray

Diminishing returns

I worked out a couple of years back that it's pointless to pay twice as much for an extra 10% clock speed. The thing slowing dow your computing experience these days is bells and whistles in the software. Eclipse is a big offender, here.

US expat casts ballot from Vienna, wonders if anyone got it

Paul Murray

private institutiuons

The democratic party is not a "private institutiuon" - it is a registered political party. Heck - over here in Oz, elections in labour unions are run and regulated by the Australian Electoral Commission.

Scientists warn on climatic 'tipping points'

Paul Murray

One rule for me, another for everone else

"I also remain firmly against compulsion or taxation as a method for changing behaviour; it's far more effective to make people want to do something"

By "people" I'm sure you mean nice middle-class people like yourself, and would never dream of applying that sort of silliness to the kind of people who break into your house and twock your xbox.

The point is: some kinds of behaviour are beneficial for the person that does them, but bad for everyone if everyone does them. For instance: driving SUVs. Regulatory laws exist in order to make society nicer by, shall we say, negatively incentivizing these types of behaviour.

Compulsion and taxations are excellent ways of changing behaviour, especially in relation to things that most agree are good things to change. They take away the "why should I not X when everyone else is doing it anyway?" factor

'Crash tested' e-voting machines spread doubt on Super Tuesday

Paul Murray

It can be done

One could easily design a system to be both anonymous and secure, using cryptographic certificates.

At the polling place you pick up a ballot, marked with a unique serial number that is signed by the body that prints the ballots.

You take this to an electoral official, who checks your id. They generate a document saying that you (elector X) picked up ballot form Y, and a random number Z. This document is then SHA hashed - we will call this "the hash". They store electronically a statement saying that You picked up a balot, the hashed code above, and this is signed by their code.

On the balot is then printed a barcode containing a message signed by the electoral official, indicating that some properly identified person was granted possession of the ballot. This mesage includes the hash. On the balot is also printed the random number that was included in the hash, but this is not done in a machine-readable way.

You then take this bit of paper to machine A, where you make your vote. Machine A prints on your balot paper a barcode ecapsulating your vote, the hash, and a signature by machine a. It also prints a human-readable vote mark.

You scrutinise this bit of paper. If your vote is recorded correctly, you take it to machine B. Machine B reads the barcode put there by machine A, checks the signature, asks you to confirm your vote, and if you agree, records the vote and prits on your ballot it's own signed certification that the vote was recorded. Machine B is run by an electoral official who is responsible for asking each person "does this balot show your vote". The machine reads the vote, shows the official the barcode that was read, and the official can check that the barcode read matches the barcode on the form.

OK. The electoral commision knows that you were issued with a proper ballot by a known official, but not which one it was. It also knows that some particular vote was recorded on each ballot, but not by whom, and that a known official witnessed that an elecor stated that the ballot contained their vote.

The ballot contains printed on it both facts, along with a random number.

You can then go to the website of the electoral commission, and check that the vote recorded for your ballot paper (which you have kept) is indeed the vote you put in.

If it isn't then it's possible to either determine that your vote has been tampered with or lost, or that you are lying.

Iran fires rocket 'into space', plans satellite for '09

Paul Murray
Jobs Horns

Oil and control of supply

Youy don't need to control supply when you can buy as much as you wish by printing money. The problem with Saddam and now Iran is their plans to sell their oil in euro. The Iranian oil bourse opens this week, I belive.

Brits can't distinguish history from the TV listings

Paul Murray

So what else is new?

Yes, most people are pretty bloody stupid. This has always been the case. If you are reasonably bright, sometimes it's had to really grasp just how bloody stupid most people really are, but it's an insight we all come to eventually.

Scientists create 'no-tears' onion

Paul Murray

Jonathan Swift

Many of the comments remond me of Jonathan Switft's take on science. He never understood the purpose of research.

Veggies a 'perversion of nature': Official

Paul Murray


Chimpanzees hunt and eat meat. Not exclusively - but they do it.

They also engage in tribal warfare, but that's a whole 'nother thread.

French police plan Windows-free jails, offices

Paul Murray
Black Helicopters

Already there

As far as I know, the Chinese already have their own linux distro. Google "chinese government linux".

US military prepares for plummeting spy satellite

Paul Murray
Paris Hilton

It's locic, innit?

"They don't know where it will land. Therefore it will either end up in water or on land. "

Not nessesarily. It could wind up on an ice shelf, or in a volcano. A nice symmetry there - one is water that is solid, and the other is land that is liquid.

US Navy to test fire electric hypercannon

Paul Murray
Thumb Down

Didn't these guys get the memo?

Didn't these guys get the memo? Warfare ("big war") is dead.

Barracuda plays the hippie card in Trend Micro patent row

Paul Murray


The very phrase "Intelectual Property" is a magnificent example of propaganda. It begs the question without seeming to. Everyone who uses this now ubiquitous phrase tacily admits that ideas are *things* - like my shoes, or my house - that are rightfully someone's property. It's impossible to argue to argue that no-one has a right to sue other people for using a blinking cursor in their app without some idiot going "but IP is *property* and using someone else's property without permission is wrong". The question of whether or not the idea of using a blinking cursor *can* be "property" is precisely the point at issue.

So, good on these people for delegitimising these particular IP squatters (see what I mean?), but it's not the real problem.

Giant solar plants in Negev could power Israel's future

Paul Murray

metric, dammit!

"One plant would produce 2 Terawatt Hours of electricity every year"

Terawatt-hours? What the heck is wrong with petajoules? Why multiply everything by 3.6?

Paul Murray

Saharan Sandstorms

If you covered 90% of the sahara with solar collectors, it would alter the climate of the region. Potentially, there would be no sandstorms anymore.

Paul Murray
Thumb Up

What the world needs

What the world needs is some process that uses solar power to convert CO2 and water into oxygen and energy-dense, transportable hydrocarbons, that works way better than photosynthesis.Should be simple enough, as we are not burdened with the millions of years of trial-and-error design that the plants are.

My dream is to cover the entire australian desert with panels producing alchohol fom sunlight, air, andwater. What we don't drink, we can ship to asia. We'd all live like sheiks forever.

The main engineering challenge is desalinating massive amounts of sewater and pumping it into the desert.

And my imaginary alcohol-producing panels themselves.

New Bond film title voted a 'Licence to Thrill!'

Paul Murray


Surely "Soupçon of solace" would be better?

Employee's silent rampage wipes out $2.5m worth of data

Paul Murray


The data could easily have been worth that much. How many hours of work? How many people working? How much per hour?

It stacks up pretty quickly.

Three Little Pigs book deemed offensive to Muslims

Paul Murray
Thumb Up

For all you know

"If you haven't read it, shut up, you don't have a clue what you're talking about. For all you know, it could be incredibly offensive. "

Beaten to it again. For all we know, it really is a not-so-subtle canning of the building industry in general, and builders in particular.

And as for "no-one is forcing you to read it", if you are a 5-year-old in a school, someone most certainly is. Need I point out to all the libertarians and right wingers that teachers in state schools are employees of the government and agents of the state? People without means have no option but to send their children along to be indoctrinated, like it or not. So yes, I'd rather have them err on the side of caution.

EU president sets green plans in stone

Paul Murray
Thumb Down

Why bother?

"The planets climate has always been changing and probably always will so what benefit is any of this stuff "

People inevitably die anyway, so why bother having laws against murder?

Government told to ditch biofuel targets

Paul Murray

The big one

Commercial farmin uses enormous amounts of syntheic fetilizer. Synthetic fertilizer is made from oil.

It's that simple. When the oil runs out, the "green revolution" will be over. Biofuels are the least of our worries. There will not be enough food.

Japanese to launch paper plane from ISS

Paul Murray
Thumb Up

A message of peace?

Why not: "Save the Whales"?

Swedes to probe cow-belch threat to planet

Paul Murray

kangaroo shit

I heard that there was research being done on getting kangaroo gut bacteria into cows, as they are much more efficient and generate far less methane.

IBM hits back against over-timers with pay cut

Paul Murray

Amen, lglethal

Ditto. DON'T WORK FOR FREE. It's that simple. One of the nice things about being a contractor is precisely that no-one asks you to work for free. As to those silly enough to take a permanent posistion with a pay rate for a 37.5 hr week who discover that 8 and 9 hour days are expected of them - down tools.

This industry badly needs a union - particularly to protect the young-uns from these kind of abuses, because young-uns often are willing to work excess hours for free out of sheer enthusiasm. Same goes for a few other industries where people are often willing to work for the love of the job.

Israel electric car project aims to wipe out oil

Paul Murray

efficiemncy etc

Electric power plants may be more efficient than ice, but what about the electric power plant -> transmission line -> battery -> electric motor ?

OTOH, yes, it's "always been" 40 years, and then we found more of the black goo, but 40 years ago we had not already scrutinised every inch of the earth's surface. Sure, there's proably more under the deeper oceans. But the problem isn't that the oil will run out, the problem is that it will become increasingly uneconomic to extract.

Becta exec admits mistakes on education IT

Paul Murray

Wireless mesh networks

Wireless mesh networks, and to hell with the ISPs.

Smith says answer to knife crime is through the arch window

Paul Murray

Equality before the law

"Nicked and torched someone's £25,000 car? Fine works out at £25K"

Whatever hapenned to equality before the law? Torch a poor man's car, you get a 3k fine. Torch a rich man's car, and your life is over. The penalty should be same, and if people insist on driving expensive vanitymobiles on public roads, then the fine for accidental parking dings should be no different to the fine for dinging average family transport.


As for thugs in schools - regrettably, schools serve two purposes, and one of them is keeping children off the streets and out from underfoot of the adult poulation. This means that decent normal people being educated in preparation for a useful life must, during those few years, spend time with young criminals. The law will not protect you from being criminally preyed upon by your peers when you are a teenager.

Chuck the criminals into a snakepit.

Mashups haunted by past experience

Paul Murray

Bad memories

Bad memories of the '90s here in Canberra, when everyone was writing their own MS Access databases. Yes, it's so much easier and quicker for a user to hack something up in access or excel ... until you find that your organisation has come to utterly depend on some hunk of cruft.

It is as true as it ever was: if something's worth doing, it's worth doing well.

Fertility watchdogs approve first human-animal hybrids

Paul Murray
Paris Hilton

Old news?

Isn't this old news? Haven't we been puting DNA for human insulin into microbes for years?

"If the soul has left (or was never there) is it immoral?"

We'll have none of tha cartesian dualism around here, thankyou. Tell me: if a soul is some sort of immaterial substance (ignoring the blatant oxymoron for a moment) that "leaves" the body at death, how is it that our material senses can make information evident to this "soul"? How is it that ingestion of alcohol can affect one's judgment?

If a blastocyst has a "soul", how come I don't remember being an amorphous ball of cells? For that matter - if a person develops Alzheimers, do they have a lousy memory when they get to heaven? Or does God kind of do a reverse edit? If so - are the memories really theirs?

Maybe Paris knows the answer to these conundrums.

It was the MacBook Air sub-notebook

Paul Murray
Thumb Down

My Next Mac

My next Mac will not be one of these. It will be a PowerMac with dual quad-cores and a truckload of memory. Laptops be damned. I got a 12" powerbook with a PPC and 3/4s of a gig. Run MySql, two instances of glassfish (DEV and PROD), The GIMP, and eclipse enteprise and the damn thing starts grinding to a halt. "Ewww! I'm running out of memory! Watch the beach ball while I swap memory for a minute!". Weak as piss.

Boffins: Antimatter comes from black holes, neutron stars

Paul Murray


"And as for black holes, I thought that NOTHING, not even LIGHT, could escape a black hole. Did science change when I wasn't looking? "

Yes, it did. A chap named Stephen Hawking was reponsible.

Mass web infection leaves researcher scratching her head

Paul Murray

Worked out the site vulreability

My guess at the site vilnerability is that these "mom-and-pop" websites are copy-and-pasting dodgy example code from somewhere.

Bjork lays into NZ snapper

Paul Murray
Thumb Down

An odd idea of morality

"I don't see being assaulted as I'm working as a press photographer as an acceptable thing"

IOW: "But it's my job!". So let's see: any sort of behaviour (harassing people in public, chasing people through tunnels, chopping down pristine old-growth forests, harpooning whales, persuading people to accept dodgy home loans) is ok as long as someone is paying you to do it.

Polish teen derails tram after hacking train network

Paul Murray

Whaddayamean, lockimup?

A 14-year-old is a child. End of story.

However - no sense blaming the designers of the system for "they should have known" not to build public transport a child can hack. 20 years ago, who was to know that kids would be able to hack (what was then) high-tech semiconductor control systems?

YouTube biker clocked at 189mph

Paul Murray
IT Angle


"It's putting the message out that this is a fun thing to do, which is not the case"

For heaven's sake. If you are going to preach, you mustn't blow your credibility by telling obvious lies. Of course it's fun! Reckless speeding is fun. Train surfing is fun. Unprotected sex is fun, too. We refrain from these things in spite of that.

Academics slam Java

Paul Murray


So, Java is a bad teaching language, but C++ is ok? Or Ada?

If the kiddies are learning bad programming with a lack of rigor, meybe they ought to teach good, rigorous programming. Java is a perfectly fine language for this purpose. If their courses are too narrowly focused on web apps, maybe they ought to change the content of their courses, what they themmselves designed and are teaching. If you get my drift.

The problem is not with java. It is with sausage-factory "higher education" which is nothing but vocational training. Take their money, teach 'em just enough so they can pursue a career, and to hell with learning.

Yes, it all comes down to money, and to the way universities really work these days.

IMO: programming-for-money ought to be taught in technical colleges. It is a trade - you are building something.

Oz drafts 'batter an orphaned roo' guidelines

Paul Murray

Still got the scars

During the drought(s), they come down out of the hills and are an absolute menace on the streets. They will actually leap in front of moving vehicles to get away from them (!). I belive deer in the US do the same thing - the normal animal "pursuit avoidance" algothim being unsuitable for when a car is following you on a street.

Hit one on my scooter this October (Piaggio Fly 125). Roo was fine. I slid out and wound up with a broken ulna. I have a plate in it now, and the wrist is still not right - loss of mobility and nerve damage affecting sensation in the the 2nd finger.

personally, I see nothing whatever inhumane about a short, sharp blow to the back of the joey's head by swinging it against the towbar - provided you get it right first time. Maybe the ACT govt should run courses. Sign me up!